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Piazza weds ex-Playmate



Published: Mon, January 31, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Piazza weds ex-Playmate

MIAMI -- Mets catcher Mike Piazza married former Playboy Playmate and "Baywatch" star Alicia Rickter in a candlelight church ceremony. With baseball superstars including former Mets pitcher Al Leiter and Detroit Tigers catcher Ivan Rodriguez in attendance, Piazza and Rickter took their vows at St. Jude's Catholic Church on Saturday before boarding a yacht to a lavish reception on nearby Fisher Island. Rickter, 32, wore a white satin Vera Wang gown and was joined by five bridesmaids, including maid-of-honor Angelica Bridges, a "Baywatch" co-star, and Playboy Playmates Brande Roderick and Lisa Dergan. Noted for his racy bachelor days, Piazza, 36, embarked on married life at a small ceremony, joined by about 120 people. His brother Tony was best man. Auxiliary Bishop Ignatius Catanello of the Diocese of Brooklyn performed the ceremony. He said Piazza was nervous "like a regular groom, but he's OK."

R & amp;B group begins searchfor third member on UPN

LOS ANGELES -- Those who want to join up with a top-selling R & amp;B group -- and have their experiences filmed for UPN -- are getting their chance. Auditions for "R U the Girl with T-Boz & amp; Chilli," in which the two surviving members of TLC look for a new partner to join them in "the next phase of their careers," kicked off Saturday in Los Angeles. Tryouts continue over the next month in New York, Chicago, Dallas, Washington, Atlanta and Miami, with the show likely to hit the air later this year. By "next phase," T-Boz (Tionne Watkins) and Chilli (Rozonda Thomas) mean that they're not simply looking for a replacement for Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes, the third member of TLC who died in a 2002 car accident "We want to find someone with the right chemistry and magic to work with us," the two say in a statement. "We have been blessed with great success, and this is a chance for our fans to join us as we give someone a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to fulfill their dream." The eight-episode series will put the aspiring performers through the usual set of challenges and eliminate them one by one. The winner will earn the chance to record with T-Boz and Chilli and do a concert.

McBride set for 'House'

NEW YORK -- Chi McBride, who starred on Fox's "Boston Public," is returning to the network for a guest-starring arc on "House." McBride has signed on for five episodes of the first-year drama, where he'll play a wealthy businessman whose nine-figure donation to the hospital allows him to become chairman of its board. Once there, he decides Dr. House's (Hugh Laurie) diagnostic team are a drain on the hospital's resources. Naturally, that doesn't go over too well with the misanthropic House, who disdains hospital higher-ups even more than he does patients. McBride's episodes are set to begin airing in March. McBride played Principal Steven Harper for all four seasons of "Boston Public."

hEastwood declaredfilmmaker of the year

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. -- Clint Eastwood was declared filmmaker of the year by his peers Saturday, winning the Directors Guild of America honor for the boxing saga "Million Dollar Baby." The award solidifies Eastwood's prospects to win his second best-director prize at the Academy Awards on Feb. 27. He previously won the Academy Award and guild prize for 1992's "Unforgiven," which also was that year's best-picture champ at the Oscars. Eastwood's triumph dashed fellow nominee Martin Scorsese's hopes yet again. With the Howard Hughes epic "The Aviator," Scorsese earned his sixth guild nomination for best director, but he has lost every time. "Million Dollar Baby" stars Eastwood as a curmudgeonly boxing trainer and reluctant mentor to a scrappy fighter (Hilary Swank) who becomes a champion in the ring before her life takes a tragic turn. Morgan Freeman co-stars as an ex-boxer and resident sage of the gym where Swank's character trains. Eastwood offered gracious thanks to Swank and Freeman, saying their presence made his job as director a delight.

Today's birthdays

Actress Carol Channing is 84. Author Norman Mailer is 82. Actress Jean Simmons is 76. Baseball Hall-of-Famer Ernie Banks is 74. Composer Philip Glass is 68. Actress Suzanne Pleshette is 68. Actor Stuart Margolin is 65. Former U.S. Representative Dick Gephardt, D-Mo., is 64. Blues singer-musician Charlie Musselwhite is 61. Baseball Hall-of-Famer Nolan Ryan is 58. Singer-musician KC (KC and the Sunshine Band) is 54. Rock singer Johnny Rotten is 49. Actress Kelly Lynch is 46. Actor Anthony LaPaglia is 46. Singer-musician Lloyd Cole is 44. Actor John Dye is 42. Rock musician Al Jaworski (Jesus Jones) is 39. Actress Minnie Driver is 34. Actress Portia de Rossi is 32. Actress Kerry Washington is 28. Singer Justin Timberlake (*NSync) is 24.




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