Names & Faces: The Taylors, Swift and Lautner; Dennis Hopper; Marilyn Monroe
Taylor times two?
Taylor Swift and Taylor Lautner! The rumors have been rampant. Theirs would be a tween-dream romance that Disney Channel executives couldn't storyboard more perfectly, from their squeaky-clean reputations to their identical first names. Are they really dating?
The evidence piled up this week. Swift -- the 19-year-old country music sensation -- met Lautner -- the buff, 17-year-old "Twilight" star -- at the Los Angeles airport Sunday, People magazine reports. Later, they attended a hockey game together. On Monday, Lautner showed up on the set of Swift's Band Hero video-game commercial; that night, the couple had dinner with Swift's mom, Andrea.
But wait -- there's more! On Wednesday, Lautner was seen shopping with Swift and her mom. (How's that for telling?) After a group dinner at Ruth's Chris Steak House, Lautner took Swift for a spin in his new Audi sports car.
On the fifth day, they rested -- and Swift got coy about their relationship in a handful of interviews. When asked about the hockey outing on Thursday's "Ellen DeGeneres Show," the singer chalked it up to happy coincidence: "I really like hockey a lot and, it turns out, so does he."
An interviewer on CMT Radio Live got a little more direct, bringing up the romance rumors. Swift deftly obfuscated: "I don't know, he's an amazing guy and we're really close . . . and ah . . . yep," she said.
Of course, Swift and Lautner are smart, polished and media savvy -- and play a teenage couple in the rom-com "Valentine's Day," out next year. So, short of an official confirmation, keep this in mind: We could be witnessing a promotional stunt that Disney Channel executives couldn't storyboard more perfectly.
Hopper fighting cancer
Actor Dennis Hopper has prostate cancer, his manager confirmed to the Associated Press.
Hopper, 73, has canceled all travel plans to focus on treatment through a "special program" at the University of Southern California. As for the actor's prognosis, Hopper's manager would not elaborate -- saying only that they are hoping for the best.
Hopper recently finished shooting the second season of "Crash," a TV version of Paul Haggis's 2004 film. Hopper also has several film projects in the works.
No company for Monroe
A chance to spend eternity with Marilyn Monroe isn't so recession-proof after all: A second eBay auction of the marble mausoleum crypt above Monroe's remains in a Los Angeles cemetery didn't fetch any bids, AP reports.
The first auction, in August, netted a bid of $4.6 million -- but that fell through when the winner, an unidentified Japanese man, said he couldn't pay. Although several people were preapproved to bid in the second round, no one did.
Elsie Poncher -- whose late husband bought the crypt from Monroe's ex-husband, Joe DiMaggio, in 1954 -- had hoped to pay her mortgage with proceeds from the crypt's sale. She's "weighing her options," a family rep told AP.
Spotted: Former British prime minister Tony Blair and two of his staffers having dinner at the Oval Room on Thursday night. Blair was in town for an event about community schools at the Center for American Progress.
Expecting: Actress Paula Patton, 33, and her husband, 32-year-old singer Robin Thicke. The baby will be the couple's first. Thicke's mother, former soap opera star Gloria Loring, broke the news on Facebook.
Quoted: "Dada-dada ring on it! Dada-dada ring on it!" -- Tom Hanks's rendition of "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)." An AP reporter asked the actor to name his favorite song of 2009 at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 25th anniversary concert Thursday. "That is a damn fine song, the Beyoncé song . . . because it's infectious," Hanks replied.
-- Marissa Newhall, from staff, wire and Web reports