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Marilyn Manson denies crash claim
Marilyn Manson is currently in the UK top 10
Marilyn Manson is currently in the UK top 10
Controversial rock singer Marilyn Manson has denied claims that he was responsible for the death of a woman after a party at his mansion last year.

Jennifer Syme, a former girlfriend of actor Keanu Reeves, died in April 2001 when her Jeep Cherokee hit three parked cars.

Her mother, Maria St John, is suing the singer for wrongful death, claiming Manson was negligent in "instructing the woman to operate a motor vehicle in her incapacitated condition".

However in a statement from his record company, Manson said he was innocent.

Keanu Reeves
Jennifer Syme dated Keanu Reeves
He said: "After Jennifer was sent home safely with a designated driver, she later got behind the wheel of her own car for reasons known only to her."

The lawsuit alleges Manson, whose real name is Brian Warner, gave Ms Syme drugs before she was dropped off at her home.

She got into her car, with the intent of returning to Manson's home, according to the lawsuit.

But her body was thrown from the car as she hit parked vehicles in a Hollywood boulevard.

Dedicated

Ms Syme had been suffering from depression and was receiving medication after her baby daughter was stillborn in late 1999.

She was a record executive and an actress who had a small part in David Lynch's movie Lost Highway.

The director dedicated his last film, the Oscar-nominated Mullholland Drive, to her memory.

Manson, a former music journalist, is one of the most controversial characters in music and his concerts are regularly picketed by religious and civil rights groups.

He is currently in the UK top 10 with his cover of the song Tainted Love.

The song, originally recorded by Gloria Jones in 1964, was made a hit by Soft Cell in 1981. Manson's version is at number nine this week.
















The mystery of Marilyn Manson

Marilyn Manson: In the headlines after a geniune outrage

Rock performer Marilyn Manson is no stranger to courting controversy.

Denver
But since the killings at Columbine High School, Manson and his band are suddenly under an unwelcome spotlight after it emerged that teenage gunmen Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold were fans of their music.

Manson's on-stage antics - reputed to include sex acts and smoking human bones - have caused uproar in the US, propelling him to mainstream fame.

In the UK, he has become an underground favourite with rock fans, with his band coming top in rock magazine Kerrang!'s readers' poll two years running. Elsewhere in the British press his antics have been met with derision.

Manson was born in Canton, Ohio with the decidedly un-scary name of Brian Warner in January 1969. When he formed the then-titled Marilyn Manson And The Spooky Kids in 1989, he named himself after Marilyn Monroe and infamous murderer Charles Manson.

The other members of the band also have names which mix glamour and horror - for example Twiggy Ramirez is named after the British model and serial killer Richard Ramirez.

Shunned by society


[ image: Marilyn Manson with his band]
Marilyn Manson with his band
The subject matter of his lyrics, and his heavily made-up, androgynous style will come as no shock to anybody who remembers the days of Alice Cooper or punk pioneers the New York Dolls.

His autobiography, The Long Hard Road Out Of Hell, describes the life of a young man shunned by American society.

His father suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder after spraying Agent Orange during Vietnam. Although not suffering from a birth deformity himself, the young Manson was forced to attend a playgroup for the disabled children of soldiers exposed to the chemical.

Later, the book describes a life of casual sex, drug-abuse, self-mutilation and Satanism, which culminated in the success of the albums Portrait Of An American Family, Smells Like Children, and Antichrist Superstar between 1994 and 1997.

Right-wing disgust

His tours both wow and revolt fans. In one instance he describes a time when he opened a canister of 500 crickets with which he planned to smother himself.


[ image: The band's album Smells Like Children]
The band's album Smells Like Children
"When I opened the can, they had all died. The stench was one of the most disgusting things I had ever inhaled. I threw up instantly, and half a dozen people in the audience did the same. Even if I hadn't begun the concert with a message, I ended with one: disgust is contagious," he says in the book.

The disgust spread across the US. Right-wing groups tried to get the shows banned, the police filmed them looking for evidence of obscenity. He was arrested in Jacksonville, Florida for pretending to urinate on stage.

But it was not the right-wing that nearly destroyed Manson, it was the man himself. He became addicted to cocaine, and was surrounded by junkies, strippers and pimps.

Now Manson has cleaned up his off-stage act. He is currently touring a new album, Mechanical Animals, and is engaged to 24-year-old actress Rose McGowan.

But the on-stage antics continue - fans on his Website are debating whether Twiggy Ramirez really did have oral sex with him on stage in Fairfax, Virginia earlier this month.

His showmanship led him to tell London listings magazine Time Out last year the only act he felt he had something in common with was the Spice Girls.

"Marilyn Manson is a mockery of American pop culture. That's the best way Europeans could look at us - as a statement of American culture," he said.

Accusations against his show


[ image: Marilyn Manson are now touring the Mechanical Animals album]
Marilyn Manson are now touring the Mechanical Animals album
Manson, who started his career as a music journalist, knows which buttons to press to annoy family values campaigners.

One accusation put against the band is that they handed out cocaine to a crowd of 3,000, and abused a bus-full of kidnapped children and animals on stage.

Another complainant said: "I witnessed Manson call for a virgin sacrifice in which all the children in the concert arena were pushed forward by the crowd to be dedicated to Satan."

One part of his live show attempted to ridicule both his critics and the stadium rock tradition by impersonating a fascist rally with straight-arm salutes and pyrotechnic displays.

