Singer Anastacia, 29, has breast cancer

Posted: January 22, 2003

Pop singer Anastacia yesterday said that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer.

The cancer was discovered last week during a routine checkup, the 29-year-old said in a statement.

"My doctor was insistent that I have a mammogram even though it was not required. He saved my life!" she said.

"I appreciate all who are concerned, but please don't worry. Either way, I have no intention of letting this news get me down. I'm a fighter by nature and nothing will ever change that."

Representatives declined to discuss other details of the illness or the singer's planned treatment. Publicist Paul Freundlich said Anastacia is in dance rehearsals in New York and plans to finish a video for her latest single, "Love Is a Crime," featured on the soundtrack of Chicago.

Bobby Brown hospitalized

Bobby Brown, who was sent to jail in Georgia last week for drunken driving, has been hospitalized, authorities said yesterday. The singer was transported from the DeKalb County Jail to Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta around 3 a.m., a spokeswoman for the DeKalb County Sheriff's Office said. She declined to provide details, saying inmates' medical information is confidential.

Brown, the husband of Grammy winner Whitney Houston, entered jail Friday after pleading guilty to a 1996 drunken driving charge. He was sentenced to eight days, but the spokeswoman said Brown is eligible for release today under a "good time" policy that reduces sentences by 25 percent for good behavior.

If Brown is still in the hospital today, he could be released from custody without returning to the jail, she said.

Brown, who was put on two years' probation, also was ordered to perform community service and not to drive for a year.

He was arrested Nov. 7 on charges of possessing less than an ounce of marijuana, speeding, and having no driver's license or proof of insurance. After posting bond in Atlanta, he was transferred to the neighboring DeKalb County Jail to face the older charges.

Second helpings

Renee Zellweger, who piled on 20 pounds for Bridget Jones's Diary and then slimmed down to skin and bones for her role as Roxie Hart in Chicago, says she'll soon be packing the pounds back on for the Jones sequel.

Zellweger, 33, who was named best actress in a musical or comedy at the Golden Globes for Chicago, says she is preparing to reprise her comic role as the put-upon Londoner in The Edge of Reason, a sequel to the popular 2001 movie. Both films are based on Helen Fielding novels.

"I'm ready, willing and able," Zellweger told the London Times. "Bridget's a character I really identify with. I'll put the weight back on with pleasure."

Don't break a leg

Turns out Jackie Chan did use stunt doubles in The Tuxedo. Renowned for performing his own daredevil martial arts stunts - and breaking bones in the process - the 48-year-old action figure says he has started using body doubles, but only when necessary.

"I will use stunt doubles if you ask me to ride an F-16 jet fighter, or to jump over a series of hurdles with a crazy horse, or to perform two 720-degree somersaults," Chan said, responding to a report in the South China Morning Post.

The Post reported Chan used at least seven stunt doubles in The Tuxedo and quoted Chan as saying it wasn't his decision, and that the director and studio officials "call the shots."

"One somersault, I'll do it myself," Chan said. " . . . I won't do anything that is out of my capability."

In a 2001 interview, Chan estimated he could do his own stunts for only five more years.

Will she steal the show?

In her first screen effort since being convicted of shoplifting charges in November, Winona Ryder will join Everybody Loves Raymond star Ray Romano in Eulogy, a movie that also features Debra Winger, Hank Azaria, Monica Potter and Rip Torn.

The black comedy follows three generations of a dysfunctional family who come together for the funeral of the family patriarch. Michael Clancy wrote the script and will make his directing debut. Filming begins Feb. 21.

In December, Ryder was sentenced to three years' probation and 480 hours of community service, ordered to undergo counseling, and pay up to $10,000 in fines for her conviction on charges of grand theft and felony vandalism at Saks Fifth Avenue in Beverly Hills. Revelations in court records about her heavy drug use also sparked speculation about her chances of ever finding movie employment again.

Ryder most recently starred opposite Adam Sandler in Mr. Deeds, though to have seen the movie's advertisements, one would have been hard pressed to discover that she was even in it.

Last latte call

Put a hold on that order of tossed salad and scrambled eggs. The good doctor Frasier Crane may lose his practice after next year. The NBC comedy starring Kelsey Grammer, 47, won't be back to tickle viewers' funny bones after the 2003-04 season, according to Daily Variety, which reports a mutual lack of interest between Paramount, the show's producer, and the Peacock to renegotiate after NBC's three-year license deal expires in May 2004.

Ratings for Frasier have taken a hit this season - in large part because, as NBC programming chief Jeff Zucker admits, the network has done the show "no favors" with weak lead-in programming at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Grammer has publicly stated his desire to keep Frasier going until the show matches his previous sitcom, Cheers, in longevity. Cheers aired from 1982 to 1993; Frasier would match that mark next season. Insiders at NBC and Paramount stress that a final decision on the matter doesn't need to be made for a year.

Bagels, anyone?

Some people send flowers. Others dispatch congratulatory e-mails. But the day after Curb Your Enthusiasm comic and executive producer Jeff Garlin picked up a Golden Globe for best comedy series, Bill Blumenreich, big cheese of Boston's Comedy Connection club, had some sweet-and-sour whitefish salad from Zabar's, New York's gourmet grocery, FedExed to the funnyman. Oy. Such a golden gift!

No R-E-S-P-E-C-T?

Aretha Franklin did not cooperate with Bloomfield Township, Mich., police investigating a fire that destroyed the $1.6-million vacant mansion she used for storage, the Detroit News says.

On the morning of the Oct. 25 blaze, Franklin twice told township detectives by phone that she was "too tired" to talk and would call back - but she never did, the paper reported Monday. Franklin's attorney and her publicist insist she's cooperative, but detectives say she's not.

An investigation indicated that an accelerant was used to start fires in three locations on the first floor of the 10,000-square-foot mansion. No charges have been filed, and police officials said Franklin is not a suspect.

Contact staff writer Dianna Marder at 215-854-4211 or dmarder@phillynews.com.

Daily Variety, Reuters, AP Entertainment, and Inquirer wire services contributed to this column.

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