Pride of Whit­ney

Chicago Sun-Times - - News -

STELLA’S SPOT­LIGHT

SU­PER­STARS FROM Whit­ney Young: I re­ceived a nice e-mail from Joyce Ken­ner, prin­ci­pal of Whit­ney M. Young Mag­net High School, re­mind­ing me that busy ac­tor Sharif Atkins, whom I had men­tioned in my Jan. 19 col­umn as the star of the new movie “Preacher’s Kid” open­ing na­tion­wide Jan. 29, not only grad­u­ated from North­west­ern Uni­ver­sity but is also a 1993 grad­u­ate of Whit­ney Young.

And here’s an­other scoop: Sharif just learned that not only is he a reg­u­lar on the USA Net­work’s “White Col­lar” se­ries, he’s just been cast in a re­cur­ring role on the CBS se­ries “The Good Wife” with Ju­lianna Mar­gulies and soon will be seen on the TBS sta­tion as well. Ca-ching! Ca-ching!

I re­ceived an e-mail from an­other faith­ful reader, Thelma Moon, that said, “I think it would be in­ter­est­ing to Chicagoans to know that Ge­orge Lopez’s mu­si­cal di­rec­tor and lead key­boardist on his new “Lopez Tonight” talk show is for­mer Chicagoan Michael Bear­den, who also is a Whit­ney Young grad­u­ate.”

Moon con­tin­ued, “Michael was also the mu­si­cal di­rec­tor for the ill-fated Michael Jack­son ‘This Is It’ con­certs that were be­ing pre­pared to de­but in Lon­don this past July. Bear­den has pre­vi­ously worked with Whit­ney Hous­ton and Madonna.”

First lady Michelle Obama has been a child­hood friend of Bear­den’s since age 12 and was in his 1981 Whit­ney Young grad­u­a­tion class. Bear­den, who plays a va­ri­ety of in­stru­ments, was a mem­ber of the band that played in the HBO pre-inau­gu­ra­tion TV spe­cial. Bear­den’s par­ents, Dr. Allen and Brenda Bear­den, still re­side in Chi-Town.

SO THE DIVALEGAL ea­gle Star Jones has been let go by the pop­u­lar daily gos­sip news­magazine “The In­sider,” hosted by Lara Spencer, with reg­u­lar pan­elists at­tor­ney Chris Ja­cobs, Niecy (“Clean House”) Nash and Sa­man­tha (“Danc­ing with the Stars”) Har­ris. Star, who had a six-week con­tract with the show, got along with the pro­duc­ers just fine but started throw­ing her weight around and ques­tion­ing the top­ics that the pro­duc­ers wanted the panel to dis­cuss.

Ac­cord­ing to the re­cent Na­tional En­quirer, Star, who was also let go from the chat­fest known as “The View,” al­legedly be­came con­fronta­tional with one par­tic­u­lar pro­ducer and screamed that the top­ics were “too trashy” and “Star doesn’t do trash!” She also men­tioned that the top­ics were “be­neath her,” ac­cord­ing to a show in­sider, and started hurl­ing in­sults so se­cu­rity was called to es­cort the diva from the build­ing. The mag also men­tioned that “Star couldn’t un­der­stand why Niecy [a comic] was a reg­u­lar on the show, while she was not.”

My sources have al­ways said that the 47year-old Star is noth­ing nice to deal with and is far from be­ing a hum­ble or grate­ful young lady. I say the worst thing to hap­pen to Star Jones was when her momma named her “Star” a k a Star­let. I loved her on “The View” be­fore her self-serv­ing wed­ding saga even­tu­ally got her booted from that long-run­ning co-host­ing gig.

Ap­par­ently, she just can’t han­dle suc­cess, and ar­ro­gance is most unattrac­tive no mat­ter how much weight you lose.

MAGIC JOHN­SON, chair­man/CEO of Magic John­son En­ter­prises, will be the guest speaker to­day at a net­work­ing lun­cheon at the Trump In­ter­na­tional Ho­tel & Tower spon­sored by Aon. The topic is “Driv­ing Re­sults through Di­verse Part­ner­ships in Pro­fes­sional Ser­vices.” Af­ter­ward, Ariel In­vest­ments’ John Rogers will have John­son speak to all the 400-plus stu­dents at the Ariel Com­mu­nity Academy and present each stu­dent with a com­pli­men­tary copy of Magic’s book 32 Ways to Be A Cham­pion in Busi­ness. By the way, Rogers, an over­achiever, will be in At­lanta over the week­end to re­ceive the pres­ti­gious Trum­pet Award for busi­ness.

POL­I­TICS: SEN. JOHN MCCAIN in town on Feb. 12 to speak at the Illi­nois Repub­li­can Party lun­cheon at the Union League Club . . . Repub­li­can Sen. Kirk Dil­lard, run­ning for gov­er­nor, dined with his fam­ily at the 312 Chicago af­ter catch­ing a per­for­mance of “Dreamgirls” at the Cadil­lac Palace (it’s a must-see) . . . Also, the Rev. Jesse Jack­son will ap­pear Sun­day on the new “In­side View with Vic Hen­der­son” show on WTTW-Chan­nel 11.

LIFE&STYLE weekly mag’s Feb. 1 is­sue has the exclusive photo of San­dra Bul­lock plant­ing a huge lip lock on Meryl Streep af­ter they tied in the best ac­tress cat­e­gory for their movies at the Crit­ics’ Choice awards. DO YOU RE­ALLY be­lieve that Tiger Woods is a sex ad­dict . . . or just a horny toad? Just like the sleazy politico John Ed­wards! . . . Tacky re­al­ity star Khloe Kar­dashian-Odom shocked view­ers in a re­cent episode of her show when she was seen sit­ting on the toi­let. How gross is that??

THE BIRTH­DAY PEO­PLE: Alan Alda and be­lated to Joe Sul­li­van, WGN-Chan­nel 9’s Pat To­ma­sulo, Gus Cage, Ellen DeGeneres and golden sweetie Ola Mae Jar­rell. On Fri­day: Oprah Win­frey, Joan Weg­ner and Sharif Atkins. On Satur­day: Re­tired broad­caster Warner Saun­ders, Kim Dyson and Chyrisse Hen­der­son. On Sun­day: Ernie Banks, Bernie DeMeo and Re­nee Brad­ford. On Mon­day: Lisa Marie Pres­ley and an­niver­sary wishes to Ed and Marilyn Kelly.

San­dra Bul­lock

Sharif Atkins

Magic John­son

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