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Monitor: Maura Tierney goes back to work

Plus Britney Spears, Andy Dick, and more stars making news the week of Jan. 29, 2010

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BIRTHS
Former American Idol star Bo Bice, 34, and wife Caroline, 28, welcomed their third son, Ean, in Nashville on Jan. 22.

ENGAGED
Tara Reid, 34, got engaged to entrepreneur boyfriend Michael Axtmann Jan. 18 in L.A.

COURTS
Britney Spears, 28, was back in an L.A. court Jan. 22 for a judge-ordered progress report in her ongoing conservatorship case. At the hearing, Spears’ father, Jamie, who has maintained legal control over her affairs for the past two years, was also given the authority to dispose of ”essentially valueless…personal property” to make room for items from the singer’s Circus tour…. On Jan. 22, an L.A. court ruled that Roman Polanski, 76, must return to the U.S. to be sentenced for his 1978 statutory-rape conviction. Attorneys for the director — who wanted to be sentenced in absentia while he’s under house arrest in Switzerland — reportedly plan to appeal…. A real estate company has filed suit against Mischa Barton, 24, claiming that the actress has missed three payments on her $7,000-a-month NYC apartment. M.R.A. Realties is seeking the unpaid rent, $300 in late fees, and compensation for legal costs.

ARRESTED
Gary Coleman, 41, was arrested in Utah Jan. 24 on an outstanding warrant for failure to appear in court on a 2009 domestic-violence charge. He was released on bail the next day…. On Jan. 23, Andy Dick, 44, was arrested in West Virginia for two counts of felony sexual abuse. Police say the comedian grabbed a man’s crotch and groped another in a bar. Dick, now out on $60,000 bail, is due in court Feb. 2. He has denied any wrongdoing.

DEATHS
Two-time Oscar nominee Jean Simmons died of lung cancer Jan. 22 in Santa Monica. The actress, who starred in such films as Guys and Dolls and Spartacus, was 80…. James Mitchell, who played Palmer Cortlandt on All My Children, died Jan. 22 in L.A. of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and complications from pneumonia. He was 89…. On Jan. 19, 37-year-old Survivor: Palau contestant Jennifer Lyon lost her battle with breast cancer in her Oregon home. Survivor host Jeff Probst told EW, ”Her wisdom about how to live a life with quality seemed to grow with each passing day. I am so grateful she chose to share so much with me.”
With additional reporting by Stewart Allen


BIRTHDAYS
Oprah Winfrey, 56
Jan. 29

Gene Hackman, 80
Jan. 30

Justin Timberlake, 29
Jan. 31

Shakira, 33
Feb. 2

George A. Romero, 70
Feb. 4


Maura Tierney Goes Back to Work After Battling Cancer
Maura Tierney is back on the job six months after treatment for breast cancer prompted her to drop out of the NBC dramedy Parenthood. The 44-year-old actress will soon take to the stage in the satirical play North Atlantic, as a member of a Cold War-era peacekeeping force aboard an aircraft carrier. Written for the Wooster Group, a performance collective, in 1982, this iteration of the musical also stars Frances McDormand.

The Emmy-nominated ER actress, who also appeared in a guest stint on Rescue Me last year, declined to comment on her return to acting, but her publicist told EW exclusively, ”She has finished treatment and is doing very well, and is happy to move forward with the next phase of her life.”

With a run scheduled for Feb. 10 – 21 at L.A.’s Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater and March 10 – April 25 at New York’s Jerome Robbins Theater, Tierney’s turn in Atlantic happens to coincide with the March 2 premiere of Parenthood — now starring Gilmore Girls vet Lauren Graham in the role of Sarah, a harried single mom played by Tierney in the pilot. (The rest of the original ensemble, including Six Feet Under‘s Peter Krause, remains intact.) This TV take on the 1989 movie had been set to debut in September, but Tierney’s departure from the project delayed production last summer. Now that her health is back on track, here’s hoping a return to TV won’t be far behind.
Jennifer Armstrong


Pernell Roberts (1928-2010)
Best known for his roles on Bonanza and Trapper John, M.D., Pernell Roberts, 81, died Jan. 24 at his Malibu, Calif., home after a battle with cancer. The Georgia-born Roberts, who started his career on the stage and won a Drama Desk award for a 1955 Off Broadway production of Macbeth, found TV fame in 1959 when he starred as the responsible Adam Cartwright on Bonanza. While Roberts left the hugely popular Western after the sixth season following disputes with the show’s writers and producers, he landed another iconic drama in 1979 with Trapper John, which earned him an Emmy nomination in 1981.
Dan Snierson

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