9May,2007

Did Wendi Deng Help Her Ex-Lover's Family Create A News Ltd Movie Star?

And if so, does Rupert know about it?

News Ltd's profits continue to soar, helped by a box office hit called "A Night At The Museum". Here's the spiel:
Larry Daley (Ben Stiller) is a divorced father who is constantly unable to keep a stable job, the bulk of them being failed business ventures. He is desperate to win the support of his son Nick (Jake Cherry), whom he fears is beginning to look up to his more successful soon-to-be stepfather (Paul Rudd), a bond trader on Wall Street.
Hello? Jake Cherry? Didn't Wendi Deng have a former husband by the same name? Why, yes she did! Of course, the boy in the movie was born on September 15, 1996, when Wendi and Cherry had already been divorced for four years. And he doesn't look too Chinese, does he:

But is there some kind of family connection here? It is rumoured that the rising movie star prodigy Jake Cherry is the son of gay GOP activist Marc Cherry, the creator of Desperate Housewives, in which Jake also stars. But that's not true. So is there a family connection between the latest News Ltd acting prodigy and Wendi's old lover?

Seems Wendi met her Jake Cherry in China, where - depending on who you read - he was either "a UNICEF executive", an "American working for Guangzhou Engineering Factory" (The Australian Financial Review, 24th-25th March, 2007), or even, as Crikey suggested in a very interesting 2000 article, "a wealthy American sports goods manufacturer" and possible US government agent!
Although she rarely ever talks of the specifics of her past, it is believed around the age of 20 she married a wealthy American sports goods manufacturer who frequently travelled to China on business. The gentleman, whose name is a mystery, would seem to have been her first "sugar daddy" - he apparently funded her and arranged for her American visa (that said, no record of the marriage has been discovered). Short of being a government agent (an intriguing possibility for which unfortunately there is no evidence), Hong Kong Wendi-watchers are baffled by the real mystery of how a Chinese girl of some twenty years, from a relatively poor and uninfluential family, could so easily leave Guangdong at that time and take up residence in California. Nothing is known about her life in China prior to her arrival in California and there has been no confirmation that she studied medicine at that time, a claim she once made in California.
In any case, the WSJ November 2000 article confirms that Jake and Joyce Cherry were "a Los Angeles couple", suggesting a possible link to Hollywood. This recollection from a fellow student strengthens that possibility:
As Chapman observes, "She could have chosen far more ritzy universities around Los Angeles but she chose our Northridge campus and I have no idea why. Occasionally she mentioned her husband.But never called him by name and certainly didn't live with him. He had a place in Beverly Hills and she had an apartment in the suburbs near the university in Northridge. There was a lot of speculation among other students about whether it was a marriage of convenience."
So now we are down to Beverly Hills, the heart of Hollywood. Interesting.

I cannot find any further details on young actor Jake Cherry's family connections, but anyone with any tips please let me know! If this young Jake Cherry really is connected to Deng's ex-husband, I cannot help wondering... Does Rupert know???

Anyone interested in this story will probably also want to take a good look at this week's edition of ABC Mediawatch, which examines how and why Fairfax newspapers, in which Murdoch held a minor shareholding till this week, decided to spike (ie kill) a major profile of Wendi Deng by reporter Eric Ellis. Here's a little excerpt from the story:
"...A Star executive…remembers her interaction with…Robert Bland. Bland seemed to be going places, controlling a crucial revenue centre...The day after she'd been introduced to him…he was walking down the corridor in front of Wendi's office. Laughs the executive, "Wendi, this intern rushes out and grabs Bland's greasy ponytail...And she gives it a yank and says in this squeaky voice 'Hi Robert! I'm Wendi! Remember me? I'm the intern', and she just cackles with this kiddie laugh 'Hahahahaha.'"
Ellis' Deng profile has apparently now been bought by "the Monthly" (an independent mag) and will be published next month.

Also in the news today, it turns out the people under suspicion for insider trading on Murdoch's WSJ bid are a Chinese family with links to a director at Dow Jones (who strenuously denies any wrongdoing). Interesting.

UPDATE: Another thought. The UNICEF idea looks like a dud, but is it possible that Jake Cherry was a wealthy US businessman for whom the Guangzhou Engineering Factory was making sports shoes? If so, was there slave labour involved? Is that how he landed in Beverley Hills?

Anything is possible, right? And US business contacts with Guangzhou go way back:
Incidentally, the opium trade was not confined to the British. The leading American opium firm was Russell & Co. Its taipan was an old sea captain named Warren Delano. He was at one time the American vice-consul in Canton (Guangzhou) and was a staunch Republican. His political philosophy is best summed up by his somewhat bigoted statement, "I will not say that all Democrats are horse thieves, but it does seem that all horse thieves are Democrats." He was rather upset when his daughter married a Democrat, James Roosevelt. Her son, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, became the 32nd U.S. president.

UPDATE 2: I originally suggested young Jake might be old Jake's nephew, but given that old Jake was supposedly 50 when he got into bed with Wendi, chances are young Jake is more likely a grandson, if anything. And here's another thought: Jake Cherry's wife divorced him after she found photos of him having sex with Deng. Gosh, those photos would be worth a lot of money these days, wouldn't they? I wonder if anyone still has them? I wonder if they might post them on YouTube? That would be fitting, given that Wendi Deng is now in charge of News Ltd's competitor offering, MySpaces.

I am naughty today, aren't I? And some might say that this sort of sleazy gossip is inexcusable. But in the first place, I think we, the people, have a right to know who is controlling our world. And in the second place, this sort of sleaze journalism is exactly how Murdoch came to power, and he has used it repeatedly to bring down political and business opponents, so I am more than happy to help dish out a dose of his own medecine. Fair's fair!