Catherine Zeta-Jones hails from Mumbles, Wales (a tiny fishing village just outside Swansea in the UK), where she was born on September 25, 1969. Her name stems from two different grandmothers; one grandmother is named Catherine, while the other is "Zeta," named after a ship that Catherine's grandfather sailed on. Although Catherine was not known in the U.S. until her role in The Mask of Zorro in 1998, she was a well-known star in her native UK. Catherine played the lead in a production of the musical Annie at age 11, and starred in a West End production of Bugsy Malone two years later. At age 17, Catherine nabbed the lead role in 42nd Street after having moved to London in order to pursue an acting career. Once the show closed, Zeta-Jones traveled to France, where she received the lead role in French director Phillippe De Broca's 1001 Nights (a.k.a. Sheherazade), her feature film debut. Catherine's big break came upon her return to England in 1991, when she became a regular on the hugely popular British television series The Darling Buds of May. Her role as the eldest daughter of a farm family increased her star status in the UK, which of course, led to her becoming a tabloid favorite, constantly hounded by the paparazzi. Once the intrusiveness of the media became unbearable, she decided to take her life and career across the Atlantic. Although a sex symbol and celebrity in the UK (she even dabbled in music, releasing an album in the UK in the early '90s), it took a while for Catherine to break into the Hollywood scene. In 1994, she landed the lead role in CBS' Return of the Native, and gave a remarkable performance in her role as "Catherine" in the miniseries Catherine the Great.
It wasn't until Catherine's role in the four-hour television docudrama Titanic that Americans would soon learn why she was famous across the pond, one year before Leo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet starred in the big-screen version of the film.
Steven Spielberg noticed her in the miniseries and thought she'd be perfect for the female lead in The Mask of Zorro, which he was producing. Spielberg knew what he was talking about, and he wasn't the only one who was impressed; audiences and critics liked what they saw in the role opposite Antonio Banderas. Audiences probably wondered where this beauty popped up from, since they had never before heard of the Welsh star, who was often mistaken for Spanish.
At the 1998 Oscars, Catherine stood out on the red carpet, looking ravishing. If she wasn't yet noticed after The Mask of Zorro, her appearance at the Oscars turned heads.
In the summer of 1999, Catherine Zeta-Jones appeared opposite Sean Connery in the summer action film Entrapment. That same summer, Catherine took on the role of Theo in The Haunting, Dreamworks' adaptation of the 1963 horror of the same name, joining cast members Liam Neeson and Lili Taylor. Actor Michael Douglas first met Catherine at the Deauville Film Festival, and apparently told her that he wanted to father her children during their first date. As if a premonition, they had their first child, Dylan Michael, in August 2000.
The couple married in New York's famed Plaza Hotel in November 2000; apparently, Catherine arrived 10 minutes late, as a result of being held up by her troop of security guards. Their wedding even made headlines again in 2002, when the power couple sued Hello! magazine for $815,000, for breach of security to get wedding shots and for publishing the poor quality, unauthorized photos. They won the suit and were awarded $26,000. After appearances in High Fidelity, starring John Cusack, and Steven Soderbergh's Oscar-winning Traffic (both in 2000), she reunited with Cusack for America's Sweethearts in 2001, which also starred Julia Roberts. More recent film roles include 2002's Chicago (for which she won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar) and 2003's Intolerable Cruelty, with George Clooney.
Catherine Zeta-Jones is also the spokesperson for T-Mobile International, a leading global wireless service provider, as well as the face of cosmetics giant, Elizabeth Arden.
On the family front, she has built a seaside dream home in her hometown, determined that her children (Dylan Michael and daughter Carys) grow up aware of their Welsh heritage.
2004 is shaping up to be a busy year for Catherine Zeta-Jones: she's starring in Spielberg's The Terminal, as well as the sequel to Ocean's Eleven, Ocean's Twelve. She will also be reuniting with Banderas and Anthony Hopkins for another sequel, Zorro 2, set for a 2005 release.
Zeta-Jones' Welsh movie in trouble
Catherine Zeta-Jones' planned musical movie about her native Wales has been delayed because of the struggling US dollar.
According to the Internet Media Database, the film, "Coming Out", which the star is planning to act in and produce - with her brother Lyndon - was due to begin shooting in Wales this month.
But the film has been hit by the falling value of the US dollar against the British pound.
The shooting schedule has now been reduced to 42 days and director Joel Zwick hopes to recruit a host of Welsh-born stars to join the lead pair Zeta-Jones and Scot Alan Cumming.
Zeta-Jones's stalker pleads guilty
A WOMAN yesterday pleaded guilty to stalking and making threats against Hollywood star Catherine Zeta-Jones. Dawnette Knight, 33, had previously denied the charges, but entered a plea deal in a Los Angeles court, admitting one count of stalking and three counts of making criminal threats.
She is accused of sending threatening letters to Zeta-Jones's husband, actor Michael Douglas.
One letter said: "We are going to slice her up like meat on a bone and feed her to the dogs."
Knight allegedly apologised in another letter, claiming she had been in love with Douglas.
Welsh-born Zeta-Jones has said she was on the verge of a nervous breakdown as a result of the "satanic" threats.
