Three-time Grammy winner Seal, who was to perform with Aaliyah in October, is devastated by the death of the rising R&B star.
He met her just two weeks ago, when they got together to talk about which songs to perform at an Oct. 27 breast cancer benefit at the Greek Theatre. "You meet and touch somebody and then, two weeks later, they're dead. I kept thinking: 'It's just a dream. I'm going to wake up in a bit.' But she isn't here," Seal said. "It's really sad. She was so young and with such a promising future."
Aaliyah was returning from a video shoot in the Bahamas when her plane crashed on Saturday, killing her and eight others. Seal heard the news Saturday night when a friend left a phone message, saying Aaliyah had been in an accident. "I thought she had survived. It didn't dawn upon me that she was actually dead. It was devastating," he said.
At the October benefit, Seal plans to perform with Stephan Jenkins of Third Eye Blind, who will co-produce the concert with Step Up Women's Network. The money raised will be donated in Aaliyah's name to the Revlon/UCLA Breast Center and New York's Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Jenkins told us Aaliyah's death "made me cry like a baby."
Winona Ryder has pulled out of the British indie film "Lily and the Secret Planting," forcing producers to suspend the project and recast the lead role. Ryder worked just two days on the London set before a stomach bug sent her to the hospital for two days. She rested in her hotel room for five days, then flew back to California last weekend.
"I am terribly disappointed," Ryder said in a statement. "I fell in love with this script as soon as I read it, and was really looking forward to working with [director] Hettie Macdonald. I hope to find an opportunity to work with them in the future."
It's unclear what caused Ryder's illness. Her publicist, Mara Buxbaum, assured us that Ryder's departure had nothing to do with intense anxiety attacks that forced the actress to leave "Godfather III" in 1990. Word is that Kate Winslet will replace Ryder in the low-budget romantic comedy.
"American Pie" starlet Tara Reid testified Wednesday before a Suffolk County, N.Y., grand jury handling the case of her friend, publicist Lizzie Grubman, who's accused of deliberately backing her father's Mercedes SUV into a crowd outside a trendy Hamptons night spot.
The 26-year-old actress is one of several witnesses who have been called to testify before the panel. Before the accident, Reid reportedly was with Grubman at a Southampton party thrown by designer Alex Von Furstenberg. Grubman, 30, has been charged with assault, leaving the scene of an accident and reckless endangerment, and is free on $25,000 bail. She has apologized for the crash, which injured 16 people.
Five supporting cast members of Ted Danson's CBS series "Becker" say in a lawsuit that they are underpaid even though their show is watched by as many people as "Frasier." They want raises, and they've gone to court to try to get them. Terry Farrell, Hattie Winston, Alex Desert, Shawnee Smith and Saverio Guerra claim in their Los Angeles Superior Court suit that they were promised their pay would be renegotiated for the show's fourth season. The suit alleges that Paramount Television Group didn't hold up its end of an Aug. 4, 2000, written agreement.
Paramount has "obstinately refused to negotiate" with the supporting cast, according to the suit. The five actors say they have not received a raise since the show began airing in 1998. Danson, the star, is not a party to the suit. Paramount had no comment.
Composer Michael Kamen dedicated his theme for "Band of Brothers," HBO's 10-hour World War II drama, to an uncle who was killed in Germany three days before the war ended. "This theme was written as a requiem for an uncle I had never met," Kamen told us by phone. His father's twin, Capt. Paul Kamen, died when his convoy was bombed by a German plane.
Kamen auditioned his score for "Band of Brothers" producers Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg, with a live performance by the 100-piece London Metropolitan Orchestra. Hanks "stood up and applauded" after the performance, said Kamen, then asked to hear it five more times. The miniseries, about the experiences of Easy Company, 506th Regiment of the U.S. Army's 101st Airborne Division, is based on the writings of Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Stephen E. Ambrose.
"I'm a movie star. Can I talk to my entertainment lawyer?"
--"American Pie" star Natasha Lyonne, to a Miami police officer who arrested her on suspicion of careless driving, leaving the scene of an accident and driving under the influence, according to the New York Daily News.
Times staff writers Gina Piccalo and Louise Roug contributed to this column. City of Angles runs Tuesday-Friday. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.