- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 8, 2006

More surgery for Ebert

Film critic Roger Ebert was recovering from minor surgery related to his battle with cancer, his wife said in a statement posted on his Web site Monday.

Chaz Ebert wrote that “last night Roger had minor surgery” but “doctors remain optimistic about his recovery,” Associated Press reports. Mr. Ebert’s wife added that Sunday’s surgery would delay the start of his physical therapy for just a few days, but she did not provide details on the procedure.

Mr. Ebert, famous for his “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” critiques, had surgery June 16 to remove a cancerous growth on his salivary gland. He also had emergency surgery July 1 after a blood vessel burst near the site of the operation.

Mr. Ebert, 64, had undergone cancer surgery three times before the June operation — once in 2002 to remove a malignant tumor on his thyroid gland and twice on his salivary gland the next year. He has been a film critic at the Chicago Sun-Times since 1967. He won the Pulitzer Prize for criticism in 1975, the same year he teamed up with Gene Siskel of the rival Chicago Tribune to start their movie-review show. Mr. Siskel died in 1999. Mr. Ebert has co-hosted the show “Ebert & Roeper” with fellow Sun-Times columnist Richard Roeper since 2000.

Get back

A security guard at Paul McCartney’s London home called police when one of his estranged wife’s guards climbed a wall to let her in, a spokesman for Heather Mills McCartney said yesterday.

Mrs. McCartney’s security guard climbed a wall to open a gate after realizing the locks at the home had been changed, her spokesman Phil Hall told AP. A guard inside called police, who spoke to Mrs. McCartney and left, Mr. Hall said. She then entered the house with the couple’s daughter, Beatrice, 2, and stayed the night, he said. He also played down the incident, which comes in the midst of what the British media say are acrimonious divorce proceedings between the former Beatle and his second wife. “She said it was hilarious. It was just a complete mix-up,” Mr. Hall said. Stuart Bell, a spokesman for Mr. McCartney, declined to comment.

Mr. Hall said Mr. McCartney also had frozen the couple’s joint bank account and sent Mrs. McCartney a letter complaining about three bottles of cleaning liquid that were taken from his home to her office. The Irish Examiner yesterday reported that Mrs. McCartney has hired London attorney Anthony Julius — who represented the late Princess Diana in her divorce from Prince Charles — as her lawyer.

Stones Derby bound

Mick Jagger will strut at the home of the Kentucky Derby when the Rolling Stones perform at the famed Churchill Downs racetrack Sept. 29, AP reports.

“It’s an opportunity we have to bring a legendary rock group to a legendary venue,” Churchill Downs President Steve Sexton said Monday.

Seating will be in the grandstand, clubhouse and on the track. A special covering will be placed over the dirt and turf to protect the racing surfaces, Churchill Downs officials said. The stage will be placed on the infield, facing the grandstand, giving the band an ideal view of the twin spires, sandwiched between luxury boxes. Some 50,000 tickets will be available.

The Stones haven’t performed in Louisville since 1989.

The U.S. leg of their “A Bigger Bang” tour opens in Boston’s Gillette Stadium on Sept. 20. The final stop is scheduled in Los Angeles at Dodger Stadium on Nov. 18.

In the pink

Hugh Hefner says he’s doing just fine.

“I’ve never felt better,” Mr. Hefner, 80, told AP when asked Monday about a report he was in ill health.

A newspaper gossip item claimed the Playboy empire founder had a ministroke, but Playboy spokesman Rob Hilburger insisted the report was “completely untrue.”

Mr. Hefner hosted his Midsummer Night’s Dream party at the Los Angeles mansion Saturday night, Mr. Hilburger said. Guests included brothers Luke and Owen Wilson, Jack Black, Johnny Knoxville and Jimmy Kimmel.

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

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