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This Week: Comebacks Galore

The comeback trail was crowded this week, with names like Michael Jackson, Meat Loaf, Cat Stevens and Whitney Houston making you think you had landed back in the 1980s.

But no one did it better than Tom Cruise.

Just when you thought he was down and out, Cruise comes back better than ever, taking up the challenge of breathing new life into the almost defunct United Artist studios.

With less-than-stellar box-office figures for his latest movie and couch-jumping antics that made him the butt of jokes by late night comedians, Cruise was given the ax last month by Paramount. In fact, Viacom CEO Sumner Redstone, who did the firing, said in an interview in this month's Vanity Fair magazine that Cruise's antics had turned off all the women in his audiences. But the new opportunity, and his upcoming nuptials in Italy, appear to have turned his career around.

Another quick turnaround was executed by supermodel Kate Moss, whose career appeared to be over last year when she turned up in the middle of yet another cocaine scandal. After pictures of her snorting the drug appeared in the press, she lost most of her modeling contracts. But a public apology and a stint in rehab allowed her to reappear on magazine covers. This week, she was named Britain's Model of the Year.

Michael Jackson may be hoping for some similar magic. The reclusive pop star, whose career has been in free-fall since he was acquitted of child molestation charges last year, gave a rare TV interview at his estate in Ireland, where he says he is working on a new album, his first in five years. He is scheduled to attend the World Music Awards in London on Nov. 15. That's where he will receive the Chopard Diamond Award, given to artists who sell more than 100 million albums. The award also coincides with the 25th anniversary of the release of Jackson's "Thriller" — the best-selling album of all time.

That the music world can be forgiving was seen clearly this week when Whitney Houston, looking svelte and glamorous, turned up at the Carousel of Hope fundraiser for juvenile diabetes. It was one of the first appearances she has made since she filed for divorce from singer Bobby Brown. And the diva, who has been plagued in the past by reports of drug use, was seated at the main table with actress and host Halle Berry.

And speaking of singers and drug users, there's Courtney Love, who celebrated 15 months of sobriety this week as she promoted a book of memoirs. The leader of the band Hole and widow of Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain said she owes her new-found sobriety to an intervention by Mel Gibson.

Gibson, himself, is a fellow traveler on the comeback route. He has followed a slip from sobriety with rehab and some very public apologies and this week, he was honored by a Latino business organization for his upcoming film, "Apocalypto."

Twenty-nine years after "Bat Out Of Hell," and 13 years after its sequel, the singer Meat Loaf is back with "Bat Out of Hell III: The Monster is Loose." Anticipation was high for the latest installment in the biggest and best-known album serial in rock 'n' roll history.

Ricky Martin, another prominent musician of past decades, has never lost his popularity among Latin music fans. But he returned to the mainstream this week when the Latin Recording Academy named him as its person of the year. He was honored at a gala tribute ceremony that was part of the Latin Grammy awards in New York.

Remember Cat Stevens? The singer-songwriter is known these days as Yusuf Islam, the name he took when he converted to Islam in 1977. After taking a break from music for decades, he will release his first album of new pop songs in 28 years later this month. And he has joined the lineup of the Nobel Peace Concert in Oslo, Norway, slated for Dec. 11.

Then, there's Lance Armstrong who retires from sports the way Michael Jordan does. The seven-time winner of the Tour de France retired from cycling several months ago. But he has taken up running and will make his marathon debut Sunday in the New York City marathon. There have been some reports that Armstrong developed shin splints and health problems from his training. But he says he feels OK and is looking forward to competing — again.


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