Celebrity news for the week of April 7, 2000

By Laura Morgan
Updated April 07, 2000 at 04:00 AM EDT

Pop group ‘N Sync smashed records with their second album, No Strings Attached, selling 1.1 million units on its first day and 2.4 million its first week. They bested the Backstreet Boys‘ ’99 Millennium, which sold 1.13 million units its first week.

Ending a high-profile search, Warner Bros. hired Chris Columbus (Bicentennial Man) March 28 to direct the first Harry Potter film, a job Steven Spielberg turned down. Shooting is expected to begin this summer.

Actor Jason Priestley, 30, pleaded no contest March 28 to misdemeanor drunk driving from a Dec. 3 Hollywood accident. The former 90210er will spend five nights in a halfway house, serve three years’ probation, and enter an alcohol-treatment program.

Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page, 56, won significant, undisclosed damages March 28 from Britain’s Ministry Magazine. In a ’99 story, it reportedly claimed Page had stood by while bandmate John Bonham choked to death on his own vomit in 1980…. On March 27, future Spin City star Charlie Sheen, 34, was released — 71 days early — from probation relating to drug, alcohol, and battery charges. ”You’ve made an enormous turnaround in your life and career,” a Malibu, Calif., judge told Sheen, on probation since June 1997.

Actress Jada Pinkett Smith (Woo), 28, announced March 28 that she and hubby Will Smith, 31, await the birth of their second child in late fall. Their son, Jaden, was born in 1998; Will also has a son, William ”Trey” Smith III, 7, by his first wife.

American Beauty‘s Mena Suvari, 21, wed cinematographer Robert Brinkmann (The Cable Guy), 37, in northern California in March. The couple both worked on the upcoming Sugar and Spice.

DEATHS Post-punker Ian Dury, 57, whose Blockheads scored with ’79’s ”Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick,” of colon cancer, March 27, in London…. Top Gun and Dick Tracy co-screenwriter Jim Cash, 59, of unknown causes, March 24, in East Lansing, Mich…. Al Grey, 74, trombonist in Count Basie’s band, of diabetes complications, March 24, in Scottsdale, Ariz…. Apollo Theater legend Vivian Harris, 97, of unknown causes, Feb. 18, in Englewood, N.J. She helped launch the ’20s Charleston craze and was known as the Voice of the Apollo from 1935 to the ’50s.