Star Jones, a lawyer and former prosecutor, is known to television viewers for her candor, confidence and uncanny ability to clarify muddy legal and social issues. Her knowledge of the law and talent for television has won her critical acclaim as a news and legal correspondent. Ms. Jones debuted on television in 1991 when she started moonlighting as a studio commentator for Court TV during the William Kennedy Smith rape trial. She was quickly lined up as a guest on the Today show; and a few months later she became the NBC legal correspondent for Today and Nightly News, covering the latest developments in the Mike Tyson rape case and the Rodney King police brutality trial. She landed an exclusive interview with Tyson after the imprisoned ex-heavyweight champion had dodged the press for a year and an exclusive interview with King after the sentencing of the two Los Angeles cops convicted of violating his civil rights. That success led to her own syndicated show, Jones & Jury. In 1995 Ms. Jones was named a senior correspondent and chief legal analyst for Inside Edition and assigned the O.J. Simpson criminal and civil trials. She was the only news correspondent to obtain an exclusive interview with Mr. Simpson during the civil trial. Born in Badin, North Carolina, and raised both there and in Trenton, New Jersey, Ms. Jones earned a B.A. at American University, got her law degree at the University of Houston, passed the New York Bar, and went straight to the Brooklyn District Attorney's office.
After three years in general trials, she moved to the Homicide Bureau, where her work earned her a promotion to Senior Assistant District Attorney in 1991. She was one of the attorneys D.A. Joe Hynes personally selected to prosecute high-profile and community-sensitive cases. Ms. Jones gained attention in court with a number of highly publicized victories. In one case, she became the first New York Assistant District Attorney to obtain the maximum sentence for a 13-year-old boy tried as an adult in the murder of another teenager. In another case, she won a 66-year prison term for a serial sex abuser known as the "Bicycle Rapist", after other lawyers had failed to get convictions in four other cases.
With the 1997 launch of The View, Ms. Jones expanded her scope to include commentary on the law, self-esteem, race, family, education, religion, the media, and other social issues relating to the community at large. The View has earned Emmy nominations each year for Outstanding Daytime Talk Show and for Ms. Jones and her co-hosts as Outstanding Talk Show Host.
Some of her television appearances include The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Live with Regis and Kelly, Celebrity Jeopardy, Charlie Rose, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,Larry King Live, Hollywood Squares, ABC's Spin City, ABC's Port Charles, Strong Medicine, The Late Show with David Letterman and Soul Food. In 2000, Ms. Jones was honored to be chosen as a subject of a Lifetime Television Intimate Portrait profile. In October 2001 Ms. Jones launched a new home shopping television show entitled It's All About You With Star Jones on cable's ShopNBC, as well as her own website: starjones.com.
September 1998 marked the publication of Ms. Jones' first book, You Have to Stand for Something, or You'll Fall for Anything (Bantam), which received widespread critical acclaim and became a best-seller. In 2001 Ms. Jones and her fellow co-hosts were awarded the Safe Horizon Champion Award for their continued efforts to raise awareness of issues of importance to girls and women and for serving as confident, compassionate role models dedicated to excellence in the battle against violence and victimization. In 2002, Ms. Jones was honored by the East Harlem School at Exodus House for her tireless work in improving the educational opportunities for low income children in the East Harlem community.
In January 2002, Ms. Jones was named the "Chief of Consumer Style" (national spokesperson) for Payless ShoeSource, the number one shoe retailer in the United States. Ms. Jones, a popular commercial personality is the "face" of Payless ShoeSource and appears in all of their print and broadcast advertisements. In addition, Ms. Jones has been a featured personality for Kohl's, Target, and "Salon Z" of Saks Fifth Avenue.
Ms. Jones is heavily involved with numerous philanthropic organizations, is a frequent contributor to several charitable foundations and serves on the Board of Directors of the East Harlem School at Exodus House, Dress for Success, God's Love We Deliver and Girls, Inc. In 2002 Ms. Jones launched her own not-for-profit foundation, "The Starlet Fund," which makes financial grants to individuals and organizations that are dedicated to the support and encouragement of women and girls.
