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Taking Names: Celebrities to attend AARP conference

- - Tuesday, September 18, 2012

More than a dozen celebrities are participating in talks and activities for aging Americans at the national conference of AARP this week in New Orleans.

Highlights include a Friday evening red-carpet walk with Billy Crystal at a screening of his latest film, "Parental Guidance," and a Saturday sit-down with actors Cicely Tyson, Ben Vereen and LeVar Burton 35 years after the Emmy-winning ABC miniseries in which they starred, "Roots."

A Saturday night concert with Stevie Nicks, Gladys Knight and Melissa Etheridge will be held at the New Orleans Arena, but other AARP conference and exposition events run Thursday through Saturday at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. The event is expected to attract about 20,000 participants.

It also will be a presidential campaign stop for Republican Mitt Romney's running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. President Obama is expected to address conference-goers via satellite. Both are speaking Friday about Social Security, Medicare, jobs and finances.

"We also care about what happens to our kid and grandkids, so these issues really transcend age and affect everyone in this country," said C.B. Wismar, vice president for AARP events.

The conference kicks off Thursday with a 2,000-plus volunteer effort at which attendees will be paired with more than a dozen organizations, such as Habitat for Humanity, to rebuild homes, help with hurricane cleanup and make care packages for families in need.

More than 80 sessions will be held on health and fitness, relationships, finances and caregiving.

Tennis champion Martina Navratilova, who released a fitness book in 2006 titled "Shape Yourself," told the Associated Press she will participate in Thursday's volunteer effort and lead hundreds through a Friday morning fitness class. She is scheduled to deliver a motivational speech on Saturday.

"I encourage people to do more at whatever level they're at to improve their quality of life," she said. "As you get older, you have to adapt. You can do less but more often. Frequency is important and very beneficial."

Others to attend the event are TV personality Leeza Gibbons, football star Dan Marino, gospel singer Shirley Caesar and political couple James Carville and Mary Matalin. Mr. Crystal and director Andy Fickman will walk the red carpet Friday for a screening of "Parental Guidance," which is due out later this year and co-stars Bette Midler and Marisa Tomei.

TV host Hoda Kotb and celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse are to salute New Orleans and the city's recovery since Hurricane Katrina seven years ago. AARP's national conference was scheduled to be held in New Orleans in 2005 but was forced to relocate because of the storm.

Eurythmics star Annie Lennox weds in London ceremony

Scottish singer-songwriter Annie Lennox has married for the third time, her spokeswoman said Tuesday.

The former Eurythmics star, 57, wed American gynecologist Mitch Besser on Saturday in London.

The ceremony reportedly was held onboard a boat on the River Thames and attended by Oscar-winning actor Colin Firth and comedian Ruby Wax.

The "Sweet Dreams" singer posted a photograph of her wedding flowers on her Facebook page, winning more than 5,000 "likes" from fans.

Miss Lennox's first marriage, in 1984 to German Hare Krishna devotee Radha Raman, broke down after a year. She has two daughters with her second husband, Israeli film producer Uri Fruchtmann, whom she divorced in 2000 after 12 years.

Miss Lennox has sold more than 80 million albums worldwide with the Eurythmics and as a solo artist, winning a string of awards, including four Grammys and an Oscar for a song that appeared on the "Lord of the Rings" soundtrack.

She performed at the closing ceremony for the London Olympics last month, as well as the star-studded concert outside Buckingham Palace in June marking Queen Elizabeth II's 60th year on the throne.

Kinkade's girlfriend agrees to pay rent on mansion

Thomas Kinkade's girlfriend is agreeing to pay $11,000 a month to rent the San Francisco Bay Area mansion where she lived with the late artist, but his paintings and possessions remain the focus of a bitter estate fight.

The San Jose Mercury News reported that Kinkade's widow, Nanette, from whom he was legally separated, sought permission Monday from a probate judge to remove all the furniture and art from the 6,000-square-foot home.

Kinkade's girlfriend, Amy Pinto, claims the popular painter composed two handwritten notes before his April death from an alcohol and prescription drug overdose that bequeathed to her both the house and $10 million to establish a museum of his work on the property.

Judge Thomas Cain told the two women to come back to court on Dec. 3 with a list of items to which they feel entitled.

Compiled from Web and wire reports