Original Drifter membermarks his 80th birthday
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Bill Pinkney relished the shuffle and slide steps of beach music fans on a parquet floor as they helped celebrate his 80th birthday. "I hope that I live to be 100 years old," Pinkney, one of the original members of The Drifters, said as he blew out an "80" candle on his birthday cake Monday. Beach music is a distinctive brand of rhythm and blues associated with shag dancing and the Carolinas. The music the Dalzell native's band helped launch is South Carolina's official "popular music." The shag is the state's dance. Bringing people together is the enduring thing about this music, said Pinkney. "A lot of people have come up to me and said, 'Bill, it's your music that kept me and my wife together' or 'we got married on your music because of such and such a song. And we're still together,"' he said. The Drifters' hits include "Money Honey," "Honey Love," "Under the Boardwalk" and "Save the Last Dance for Me." Pinkney left the band in 1958 in a rift over cash.
Bad birthday for Madonna
LONDON -- Madonna was hospitalized Tuesday, her 47th birthday, with three cracked ribs, a broken collarbone, and a broken hand after falling from a new horse she was riding at Ashcombe house, her estate outside London. Liz Rosenberg, the singer's longtime New York-based publicist, said Madonna and an assistant were riding when the accident happened. Her children, Rocco and Lourdes, were at home but were not with their mother at the time. Her husband, director Guy Ritchie, took her to a hospital for treatment. The family was at the estate celebrating the birthday.
Tribute for Vandross
LOS ANGELES -- Several singers are paying musical tributes to the late love crooner Luther Vandross, who died last month at 54. According to MTV.com, "So Amazing: An All-Star Tribute to Luther Vandross," due Sept. 20, features takes on Vandross classics by Beyonce, Alicia Keys, Usher, Jamie Foxx, Mary J. Blige and others. Among the highlights: Beyonce does "So Amazing," Usher croons "Superstar," John Legend performs "Love Won't Let Me Wait," Foxx sings "Creepin'," and Elton John duets with Vandross on "Anyone Who Had a Heart."
Gifford signs on 'Insider'
NEW YORK -- Kathie Lee Gifford will join anchor Pat O'Brien on "The Insider" next month as a special correspondent for the syndicated entertainment-magazine show. Beginning Sept. 12, Gifford will appear at least two days a week to cover "big name celebrity interviews and the Broadway beat," Paramount Domestic Television announced Monday. Gifford was co-host of the syndicated "Live With Regis & amp; Kathie Lee" with Regis Philbin for 15 years. She left the show five years ago. "Being a member of 'The Insider' family gives me an opportunity to do what I know, television, with what I love, theater," Gifford, 52, said in a statement. "I'm looking forward to finally casting a well-deserved spotlight on the world of theater. And it's no secret that I love to talk, but the real secret is I love to listen, too."
Former Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger is 88. Actress Shelley Winters is 85. Former first lady Rosalynn Carter is 78. Movie director Roman Polanski is 72. Actor Robert Redford is 68. Singer Johnny Preston is 66. Actor-comedian Martin Mull is 62. Rock musician Dennis Elliott is 55. Actor Patrick Swayze is 53. Actor Denis Leary is 48. Actress Madeleine Stowe is 47. Actor Craig Bierko is 40. Hip-hop artist Everlast is 36. Actor Christian Slater is 36. Actor Edward Norton is 36. Actor Malcolm-Jamal Warner is 35. Rock musician Dirk Lance is 29. Actor Mika Boorem is 17. Actress Parker McKenna Posey is 10.