Saturday, April 12, 2008

New "Office" supplies season high

By James Hibberd

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) -
NBC returned to an
all-original lineup Thursday night, highlighted by the
much-anticipated resumption of "The Office."

Most of the network's comedies were roughly on par with
their pre-strike averages, but "The Office" delivered its
highest rating since the show's fall season premiere (9.2
million, 4.8 rating/12 share).

At 8 p.m., "My Name Is Earl" (7 million, 3.0/9) and return
of "30 Rock" (5.7 million, 2.7/7) were down slightly from their
averages as they were up against an "American Idol" results
show. The return of "Scrubs" at 9:30 was up 6% (6.6 million,
3.4/8). At 10 p.m., "ER" returned to match its all-time low
(5.9 million, 3.1/8).

NBC came in third place overall, with Fox in first place
airing a special "American Idol" results show (20 million,
6.8/19), which matched Wednesday's "Idol Gives Back" event.
Afterwards, an episode of "Don't Forget the Lyrics" performed
strongly (10.9 million, 4.0/10).

In second place, CBS aired a series low "Survivor:
Micronesia" (11.7 million, 3.8/11). "CSI" was down a couple
ticks from last week's return to originals (20 million,
5.7/14), but effectively matched "Idol" as the most-viewed show
of night. "Without a Trace" held steady (14.6 million, 3.9/11).

ABC was fourth with repeats and "Eli Stone" (5.9 million,
1.9/5). The CW had repeats.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

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    Teen R&B singer Karina Pasian declares "War"

    By Mariel Concepcion

    NEW YORK (Billboard) -
    When you're the subject of a
    high-stakes bidding war while still a preteen, expectations
    will be extra high for your debut.

    But so far, 16-year-old Karina Pasian is making good. The
    Dominican-American singer, who signed with Def Jam in 2006, has
    just scored her first chart ink with "16 (at) War," which
    entered Billboard's latest Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart at No.

    The track comes from Pasian's debut album, "First Love,"
    due June 3. She has been taking piano lessons since the age of
    3, started studying classical music in kindergarten, and met
    her current vocal coach at 8.

    Things took off from there. In 2003, Pasian won on "Star
    ." Appearances at Jones' "We Are the Future" concert in
    Rome and at the White House quickly followed. Now Pasian is
    sorting through more than 70 songs for "First Love."

    "My dad used to tell people he was going to take me to
    Hollywood. He would always say that I was going to be a star,"
    an excited Pasian says. "To be here now is really, really


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      Foreign correspondent now a singer/songwriter

      NEW YORK (Billboard) -
      Singer/songwriter Doug Levitt
      specializes in war zones.

      Initially working as an overseas reporter for outlets like
      CNN and MSNBC, he'd gather firsthand accounts from people in
      Rwanda, Iran and Bosnia. But now the Washington, D.C., native
      is "reporting" on conflicts of a different kind.

      "I'm political to the extent my music reflects what people
      are feeling and speaks to the conflicts of the moment," Levitt
      says. "I write on our human portrait. We're dealing with a
      different war here."

      Levitt has since created a Web series that features his
      music and narrative accounts on douglevitt
      (http://www.douglevitt), a home for his thoughts on the
      conflict in the Middle East and musings on America's shifting
      political climate. His support of the Democratic Party has also
      lead to a unique way to share his music: He is a surrogate for
      the Barack Obama campaign and has stumped for the presidential
      candidate when he was unable to appear at rallies himself.

      "I consider myself a musician first, but there's a shift
      toward being a multiplatform artist," the 36-year-old says.
      Levitt has been moving forward with licensing opportunities and
      is in talks with TV producer Bryn Freedman (A&E's
      "Intervention") about bringing "The Greyhound Diaries" to
      cable. He has already released a "Greyhound Diaries" EP, and is
      planning to release a timely full-length disc by September.


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        Lawsuit: Ledger used cocaine at party

        By DERRIK J. LANG, AP Entertainment Writer

        LOS ANGELES - A lawsuit against the photo agency and two paparazzi who allegedly filmed Heath Ledger in a hotel room where drugs were being taken claims that the late actor was also using cocaine that night.

        The lawsuit, filed Friday in Los Angeles Superior Court by a woman who was not named, alleges that two Splash News paparazzi lured Ledger up to her room at the Chateau Marmont Hotel on Jan. 29, 2006. It says they gave him cocaine and secretly filmed the actor, who also had some of his own cocaine.

        The woman is listed as "Jane Doe" in the court documents for "fear of consequences and repercussions" of what would happen if the "public were made aware of her true identity," but labels her as a People magazine freelance reporter covering a Screen Actors Guild Awards afterparty at the West Hollywood hotel.

        "She doesn't intend with this lawsuit to seek publicity," Douglas L. Johnson, the woman's lawyer, told The Associated Press on Friday. "If anything, she's seeking damages for the invasion of her privacy."

        The lawsuit names Splash News, managing partner Gary Morgan, and paparazzo Eric Munn and Darren Banks, whom the lawsuit says the woman was "occasionally dating." Her claims against them include fraud, negligence, trespassing, and intentional infliction of emotional distress, among others.

