NEWS BRIEFS: Jessica Joins 'Divas'

02/25/2004 AT 01:00 PM EST

ANNOUNCED: Jessica Simpson and Patti LaBelle have signed on to perform at the "VH1 Divas" special, the Associated Press reports. The fund-raiser, which will be broadcast from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on April 18, will raise money for VH1's Save the Music Foundation, which works to return music programs to U.S. schools. Since its creation in 1997, the foundation has donated more than $25 million worth of musical instruments to schools across the country. More performers will be announced as they are added, AP reports.

PAID: Former Culture Club frontman Boy George (real name: George O'Dowd), agreed to pay $18,000 to a nightclub employee who claimed George libeled him. The star of the recently canceled Broadway show "Taboo" punched Andrew Thompson during a disagreement at London nightclub in June 2002. Although George later apologized for hitting Thompson and paid him compensation, the singer later libeled the employee when he claimed in an interview and newspaper column that Thompson was at fault, Reuters reports. George was forced to apologize as part of the fine against him.


QUOTED: "They go against the grain. They don't do what they're expected to do." -- Professor Philip Nel, author of "Dr. Seuss: American Icon," on Seuss's rebellious heroes. Dr. Seuss (a.k.a. Theodor Geisel), would have been 100 years old on March 2, AP reports


DEBUTED: Riley Keough, the granddaughter of rock 'n' roll legend Elvis Presley, made her modeling debut in Milan, Italy, on Wednesday, according to published reports. Keough, the daughter of Lisa Marie Presley and her former husband, musician Danny Keough, is 14 years old. She wore a denim miniskirt for D&G, a branch of clothing manufacturer Dolce & Gabbana, Reuters reports.

DIED: Estelle Axton, 85, one of the cofounders of the influential Memphis, Tenn., label Stax Records, died Tuesday, AP reports. Axton formed the label with her brother Jim Stewart, and named it using the first two letters of both their last names. Axton died of natural causes in Memphis. ... Musician A.C. Reed, 77, a blues songwriter and saxophonist who played with such artists as Buddy Guy and Stevie Ray Vaughan, died Wednesday. The He died of complications from cancer in Chicago, Reuters reports. ... Also on Wednesday, Carl Anderson, 58, an actor and singer known best for his role as Judas in "Jesus Christ Superstar" died in Los Angeles. Anderson suffered from leukemia, Reuters reports.

MORE ON: Jessica Simpson

From Our Partners