Katie Holmes Completely Cruise Controlled

Katie Holmes | Ray Charles | Lennon's Birthday | Paramount

Katie Holmes Continues Purge of Inner Circle

Katie Holmes fired her publicist of nearly eight years on Tuesday.

During her conversation with Leslie Sloane-Zelnick, Holmes did not mention that she was pregnant by fiancé Tom Cruise. The next day, the news broke.

In short order, since meeting Cruise in April, Holmes has now fired her manager, changed agents and discharged her publicist. All had been her longtime allies.

And let's not forget the broken engagement to actor Chris Klein back in March. That's a lot of activity for seven months.

Where does that leave our Katie? I'm told that Holmes has claimed Cruise's sister, Lee Ann De Vette, as her new publicist.

Pictures of Holmes from just a few days ago with Cruise on the set of "Mission: Impossible 3" are circulating on the Internet. There's no sign of a pregnancy, but there is a woman in the background of every picture.

She's been identified as Jessica Feshbach Rodriguez, Holmes' best friend since the spring and a high-level minder from the Church of Scientology. Her family has donated millions to Scientology.

As for Holmes' friends here in New York, the word is that not one of them has heard from the actress since she flew to L.A. to meet Cruise for the first time last April.

Since Holmes first became associated with Cruise, her career has come to a standstill. Pretty much the only project she has coming up is the DVD release of "Batman Begins."

That release coincides with the release of the "War of the Worlds" DVD. The timing of the releases and the pregnancy announcement are probably coincidental.

Holmes pulled out of the next movie she was supposed to make, "Factory Girl," after she became involved with Cruise. Certain to be a career-maker, the role of Edie Sedgwick will now be played by Sienna Miller.

A more recently announced Holmes part, a smallish one in a Dennis Quaid-directed feature about the 1961 murder of a woman by her bandleader husband, will probably have to be tabled now.

Holmes also makes an appearance in "Thank You for Smoking," currently playing the festival circuit. Otherwise, her career trajectory — which was on the upswing with "Pieces of April" — is over.

All of this still leaves the issue of Holmes' family members back in Toledo. They're putting on a brave face. But they can't be too thrilled about a pregnancy without a marriage.

So I guess we can expect an adrenaline-filled, paparazzi-crazed wedding sometime in the next month. Gentlemen, start your helicopters.

Ray Charles: No Award Last Night

The late, great Ray Charles was supposed to get an award last night for Artistic Achievement from the T.J. Martell Foundation. It was announced in press releases and included in the evening's book.

But no one ever mentioned it at the awards ceremony, and nothing was ever presented to anyone. Strange, huh?

My sources say that no one at the Charles estate even knew the award was supposed to have been given. No one had been contacted, and there was no one at the Marriott Marquis ballroom to accept such an award. And like that, it was gone.

But Jason Flom did get Humanitarian of the Year, and the former Lava Records/Atlantic Records president, who moonlights as a standup comic, took the podium after performances by Antigone Rising and hilarious comedian Lewis Black.

First, however, Flom was introduced by his father, the famous Skadden Arps attorney Joseph Flom, who talked about his son's stint in rehab in his 20s. Ouch!

But it's a happy ending for Jason. Five years ago, Tony Martell revealed, Jason and wife Wendy personally donated $250,000 to the important cancer-research fund.

I guess those Kid Rock records really did sell a lot.

Jason is the last of the real record executives who cares about the business. He thanked his mentors, Doug Morris of Universal and Ahmet Ertegun of Atlantic.

Almost no one showed up from his former employer, Warner Music Group, except chairman Edgar Bronfman, Jr. No Lyor Cohen, no Craig Kallman.

There were plenty of people, though, from EMI, which owns Virgin Records. I told you on Tuesday that Jason will be named president of Virgin shortly.

He joked about it in his speech, but refused to concede our scoop. I'm told all that's left are deal points about money, and then the signatures.

Katie Couric, Al Roker and Ann Curry of the "Today" show came and got an award — early in the evening, so they could go home and sleep — for donating profits of a "Today" show cookbook to the Martell Foundation.

Of course, it's not like they donated anything; NBC did. But they had an amusing scripted acceptance speech.

Matt Lauer wasn't there. They said he was on vacation in Paris.

Katie encouraged the crowd to go out and buy the cookbook. And use it, she said, not as a "doorstop. That's what it's used for in my house." That part didn't seem scripted.

Tony Martell announced last night that in its 30 years, the foundation has raised $210 million. It's all gone to establishing lots of important new drugs, like Gleevec for leukemia.

"We've had a breakthrough drug this year in prostate cancer," Tony said. "Of course [Blue Note Records president] Bruce Lundvall said, 'Thanks — you waited until I had my prostate out.'"

Lundvall, who just turned 70, still got to enjoy the evening by supplying the entertainment, Norah Jones. She and her band played a half-dozen numbers, including "Don't Know Why," which featured on guitar its writer, Jesse Harris.

Blondie's Debbie Harry cheered them, as did Norah's talented sister, musician Anoushka Shankar.

Lennon's Exes Have Birthday Bash

Tomorrow night could see the rock event of all time.

John Lennon's ex-mistress, May Pang, throws a party for Lennon's first wife, Cynthia, at The Cutting Room.

Roy Orbison's witty and smart widow, Barbara, will also be a guest. So will Liz Derringer, ex-wife of Rick.

Cynthia's memoir, "John," is a hit here in the U.S. and in the U.K. And on Sunday, Lennon would have been 65 years old.

Meanwhile, Yoko Ono is performing a concert this weekend in Japan, she says, to commemorate the 25th anniversary of John's murder.

There must be a language problem. Lennon was killed on the night of December 8, 1980. Sunday is his birthday. But maybe it's a Japanese custom we don't know about.

And at last, "The Concert for Bangladesh" is coming out on DVD. It only took 34 years for a proper video.

Apple Records and UNICEF will host a premiere on Oct. 19 in Burbank at the Steve Ross Theater. Ringo Starr, Billy Preston and George Harrison's lovely widow, Olivia, are scheduled to attend.

Hopefully, the producers have also invited Bob Dylan, Leon Russell, Jim Keltner and all the musicians and backup singers who donated their fees that day.

Paramount's Classic Dismissal

The struggles at Paramount's "indie" division, Paramount Classics, took a bad turn late yesterday.

The studio fired the two brave and creative souls who ran the division, Ruth Vitale and David Dinerstein.

What can I say? I think it's a mistake. Vitale and Dinerstein are two of the most talented people in the film business. Not only that, they have good taste.

The two execs worked at a disadvantage from the get-go. Paramount never gave them enough money to compete for films at festivals or to market what they owned.

Their first real film, "The Adventures of Sebastian Cole," was much loved by critics and festival audiences. But the studio wouldn't give Paramount Classics the help it needed. And the movie failed.

Something similar happened this year, when Paramount Classics managed to buy "Hustle and Flow" at Sundance, but wasn't given the marketing machine to back it up.

Vitale and Dinerstein are currently producing "Black Snake Moan," the next film by "Hustle and Flow" director Craig Brewer, which is also set in Memphis and features Justin Timberlake.

Ruth and David are the kind of film people who will eventually win Oscars either apart or together. Everyone will talk about how smart they are. And everyone will remember that they tried to do something at Paramount that Warners, Fox and Universal have all succeeded at to some degree.

And this was supposed to be the "new" Paramount. The studio should have given them a chance.