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People in the News

Eds: Updates with items on Beyonce, Fantasia Barrino, Gene Simmons and David Fanning. Contains items on Diana DeGarmo, Morrissey, Olive Osmond, Isaac Hayes, Naomi Campbell and John Larroquette.

AP Photo NCGRE101-102, NYET137, LON848, NYET138, GAJA105, NY107, NY108, NY109, ALMOP101

By The Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) – Beyonce’s lavish wardrobe is about to get even bigger: The singer-actress now has her own fashion label.

Beyonce and her mother, Tina Knowles, who already styles many of her daughter’s on- and off-stage outfits, announced a joint venture to create a contemporary women’s brand with Arthur and Jason Rabin, founders of manufacturer Wear Me Apparel/Kids Headquarters.

“My mother and I share a love of fashion and style, and with this brand we’re going to be able to share our vision of what is truly beautiful,” the Destiny’s Child singer said in a statement this week. “Our line will consist of fashions that I enjoy wearing and I want them to be appealing to my fans as well.”

The name of the new brand has not yet been released.

Beyonce and Knowles will play an active role in the creative direction and inspiration for the collections while the Rabins will provide the infrastructure for licensing and brand management. The label’s first sportswear collection should be in stores in 2005, with an eye toward eventually expanding into accessories, jewelry, lingerie and swimwear.

Childrenswear also is a future possibility, considering Kids Headquarters’ background creating merchandise for Nickelodeon and The Walt Disney Co., along with Kenneth Cole, Timberland, Rocawear and Ecko Unlimited.

HIGH POINT, N.C. (AP) – Fantasia Barrino received the second-lowest vote total this week on “American Idol,” but she got nothing but love from the fans on a visit home.

Barrino emerged in tears from a stretch sport utility vehicle when she pulled into her hometown Thursday. Police estimated 3,000 people showed up to give her support and compare conspiracy theories.

The 19-year-old almost got booted on Wednesday’s episode of the Fox singing competition. The viewer-vote results shocked the studio audience and the panel of judges who thought she and La Toya London – who got the least votes and her walking papers – performed far better than remaining singers Jasmine Trias and Diana DeGarmo.

High Point resident Joan McCorkle voted six times for Barrino in the latest round.

“Fox needs to tell how many calls each contestant got, and they need to leave the lines open longer because not enough people could get through,” she said.

City officials gave Barrino a key to the city, and the High Point City Council and Guilford County Board of Commissioners read proclamations of support.

The visit was capped by an afternoon performance at Providence Place’s First Wesleyan Church, where Barrino sang “Something to Talk About,” Bonnie Raitt’s 1991 hit single, to cheers from the crowd.

She returned the compliment: “I love y’all! Thank you all so much!” she said. “We’re almost there! We’re almost there!”

The finale is May 25-26, when one singer wins the “Idol” crown and a record contract.

On the Net:


MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) – Kiss bassist Gene Simmons has sparked outrage in Australia with comments seen as attacking Islam.

“This is a vile culture and if you think for a second that it’s willing to just live in the sands of God’s armpit you’ve got another thing coming,” Simmons said during an interview on Melbourne’s 3AW radio Thursday. “They want to come and live right where you live and they think that you’re evil.”

The Western world was under threat from extremists and a culture that treated women worse than dogs, he claimed in a segment of the interview that touched on the war in Iraq.

“You can send your dog to school to learn tricks, sit, beg, do all that stuff – none of the women have that advantage,” the 54-year-old said.

Angry Muslims flooded the radio station with calls, furious over Simmons’ comments.

Susan Carland, Australian Muslim of the Year, rejected what she saw as Simmons’ stereotype of Muslim women. She has two university degrees, she said, and “I certainly do not walk behind my husband.”

“Mixing the entertainment world with the political and religious world is a minefield,” said Yasser Soliman, the chairman of Victoria state’s Islamic Council.

