- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 3, 2004

‘Piano Man’ weds

Associated Press

Singer-songwriter Billy Joel married his fiancee, 23-year-old Kate Lee, in a ceremony Saturday at his Long Island mansion, his record label said.

Mr. Joel, 55, wed Miss Lee in a sunset wedding at his waterfront home, Newsday reported in its online editions.

Mr. Joel, who was previously married twice, including a second union to supermodel Christie Brinkley, has had more than two dozen Top 10 hits. His signature song “Piano Man,” was released in 1973.

Last month, his star was placed on Hollywood Boulevard in front of the Pantages Theatre, where the Tony Award-winning musical based on his songs, “Movin’ Out,” is playing through Oct. 31. He is also a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Miss Lee, a native of Huntington, W.Va., recently graduated from Ohio’s Miami University and works as a restaurant correspondent for the PBS show “George Hirsch: Living It Up!” She and Mr. Joel began dating last year, according to Newsday.

Liza rumors KO’ed

New York Post

Chuck Zito, Liza Minnelli’s bodyguard for 20 years until the late ‘90s, is dismissing claims by accusers who say they were beaten by the diva during one of her alcoholic fits.

M’hammed Soumayah, her former chauffeur, has filed a lawsuit against Miss Minnelli seeking unspecified “money damages arising from personal injuries.”

Mr. Soumayah’s complaint follows a similar suit filed by David Gest, Miss Minnelli’s ex-husband, who claims she repeatedly struck him during their brief union.

Mr. Zito, however, begs to differ.

“I’ve never even seen her raise her voice, let alone beat a man,” said Mr. Zito, an actor and former Hell’s Angel, who adds he has nothing but scorn for the chauffeur and Mr. Gest.

“I could just look at those two guys and they would run away,” Mr. Zito said.

Still the one

Agency France-Presse

A half-century after his death, German scientist Albert Einstein is the most popular world figure in Austria, according to an opinion poll.

The poll — conducted by the independent Market Institute and compiled last month — showed that 39 percent of Austrians favored Mr. Einstein, who died in 1955, as a world personality. Microsoft entrepreneur Bill Gates was close behind at 38 percent.

Renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci was in third place at 34 percent.

Former Austrian empress Marie-Therese (1717-1780) came in ninth, while other famous Austrian women from the past, including actress Romy Schneider (1938-1982) and former empress Elisabeth (1837-1898), also known as Sisi, were further down.

Snapper vs. rapper

San Francisco Chronicle

50 Cent is fighting a New York photographer’s claims that he was beaten up by the rapper’s posse.

The New York Post’s James Alcorn is seeking $21 million from the rap star — real name Curtis Jackson — for assault. He claims 50 Cent hired seven men to beat him in August 2003, after he snapped a photo of the rapper buying a watch in Manhattan.

“When you got money, you got to go through this stuff,” 50 Cent said Thursday in an interview with the syndicated program “Celebrity Justice.”

On the mend

Associated Press

Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts has won a battle with throat cancer, lead singer Mick Jagger was quoted as telling a newspaper Saturday.

Mr. Watts, 63, was diagnosed with cancer four months ago and recently finished a successful six-week chemotherapy treatment at the Royal Marsden Hospital near his home in London’s Chelsea district.

“Charlie has had all his treatments and he’s now been cleared and is free of any illness,” Mr. Jagger told the Daily Mirror.

Mr. Watts learned of the disease after finding a lump on the side of his neck. In June, a biopsy confirmed the tumor was malignant, and he began preparing for radiation treatment. The chemotherapy left Mr. Watts weak, and he will spend time recovering with his wife, Shirley, at their manor house in Devon in western England before going back to work, the Mirror reported.

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wire reports.

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