Monday, June 9, 2003

'Idol' chairs to be sold for charity

Holland, Mich. -- Office chairs used by judges on the Fox TV series "American Idol" will be auctioned off to benefit cancer-related charities.

Judges Paula Abdul, Simon Cowell and Randy Jackson have each autographed their respective seats, made by Holland-based Trendway Corp.

Abdul's will be auctioned off to benefit a Michigan branch of the American Cancer Society on Aug. 22. The chair signed by Jackson will benefit Chicago's The Common Thread for the Cure Foundation. Cowell's chair will be auctioned by a yet-to-be announced charity.

Vandross said to be improving

New York -- Luther Vandross is showing signs of coming out of his coma. "He's tracking. There are moments when he's alert, when he can actually shake his head yes or no," Vandross' business manager told E! Online. The 52-year-old super-smooth R&B singer suffered a stroke April 16 in his Manhattan apartment. He remains in the intensive- care unit of New York's Weill Cornell Medical Center and is listed in critical but stable condition.

Vandross' new album, "Dance With My Father," whose title refers to the parent he lost at age 7, is due out Tuesday. The singer has suffered from meningitis and pneumonia while hospitalized, and he remains on a respirator. His mother, Mary Vandross, has maintained a vigil at his side, playing her son his own music.

Costner buffalo statue on display

Deadwood, S.D. -- A 17-piece Buffalo sculpture commissioned nine years ago by Kevin Costner went on display Saturday in Deadwood. Costner, who filmed much of "Dances With Wolves" in the state, contracted artist Peggy Detmer to sculpt "Tatanka -- The Story of the Bison," which shows Lakota hunters driving buffalo over a cliff. It features 14 buffalo and three warriors. Costner and his brother plan to build a $100 million golf course and hotel on the site.

Billy Bob burns Angelina's blood

Los Angeles -- Billy Bob Thornton celebrated his divorce from screen beauty Angelina Jolie by burning the vials of blood they exchanged when they married, reports

The intense couple swapped containers of blood to wear around their necks when they married in May 2000, as a symbol of their love -- but after they split last year, amid reports of Thornton's infidelity, Jolie reportedly asked for the vials back.

But Billy Bob, whose divorce from the actress was confirmed last week, refused -- choosing instead to burn them in a small box he called "the marital coffin."

"He felt he'd given blood to make the marriage work," a source said. "It didn't -- so the vials had to go."