She may have lost her voice to a burst blood vessel, but Jessica Simpson didn't have any trouble picking up a whole boatload of free stuff in the run-up to last week's MTV Video Music Awards – including a $50,000 car and tens of thousands of dollars' worth of jewels, threads, and gadgets.
But what's she going to do with all her recently-acquired booty? Donate it to charity? Some of it, probably, though her rep says she "hasn't thought about it yet." And she may be in for a rather unpleasant surprise when the taxman comes a-callin'.
In this morning's column, Lloyd Grove details Jessica and her entourage's busy week in the swag suites dotted around Manhattan. TMZ showed you her "rich just get richer" winning of a special Chrysler Crossfire drop-top at the Bryant Park Hotel, while Grove says she snapped up $4,000 worth of pricey G-Star denim, and that her stylist hoarded more than ten pairs of Gucci, Dior, and Ray-Ban sunglasses at another stop. (Later, Jess did wear several of the items around town and to the VMAs, which, in all fairness, is the whole idea behind swag-giving.)
Simpson's rep, Rob Shuter, explained to the Daily News, "People like her don't really need these things because they already have everything," and added that Simpson would be handing over some of the stuff to Operation Smile, a charity that helps out kids who have facial deformities. But a "celebrity liaison" for the group, Dee Dee Sides, says Grove, didn't seem so sure. "He didn't say anything specific, but she wanted to donate some stuff. I think the car. Maybe we'll do an online auction? I don't really know." And when an accountant explained the tax implications of taking all the swag, a Lowdown spy says Jessica looked perplexed.
Brando's Rolodex Floating Free For All To See
Paris Hilton's hacked Sidekick would've seemed like a mere trifle compared to this: Page Six reports that Christian Brando, the troubled son of Marlon Brando, supposedly sold off his father's Rolodex to a man who intended to sell it on eBay. The trove of numbers and addresses included the private info for everyone from Oprah Winfrey to Leonardo DiCaprio, to Tom Hanks to Jack Nicholson.
But when Brando's brother Miko found out, he got the auction pulled from eBay at the last minute. And now, Brando's lawyer is still working to get the Rolodex back, and says he's gotten an offer of $75,000 for the information on it.
Katie's Big Night – and Bigger Week
It only seems like we've been waiting for years for this, but the day has finally come – Katie Couric's first day in the anchor chair for CBS News.
The New York Daily News says this morning that besides getting President Bush on Wednesday, there might be some other very big names on the show this week, including Bill Clinton, Rush Limbaugh, Rudy Giuliani, and Bill Maher, though CBS was apparently being cagey about revealing the names. "President George Bush is being interviewed on Wednesday," says a CBS News flack. "Other than that there are no other announcements."
According to the Daily News, the guests could appear in segments on the show, or perhaps in the new "Free Speech" guest editorial spot.
"Invincible" Scores Again at B.O., Summer Surpasses '05
The Mark Wahlberg football drama "Invincible" was the box-office champ for a second straight week, with a $15.2 million haul for the long weekend, elevating its total take to $37.8 million. Meanwhile, new releases "Crank," about a hitman out for revenge, and "The Wicker Man," with Nicolas Cage as a cop tracking down a missing child, came in second and third at $13 million and $11.7 million respectively. Indie darling "Little Miss Sunshine" continued to perform strongly, with a $9.7 million weekend for fourth place.
Overall, the summer box office came out ahead of the total for 2005, with $3.74 billion, even though only five films passed the magic $150 million, versus nine during the summer of 2005. Several mid-range comedies that beat expectations, including "The Devil Wears Prada" and "Talladega Nights," helped compensate significantly.
Party Favors: Katie Buys Baby Tees, Jerry Lewis Slams Mel, Jagger Sitcom Can't Get No Jagger
Katie Holmes, whose baby's photographic form may soon be revealed to the world, has been buying up baby t-shirts saying "My Mommy Rocks" and "My Daddy Rocks" on lalaling.com , according to Rush & Molloy. And she's been buying a lot of them -- $6,000 worth ... Jerry Lewis has a pitch for Mel Gibson. He says, according to WENN, "I'm calling it Skinheads and we're going to open in Haifa and then go on to Berlin and Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. It should be wonderful." ... Mick Jagger may be MIA from the sitcom that involves robbing his house, says the New York Post. Producers of "The Knights of Prosperity" have had difficulty getting him on camera, so they might go looking for a new star to steal from.