Hours after the last time Knight and Zeta-Jones were in the same room, during a pre-trial hearing, Knight took an overdose of barbiturates.
A sentencing date will be set on June 3, exactly one year after she was arrested at her home in Beverly Hills.
She faces a maximum of five years behind bars.
Catherine Zeta Jones Unhappy About Documentary
ZETA-JONES UPSET OVER DOCUMENTARY
CATHERINE ZETA-JONES is reportedly fuming over a planned TV documentary about her - which will take an uncompromising look at her rise to Hollywood stardom.
British network CHANNEL 5's expose CATHERINE ZETA JONES' SECRETS will show interviews with childhood friends talking about the 35-year-old life in Wales and before married life to MICHAEL DOUGLAS.
A source says, "Catherine probably won't like all the content - some is a little embarrassing."
Last month (JAN05) supermodel KATE MOSS was said to be furious over Channel Five documentary THE TRUTH ABOUT KATE MOSS, which contained allegations about drug use.
Catherine Zeta-Jones to Take a 'Holiday'
Welsh actress Catherine Zeta-Jones will be returning to the UK for her next project.
The 35-year-old beauty is in talks to star as a drug addict who returns to her Irish homeland in "Rachel's Holiday," report news sources.
Based on the novel by Marian Keyes, "Holiday" centers on a New Yorker (Zeta-Jones) who likes her men, alcohol and cocaine. One eventful day, she wakes up in a hospital emergency room and is diagnosed as a suicidal drug addict. Suddenly, her life is in the gutter: she's lost her job, home and boyfriend. She checks into an Irish rehab clinic that challenges her to learn a new way to approach life.
Francesca Joseph will direct the adaptation, which Zeta-Jones might also produce.
Zeta-Jones won a best supporting actress Oscar for 2002's "Chicago." She last starred in the heist sequel "Ocean's 12" and "The Terminal" and recently signed on to star in "The Ivy Chronicles," about a wife who discovers her husband's infidelity and then recoups by creating a new business.
Zeta-Jones, Robbins Get Hasty Pudding Awards
Catherine Zeta-Jones and Tim Robbins have been named the 2005 "Woman and Man of the Year" by Harvard University for their "contribution to entertainment."
The two actors will receive the Hasty Pudding awards, so named for the Hasty Pudding Theatricals, the country's oldest undergraduate drama troupe.
On Thursday, Feb. 10, the 35-year-old Zeta-Jones will lead a parade of Harvard students dressed in drag through Cambridge, Mass., will receive the honorary Pudding Pot and roasting and will later watch several numbers from the Hasty Pudding production "Terms of Frontierment."
One week later, Robbins, 46, will receive his own roasting and Pudding Pot followed by the opening night performance of "Frontierment."
Previous "Woman of the Year" recipients include Sandra Bullock, Meryl Streep, Katharine Hepburn, Julia Roberts, Jodie Foster and Anjelica Huston. Previous "Man of the Year" recipients include Robert Downey Jr., Clint Eastwood, Tom Cruise, Robert DeNiro, Harrison Ford, Anthony Hopkins and Bruce Willis.
Zeta-Jones won a best supporting actress Oscar for 2002's "Chicago." Her other film credits include "The Phantom," "The Mask of Zorro," "Entrapment," "High Fidelity," "Traffic," "America's Sweethearts," "Intolerable Cruelty," "The Terminal" and "Ocean's 12." She next stars in the action sequel "The Legend of Zorro" and recently signed on to star in "The Ivy Chronicles" and "Rachel's Holiday."
Robbins nabbed a best supporting actor Oscar for his portrayal of the unhappy Dave Boyle in Clint Eastwood's 2003 drama "Mystic River." He was also nominated in 1995 for directing the death row film "Dead Man Walking." His other films include "Jacob's Ladder," "The Player," "Bob Roberts," "The Hudsucker Proxy," "The Shawshank Redemption," "Arlington Road" and "Code 46. He's currently filming the "War of the Worlds" remake and next appears in "The Secret Life of Words" and the children's adventure film "Zathura."
Catherina Zeta-Jones: One million pounds isn't much for us
Catherina Zeta-Jones, for one, isn’t nearly as spoilt as she’s made out to be, she tells us. "I don't know anyone who wants to live in a shack. But we really aren't an extravagant couple," she says of herself and her man Michael Douglas.
"We certainly enjoy our life, we're able to travel and see the world and stay in nice places while we do, but I'm not flippant or frivolous about things." Indeed, she’s nothing like the arrogant, self-involved character she played in ‘America’s Sweethearts’. No, not in the least.
Unfortunate, then, that she’s likely never to live down the fact she once commented that a million pounds (well over R11-million) isn’t a lot of money. (To be exact, she said: "One million pounds is a lot of money to a lot of people, but it is not that much for us.")
Hopefully for her, with inflation, that’ll be true in a few hundred years or so.
Catherine Zeta-Jones: "Ocean's Twelve"
Catherine Zeta-Jones looks ravishing, wearing a gold shrug with pink ribbon closing. Quietly elegant, but not as overtly jocular as her male co-stars, the elegant star does admit to having left out from the pranks that Clooney and company played on each other during the shooting of Oceans 12, on which she joined the as the newest cast member. "I thought there was a personality clash and that the guys didn't like me because I didn't have any pranks. I have been informed that it can take up to 3 years to complete,, so I have known George Clooney for 2, therefore I'm looking over my shoulder for the next year," Zeta-Jones says laughingly.
