Wonder named peace envoy
Pop star Stevie Wonder has been named a United Nations Messenger of Peace to focus on helping those with disabilities. According to U.N. deputy spokeswoman Marie Okabe, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will officially announce the designation as a peace envoy today. The singer-songwriter is being honored for his work with the U.S. President’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities, the Children’s Diabetes Foundation and Junior Blind of America, Okabe said. Wonder will join a list of notable figures with the designation, including actor Michael Douglas, primate expert Jane Goodall, conductor Daniel Barenboim and Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel.
‘Shield’ actors to reunite
Six cast members of “The Shield” will be featured on an episode of “Lie to Me.” The actors won’t reprise their roles from the FX drama, but instead will play new characters on the Fox series, which is run by Shawn Ryan, who created “The Shield.” The episode will revolve around the execution of a man who was convicted of murdering an 8-year-old boy 17 years ago. Appearing on “Lie to Me” will be Benito Martinez, Catherine Dent, Kenny Johnson, David Marciano, Cathy Cahlin Ryan and David Rees Snell. The episode will air in the spring.
Baxter announces she’s gay
Actress Meredith Baxter, best known for playing Elyse Keaton on “Family Ties,” has come out of the closet. In an interview on NBC’s “Today” show Wednesday, the actress said, “I am a lesbian, and it was a later-in-life recognition of that fact.” Baxter, 62, said she has been with her girlfriend for four years. She has been married five times, including to actor David Birney, with whom she co-starred on the ’70s TV show “Bridget Loves Bernie.” She has five children. Baxter said her family and friends have been supportive and she is “extraordinarly happy.”
Fascinating people spotlighted
Barbara Walters’ upcoming ABC special “The 10 Most Fascinating People of 2009” will feature a variety of people, including Michael Jackson’s children: Paris, Prince Michael and Prince Michael II, who is also known as Blanket. Others on the show will include singer Lady Gaga, reality star Kate Gosselin, “American Idol” runner-up Adam Lambert, NFL quarterback Brett Favre, Jenny Sanford, the first lady of South Carolina, comedian and filmmaker Tyler Perry, Fox News’ Glenn Beck and former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin. The 10th person will be announced when the show airs Wednesday.
Compiled from wire reports by Melissa Sullivan