Entertainment briefs – March 25

Zsa Zsa Gabor’s publicist says the shock of Elizabeth Taylor’s death made Gabor fear she was next and sent her to the hospital with high blood pressure.

Zsa Zsa feared she was next to die

LOS ANGELES — Zsa Zsa Gabor’s publicist says the shock of Elizabeth Taylor’s death made Gabor fear she was next and sent her to the hospital with high blood pressure.

John Blanchette says the 94-year-old celebrity was watching the news Wednesday morning at her Los Angeles home when she learned her friend and one-time neighbour had died. Blanchette says Gabor was inconsolable and commented: “Oh, Jane Russell and Liz Taylor — I’m next.”

That’s a reference to the common myth that celebrity deaths come in threes.

Blanchette says Gabor’s blood pressure soared and she was taken to the hospital but released Wednesday evening.

Gabor has been in ill health and her right leg was partially amputated in January.

But Blanchette calls her a fighter and adds: “She’s not going to be the third.”


Douglas a UN messenger of peace

Actor and U.N. messenger for peace Michael Douglas offered his condolences Thursday to the Japanese people struggling amid nuclear crisis after this month’s catastrophic earthquake and tsunami.

Douglas spoke at U.N. headquarters alongside a new exhibit of petitions containing the signatures of more than 1 million people calling on the world’s leaders for the abolition of nuclear weapons. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has added his signature to the petitions gathered by more than 4,500 mayors worldwide.

“Our hearts go out to the Japanese people as they deal with this catastrophe,” Douglas said. “The Japanese have a history of rebuilding their country after natural and manmade catastrophes.”

Japan’s undertook a daunting rebuilding effort after the 1945 atomic attacks on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki — the only active deployments of nuclear weapons to date.

“Everywhere I go I will repeat my strong, consistent and clear call for nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament,” Ban said at the dedication of the new exhibit. “I will carry the message of the million petitioners represented here today, and the many millions more around the world seeking to end the nuclear threat.”


Aretha plans a birthday bash

NEW YORK — After battling back from health problems, the Queen of Soul plans to celebrate her 69th birthday in a big way in New York City.

Aretha Franklin has scheduled a birthday bash Friday at a luxury hotel with performances and special guests. Her publicist, Tracey Jordan, said Franklin planned to go to the theatre earlier in the evening to catch “Driving Miss Daisy” on Broadway.

The music legend underwent surgery late last year in her native Detroit for an undisclosed ailment. Since then, she’s lost more than 80 pounds. Franklin has said the weight loss was because of a change in diet and exercise.

She’s due to return to the stage in May, and also has a new album on the way.


Muzak swallowed by Canada’s Mood

TORONTO — Muzak, the company that has become a byword for the soothing strains of elevator music, is being bought by Toronto based in-store music provider Mood Media Corp. (TSX:MM) for US$345 million.

Mood Media says the acquisition will create an “in-store media powerhouse” that will be heard in 470,000 commercial locations around the world.

Privately held Muzak Holdings has been providing background sound, music and other media to stores and office building for more than 75 years.

Relative newcomer Mood Media uses music, visual and scent media to help clients build an experience aimed at promoting their wares to consumers.

Muzak says it posted US$195 million in revenues in 2010 and US$55 million in pre-tax profit. Together the companies are expected to have brought in revenues of about $400 million over the past 12 months.