STAND AND DELIVER TEACHER DIES. Jaime Escalante, the high school math teacher whose story was told in the film Stand and Deliver, died on Tuesday after a long battle with cancer. Edward James Olmos, who portrayed Escalante in the 1988 movie, told the L-A Times, “He did so much for so many people. And he did it with such grace and dignity.” Escalante transformed the math program at East L-A’s Garfield High School into one of the top rated programs in the country. He was 79.
STALKER NEWS! The man accused of stalking Jennifer Garner has been sentenced to stay in a mental institution. A judge found Steven Burky not guilty of felony stalking by reason of insanity and ordered him to Patton State Hospital. Check out www.PerezHilton.com for more.
MORE INDEPENDENCE DAY! In 1996, the Roland Emmerich-directed Independence Day became a huge hit and now, there are reports that Roland is planning two sequels to the flick. According to www.ContactMusic.com, Will Smith is attached to return for the movies, which will be penned by original writer Dean Devlin. The films are set to be shot back to back next year but there is no word yet on what the plot of each will be.
MATT DAMON ON 30 ROCK! According to www.EW.com, Matt Damon is scheduled to guest star on 30 Rock. The actor stated back in December that he would do the series “in a heartbeat” adding, “[Tina Fey] should call my people – or even better, me. Or I could call her. Let’s make this happen.” It is not yet known which episode Damon will appear in, but he’s rumored to be on one of the final shows of the season.
STARS SIGN ON FOR HANGOVER SEQUEL! Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis have finally signed on for a Hangover sequel. Director Todd Phillips will once again helm the film, which is expected to start production in July.
SIMON SPOILS HIS FIANCEE! Simon Cowell’s fiancée, Mezhgan Hussainy, is reportedly getting spoiled rotten. According to British paper the Daily Mirror, the American Idol judge bought her a 1954 Jaguar for her 37th birthday, with a price tag of around 100-thousand dollars. A source said that they are both big fans of luxury cars.
FAMED TV WRITER DAVID MILLS DIES. David Mills, who over the past 20 years produced and wrote for shows like The Wire, ER, Picket Fences and Homicide, has passed away. According to CNN, Mills died of a brain aneurysm on Tuesday in New Orleans, where he was working on the new HBO series Treme. He was 48.