Oceans 12, the eagerly awaited follow-up to the brat pack remake of Oceans 11, casts Zeta-Jones as a high ranking investigator both on the prowl for thieves like Danny Ocean, and ex-lover of Brad Pitt, who is trying to win her back. Now more the female centrepiece of this latest caper film, in comparing hers and Pitt's on screen pairing to that of Clooney and Roberts in the original, the actress says there are sharp differences. "We wanted to make them different from Danny and Tess. She's loving this guy so much and having to be dumped by him and then the relationship sort of comes together and she's so happy." She laughingly adds that working with Pitt was not such a terrible facet of making this move. "I bet I'm hated by women around the world for having to kiss this guy. My husband would say to me: `What are you doing today honey' and I'd say `Oh, I'm kissing Brad on a bridge' The next day `Oh I'm kissing Brad in the car or someplace'. It was a tough job, but somebody had to do it. We had a lot of fun. I'd love to do another movie with him in a different connotation", she says. "Maybe a musical."
Zeta-Jones says she didn't need much incentive to join this illustrious gang of thieves, when initially approached by producer Jerry Weintraub. "I met Jerry before and I worked with George and Steve Soderbergh on Traffic and so on with Julia, and I knew that the Ocean's 12 was going to be starting up soon and I didn't think for one minute that it was going to be anyone than the characters that were formed already. So when I got the call from Jerry and Steven, I took a look at the script and I was in." Zeta-Jones describes her character as having "the blood of the best thief in the world and as much as she hates them, hasn't seen her father and is distressed over her lost love, there's a lot to play with. Also, it was nice that I was in Europe, being European and I was very proud to give a speech at The Hague. It was also very good to know that Europol agents wear red leather to work. When I was researching the character, I didn't think I'd be wearing red leather," she adds, laughingly.
Zeta-Jones says she wasn't intimidated by her boisterous male co-stars and their sense of humour. "I don't know about my humour, but god, we have a good laugh when we hang out and the guys are funny and it's just contagious. I'm intimidated every day I go on the stage and everyday I go on a movie set. It's terrifying and I always want to reshoot the first day or the first week, I'm so terrified. Like I said earlier, when meeting them altogether for the first time, it's such a powerful force. All these guys together, you know, and it was just easy and simple and they welcomed me in with open arms. I had to leave my prissy girliness at the door, just join in and it was great, but I get terrified everyday I go on sets," she admits.
Still luminous, when it comes to talking about her beauty, modesty steps in, as Zeta-Jones admits that no matter what the perception, she has the same insecurities as the rest of us. "I'm a regular woman, so I always have some type of insecurities. I'm always asking my husband if my bum is too big," she adds, laughingly. "I can see good things and feel good about them, but there are also other things that I have insecurities over."
And when it comes to motherhood, Zeta-Jones says she was thrilled to share her experiences with the now pregnant Julia Roberts. "It's nice to see somebody having that experience for the first time, reminding me how ecstatic it was for me. I remember the advice my mother told me; 'You enjoy it now. You enjoy every moment as it gets better and better."
Catherine Zeta-Jones stars in "Chicago"
Dressed in black, pregnant and beautiful radiant, Catherine Zeta-Jones admits that there are some parallels to be drawn between the dark world of the musical Chicago, and our fascination with celebrity, about which she is all-familiar
In Chicago, based on the classic Bob Fosse musical set at the height of prohibition in the late twenties, casts Zeta-Jones as the tough and infamous murderess Velma Kelly who, along with Renee Zellweger's Roxie Hart (who killed her boyfriend in a jealous rage) strive for fame at any costs including scandal and lies. An often pervasive and subversive look at the nature of celebrity, Comparing celebrityism in the 1920s to today, the actress believes that it never really went away between then and now. "There are just more outlets for it now", says the 33-year old actress in a New York hotel room. "It's really become so intense, but I think the desire to know everything about people, all their ins and outs, has been highlighted because there are so many different outlets for it now. I think what's so contemporary about this film on the fascination of celebrityism, is that there's something grotesque about it, that people can be famous for doing the worst thing. I mean, we're hungry for it and THAT'S what's fascinating about it." Zeta-Jones laughingly says that at least the public isn't fascinated by her because of a double murder that she committed. She finds it more bizarre and becomes annoyed "that a photographer can take a photo of my kid in the park and you turn round and sort of give them the finger, then they wrote about you for weeks." Since her marriage to Michael Douglas, Catherine has been the object of media fascination, so no wonder she could relate to the celebrity-themed facets of Chicago. She admits that on more than one occasion, when being hounded by the paparazzi, she has given them "more than just the finger, but the parallels are, that the smallest thing can be blown up into a veritable media frenzy, and those are the similarities.
