- The Washington Times - Monday, November 6, 2006

Faithfull on the mend

Marianne Faithfull has made a full recovery from breast cancer and plans to resume a postponed world tour, her spokesman said yesterday.

The singer, a 1960s icon who once dated Mick Jagger, canceled her tour dates in September after being diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer, Associated Press reports.

Rob Partridge, Miss Faithfull’s spokesman, said she had undergone surgery and was making “a rapid return to full health.”

“Marianne Faithfull has made such a successful recovery from breast cancer that doctors have given the go-ahead for her to resume touring commitments in spring next year,” he said, adding that the singer would begin her tour of Europe and North America in Budapest in March.

Miss Faithfull, 59, gained fame in the 1960s as the girlfriend of Mr. Jagger, the Rolling Stones frontman, and as the pure-voiced singer of “As Tears Go By.” After battling drug addiction, she re-emerged in 1979 with the raw album “Broken English” and has since found a new audience as a sophisticated chanteuse.

She also has appeared in several films, most recently as the title character’s mother in Sofia Coppola’s “Marie Antoinette.”

Paul gets ex-file

Paul McCartney reportedly has paid $380,000 for his late wife Linda’s “audio diary” — and has revealed that second wife Heather Mills wants a $150 million divorce payoff, the New York Daily News reported yesterday, citing a story published Sunday in a London newspaper.

The ex-Beatle was handed an envelope stuffed with audiotapes — which may contain damaging reflections on his first marriage — in a meeting with Peter Cox, who co-authored a vegetarian cookbook with Linda McCartney in the late 1980s, the Daily Mail reported in its Sunday edition. Mr. Cox said last week that Linda, who died of breast cancer in 1998, felt trapped in her marriage and sometimes thought about leaving. A confidentiality agreement barred him from playing or copying tapes he made of Linda McCartney, but they potentially could be used as evidence if the McCartney-Mills divorce is fought out in court.

Rodney Hylton-Potts, who represents Mr. Cox, confirmed that the two men met but wouldn’t discuss details, the Daily News reports.

Strutting her stuff

Kirstie Alley — who was once the “Fat Actress” — yesterday donned a bikini to show off her new shape on “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” fulfilling a pledge she made about a year ago.

Miss Winfrey said Miss Alley, who is 5-foot-8, has lost 75 pounds, after hitting a high of 220 pounds, AP reports. Her weight gain was documented in various unflattering paparazzi photos.

To the sounds of the Commodores’ “Brick House,” Miss Alley, 55, strutted onto the stage in a maroon bikini on yesterday’s show. Wearing a dress for an interview, she said she never would have had the courage to wear a bikini onstage when she was 30, despite being slender.

“The bikini thing is neither here nor there, other than the fact, you know, I am 55 years old. So I thought — come on, we are all good enough. And we look good enough. And we are not our bodies.”

Miss Alley, a spokeswoman for the Jenny Craig diet program, starred on Showtime’s reality-comedy series “Fat Actress.” Her TV credits also include “Cheers” and “Veronica’s Closet.”

Keys defends celebs

Singer Alicia Keys, who is hosting her annual Black Ball charity concert in New York City on Thursday, says criticism of celebrities who get involved in helping African nations overcome debt, AIDS and poverty — and the furor over Madonna’s recent trip to Malawi to adopt a child — is unfair and a disservice to those in Africa who need help.

“I think that’s horrible, and I think that really degrades and tries to discourage people who do have a voice, who do have power, who do have money, who do have the ability to reach out to people and get involved in situations,” the 25-year-old multiple Grammy winner told AP.

“I think if you make a choice to do something positive, that shouldn’t be diminished. I think that takes away from what’s actually going on.”

Miss Keys, who has been involved in African causes for years, said celebrities have been in the forefront of charitable and political causes, and that’s how it should be. She also said celebrities have helped direct attention to the problems in many African nations.

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

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