Pride of Whitney
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.