- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Twins for SJP

Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick welcomed twin girls - Marion Loretta Elwell and Tabitha Hodge Broderick - to their family after their surrogate mother gave birth Monday, People.com says.

The East Ohio Regional Hospital in Martins Ferry had no comment, but a spokesperson told the magazine “everything’s good.” The couple’s reps could not be reached for comment. Miss Parker, 44, and Mr. Broderick, 47, have a 6-year-old son, James Wilkie.

“I’m thrilled for Sarah, Matthew and James Wilkie,” Miss Parker’s “Sex and the City” co-star Kim Cattrall said Tuesday, when the birth was reported. “More ‘fabulous girls’ are joining our SATC family.”

The news broke in April that the couple were using a surrogate. Miss Parker described her as a strong woman who made “an incredibly generous and gracious choice” and said, “She’s made a really big choice to be part of our lives, and I think she’s an honorable person.”

Just last week, E! Online notes, officials confirmed that two police chiefs were under investigation for reportedly breaking into the surrogate’s home to dig up dirt to sell to the tabloids.

Cher & Christina star

Now here’s a perfect pairing. Cher and Christina Aguilera, two women of different generations but with a shared love of glitzy costumes and vocal theatrics, will star in a film together.

Variety reports that Cher will appear in her first leading role in a decade in “Burlesque,” a contemporary musical written by Steven Antin and Susannah Grant. Mr. Antin, who also is set to direct, appeared in “The Goonies” way back when, while Miss Grant was nominated for an Oscar for her “Erin Brockovich” screenplay.

Miss Aguilera will play an ambitious small-town Iowan with a big voice - natch - who comes of age in a neo-burlesque club on Sunset Boulevard run by Cher’s character, a former dancer who struggles to keep the club open.

Cher will sing on-screen, and while her voice has been heard in many films, “Burlesque” will mark the first time she’ll be seen singing in a film in which she stars. The Oscar-winning actress’s last leading role was in “Tea With Mussolini” in 1999. Production on “Burlesque” begins in November.

Screen Gems President Clint Culpepper said of casting Cher, “The only person who was more excited than I am is Christina.”

Tunesmith indicted

The director and songwriter of “You Light Up My Life” has been indicted on multiple charges of rape, criminal assault, sexual abuse, forcible touching, criminal mischief and grand larceny, the Wall Street Journal.com reports.

Joseph Brooks, 71, was arraigned Tuesday along with his assistant, 42-year-old Shawni Lucier, who was accused of helping him set up meetings with women while knowing they were being assaulted. The two face 91 counts from incidents between March 2005 and April 2008.

Manhattan’s district attorney says nine of the 11 victims answered a notice on Craigslist seeking women for acting jobs. Mr. Brooks reportedly flew 10 of those 11, who ranged in age from 18 to 30, to his Upper East Side apartment from California, Florida, Oregon and Washington state.

Mr. Brooks won a best-song Oscar for the 1977 ballad “You Light Up My Life,” which critics widely considered the best thing about the movie of the same title. Mr. Brooks also wrote and directed the film, about a comedian who has a one-night stand with a director. Kasey Cisyk sang the song for the movie, but the version recorded that year by Debby Boone, Pat Boone’s daughter, was the one that topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart for 10 weeks, making it the most successful single of the 1970s.

Doctor: Rocker OD’d

Authorities say former Wilco guitarist Jay Bennett died of an overdose of a painkiller and that his death is being investigated as an accident, Associated Press reports.

Champaign County, Ill., coroner Duane Northrup says tests show the 45-year-old musician’s death was caused by fentanyl. The drug is found in patches commonly prescribed to treat chronic pain.

Mr. Bennett died May 24 after being found unresponsive in his home in Urbana. He worked as a sound engineer and played instruments for Wilco from 1994 to 2001. Mr. Bennett sued Wilco lead singer Jeff Tweedy in early May, arguing he was owed royalties for songs during his seven years with the group.

• Compiled by Kelly Jane Torrance and Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wire reports.

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