People talk 2/17/03

Monday, February 17, 2003

Yoko, turning 70, keeps busy with John's legacy

NEW YORK-- More than 30 years after the breakup of the Beatles and on the brink of her 70th birthday, Yoko Ono has become philosophical about the days when many Beatles fans hated her and blamed her for the band's demise.

"I think that through that kind of incredible, strange confrontation, people started to understand me," the widow of John Lennon told the New York Post for a story in Sunday's editions.

Ono turns 70 on Tuesday and more than 200 guests are expected to attend a cocktail reception in her honor at a Manhattan restaurant, the Post said.

Ono keeps busy these days managing the legacy of her late husband and producing dance mixes of his music and her own. She is about to release a dance mix of Lennon's "Walking on Thin Ice" -- the song Lennon was working on the night he was murdered in 1980.

"If he's observing me from up there, I'm sure he's proud of me," Ono said. "It's going to go on and on. This is what I love now, so it's great."

Hitmaker Pearlman investigated by Florida

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Boy-band hitmaker Lou Pearlman is the target of a state probe into complaints that hundreds of aspiring models and actors were duped into paying up to $1,500 each for spots on his company's Web site.

Clients say they were led to believe that Pearlman's company, Trans Continental Talent Inc., would help them find work -- not just post their pictures online.

The investigation, which began in August, has turned up "hundreds of potential violations" but no one who actually landed a job through the company, Assistant Attorney General Jackie Dowd said.

Pearlman, best known for launching the Backstreet Boys and 'N Sync, said in a statement Friday he was unaware of the investigation.

Aerosmith drummer Kramer bulldozes house

MARSHFIELD, Mass. -- Aerosmith drummer Joey Kramer knows a thing or two about bringing down the house.

The 52-year-old rocker has taken the bulldozer to his 15-room mansion south of Boston to build cozier quarters in its place.

Kramer had put the 1910 Georgian colonial on the market in 2001 for $3.75 million but opted to downsize the residence instead after it failed to sell, The Patriot Ledger of Quincy reported.

Kramer's new seven-room home is half the size of the old one, but he and his wife, April, will be able to host friends at a new pool house and offer plenty of parking in two garages that can hold 10 cars.

Liz Taylor gives AIDS address from wheelchair

DANA POINT, Calif. -- A nasty cold and a broken foot that put her in a wheelchair couldn't keep Elizabeth Taylor from appearing at a benefit for AIDS research. After all, Gov. Gray Davis had declared it Elizabeth Taylor Day for her work in support of the cause.

The actress made her planned address at the Feb. 8 gala, although she missed a dinner preceding it -- disappointing some 70 partygoers who'd paid $2,000 each to dine with her and other celebrities including Warren Beatty, Annette Bening, Carrie Fisher, Penny Marshall and Tom Petty.

"Every day is filled with threats ... but the reality is, we are in the middle of one of the worst threats, global AIDS," Taylor told about 600 people at Orange County's St. Regis Hotel after gingerly making her way to the stage. "As of January, 42 million people worldwide are affected. In 1984, I made a vow to myself and a vow to God to do something. Together, we will!"

The benefit raised $230,000 for AIDS Services Foundation Orange County and the Laguna Art Museum.

-- From wire reports

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