Daily dose of celebrity


LOS ANGELES (AP) – Jessica Alba’s dispute with Playboy is over.

The 24-year-actress has dropped her demand that the magazine pull its March issue after receiving a letter of apology from founder Hugh Hefner. Alba was upset because she had not agreed to be on the cover and she worried it may have led readers to believe she appears nude or partially nude in the magazine.

“I appreciate Mr. Hefner’s acknowledgment of the distress caused by Playboy’s actions, and I’m happy to put this unfortunate event behind me,” Alba said in a statement Tuesday. “This was never about money, it was about setting the record straight about something that was done without my knowledge or consent.”

Playboy also made donations to two charities Alba supports. Her spokesman, Brad Cafarelli, declined to disclose the amount donated to Keep A Child Alive and Until There’s A Cure.

“Hef felt bad that Jessica was upset and apologized for unintentionally hurting her feelings. We’re happy the matter has been amicably resolved,” said Playboy spokeswoman Lauren Malone.

On the March cover, Alba was shown in a bikini next to the headline “25 Sexiest Celebrities.” Alba’s attorneys told Playboy the magazine used the photo meant to promote the movie “Into the Blue” without her consent.

WASHINGTON (AP) – Musician Peter Gabriel and Sen. Mitch McConnell joined forces in demanding stronger action by the United Nations against atrocities they say are being committed in Myanmar.

McConnell, a leading Republican, said Tuesday that misrule by the junta that governs Myanmar, also called Burma, “threatens the entire region, and the world community needs to get a lot more concerned than it has been.”

Gabriel praised U.S. sanctions against Myanmar’s military regime and emergency relief efforts to help thousands of Burmese displaced inside their country.

These efforts, he said, “make the U.S. one of the few countries in the world willing to step up to this challenge.”

McConnell said that a rare U.N. Security Council briefing last year on the political and social deterioration in Myanmar is “not nearly enough, but at least it’s a start.”

Gabriel and McConnell want the United Nations to pass a binding resolution demanding change in Myanmar, where the generals have kept pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi in detention for 10 of the last 16 years. She is among some 1,100 political prisoners.

LOS ANGELES (AP) – Actor Brad Renfro said he’s “tired of paying the consequences” for drinking and drug use and eager to get clean.

The actor, who served 10 days in jail last month after pleading no-contest to driving while intoxicated and pleaded guilty in February to attempted possession of heroin, was in Superior Court Tuesday for a progress report.

Arrested Dec. 22 during a police sting on Skid Row here, Renfro, 23, enrolled in a drug-diversion program under a state law that allows people convicted of nonviolent drug possession to receive treatment instead of jail time. He also plans to enter a residential treatment program as part of his rehabilitation, he said.

The actor was arrested for drunken driving on Nov. 24. Besides the 10-day jail sentence, Renfro was ordered to pay a $450 fine and take alcohol-education classes for 18 months.

Rehabilitation is going well, Renfro told reporters outside court.

“It’s going to help me in all phases of my life,” he said. “It’s definitely been an eye-opener.”

Renfro’s next progress report is scheduled for May 2.

Renfro’s film career began when he was 12, acting opposite Susan Sarandon and Tommy Lee Jones in “The Client.” His other credits include “Ghost World” and “The Jacket.”

NEW YORK (AP) – Silence. Awkward silence.

That was Jennifer Aniston’s tightlipped response on Tuesday morning’s “Today” show when asked about the latest rumor that Oprah Winfrey is planning to host an $8 million wedding for her and beau Vince Vaughn.

The moment grew still more awkward when Aniston’s “Friends with Money” co-star, Catherine Keener, weighed in on her behalf. “I thought you weren’t going to go there,” she told entertainment correspondent Jill Rappaport. “But you did.”

“It’s frustrating because those rumors do get out there,” replied Rappaport.

Earlier in the interview segment, which also included co-star Joan Cusack, Aniston said she gives interviews to promote a movie, not her personal life.

“It’s the other stuff…,” she said, scrunching up her face in reference to the yearlong headlines involving Vaughn, ex-husband Brad Pitt and other personal topics.

Rappaport explained she was curious about the wedding rumors, saying, “When you hear about an $8 million wedding, you’d like to be invited.”

“And now you won’t be,” quipped Keener, drawing laughs from Rappaport, Aniston and Cusack.

“Friends with Money,” a drama about four women whose varying degrees of success put a strain on their relationships, opens Friday in limited release.

