Etta James, the great singer, died today in California of complications from leukemia. She was 72. Over the six decades of her career, James won six Grammys and was inducted into the Rock n Roll hall of fame, survived a heroin addiction and a variety of health problems, and sold millions of records. In 2009, the Obamas danced to "At Last" — sung by Beyoncé, who played James in Cadillac Records — at the Neighborhood Inaugural Ball. Above, her "I'd Rather Go Blind," recorded in 1968.
Alicia Keys turns 29 today. Ugly Betty's Ana Ortiz is turning 39. Paul Nurse, the Nobel Prize-winning head of Rockefeller University, turns 61. Architect Bernard Tschumi is 66. Kim Gandy, the feminist leader and former NOW president, is turning 56. Actress Mia Kirshner (The L Word) is turning 35. Socialite Carroll Petrie is 82. And legendary singer Etta James turns 72 today.
• Arthur Sulzberger Jr. and his new girlfriend, Helen May, first met during an Outward Bound trip to Machu Picchu in 2005, according to May's husband, Kevin Ward. "I'm just sorry my wife didn't find someone more substantial. There's way less there than meets the eye." [P6]
• Etta James says she "didn't really mean" the stuff about Beyonce; she's still "miffed" at Obama for not inviting her to the inauguration. [NYDN]
• Kelly Cutrone inked a deal with Bravo for a new reality show. [P6]
• Russell Simmons is reportedly dating model Julie Henderson. [NYDN]
James seems awfully sore that Beyonce got the Inauguration nod instead of her, and made no bones about that fact at a concert last week in Seattle. "I can't stand Beyoncé," she muttered to the audience. "She has no business standing up there singing that song." James also threatened violence toward the singer and claimed that Obama was "not my president," a Secret Service-tempting taunt that the audience, so ready to hoot at Beyoncé, knew less what to make of. Beware, Miss Knowles: when the full moon wanes, and a suddenly-itchy leather bustier signals your transformation from Sasha Fierce back into the terribly ordinary Beyoncé, Etta James will be ready to pounce!
• Tom Cruise tried to impress a group of reporters at a press event in Brazil by speaking Spanish instead of Portuguese. Nice one, Tom. [P6]
• Etta James is no fan of Beyonce. She told a crowd in Seattle that she "can't stand" the singer, and that she "had no business" singing "At Last" at Obama's inauguration two weeks ago. Oh, and she's "gonna get her ass whupped," if she keeps singing Etta's songs, too. [NYDN, OK!]
• Paris Hilton wants to date a "big-money man" in LA, but she isn't having much success finding one who's willing to be seen with her in public. [P6]
Law & Order's Mariska Hargitay turns 45 today. Developer Bruce Ratner is turning 64. Broadway heir James L. Nederlander Jr. is 49. Citigroup investment banking chief (and Obama BFF) Raymond McGuire turns 52. Tiffani-Amber Thiessen is 35. Legendary French actress Jeanne Moreau is 81. And Princess Caroline of Monaco is turning 52. Weekend birthdays after the jump!