Daily dose of celebrity


PARIS (AP) – France’s film commission is disappointed: Woody Allen won’t shoot his next movie in Paris after all.

Allen has been working on a Paris script, but it turned out to be too ambitious for his budget, the commission said Thursday in a statement.

Instead, he will return to an earlier project set in London, where he shot 2005’s “Match Point.”

“This is obviously bad news for French film networks and professionals, who were already delighted to be able to work with Monsieur Allen,” the Film France commission said in a statement.

A beloved figure in France, the 70-year-old director appeared in a 2003 promotional video to lure American tourists back to the land of champagne. Tourism had dropped during the diplomatic standoff over U.S. plans to invade Iraq.

“I don’t want to have to refer to my French-fried potatoes as freedom fries and I don’t want to have to freedom-kiss my wife when what I really want to do is French-kiss her,” Allen said in the short film produced by the French government.

NEW YORK (AP) – Tyler Perry – playwright, producer and performer – may be the unlikely heir to Howard Stern’s self-proclaimed throne of “king of all media.”

Perry’s first book, “Don’t Make a Black Woman Take Off Her Earrings: Madea’s Uninhibited Commentaries on Love and Life,” will debut atop The New York Times’ nonfiction best-seller list, it was announced Thursday.

In late February, Perry’s “Madea’s Family Reunion” reigned at the box office, opening at No. 1 and raking in over $30 million. It went on to make over $62 million domestically despite mixed reviews.

The 36-year-old Perry built his fame touring and starring in plays.

No matter his medium, Perry’s staple character has been the wisecracking, gun-totting grandmother, Madea Simmons.

In the book, which Riverhead Books released in hardcover on April 11, Perry writes in the voice of Madea, sharing observations and advice. It will appear on the April 30 New York Times list of best sellers, the publisher said.

“I’m really happy for the loyalty and continued support of my fans,” Perry said in a statement.

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) – Curtis Salgado, who is credited with visually inspiring John Belushi’s Blues Brothers act, has been diagnosed with liver cancer.

“I am fortunate to be under the care of an incredible team of doctors and nurses, and I’m inspired by the courageous people who have faced this fight before me,” the 52-year-old singer and bluesman said in a recent statement.

Salgado, who grew up in Eugene and lives in Portland, was diagnosed three weeks ago. He expects to begin radiation treatment next month and eventually hopes to have a liver transplant, said his longtime manager, Shane Tappendorf.

Salgado was singing and playing harmonica for blues guitarist Robert Cray in 1977 when he met Belushi at the Eugene Hotel. Belushi was in town to film “Animal House.”

In a 2005 article in Guitar Player magazine, Cray recalled: “Curtis wore prescription Ray-Ban sunglasses, and he had a little growth of hair under his bottom lip. Right then, Belushi got the idea to start the Blues Brothers, basing his character on Curtis.”

Salgado has been working in Nashville, Tenn., on new material for his fourth album. He expects to be performing by early June, Tappendorf said.

NEW YORK (AP) – Soprano Erika Sunnegardh will make her Carnegie Hall main stage debut May 14 with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra as part of a concert program revised because of conductor James Levine’s shoulder surgery.

Sunnegardh was a relatively unknown singer before April 1, when the 40-year-old Swedish-American made her Met debut as the replacement for an ill Karita Mattila as Leonora in Beethoven’s “Fidelio.” The Saturday- afternoon performance was broadcast internationally to about 11 million listeners in 40 countries.

Sunnegardh’s only previous Carnegie appearance was at the small Weill Recital Hall on May 2, 1988, as part of a chamber ensemble.

The concert, announced Thursday, also will feature tenor Ben Heppner, bass Rene Pape and conductor James Conlon. Sunnegardh is to sing “D’Oreste, d’Ajace” from Mozart’s “Idomeneo,” “Siegmund heiss’ ich” with Heppner from Wagner’s “Die Walkuere’ and “In questa reggia” from Puccini’s “Turandot.”

The world premiere of Charles Wuorinen’s “Theologoumenon,” which was on the original program, has been postponed.

Levine is recovering from March 27 surgery to repair a torn right rotator cuff, an injury sustained when he fell on the stage of Symphony Hall in Boston following a March 1 performance.

EDINBURGH, Scotland (AP) – J.K. Rowling says she has given money to help set up a center for research into multiple sclerosis.

The best-selling “Harry Potter” author didn’t say how much she had given toward the $4 million facility, which will be housed at The Center for Regenerative Medicine at Edinburgh University’s medical school.

“It means a great deal to me to be able to provide support for this much-needed research center,” Rowling, patron of the Multiple Sclerosis Society Scotland, said Thursday.

Her mother died of multiple sclerosis at age 45.

“It is an extremely exciting step forward in the ongoing battle to try to unlock the mysteries of MS and which will hopefully, one day, lead to a cure,” Rowling said.

Multiple sclerosis is a chronic disease of the central nervous system that may result in speech defects and loss of muscular coordination.

There are about 85,000 sufferers in Britain, about one in every 700 people.

The new research center is expected to open by the end of the year.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) – The Philadelphia Orchestra has appointed a music-conservatory dean as its next president and CEO, citing his fundraising success and ability to turn to new technology to expand the appeal of classical music.

James Undercofler, dean of the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y., is expected to start Aug. 1, succeeding Joseph H. Kluger, who has announced he would resign after 16 years as the orchestra’s president.

An 18-member committee of musicians, staff and board members recommended the 60-year-old Undercofler, who is a Philadelphia native.

The decision marked a course change for Undercofler, who less than a month ago announced a new five-year term as the Eastman dean. He said he had called Philadelphia to take his name out of the running, had regretted doing so, and after five days had been contacted again by the search committee.

Orchestra officials pointed to Undercofler’s fundraising record, overseeing a $100 million increase in the value of the Eastman School’s endowment while dean, and his technological orientation, using the Internet to set up interactive lessons between students in Rochester, N.Y., and Glasgow, Scotland.

Undercofler said he would emphasize outreach and education.

“You’ll hear me talk about the power of music and what it can do for communities and individuals,” he said.

LOS ANGELES (AP) – This time, it was Vanna White’s turn to spell out a name – her own.

The longtime letter-turner on “Wheel of Fortune” was all smiles Thursday as she received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

“I remember my parents telling me, at the age of 10, “You can do anything you want.”‘ Dad, we did it!” said White, 49, who debuted as host Pat Sajak’s assistant in 1982.

Guests at the 2,309th star’s unveiling included Sajak, “Wheel of Fortune” creator Merv Griffin, “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek and White’s father.

“I picked her because she knew the whole alphabet,” Griffin said. “She is America’s sweetheart.”

White grew up in North Myrtle Beach, S.C., studied to be a model and moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting.

She struck TV gold with “Wheel of Fortune,” clapping and turning letters called out by contestants.