Sir Paul gets by with a little help from lawyers

Posted: February 12, 2008

NO MATTER HOW painful it was to watch the marathon Grammy Awards Sunday night - gee, let's show how universal music is and have a reggae singer do country music while a chamber quartet plays fiddle riffs under the direction of a heavy metal guitarist - it was probably still better than going to court.

But at least now we know why Paul McCartney didn't make the umpteenth Grammy tribute to the Beatles.

Sir Paul was in a London courtroom yesterday trying to reach a divorce settlement with Heather Mills.

The "Hi Hi Hi" High Court hearing was called to divide up the ex-Beatle's fortune of as much $1.6 billion (one estimate pegs it at under $400 million), but what happened on the first day of the five-day hearing is shrouded in secrecy.

In Britain, divorce proceedings are heard in private and courtroom windows were papered over.

Heather looked tense and said nothing as she entered the court wearing a gray suit and bright pink shirt. Sir Paul arrived wearing a gray pinstriped suit and a black-and-white wool scarf. He said "good morning" to a group of reporters as he entered court carrying a large black case.

He was accompanied by his lawyer, Fiona Shackleton. Heather, who fired her legal team late last year, is believed to be representing herself.

Reports have suggested Paul has offered Heather around $50 million, but she is seeking at least double that amount.

Legal experts said several factors would be taken into account, including the couple's 4-year-old daughter, Beatrice; the relative brevity of their marriage; and that most of Paul's wealth was generated before he married Heather in 2002.

Hey, he wrote "Yesterday" before she was even born.

* In a well-timed related story, Britain's News of the World reports that Heather, "the one-legged ex-hooker," as the paper likes to call her, cheated on Sir Paul with some bloke named Tim Steel for six months.

As in most of the trysts exposed by News of the World, the sex was unbelievable.

"Heather was insatiable between the sheets," says Steel, "and she liked to call me her four-times-a-night guy. Our record was six."

(Yeah, well Paul's records were better.)

"Most of the time it was multiple orgasms," Steel continued. "Heather has a very unusual erogenous zone - her stump. I used to massage one particular sensitive area of it and give her an orgasm!"

Is that like playing "Stump the Hand"?


* Siegfried & Roy plan to make a one-night-only comeback next February, performing their signature show at a fundraiser more than five years after a tiger attack ended their long-running production on the Las Vegas Strip.

The pair will perform at the Lou Ruvo Brain Institute's "Keep Memory Alive" fundraiser. This year, tickets to the charity dinner cost $1,500; the most recent event raised more than $12 million.

Publicist Dave Kirvin said yesterday the German-born duo are working out plans for the act, adding that he would be "very surprised if animals were not part of the performance."

Asking the obvious question, if animals aren't part of the performance how could it be their signature show?

* In her new film, "Elegy," Penelope Cruz stars as a student who has an affair with her professor, played by Ben Kingsley.

Asked whether she thought about aging herself, Cruz replied: "I'm looking forward to (it) . . . I want to experience things; I'm looking forward to having backaches and using that in my work."

Whenever we use backaches in our work our work suffers.

* The estate of "Lord of the Rings" creator J.R.R. Tolkien is suing New Line Cinema, claiming the company failed to pay a cut of gross profits for the blockbuster films.

The writer's estate, a British charity dubbed The Tolkien Trust, and original "Lord of the Rings" publisher HarperCollins filed the suit yesterday in L.A.

The suit claims New Line was required to pay 7.5 percent of gross receipts from the films to Tolkien's estate and the other plaintiffs.

The "The Lord of the Rings" movie trilogy has reaped nearly $6 billion worldwide, which in Hollywood accounting terms means it's approaching break-even.

The plaintiffs seek more than $150 million in compensatory damages, unspecified punitive damages and a court order giving the Tolkien estate the right to terminate any rights New Line may have to make films based on other works by the author.

"The Tolkien trustees do not file lawsuits lightly, and have tried unsuccessfully to resolve their claims out of court," Steven Maier, an attorney for the Tolkien estate based in Britain, said in a statement. "New Line has not paid the plaintiffs even one penny of its contractual share of gross receipts despite the billions of dollars of gross revenue generated by these wildly successful motion pictures."

Maier also claims New Line has blocked the Tolkien estate and the other plaintiffs from auditing the receipts of the last two films.

Movie studios hide their books and not pay royalties?

It's a hard Hobbit to break. *

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