WEEK IN REVIEW: Zellweger, Rocker Split Up
12/30/2004 AT 04:00 PM EST
GREATS REMEMBERED: Jerry Orbach, 69, star of TV's Law & Order and Broadway's Chicago and 42nd Street, died Tuesday at New York's Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center where he was being treated for prostate cancer. A spokesman for Law & Order producer Dick Wolf told The New York Times that Wolf was aware of Orbach's illness last spring, which accounted for the actor's being moved off the original series and onto a new spinoff that will premiere in the spring, Law & Order: Trial by Jury. The new show will go on, as scheduled. ? Also on Tuesday, social critic and author Susan Sontag, 71, also died in New York, of cancer. ? And former NFL great Reggie White, 43, the 6'5", 300-lb. defensive end for teams including the Green Bay Packers and Philadelphia Eagles, died Sunday in his sleep. According to a preliminary autopsy report, White – who also was an ordained minister – might have died because of a respiratory disease combined with other health problems. A final cause of death may not be determined for months.
AMERICA'S PLEDGE: Answering charges that the U.S. was slow and being "stingy" in aiding countries hit by Sunday's South Asia quake and tsunami aftermath, President Bush interrupted his vacation Wednesday to say that America's $35 million financial pledge is "only the beginning of our help." So far, Spain has pledged the greatest gift to those struck by the disaster, $68 million. In America, private donations are said to be strong. New York's Daily News reported that the Pfizer drug company also has contributed $10 million in cash and $25 million worth of medicines to the relief effort.
LIZA ALARM: Liza Minnelli was taken to a New York hospital early Monday morning after a bodyguard called 911 saying that the singer had fallen out of bed and hit her head, sources told PEOPLE. An Emergency Medical Services spokesman confirmed that they received a medical call about an unconscious female at Minnelli's residence around 3:30 a.m. Minnelli, 58, was put on a stretcher and taken to New York Hospital, the source said. Minnelli's spokeswoman, Liz Rosenberg, later said that the star was "undergoing observation and tests are scheduled."
WINFREY WINS: Oprah Winfrey topped two year-end surveys – placing her at the head of Santa's "Nice" list and as the public's No. 1 choice to be President. A USA Today/CNN/Gallup Poll of 1,002 adults asking about "nice" celebrities showed a 90-percent-of-the-vote tie between Winfrey and Tom Hanks. Britney Spears, however, headed the list of who's "naughty," with 67 percent of the vote. Americans also wanted Oprah in the White House, with 21 percent of the 3,077 adults participating in a Harris pop-culture poll for Parade magazine picking her for the top job – followed by Bill O'Reilly, with 8 percent and Will Smith, with 7 percent.