Celebrity news

March 29, 2004

Parents of kidnapped child sell movie rights

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - The parents of a 6-year-old girl who was raised by her alleged kidnapper after she was believed to have died in a fire have sold the rights to their life stories for a movie and book.

The buyer is the Larry A. Thompson Organization of Beverly Hills, Calif., maker of TV movies including "And the Beat Goes On: The Sonny and Cher Story" and "Lucy & Desi: Before the Laughter."

Terms of the deal call for a six-figure payment up front and an additional six figures once production on the movie begins, Thompson said. He declined to elaborate.

Authorities believe Delimar Vera was kidnapped from her crib in Philadelphia in 1997 when she was 10 days old and her house set ablaze to cover the crime.


Carolyn Correa was found raising the girl and is charged with kidnapping and arson. She has been held on $1 million bail since her arrest March 2. Delimar was reunited with her family earlier this month.

Thompson said that he negotiated separately with the little girl's mother, Luzaida Cuevas, and father, Pedro Vera, since they are no longer a couple.

Alex Murphy, an entertainment lawyer retained by Cuevas, said Cuevas would receive most of the money, which he categorized as "considerably in excess of $150,000." He said close to 25 legitimate offers were made from producers all over the world.

Ex-Baptist leader returns to pulpit

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - The Rev. Henry J. Lyons, the scandalized former leader of the National Baptist Convention USA released from prison in November, is back in the pulpit.

He's also getting remarried nearly six years after his then-wife sparked his downfall by setting fire to the waterfront mansion he secretly owned with his mistress.

The fire sparked an investigation and Lyons was convicted in 1999 of grand theft and racketeering and was sentenced to five years in prison.

Lyons, 62, is interim pastor of New Salem Missionary Baptist Church in Tampa, where he helped mediate a dispute leading to the departure of the previous pastor. He met Thursday with his new congregation.

Lyons and Willie Beatrice Thomas applied for a marriage license Wednesday, public records show. Thomas is a former member of Lyons' congregation at St. Petersburg's Bethel Metropolitan Baptist Church.

Lyons divorced Deborah Lyons last year. She is suing him for breach of contract.

Singer charged after complaint by woman

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Singer Howie Day was arrested for apparently locking a woman in a bathroom and breaking another woman's cell phone after one of the women allegedly refused his sexual advances.

Day, 23, who opened for the band Barenaked Ladies at a concert Wednesday, was charged Friday with misdemeanor counts of criminal damage to property and disorderly conduct in connection with the post-concert incident on his tour bus.

Day was released from jail after posting $850 bail Thursday. He is scheduled for a court appearance Thursday.

According to a criminal complaint, Day allegedly locked a woman in a bathroom on the tour bus after she refused his sexual advance. He then broke the cell phone of another woman trying to call police.

"That was probably wrong of me," Day told police of breaking the phone. "But I felt violated."

The singer-songwriter has received critical acclaim with his 2003 album "Stop All the World Now."

Actor critical of election in Taiwan

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) - Hong Kong film star Jackie Chan said Sunday that Taiwan's recent presidential election was "the biggest joke in the world."

President Chen Shui-bian narrowly won the March 20 vote. The opposition wants to nullify the results after Lien Chan lost the election and claimed the vote was marred by irregularities. Thousands protested in the streets for a week after the vote.

"People will talk about it for 100 years," Chan said at a news conference in Shanghai. "It was a shame. Not so good to look at. I was very upset and couldn't fall asleep."

Chan's comments were aired on Taiwanese television.

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