- The Washington Times - Monday, August 2, 2004

Surgical strikes

Sure, it’s easy for them to say.

Halle Berry, a former model and beauty contest winner, and Sharon Stone, Miss Berry’s “Catwoman” co-star, bemoaned the proliferation of plastic surgery among young women today.

“There is this plastic, copycat look evolving and that’s frightening to me,” said Miss Berry, as quoted by Agence France-Presse.

“I see women in their 30s getting plastic surgery. I do think we’ve become obsessed with beauty and the fountain of youth and frankly, personally, I’m really saddened by the way women mutilate their faces today in search of that.”

For her part, Miss Stone took a more nonjudgmental tone on nipping and tucking. “You have to do what makes you feel good, but it’s not my thing,” she said.

On the money

More than a dozen celebrities, including Bono, Jude Law and Bob Geldof just wanted to say, “Thanks for the millions.”

The stars signed an open letter lauding British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s government for its promise to boost aid to poor countries.

“It’s unfashionable to congratulate politicians in public, but we’re going to do it anyway — to say thanks for increasing the funds available to tackle world poverty now and for committing to reach the U.N. aid-giving target by 2013 at the latest,” said the letter, published yesterday in London’s Independent newspaper.

“Thousands of people campaigned, and you responded, and lives in the poorest parts of the world will be transformed as a result,” it said.

Other celeb signatories included Chris Martin of the band Coldplay, actresses Minnie Driver and Helen Mirren, and actors Roger Moore, Colin Firth and Joseph Fiennes.

Fashion plate

Since reaching middle age, guitar god Eric Clapton hasn’t been afraid of dapper dress. (Remember his “Unplugged” look?)

So it’s no surprise that when a famous gentlemen’s outfitter was on the brink of bankruptcy, Mr. Clapton ponied up the cash rather than doing without his favorite threads.

The 59-year-old rock star, who bought a half share of Cordings on London’s famous Piccadilly fashion row in December, is now helping update the store’s clothing line, according to spokeswoman Melanie Cable-Alexander.

“I wanted to help preserve Cordings for myself so I could continue to shop there,” Mr. Clapton told the British news agency Press Association.

Evidently, he’s no amateur when it comes to fashion sense. Get a load of this: Mr. Clapton said he’s “a big fan of English traditional tailoring and has always been intrigued by the balance between functionality and style in the development of men’s fashion.”

Snoop dogs

Brittany Murphy plays a woman who scours her boyfriend’s Palm Pilot for traces of old romantic flames in “Little Black Book,” arriving Friday in movie theaters.

She swears she doesn’t — and would never, ever — do that in real life.

“There was a screening a couple of days ago that 500 people attended. Seventy percent of all the women said that they snooped. Thirty percent of all the men said that they had snooped,” Miss Murphy told the Boston Herald.

Later, over a Chinese dinner for the cast, “everyone was asked if they had snooped before. Everyone raised their hand but me,” she said.

To which co-star Holly Hunter yelled, “Liar.”

“I said, ‘I’m not a liar. I swear I’ve never done something like that in my whole life and I wouldn’t even think of doing something like this,’” said Miss Murphy whose past boyfriends include rapper Eminem and actor Ashton Kutcher.

She also was briefly engaged to her manager, Jeff Kwatinetz.

When in Rome

With the Roman Colosseum as a backdrop, Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel played a record-breaking free concert to close out the European leg of their highly lucrative “Old Friends” tour.

According to Associated Press, Rome Mayor Walter Veltroni told the crowd that about 600,000 were in attendance last weekend — fully 100,000 more than turned up for powerhouse concert draw Paul McCartney last year in the same setting.

Compiled by Scott Galupo from Web and wire reports.

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