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Tiger Woods, Kelsey Grammer, and Roger Avary were in the news the week of December 4

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CASTING
Frasier‘s Kelsey Grammer, 54, will make his Broadway musical debut as gay club owner Georges in a revival of 1983’s La Cage aux Folles — perhaps better known for its 1996 movie version, The Birdcage. The production is scheduled to open April 18 at the Longacre Theatre.

MARRIED
Tom Arnold, 50, wed home organizer Ashley Groussman on Nov. 28 in Hawaii, marking the actor’s fourth marriage.

BIRTHS
It’s a girl for singer Lisa Loeb, 41, and her husband, Roey Hershkovitz. The first-time parents welcomed daughter Lyla Rose in L.A. on Nov. 29…. Grammy-winning album producer and songwriter Rodney Jerkins, 32, and his wife, singer Joy Enriquez, also greeted a daughter, Heavenly Joy, on Nov. 17 in L.A.

ENGAGED
Former first daughter Chelsea Clinton, 29, got engaged to investment banker Marc Mezvinsky, 31, on Thanksgiving Day in NYC. ”We didn’t get married this past summer despite the stories to the contrary, but we are looking toward next summer and hope you all will be there to celebrate,” the couple wrote in a Nov. 27 e-mail to family and friends.

DEAL
On Nov. 30, French conglomerate Vivendi reached an agreement to sell its 20 percent stake in NBC Universal to General Electric. The estimated $5.8 billion deal would pave the way for GE — which controls the other 80 percent of NBC — to create its much-discussed joint venture with cable giant Comcast.

FINED
Tennis star Serena Williams, 28, was fined a record $82,500 and placed on a two-year probationary period for her profanity-laced verbal attack on a lineswoman during a September match at the U.S. Open. If Williams has another ”major offense” at a Grand Slam tournament while on probation, she could be suspended from the U.S. Open. ”I am thankful that we now have closure,” Williams said in a statement.

RECOVERING
David Hasselhoff, 57, was hospitalized Nov. 27 in L.A. and released two days later for an undisclosed medical condition that did not involve alcohol, according to his rep. In a paparazzi video posted Nov. 30 on TMZ.com, the America’s Got Talent judge denied reports that he suffered a seizure and was under a psychiatric hold. ”I’m happy, I’m healthy, and thank you very much,” he said….Dancing With the Stars judge Carrie Ann Inaba, 41, had surgery on Nov. 25 in L.A. to relieve pressure and stiffness in her neck due to a spinal cord condition called spinal stenosis. The surgery went well and Inaba is ”feeling great,” says her rep.

COURTS
On Nov. 24, a Swiss court agreed to let Roman Polanski, 76, out on $4.5 million bail, which would allow the Chinatown director to be placed under house arrest at his luxury chalet in Gstaad. Polanski, who remained in jail at press time while his funds were being transferred, will be required to wear an electronic monitoring bracelet. The filmmaker has been in prison since Sept. 26 and continues to fight possible extradition to the U.S., where he would face sentencing for a 1977 case of unlawful sex with a minor…. Pulp Fiction co-writer Roger Avary, 44 — who was sentenced to a one-year work-furlough program in September for a DUI car crash that killed a man — was sent to a Ventura County, Calif., jail on Nov. 26 after complaining on Twitter about the conditions at the state facility where he was required to spend his nights and weekends. He’s been sent to full-time jail for unspecified ”security reasons,” according to a sheriff’s spokesperson. ”No. 34 is ‘rolled up’ to a higher-security facility for exercising his First Amendment rights,” Avary wrote in his last tweet. ”The truth, he has discovered, is too dangerous.”

DEATHS
Singer Al Alberts, 87, a founding member of the 1950s pop group the Four Aces, died Nov. 27 of kidney failure in Arcadia, Fla.
With additional reporting by Stewart Allen


Tiger Hits a Tree, Gets a Really Big Headache
Tiger Woods may be the world’s No. 1 golfer, but he wasn’t swinging for this honor: the week’s No. 1 gossip topic. After striking a fire hydrant and a neighbor’s tree while driving away from his Orlando-area home at 2:25 a.m. on Nov. 27, he was hospitalized for minor injuries…then placed under a media microscope. Were his wounds the result of a domestic dispute with wife Elin Nordegren? (Recent tabloid stories have accused him of having extramarital affairs.) Why did Woods, 33, decline to speak to the Florida Highway Patrol about the incident? He issued a statement on Nov. 29, saying ”the situation is my fault,” and calling the rumors about his family ”false, unfounded, and malicious.” He also stated: ”This is a private matter, and I want to keep it that way.” The FHP announced on Dec. 1 that Woods would only be cited for careless driving and face a possible $164 fine.

Whether or not Woods — arguably the world’s most famous athlete — deserves privacy is almost irrelevant, because he’s not going to get it. (And his decision to stay silent only ratchets up the rumor volume.) The prodigiously talented golfer has both a carefully cultivated image of perfection — promoted in numerous lucrative endorsement deals with everything from Nike to TAG Heuer watches — and supercelebrity status, which means all his activities, professional and personal, will be dissected. Fair or unfair, it’s part of the game. As is the almost-inevitable tell-all interview Woods will likely grant to the lucky newsperson of his choice.
Dan Snierson, with additional reporting by Jeff Labrecque


Indie Awards Heat Up the Oscar Race
Ready, set, go! The long Oscar preamble kicked off this week with two rounds of indie-film accolades. First up on Nov. 30, the NYC-based Gotham Awards crowned the critically acclaimed (but little-seen) Iraq war thriller The Hurt Locker as the year’s best feature. The next day, Precious and The Last Station (in theaters Dec. 23) dominated the Independent Spirit Award nominations with five each, while Gwyneth Paltrow earned a Best Female Lead nod for the romance Two Lovers. Hurt Locker was notably absent from the Spirit lineup: It already received two nods from the organization in 2008 after making the rounds on the festival circuit last year.
John Young

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