Today's News: Our Take


Despite inclement weather, thousands of Elvis Presley devotees converged on Graceland today to commemorate the 25th anniversary of his death. A severe thunderstorm briefly delayed last night's traditional candlelight vigil, but King loyalists remained undeterred. In fact, the turnout was expected to outpace the 30,000 who attended the 20th anniversary memorial in 1997. "We are celebrating Elvis and his life and we're here as a big family," one fan told The Associated Press. "This is really the Elvis family reunion." read more


The 27th Toronto Film Festival (Sept. 5-14) will pause on Sept. 11 to acknowledge the one-year anniversary of America's terrorist attacks. That Wednesday, Reuters reports, the glitzy goings-on will take a backseat to two 9/11 themed screenings. These are Sigourney Weaver's firefighter film The Guys and 11'09"01, a compilation of short films from directors including Sean Penn. read more


What would a new season of Law & Order be without another cast change. Actor-turned-Republican senator Fred Thompson is poised to replace Dianne Wiest as the show's district attorney, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Thompson's term as Tennessee senator ends in January. Prior to entering the political fray, Thompson appeared in such films as The Hunt for Red October, In the Line of Fire, Die Hard 2 and No Way Out. read more

Gwyneth: 30th B-Day Won't Be the Death of Her

While most folks dread their birthdays, especially in youth-obsessed Hollywood, Gwyneth Paltrow is actually looking forward to blowing out the candles on her cake come September 28 — and this year, she'll be facing quite a bonfire. "I cannot believe that I'm turning 30," exclaims the big-screen scene stealer, coming off as incredulous as a teenager who has just gotten away with using a fake I.D. "It sounds so grown-up."

At the same time, hitting the three-decade mark also feels quite right to the Shakespeare in Love Oscar winner. "My 20s have been action-packed," says the tabloid favorite, whose little black book reads like a Who's Who of A-list actors. "I think I've lived more in my 20s than most people live in a lifetime, and in a way, I'm sad to let go of it. In [another] way, I'm relieved to sort of enter into the next ph read more


Dave Williams, lead singer of Dallas quartet Drowning Pool, was found dead on the band's tour bus Wednesday in Virginia, MTV reports. He was 30. The cause of death was unknown. Drowning Pool — which is touring with Ozzfest — performed at the Verizon Wireless Music Center in Noblesville, Ind., on Tuesday. read more


The Big Apple is mourning the loss of longtime New York Post journalist-gossip columnist Neal Travis, who died Wednesday of cancer. He was 62. Travis was the first editor of the Post's famed Page Six. read more


ABC is thisclose to picking up a sitcom pilot from former Spin City star Michael J. Fox. According to Variety, Fox will write and executive produce the project, which revolves around a larger-than-life pro hockey player who gets to spend more time with his family after he is forced into retirement. It's unclear whether Fox would appear in the show. read more


American Idol fans are an unpredictable lot. In a surprise move, viewers voted off sweet Georgia underdog R.J. Helton Wednesday night. It was widely believed that Nikki McKibbin — coming off of an abysmal performance Tuesday evening — was a shoo-in to get the boot. Now, the contest comes down to four finalists: McKibbin, Kelly Clarkson, Tamyra Gray and Justin Guarini. Meanwhile, Fox's summer smash continues to pick up steam as it heads toward its Sept. 4 finale. Tuesday night's performance edition attracted a series-high 12.7 million viewers. read more


Reality TV's Anna Nicole Smith has ex-boyfriend trouble: According to The Associated Press, Mark Hatten — whom Smith broke up with in June 2000 — has been charged with battery, assault with a deadly weapon, terrorist threats and stalking. Hatten allegedly made threatening phone calls to the ex-Playboy pinup and assaulted her neighbor. The 34-year-old, who claims he's innocent, has a pretrial hearing on Aug. 23. If convicted, he faces up to eight years in prison. read more

Vin Diesel: Hot But Not Bothered

It should come as little surprise that women are flocking in droves to see the new Vin Diesel spy thriller XXX. Unlike Hollywood action heroes of yesteryear — Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, etc. — Diesel has something more to offer than muscles and attitude. No, not neck tattoos, silly. We're talking about raw sex appeal.

"I don't know how it happened," shrugs the 35-year-old ex-bouncer of his heartthrob status. "I wasn't a pretty boy in school. It could [come from] the fact that the characters I play are representative of our culture now, [with] the angst and that rebellious tone our youth has today. [They] are anti-heroes and don't pretend to be perfect."

Or it could come from the read more

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