- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 26, 2004

Beckhams’ sons feted

Associated Press

Pop star Elton John and other celebrities attended a lavish party held by soccer star David Beckham and his wife, Victoria, for the christening of their two sons.

The ceremony for Brooklyn, 5, and Romeo, 2, was held Thursday on the grounds of the Beckhams’ Hertfordshire mansion north of London, which has been dubbed “Beckingham Palace.”

The christenings were conducted by the Rev. William Paul Colton, a bishop in the Anglican Church of Ireland, who had married the couple five years ago.

Mr. John arrived with his partner, David Furnish, in a silver Rolls-Royce. The ceremony was closed to the media, but reports said Mr. John would become the godfather of the two boys.

Letterman in Iraq

Associated Press

David Letterman brought his late-night show to Marines serving in Iraq on Friday, loosening up the Camp Taqaddum crowd with the line, “Anybody here from out of town?”

Mr. Letterman brought along musical director Paul Shaffer, stage manager Biff Henderson, comedian Tom Dreesen and the band Off the Wall.

When hands flew in the air in response to requests for a volunteer to help deliver the opening monologue, he asked: “Isn’t that how you got here?”

With the help of cue cards held by an Army soldier, Mr. Letterman ran off a series of crowd-pleasers:

“Iraqi elections are in January. Hurry up and pick somebody so we can get the hell out of here,” he said.

And: “If I wanted to face insurgents I would’ve spent Christmas with my relatives.”

Mr. Letterman has repeatedly featured Marines on “The Late Show.”

“Paul and I were in Afghanistan three years ago, and last year we were in Baghdad,” Mr. Letterman told the crowd. “We wouldn’t want it any other way. We’re sorry we keep having to come back. If you ever come to New York City, come see us and we’ll treat you like big shots.”

The Marines, most of who have been deployed since late summer, welcomed the visit.

“It was great, all of the Marines getting together having a good time,” said Gunnery Sgt. Ronald Trignano, 32, a tech-controller with Communication Squadron 48. “It almost makes you forget where you are for a little while.”

Sideways’ is top pic

Scripps Howard News Service

Oscar nominations won’t be announced until next month, but the Southeastern Film Critics Association has selected “Sideways” — the wine-fueled comedy-drama — as Best Picture in its 13th annual contest.

The road movie in which two old friends argue over wine and women also won for director Alexander Payne, supporting actor Thomas Haden Church, supporting actress Virginia Madsen and its screenplay, which was adapted by Mr. Payne and Jim Taylor from Rex Pickett’s novel. Paul Giamatti, the film’s star, was runner-up for best actor.

Jamie Foxx, considered a shoo-in for an Oscar nomination, was voted Best Actor by the group for his performance in “Ray.”

SEFCA, founded in 1992, is made up of film critics working in print, radio and online. Forty-three members representing nine states — Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia — voted on this year’s awards.

Who’s your daddy?

Agence France-Presse

An ex-mistress of the late, great Ray Charles agreed Tuesday to be grilled by lawyers over her sexual history in a bid to establish whether her 17-year-old son is really the legendary musician’s child.

Mary Anne den Bok has asked a Los Angeles Superior Court to an increase in child support payments from Mr. Charles’ estate from $3,000 to at least $60,000 a month — but said later she regretted the request.

The questioning under oath comes after Miss den Bok, who is unemployed, sued Mr. Charles’ estate in August in an effort to keep her son, Corey, in the lifestyle to “which he was accustomed.” She claimed the $3,000 monthly stipend that Joe Adams, the executor of Mr. Charles’ estate, began paying when the singer died June 10 was “vastly inadequate and insufficient” to pay Corey’s expenses. Mr. Adams is also questioning whether Mr. Charles actually fathered Corey, even though the boy is listed as his son in his will.

In last Tuesday’s court hearing, Miss Den Bok agreed to answer intimate questions on Jan. 4 at the offices of lawyers for Mr. Charles’ estate. Miss Den Bok told the court she felt “humiliated” by previous questioning on the subject of her sex life and said she had had second thoughts about making a request for a 20-fold increase in child support.

According to Miss Den Bok, Mr. Charles’ estate is worth about $100 million and is expected to have a net annual income from royalties and publishing rights of about $25 million this year and again in 2005.

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

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