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Celebrity news

January 01, 2005

Friends, co-stars mourn Jerry Orbach


NEW YORK (AP) - Jerry Orbach was mourned with music and meditations Friday during a funeral where he was remembered as the quintessential New Yorker on the long-running police drama "Law and Order."

"He always knew his lines - and yours, too," said choked-up co-star Sam Waterston, who joined 300 people for the hourlong service at Riverside Memorial Chapel on Manhattan's West Side.

Orbach, a Broadway song-and-dance man who achieved his widest fame as Detective Lennie Briscoe on TV's "Law & Order," died of prostate cancer Tuesday night at age 69.

Show business figures including Chris Noth, Olympia Dukakis, Danny Aiello, Tony Roberts, Michael Imperioli, Brian Dennehy, Benjamin Bratt and Malachy McCourt attended the secular service, where Orbach lay in a simple wooden coffin draped with white blossoms under the chapel's vaulted, blue-and-gold ceiling.

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Broadway legend Chita Rivera had fond memories of Orbach, who appeared with her in "Chicago" in 1975. "This huge silhouette would appear in a fedora, smoking a cigar," she said. "There was our anchor. There was our rock in a pinstriped suit."

Ed Sherin, executive producer of "Law and Order," said, "Jerry was my best friend, and I imagine there are a lot of people here who would say the same."

The service was led by family friend Elizabeth Hepburn, who started and closed the ceremony by leading mourners in a breathing meditation. The music included John Denver's "Perhaps Love" and a guitarist playing "Lullaby of Broadway."




Robert Redford joins land trust committee


NAPA, Calif. (AP) - Actor Robert Redford has agreed to join the advisory committee of the Land Trust of Napa County.

Redford, who owns property in Calistoga, spoke during the trust's "Feast of Eden" fund-raiser earlier this year and helped raise more than $200,000, said Kate Merriman, its development director.

Executive Director John Hoffnagle said Redford was a good choice for the board because he is a well-known personality and has "outside contacts."

Redford, who won a best director Oscar in 1981 for "Ordinary People," also will be invited to be the guest of honor at this year's fund-raiser. His screen credits as an actor include "Downhill Racer," "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" and "The Sting."

The nonprofit group's Web site said it protects about 33,000 acres through easements, property transfers and donations.




Martha Stewart loses decorating contest


NEW YORK (AP) - Martha Stewart, who built a billion-dollar media empire based on her holiday and home decorating tips, was unable to lead her team to victory in a prison decoration contest, a magazine reported.

Stewart and a team of fellow inmates at a federal prison camp in Alderson, W.Va. crafted paper cranes to be hung from the ceiling, People magazine reported in an article posted on its Web site Wednesday. They lost out to a competing team that built a nativity scene showing "pictures of snow-covered hills and sleds and clouds on the wall," the magazine quoted an inmate as saying.

Each team was given $25 worth of glitter, ribbons, construction paper and glue to build a display based on the theme "Peace on Earth," the magazine said.

Stewart was convicted along with her stockbroker of lying about why she unloaded shares of ImClone Systems Inc. stock in 2001, just before the price plunged.

She is due to be released in early March from Alderson, then must spend five months confined to her home in Bedford, N.Y.

Following the house arrest, she is scheduled to begin shooting a daytime talk show with a live studio audience.




Debbie Reynolds sued over memorabilia


LOS ANGELES (AP) - The former owner of a shopping center sued actress Debbie Reynolds and her son, Todd Fisher, for allegedly breaching their contract to display Hollywood memorabilia.

TrizecHahn Hollywood said in a Superior Court lawsuit filed Wednesday that it had signed a lease agreement with Reynolds and Fisher in June 2001 to house the merchandise at the center in Hollywood.

The company said that Reynolds announced in March that the collection - valued between $30 million and $50 million - would be moved to the Belle Island Village Resort in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. She and her son also failed to make lease payments, the lawsuit said.

TrizecHahn is seeking $2 million in compensatory damages and unspecified punitive damages, the lawsuit said.

Phone calls and e-mail messages to Reynolds and Fisher weren't immediately returned.




Paris Hilton late for opening of her club


ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - The pink carpet was rolled out, the pink spotlights danced through the crisp night air of downtown Orlando and everything seemed in place for the opening of Paris Hilton's first nightclub.

Missing, notably: One pink-loving hotel heiress.

Hilton arrived six hours behind schedule - after many guests had left. At least she had an heiress-appropriate excuse handy.

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