- - Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The man convicted of gunning down the mother, brother and 7-year-old nephew of Academy Award-winning actress Jennifer Hudson was sentenced to life in prison Tuesday.

Ms. Hudson, who attended every day of William Balfour’s trial earlier this year, sat next to her sister at the hearing in Chicago and at one point dabbed her eyes with a tissue.

The sentencing hearing came a little more than two months after a jury convicted Balfour in the Oct. 24, 2008, shooting deaths of Ms. Hudson’s 57-year-old mother Darnell Donerson, her 29-year-old brother Jason Hudson and her 7-year-old nephew Julian King. The judge sentenced Balfour to three terms of life in prison plus 120 years on other charges.

“You have the heart of an arctic night,” Cook County Circuit Judge Charles Burns told Balfour. “Your soul is as barren as dark space.”

Before the sentencing, Judge Burns denied a request for a new trial from Balfour’s defense.

Jackman to begin filming for ‘Wolverine’ in Sydney

Hugh Jackman will begin filming the next installment of his “X-Men” spin-off movies, “The Wolverine,” in Sydney, Australia, next week, even though the female lead has yet to be confirmed.

“I am so happy to be home. To be shooting a movie of this magnitude here at home to me is one of the great privileges I’ve had in my career,” Mr. Jackman told reporters on the set of the film.

Director James Mangold rejected reports that Jessica Biel had pulled out as the female lead at the last minute but refused to comment on who would be playing the role of the villainous mutant Viper.

Mr. Jackman, who admitted struggling to get into shape for the film after packing on the pounds to play Jean Valjean in “Les Miserables,” said his role as Wolverine, which he first played 12 years ago, was “the backbone of my career.”

“I love the character. I still love the character,” he said. “I had no choice at the time, I was going to take anything that came along, but I happened to have walked into probably the most interesting and complex of the superhero characters.

“I’ve always loved playing it, and when I stop loving it I’ll stop doing it,” he added.

Rock Hall of Fame to honor Chuck Berry

One of rock’s pioneers will be celebrated by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this fall.

Chuck Berry will be honored by the hall as part of its American Music Masters series.

Mr. Berry was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986. In October, the icon will be the subject of a week-long celebration by the hall and Case Western Reserve University. It kicks off Oct. 22 and ends with an all-star tribute concert on Oct 27. Performers have yet to be announced, though Mr. Berry is set to take the stage.

In a statement released Tuesday, 82-year-old Berry said he is “looking forward to reelin’ and rockin’ in Cleveland.”

Jackson executors concerned about singer’s mother, children

The executors of Michael Jackson’s estate say they are concerned about the welfare of the singer’s mother and his three children amid a family feud.

In a letter posted on fan sites Tuesday, executors John Branca and John McClain say they are doing what they can to protect those family members from “undue influences, bullying, greed, and other unfortunate circumstances.”

The letter came hours after sheriff’s deputies responded to a family disturbance at the hilltop home where Katherine Jackson and her three grandchildren live.

Authorities say no arrests were made, but there is an active battery investigation. Mrs. Jackson was reported missing over the weekend but is with relatives in Arizona.

The letter from Mr. Branca and Mr. McClain says they don’t have standing to intervene in the guardianship of Jackson’s children, but unspecified steps are being taken to protect them.

Cybill Shepherd planning third trip down the aisle

Actress Cybill Shepherd is hoping the third time’s the charm.

The 62-year-old’s publicist confirms Ms. Shepherd is planning to marry a jeweler-turned-psychologist named Andrei Nikolajevic.

News of the engagement was first reported by the Daily News in New York.

Ms. Shepherd was previously married to David Ford and Bruce Oppenheim and has three children from those relationships.

In an AP interview in March for her TV show “The Client List,” Ms. Shepherd confirmed she had a boyfriend and said they “managed to stay under the radar.” She said she was “very happy” with her life.

Compiled from Web and wire reports

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