Today's News: Our Take


OSCAR WINNER DIES

Harold Russell, a disabled World War II vet and an Oscar winner for his role in The Best Years of Our Lives, died Tuesday of a heart attack. He was 88. Russell — who had become an advocate for the rights of the disabled — won two Oscars for the film: one as best supporting actor, and a second, special Oscar for "bringing aid and comfort to disabled veterans through the medium of motion pictures." read more

SPEAKING OF KING...

Stephen King's agent is downplaying his client's retirement chatter. "He's spoken about retiring many times in the past," Arthur Greene told The Associated Press. "In my own mind, I think it's unlikely he'll stop working." read more

THE BODY ON BROADWAY?

Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura is working with librettist and lyricist Stephen Dolginoff on The Body Ventura, a musical based on the life of the former pro wrestler-turned-politician, reports Reuters. read more

SHORT CUTS

Ewan MacGregor will join Ren&#233e Zellweger on the big screen in Down with Love, a new romantic comedy, according to Variety... Normally overprotective mother Madonna took a rare step in bringing her five-year-old daughter Lourdes to a public event on Tuesday. The duo attended the opening of an exhibition by fashion photographer Mario Testino. read more

Queen Latifah Previews Chicago


Queen Latifah has good news for those Broadway aficionados skeptical about Miramax's upcoming movie version of the Tony-winning musical Chicago: Don't worry, it's good. "They are going to be totally blown away by it," the singer-actress tells TV Guide Online. "I'm telling you — Renée Zellweger (Roxie) and Catherine Zeta-Jones (Velma) have got it going on! It's gonna be great."

In the highly anticipated adaptation (due in theaters this Christmas), Latifah assumes the role of prison matron Mama Morton. How did she take to the character's enticing — if dwindling and drafty — wardrobe (read: Miniskirt)? "You won't be seeing me kicking my legs up that high," laughs the onetime talk show hostess of her sex read more

WHILE WE'RE ON THE SUBJECT...

Saturday Night Live's Ana Gasteyer announced she's pregnant and expects to give birth to her first child in June. Gasteyer will be the first SNL cast member to be pregnant while on the show. read more

ER Star Answers Beer Jeer


Heads up, ER fans! Next week's issue of TV Guide gives NBC's drama a Jeer for its Jan. 10 episode, when Maura Tierney's Nurse Abby — a recovering alcoholic — had a beer. Since her sudden slip was quite random, and the following week's episode never mentioned it, the scene seemed like a plot continuity hiccup. In an exclusive Q&#038A with TV Guide Online, Tierney tells how she really feels about Abby's lapse — and her recent romantic waffling. She also revels in being badder than ever in her director-hubby Billy Morrisette's indie, Scotland, PA (opening Feb. 8). Read on for the scoop!
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MIRACULOUS RECOVERY

Katie Couric was caught in a flu-faux pas Tuesday night when the Today show anchor was seen at a party in Boston with her beau Tom Werner — on the same day she called in sick to work. A rep for Today told the New York Post, "After resting for a day and a half, she felt well enough to attend [the party]." Couric was back in New York by 9:30 pm that evening and back on the show Wednesday. read more

Meet Rosie's New "Son"!


A newly minted series regular as Elliot, Will & Grace's Michael Angarano has it good. Besides having Sean Hayes as his TV dad, tonight's episode — airing at 9 pm/ET on NBC — introduces Rosie O'Donnell as the cutie patootie's mom. When Angarano joined the hit comedy, he tells TV Guide Online, "they said, 'Welcome to the family.' It's a great feeling."

Offscreen, it sounds like Hayes and Angarano relate more like brothers than father and son. Laughing, the 14-year-old reveals: "On AOL, me and him are constantly sending each other vicious emails, just ripping each other apart. Stuff like, 'You suck on the show. I'm trying to get you fired, but no luck so far.'"

Hanging with Hayes read more

END QUOTE

"I am out of work May 22. I am totally available next season." — Rosie O'Donnell, telling Access Hollywood about her availability to do more sitcom roles. O'Donnell guest stars as the lesbian mother of Jack's son on tonight's Will & Grace. — Lauren Kane and Angel Cohn read more

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