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Celebrity Scoop

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Nicole Kidman's televised cigarette puffing at the Cannes Film Festival has anti-smokers fuming. Critics said the sight of the Oscar-winning Australian thespian lighting up in front of the world's media this week while promoting her new film, "Dogville," was free advertising for the tobacco industry. "Mass media coverage of celebrity smokers, like Nicole Kidman, is priceless for the tobacco industry in their drive to addict new smokers, most of whom are children," said Anne Jones, of the Action on Smoking and Health group in Australia. At a media briefing, Kidman bummed a cigarette off her co-star, Stellan Skarsgard, only to be admonished by director Lars von Trier in front of the world's press. "Oh, Nicole, don't do that; you promised," von Trier said. Kidman coolly kept puffing. The images made major Australian news bulletins and were reported in Wednesday's newspapers. Wendy Day, Kidman's Australian publicist, said she hadn't spoken to the actress since the news conference.

Michael Jackson, whose attorneys asked a judge to help the pop star keep a low profile while he was in town giving a deposition for a lawsuit, caused a stir when he went shopping at a downtown mall. Jackson, wearing a red shirt and sunglasses, signed autographs Tuesday night at Indianapolis' Circle Centre Mall. He arrived earlier in the day for a deposition in a lawsuit alleging that the Jackson Five used the name of another Gary band and two of their songs without license. Fans waited outside the Canterbury Hotel for hours hoping to see Jackson, but his limousine entered the hotel through the service entrance. Hoping to avoid a media frenzy, Jackson's attorneys petitioned the U.S. District Court in Hammond not to publicize the location of Wednesday's meeting in Indianapolis with attorney Norman Reed. They also asked that the transcript of the deposition be sealed. Reed is representing Gordon Keith, who signed the Jackson 5 to his Gary-based Steeltown Records in 1967. Keith has said he received no credit for tracks that appeared on a 1996 album, "Pre-History: The Lost Steeltown Recordings."

Former President Gerald Ford has returned to his normal activities after a brief hospitalization for dizziness, his spokeswoman said. Ford, hospitalized Friday and released Saturday, was back at his desk on Sunday, Penny Circle said. "He's doing very well. He's back to his schedule," Circle said Tuesday. Ford, 89, became dizzy while golfing in hot weather Friday. He was examined at Eisenhower Medical Center and sent home, but then returned to the hospital and was admitted when the dizziness persisted. The former president will return to his Colorado home in June, Circle said.

A former schoolmate of Eminem, who's suing the rapper for $1 million, is scheduled to have his case go to trial this month, despite the withdrawal of the plaintiff's attorney. DeAngelo Bailey of Roseville sued Eminem, whose real name is Marshall Mathers III, in 2001. He claimed Eminem's song "Brain Damage," which named Bailey as an abusive bully, damaged his reputation and his own ability to launch a music career. Bailey's attorney, John Chupa, asked Monday to be removed from the case, apparently because of a breakdown in communications with his client, the Detroit Free Press reported. Macomb County Circuit Judge Deborah Servitto granted the request and said the trial was still set for May 30. Eminem's mother sued the Roseville school district in 1982, claiming school-day beatings left her son with headaches, nausea and a tendency toward anti-social behavior. The lawsuit was dismissed.

Former teachers, politicians and adoring boys greeted former prom queen and National Honor Society member Helene Eksterowicz on a visit to her alma mater, Gloucester High School. Oh, yes. She's also the woman who won the affection of the second bachelor on "The Bachelor," Aaron Buerge, who slipped an engagement ring on her finger in front of 26 million viewers. During Monday's visit, Eksterowicz received a proclamation for "bringing honor to her hometown," a box of Hershey kisses and a videotape including footage of her appearance on the ABC reality romance series. Most of the questions she fielded from students dealt with her breakup with Buerge, which happened on her birthday in January. "I'm not sure what happened after the show," she said. "I was very surprised. I thought things were going well between us." Senior Conrad Hirst, 18, sensing an opening, grabbed the microphone and asked for a date. "I'm a little too old for you," Eksterowicz, 28, replied with a smile.

How many roads must a man walk down before Martin Scorsese makes a movie about him? The answer, my friend, is in the tentatively titled "Bob Dylan Anthology Project," a biography about the iconic folk singer directed by the "Gangs of New York" filmmaker. The film, planned for release in 2005, will chronicle Dylan's 1963 breakthrough and the cultural and political influence of his music, Scorsese and his producing partners said Tuesday. "I've admired and enjoyed his many musical transformations," Scorsese said in a statement. "For me, there is no other musical artist who weaves his influences so densely to create something so personal and unique." Besides playing in some theaters, the movie also will air on PBS in the United States and the BBC in the United Kingdom. The documentary is in the tradition of "The Last Waltz," Scorsese's 1978 concert film about The Band, which also featured Dylan. The Dylan film is expected to feature live concert performances, studio recording sessions and a rare interview with the singer-songwriter.

Jane Goodall, the world's leading expert on chimpanzee behavior and defender of the creature's habitat, was chosen Wednesday for the Prince of Asturias prize for scientific research. Goodall's work "is a vital contribution to the understanding of the roots of human behavior and culture," the jury said. The jury praised Goodall's "sincere and committed efforts to bring her findings to all levels of society, especially to the world's youth, and for working to reconcile human development with wildlife protection in Africa." "Anything that will further my effort to reach people is desperately welcome," Goodall said about the prize in a telephone interview. "The chimps are vanishing. That's symptomatic of what is going on all over the world." Born in London in 1934, Goodall began researching free-living chimpanzees in Tanzania in 1960. In 1977, she founded the Jane Goodall Institute, which works to protect the species and supports youth projects aimed at benefiting animals and the environment.