While Velma has been closely identified with the likes of Chita Rivera and Bebe Neuwirth, the challenge for the beautiful Welsh actress was to make the role her own. "I'd never seen anyone else do it, which was probably a good thing," Zeta-Jones explains. "I realised after reading the script that my characterisation to be instantaneous ask soon as that spotlight is on her. Because I don't have a lot of scenes where I can backtrack and delve into the mind of Velma Kelly. In my song and just have to nail it in my song and dance, as well as nuances in the character." The actress admits that this was a character she was born to play. "I just love her because she's so bitter, twisted, and so tongue-in-cheek." Having seen the final film, and being so overly critical of herself, she admits to being very happy with Chicago "and my work and happy that I was a part of this experience." Her favourite song is the classic All that Jazz, "because I have such a heart relationship with that number as I've been singing it all my life. To be up there doing it for real was extraordinary."
Being in a movie musical fulfils a lifelong fantasy for the actress, who is no stranger to musical comedy. She sang and danced her way to local stardom before she was ten years-old, as a part of a Catholic congregation's performing troupe and later starred on stage in 'Annie', 'Bugsy Malone', and 'The Pyjama Game'. At 15, Catherine had the lead in the British revival of 42nd Street. She was originally cast as the second understudy for the lead role in the musical but when the star and first understudy became sick the night the play's producer was in the audience, she was given the lead for the rest of the musical's production. Over a decade later, Zeta-Jones proves that she has what it takes to belt out the toe-tapping songs attributed to Velma Kelly. "I was brought up in South Wales where there was only one cinema and the world of videos. So I would go to the video store and rent videos, and so for me, they epitomised Hollywood glamour, my great escape, Fred and Ginger, all that world was fascinating to me and still is. I craved to be a part of that family." The little girl from Swansea in West Glamorgan may have been far removed from the Hollywood glamour with which she is now ensconced, but growing up, Catherine recalls, she wanted to escape that tiny Welsh milieu. "I knew I wanted to be on the stage and wanted to perform," she says. She never thought of going into movies and "never thought they would ever be a part of my life. I wanted to get to London as soon as possible and start auditioning for the theatre." Zeta-Jones admits that she was - and still is - fiercely ambitious, "not as ruthless as Velma, but I knew it was going to be something that was a part of my life. My parents were not stage parents but they supported me considerably throughout that time. I never wanted to do anything else."
Her Hollywood career has flourished, ranging from the sexy Elena in her Hollywood breakout film, The Mask of Zorro, through to the diverse likes of Entrapment, The Haunting, High Fidelity and Traffic. Add to her professional career her much publicised marriage to Michael Douglas, and Zeta-Jones has emerged as one of Hollywood's major players. The actress seems genuinely surprised by her success, "though I know it wouldn't be through the lack of hard work. I've always thought that life takes you in different directions and things don't necessarily happen the way that you dream about them happening. I guess I'm lucky to be able to do what I love, but it seems that the harder I work, the luckier I get. It's something that I SO wanted to do, that I've been pursuing it all my life." Zeta-Jones adds that she had to make sacrifices along the way, "like leaving home at 15 and fending for myself, then getting a TV series followed by a period of having no work coming my way. Then coming to LA and wondering what the hell am I doing joining the big old line of pretty girls wanting to become actresses." Through it all, Catherine now enjoys the life she has made for herself. "I enjoy the business and I enjoy being around this environment; I can't think of doing anything else."
Expecting her second child, Zeta-Jones has learned to become even more protective during her second pregnancy. "I was at a screening the other night and as I came out, a guy who wanted my autograph, jumped out of me carrying one of those wooden clipboards with a metal clip and almost jabbed me in the stomach. That really scared me and if I wasn't pregnant I would have decked him one," she says, laughingly. It is incidents such as that which explain the need for Zeta-Jones and her family to live in Bermuda. "My son's going to go to school there, it's very private and I can go in and out to my doctor without being photographed about what I'm wearing." The actress plans to take a short break following the birth of her child, but scoffs at the idea of being away from work for too long a period of time. "What would I do if I ended up taking, say, three years off? There are just so many parks you can keep on taking your baby to. Obviously I'm going to start getting back into shape and start something as soon as I can." Possibly with husband Michael "that we're looking at doing together. It's been a long struggle to find something that we can do where we're not necessarily a couple but can have still have on-screen chemistry without it necessarily being a gimmick or some sick, personalised love story that you want put on celluloid as if people didn't know enough about you."
Before then, of course, Zeta-Jones "has to deal with this baby stuff first", she says, pointing to her pregnant stomach, and hopes that Chicago marks the revival of the musical movie "but not until I'm 60, please."
Zeta-Jones Heads Off Topless Club
is no friend of "Reno's friendliest topless cabaret."
The movie star has sued the people-pleasing Nevada club known as the Spice House for posting her image on its Website.
The federal lawsuit was filed Thursday in Los Angeles, according to the Associated Press.
Club spokesman Kent Wallace called the litigation "frivolous."
"We haven't even been served," Wallace said Monday. "We found out like the rest of the world--on the AP wire service.
According to Wallace, the lawsuit is a mismatched battle between a powerful celebrity and a little happy-hour-hosting adult club that was never looking for a fight.
A call seeking comment from Zeta-Jones' attorney was not immediately returned Monday.
The Spice House's brush with the Oscar-winning Chicago actress came last October when the club's Website was undergoing a redesign, Wallace said.
