- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 11, 2007

‘Godfather’ laid to rest

James Brown’s body was placed in a crypt Saturday at the Beech Island home of one of the soul singer’s daughters, a spokeswoman for the Rev. Al Sharpton said.

Mr. Sharpton presided over the private ceremony held for family and a few friends at the home of Deanna Brown Thomas, Rachel Noerdlinger said.

Also at the service were Mr. Brown’s partner, Tomi Rae Hynie, and the couple’s young son, Ms. Hynie’s spokesman, Michael Nason, said.

The service took place more than two months after the singer died in an Atlanta hospital. Mr. Brown died Dec. 25 at age 73, and his body had been held at an undisclosed location since then.

The service was in sharp contrast to elaborate ceremonies in the days immediately after his death held in New York and Augusta, Ga., where more than 8,500 people filled an arena bearing his name.

The crypt likely will not be Mr. Brown’s final resting place. A public mausoleum is being built and its location will be announced once it is completed, Ms. Noerdlinger said.

Mr. Brown’s children decided to use their own money to place his body in the crypt instead of waiting for disputes over his estate to be settled in court, Mr. Sharpton said.

“The children wanted to see their father entombed in a resting place without delay,” Mr. Sharpton said.

Ms. Hynie, who claims she is Mr. Brown’s fourth wife, and her son were not included in Mr. Brown’s will. Attorneys for Mr. Brown said his marriage to his backup singer was annulled because Ms. Hynie at the time was still married to another man.

A longtime friend of Mr. Brown and trustee of his estate was disappointed by the service.

The trustees had made arrangements for the “Godfather of Soul” to be laid to rest at no cost at a “very prominent memorial garden in Augusta,” Buddy Dallas told Associated Press by phone. “Mr. Brown’s not deserving of anyone’s back yard,” said Mr. Dallas, who was not at Saturday’s service.

Mr. Brown’s family blamed the delay in burying the singer on issues surrounding his estate.

Courtney Love sued

Rock star Courtney Love is being sued by a luxury Southern California rehab center that says she has not paid a $180,000 bill for drug and alcohol treatment in 2005.

The Beau Monde center, which offers massages, gourmet food and whale watching to its predominantly wealthy celebrity clients, said in a lawsuit that Miss Love, 42, paid $10,000 up front but failed to pay the remaining fees.

The widow of Nirvana singer Kurt Cobain spent four months at the residential facility in 2005 on the orders of a Los Angeles judge after Miss Love spent months in and out of court on drug charges and a charge of assaulting a woman friend of her ex-boyfriend.

Citing client confidentiality, Beau Monde declined comment on the breach of contract lawsuit, filed this month in Orange County (Calif.) Superior Court.

Miss Love’s lawyer, Howard Weitzman, told the Los Angeles Times that there was a difference of opinion over how much money was owed, adding “this matter is in the process of being resolved.”

Local connection

When “Doubt” opens at the National Theatre tomorrow for a two-week engagement with Tony winner Cherry Jones in the lead role the cast will include a local woman in a pivotal role.

She is Caroline Stefanie Clay, a 1986 graduate of the Duke Ellington School of the Arts and a former intern in the Mayor’s Youth Employment program.

Born in Boston and currently living in New York, Miss Clay was a stand-by for the role of Mrs. Mueller a mother whose young son may have been abused by a priest on Broadway. Her credits include work in most of the country’s leading regional theaters including Woolly Mammoth and Washington’s Shakespeare Theater Company.

“Doubt” was written by John Patrick Shanley and directed by Doug Hughes, also a Tony Award winner. The play itself won both the Tony and Pulitzer.

Compiled by Kevin Chaffee and Ann Geracimos from staff and wire reports.

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