Michael Jackson’s legacy at issue in family’s concert lawsuit
By Bill Zwecker March 20, 2013 10:03PM
Michael Jackson Immortalized With Hand And Footprint Ceremony At Grauman's Chinese Theatre
Updated: April 22, 2013 9:58AM
The driving force behind a legal motion in the Jackson family’s $40 million wrongful death lawsuit against the AEG concert promoters apparently is family matriarch Katherine Jackson herself.
A good family source confirms Michael Jackson’s mother “is adamant about protecting Michael’s legacy,” and that is the key reason the Jacksons’ attorneys asked the judge in the case to rule as inadmissible anything related to either the paternity of Michael’s three children, or the financial status — or alleged financial insecurity — of other surviving family members.
† It may seem unclear how the subject of Prince, Paris or Blanket Jackson’s paternity could be an issue in this case — focusing on AEG’s alleged role in the hiring of Dr. Conrad Murray, whose administering of propofol contributed to Michael’s death.
However, the source said, “Unless the judge rules in the family’s favor, a lot of issues could come up in open court — including the paternity questions.”
A SECOND EXIT: I’m hearing Jay Leno is none to happy that news of what likely will be his final departure from “The Tonight Show” has leaked out. It has long been rumored — and widely expected — that “Late Night” host Jimmy Fallon ultimately will be Leno’s successor on “Tonight.” However, Bill Carter of the New York Times reported Wednesday that an unwritten agreement not only arranges that succession, but also returns “Tonight” to its original New York City roots once Fallon slips into Leno’s chair.
There is no time frame for this turnover, and Leno’s current contract runs into the fall of 2014.
The New York move reportedly is due to several factors, including Fallon’s own East Coast roots and preferences (the former “Saturday Night Live” mainstay grew up in Saugerties, N.Y.) and the needs of Fallon’s “Late Night” executive producer, “SNL” creator and head honcho Lorne Michaels.
ENGAGING NEWS: Talk about a case of life imitating art — at least up to a point. Alexis Bledel and Vincent Kartheiser, who played characters who had an affair on “Mad Men,” have become engaged in real life.
This is a first marriage for both Bledel, 31, and Kartheiser, 33. Hence there was no cheating on real-life spouses! The couple reportedly have been dating since early last year. Bledel previously dated her “Gilmore Girls” co-star Milo Ventimiglia for three years, prior to their split in 2006. Kartheiser was previously linked to actress Rachael Leigh Cook. They ended that relationship in 2010.
ON A ROLL: In the words of several top Hollywood insiders, Shailene Woodley — who snared major attention playing George Clooney’s troubled daughter in “The Descendants” — is one of filmdom’s latest “It” girls.
Woodley, who heads here shortly to film “Divergent,” has just been tapped for the key role of Hazel Grace Lancaster in a film based on the hugely popular young adult novel “The Fault in Our Stars.” It’s a story about two teens who find love in a cancer support group. Lancaster is a 16-year-old thyroid cancer patient who connects with Augustus “Gus” Waters, a former high school basketball star who lost a leg to bone cancer.
† Oh yes, and on top of all that, as previously announced, Woodley will play Mary Jane Watson in the upcoming “The Amazing Spider-Man 2.”
STILL TOGETHER: Despite reports Sharon Stone and her model boyfriend Martin Mica had split, the 54-year-old actress and Mica, 27, are still an item — with Stone frequently jetting to his modeling gigs, and Mica a regular presence on the Oscar nominee’s film sets.
A friend of Stone’s said Wednesday, “Yes, there is a big age difference. Sharon is exactly twice Martin’s age. But she’s incredibly young for her age, and he’s remarkably mature for his. They definitely have a good connection and comfort zone.”
WEDDING PLANNED? There’s buzz that Adele and boyfriend Simon Konecki, the father of her 5-month-old son, Angelo, are planning a secret wedding. Us Weekly reports the couple are keeping things hush-hush but likely will tie the knot this summer or fall at her new home in Brighton, England.
The couple, together for more than a year, met when Adele became involved in Konecki’s clean wells charity, Drop4Drop.
GOTTA DANCE: In the wake of Julianne Hough’s breakup with Ryan Seacrest, it sounds like the former pro dancer on “Dancing With the Stars” is planning to refocus on her fancy footwork. While her brother Derek Hough — who is dancing with celeb competitor Kellie Pickler on the current “DWTS” season — says he’s unsure if Julianne herself will return to the fold, he told “Extra” that “she wants to dance. She’s like, ‘I need to dance. I am a dancer, I love it.’ ” His sister, he added, is definitely heading back into the dance studio to get back in shape.
SEEN ON THE SCENE: Cat Deeley of “So You Think You Can Dance” fame kept staffers at RL on their toes while lunching Wednesday at the popular eatery. The TV personality also was spied slipping into Public House for Tuesday night drinks with friends. … Mitzi Gaynor clearly has a long memory. Back in town for the first time in ages, the veteran actress told her publicist she wanted to go “to the same great steakhouse we went to 25 years ago.” That led her back to Gene & Georgetti’s, where owner Tony Dupretti happily welcomed her Tuesday night as he served Mitzi and all his St. Joseph’s Day customers with free dessert — those traditional zeppole cakes.
Bill Zwecker also reports on “Good Day Chicago” and “Fox 32 News at 9” on WFLD-Channel 32.