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Category: Books

J.K. Rowling donates $15.4 million to multiple sclerosis research

Jk-rowling Author J.K. Rowling has donated $15.4 million to a multiple sclerosis research and treatment center at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.

The creator of the "Harry Potter" franchise says she hopes the clinic will become "a world center for excellence in the field of regenerative neurology."

Rowling's mother, Anne, died of complications related to MS at 45, before her daughter found literary fame. The currently incurable neurological disease can take many forms, ranging from relatively mild and manageable to progressive and debilitating. The center will also study Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and Huntington's diseases.

"I cannot think of anything more important, or of more lasting value, than to help the university attract world-class minds in the field on neuroregeneration, to build on its long and illustrious history of medical research and, ultimately, to seek a cure for a very Scottish disease," Rowling said in a statement Tuesday.

"Very Scottish disease" may refer to the fact that MS in more common in people from northern latitudes. The donation is the biggest charitable gift made by Rowling, who just turned 45 herself and is a longtime Edinburgh resident.

-- Christie D'Zurilla

Photo: J.K Rowling. Credit: IWC Media Limited

Related dispatches from the Ministry of Gossip:

Avril Lavigne, Nancy Davis sport their true colors to support MS research

Are 'Twilight' fans slacking? Stephenie Meyer only the second-highest-earning author in the world


Are 'Twilight' fans slacking? Stephenie Meyer only the second-highest-earning author in the world

Meyer-facinelli It's almost enough to get your blood boiling -- Stephenie Meyer, author of the "Twilight" books, is ranked only second on Forbes' 2010 list of the highest-paid authors, behind the prolific James Patterson.

Think it had something to do with not publishing a new book during the period the mag evaluated? Though "The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner" was available free in June and for sale starting in early July, Forbes assembled its list based on earnings for the 12 months ending June 1.

Combine that with list-leader Patterson's breakneck writing pace -- he had nine books in calendar 2009 and has put out seven so far this year -- and it seems safe enough to keep the faith when it comes to Twihards' devotion to Meyer's works.

Meyer pulled in $40 million, Forbes estimates, with about $7 million coming from "The Twilight Saga" movies. She ranks between Patterson at $70 million and Stephen King at $34 million.

Rounding out the top 10: Danielle Steel, Ken Follett, Dean Koontz, Janet Evanovich, ...

Continue reading »

Books by Betty White, coming to a coffee table near you

betty white writes two books Not satisfied with sitcom darling Betty White  appearing only on your TV or computer? Well, now you can have your Betty and read her too. The 88-year-old actress, who is currently on TV Land's "Hot in Cleveland" and will be in the season opener of NBC's "Community," is penning two books for G.P. Putnam's Sons, according to a statement from the publisher.

The first book, "Listen Up," hits shelves in 2011 and will include what White has learned over "her incredibly varied, decades-long career in Hollywood," touching on subjects including life, love, sex and celebrity.

The second, "The Zoo and I: Betty and Her Friends," is slated for 2012, USA Today reports, and will features stories and photographs of the animals at the Los Angeles Zoo, where White is a board member.

White already has an autobiography that came out in 1997 and one from 1988, but hey, the gal's been in the business a while and, given her recent surge in popularity, probably has a bunch of new stories to tell since that last book came out. Plus, after many hours spent babysitting as a teen, when I often watched "The Golden Girls," I have a special spot in my heart for that show and White.

But still -- what with the new sitcom and the commercial and the "Saturday Night Live" hosting and the calendar and the clothing, are you getting over your Betty fever? Or maybe you're thinking, "More power to her!" Share in the comments.

-- Whitney Friedlander

Photo: Betty White poses for a portrait on the set of the television show "Hot in Cleveland." Credit: Matt Sayles / Associated Press

Those who simply can't get enough might want to visit our Betty White archives -- or tour through other celebrity book announcements instead.


Add Rob Lowe, Barbara Eden to the celebrity memoir bandwagon

Barbara-eden It's raining memoirs in Hollywood -- and if you caught comedian Myq Kaplan's set Monday night on "Last Comic Standing," you might have new insight into the value of books with celebrities on their covers. (That's it up top, in case you missed out.)

