Pavarotti still on mend
NEW YORK -- Luciano Pavarotti had neck surgery earlier this month and plans to return home to Italy this weekend before resuming his farewell tour, his spokesperson said Tuesday. Pavarotti was admitted to Manhattan's Lenox Hill Hospital on March 9 for surgery to repair two vertebrae and was discharged two days later, Terri Robson said in a phone interview with The Associated Press from her London office. "The procedure was a routine and regular operation, and the doctors are delighted with Luciano's fast recovery," she said. "He is currently rehearsing with his conductor, Leone Magiera, every day." The 69-year-old tenor has been at his New York apartment with his wife, Nicoletta, and daughter Alice. He's scheduled to continue his tour with a concert on April 2 in Johannesburg, South Africa. After going to South Africa, Pavarotti's tour will take him to Dubai; Kiev, Ukraine; Rotterdam, Netherlands; and Prague, Czech Republic. Pavarotti retired from staged opera in March 2004. He has said he will retire from singing after the farewell tour.
Judging Miss America
ATLANTA -- Michael Phelps and Sugar Ray Leonard are among the eight judges for the Miss USA 2005 pageant, reports The Associated Press. Joining Phelps and Leonard in Baltimore on April 11 will be Molly Sims, Raj Bhakta from "The Apprentice" and Brody Hutzler from "Days of Our Lives." Pamela Dennis, model Nicola Breytenbach and Frederic Fekkai make up the rest of the panel. This year, the public is invited to weigh in on the contest's preliminary round through a virtual judging component. During April 1-6, fans can log on to www.CoverGirl.com to view photographs and interviews of the 51 contestants and vote for their favorites. The public's vote counts for less than 10 percent of the preliminary vote. A group of beauty industry experts will select the top 15 entrants before the competition. On the night of the pageant, to air live on NBC, the judges will assess those 15 finalists in the categories of swimsuit, evening gown and interview. The winner will represent the United States in the Miss Universe pageant, to be held this year in Bangkok, Thailand.
Gold gets probation
VENTURA, Calif. -- Former "Growing Pains" actress Tracey Gold was placed on three years' probation after she pleaded guilty to a second felony drunken driving charge in a rollover crash that injured her husband and two of their three children. Tracey Gold Marshall, 35, pleaded guilty in January to felony drunken driving. On Monday, a Superior Court judge decided to reduce the charge to a misdemeanor, but Deputy District Attorney Jeff Gorrell objected and said an earlier plea bargain was off and he wouldn't drop the child-endangerment charges against Marshall. To avoid those charges, she pleaded guilty to the second felony drunken-driving charge. Judge Bruce Clark then placed Marshall on three years' probation, ordered her to complete 30 days of work release supervised by the jail and 240 hours of community service. Marshall, who starred on "Growing Pains" from 1985 to 1992, was behind the wheel of a sport utility vehicle Sept. 3, 2004, when it went off a highway in Moorpark and rolled down an embankment. Marshall and her 4-month-old son weren't hurt, but her husband, Roby Marshall, and the couple's 5- and 7-year-old sons were injured.
Denton, wife have a girl
LOS ANGELES -- It's a girl for "Desperate Housewives" actor James Denton and his wife, Erin O'Brien Denton, reports The Associated Press. Malin O'Brien Denton was born early Tuesday at a Los Angeles-area hospital, publicist Susan Madore said. The baby weighed 7 pounds 5 ounces. "They are really great, really great," Madore said. Denton, 42, plays Mike Delfino on ABC's popular "Desperate Housewives." The couple have a 22-month old son, Sheppard.
Asner's back to nature
LOS ANGELES -- At 75, most actors might think twice about accepting a role that required them to be on location in the woods and naked from the waist up amid bugs, mud and rain. Not Ed Asner. The Emmy Award winner plays a grumpy man living in the middle of nowhere, without electricity, gas or phone in the upcoming Hallmark Channel movie "Out of the Woods." "I loved the script, I loved the character," Asner said. "I wanted to do this very badly because it was the best writing I had seen in a long time." The movie airs April 2 on the cable channel. Asner's character runs into trouble when his lawyer-grandson arrives to gain control of the elderly man's savings. The movie's realism appealed to Asner, who starred on "Lou Grant" and the "Mary Tyler Moore" TV shows.
Animator Joseph Barbera is 94. Fashion and costume designer Bob Mackie is 65. Actor R. Lee Ermey is 61. Movie director Curtis Hanson is 60. Rock musician Lee Oskar is 57. Rock musician Dougie Thomson (Supertramp) is 54. Comedian Louie Anderson is 52. Actress Donna Pescow is 51. Actor Robert Carradine is 51. Actress Kelly LeBrock is 45. R & amp;B DJ Rodney "Kool Kollie" Terry (Ghostown DJs) is 44. TV personality Star Jones Reynolds ("The View") is 43. Actress Annabella Sciorra is 41. Rock singer-musician Sharon Corr (The Corrs) is 35. Actress Lara Flynn Boyle is 35. Rapper Maceo (AKA P.A. Pasemaster Mase) is 35. Actress Alyson Hannigan ("Buffy the Vampire Slayer") is 31. Actress Keisha Castle-Hughes ("The Whale Rider") is 15.