Buzz Briefs: Phil Spector, John McCain

This July 29, 2008, file photo shows music producer Phil Spector during a hearing in Los Angeles County Superior Court. Opening statements are set for Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2008, in the murder retrial of Spector, who is accused of killing actress Lana Clarkson at his home in 2003.
AP Photo/Nick Ut

Testimony Begins In Phil Spector Murder Retrial

Testimony has opened in the Los Angeles retrial of record producer Phil Spector on charges of murdering actress Lana Clarkson.

The first witness called Monday was retired New York City police Detective Vincent Tannazzo, who became a bodyguard for TV personality Joan Rivers.

Tannazzo, who worked security at parties where Spector was a guest, says he heard Spector use foul language about women and say that they should be shot.

Clarkson died of a gunshot through the mouth while seated in the foyer of Spector's mansion in 2003. She met Spector earlier that night while working as a nightclub hostess.

The jury in Spector's first trial deadlocked last year on a 10-2 vote with the majority favoring conviction on second-degree murder.

John McCain A Hit On SNL

Sen. John McCain is playing second banana to Gov. Sarah Palin - at least on "Saturday Night Live." McCain was on the show this weekend and drew SNL's second-best overnight ratings since December 1997. But the best ratings went to Palin, when she was on two weeks ago.

The Nielsen people say the overnight ratings for McCain's SNL guest shot show a little less than 12 million people watched. That compares to 15 million who tuned in for Palin's appearance.

Tina Fey again did her Sarah Palin impression during McCain's bit. The opening sketch had McCain and Palin selling campaign products on QVC because they couldn't afford a half-hour campaign commercial on most of the major networks like Barack Obama.

Obama Musical Debuts In Nairobi

U.S. presidential hopefuls Barack Obama and John McCain shared the stage in a new musical that opened in the Kenyan capital on Sunday. "Obama the Musical" tells of the challenges that Obama, who has Kenyan roots, has faced, just days before his possible election as America's first black president. U.S. President George W. Bush is also featured in the hour-long musical, which director George Orido calls a "message of hope and peace."

Eric Makori stars as Obama and says it's wonderful to play him because he's someone who inspires him to change the world.

The show uses a variety of musical genres, including traditional and contemporary Kenyan music, in which the lyrics have been changed to suit the storyline.

The play ends with an enactment of Obama's acceptance of the Democratic nomination, but shies away from predictions about who will emerge victorious in the election.

Def Jam Executive Dies Of Self-Inflicted Gunshot Wound

The man who took over for Jay-Z as head of Def Jam Recordings has died. Police near Atlanta indicate Shakir Stewart killed himself. Stewart was found in the bathroom of his home in the Atlanta suburb of Marietta, Ga., Saturday afternoon. Police describe the shooting as self-inflicted, but aren't saying who discovered Stewart.

Stewart signed artists like Rick Ross and Young Jeezy to Def Jam before being named in June to the position once held by Jay-Z. A statement issued on behalf of Stewart's fiancée says Stewart's behavior was out of line with the man they knew -- and described him as being "in deep pain and largely suffering in silence."

Joaquin Phoenix Quitting Movies For Music

Joaquin Phoenix, who's been known for pulling reporters' legs in the past, apparently isn't kidding when he says he's quitting movies to focus on music. His hands said it all over the weekend. He had the words "Good Bye" written on his knuckles at a premiere for his upcoming movie, "Two Lovers."

Phoenix tells AP Television News he's "just moving on. It's rediscovering something else." He says "it's like greener pastures, you know what I mean?" His publicist says Phoenix has been directing music videos and been involved in music for the last few years. He even learned to play the guitar for "Walk the Line." Phoenix first talked about his decision to "Extra" while at a fundraiser last week in San Francisco. And, he abruptly ended the interview after the reporter wondered if he was joking.

Mackenzie Phillips Pleads Guilty, Going To Rehab

Mackenzie Phillips has pleaded guilty to possessing cocaine and she's going into rehab. She entered a plea to felony drug possession. The district attorney's office says two other counts of possessing heroin and a needle were dismissed. Part of the deal is that she complete an 18-month diversion program. Phillips was arrested in August at Los Angeles International Airport after airport police found small amounts of narcotics during a security screening. She has a long history of drug abuse. That's why she was fired from "One Day at a Time" in 1982.

Howard Stern: DJ Turned Marathon Cheerleader For Wife

Newlywed shock jock Howard Stern was on hand to cheer his new bride complete the New York City Marathon in style.

Beth Ostrosky finished Sunday in 4 hours, 15 minutes - much better than the five-hour target the 36-year-old former model was aiming for.

"This was the happiest day of my life," said Ostrosky, who ran to raise money for Long Island's North Shore Animal League.

"Isn't she beautiful?" Stern gushed as daughter Ashley, 15, also hugged her stepmom.

Stern, 54, who married Ostrosky last month, had done his part that morning: Making a carb-loaded breakfast of bagels stuffed with peanut butter and bananas.