In search of a "fetching female face" for the menu bar, the Webmaster trolled sites advertising royalty-free art, and came across a "very sexy" half-body shot of a woman with "fabulous bare shoulders [and] barely concealed bosom," Wallace said.
The image was cropped to the woman's face, and put up on the site--a site that on a "good week," as Wallace told it, "gets 600 views."
About two weeks later, Zeta-Jones' attorneys informed the Spice House that its "fetching female face" belonged to their client. Wallace said that was the first time the club made the connection between the image and the actress.
"Our Webmaster is not star-struck. Maybe if it was the face of Daryle Lamonica," Wallace said, referring to the old Oakland Raiders quarterback Daryle "the Mad Bomber" Lamonica.
Once alerted to the Zeta-Jones connection, the site removed the image "within hours" of receiving the letter from her attorneys, Wallace said.
In her lawsuit, per the Associated Press, Zeta-Jones claims the picture made it seem as if she "endorsed or approved of the [Website's] sexually explicit content."
"We're not a porno site by any stretch of the imagination," Wallace said. "I don't know--Jesus. We're fans of her. We all love her. We find this to be an ironic tragedy."
Wallace said the club, which bills itself as the "friendliest topless cabaret" in all of Reno, initially didn't think to use pictures of its own dancers on the Website because of the heavy turnover rate in the topless-dancing field.
"You put up a girl, and a week later she's out of the business, or she's married," Wallace said.
In the wake of the Zeta-Jones affair, however, the Spice House site now features shots of its own performers in the menu bar.
Zeta-Jones' lawsuit seeks unspecified damages and a formal order barring the Spice House from using her image on its site again, the AP said.
No stranger to litigation, in just the past year Michael Douglas' younger half has won a legal-fees judgment against Britain's Hello! magazine in a protracted battle over the publication of wedding photos and threatened to sic attorneys on media outlets to quash any notion she was on the Atkins diet. She also has frequented the courtroom to face off against an alleged stalker.
The target of her latest lawsuit or no, life--and dancing business--goes on at the Spice House.
Come Sunday night, the club is hosting a Halloween party. According to Wallace, male and female patrons alike are being encouraged to come dressed as their "favorite brunette actress."
Whoever that may be.
Judge Disses Zeta-Jones Fanatic
No get-out-of-jail card is coming for Catherine Zeta-Jones' alleged stalker.
A judge on Wednesday refused to reduce the $1 million bail for Dawnette Knight, who is facing trial on 25 felony counts of stalking and threatening the Chicago star.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge David Mintz sided with prosecutors and declined the defense motion, citing the severity of the charges against Knight, who said in a letter that she wanted "to slice [Zeta-Jones] up like meat on a bone and feed her to the dogs."
Knight, 33, behind bars since her June 3 arrest, faces up to 19 years in prison if she's convicted on the charges. Mintz also set a Nov. 15 trial date during a hearing Wednesday.
Knight's lawyer, Richard Herman, who requested the bail reduction, told reporters outside court that "it's a disappointment because I certainly believe now and have always believed that Dawnette Knight is not a threat to anyone in the past, now or in the future."
Herman described the case as "Hollywood versus Dawnette Knight."
Knight has pleaded not guilty to all the counts. She also tried to apologize to Zeta-Jones and family, explaining that she was simply hopelessly obsessed with the Welsh thesp's hubby, Michael Douglas.
"I have never done anyone any harm and would never harm anyone," Knight wrote in an attempt to make amends. "I was a confused young woman infatuated with Michael Douglas and have no rational explanation for my actions."
But it was Knight's previous correspondence that had Zeta-Jones sweating. The actress took the stand in July to read aloud from Knight's earlier missives.
Zeta-Jones testified about how terrified she had been by letters threatening to wipe her out like other celebrity murder victims Sharon Tate, John F. Kennedy or Nicole Brown Simpson.
"This has affected me and it will affect me the rest of my life," Zeta-Jones said in court. "I felt like a ticking time bomb."
The day after Zeta-Jones' testimony, Knight failed to make it to court after taking too many sleeping pills in a suicide attempt. A court-appointed psychiatrist subsequently found Knight acceptably sane to stand trial.
Knight is due back in court Oct. 27 for a pretrial hearing.
Zeta-Jones Death Threat Details
Catherine Zeta-Jones' alleged stalker is not only competent, but also dangerous.
That's the message authorities put across Friday as testimony continued in the ongoing preliminary hearing against Dawnette Knight, the woman accused of harassing Catherine Zeta-Jones.
In a ruling Wednesday, Knight was officially found competent to stand trial. Her case had been held up, pending a psychiatric evaluation after she allegedly tried to take her own life with pills in jail.
On Thursday, the presiding judge in the preliminary hearing, Patricia Schnegg, refused a defense motion to have the case against Knight dismissed for "prosecutorial misconduct." Knight's lawyer, Richard Herman, is still smarting over the conditions Knight is forced to deal with after her supposed suicide attempt. Herman maintains his client is not suicidal, but Schnegg wasn't buying it and did not reverse a 24-hour suicide watch on the 33-year-old.
As the preliminary hearing continued Friday, the court heard how Knight became a suspect after investigators learned that telephone death threats made to the Chicago Oscar winner came from the defendant's home, Detective Rodney Wagner testified Friday.
