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Celebrity news for the week of March 23, 2007

Celebrity news for the week of March 23, 2007 — Brief updates on births, divorces, court dates, and more

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Ugly Betty producer/guest star Salma Hayek, 40, will wed French billionaire François-Henri Pinault, 44. The couple, who’ll also welcome their first baby this year, haven’t set a date.

90210 alum Tori Spelling, 33, and her actor husband, Dean McDermott (Against the Ropes), 40, greeted a son on March 13.

Veteran TV-news showrunner Rick Kaplan, 59, has replaced Rome Hartman, 51, as exec producer of CBS’ Evening News. The change follows a continued ratings slump for the broadcast, which introduced Katie Couric as its anchor in September 2006.

The Aspen, Colo., ski patrol came to the rescue of Rob Morrow (Numb3rs), 44, Chad Lowe (24), 39, and Fisher Stevens (Factotum), 43, on March 10 after the actors ventured off a path and got lost in the snow and fog. The trio were appearing at the 11th Annual Celebrity Downhill, a children’s charity event.

On March 12, Regis Philbin, 75, announced on Live With Regis and Kelly that he would be having heart bypass surgery within the week…. Eddie Van Halen, 52, has entered rehab. In a March 8 statement, the guitarist said he wants to deliver ”the 110 percent I feel I owe [fans].”

Magdaleno Olmos, a former assistant at Fox’s American Idol, sued the show’s producers and season 4 contestant Mario Vazquez, 29, for unspecified damages on March 9 in L.A. Olmos claims that Vazquez sexually harassed him starting in February 2005 — and that when Olmos complained, he was fired. Vazquez left the competition in March 2005, citing personal reasons. Vazquez’s lawyers did not return calls for comment…. On March 9, Kate Winslet (Little Children), 31, was awarded ”substantial” libel damages and a written apology in Britain’s Grazia magazine after a February 2007 article wrongly said she visited a diet doctor…. On March 8, Lane Garrison (Prison Break), 26, was charged with manslaughter and drunk driving for a December 2006 crash in L.A. that killed one of his teen passengers and injured two others. If convicted, Garrison could face more than six years in prison. ”The DA filed charges that were appropriate,” says Garrison’s lawyer. ”Lane will figure out with the DA which charges to plead guilty to.”… A California rehab facility sued Courtney Love, 42, on March 1, claiming she failed to pay the $181,286 she owes them for a three-month stint in late 2005. Says Love’s attorney, ”If there are any monies owed, which Ms. Love disputes, she will satisfy that obligation.”… On March 12, an Australian court charged Sylvester Stallone, 60, with possession of an illegal substance, after he allegedly brought 48 vials of human growth hormone into the country during a Rocky Balboa promotional tour in February. Stallone is set to enter a plea April 23…. Viacom sued YouTube and its parent company, Google, on March 12 for more than $1 billion in damages. Viacom is accusing YouTube of ”massive intentional copyright infringement” after posting nearly 160,000 video clips from its TV networks, including MTV and Comedy Central, as well as its movie studio Paramount Pictures. Says a Google rep: ”We are confident that YouTube has respected the legal rights of copyright holders and believe the courts will agree.”

On March 10, more than two months after James Brown’s death, his body was laid to rest in a crypt at the Beech Island, S.C., home of one of his daughters.

Production designer Harold Michelson (Terms of Endearment), 87, nominated twice for an Oscar, after a long illness, March 2, in L.A…. Emmy-nominated songwriter-producer Ray Cham, 35, who co-wrote High School Musical‘s ”Get’cha Head in the Game,” after a motorcycle accident, March 4, in L.A…. Actress Betty Hutton, 86, who took on the title role in the 1950 movie adaptation of Annie Get Your Gun, of colon cancer, in Palm Springs, Calif. — With additional reporting by Stewart Allen

Richard Jeni 1957-2007
With his puckish grin and gravelly Brooklynite’s voice, veteran stand-up comedian Jeni — who committed suicide on March 10 — had a manic but approachable appeal, best showcased in his highly rated 1991 cable special Crazy From the Heat. A frequent guest on The Tonight Show, Jeni could veer from analyzing the idiocy of Jaws 4 to an incisive rant about holy wars: ”We gotta respect people who have strong religious beliefs, don’t we? ‘Cause if you don’t, they’ll kill you.”

Brad Delp 1951-2007
”We’ve just lost the nicest guy in rock and roll.” So read the statement on the official Web page of arena-rock idols Boston, shortly after singer Brad Delp, 55, passed away March 9 of still-undetermined causes at his home in Atkinson, N.H. Indeed, while the band sold 31 million albums and ruled the airwaves in the ’70s and ’80s with hits like ”More Than a Feeling” and ”Peace of Mind,” Delp, a father of two (who also played in a Fab Four tribute band called Beatlejuice), stayed surprisingly grounded. ”Anyone who met Brad,” Boston guitarist Barry Goudreau said in a statement, ”knows he was the sweetest, kindest person you could have known.” — Leah Greenblatt

Reese Witherspoon Goes ‘Missing’
When word got out last week that Reese Witherspoon had dropped out of Bunny Lake Is Missing, a remake of the 1965 Otto Preminger thriller she was to star in and produce, the rumor mill went nuts: She’s having a mid-divorce meltdown! But according to a source close to the project, the real reason is more mundane. The script, by Doug Wright, simply won’t be ready for its scheduled April start date. And with director Joe Carnahan (Smokin’ Aces) slated to start shooting the George Clooney crime drama White Jazz soon, Witherspoon pulled the plug. ”Because it’s Reese, there’s been a tabloidization of something that happens all the time. The screenplay just didn’t get there in time,” says the source, echoing a statement that Carnahan posted on his website. Witherspoon may not hop back to Bunny — Kate Winslet and Charlize Theron have been mentioned as possible replacements — but at least she can take comfort in the fact that no one accused her of bowing out because of ”dehydration.” — Missy Schwartz