- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Macca unmoved by threats

Paul McCartney is going ahead with his first performance in Israel despite receiving death threats from Muslim fanatics, the Boston Globe reports.

The musical legend is due to perform later this month at the Friendship First concert, which marks Israel’s 60th anniversary, and will be guarded by armed secret agents — at a reported cost of $1.7 million — after suicide bombers threatened to attack his show.

The former Beatle, 66, said he was “shocked” after hearing self-styled hate preacher Omar Bakri had deemed him an “enemy” of all Muslims for his decision to perform in the Jewish country.

Israeli security experts have told Mr. McCartney that he must increase his security, the Globe reports.

‘Star Trek’s‘ Sulu weds

George Takei, better known as “Star Trek’s” Mr. Sulu, has married his longtime partner, Brad Altman, Agence France-Presse reports.

Mr. Takei, 71, and Mr. Altman, 54, were the first couple to receive a marriage license in West Hollywood when California began issuing them to gay couples on June 17, AFP notes.

Together 21 years, the couple exchanged vows Sunday before a Buddhist priest at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles with 200 guests in attendance, Asianweek magazine reported on its Web site.

Walter Koenig, who played navigator Pavel Chekov in the original “Star Trek” cast, and Nichelle Nichols, who portrayed communications officer Lt. Uhura, served as “best man” and “best lady,” Asianweek said.

Mr. Takei and Mr. Altman wed four weeks after another celebrity couple, comedian Ellen DeGeneres and her companion, Australian actress Portia de Rossi, said “I do” Aug. 16.

In June, California became the second state after Massachusetts to permit gay marriage, and thousands of gay couples have since tied the knot there.

‘Dreamgirl’ engaged

In other couples news, Jennifer Hudson got a big surprise on her 27th birthday: an engagement ring.

According to Associated Press, Miss Hudson’s beau, David Otunga, popped the question on Friday while celebrating the actress-singer’s big day in Los Angeles. The couple have not yet set a wedding date, her publicist, Jessica Kolstad, said Monday.

Miss Hudson won a best-supporting-actress Oscar in 2007 for her role in “Dreamgirls.” Her film credits also include “Sex and the City: The Movie” and the upcoming “The Secret Life of Bees,” which opens Oct. 17. The “American Idol” alum will release her debut solo album Sept. 30.

Mr. Otunga, a 2006 Harvard Law School grad, appeared as a contestant nicknamed “Punk” on the VH1 reality dating show “I Love New York 2.”

Douglas to play Liberace

Catherine Zeta Jones normally is the one who wears sequins and makeup — but now her husband, aging lothario Michael Douglas, is set to camp it up as flamboyant pianist Liberace in a $71.5 million movie of his life, London’s Daily Mail notes.

“Ocean’s Eleven” director Steven Soderbergh plans to tell the story of the “tortured soul” behind the showman, who died from AIDS in 1987 at age 67.…

Matt Damon reportedly is in discussions to play Scott Thorson, a man who claimed to be Liberace’s companion of five years and sued the pianist in 1982 for $113 million in palimony, Daily Variety said. That suit was settled for $95,000 four years later.

Born Wladziu Valentino Liberace, the classically trained pianist — who donned ostrich feathers and mink capes and used a trademark candelabrum to adorn his piano onstage — always denied he was gay. In the 1950s, he successfully sued a British newspaper columnist who described him as “fruit flavored.”

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wire reports

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