Wagner said that phone bills showed several calls were made to Zeta-Jones from Knight's Beverly Hills residence, including a death threat to the actress at her hotel while she was on location in Europe. Police say the calls were made on May 18 and 19.
According to Wagner, the caller told a hotel staffer, "We know she is in the hotel. We are going to kill her." The caller also mentioned Michael Douglas, the actress' husband, by name. Knight is purportedly infatuated with Douglas, and that is what prosecutors say motivated her threats against Zeta-Jones.
Wagner also testified that in a third call, on May 21, the caller threatened to "blow Catherine's head off on Sunday in Monte Carlo."
Although the new testimony is helping the preliminary hearing move forward, the hearing is inching along at an agonizingly slow pace for many, including a visibly frustrated Schnegg.
Schnegg, who must weigh the evidence and decide if it warrants a criminal trial against Knight, voiced her unhappiness with the pace of the proceedings Friday, saying, "We really haven't covered much ground in two days, and I had hoped that we would."
Knight has pleaded not guilty and remains in jail with bail set at $1 million. She faces a stalking charge and 24 counts of making criminal threats.
Zeta-Jones Faces Alleged Stalker
Is this the real-life Fatal Attraction sequel Michael Douglas never wanted to make?
Douglas and wife Catherine Zeta-Jones put in face time in a Los Angeles courtroom Wednesday, testifying against a woman accused of harassing Zeta-Jones at various locations around the globe.
Douglas was first on the stand, testifying for about an hour that he was "shocked, scared and stunned" when first told about the alleged death threats against his wife. Douglas said Zeta-Jones became "hysterical" at one point due to the threats, and that she "felt she was a marked person."
For her part, Zeta-Jones, said she nearly passed out on the set of Ocean's Twelve after receiving a death threat in Amsterdam.
"It felt like a ticking time bomb," the emotionally wrought actress said.
Wednesday's testimony was the latest evidence presented this week in a preliminary hearing to determine whether the alleged stalker, 32-year-old Dawnette Knight, is to stand trial for 25 charges, including stalking and making criminal threats. If tried and convicted, Knight could receive up to 19 years in prison.
Knight, a Beverly Hills resident who aspires to be a child psychologist, has pleaded not guilty to deluging the Oscar-winning actress with threatening letters and phone calls. Knight, who authorities say is obssessed with Douglas, has been in police custody since her arrest June 6.
But while in earlier correspondences Knight threatened to "chop [Zeta-Jones] away like Manson did" and "slice her up like meat on a bone and feed her to the dogs," she has struck a more conciliatory tone in recent missives, pleading for forgiveness.
"I want to apologize for any distress I have caused you and your families," Knight wrote in a recent typewritten letter addressed to Zeta-Jones.
During the prelim this week, Knight also has been begging prosecutors and Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Partricia Schnegg (the same judge who on Tuesday sentenced Courtney Love to rehab) for leniency.
But Douglas and Zeta-Jones are not buying it.
Both Douglas and Zeta-Jones cleared their calendars Wednesday to testify against their "admirer" in downtown Los Angeles.
Zeta-Jones, who flew in from Italy, where she is filming Ocean's Twelve, faced down her alleged stalker for the first time.
"I feared for my safety from the moment I was alerted to the fact I [was] receiving death threats," she said. The Chicago star said she even received threats while on location in Amsterdam, and she said she feared she was going to "have a heart attack or a stroke."
In one particular threat, Knight said, "When we finish with this bitch/whore she will not be this pretty face actress, you won't be able to recognize her in her cassket [sic]."
Zeta-Jones, her voice sometimes quivering, read from more than a dozen letters she received from Knight.
Knight also sent threats to Douglas' father, legendary actor Kirk Douglas. "He's 87 years old, and he was trying protect Catherine and myself," Michael Douglas said on the stand. "I was concerned about the stress...on him."
The younger Douglas also said he was concerned that Knight seemed to be following the couple as they jet-setted around the world. "She had an awareness of our social life, as well as geographically where we lived."
Police have said Knight made phone calls, "most of them of them death threats" against Zeta-Jones dating back to January of 2003. "The letters and phone calls became violent and specific," Los Angeles Sheriff's Lieutenant Joe Impellizeri said earlier.
Knight's lawyer and fiancé both claim that the situation has spun out of control. Knight's fiancé, Ronald Calvin, told reporters outside of the courtroom "this case shouldn't have been filed. This is not a criminal matter."
Her lawyer, Richard Herman, said earlier that Knight never had any intention on following through with the threats. Until now, he told reporters, the "the worst thing [Knight's] ever been accused of was killing her ex-boyfriend's goldfish, and she says she's innocent of that."
But it seems doubtful that Douglas, 59, and Zeta-Jones, 34, can be moved this late in the game.
While Zeta-Jones and Douglas have done their duty in court, the hearing will resume Thursday morning with other witnesses testifying for and against Knight.
Zeta-Jones' Neighborly Woes
Catherine Zeta-Jones knows her way around a courtroom. The easily riled thesp is one of the most litigious members of the A-list, but that's not to say that she always gets her way.
The Intolerable Cruelty star was unable to convince a Welsh planning committee that a neighbor to the Swansea, Wales, estate she is building should be forced to cease operating his telecommunications business out of his garage.
