- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 11, 2006

A girl’s best friend

Ellen Barkin’s jewelry, more than 100 pieces that included her wedding ring from her marriage to Revlon billionaire Ron Perelman, has fetched $20.3 million at auction, Associated Press reports.

A hush came over the packed Christie’s sales room Tuesday evening when the auctioneer announced the sale of the ring, a wide band set with four rows of bell-cut diamonds topped in 18-karat gold. It sold for $130,000, surpassing a pre-sale estimate of $50,000. The auction house did not disclose the buyer’s name.

The other 103 lots, ranging from period jewels to gemstones, included a 22.76-carat diamond ring purchased by a private American collector for $1.8 million — the highest price of the night. Christie’s said the film star was “thrilled” with the outcome of the sale.

Miss Barkin and Mr. Perelman married in 2000 and divorced earlier this year. The billionaire chairman of Revlon Inc. has a net worth of more than $6 billion. Miss Barkin, whose movie credits include “The Big Easy” with Dennis Quaid and “Sea of Love” with Al Pacino, is filming “Ocean’s Thirteen” with George Clooney and Brad Pitt.

Madonna and child

The Material Mom is expanding her brood.

Madonna is adopting a 1-year-old African boy who has lived in an orphanage since losing his mother shortly after birth, the chief of the Malawi village where the boy lives said yesterday, according to Reuters news agency.

Henderson Geza Dyedyereke, the headman of Lipunga, a village near the Zambian border, said he was informed of the adoption by the Rev. Thomson Chipeta, executive director of the Home of Hope Orphan Care Center in Mchinji, where the boy is under care.

“Rev. Chipeta came yesterday to inform me about the child, David Banda, who is 12 months,” Mr. Dyedyereke told Reuters, adding that David’s father had told him two months ago that the adoption process was under way.

Liz Rosenberg, Madonna’s U.S.-based spokeswoman, said in an e-mail: “Current legal issues regarding an adoption prevent me from making any official statement. I have been advised by lawyers to say nothing at this time.” A spokeswoman for the singer in London added: “We may have an official statement within 48 hours.”

Malawi officials, including the information minister, said last week that Madonna had picked out a child shortly after arriving in the country on a humanitarian mission to highlight the plight of orphans.

Madonna’s camp has repeatedly denied those reports, but a widowed Malawian man told reporters he was thrilled that the pop star has adopted his 1-year-old son and will lift the tot out of poverty in the AIDS-ravaged east African nation.

“I am the father of David, who has been adopted,” Yohame Banda told AP, according to a story published in yesterday’s editions of the New York Daily News. “I am very, very happy because … there is poverty in this village, and I know he will be very well looked after in America.”

Madonna, 48, arrived in Malawi on Oct. 4 to visit her Raising Malawi charity project, which is setting up an orphan care center. The singer has a son, Rocco, 5, with husband Guy Ritchie and a daughter, Lourdes, 9, from a previous relationship.

Too much for Shanghai

The Culture Ministry has canceled rapper Jay-Z’s planned debut in China, citing his “vulgar” lyrics, a state-run newspaper reported yesterday.

The rap icon, whose real name is Shawn Carter, was scheduled to perform Oct. 23 at Shanghai’s Hongkou Stadium.

“Some of Jay-Z’s songs contain too much vulgar language,” Sun Yun, of promoter KS Production Co., was quoted as saying in the Shanghai Daily newspaper.

The New York rapper’s use of profanity and songs about drug dealers, pimps and violence apparently offended China’s culture czars despite their recently allowing groups with sexually suggestive songs, such as the Rolling Stones and the Black Eyed Peas, to perform in Shanghai.

A call to a representative for the rapper was not returned, AP said.

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

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