Where Was Oprah?
Oprah Winfrey's absence from the funeral last week of Ebony and Jet magazine founder John H. Johnson was noticed. A column in the Chicago Defender Thursday pointed out that former president Bill Clinton, Jesse Jackson and other personalities made it to the media pioneer's Aug. 15 funeral in Chicago, and wondered why didn't she. Chicago Defender editor Roland Martin called Winfrey's no-show an "apparent snub of the man who single-handedly made it possible for people like Oprah to launch their own magazines and media companies."
Winfrey told Martin that she had been in Hawaii and was unable to return for the services, Martin said in his column Friday. She offered to provide copies of the notes she sent to Johnson's widow, Eunice, and his daughter, Linda Johnson Rice, as well as a receipt for the flowers she sent to Johnson's publishing company, Martin wrote.
"I am furious at the allegations because it's just not true," Martin quoted her as saying in a telephone conversation.
Winfrey told Martin she plans to pay tribute to Johnson when her show returns from summer hiatus. Johnson died Aug. 8 of heart failure at the age of 87.
The Real Iron Maiden
Ozzfest organizer Sharon Osbourne admitted pulling the plug on Iron Maiden during their Aug. 20 performance in Devore, Calif., their last with the tour. The group was then pelted with eggs and debris. In a statement Thursday, Osbourne said she had taken umbrage at onstage taunts from Iron Maiden vocalist Bruce Dickinson such as "We don't need a reality show to be legit."
"Was Dickinson so naive to think that I was going to let him get away with talking [expletive] about my family night after night?" Osbourne's statement read. "I don't think he realizes who he's dealing with." She signed the letter as the "real Iron Maiden."
Iron Maiden manager Ron Smallwood said he has "never seen anything anywhere near as disgusting and unprofessional as what went on that night."
Missing Producer Found
A nearly week-long search for Grammy-nominated music producer Christian Julian Irwin (aka Chris Julian) ended Friday when a Topanga Canyon, Calif., resident found him sitting naked in a back yard creek, washing his jeans. The producer said he was being pursued by people who had contacted him in an Internet scam. Irwin was taken into custody by police who said he was mentally incompetent and possibly dangerous to himself.
Authorities began looking for Irwin last Sunday after he made a cell phone call to a friend saying he was being chased by people with dogs, and had lost his shoes and glasses running through water. According to sheriff's Capt. Ray Peavy, there was no evidence that anyone was pursuing Irwin.
Irwin was taken to a nearby hospital and questioned by medical and mental health officials. He was scheduled to be transferred to another hospital for observation.
The 48-year-old producer has worked with David Bowie, Isaac Hayes, De La Soul, Queen Latifah and Carly Simon, among others.
Noted . . .
Comedian Chris Farley received a posthumous star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame Friday. Friends, family and former "Saturday Night Live" co-stars gathered for the ceremony in front of the Improv Olympic West theater, where Farley used to perform. "I think it's sweet that everyone still has a real nice place in their hearts for him, they still remember him," said actor and comedian David Spade, who appeared with Farley on "Saturday Night Live" from 1990 to '95. "He goes down as one of the greats. And I still think about him every day," Spade said. Other "SNL" alums in attendance were Adam Sandler and Chris Rock. "I think every fat comedian owes him 80 bucks that's working today," Rock said. Farley died in 1997 at age 33 of a drug overdose. . . .
Jazz pianist Dave Brubeck will unveil a choral work that has been a professional lifetime in the making. "It has taken me almost 60 years finally to compose something I wanted to write when I was a young soldier in Europe," the 84-year-old Brubeck said in a statement. Brubeck will unveil "The Commandments" Sept. 14 at New York's Lincoln Center as part of the second annual Jewish Music Heritage Festival. Brubeck said the inspiration came during World War II when he saw most of the commandments broken. . . .
Former "Lord of the Rings" hobbit Sean Astin will join the cast of Fox's "24," the network announced Friday. Also joining the cast is Jean Smart ("Garden State," "Designing Women"). The fifth season of the show is scheduled to premiere Jan. 8.
and Quoted . . .
"All of the sudden I'll be pinched on the rear and jump and turn around and I'll see this little blue-haired old lady running back to her group of friends going: 'I did it, Martha. I did it!' "
-- Patrick Swayze on when "Dirty Dancing" fans strike.
-- Compiled by Michael Cotterman
from wire reports