WASHINGTON (AP) – Yo-Yo Ma, world traveler and renowned cellist, urged lawmakers to simplify a visa process that he said often hampers musicians and artists hoping to share their gifts in the United States.

Ma told a House panel Tuesday that he and the dozens of international musicians who perform as part of the Silk Road Project face countless hurdles to bring their music to the United States.

Without exposure to different cultures, Ma said, American culture will suffer. American audiences, he said, “are thirsty for new cultural experiences.”

He spoke of two Iranian musicians who, despite having visited the United States many times, must wait months before they can get visas.

Chinese and Mongolian musicians, Ma said, are sometimes kept out of U.S. Embassies because of language and cultural misunderstandings, despite having their paperwork completed.

Ma, who was born in Paris to Chinese parents, moved to the United States at the age of 7.

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NEW YORK (AP) – Snoop Dogg is back in Tha Dogg Pound.

The 34-year-old rapper has reunited with Daz Dillinger and Kurupt, aka Young Gotti, for a new album, “Cali Iz Active,” set for release June 27 on his label, Doggy Style Records, in conjunction with Koch Records, it was announced Tuesday.

“I’m letting everybody know that the West Coast is definitely making a strong comeback,” Snoop Dogg was quoted as saying on the Web site www.allhiphop.com.

“It’s a beautiful thing for me to be able to work with them, and when we drop this album it’s gonna shake the whole game up.”

Also featured on the album: B-Real, David Banner, Soopafly and RBX.

Tha Dogg Pound’s relationship became rocky when Kurupt left the group in 2002 to join Marion “Suge” Knight at Death Row Records, later renamed Tha Row.

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) – Hank Williams Jr. has surrendered to police on a warrant issued in an alleged assault on a hotel waitress last month, a charge his publicist claimed is driven by “greed.”

Holly Hornbeak, 19, has told police she was waiting tables at the Peabody Hotel’s lobby bar March 18 when the country superstar asked to kiss her and lifted her off the ground in a chokehold. No charges were issued in the case until an arrest warrant was taken out Monday.

In a release headlined, “Hank Jr. victim of greed,” publicist Kirt Webster said Tuesday that Williams received a March 21 letter from Hornbeak’s lawyer seeking “an outlandish amount of money.” Webster contended Hornbeak decided to press charges because Williams refused to meet the demands.

The country singer cut short a hunting trip to return to Memphis and surrender to the sheriff’s department Tuesday, Webster said.

Williams, 56, has been in Memphis since his daughters Holly Williams, 25, and Hilary Williams, 27, were seriously injured in a March 15 car crash near Dundee, Miss.

Webster told The Associated Press on Monday that Williams hasn’t been interviewed by police.

“There’s nothing to say,” Webster said. “He doesn’t know what all the allegations are and what the charges are.”

Hilary Williams underwent another minor surgery Monday, and doctors were discussing moving her to a Nashville hospital in coming weeks, Webster said.

Holly Williams has been released from the hospital.

NEW YORK (AP) – Rick Springfield will perform his ‘80s hit “Jesse’s Girl” and other songs at the Daytime Emmy Awards later this month.

The show, which has been held annually in New York for 32 years, is moving to the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, Calif. It will air live April 28 on ABC, with Tom Bergeron and Kelly Monaco of “General Hospital” as hosts.

“As the show makes its Hollywood debut, I can’t think of a better way to open the Emmy telecast in its new home,” Springfield said in a statement Monday.

Springfield, 56, returned to daytime TV last year to reprise his popular “General Hospital” character, Dr. Noah Drake, which he portrayed from 1981 to 1983.

Brian Frons, president of ABC Daytime, said this year’s Daytime Emmys “will be a must-see television experience, and we are thrilled Rick will be opening the show.”

“His performance will be sure to create an energy and frenzy that will make for a very entertaining evening,” Frons said in a statement.

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NEW YORK (AP) – Pearl Jam will be the musical guests when Lindsay Lohan hosts NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” on April 15.

It will be Lohan’s third hosting stint – and a rare TV appearance for Pearl Jam. The Seattle rock band, which earned fame and critical acclaim during the Northwest’s early 1990s grunge movement, will perform songs from their new self-titled album, slated for release May 2.

Antonio Banderas, star of the new film “Take the Lead,” will host “SNL” on April 8 with Mary J. Blige as musical guest. Blige will perform songs from her top-selling album “The Breakthrough.”

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