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People in the news

By United Press International   |   Aug. 16, 2012 at 4:00 AM

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The latest news on today's hottest celebrities ...

BOB BIRCH: U.S. bass guitarist Robert Wayne Birch has died in Los Angeles of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, law enforcement sources told TMZ.

Birch, 56, has played with Elton John, Billy Joel, Tina Turner, Stevie Wonder, Eric Clapton, John Mayer, Cher, Sting, The Backstreet Boys, The Spice Girls and Clint Black.

The celebrity news Web site said Birch's body was discovered around the corner from his home Wednesday morning.

No suicide note was found and there were no apparent signs of drug use, TMZ said.

No other details, including where the alleged suicide took place, were immediately reported.


JIMMY KIMMEL: Jimmy Kimmel's publicist confirmed the U.S. late-night chat-show host is engaged to writer Molly McNearney, his girlfriend of about three years.

Kimmel's representative told People.com Wednesday the comedian proposed while he and McNearney were recently visiting South Africa's Kruger National Park.

The publicist offered no further details, including exactly when then got engaged or whether the couple has set a wedding date.

McNearney is co-head writer of ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live!"


MAYIM BIALIK: Television actress Mayim Bialik's finger was nearly severed in a Los Angeles car crash Wednesday afternoon, TMZ reported.

Bialik, 36, is best known for her work on the sitcoms "Blossom" and "The Big Bang Theory."

TMZ said she was traveling alone when her white Volvo was struck in an intersection by another vehicle carrying tourists from Chile. She was taken to an undisclosed hospital where she is being treated for her injuries.

The celebrity news Web site quoted witnesses whose names it did not report as saying there was a lot of blood at the scene.

One source told TMZ Bialik's finger was almost completely severed.

"It was just hanging there," the insider said.

TMZ did not say whether any of the people in the second vehicle were hurt or if any summonses were issued related to the collision.


'THE GLEE PROJECT:' Blake Jenner, a 19-year-old Miami native, has been crowned the Season 2 winner of the competition series "The Glee Project."

He will appear in a seven-episode guest-starring role on Season 4 of the music-themed dramedy series, "Glee."

The finale challenged Jenner and his fellow finalists -- Aylin Bayramoglu and Ali Stroker -- to perform the high-energy song "You Can't Stop the Beat" from the stage musical "Hairspray."

"Glee" star Chris Colfer was on hand when the winner was announced Tuesday night.

"All three brought everything they could to the stage, but in the end, ['Glee' creator] Ryan Murphy chose Blake as the Season 2 winner," cable network Oxygen said in a news release. "Blake's passion has always been in acting, with an added love for singing, although he's never had a lesson. After experiencing some rejection during his time in Los Angeles, 'The Glee Project' came along and changed his life giving him the opportunity of a lifetime."

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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