Plus, Madonna kicks off her U.K. tour, Carson and Tara call it quits, and more

By Gillian Flynn
Updated July 10, 2001 at 04:00 AM EDT
Credit: Robert Iler: Barry Wetcher
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PROBLEM CHILD Perhaps he’s taking that ”Sopranos” gig a little too seriously. Series regular Robert Iler, 16, who plays Tony Soprano’s troubled son A.J., was arrested on robbery and drug possession charges, New York police confirmed Wednesday. Iler and three friends stand accused of robbing two teenage boys of $40 in Manhattan around midnight on Tuesday. The HBO star allegedly had marijuana and a pipe in his possession when he was arrested. If convicted, Iler and friends face up to 15 years behind bars. Iler pleaded not guilty in his Wednesday arraignment and was released on $2,500 bail. His next court date is July 9.

WHAT’S THE BEEF? The pig put him up to it. ”Babe” star James Cromwell, 51, was arrested for trespassing in Fairfax, Va., Tuesday in an animal-rights demonstration aimed at Wendy’s. Approximately 350 protestors demonstrated outside a Wendy’s restaurant, accusing the chain of animal cruelty. Cromwell was arrested with several PETA officials after allegedly refusing to leave the Wendy’s, where he’d urged fast-food eaters to boycott the chain. ”After ‘Babe,’ people recognized that pigs and other animals…are sensitive gentle animals,” Cromwell said in a statement released by PETA. ”It’s high time that big corporations like Wendy’s stops treating these wonderful animals like meat machines.”

GOD SAVE MADONNA And so it begins. Madonna celebrated the 4th of July with some serious firepower: She kicked off the British leg of her world tour — complete with a trapeze act and mechanical bull riding — for a sell-out audience of 18,000 in London.

STRIKE OUT The much-feared actor’s strike looks averted. Late Tuesday, negotiators for the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists reached a tentative three-year agreement with the studios. The agreement — which is subject to approval from a majority of the 135,000 SAG and AFTRA members and those unions’ boards — includes a raise in minimum pay and an increase in actors’ residuals from work rebroadcast in secondary markets like cable. SAG and AFTRA had been negotiating with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers since May 15. The Writers Guild of America dodged a strike June 4, helping smooth the way for the actors’ unions. Now our only fear from Hollywood is all those rotten movies studios rushed into production this year.

PLANE JOHN Imagine all the people… flying from Lennon Airport. On Monday, the Liverpool airport unveiled a new logo featuring a self-portrait of the late John Lennon–in anticipation of renaming itself after him in spring 2002. The legendary Beatles singer is one of Liverpool’s most celebrated exports.

NOT FUNNY Comedian Paula Poundstone, 41, pleaded not guilty July 3 to felony charges of child abuse in Los Angeles Superior Court in Santa Monica. The comic is accused committing a lewd act with a girl under 14 and endangerment of four of her other adoptive or foster children.. Poundstone’s three adopted kids and two foster children are all now in county care. Her next court appearance is July 30, when a date will be set for her preliminary hearing. If convicted, Poundstone could face up to 13 years in prison.

BAD VIBRATIONS Original Beach Boys member Al Jardine, 58, is suing his former bandmates, claiming they’ve excluded him from recent concerts. The suit, filed last Friday, asks for $4 million.

LIAM NEW SON There’s lots of whining and screaming at the Gallagher household, and this time it’s not Liam. The Oasis singer and girlfriend, ex-All Saints member Nicole Appleton became parents to a 6-pound, 13-ounce son, Gene Appleton Gallagher, on Monday. Gallagher has another son, Lennon, with his ex-wife, actress Patsy Kensit.

NEVER A BRIDE Wedding plans for Lisa ”Left-Eye” Lopes and football star Andre Rison have burned out. A publicist for the 30-year-old TLC singer — whose solo album, ”Supernova,” is due in August — announced that the nuptials have been put on hold indefinitely….

Speaking of other celeb romance flameouts… MTV veejay Carson Daly and ”Josie and the Pussycats” star Tara Reid have officially broken up. The news is not so shocking — tabloids reported the split months ago, when the pair postponed their wedding. In a related story, eighth-grade girls everywhere breathed a collective sigh of relief.

MOTHER KNOWS BEST Sure, Quentin Tarantino may be biding his time for his follow-up to 1997’s ”Jackie Brown,” but his mom is keeping the family business going. Connie Zastoupil (a.k.a. Quentin’s ma), a producer of educational films, is set to do independent features with Prague Indies Productions. La mère Tarantino discovered the company while visiting director pal Guillermo del Toro on the Prague set of ”Blade 2.”

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