Natalie Cole is working on an autobiography, which is due out from Warner Books, along with a Best of Natalie Cole CD, in November. The bio's title, Angel on My Shoulder, alludes to the bad things that Cole has survived in her life, including a long stint of drug abuse and a fire at the Las Vegas Hilton that killed eight people. "God just plucked me out of situations where I should have ended up dead or behind bars," says the singer. Others in her family weren't so lucky. Her father, Nat King Cole, died of lung cancer, her brother died of AIDS, and her first husband died of a heart attack. "The saddest thing about the book," she says, "is that so many of the people I write about are no longer here." One challenge Cole faces is how to deal with the divorce from her second husband, music producer Andre Fischer: "There's a confidentiality agreement so I can't talk about what a [jerk] I think he was."
Martin Sheen, who plays President Josiah Bartlet on the NBC political drama The West Wing, says that White House staffers have been very supportive of the show—except for one thing. "You know the people in [the White House] are all Ph.D.s; nobody makes more than $30,000," Sheen jokes. "The only thing that we're told that members of the real West Wing do not subscribe to on our show is our wardrobe. They said they can't afford it. Of course they can't—I can't afford it either."
As a surprise good-luck gesture before the Oscars, Denzel Washington's wife, Pauletta, bought him a platinum pendant inset with diamonds at XIV Jewelers in Beverly Hills. The diamonds spell out "God Is Love," which are the words the Hurricane star used in his thank-you speech at the Golden Globe Awards.
Stephen King is making progress in his battle to recover from near-fatal injuries suffered when he was hit by a van on a Maine road nine months ago. According to some of King's friends, the novelist is now walking a mile at least three times a week on the beach at his home on the west coast of Florida, where he is spending the winter with his wife, Tabitha. He has also been working out at a local gym and hopes to eventually get rid of his cane.
Fast Take: Rod Steiger agreed to use the real-life Oscar he won in 1967 for In the Heat of the Night as a prop in his movie The Hollywood Sign, which began filming March 23. But, it turned out, Oscars cannot be used in such a way. Steiger and his costars Burt Reynolds and Tom Berenger play out-of-work actors who pull off a heist to finance a movie for their comeback.
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