“I think it would be good for overseas speakers and commentators to be given some sort of advice in regards to our vilification laws here,” Soliman said. “They leave and go back to where they arrived from, but they leave behind a big mess that we have to live with.”

Chrissie Camp, who is in charge of publicity for Kiss’ Australian tour, said Simmons was unavailable for comment Friday.

The band was due to perform in Melbourne on Friday night and Saturday before shows in Sydney and Brisbane.

NEW YORK (AP) – David Fanning, the executive producer of PBS’ “Frontline” series, has received the Columbia Journalism Award, the highest honor given by the university’s journalism school faculty.

“David Fanning and his signature program, “Frontline,’ have turned a commitment to probing journalism and public service into an enduring national conversation, without which far too many important issues would remain veiled or hidden altogether,” said David Klatell, Columbia’s associate dean for academic affairs.

Fanning, who will accept his award Wednesday, has executive-produced “Frontline” since the program began in 1983. The investigative series has won 29 Emmys, 16 duPont-Columbia University awards and 11 Peabody Awards.

He previously produced films on religious and racial issues in his native South Africa, including programs for BBC-TV. He began producing PBS documentaries in 1973, initially with KOCE-TV in Huntington, Calif.

On the Net:


SNELLVILLE, Ga. (AP) – Pink was the color of choice – even for the mayor – at a homecoming celebration for “American Idol” finalist Diana DeGarmo.

Mayor Jerry Oberholtzer said he had to do some quick shopping to find a suitable pink tie for the celebration Thursday, one day after DeGarmo became one of three finalists on the Fox TV singing competition. Finalists are determined by call-in voting.

Hundreds of fans and friends, many wearing pink T-shirts that proclaim DeGarmo as “Snellville’s American Idol,” packed the social hall at Snellville United Methodist Church to welcome their hometown hero.

“Snellville, we have come a long way,” DeGarmo told the cheering crowd. She had to gather her emotions before singing an a cappella version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”

The 16-year-old singer was presented a key to her hometown and named “mayor for the day.”

DeGarmo has been boosted by a strong grass roots campaign in Snellville and surrounding Gwinnett County. Classmates at Shiloh High School have distributed fliers and sold T-shirts, encouraging fans to vote early and often.

Oberholtzer said the voting campaign has jammed the phone lines in the Atlanta suburb of about 15,000 people.

The other finalists are Fantasia Barrino and Jasmine Trias. The finale is set for May 25-26.

On the Net:


NEW YORK (AP) – Morrissey, former lead singer of The Smiths, is making a rare appearance on late-night television when he spends a week on “The Late Late Show With Craig Kilborn.”

The reclusive singer first appeared on Kilborn’s talk show in September 2002. This time, he’ll sit down for an interview on May 24 and will serve as the musical guest that night through May 28. He’ll perform songs from “You Are the Quarry,” his first studio album in seven years, which comes out Tuesday.

“We’re thrilled to have Morrissey back,” Kilborn said in a statement Thursday. “His music conveys the loneliness and despair of a man hosting a 12:30 a.m. talk show on CBS.”

Morrissey, 44, is known for songs that juxtapose jaunty rhythms with depressing lyrics. His solo hits include “November Spawned a Monster,” “Interesting Drug” and “Hairdresser on Fire.”

His songs with The Smiths in the ‘80s include “Panic,” “Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before” and “Girlfriend in a Coma.”

On the Net:


SALT LAKE CITY (AP) – Rumors of a $30,000 bounty for a photograph of Olive Osmond in her coffin have prompted the Utah entertainment family to increase security at Saturday’s funeral for the family matriarch.

Fans contacted the Osmond Brothers, performing in Branson, Mo., to alert them that a Web site had posted a rumor offering money for “a photograph of Mrs. Osmond with the children around the coffin mourning, but they want her in the coffin,” said Osmond family spokesman Ron Clark.

If the rumors are true, “it would be so belittling to a woman who has lived a gracious life,” he said.

