Names & Faces: Rush Limbaugh, Patrick Stewart, Tiger Woods, Silvio Berlusconi

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Space captain, 'X-Men' leader, knight

Patrick Stewart, the British actor known for his roles in "Star Trek: The Next Generation" and the "X-Men" movie series, has been tapped for knighthood, the New York Times reports.

The actor's name was included on Queen Elizabeth's annual honors list, which is announced at midnight on the last day each year to recognize distinguished service to Britain. Film and theater director Nicholas Hytner, whose productions include "The Madness of King George" and the play "Miss Saigon," was similarly honored.

Jazz pianist Marian McPartland, Rick Parfitt and Francis Rossi of boogie-rock band Status Quo, and Scottish film composer Craig Armstrong were among those to receive the distinction of membership in the Order of the British Empire, one level down from knighthood.

Grand day for Sully at Rose Parade

Chesley Sullenberger -- the pilot who landed a stricken jetliner on New York's Hudson River -- led the 121st annual New Year's parade Friday, the Associated Press reports. Sullenberger said he did not hesitate when asked to serve as grand marshal because his family has watched the parade for decades. "It's really an American institution, a celebration of American values," he said after the parade. "I think people see those in me, and I'm glad." The parade has also had its share of war heroes: In 1952, seven Medal of Honor awardees were co-grand marshals; World War I flying ace Eddie Rickenbacker led the parade in 1957. More recently, Regis Philbin, William Shatner and Kermit the Frog rode in the lead car and tossed the coin before the Rose Bowl game. For Terri Rubio, 58, the selection of Sullenberger was an inspiration. "He's not out to sell himself as a celebrity," she said. "He's a common person who's sticking to his values. He's cool under fire and saved so many lives."

Limbaugh's doctors find no problems

Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh is on the mend. At a news conference Friday, he said doctors found nothing wrong with him after he was hospitalized this week in Hawaii with sharp chest pains, Reuters reports. Limbaugh, 58, underwent an angiogram, or an imaging of the arteries and heart, to determine what caused the pain "like I have never experienced before," he said.

Move aside, Carla Bruni

Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi's nose may be broken, but his vocal cords, at least, remain intact. The politician -- who was briefly hospitalized in December after being attacked by a mentally unstable man -- has started work on a CD of love songs written in collaboration with composer Mariano Apicela, reports La Stampa and other Italian papers. The pair have worked together in the past, with Berlusconi composing the lyrics in previous CDs of Neapolitan ballads. As a young man -- prior to becoming a media mogul and politician -- the premier sang on a cruise ship. Nobody was immediately available in the premier's office to confirm the news reports Friday.

The cost of Tiger's 'transgressions'

The consequences of Tiger Woods's alleged extramarital hanky-panky go beyond the golfer's fat lip and wrecked car. His sponsors' pocketbooks will apparently take a beating, too. Reuters reports a recent study conducted by researchers at University of California at Davis estimates that the sex scandal may have cost shareholders of companies endorsed by the world's No. 1 golfer up to $12 billion.

Oscar-winning songwriter settles suit

The Academy Award-winning songwriter behind "You Light Up My Life" has ended his six-figure fight with a former fiancee. He had accused her of conning him out of cash and pricey gifts by hiding that she was already married.

A Manhattan judge approved a settlement between composer Joseph Brooks and Joaly Gomez last week. The settlement terms aren't specified.

The 71-year-old Brooks sued the 23-year-old Gomez in October. He wanted at least $2 million in damages and the return of the money, a $60,000 engagement ring and other presents. Gomez says Brooks knew she wasn't single.

Brooks, meanwhile, is still awaiting trial on sexual-assault charges. Prosecutors accuse him of 11 casting-couch rapes.

-- Aaron Leitko, from wire and Web reports

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