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Now, the knightly news

From Wire Reports

Patrick Stewart – “Star Trek: The Next Generation’s” Capt. Jean-Luc Picard – becomes Sir Patrick in Queen Elizabeth II’s New Year honors list, which also includes a knighthood for theater and film director Nicholas Hytner.

“This is an honor that embraces those actors, directors and creative teams who have in these recent years helped fill my life with inspiration, companionship and sheer fun,” said 69-year-old Stewart, who recently returned to the British stage following a long career in Hollywood that included playing Professor Charles Xavier in three “X-Men” films.

A kiwi knighthood

In other knightly news, film writer and director Peter Jackson, whose widely acclaimed “Lord of the Rings” trilogy scooped up 17 Oscars, has been made a knight in the New Year Honors’ list of his native New Zealand.

New Zealand knights and dames are sanctioned by Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, New Zealand’s head of state – stemming from the country’s past as a British colony.

“I didn’t think anything would surpass the 2004 Academy Awards, but I was wrong,” said the new Sir Peter in a statement.

A beltway match

ABC News reporter Bianna Golodryga is engaged to White House budget director Peter Orszag.

She made the announcement Tuesday on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” Golodryga described her fiance as “tall, dark and he could say Golodryga and spell it after the first date. That is a winner in my book.”

According to a story posted on ABC’s Web site, the couple met in May at the White House Correspondents Dinner.

The birthday bunch

Jack Hanna (“Jack Hanna’s Into the Wild”) is 63. Actress Wendy Phillips is 58. Gabrielle Carteris (“Beverly Hills, 90210”) is 49. Actress Tia Carrere is 43. Cuba Gooding Jr. is 42. Model Christy Turlington is 41. Actor Taye Diggs is 39. Actress Kate Bosworth is 27.

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