February 6, 2008 in Features

People: Invasion of the Britney snatcher

The Spokesman-Review
Associated Press photo

Britney SpearsAssociated Press
(Full-size photo)

A restraining order against the man by Britney Spears‘ side during her downward spiral claims he drugged her, took over her finances and ran the paparazzi “like a general.”

In the order against manager Sam Lutfi, Spears’ mother, Lynne, says he “cut Britney’s home phone lines and removed her cell phone chargers. He yells at her.”

On Jan. 28, three days before Britney was whisked to the psychiatric ward where she remains under observation, Lynne Spears says she arrived at her daughter’s home in the aftermath of a fight with Lutfi.

“Sam had told Britney she was an unfit mother, a piece of trash and … that she cares more about Adnan, her current boyfriend, than she cares about her kids and that she does not deserve her kids,” the elder Spears said.

An agitated Britney “cleaned the house. She changed her clothes many times. She also changed her three dogs’ clothes many times.

“Britney spoke to me in a tone and a level of understanding of a very young girl. Britney then picked up a bottle of pills and read the label and asked us, ‘What does insomnia mean?’ ”

Not-so-simple rules?

More than four years after his death, John Ritter‘s relatives took their $67 million lawsuit to trial Tuesday, claiming the actor would have survived if two doctors had not mistakenly treated him for a heart attack.

Defense lawyers say Ritter’s condition – aortic dissection, a tear in the aorta – mimics a heart attack and the doctors did nothing wrong.

Ritter’s second wife, Amy Yasbeck, and his four children have received a reported $14 million in settlements with other defendants.

Nail in his coughin’

Influential Southern rapper Pimp C died of an accidental overdose of a combination of drugs he had named in his lyrics — codeine and promethazine – the Los Angeles county coroner’s office has ruled.

The drugs are key ingredients in “syrup,” famously celebrated by Three 6 Mafia and Pimp C’s group Underground Kingz in the 2000 single “Sippin’ on Some Syrup.”

The coroner found that large amounts of prescription-strength cough syrup, in conjunction with sleep apnea, caused his death.

Next to him, Fiddy’s two-bit

50 Cent and Robert De Niro appear on the March cover of Vibe magazine to promote their upcoming crime drama, “Righteous Kill.”

The rapper, whose real name is Curtis Jackson, says he’d “hang out with Robert on Thursdays and Fridays” if he could, explaining: “His celebrity is so strong that I get a chance to feel like a normal person for a little bit.”

Rockin’ with the oldies?

Elvis‘ ex, Priscilla Presley, is reportedly being recruited for the next season of ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars.”

Also on the short list: former “Brady Bunch” matriarch Florence Henderson. But Joan Collins reportedly turned down an offer.

The birthday bunch

Actress Zsa Zsa Gabor is 91. Actor Rip Torn is 77. Actress Mamie Van Doren is 77. Actor Mike Farrell (“M*A*S*H”) is 69. Newsman Tom Brokaw is 68. Singer Fabian is 65. Singer Natalie Cole is 58. Actress Kathy Najimy is 51. Singer Axl Rose (Guns N’ Roses) is 46.

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