In Brief

Gwyneth to Play Marlene Dietrich

05/27/2004 at 08:00 AM EDT

Gwyneth to Play Marlene Dietrich
Martin Grimes/Splash News
CAST: New mom Gwyneth Paltrow, 31, will produce and star in a feature film about German-born Hollywood legend Marlene Dietrich (1901-92), reports Variety. DreamWorks studio optioned the 1992 bittersweet memoir Marlene Dietrich, written by Dietrich's daughter, Maria Riva. Dietrich's estate has also pledged its cooperation, says the paper. Ferociously pro-American Marlene, whose throaty voice and shapely legs were as legendary as her male and female sexual conquests (who included Frank Sinatra and President Kennedy), famously refused Hitler's request to lead the German film industry during the Nazi era. No start date for Paltrow's version has been announced.

ENGAGED: Oscar winner Mira Sorvino, 36, will marry fiancé Chris Backus, 22, on July 2 on the Italian island of Capri, reports New York's Daily News. The Mighty Aphrodite actress reportedly started dating Backus last year after he took her dinner order at Sur Restaurant & Grill in West Hollywood.

OFFERED: Credit card companies are now offering star-powered, reward-redeemable incentives ranging from a yoga lesson with Gwyneth Paltrow (through Straus Rewards Visa) to a special June 17 New York concert by John Mayer (via Bank One), reports Thursday's Wall Street Journal. The paper said the programs allowing users to rub shoulders with the famous are aimed at attracting and keeping customers.

SETTLED: A Phoenix judge dismissed an assault charge against flamboyant fitness guru Richard Simmons, 55, after he and the man he was accused of slapping in the face last March at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport reached a private settlement, lawyers said Wednesday. Terms of the settlement between Simmons and motorcycle sales rep Chris Farney, 23 (who, according to police reports, made a wisecrack about Simmons's fitness videos), were not disclosed.

WED: The Practice star Jessica Capshaw, 27, married child therapist Christopher Gavigan, 30, late last month at the East Hampton estate of her stepfather, director Steven Spielberg, reports PEOPLE. The bride, whose mother is actress Kate Capshaw, wore a Vera Wang dress.

DUE: Actor Harvey Keitel, 65, and his wife of three years, Israeli actress and filmmaker Daphna Kastner, 43, are expecting their first child together this summer. Keitel also has two other children. ... Julia Volkova, 19, half of the Russian pop duo t.A.T.u., is expecting a child with her boyfriend, Pasha Sidorov, a martial arts expert. ... Actress Laurel Holloman ("The L Word"), 36, and her husband, production designer Paul Macherey, 35, are expecting their first child this fall, PEOPLE reports.

FOUND: Helen DeWitt, 46, author of the acclaimed novel The Last Samurai (not the basis of the recent Tom Cruise movie), was discovered in good condition by Niagara Falls, N.Y., police after being reported missing earlier on Wednesday by New York City police, reports Reuters. DeWitt had been missing since Tuesday morning when she was last seen near her home on Staten Island.

REQUESTED: Elizabeth Taylor, 72, has asked a judge to declare her the lawful owner of a Van Gogh painting that heirs of a former owner say was stolen by the Nazis. Taylor bought the painting at auction in 1963 for $257,000 and tried unsuccessfully to sell it in 1990 for $10 million, according to legal papers. While Taylor, who is Jewish by marriage (or, actually, marriages, to Mike Todd and Eddie Fisher), "has great sympathy for those whose families lost their possessions" during World War II and the Holocaust, the defendants "have not provided a shred of evidence that the painting ever fell into Nazi hands," her papers say.

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