Star (Starlet) Jones was born on March 24, 1962 in Badin, North Carolina. Her sign is Aries. Her first job was a McDonald's fry girl. Today her occupation: Talk-show host and prosecutor.
Star Jones and her husband reside in New York City and East Hampton. She is a spokeswoman for Payless ShoeSource. Did you know? Jones owns more than 500 pairs of shoes! Her Slogan: "Thou shall not pay retail!"
In Her Words:
"If anybody ever doubts the existence of God, say hello to me."
I started off as a little black girl down in [the] little town [of] Badin, North Carolina. And now I sit next to Barbara Walters. The sky really is the limit."
ABC's 'The View' gets 'Desperate'
The ladies at "The View" are getting pretty desperate. During the week of Feb. 7, the five stars of "Desperate Housewives" will co-host ABC's "The View" while the show broadcasts from Los Angeles. Teri Hatcher, Eva Longoria, Nicollette Sheridan, Felicity Huffman and Marcia Cross will each join the daytime talk show for a day.
The Wisteria Lane residents will be filling in for "The View" moderator Meredith Vieira, who will not be making the trip from New York to Los Angeles due to family obligations.
Broadcasting live from Disney's El Capitan Theater, the week is a themed series called "The View Celebrates Los Angeles."
On Sunday, Hatcher won a Golden Globe for best actress in a TV comedy or musical. The ABC show also won for best comedy or musical TV series.
The other hosts of "The View" are Barbara Walters, Star Jones Reynolds, Joy Behar and Elisabeth Hasselbeck. The show airs weekdays on ABC.
Riverses vs. Reynolds
The competition at tonight's Golden Globes kicks off way before the first trophy is handed out.
As the stars duke it out on the red carpet for best-dressed honors, fashion divas Joan and Melissa Rivers face-off against Star Jones Reynolds in dueling two-hour, live pre-shows.
The newlywed co-host of "The View" took over critiquing ballgowns and bling for E! Entertainment Television after the acid-tongued, mother-daughter duo split for a three-year deal at TV Guide Channel (worth a reported $20 million). The Riverses were shut out of covering September's Emmy Awards because of a contractual glitch, which allowed a giddy, gleeful Jones Reynolds to dominate the celebrity chats.
But now, as the promos for Joan and Melissa's Golden Globes pre-show caution, "They're baacckk."
So watch your back, Mrs. Reynolds, they're not giving up the red-carpet reins without a fight.
"It'll be much better if it's a bloodbath," Joan told reporters jokingly this week. "Tell that b---- to watch out!"
"No, don't say that," cries Melissa. "They'll take that out of context!"
Truth be told, there's nothing but love among the three ladies, who've been pals for years.
"We left (E!)," says Joan. "If (Star) left 'The View,' and they said we want you to take over, I'd be there."
"There's no story here," adds Melissa. "Everyone gets along."
As for Jones Reynolds, she says she's long admired Joan and her career. But she notes that the two have wildly different approaches to covering the red carpet arrivals, an observation that's already well known to anyone who's watched the women at work.
"I have the kind of style that's a little more warm and fuzzy. Her style is a little acerbic," she says. "Not to say one is better, they're just different. I don't plan to compromise my style any more than I'd expect her to compromise hers."
Jones Reynolds got flack at the Emmys for gushing too much about her wedding, "The View" and her favorite actors. She knows she has to check her enthusiasm a bit, but she says it's hard.
"My biggest fear is that I'm going to jump up and down and go, 'Hercules! Hercules! Hercules!' " she laughs. "Because I am such a nerd when it comes to that. I'm that girl, the Oh-my-God-it's-Don-Cheadle girl."
The Riverses, of course, are renowned for their catty commentary. Joan, in particular, often calls stars by the wrong name and routinely trashes celebrities' ensembles. (She once memorably said that the reason the Titantic sank was because Kathy Bates was onboard.)
