UPI NewsTrack Entertainment News

Jan. 23, 2009 at 2:00 PM
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Spector prosecution rests

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 23 (UPI) -- The prosecution rested Thursday in the Los Angeles retrial of music producer Phil Spector for second-degree murder in the death of actress Lana Clarkson.

After presenting nine weeks of forensics evidence and testimony on the human anatomy, blood aerodynamics and microscopic aspects of fabric, prosecutors wrapped up their case with testimony from Clarkson's mother that the woman Spector is accused of killing went shopping for shoes the day before she died, the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday.

The point of the testimony by Donna Clarkson was that a suicidal woman doesn't buy new shoes, the newspaper said.

Lana Clarkson was shot and killed at Spector's home outside Los Angeles Feb. 3, 2003. The defense has suggested Lana Clarkson, 40, took her own life.

Spector, 68, and Clarkson met at the House of Blues in Los Angeles and she had gone with him to his home the night she was killed.

Jurors could not reach a verdict in the music producer's first trial in 2007. Spector faces the possibility of at least 18 years in prison if convicted.


Aretha unhappy with inaugural performance

WASHINGTON, Jan. 23 (UPI) -- Aretha Franklin says the cold and wind made it difficult to sing "My Country 'Tis of Thee" at President Barack Obama's inauguration in Washington.

"Mother Nature was not very kind to me. I'm going to deal with her when I get home. It, by no means, was my standard. I was not happy with it, but I just feel blessed because it could have been five above zero or five below zero like it is in Detroit," the Queen of Soul told CNN's Larry King. "I was still blessed to be able to pretty much just sing the melody, but I wasn't happy with it, of course."

Despite her disappointment regarding her performance at Obama's swearing-in ceremony Tuesday, Franklin said she was "delighted and thrilled" to participate in the event.

"That was the most important thing, not so much the performance, but just to be there and to see this great man go into office -- the promise of tomorrow coming to pass," she said.


Australia honors Oscar winners with stamps

MELBOURNE, Jan. 23 (UPI) -- Postage stamps featuring the pictures of four Australian Oscar winners went on sale Thursday, the Australia Post announced.

"Cate Blanchett, Russell Crowe, Nicole Kidman and Geoffrey Rush are already household names," Australia Post Managing Director Graeme John said in a statement. "These four outstanding Australians have captured the imagination of millions of people around the world with their award-winning performances."

The actors are to be honored at various Australia Day events and each will be presented with 24-carat gold replicas of their 55-cent stamps, the postal service said in a release.

"I have a vested interest in Australia. I want my children to live here at certain times of their life and see how wonderful it is. It would be lovely for them to lick a stamp, put it on an envelope and say 'that's my mum,'" Kidman, who was born in the United States, but raised in Australia, said.

"I am utterly, deeply, humbled and chuffed by the fact that I'm a stamp. I'm going to be licked by millions of Australians and I can't wait. It is also recognizing the value of the arts in Australia. It brings it into general consumption and if I'm part of that, I feel intensely proud," Blanchett added.

Rush said he was delighted about being on a stamp, having grown up in the 1950s and '60s when "the only person on a stamp was the Queen.

"It's a classy thing to know you're on security paper," he quipped.


Tom Selleck to star in 5th 'Jesse' movie

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 23 (UPI) -- Hollywood actor Tom Selleck is set to star in a fifth installment of his popular "Jesse Stone" television movie series, CBS announced.

Co-starring Kathy Baker, Camryn Manheim and Joanna Miles, "Jesse Stone: Thin Ice" is scheduled to air March 1.

The "Jesse Stone" movies are based on the best-selling series of books by author Robert B. Parker.

In the upcoming episode, Selleck's character -- Paradise, Mass. Police Chief Jesse Stone -- finds himself in trouble with the town council when he inadvertently becomes involved in a shoot-out on a Boston street. His friend, State Homicide Commander Healy, who is played by Stephen McHattie, is seriously wounded and Jesse comes under investigation by the Boston Police Department's Internal Affairs Division, which causes him to be away from Paradise for extended periods of time.

Jesse further alienates the council by firing the Paradise Police Department's most prodigious ticket writer, resulting in a considerable loss of revenue for the town. Life for Jesse becomes even more complicated when he agrees to help a celebrated out-of-towner, who shows up in Paradise, searching for her missing child, CBS said in a release.

Selleck is best known for his portrayal of the title character in the popular 1980s TV detective series "Magnum, P.I."

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