Kylie’s surgery successful

Australian pop diva Kylie Minogue has undergone successful surgery for early breast cancer at a Melbourne hospital, her surgeon said Saturday.

“I feel confident that we caught the cancer in time and she is now on the road to a complete recovery. Her spirits are high and she’s feeling fine,” said Jenny Senior, who operated on Minogue on Friday afternoon.

Minogue, 36, said on Tuesday she had been diagnosed with early breast cancer and postponed her Australian and Asian “Showgirl Tour” concerts.

– Knight Ridder Newspapers

Harper Lee steps out to accept honor

LOS ANGELES (AP) – Harper Lee, who has been dodging publicity for decades since she published her only book, “To Kill a Mockingbird,” made a rare step into the limelight to be honored by the Los Angeles Public Library.

Lee, 79, stopped giving interviews a few years after she won the Pulitzer Prize for her 1960 coming-of-age book exploring racial prejudice in the South. She has turned down most request for appearances.

But she couldn’t refuse an invitation from Veronique Peck, the widow of actor Gregory Peck, who won an Oscar for his starring role as lawyer Atticus Finch in the 1962 film version of the book and became a lifelong friend with Lee.

“Mockingbird” co-star Brock Peters, who played the black man falsely accused of rape in the film, presented the award to Lee.

After Veronique Peck whispered in her ear, Lee gave her only remarks of the evening: “I’ll say it again. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart.”

Veronique Peck said Lee is “like a national treasure.”

“She’s someone who has made a difference with this book,” she said. “All the kids in the United States read this book and see the film in the seventh and eighth grades and write papers and essays. My husband used to get thousands and thousands of letters from teachers who would send them to him.”

She said Atticus Finch was her husband’s “favorite role, and he felt that in his professional life, it was probably the best performance he ever gave.”

The awards dinner Thursday drew more than 600 supporters and raised $700,000 for computers, computer training and literacy programs.

‘Partridge’ mom gets degree

WASHINGTON, Pa. (AP) – Shirley Jones is finally getting the college degree that was delayed by a 50-plus-year career on Broadway, in movies and portraying the rock ‘n’ roll mom to television’s Partridge Family.

Jones, 71, received an honorary degree at Washington & Jefferson College’s graduation ceremony Saturday.

Jones was raised in Smithton, about 25 miles southeast of Pittsburgh. After graduating from high school, Jones planned to study veterinary medicine – after she returned from a summer trip to New York City.

But Jones tried out for the chorus of “South Pacific” and Rogers and Hammerstein cast her in the Broadway production.

“I wanted to become a veterinarian. As God would have it, I was given another path to follow,” Jones said. “But I most miss not necessarily getting the degree, but the broad experiences you can only get in college.”

Besides starring on Broadway, Jones won the Best Supporting Actress Academy Award in 1961 for her role as a prostitute in “Elmer Gantry.” She gained a new generation of fans playing the role of Shirley Partridge alongside her real-life stepson, David Cassidy, in TV’s “Partridge Family.”

Chesney named the place

LAS VEGAS (AP) – Kenny Chesney’s proposal to Renee Zellweger apparently was no candlelight dinner and bent knee affair. In fact, Chesney says there was no proposal.

“She wouldn’t let me, really. She just told me to name a town and place and she’d be there,” the 37-year-old country singer told reporters Tuesday after the 40th Academy of Country Music Awards show.

Zellweger and Chesney were wed May 9 in a small ceremony on the Caribbean island of St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands. It was the first marriage for both.

The couple met at the Concert of Hope tsunami relief benefit on Jan. 15, where Chesney was singing and Zellweger was answering telephones.

Zellweger, 36, won a best supporting actress Oscar for 2003’s “Cold Mountain.” Her screen credits also include “Chicago” and “Bridget Jones’s Diary.”

Asked what it’s like being married, Chesney replied: “To be honest with you, it’s not all that different. I’m just not searching anymore.”

Chesney, who won entertainer of the year at the Academy of Country Music Awards, said Zellweger had to skip the show because she’s making a movie.

Steve Harvey signing off

LOS ANGELES (AP) – Comedian Steve Harvey has signed off for the final time after five years hosting a morning radio show that delivered one-liners, political commentary and hip-hop.

“The Steve Harvey Morning Show” on KKBT-FM featured a mix of Harvey’s advocacy for the city’s black community, ruminations on everyday life and interviews with local and national political figures. The show, which also aired in Dallas, ended Friday.

“As I close the door on this chapter, please know that the people of Los Angeles have made me a better person, and I thank them for that,” Harvey said in a statement.

The WB network also announced this week it was canceling Harvey’s TV variety show, “Steve Harvey’s Big Time Challenge.”

KKBT general manager Sue Freund said Harvey wanted to spend more time with his family and take a break, but was discussing possible future projects with the station’s parent company, Washington, D.C.-based Radio One Inc.

Harvey was featured in the 2000 standup comedy film “The Original Kings of Comedy,” and appeared last year in “You Got Served” and “Johnson Family Vacation.”

A new woman for Charlie?

Seems the vultures haven’t tired of circling around the failed marriage of Charlie Sheen and Denise Richards: The New York Daily news says an unidentified neighbor has spotted regular visits by a “certain hot brunette” to Sheen’s Encino, Calif., pad, insinuating that the actor is a heartless cad, taking a lover just two months after his wife filed for divorce.

No laughs from Sheen’s rep: “No one has come up with a photograph or any evidence of her. I’d love to meet her.”

– Knight Ridder Newspapers

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