- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Stylists’ suits say Queen must pay

A makeup artist and a fashion stylist claim in coordinated lawsuits that they got the ugly treatment from Queen Latifah when she cheated them out of $1 million.

Celebrity cosmetology consultant Roxanna Floyd says she lost $700,000 when the rapper-actress failed to pay her for work she did between July 2005 and February 2008.

In a separate lawsuit, celebrity fashion stylist Susan Moses said she was cheated of $300,000 during the same period.

The lawsuits were filed Monday in federal court in Manhattan, Associated Press reported Tuesday.

Amanda Silverman, a spokeswoman for the Oscar-nominated actress - actress whose movies roles include “Chicago,” “Hairspray” and “The Secret Life of Bees,” says the lawsuits have no merit, but refused further comment due to pending litigation.

Washington honored

Two-time Oscar winner Denzel Washington brings his star wattage to the District later this week, when he turns up to receive the 2009 Horatio Alger Award.

Recipients of the honor — named for the 19th-century author whose novels chronicled the rise of impoverished children from challenging starts to successful lives — must have overcome humble beginnings or adversity to achieve success and serve as outstanding role models.

Born in New York, Mr. Washington, 54, began working at the age of 11, sweeping the floors in his mother’s beauty shop. After high school, he dreamed of a medical career while attending Fordham University, but he promptly changed his mind after attending theater summer camp.

In 2006, Mr. Washington wrote and published “A Hand to Guide Me,” a best-seller featuring actors, politicians, athletes and other public figures who recall their childhood mentors. The book was published to commemorate the centennial anniversary of the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. The actor-director has served as the organization’s national spokesperson and has been a member since age 6.

“Denzel will serve as a role model for today’s youth by encouraging motivation, purpose and superior accomplishments,” said David L. Sokol, president and chief executive officer of the Horatio Alger Association.

Grieving Neeson finishes film

Liam Neeson has completed work on “Chloe,” the film he was shooting when wife Natasha Richardson died after falling on a beginners’ slope at a Canadian ski resort, AP reports.

The actor quietly slipped into Toronto for a couple of days last week to complete work on the thriller, also starring Julianne Moore.

Miss Richardson died March 18 after falling and hitting her head during a ski lesson at Quebec’s Mont Tremblant two days earlier.

The Tony-winning actress was buried at a private ceremony in upstate New York on March 22.

Downey’s unique spin on Sherlock

Leave it to Robert Downey Jr. to turn Sherlock Holmes into a wisecracking action hero who ends up handcuffed naked to a bed.

The actor has offered a sneak peek of “Sherlock Holmes,” his new take on the cerebral detective from the mystery tales of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Theater owners attending their annual ShoWest convention have got to see Mr. Downey’s Holmes in a bruising boxing match, diving from a tall building into London’s Thames River and trading barbs with Dr. Watson, played by Jude Law. Holmes also finds himself cuffed by both hands to a bed in one scene.

The Warner Bros. film is directed by Guy Ritchie and hits theaters on Christmas Day.

Sophia’s choice

Italian film legend Sophia Loren on Tuesday testified in favor of the beatification of the late Pope John Paul II, the weekly Chi tells Agence France-Presse.

“I jealously keep the memory of John Paul II in my heart,” the Oscar-winning actress wrote in testimony collected by Monsignor Slawomir Oder, the prelate in charge of the late pope’s case for sainthood, according to Chi.

The popular pope — who died from Parkinson’s disease in 2005 — has been the subject of widespread calls for “instant sainthood,” especially from Polish Roman Catholics.

And baby makes three

Broadway belters Taye Diggs, 38, and Idina Menzel, 37, are expecting their first baby, his representative tells People.com.

The longtime couple - who met on the original Broadway production of “Rent” in 1996 and married in January 2003 - will welcome their new arrival later this year.

Mr. Diggs co-stars on the ABC drama “Private Practice,” and his film credits include “How Stella Got Her Groove Back. Miss Menzel, a Tony winner for role in the 2003 Broadway production of the musical “Wicked,” had a co-starring role in the 2007 Disney feature “Enchanted.”

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from staff and wire reports
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