Name change soundedgood to R & amp;B singer
NEW YORK -- The artist formerly known as Natalie McIntyre said she changed her name to Macy Gray because she liked the sound of it.
"When I was little, I was riding my bike and I saw 'Macy Gray' on a mailbox," the R & amp;B singer told Teen People magazine for its December 2001/January 2002 issue. "For some reason, it stuck with me. It's hot. I'm feeling it. I want to do records under some different aliases. I want to record something as Mite B."
Gray said that even though she's a famous, Grammy-winning singer now, she still gets a little star struck.
"Oh, I'm a real groupie," she said. "I have a Method Man picture next to my computer and some Bob Marley pictures sitting on the floor. I haven't figured out where to put them yet.
"My favorite song [in recent years] is '...Baby, One More Time' by Britney Spears," Gray said. "It's just a hot song, even the lyrics. I haven't met Britney, but everywhere I go her people come up to me and say, 'Britney really loves you.'"
Ben Stiller: He's sexy,in a funny sort of way
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. -- Ben Stiller isn't sure if being named "sexiest funnyman" by People magazine is really an honor. It might be more of a backhanded compliment.
"It's quite an honor to be in that subdivision of the not really sexy man but sexy funny man. It's almost sexy," Stiller, 36, joked with reporters recently.
The title of "the sexiest man alive 2001" went to Pierce Brosnan. The James Bond star is the 15th person to receive the title, which the magazine has previously bestowed on Brad Pitt, George Clooney and the original Bond, Sean Connery. People's list also includes Benjamin Bratt (sexiest single guy), Yo-Yo Ma (sexiest classical musician) and Maxwell (sexiest soul singer).
Stiller stars in Wes Anderson's upcoming comedy-drama, "The Royal Tenenbaums," with Gwyneth Paltrow, Gene Hackman and Bill Murray.
He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, actress Christine Taylor.
hPlaying his songs,he's the answer man
WASHINGTON -- Billy Joel likes to think of his latest tour as a series of master classes.
He's been visiting universities to answer questions and play selections from his new classical album, "Fantasies & amp; Delusions."
Students ask more technical questions than the typical fan, Joel told AP Radio, and he likes that.
"I usually get asked about the project at hand or hit records but not about the job. There's a lot of job to it," said Joel, 52. "I could have used the information when I was starting out and there was nobody to ask."
Joel, whose pop hits include "Piano Man," "Uptown Girl" and "Only the Good Die Young," says he also likes technical questions "because I don't have the answer in my index-card file. I've really got to think."
"Fantasies & amp; Delusions" features pianist Richard Joo performing 12 of Joel's Romantic-era opuses.
Why didn't the Grammy-winning rocker play the music himself?
"Composers don't necessarily play their own work," said Joel, adding: "It's the idea that's the hard part."
Actor has 'Potter' look
NEW YORK -- Robbie Coltrane jokes that it isn't his size that won him the role of Hagrid the giant in "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" -- it's his good looks.
Coltrane, who's a pretty big guy, was "Harry Potter" author J.K. Rowling's first choice for the role.
"She'd always thought that Hagrid was a devastatingly handsome man, probably in the sort of young Brando sort of way," the 51-year-old actor-comedian told reporters recently. "She said, 'There's only one guy to play Hagrid,' and that was me."
As for the critics, Coltrane says the best review has been the one he received from his 8-year-old son.
"Halfway through the premiere, he tapped me on the leg and he went, 'You're very good, dad.'"
For Child, a tomatoto call her very own
CARMEL, Calif. -- Julia Child now has a certified-organic, heirloom tomato to call her own.
Gary Ibsen, founder of Carmel's annual TomatoFest, has announced the naming of his "Julia Child" tomato.
"This tomato isn't for sissies," Ibsen said. "It's not a simple, sugary-sweet variety. It has bold straightforward character in its taste with more than enough acidity and earthy nuances to balance its sweet, fruity flavors. Sounds a lot like Julia herself, doesn't it?"
For more than 40 years, Child, now 89, has taught cooking through her books, demonstrations and TV shows.
Ibsen will sell a limited number of "Julia Child" seeds ($4.50 a pack). He'll donate 30 cents from every pack sold to The American Institute of Wine & amp; Food, which Child co-founded in 1981.
Singer Robert Goulet is 68. Impressionist Rich Little is 63. Singer Tina Turner is 62. Producer-director Bruce Paltrow is 58. Singer Jean Terrell is 57. Pop musician John McVie is 56. Actress Jamie Rose is 42. Country singer Linda Davis is 39. Country singer-musician Steve Grisaffe (River Road) is 36. Actress Maia Campbell is 25. Actress Jessica Bowman ("Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman") is 21.