Those deliciously nasty one-liners have caused a few A-listers to turn a cold shoulder on Joan and Melissa. Noting their absence at the Emmys, Kim Cattrall of "Sex and the City" sniffed on air that the red carpet "is not as scary as it usually is."
Whatever, shrugs Joan. When she and Melissa come back tonight, they're not about to change the antics that viewers love — and love to hate.
"We're there as critics. That's our job," she says. "It's what I'd say to my friend if I were sitting next to her on the couch. 'What is that?' 'Is she drunk?' "
Joan is relishing her return to duty, and she hopes there's at least one wonderfully outlandish outfit that stands out in the carefully coiffed crowd.
"Bjork looking like a chicken? That was great," she says of the infamous swan dress the Icelandic singer wore to the Oscars in 2001. "You pray for that."
Jones Reynolds, too, says she wouldn't shy away from asking about a bizarre get-up.
"I would have no problem saying, 'Please, girl, what were you thinking?' " she says. "Hey, they might have a real good attitude about it. I figure if you're gonna wear a stork, baby, you've got confidence!"
Though she calls herself tonight's "go-to" interviewer, Jones Reynolds says there's room for everyone to ask, "Who are you wearing?"
"A lot of people, I'd venture to guess, missed (Joan's) style," she says. "I don't think that takes away from me, and I don't think I take away from her. I think what we do is give alternatives to the viewing audience. And we give alternatives to the celebrities who walk the red carpet."
So the viewing audience — along with Leo, Uma, Renée and all of those "Desperate Housewives" — should get set to pick a side.
Is the red carpet big enough for Star Jones Reynolds and Joan and Melissa Rivers?
Sunday's Golden Globes will be the first showdown between the dueling fashion analysts: Jones Reynolds will be on patrol for E! Entertainment, and the Rivers mother-daughter team will be on duty for TV Guide Channel.
Adding to the drama: Jones Reynolds (who has adopted new husband Al Reynolds' name) has the Rivers' gals old E! gig.
The duo jumped the E! ship last June for more money, signing a $20 million, three-year contract with TV Guide. Jones Reynolds had her first E! gig at September's Emmys. The Globes marks the Rivers team's TV Guide Channel debut. What to expect Sunday?
Here's the dish direct from the competitors:
Jones Reynolds: "I would never try to duplicate Joan. I adore her, and I consider her a friend. But they're two very different shows. I'm not interested in that attack style; it's just not who I am. I want to celebrate the person who's there."
Joan Rivers: "God bless Star. Obviously, I think we're better, or I wouldn't be doing it."
Melissa Rivers: "Here's a pomegranate. Here's a zucchini. Two totally different vibes."
So when it comes to red-carpet pre-show style, viewers will have a clear choice.
During Live From the Red Carpet (6-8 p.m. ET live/PT tape delay), Jones Reynolds wants stars to enjoy a great evening "and bask in the adoration of their colleagues." That means focusing on their projects and perhaps inviting a few celebs to visit her daytime talk show, The View.
Expect the unexpected on Joan & Melissa Live at the Golden Globes (6-8 p.m., ET live/PT tape delay). Joan Rivers says she's interested in asking celebs the personal questions inquiring minds want to know and in capitalizing on the night's comedic potential.
Rivers refers to the priceless moment at last year's Globes, when she dissed the size of the diamond Kevin Costner bought his fiancée, Christine Baumgartner, who later got a bigger diamond. "If they have humor, they'll stop by this time and show me the new ring," she says of the now-married couple.
Jones Reynolds may have the advantage in the showdown: E! reaches 85 million households nationwide; TV Guide Channel hits 76 million homes. And as for fearful celebs hoping the TV Guide Channel is squeezing the Rivers' duo into a small part of the screen, no such luck: The red-carpet show will dominate the screen while TV listings scroll along the bottom.
Let the battle begin.
Star Jones cuts ties with law career
Star Jones Reynolds has finally cut ties with her former law career. A host of ABC's daytime talk show The View, she listed her profession as TV personality instead of attorney for the first time last year while filling out customs forms during a European trip.
''I guess I've crossed over to the dark side," she said. "It felt truthful. I'm sure it's strange for my father, who wants to know where all the money went for law school."
