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Jewish Entertainment News

Last updated: 2003-09-29

Happy birthday Simone Hyams

Birthday Girl Simone Hyams

Comedian Billy Crystal is set to host the Oscars for the eighth time next year. The 55-year-old, widely regarded as one of the show’s most popular hosts, last fronted the awards ceremony in 2000, but says he is looking forward to returning. “I’ve had a nice long sleep,” he said, “But I’m really excited about coming back”. Crystal, who is best known for introducing the Oscar ceremony with a song-and-dance routine about each of the five Best Picture nominees, won Emmy awards for presenting the show in 1991, 1992 and 1998. Film-wise, he has been seen recently in Analyze That and America’s Sweethearts, as well as providing the voice of Mike Wazowski in the computer animated hit Monsters Inc.

Rocker and former Van Halen frontman David Lee Roth has been forced to cancel seven dates in his current US tour following an accident with a Samurai sword. The 47-year-old was performing a concert in Philadelphia when a martial arts stunt went wrong, resulting in him needing 22 stitches to his face. Lee Roth has said he hopes to reschedule the cancelled concerts for next year once his injuries have healed. He is still due to play in the UK next month, with a show at London’s Hammersmith Apollo on November 18.

Magician David Blaine has reached the halfway mark in his Tower Bridge stunt, which sees him trying to survive 44 days in a perspex box without food. The stunt has continued to grab headlines due to sabotage attempts from members of the public; the latest saw a 28-year-old man arrested after catapulting balloons filled with pink paint at Blaine’s box. It follows the arrest of a man two weeks ago for trying to cut the cables supplying the box with water.

The classic US show Sgt Bilko, which starred comedian Phil Silvers, has been named Best Sitcom of all time in a new list compiled by the Radio Times.  The show, which ran from 1955-1959, beat off competition from the likes of Fawlty Towers and The Simpsons. “Sgt Bilko is sitcom's high-water mark,” said historian Mark Lewisohn, who compiled the list. “In 2005 it'll be 50 years old and yet it's still hilarious - with great scripts and magnificent performances week after week by Phil Silvers”. Another Jewish comedian, Jerry Seinfeld, nabbed the runners-up spot in the list for his self-titled sitcom. The full list will be published later this week.

Barbra Streisand has admitted that she gave up performing live because she was bored by her own songs. The singer-actress, who gave up public performing in 2000, said,” I just get sick of it. That's why I gave up concerts - in addition to having stage fright and the exertion of singing 30 songs a night. It's boring to sing your own songs." Streisand, who is releasing a new album next month, sang at a Democratic fundraising benefit in Hollywood last year but says there is little chance she will perform live again.

In Brief:

  • Film director Elia Kazan, who made the controversial Jewish-themed film Gentlemen’s Agreement, has died aged 94. The film, which starred Gregory Peck as a journalist who investigates anti-Semitism by posing as a Jew, was released in 1947 and won three Oscars including Best Picture.
  • Bright Young Things, the directorial debut from comedian and author Stephen Fry, has received its UK premiere in London. Prince Charles was among those who attended the screening of the film, released on October 3.
  • FunkyDory, the debut solo album from former S Clubber Rachel Stevens, is released this week. It features the single Sweet Dreams My LA Ex, which reached number two in the charts…

Happy birthday this week to: Nanny actress Fran Drescher (46 on September 30), Clueless star Alicia Silverstone (27 on October 4) and former Grange Hill star Simone Hyams (32 on October 4).