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Side show

By SHARON FINK, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published March 7, 2003

BACK HOME UNHARMED, COUSIN IT JR.: A wig stolen from Cher's unguarded wardrobe room after a Feb. 25 concert in Richmond, Va., was returned to police Tuesday, and spokeswoman Christie Collins says the suspects are two "fans," as opposed to two members of an international wig-stealing ring.

The wig -- the dark parts are black, the light ones teal -- was turned in after investigators got a "promising lead," the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports.

A police employee heard a man at a business bragging Tuesday that he had the wig, which a Cher spokeswoman says is worth $8,000 to $10,000. A detective then talked to the man, who said he had given the wig to a woman.

Tuesday afternoon, a woman turned in the wig before the detective could track down the woman the man claimed had it, police say.

It -- the wig -- is being held as a material witness. Coliseum manager Larry W. Wilson Jr. says the thieves will be prosecuted "to the fullest extent of the law."

* * *

DON'T TAKE IT PERSONALLY: Let's recap: Fearing that this group of finalists will actually have less talent than the first one, the American Idol producers decide to go with 12 instead of the usual 10. To fill the final four spots, they then bring in nine candidates, only two of whom have discernible talent, thus guaranteeing their fear will become reality.

But having more finalists means having more episodes than last time -- more episodes of a ratings monolith in a TV season in which Fox has hope, albeit slim, of finishing as the No. 1 network for the first time. And it makes every business that sells TV remotes happy because the Idol millions will be buying new ones in waves as their mute buttons wear out over the rest of the competition.

* * *

WATCH HIS LANGUAGE: Does Rudy Giuliani really call people "panty-sniffers"?

That's how he, as played by James Woods, refers to a Village Voice reporter in one scene of the TV movie Rudy!, which airs on the USA network on March 30-31.

Stanley Weiser, who is credited with the script, tells New York's Daily News that the term wasn't in any version he saw. Giuliani spokeswoman Sunny Mindel says only, "We had nothing to do with this movie." The Daily News says that one Giuliani source claims to have never heard the former mayor and 9/11 icon call anyone a "panty-sniffer."

Weiser thinks the line was ad-libbed by Woods.

We can't imagine Woods calling anyone a panty-sniffer, either.

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