With reports that Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold were admirers of Adolf Hitler, these acts may well haunt Manson for longer than any simulated sex stunt.

Manson says: "I felt if I did it well enough, people would understand what I was getting at. In the end, it caused all the different reactions that I wanted.

"Some people thought it was great satire, others thought I was a fascist.

"Others just blindly pumped their fists and didn't notice the irony."
















400 hurt at shock rock concert
marilyn manson
Marilyn Manson: No stranger to controversy
Four hundred people were injured after an Australian concert by American shock rocker Marilyn Manson descended into chaos.

Manson stormed off stage after being bombarded with missiles and abuse at the show in Perth.

An ambulance spokesman said the injured at the concert included one of Manson's guitar technicians who needed treatment for cuts to the head.

However, he played down the number of injuries.

"It sounds like a big number of injuries, and it would be for a Billy Joel concert, but young people are generally more exuberant and they were having fun.

"It was mostly minor stuff related to being out in the sun, but there were a few spinal injuries from crowd surfing," he said.

Fans said Manson, whose latest song is called I Don't Like The Drugs (But The Drugs Like Me) had shouted abuse at the crowd before leaving the stage about half way through his hour-long set.

A cult act in Europe, Manson's controversial on-stage antics have won him a mass following in the US.

The show was part of the Big Day Out travelling festival which has also featured the Manic Street Preachers and drum 'n' bass maestro Roni Size.


All Saints 'sack manager'

all saints
All Saints: Rows with manager led to trouble in December
Girl group All Saints have followed in the footsteps of the Spice Girls and sacked the man who groomed them for stardom, according to tabloid reports.

The Mirror says Natalie and Nicole Appleton, Shaznay Lewis and Melanie Blatt have given John Benson the push and are now hunting for a replacement.

It is reported that rows with Benson were behind Nicole Appleton's short-lived decision to leave the foursome in December, and that she agreed to return only if he left.

The Spice Girls sacked their manager, Simon Fuller, in November 1997.


A Brook Breakfast

johnny vaughan and kelly brook
Johnny Vaughan and Kelly Brook: Channel 4's new team at breakfast
New Big Breakfast presenter Kelly Brook made her debut on the Channel 4 show on Monday morning - and was treated like royalty by the show's team.

At the start of the programme she shook hands with all the crew in a line, as her co-host Johnny Vaughan said the programme was "standing at the dawn of a new era".

Brook said: "I am very excited. It's pressure, but I am calm. Everybody's been lovely."

Producers hope she can recreate Denise Van Outen's successful partnership with Vaughan, who quipped the show's team should now take the breakfast TV ratings battle one step further.

"How about a fight between us and GMTV?," he suggested to cheers. "If we all got on a coach and went down there - wouldn't that be fantastic? Like the Vikings."


Horrocks set for Garland tribute

jane horrocks
Jane Horrocks: Lorna Luft a fan of Little Voice
Actress Jane Horrocks has been invited to appear at a tribute to Judy Garland at the London Palladium later this year.

Garland's daughter, Lorna Luft, is planning the tribute performance and after seeing Horrocks' impersonation of her mother in the film Little Voice, asked her to appear.

Luft met Horrocks in Britain after the actress had completed the film and said: "I thought she was terrific, and so sweet."


The theory of success

helena bonham carter
Helena Bonham Carter:Theory of Flight to be shown in UK this year
British film The Theory of Flight, with Helena Bonham Carter and Kenneth Branagh, has won the Top European Film prize at the Brussels movie festival.

Directed by Paul Greengrass, it is billed as a warm and witty story of love between a frustrated artist on the wrong side of the law and a young woman with motor neurone disease.

A BBC co-production, it was filmed on location in London and Wales, and is to be shown in the UK later this year.


Wise getting better

ernie wise
Ernie Wise with Eric Morecambe: On the mend, accrdoing to his wife
Veteran comedy legend Ernie Wise is on the long road back to health, his wife Doreen has told reporters.

The 73-year-old half of the Morecambe and Wise duo is still in intensive at the North Ridge Medical Centre in Florida, but is receiving visitors.

Little Ern, as he was known during his long TV partnership with the late Eric Morecambe, suffered a heart attack and underwent heart by-pass surgery at the hospital earlier this month.


Paltrow prepares for Duets

gwyneth paltrow
Gwyneth Paltrow: Working in Canada
Actress Gwyneth Paltrow has left for Canada to do location work on her latest movie, the karaoke film Duets.

Filming on the project, directed by her father Bruce, had been due to begin two years ago but ran aground after Paltrow split with proposed co-star Brad Pitt.

Pitt's role will now be played by Scott Speedman, who has shot to fame in the US comedy series Felicity.

When Duets is completed, Paltrow plans to return to Los Angeles for the Oscars before taking a holiday.


Dando gets engaged

jill dando
Jill Dando: Recently signed new BBC deal
BBC presenter Jill Dando has announced her engagement to her boyfriend, Alan Farthing.

The couple broke the news to family and friends at a party in London at the weekend and plan to wed before the end of the year.

"Both families are delighted," Dando's agent Jon Roseman said.

Holiday presenter Dando, 37, was introduced to Farthing, 35, by a mutual friend more than a year ago.

He is a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at a London hospital.

Recently Dando signed a new deal with the BBC to present factual programmes, after ruling herself out of consideration to present a new-look Six O'Clock News.