"I Dream of Jeannie" star Barbara Eden announced her book plans Tuesday -- "Jeannie Out of the Bottle" is due in spring. Eden is working with a collaborator, she tells the New York Times, and they still need a few dish sessions together. Other than the "Jeannie" show, the book's publisher says, topics will include the birth of a still-born son; Eden's relationship with an allegedly abusive addict husband; and her son Matthew Ansara's drug-related death in 2001, at age 35.

Interesting thing about Rob Lowe's book, "Stories I Only Tell My Friends," due next May -- the publisher says Lowe actually plans to write it himself. It's being billed as "a midcareer meditation" on his four decades as an actor.

Continue reading »

Pre-flight questions for super-producer Jerry Weintraub

Weintraub-web

After seeing the title "When I Stop Talking, You'll Know I'm Dead," we were naturally inclined to want to speak to author and producer Jerry Weintraub on the phone -- which happened Tuesday before his flight from Palm Springs to Los Angeles to host an evening book bash at Barneys New York in Beverly Hills.

The tome, co-written with Rich Cohen, covers Weintraub's expansive career -- which includes booking concerts for Elvis Presley, managing singer John Denver and leading the "Oceans Eleven" franchise.

His promotion schedule for this book rivals that of an A-lister hyping one of Weintraub's films. Is he enjoying how the other half lives?

"It's very gratifying. It's something new for me, and it's a big hit. If it weren't big hit ...

Continue reading »

Tyra Banks to write a teen fantasy series based on -- surprise -- modeling

Tyra-doll What's about to strut down Tyra Banks' business runway? A collection of teen fantasy novels written by the supermodel and set in the far away but fierce world of Modelland.

That's pronounced "Model Land," Tyra says (in case anyone was going for the Spanish "moh-day-and"?) and it's the title of the first of her three books coming from Random House. 

According to Tyra's announcement on her website:

"The story happens in a make-believe place called Modelland -- every girl in the world wants to go there because it’s where 'Intoxibellas' are trained.  Intoxibellas are drop-dead beautiful, kick-butt fierce and, yeah, maybe they have some powers too. (But I'm confirming NOTHING! Ha. You gotta wait for the book.) The story follows a teen girl and her friends who find themselves magically transported to Modelland, even though they’re really not supposed to be there. (Okay, now, that’s ALL I’m saying!)"

"Modelland" is due in summer 2011. The supermodel's nonfiction book debut, "Tyra's Beauty Inside and Out," was published in 1998.

If Tyra writes quickly enough, maybe she can snag Kellan Lutz and Ashley Green for "Modelland: The Movie." 

Unrelated, we have a poll:

-- Christie D'Zurilla

Photo: Tyra Banks arrives at Nickelodeon's 23rd Annual Kids' Choice Awards on March 27 in Los Angeles. Credit: Chris Pizzello / Associated Press

If you want our fierce headlines, follow us on Twitter (we're @LATcelebs) or 'like' us right into your news feed on Facebook. We'll try to watch our angles for you.



Kitty Kelley responds to Oprah Winfrey's complaints; are the Obamas up next?

Kitty kelley oprah obama

We at the Ministry were (naturally) drawn to Kitty Kelley and the buzz surrounding her book "Oprah: A Biography."

Attention-grabbing headlines surrounding the heat-seeking tome have teased to scandalous revelations about Oprah Winfrey, the queen of daytime TV -- leaving some media outlets accused of shying from Kelley, perhaps in fear of the wrath of Harpo.

Not us. 

The biographer, who has tackled icons including Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Frank Sinatra, will host a conversation Thursday about the project with comedian Kathy Griffin. We chatted with Kelley earlier this week about the big O and her reaction to the bio, and the author's road ahead.

"What amazes me is that this is the first full, comprehensive biography ever done," Kelley said of her subject, who recently addressed Kelley's effort as a "so-called biography."

