NAMES & FACES

Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck won't be able to make tonight's
Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck won't be able to make tonight's "Night Out With the Stars" benefit. (By Kevin Winter -- Getty Images)
Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Royal Crown? Beverage Aisle.

Kings -- they're just like the rest of us. Jordan's King A bdullah II was spotted strolling through the aisles of Georgetown's Safeway Sunday afternoon like a normal shopper -- except for the plainclothes security agents.

According to a Safeway rep, the king is a near-regular: "Most of the time when he's in town, he'll come in."

Shopper John Boffa said the 43-year-old monarch went casual in a polo shirt and jeans. "He was using a shopping cart and was just picking up groceries like any ordinary person," said Boffa. "Nine out of 10 people shopping there didn't know who he was."

"Never in my life have I seen a king do his own grocery shopping on a Sunday afternoon," Boffa added.

Boffa wasn't able to sneak a peek into the king's cart -- his security detail shadowed the monarch's every move -- but we wonder if he might have had royal-friendly food like king-sized candy bars, Swanson's Chicken a la King and Bigelow Raspberry Royale tea in the five shopping bags he toted out. Hope he used his Safeway Club Card!

Ben & Jen Send Their Regrets

A prominent Hollywood couple will be conspicuously absent from tonight's Capitol Hill gala "A Night Out With the Stars," a fundraiser to fight the neurodegenerative disease ataxia-telangiectasia.

Actor Ben Affleck, who has been involved with the charity bash for several years now, and his very pregnant wife, "Alias" star Jennifer Garner , were last year's big stars at the gathering. In lieu of attending, the Afflecks released a statement that said, "We are sorry that we couldn't be there. . . . It's good and important work . . . we'll see you next year."

A rep for the event said a reason was not given for the stars' absence (but Garner is due in November) and added, "They're very tight-lipped about their private lives." Suzi Kindregan , a spokeswoman for tonight's charity, the A-T Children's Project, said Affleck told her 17-year-old son Joe , who has A-T, that "next year there'll be the three of us."

'Survivor': R.I.

"Survivor" champ Richard Hatch pleaded not guilty yesterday in Providence, R.I., to charges that he did not pay taxes on his $1 million winnings from the popular CBS show.

The 44-year-old Newport resident is charged with tax evasion, filing a false tax return, wire fraud, bank fraud and mail fraud, and was released on a $50,000 bond. Hatch is also accused of using donations made to his charity for personal expenses and failing to pay taxes on hundreds of thousands of dollars of other income.

If found guilty of all charges, Hatch could face a maximum 75 years in prison and millions of dollars in fines.

Another Scrum?

Oscar-winning actor and alleged amateur phone hurler Russell Crowe is in negotiations to buy an Australian rugby team.

The 41-year-old has his eye on the South Sydney Rabbitohs, a member of Australia's National Rugby League. "You're actually talking about rugby league fantasy stuff," Crowe tells the Associated Press.

Crowe has been charged with throwing a phone at a New York hotel concierge in June. If convicted, he could face up to seven years in jail and could lose his right to work in the United States.

With Crowe at the helm, will the Rabbitohs change their name to the slightly catchier Fighting Phone-Throwers?

End Note

ยท Lil' Kim headed to the slammer yesterday to begin her prison sentence of one year and a day for perjury. The 30-year-old rapper was convicted of lying to a federal grand jury to protect friends involved in a 2001 gunfight outside a New York City radio station.

-- Compiled by Korin Miller from staff and wire reports


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