Luther Vandross Charged In Death

Posted: January 23, 1986

Luther Vandross was charged yesterday in Los Angeles with misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter and reckless driving in a Jan. 12 three-car accident that resulted in the death of a passenger in the soul singer's 1985 Mercedes- Benz. A prosecutor said the charges were filed against Vandross because he had been doing 50 in a 35-m.p.h. zone when he drifted across the center line of a winding road.

"We intend to vigorously defend against these charges," said Vandross' attorney, Anthony Glassman. "Virtually every neighbor in the vicinity has complained to the city that the section of road is an accident waiting to happen. Mr. Vandross was driving carefully and with the flow of traffic."

Vandross, 34, one of five people injured in the accident, was hospitalized for a week with broken ribs and facial cuts. If convicted, he could be jailed 18 months and fined $1,000. Police said there was no evidence of drug or alcohol use in the accident.

CLOSE CALL

Grace Jones was reported to be resting yesterday in her Manhattan apartment after almost having been killed on Friday in a water-skiing accident off Jamaica. A spokesman said the actress had fallen while skiing and had been knocked unconscious when struck by a trailing boat. She was fished out of the water by the driver of the second boat and her boyfriend, Dolph Lundgren, the Rocky IV actor, who was in the tow boat, the spokesman said. Jones was treated at a Kingston hospital for arm cuts and a strained neck.

YES, ROSS WILL WED

Norwegian shipping tycoon Arne Naess Jr. disclosed yesterday in Oslo that he would marry Diana Ross in a Swiss church on Feb. 1. He declined to say anything more about the wedding, which has long been rumored. Last year, Naess climbed Mount Everest with a Norwegian expedition.

NOVEL BY CASH

Country singer Johnny Cash has sold his first novel, and Harper & Row said that a first printing of 100,000 copies would be out in September. The book, which deals with the transformation of its male hero, is titled Man in White. Cash's trademark for many years was his black clothes. "John spent nine years on this book and wrote every word," said his editor, Roy M. Carlisle. In a novel bit of marketing, Cash - who got a six-figure advance for his writing - will write and record a song to coincide with the book's publication.

PUNCHING BACK

The Soviet media, having blasted Sylvester Stallone's movie character John Rambo, are now going toe-to-toe with his other film persona, Rocky Balboa. A Soviet sports newspaper says that Rocky IV depicts a match between the title character and a Soviet boxer as "the opposition of two systems. . . . Hollywood is generous in feeding cinema audiences anti-Soviet stuff of this sort." But its real beef is with Stallone's physique: "Medical experts

from many nations mentioned more than once that body-building is dangerous, inefficient and is a pseudo-sport," said the newspaper, Soviet Sport. "It can be seen in some of the scenes of the movie that Stallone has lost his flexibility and it is difficult for him to bend." The publication said Stallone's hospitalization during the making of the movie was a demonstration of "the failure of this model of physical development."

FANTASTIQUE!

Soprano Leontyne Price and novelist Saul Bellow were among six Americans named Tuesday by the French government to receive medals making them commandeurs in the French Order of Arts and Letters. The others were Yale University president A. Bartlett Giamatti, Boston University president John R. Silber and New York Times editors A. M. Rosenthal and Arthur Gelb. Created in 1957, the order cites "those persons who have distinguished themselves by creative work in the fields of arts and humanities."

NO CONSOLATION?

Isaac Bashevis Singer may have won the Nobel Prize for literature, but it didn't make him feel any better about his perceived limitations as a writer. ''I've always felt I've never done well," said Singer. "I've always felt I should have done better. It was true when I was 30. It is true at 81. If I'm famous, I cannot stop it or enhance it. Only today, I know better what I'm doing when I write. When I was 20 years old, I didn't know what I was doing."

|
|
|
|
|