Plus, Michael Jackson fights child slavery, Paul McCartney is a billionaire, Sharon Stone takes a kid friendly role, and more

By Sandra P. Angulo
April 24, 2001 at 04:00 AM EDT
Tom Green and Drew Barrymore: Jen Lowery/London Features
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NOT EXPECTING Wednesday night on national television, Tom Green told ”Tonight Show” host Jay Leno that his wife Drew Barrymore is pregnant. Before everyone runs to the local Babies R Us, stop for a second and consider it’s Tom Green, the merry prankster, who now says he was only joking. Green went so far as to say that Barrymore had whispered the news to him moments before he walked onto Leno’s stage.

On Thursday, he tried to set the record straight. ”People always think I’m kidding about stuff. Jay and I were joking around, and I thought the audience was in on it. We are not pregnant now, but do hope to be blessed with children in the future,” Green said in a statement released by publicist Eddie Michaels. Green and Barrymore eloped earlier this year after months of misleading the public about whether they actually married or not.

GOOD DEED ALERT Another day, another bit of Michael Jackson news. According to the Associated Press, the King of Pop wants to stop the underground African trade of selling children into slavery. Jackson plans to travel to Africa to study the child slave issue. ”The existence of child slavery shakes me to my very core,” Jackson said in a statement Thursday. Jackson will go on the trip, scheduled for later this year, with Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, a cofounder of Jackson’s Heal the Kids organization, and the Rev. Al Sharpton.

”The other night, Michael called me crying like a baby when he heard about the child slave ship lost off the coast of Africa,” Boteach told the press. Jackson, a father of two, says he will devote himself to the African mission. ”Children need a childhood,” Jackson said. ”They can’t be forced to work.”

KA-CHING! Paul McCartney has become England’s first musical billionaire (in dollars). In the latest Sunday Times list of Britain’s richest people, McCartney’s fortune soared to over $1 billion, thanks mostly to the tremendous popularity of ”1,” the compilation album of the Beatles’ greatest hits. McCartney also inherited nearly $200 million after his wife Linda died last year.

On the music list, composer Andrew Lloyd Webber came in No. 2 with a fortune of $590 million. Mick Jagger and Elton John tied for No. 7 with $215 million. British by marriage Madonna debuted on the list at No. 6, with a $258 million fortune (combined with husband, director Guy Ritchie).

STRAIGHT TO CABLE Now a mother, Sharon Stone is taking a kid friendly role: as a voice in the animated cable series ”Harold and the Purple Crayon.” Based on Crockett Johnson’s beloved children’s book, the show will air on the HBO Family Channel starting this December. Stone will voice the maternal narrator who watches over Harold and his crayon inspired adventures. HBO Family Channel is available in 60 percent of homes that carry HBO.

REMAKE Young actors Sean Maher (”The Street”) and Mekhi Phifer (”Shaft”) will star in the remake of the classic 1971 TV movie ”Brian’s Song.”

The Emmy winning tear jerker follows the true story of Chicago Bears running backs Brian Piccolo (James Caan) and Gale Sayers (Billy Dee Williams), whose friendship intensifies after Piccolo is diagnosed with lung cancer. In the updated version, made for ABC’s ”Wonderful World of Disney,” Maher will play Piccolo, and Phifer will play Sayers. Ben Gazzara (”Summer of Sam”) will costar as Bears coach George Halas. Production on the remake starts May 7 in Toronto.

HONORED Actors Vanessa Redgrave and Robert Downey Jr. have been selected to receive the inaugural Outfest Screen Idol Awards, part of the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Film Festival Outfest (July 12 – 23). More than 5,000 people voted in an online poll to choose the two winners from a list of several Outfest nominees. Redgrave and Downey will be honored for their performances in ”If These Walls Could Talk 2” and ”Wonder Boys,” respectively. The awards were created to recognize outstanding performances in a gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered feature or TV movie role.

LEGAL BRIEF David Warren ”Skippy” Malloy, a former personal assistant to David Spade, pleaded guilty on Thursday to attacking his famous boss with a stun gun. A Beverly Hills Superior Court judge ordered Malloy to serve five years probation, undergo psychiatric counseling, and perform 480 hours of community service. Malloy, who had been Spade’s friend and longtime assistant, was also ordered to stay away from the ”Just Shoot Me” star.</p

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