Tuesday, September 7, 2004

'Sopranos' actor's car hit by drunken-driving suspect

New Brunswick, N.J. -- A vehicle driven by James Gandolfini, who plays mob boss Tony Soprano on the HBO series "The Sopranos," was hit by a drunken-driving suspect over the weekend. The actor was not injured, police said.

Gandolfini was in town for Saturday's Rutgers-Michigan State football game when his sport utility vehicle was hit broadside by a driver who police said ran a red light. Gandolfini is a Rutgers alumnus.

Charles Collins, 72, of New Brunswick, was issued a summons for drunken driving and was released, police said. He was not hurt.

Rodney Dangerfield on the mend

Los Angeles -- Comedian Rodney Dangerfield is expected to make a full recovery from his heart valve replacement surgery but remained in intensive care Sunday, his publicist said.

The 82-year-old actor is hospitalized at the University of California, Los Angeles Medical Center, where he continues to make progress, publicist Kevin Sasaki said. He had surgery Aug. 25.

Dangerfield was being tended to by his wife, Joan, who has remained with him day and night, Sasaki said.

Dangerfield, best known for the self-mocking line, "I don't get no respect," recently released his autobiography, "It's Not Easy Being Me: A Lifetime of No Respect but Plenty of Sex and Drugs."

A new album for Anita Baker

Boston -- Anita Baker is back in the limelight with a sultry new collection of songs and a second bite of the apple.

The Grammy Award winning singer, whose hits include "Sweet Love" and "Giving You the Best That I Got," has a new single, "You're My Everything," that already is a hit on urban adult contemporary stations.

Her new album will be in stores this week.

Interrogator of the stars

Venice, Italy -- "Lost in Translation" star Scarlett Johansson came to the Venice Film Festival to promote her latest picture but found herself fending off romantic advances.

During a press conference for her film "A Love Song for Bobby Long," the 19-year-old was ambushed by an unusual question by a young journalist from Chile.

"This is kind of a confession: I can't sleep at night thinking about you. Sorry, I have to tell you. I'm a journalist, but I'm an actor, too," the Casanova said Thursday. "Please, could you choose one of your favorites (movies) to make with me? Come on Scarlett, please."

"Oh God. ... Uhm. 'Single White Female,' maybe?" Johansson quipped.

This same journalist has made unusual comments at other press conferences, suggesting Steven Spielberg make a sequel to "Saving Private Ryan" called "Saving Private Bush" but "at the end of the film no one saves him." And he advised Denzel Washington to run for president. Neither star responded to his remarks.