Mariah Carey sued by former limo driver
EXPECTING The forecast calls for a baby shower: Today show weatherman Al Roker, 43, and his wife, 20/20 news correspondent Deborah Roberts, 37, expect their first child in November. Roker has a daughter, Courtney, 11, from a previous marriage.
RECOVERING Right now, Alex is on the mend: Van Halen drummer Alex Van Halen, 43, injured his arm June 3 when a piece of ceiling plaster fell on him during a sound check in Hamburg, Germany. “There were no broken bones,” says Warner Bros. Records rep Karen Moss. “However, Alex is wearing a soft cast.” The June 3 show was canceled, but the band hopes to play its other European dates…. Singer Billy Joel, 49, had to cancel several June appearances in Germany with fellow piano man Elton John, 51. On June 4, in Manchester, England, Joel came down with an “acute asthmatic condition” prompted by a lingering upper-respiratory infection, says Columbia Records’ Claire Mercuri. The duo hope to resume their Face to Face tour in mid-June.
LAWSUITS Limo driver Franco D’Onofrio filed suit June 8, in New York City, against his former employer, singer Mariah Carey, 28, for allegedly reneging on payment of $40,000, plus failure to reimburse him for expenses incurred while working for her. According to court documents, D’Onofrio, who was under contract with Carey from 1993 to ’97, is seeking $1.54 million for breach of contract, unjust enrichment, and fraud. Carey’s spokesperson, Cindi Berger, denies the claims. “He’s a disgruntled employee who had a suspended license, and Mariah was left with no alternative but to discharge him.” D’Onofrio’s lawyer, Terence C. Scheurer, says that while his client didn’t drive, he was in the limo at Carey’s request. “It’s unfortunate they bring up the license. Ms. Carey was aware of [it]…but she insisted that [D’Onofrio] be present in the car at all times.” A financial settlement was offered when D’Onofrio was fired, but Scheurer says it “was not satisfactory.”… Director Kathryn Bigelow, 46, filed suit June 8 in L.A. against French director Luc Besson, 38, for breach of contract, fraud, and unfair competition, stemming from a film project on the life of Joan of Arc called Company of Angels that Bigelow claims Besson was contracted to exec-produce in 1996. Besson urged Bigelow to cast Milla Jovovich, who starred in Besson’s The Fifth Element and with whom he is romantically involved. After the actress wasn’t cast, Besson left the project, causing an “immediate withdrawal of funding,” according to court papers. Bigelow’s spokesperson Annette Wolfe says Angels “can’t go forward under the circumstances.” Besson’s Sea Side Production Company declines to comment.
ARRESTED Actor Brad Renfro (Sleepers), 15, in his hometown of Knoxville, Tenn., June 3. According to reports, Renfro was arrested for possession of cocaine and marijuana, but since he’s a minor, police documents could not be obtained. Renfro was released to his grandmother’s custody and is expected in court in the next few months. His rep declines to comment.
DEALS The former Mrs. Michael Jackson, Lisa Marie Presley, 30, signed a recording deal with Java Records, a joint venture between Capitol Records and Glen Ballard, who guided the career of Alanis Morissette. No release date is set for Presley’s recording debut.
EXITS All she wants to do is rest. Rocker Sheryl Crow, 34, bowed out of this year’s Lilith Fair. “I’ve been working nonstop for two years,” she said in a statement. Crow, who joined the female rock-fest for its 1997 debut, has toured with the Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan in the last year.
DEATHS Stage legend Dorothy Stickney, 101, in New York City, June 2, of undisclosed causes. Stickney was in 1939’s Life With Father, which had 3,224 performances on Broadway… Country-music star Helen Carter, 70, in Nashville, June 2, after a long illness. In 1943, she formed the Carter Sisters with siblings Anita and June.