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Posted at 01:00 AM ET, 12/29/2011

Names and Faces: Steven Tyler, Josh Earnest, Dave McKenna, Arlen Specter, Woody Guthrie, “Cheetah”

The Reliable Source is on vacation until the new year. (Please enjoy our Reliable Source Person of the Year and other highlights of 2011.) Names and Faces is the column that runs in its space in the Style section.

Steven Tyler may be engaged to longtime girlfriend Erin Brady, who wore a large diamond ring when the couple was photographed recently in Hawaii. According to TMZ, sources close to the “American Idol” judge say it’s an engagement ring. A representative at Tyler’s management company could not be reached for comment.

Tyler and Brady, a model, have been dating since 2006. The Aerosmith frontman was previously married to fashion designer Teresa Barrick from 1988 to 2006, and to Warhol film star Cyrinda Foxe from 1978 to 1987.

More Hawaiian heat

White House deputy press secretary Josh Earnest popped the question to Treasury Department spokesperson Natalie Wyeth on Christmas Eve, and she said yes. The happy couple was toasted by reporters Monday night at Moana Surfrider in Honolulu, followed by a sushi dinner at Sansei restaurant in the Waikiki Beach Marriott, our colleague David Nakamura reports.

McKenna leaving City Paper

Dave McKenna, the veteran City Paper writer whose story about Redskins owner Dan Snyder prompted Snyder to sue the Washington publication earlier this year, is leaving the paper’s staff. McKenna has been writing for the weekly for 26 years, and was primarily known for his “Cheap Seats” column, which featured offbeat and unusual local sports stories and often tweaked the city’s powerful sports moguls, especially Snyder. City Paper editor Michael Schaffer declined to elaborate on the reasons for McKenna’s departure, but told The Post’s Paul Farhi they were unrelated to Snyder’s lawsuit. He said he hoped McKenna would continue to contribute articles to the paper.

Specter goes for the laughs

A video from Philadelphia’s Helium Comedy Club that surfaced Tuesday on Philly.com shows former senator Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) taking the stage as a stand-up comic. “I’ve been in comedy for 30 years,” Specter says. “The only difference is it’s not stand-up, we all have comfortable chairs. It costs about $27 million to win a seat in the United States Senate, so when you win one, you like to sit down.”

Other jokes include bawdy jabs at Bill and Hillary Clinton and Herman Cain.

Woody Guthrie archive sold

The archive of folk troubadour Woody Guthrie has been bought by a Tulsa foundation that plans to display it in a new center dedicated to the Oklahoma native. The George Kaiser Family Foundation will open the Woody Guthrie Center in Tulsa in 2012, in time for the centennial of the legendary folk singer’s birth.

Among the collection, the purchase price of which was not disclosed, is a handwritten copy of Guthrie’s anthem “This Land Is Your Land.” Guthrie, who died of Huntington’s disease in 1967, was a key influence on songwriters such as Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and the Clash’s Joe Strummer.

‘Tarzan’ chimp said to die

A Florida primate sanctuary reports that Cheetah the Chimp, of 1930s “Tarzan” films fame, has died. The Suncoast Primate Sanctuary Foundation said the animal died Dec. 24 from kidney failure.

Some doubt this was the chimp that played second banana to Johnny Weissmuller in the jungle films. Some Hollywood accounts, the AP said, indicate that another chimp played the role in the early years. Also, a 2008 Washington Post Magazine piece, by writer R.D. Rosen, debunked a similar claim about yet another chimp.

Debbie Cobb of the Florida sanctuary said her grandparents bought the chimp from Weissmuller in 1960 but said any documentation had been destroyed in a 1995 fire.

This “Cheetah” was thought to be about 80 years old, which made him one of the world’s oldest chimpanzees.

By Michael Cotterman  |  01:00 AM ET, 12/29/2011

 
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