"Oh, honey, if this is a 'so-called biography,' all 550 pages, 850 interviews, documents, letters and diary extracts, I'd like to see a real biography," Kelley said.

Continue reading »

New book offers more evidence that Tiger Woods' life is nothing like yours

Tiger-tired Tiger Woods was clearly impaired the night he crashed his SUV into a tree, as far as officers and paramedics on the scene were concerned, but his celebrity status seems to have protected him from a DUI charge -- that's according to an excerpt from "Tiger: The Real Story," a new book from author Steve Helling.

Elin Nordegren told an officer in the wee hours on Nov. 27, 2009, that Woods had consumed alcohol earlier in the evening, Helling writes, and she brought paramedics the golfer's Ambien and Vicodin to take with them to the hospital after they asked if he was taking any medication.

Police thought they had enough evidence to subpoena the golfer's blood from the hospital, the book says, calling it a "routine process." But apparently not everyone agreed.

[O]fficers were stunned to learn that the State Attorney was unwilling to subpoena the blood-test results. Although a spokeswoman for the office says that Woods’ celebrity status played no part in the decision, officers say that Woods’ fame -- along with his high-powered legal team -- protected him from being charged with a DUI.

Tiger was ultimately issued a citation for careless driving and was hit with a $164 fine. Oh, yeah, then his whole life blew up.

We're sure there must have been another explanation for Tiger's little nap on the street next to his crashed Cadillac Escalade. Seriously -- who hasn't been found snoring on the pavement like that?

-- Christie D'Zurilla

P.S. Just for fun ... a poll.

Photo: Wake up, Tiger! You're in the middle of a news conference! Credit: Chris O'Meara / Associated Press. 


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Book deal for Baba Booey: Howard Stern producer will write a memoir

Baba Howard Stern producer Gary Dell'Abate, a.k.a. Baba Booey, has scored a deal to write a memoir for Random House, SiriusBuzz reports.

Stern mentioned the forthcoming book on his Wednesday show, according to the radio show's website, and Dell'Abate joined him:

Gary came in to say his shrink has a theory about growing up in the Dell'Abate household: "Every day when you turned the doorknob, you didn't know if you were going to be kicked in the teeth emotionally or hugged." Howard laughed: "Everything with you is teeth!" Gary said his boyhood home's front door prepared him for working on the show: "It's kind of like opening the door to the studio every day."

Expect an early November release for "They Call Me Baba Booey," which Dell'Abate will write with author Chad Millman, who previously co-wrote mixed martial artist and UFC champ Chuck Lidell's autobiography.

Perhaps that experience has prepared Millman for working with a member of Stern's crew?

-- Christie D'Zurilla

Photo: Mark McGrath, left, sings with Gary Dell'Abate, a.k.a. Baba Booey of "The Howard Stern Show," on a charity edition of Fox's "Don't Forget the Lyrics" that aired in March 2009. Credit Greg Gayne / Fox.

Click and scroll down for more dish on books and Howard Stern Want the headlines? Follow the Ministry of Gossip on Twitter (we're @LATcelebs) or show us you like us on Facebook at facebook.com/ministryofgossip.



Susan Boyle inks a deal to write her autobiography

Boyle-singing Susan Boyle, the overnight Scottish singing sensation who dreamed a dream until it came true (and then started to have a few nightmare moments), has signed a deal to write her autobiography, the BBC reports.

"I'm writing this book to try to show that you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, and I hope it will benefit other people," said Boyle, who acknowledged that she's "grown up a lot" in the past year and isn't as frightened as she once was.

Title of the tome, which is due out this fall? "The Woman I Was Born to Be."

Of course, now we can't wait to see what the cover will look like.

-- Christie D'Zurilla

Photo: Susan Boyle makes a guest appearance at a Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra concert in Tokyo on April 1, 2010. Credit: Shizuo Kambayashi / Associated Press 

Click and scroll down for all things Susan Boyle. Want the headlines? Follow the Ministry of Gossip on Twitter (we're @LATcelebs) or become a fan on Facebook at facebook.com/ministryofgossip.


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