Zeta-Jones, clearly not a student of the Mr. Rogers school of neighborly behavior, wants next-door resident Steve Gwynn to clear out his office in order to ensure her the level of privacy and security she demands.
Zeta-Jones' parents, Dai and Pat, are also behind the move to oust Gwynn, as they are the supposed future residents of the $1.85 million estate.
Councilors hearing the case received eight letters of objection concerning Gwynn.
"Our clients purchased the plot and agreed to the construction of a substantial dwelling on the clear understanding that it would be private, prestigious and exclusive and extremely safe and secure as it was a 'gated' development," a letter from the Zeta-Jones family's lawyer stated.
"Our clients would also be extremely concerned and alarmed by that the privacy and security of the development would be jeopardized by virtue of the visits to site by members of staff, customers and delivery vehicles of Mr. Gwynn."
Meanwhile, Gwynn said that he only receives a few visits a week, usually from couriers delivering packages.
The Swansea planning committee voted Tuesday to allow Gwynn to continue with business as usual for at least the next two years.
There has been no word on Zeta-Jones' reaction to the setback...we're just glad we're not Michael Douglas right about now.
When not busy haranguing her neighbors, Zeta-Jones has a full slate of sequels lined up. She recently signed on with the all-star cast of Ocean's Twelve, the follow-up to Ocean's Eleven, and she will also be masking up for Zorro 2 opposite Antonio Banderas.
Zeta-Jones is also set to star opposite Tom Hanks in Steven Spielberg's Terminal, due later this year.
Zeta-Jones Wading in to "Ocean" Sequel
As if a cast that included George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, Matt Damon, Andy Garcia, Bernie Mac and Don Cheadle wasn't stellar enough, another A-lister has just been brought into the Ocean's Twelve constellation.
Oscar winner Catherine Zeta-Jones will join the fun in director Steven Soderbergh's anticipated follow-up to his 2001 hit crime caper Ocean's Eleven, Warner Bros. has announced.
Zeta-Jones climbed aboard at the behest of Soderbergh, who's producing the film with Clooney through their Section Eight production house with an assist from producer Jerry Weintraub and Village Roadshow Pictures.
Based on a screenplay by George Nolfi, Ocean's Twelve will again center on Danny Ocean, the smooth-talking con artist played by Clooney, as he masterminds yet another elaborate heist with the help of some extremely talented wiseguys.
This time around, Danny and the crew will take on a new member as they attempt three ambitious jobs in Paris, London and Berlin--all while being hunted by Las Vegas casino owner Terry Benedict (Garcia), whom they ripped off in the first movie. Zeta-Jones will play an agent of an Interpol-type police unit.
"Catherine is just terrific--one of those stars who comes along once in a long while," said Weintraub. "It's not easy to find an actress who can measure up to the star power of this cast, but Catherine will not only hold her own, she'll add a lot to the movie."
Ocean's Twelve will reunite Zeta-Jones with Clooney--the two traded barbs and sparks--in last year's little-seen Coen brothers comedy Intolerable Cruelty.
Zeta-Jones, who won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her scene-stealing role as Velma Kelly in the 2002 hit musical Chicago, will also make her second screen appearance opposite fellow Academy Award owner Roberts. The two previously starred in America's Sweethearts.
The Welsh-born beauty also had a major part in another Soderbergh ensemble film, 2000's drug drama Traffic, which also starred her husband, Michael Douglas.
News of Zeta-Jones' signing comes just days after the New York Post reported the actress dumped her longtime agent, George Freeman of William Morris, for Bryan Lourd of Creative Artists Agency.
Like its blockbuster predecessor, Ocean's Twelve will hit theaters in time for the holidays; Warner Bros. has scheduled a December release date.
That's around the same time Zeta-Jones is due to pop up on the big screen as a flight attendant opposite Tom Hanks in Steven Spielberg's immigrant dramedy Terminal.
And Ocean isn't the only sequel on her docket. Zeta-Jones has also agreed to reprise the role that first brought her fame, trading swords with Antonio Banderas in a sequel to The Mask of Zorro.
Ocean's Twelve also stars Casey Affleck, Scott Caan, Carl Reiner and Elliot Gould, all of whom were all in the original, which itself was an update of the 1960 movie starring Rat Packers Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Joey Bishop and Peter Lawford.
Filming on Ocean's Twelve is scheduled to begin in April in Rome before moving on to Paris, Amsterdam, Monte Carlo, Chicago and Las Vegas
Catherine and Michael: Smoking Mad
Catherine Zeta-Jones was "devastated, shocked and appalled" by a picture that portrayed the then-glowing bride being fed wedding cake by hubby Michael Douglas.
So, imagine how she felt about shots that showed her smoking while in the act of being "heavily pregnant and topless."
Now imagine lawyers being called.
Yes, Zeta-Jones and Douglas could be going courting again. Fresh from their British court victory against a U.K. mag that published said wedding pics, the fun couple are threatening legal action against a U.S. media giant for running said preggers pics on some of its affiliated Websites.
Clear Channel Worldwide, owners of some 1,200 radio stations nationwide, was put on notice Wednesday in a letter fired off to the company by the Los Angeles lawyer repping Zeta-Jones and Douglas. At issue are a series of snapshots--"surreptitiously taken," per the Hollywood power couple--that popped up on the Internet last week.