Jones Reynolds worked as an assistant district attorney for six years and has been doing television since 1992.
She drew criticism for plugging her lavish November wedding to banker Al Reynolds on The View and for a Web site that promoted the companies who donated items for the wedding party's goodie bags.
"I wouldn't do one thing different," she told The Associated Press. "I don't want to be rude and make people think I don't care what other people think, but it was my wedding and I don't care what other people think. I live my life that way."
Besides, Jones Reynolds said, the only person she had to please is her husband.
"He got a kick out of the fact I was so goofy," she said. "The wedding was for the 8-year-old in me and the marriage was for the woman. That's why you haven't heard one thing about the marriage. That's no one's business."
Five Things You Must Know About Star Jones
Jones' mom named her Starlett because she said Jones was born with a twinkle in her eye.
At age 20, Jones was told she had a fast-growing inoperable tumor in her chest. She had nine months to live. Fortunately, she refused to accept such a dire diagnosis and got a second opinion. Her new doc removed the tumor and saved her life.
She's a shoe horse with 400 pairs in her closet.
Her all-time favorite city is Paris, a place she first "traveled to" through a book in elementary school.
Growing up, Jones' role model was F. Lee Bailey, the tough criminal lawyer.
Star Jones Is Shining Bright
From precocious child to hard-nosed criminal prosecutor to TV diva, Star Jones lights up the room wherever she goes. At 38, Jones has risen to the top of two supercompetitive fields and is living the high life she has always dreamed about.
This Star was born Starlet Jones on March 24, 1962, in the tiny North Carolina town of Badin. She lived there with her grandparents while her mom and dad finished college. When she was six years old, Jones and her sister were off to Trenton, New Jersey, to live with their mom. And it didn't take long for this little one to shine; Jones got top grades in school.
The stellar report cards continued, and after graduating from parochial school she enrolled in the American University in Washington, DC, where she sang in the gospel choir, joined the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority and officially became known as "Star."
Her quest for success was just starting: Jones went on to graduate from the University of Houston's law school, pass the New York State bar exam the first time around (her proudest achievement to date), and then land a job at the district attorney's office in Brooklyn. After three years with the D.A., she started handling violent crime cases, gaining quite a reputation for nabbing stiff sentences for offenders.
In 1991, Court TV called the D.A.'s office looking for a part-time legal commentator. They got Jones. By 1992, TV was in her blood and she was offered a contract with the "Today Show" as their legal correspondent. She garnered respect and fame by landing interviews with the hard-to-get subjects such as Mike Tyson and Rodney King and reporting on the most big-deal trials of the last decade, including O.J. Simpson and Lorena Bobbit.
Soon, Star was also starring in the syndicated courtroom show "Jones & Jury," where she was judge/host and the audience was the jury. She was also serving as chief legal analyst for "Inside Edition."
But it was her 1998 move to the famed "The View" couch that made Jones a household name. Most recently she has brought her opinionated, outspoken self to book form, penning her autobiography, "You Have to Stand for Something or You'll Fall for Anything."
Star Jones Tops 'Bridezilla' List
In case you missed it, "View" co-host Star Jones got married this year.
From all accounts, it was quite the affair. Daytime TV viewers were treated to months of blow-by-blow details of the planning of the million dollar extravaganza, most of which Jones managed to get comped by giving the companies providing services free on-air plugs.
Her designer dress had a 27-foot train that required seven people to haul it around. Celeb "pals" like Spike Lee, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Vivica A. Fox, Natalie Cole and Patti LaBelle were in attendance. Oh yes, and following the big day she berated co-worker Joy Behar for messing with the seating arrangement at her table and bringing along her own camera.
All this adds up to memories for a lifetime (or at least until the divorce) for Jones and a spot at the top of WE: Women's Entertainment's "Bridezillas of 2004" list.