Clark hadn’t substantiated the rumor, but has added extra security for the funeral, planned at Provo’s Oak Hills Stake Center, a meeting house for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Osmond, mother of Donny and Marie Osmond and other members of the performing family, died Sunday of complications from a stroke she suffered more than two years ago. She was 79.

The Osmond family was “extremely concerned and rather upset” when they heard the rumor, Clark said. “It’s hard enough on them as it is without having to worry about this.”

On the Net:


NEW YORK (AP) – Supermodel Naomi Campbell is having an intimate gathering – about 800 friends and Cirque du Soleil – in St. Tropez next week to celebrate her 34th birthday.

The three-day party at a trendy St. Tropez resort will culminate next Thursday with a “red and white” gala. All guests must wear red or white.

Campbell’s gown is being designed by Alexander McQueen.

“He’s a friend of mine, and I just love his work,” Campbell told The Associated Press.

She was flippant about the lavish party, saying it was organized by family and friends and she’s just planning on showing up and having fun.

“I’m 34 years old and proud of it,” she said Thursday. “I never lie about my age.” Her birthday is on May 22.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) – The soulful chef is inviting tourists to Tennessee.

Isaac Hayes, the voice of Chef on Comedy Central’s “South Park,” is featured in a new 30-second commercial by the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development.

Hayes, a Memphis native, says: “In Tennessee, the stage is set for you. Just go out and play, baby … on this stage, it’s all good.”

Dolly Parton also has been featured in the ad campaign.

The commercial will air in regional markets such as Atlanta; Birmingham, Ala.; Little Rock, Ark.; Louisville, Ky.; and St. Louis.

Tourism is one of Tennessee’s largest industries, generating more than $10 bill ion in direct revenues last year and employing more than 173,000 people.

On the Net:



MOBILE, Ala. (AP) – John Larroquette says he realized he was an alcoholic more than 20 years ago, though at one time, he didn’t think he had a problem.

“I could show up and be hung over and still get the job done,” the 56-year-old actor said at a Drug Education Council luncheon Wednesday.

But people around him who had abused drugs and alcohol through the 1960s and 1970s began dying. Police began knocking on his door.

“I was arrested twice in the same week by the same police officer for driving on the same sidewalk,” he said. “I read some literature, and it proved to me what was wrong, and it proved absolutely that I was an alcoholic.”

Larroquette, star of television’s “Happy Family” and “Night Court,” said he had relied on drugs and alcohol to help him cope with what he perceived to be personal shortcomings.

“I was concerned that there was something missing in me, and drugs and alcohol put it back,” he said. “It made me witty. … It made pain less sensational. Whatever part of me I thought was missing was somehow found when I was drunk.”

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – Team Rahal is now Rahal Letterman Racing in recognition of a certain late-night TV host’s longtime business partnership with car owner Bobby Rahal.

“It’s a great day in my life, something I’ve dreamed of since I was a kid,” David Letterman said Thursday in a statement distributed by the team. “I’ll try not to embarrass the team.”

Letterman, an Indianapolis native, has had a minority interest in the Hilliard, Ohio, operation since 1996, although the official name remained Team Rahal. Bobby Rahal, a former Indy winner as a driver, announced the name change for his IndyCar program before the start of Indianapolis 500 practice Thursday.

“I have always felt the name Team Rahal didn’t truly reflect the partnership or Dave’s involvement in the business,” Rahal said. “He has been an integral part of the team’s success, and I can’t think of a better place to announce this name change.”

Rahal said Letterman’s involvement with the team has not changed, but the new name reflects his own desire to give the comedian more credit.

Rahal has entered cars for drivers Buddy Rice, Roger Yasukawa and Vitor Meira. The team’s primary driver is 1999 Indy winner Kenny Brack, who’s still recovering from serious injuries he suffered in a horrific crash at Texas Motor Speedway in the final race last season and will not drive this year at Indianapolis.

AP-ES-05-14-04 1421EDT

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