According to The Smoking Gun Website, which has published the Zeta-Jones and Douglas complaint in its entirety, the pics were "obviously taken from a significant distance with a telephoto lens."
But the unidentified shutterbug wasn't so far away that he (or she) was prevented from capturing glamour-queen Zeta-Jones in a most unglamorous light.
The New York Daily News described the shots as showing the Oscar-winning Chicago star sunbathing on a balcony, with Douglas, but sans a top, and "clearly dragging on a cigarette."
While past generations used to smoke like chimneys come rain, shine or conception, today's prospective parents are urged to refrain from lighting up. (The bad habit contributes to everything from low birth weight to high infant mortality rates, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.)
It was the smoking-while-pregnant angle that caught the attention of the team at the The MJ Morning Show, a syndicated radio program based at Clear Channel-owned WFLZ-FM in Tampa, Florida, according to WFLZ operations manager Jeff Kapugi.
"We try to do things that are topical with our morning show," Kapugi said Thursday.
But the Zeta-Jones pics weren't just discussed on air. About nine to 10 days ago, they were posted on the MJ Morning Show's Website, Kapugi said. (The photos also appeared on a Dutch site, and at least two others affiliated with Clear Channel stations.)
On the MJ Morning Show site, at least, the nudity in the Zeta-Jones pics was blurred; the cigarette wasn't.
On Tuesday, WFLZ was told by Clear Channel's corporate legal department to remove the pics, Kapugi said. The lawyerly types apparently were responding to an initial correspondence from the Zeta-Jones and Douglas camp.
And while the pics were removed (banished from a gallery of unflattering celeb pics, including one entitled, "Whitney Houston Looking Frail"), the links--six in all--still existed, meaning if you'd copied down the URL, you were free to ogle.
The MJ Morning Show links were cited in the scathing letter sent to Clear Channel on Wednesday by the attorney for the aggrieved celeb couple.
Lawyer Lynda B. Goldman cited the links as proof of Clear Channel's "continued malicious conduct," with regards to the "heavily pregnant and topless" Zeta-Jones shots. (No mention made of the smoking.) The attorney called for the immediate removal of the links, and warned her clients were "evaluating their legal options."
Goldman could not be reached for comment Thursday. Neither could legal counsel for Clear Channel.
A rep for Douglas had no comment on the dustup. A message left with Zeta-Jones' respective flack was not returned.
By Thursday, Goodman's three-page letter, as posted on the Smoking Gun, was about the only remaining online evidence of the controversy. The MJ Morning Show links had been stripped of the photos. The Dutch site also was said to have zapped its Zeta-Jones shots.
It's not known when the offending pics were taken. With the 58-year-old Douglas, Zeta-Jones, 33, is the mother of two, having given birth to son Dylan in 2000, and most recently to daughter Carys, on April 21.
The couple's next joint project is waiting to hear how much they'll collect in damages from Hello! magazine, it of the woeful wedding pics. The mag, however, is said to be considering an appeal.
Catherine Zeta-Jones Delivers
When last we left Catherine Zeta-Jones, she was hoisting an Oscar following her Best Supporting Actress win for Chicago, looking like she was about ready to deliver at any minute.
Well, that minute happened early Sunday morning, 4:50 a.m. to be exact, as the actress gave birth to a baby girl.
Zeta-Jones' latest razzle-dazzle act went down out of the limelight, at Valley Hospital in the New York suburb of Ridgewood, New Jersey. That's where she and hubby Michael Douglas welcomed the six-pound, 12-ounce tyke hitherto known as Carys Zeta Douglas. Carys is a Welsh name meaning "beloved one"--Zeta-Jones, of course, hails from Wales.
"They're all doing fantastic," the actress' publicist said Monday.
Carys joins two-and-a-half-year-old big brother Dylan in the Douglas-Zeta-Jones brood. Douglas also has a son, Cameron, now 24, from his first marriage to Diandra Douglas.
The folks have been on a nice roll lately. Aside from her Oscar win (he has two of his own, one for producing One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest and a Best Actor trophy for Wall Street) and Carys' debut, the couple earlier this month emerged victorious in a legal scrap with a British tabloid over some unauthorized wedding photots.
On April 11, a London judge ruled Hello! magazine committed a big no-no by publishing guerrilla snapshots of the Hollywood power couple's November 2000 nuptials. A damage award will be forthcoming.
Meanwhile, Douglas, 58, has been making the rounds, touting his other new baby, It Runs in the Family, in which he stars with dad Kirk, mom Diana and son Cameron. That film opens this weekend. Then next month, Douglas can be seen opposite Albert Brooks in the comedy The In-Laws.
Zeta-Jones, 33, will follow up her Chicago success playing a Tinseltown gold digger opposite George Clooney in the Coen brothers' Intolerable Cruelty, due out in October.
Aside from dealing with diaper duty for the next few months, Zeta-Jones, 33, is also looking to come onboard another high-profile project. She's reportedly in talks to costar opposite Tom Hanks in Steven Spielberg's Terminal, a dramedy about an immigrant who loses his passport and decides to take up residence in an airport. Shooting would take place later this year.