Jones ... now, Star Jones Reynolds ... has some company in her matrimonial monsterdom. Britney Spears is singled out for her quickie marriage and annulment at the beginning of the year to an old childhood friend, followed by what appears to be a serious attempt at marital bliss to dancer Kevin Federline later on in September. Jennifer Lopez also has some tulle issues, starting with her repeatedly aborted attempts to walk down the aisle with Ben Affleck and then her never completely confirmed rebound nuptials to singer Marc Anthony.
Projecting into the future, celebrities likely to become difficult should they choose to tie the knot in 2005 include Beyonce, Christina Aguilera and the woman who likely will never be a princess, Camilla Parker-Bowles.
Star Jones' family tree
Star's look back into her past produced the following results:
It's human nature to want to know where we came from. But for African-Americans, tracing a family tree isn't easy because for a long time we weren't considered people -- we were considered property. With the help of a genealogist, I found a window to my past that took me back in time.
My descendants were part of the census of 1870, the first one that listed blacks by name.
Going back almost 200 years, I discovered that my family - the Baucoms, the Bennetts and the Meadows - were slaves living in North Carolina. While most slaves were bought and sold away, my family managed to stay together.
They were pioneers in more ways than one. Not only were they the earliest settlers in Anson County, but they lived and worked with their white neighbors in a harmony that was almost unheard of at the time.
I also discovered a family heritage of military service that spanned from being forced to take up arms in the Civil War to proudly serving the country in both World Wars.
Although my early ancestors and their children were born into slavery, 15 years after the Civil War, they voted, they went to school, and they even served on juries.
My journey into the past was more than a revelation of the struggles, triumphs, injustices, and glories of my entire family. It was the first time in my life I was able to clearly see the parts of them that have become a part of me.
Antonia Cottrell Martin helped Star trace her family tree and added the following details:
The white owners of Star's family in the time of slavery are believed to be related to Star because of what was found in the census. The family was listed as black initially, then became listed as mulatto in different branches of the family.
Star's great great great grandfather, George Baucom, is believed to have fought in the Civil War as a Confederate soldier.
George Baucom also served on one of the first interracial juries in 1879.
Lawsuit has roots in Star Jones' penthouse garden
Star Jones has been sued for more than $7,000 for work a gardener says he did on her Manhattan penthouse terrace to prepare it for an Architectural Digest photo layout
Lawsuit has roots in Star Jones' penthouse garden
Dimitri Gatanas, who runs Dimitri's Garden Center, said Tuesday he built Jones' rooftop garden, completing it in June 2002 at a cost of about $30,000. "We made it look like paradise," Gatanas said. "She was very happy with the work. And we got paid."
But in April 2003, Gatanas said, Jones asked him to freshen the garden for the Architectural Digest photos. He said she promised that instead of paying him she would get him a mention in the magazine.
In the magazine's October 2003 issue, Gatanas said, Jones' 1,400-square-foot garden was featured in several photographs, but he and his company weren't mentioned.
Gatanas, 31, said he called Jones and demanded that she pay the $7,189.20 bill for flower arrangements, potting soil, moss, mulch, dogwood, ficus plants and other items.
He said Jones, 42, suggested that instead of paying she would give him a plaque with one of her Architectural Digest pictures and an inscription that could be hung in his office. Gatanas said he declined that offer and sent her a bill.
Jones, who co-hosts The View daytime talk show, denied Gatanas' allegations and complained about his work, said her lawyer, Howard Mann. She has filed a countersuit for money damages because "it was a shoddily done job," Mann said.
The lawsuit, filed in Manhattan Civil Court in June, was made public Tuesday .
The View's Star Jones marries in glitzy bash
Star Jones, co-host of ABC's "The View," married banker Al Reynolds in a star-studded Park Avenue bash.
Notables ranging from Spike Lee to Sen. Hillary Clinton packed into St. Bartholomew's Church Saturday to watch Jones, 42, who wore a a designer strapless wedding dress with a 27-foot train, exchange vows with Reynolds.
"The train was so long it took about seven people to carry it,''
said friend and guest Valerie Simpson, songwriter and half of the R&B duo Ashford and Simpson.
