- The Washington Times - Friday, March 27, 2009

Famous faces support worthy cause

Wednesday’s gathering of politicians, athletes, foreign dignitaries and media types yielded a perfect storm when the glitterati rained down on the National Building Museum for the 6th Annual Alzheimer’s National Gala.

Politicians like former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (Georgia Republican), U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (Virginia Democrat), Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy (Rhode Island Democrat) and his cousin, California’s first lady Maria Shriver; Sen. Jay Rockefeller (West Va. Democrat); French Ambassador Pierre Vimont ; and MSNBC political commentator Chris Matthews. The group wined and dined as former Miss America Phyllis George appealed to guests to pony up donations for research and educational efforts to combat the disease, which affects about 5.3 million Americans.

One of the dinner speakers, in fact, estimated that one in four of the guests already had Alzheimer’s without even knowing it — which elicited a loud guffaw from one of the diners as he sipped his water.

Apparently, he wasn’t aware that Alzheimer’s is no joke.

Sexy pics may nix Miss Russia

Russian tabloids on Thursday questioned the participation of their country’s contestant in the Miss World beauty pageant after erotic photos of her came to light.

According to Agence France-Presse, the pictures of Miss Russia, Sofiya Rudeva, 19, were published on the Internet. One report said they were taken when she was 14 or 15 and were originally published in a men’s magazine.

Competition rules say that candidates for the Miss Russia title should not appear in pornographic pictures or videos.

DUI charge for Miss Montana

In other tarnished beauty queen news, Miss Montana Jennifer Hepner has been charged with driving under the influence and has been suspended from her duties with the pageant, says Associated Press.

The 23-year-old University of Montana graduate student had been pulled over Jan. 3 and refused to submit to alcohol screening, breath or blood tests. Her license was seized and suspended.

The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reported Wednesday that Miss Hepner has pleaded not guilty. She is also fighting the license suspension.

Her lawyer says her requests to speak with an attorney during the traffic stop were denied.

The lawyer also says Miss Hepner was allowed to participate in the Miss America pageant Jan. 24, but her Miss Montana duties were suspended Feb. 16. The Miss America Organization says Miss Hepner will retain her tiara until the next Miss Montana is crowned June 20.

Ex ‘Grey’s star facing eviction

Isaiah Washington‘s landlord has started an eviction procedure against the former “Grey’s Anatomy” star, claiming he owes $100,000 in rent, AP reports.

Documents filed in Santa Monica, Calif., on Tuesday claim that Mr. Washington and his wife have fallen behind on their $20,000 a month payments on a home in the Venice area of Los Angeles. The complaint filed by Sandalwood Properties states the Washingtons have not paid rent since November.

A phone message left with Mr. Washington’s agent was not immediately returned.

The 45-year-old actor lost his role on “Grey’s Anatomy” in 2007 after using a slur against homosexuals at the Golden Globe Awards. He has since appeared in a handful of episodes in other TV series.

The filing was first reported by RadarOnline.com.

Cat attack claim challenged

A “Project Runway” finalist admits that she “gently” tossed her cat onto a bed. But Kenley Collins denies that she used the feline as a weapon during a spat with her ex-fiance.

Miss Collins spoke Wednesday after a Brooklyn court hearing. She was told that an assault charge against her would be reduced to a misdemeanor.

Her former flame, Zak Penley, told authorities that Miss Collins woke him by hurling the cat in his face. He said that was followed by a laptop toss. Three apples and some water also made it into the mix.

Miss Collins had a sharp-tongued reputation on the Bravo TV fashion-design competition. Mr. Penley, an artist and musician, wrote a song called “CAT?” for Miss Collins’ “Runway” finale.

The budding designer was arrested March 17.

By Stephanie Green, Liz Glover and Robyn-Denise Yourse from staff and wire reports

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