Robin Williams secures an 'Aladdin' sequel
Plus Elizabeth Taylor, George Burns, and more celebrities making new the week of October 9, 1995
From the never-say-never folder comes word that Disney and Robin Williams, 43, have kissed and made up. After years of public tirades against the studio over his paltry salary (less than $100,000) for 1992’s $217 million-grossing Aladdin, the comedian has signed on to reprise his Genie role in the straight-to-video sequel Aladdin and the King of Thieves. No numbers were disclosed. The animated movie will be released mid-’96.
It’s lawsuit time for the Miller Brewing Co. Alterna-rockers the Spin Doctors have filed a $5 million copyright-infringement action against the beer maker over the hit song ”Two Princes.” According to the suit, a recently aired TV commercial uses a ”Two Princes” sound-alike that ”mimicked the distinctive, unique, and indentifiable sound and feel of the band, for the purpose of deceiving… fans…into erroneously believing that the band had endorsed the beer.” The suit also says that in 1993 Miller asked the Doctors to promote one of its products but the band declined. A Miller spokeswoman will only say, ”Our lawyers are reviewing it.”
Ed King, 47, guitarist for Lynyrd Skynyrd, at his home in Nashville, after being diagnosed with congestive heart failure. King was hospitalized on Sept. 25 ”feeling generally ill and lethargic,” says a spokesman. Although the band canceled one tour date, it plans to complete its current tour without King. ”If his health doesn’t improve, he might just record or write songs,” the spokesman says…Trouble magnet Bobby Brown, 26, musician and recently estranged husband of pop diva Whitney Houston, 32, from the shock of witnessing a shootout in Boston on Sept. 28 that left his sister’s fiancé, Steven Sealy, 31, dead. Brown was unharmed. According to a Boston police spokesman, ”The details are still under investigation. Brown is listed as a witness.” A spokesman for Houston has no comment.
Cigar-chomping comedian George Burns, who turns 100 on Jan. 20, canceled his long-awaited birthday-party gig at Las Vegas’ Cesears Palace. ”He didn’t feel he was up to doing the show that his fans would expect from him,” says a spokesman for Burns. ”He was feeling pretty good today. He went to play cards.” Burns, who lives in Los Angeles, has no plans to perform live in the near future, but he is scheduled to film an Australian football commercial this month…Newly separated and sans Black Pearls perfume, Elizabeth Taylor, 63, will undergo more hip surgery. The actress, who has had two hip-replacement operations in the last year and a half, will enter a yet-to-be-determined L.A. hospital this month to correct a limp.
After six years of marriage, Britain’s movie luvvies, director-actor Kenneth Branagh, 34, and actress Emma Thompson, 36, announced on Oct. 1 that they are separating. ”Our work has inevitably led to our spending long periods of time away from each other, and as a result, we have drifted apart,” the couple said in a statement…Love and work also didn’t mix for Beverly Hills, 90210 stars Brian Austin Green, 22, and Tiffani-Amber Thiessen, 21. After two years together — during which time Thiessen landed her role as 90210 bad girl Valerie, replacing Shannen Doherty — Thiessen has moved out of the couple’s L.A. home. ”It’s just another couple breaking up,” says Green’s father and manager, George Green. ”They’re both fine about working together.”
A 7-pound-5-ounce girl, Daijah Nàkia Wright, to Tomica Wright, widow of controversial rapper Eazy-E — who died of AIDS in March — on Sept. 26 in Los Angeles. Wright, the couple’s 2-year-old son, Dominick, and the new baby ”have all been tested for AIDS, and the last I heard there was no problem,” says a spokesman.
Comedian and singer George Kirby, 71, of Parkinson’s disease, Sept. 30 in a Las Vegas nursing home. Best known for his TV appearances and his celebrity impersonations (from Humphrey Bogart and James Cagney to Sarah Vaughan), Kirby saw his career derailed in 1979 when he was convicted of selling heroin and cocaine. Paroled after serving 3 1/2 years in prison, he resumed performing in 1982. He is survived by his wife, Rosemary…Disc jockey Alison Steele, 58, of stomach cancer, Sept. 27 in New York. Known to fans of FM radio by her on-air name, the Nightbird, Steele worked the graveyard shift on New York City’s WNEW-FM and later WXRK-FM for nearly 30 years.