With songstress Patti LaBelle performing, and a bridal party including Natalie Cole, Vivica A. Fox and Holly Robinson Peete, the storybook wedding lasted until 8 p.m. before moving to the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel for an equally celebrity-heavy reception.
"I smiled a lot," said Jones' "The View" co-host Barbara Walters. "I was happy for her. She had the biggest smile I've ever seen."
Star Jones Finally Says '' I Do''
Few celebrity weddings have been discussed in advance in as much depth as the union of "The View" host Star Jones and Wall Street banker Al Reynolds. Jones and Reynolds, who became very publicly engaged at February's NBA All-Star Game, were married on Saturday (Nov. 13) in New York City.
The ceremony, held at St. Bartholomew's Church in New York City, came exactly one year to the day that the couple first met.
According to the New York Post, the star-studded guest list included Spike Lee. Chris Rock, Samuel Jackson, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Jones' "View" co-hosts. Because Lindsay Lohan, Bijou Phillips and Paris Hilton didn't attend, the marriage has a chance to survive, but Paris' parents Rick and Kathy Hilton were on hand.
Natalie Cole, Vivica A. Fox and Holly Robinson Peete were bridesmaids and Patti LaBelle performed.
The bride's Reem Acra-designed dress had a 27-foot veil, but the only place to see pictures will be InStyle magazine, which reportedly paid a goodly amount for the picture rights.
"God has blessed us with each other and we're so happy that our two lives have finally become one," reads the latest post on their nuptial website StarandAl.com. "Please keep us in your prayers. Love, Mr. & Mrs. Al Scales Reynolds."
Fans of "The View" can expect to hear Jones talk much much more about her wedding and her ongoing marital bliss in the weeks to come.
Star Jones gets financial help for wedding
Like many brides, Star Jones wanted the very best of the best when she planned her wedding.
But unlike most brides, she got much of it for free.
When she marries Al Reynolds Saturday in New York, The View co-host will have received donated invitations (from Encore Studios and The Stationery Studio), tuxedos (Sarno & Son) and bridesmaids' gowns (Lazaro Bridal). According to the couple's wedding Web site (www.starandal.com), they even have an "official airline of our wedding weekend" (Continental).
What have the suppliers received in return? Potential public mentions, or plugs, for their products.
Wedding experts say Jones, a spokeswoman for Payless Shoes, has pushed product-placement and celebrity freebies to a new extreme. She has taken heat for soliciting freebies and for her on-air plugs for wedding suppliers on The View.
Jones has denied wrongdoing. A show spokesman says Jones' plugs on The View followed federal regulations, which prohibit on-air mentions in exchange for products. It's a murky area, but since the controversy arose, Jones has noticeably cut back on on-air wedding chatter.
Jones isn't the first star to get financial help for a wedding. Some cost-reducing tactics:
• Trade wedding products for possible publicity. Tori Spelling's bridal party received chocolates donated by a popular candy company. A trendy clothing company in L.A. routinely offers celeb brides sweatsuits for bridesmaids, and Hollywood brides rarely turn down the offer.
•Invite TV. The Bachelorette's Trista Rehn and Ryan Sutter earned $1 million from ABC to air their 2003 wedding. MTV picked up the tab for last year's wedding of Dave Navarro and Carmen Electra.
• Sell wedding photographs. Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas sold photo rights to their 2000 wedding for $1.8 million.
Most stars don't want freebies, says wedding planner Mindy Weiss, who worked with Jessica Simpson, "because then they have to talk publicly about intimate parts of their lives" in exchange.
Jones' approach is a sign that the no-cost celebrity wedding has "most definitely" crossed a line, Weiss says. "It's not so much a wedding as it's a business deal. Where's the romance?"
Karen Wood, president of Backstage Creations, which creates free gift bags for many awards shows, says just four years ago companies resisted giving freebies to celebrities. But in today's business world, it is a "powerful" tool.
"Companies are shifting their advertising dollar because (giving stars freebies is) so much more effective" than newspaper or TV ads.
But Wood warns that negative publicity, such as that associated with Jones' wedding, "might backfire on a brand."