By Cindy Elavsky

Q: I know that Michael Jackson’s sudden death has affected a lot of people, celebrities and fans alike, but I haven’t heard much about how Elizabeth Taylor is handling the news. I know they were very close. — Diana J., via e-mail
A: Dame Elizabeth Taylor released this statement after Michael’s death: “My heart … my mind … are broken. I loved Michael with all my soul, and I can’t imagine life without him. I still can’t believe it. I don’t want to believe it. … I’m going to miss him. I can’t yet imagine life without him. I will love him forever.”
She declined to participate in Jackson’s memorial service, stating: “I cannot be a part of the public hoopla. … How I feel is between us. Not a public event.”
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Q: I love actress Natalie Portman. Does she have anything in the works? — Gerry F., via e-mail
A: Natalie has just been cast as Thor’s first love, Jane Foster, in Kenneth Branagh’s adaptation of Marvel’s “Thor.” The movie, which is scheduled for a summer 2011 release, also stars Chris Hemsworth, Samuel L. Jackson and Jessica Biel.
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Q: Did Jason Priestley’s wife give birth to their baby yet? I remember hearing a while back that she was expecting their second child. — Missy M., Vancouver, B.C.
A: We seem to be in the midst of yet another Hollywood baby boom. Jason, who turns 40 at the end of August, and wife Naomi welcomed a son on July 9, who joins 2-year-old sister Ava.
Along with Jason and Naomi, Mira Sorvino and husband Christopher Backus welcomed their third child, Holden Paul Terry, on June 22, amid months of pregnancy complications that threatened the lives of Mira and Holden. Mother and baby are now doing very well. In May, Tobey Maguire and wife Jennifer Meyer welcomed their second child, a son named Otis Tobias. And Victoria’s Secret model and “G.I. Joe” actress Karolina Kurkova is expecting her first child with fiance Archie Drury later this year.
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READERS: Thanks to all of you (hundreds and hundreds) who participated in my John Wayne trivia contest. The question, as you might recall, was: “From which John Wayne film did the name of his production company, Batjac, come from?” As the vast majority of you correctly submitted, the answer is “Wake of the Red Witch.”
From all the correct answers, nine readers were randomly chosen to win one of nine John Wayne DVD sets, either “The John Wayne Century Collection,” “The John Wayne Western Collection” or “The John Wayne Adventure Collection.” The winners are: Stephen B., Titusville, Fla.; Frances W., Decatur, Ala.; Ollan B., Sandersville, Ga.; Lawrence E., Portland, Ore.; Judy T., Lake Isabella, Calif.; Steve B., Fort Campbell, Ky.; Gary R., Christianburg, Va.; Emily E., Port Charlotte, Fla.; and Bob K., Southbury, Conn.
Thanks to Paramount and Batjac Productions for making this contest possible!
Have a question for Cindy? E-mail her at letters@cindyelavsky.com, or write to her in care of King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475.
© 2009 King Features Synd., Inc.