        The woman is suing for unspecified damages and profits from the sale of the Ledger tape because she says the defendants took control of a hotel room she paid for, used the mini bar and filmed her without her permission. She also claims her reputation has been damaged as a result of being featured in the footage, which she wants destroyed.

        "She was deceived and doesn't feel too good about it," Johnson told the AP. "She tried to physically throw them out of the room."

        A People magazine representative confirmed the woman was freelancing for the magazine at that time and they were aware of the alleged encounter with Ledger, but there were too many questions surrounding the circumstances for People to write about it. The representative said the woman is no longer associated with the magazine and has not been since last year.

        Ledger's representative had no comment about the lawsuit. Phone calls to Splash News were not immediately returned Friday.

        The lawsuit says Ledger found out he was being taped by Munn on the hotel room's balcony and was very upset about it throughout the evening, but that the paparazzi calmed him down several times, supplied him with more cocaine and insisted the tape would be destroyed. A cocaine dealer arrived in the hotel room later in the evening, the lawsuit adds.

        The woman, who the lawsuit says appears in the video with her face blurred, claims she forgot about the tape until "Entertainment Tonight" began advertising footage. After airing a preview of the video in January, "ET" and sister show "The Insider" decided against broadcasting the footage.

        At that time, they said the video did not show Ledger using drugs.

        The video later surfaced internationally and online at the News of the World Online. In the video, Ledger said that he was "going to get serious (word bleeped) from my girlfriend" for being in the hotel room. The video also showed Ledger rolling cigarette paper and saying "I used to smoke five joints a day for 20 years."

        The 28-year-old "Brokeback Mountain" and "Dark Knight" star died Jan. 22 in his Manhattan apartment from taking six types of painkillers and sedatives. He had a 2-year-old daughter, Matilda Rose, with former girlfriend, actress Michelle Williams.

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          Drugs tale next for "Stomp" producer

          By Leslie Simmons

          LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) -
          Producer Will Packer
          will tackle the true story of Kemba Smith, who was granted
          clemency by President Clinton after serving six years on a
          24-year sentence for conspiracy to sell crack cocaine.

          Packer ("Stomp the Yard") picked up the life rights to
          Smith's story, and is looking for a writer; production is
          slated to begin on the untitled drama in 2009.

          Smith, who was brought up by middle-class professional
          parents in Richmond, Va., had no criminal record or problems
          before attending Hampton University, where she met a man who
          ended up being the leader of a $4 million crack cocaine ring
          and one of the FBI's 15 most wanted.

          Although the government acknowledged that Smith never sold
          drugs or took them, she was charged with conspiracy to
          distribute crack and was sentenced to 24 years in prison.
          Clinton granted her clemency before he left office in 2001.

          Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

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            Actors, lawmakers mark Darfur date

            By REGAN MCTARNSEY, Associated Press Writer

            LONDON - Lawmakers, actors and writers marked the fifth anniversary of the conflict in Darfur on Saturday with an impassioned plea for more support for Sudanese children displaced by the conflict.

            Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling and fellow authors of children's books have signed an open letter calling for more support for children affected by the bloodshed.

            "It is time to change the narrative," the letter reads. "It is time to tell a different story. This April many children in Darfur will be reaching their fifth birthdays without ever having known peace. The world needs to wake up."

            British lawmakers including Nick Clegg, leader of the opposition Liberal Democrats, will join a rally in central London on Sunday. Protesters plan to gather outside the Sudanese Embassy.

            A delegation of young survivors of the conflict will also hand in a series of drawings by Sudanese children, which depict the conflict, to employees at Prime Minister Gordon Brown's official residence.

            Actors Matt Damon and Thandie Newton were also among those supporting the campaign worldwide, in a television advertisement campaign.

            "After the genocide in Rwanda we all shook our heads and said 'never again,'" Damon said in a statement. "Today, as killings mount in Darfur we need to make 'never again' a reality and demand protection for the most vulnerable."

            More than 200,000 people have been killed in the Darfur conflict, and over 2 million are displaced from their homes, the U.N. has said.

            Fighting has raged in Darfur since 2003, when ethnic African tribesman took up arms, complaining of decades of neglect and discrimination by the Sudanese Arab-dominated government. Khartoum has been accused of unleashing janjaweed militia forces to commit atrocities against ethnic African communities in the fight with rebel groups.

            Protests will take place in around 30 countries on Sunday, humanitarian charity Crisis Action said, calling for an immediate deployment of more peacekeeping troops.

            U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has been critical of slow progress in getting an expanded African Union-U.N. force in place.

            The AU-U.N. force is authorized to have 26,000 troops and police, but Ban said only about 7,500 military personnel and 1,500 police officers were in Darfur on Jan. 31.

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              Ivana Trump weds at ex-husband's estate

              50 minutes ago

              MIAMI - Ivana Trump is hitched — again.

              The ex-wife of real estate mogulDonald Trump wore a pastel pink-and-gold wedding dress when she tied the knot Saturday evening with Italian entrepreneur Rossano Rubicondi, the Palm Beach Post reported.

              The wedding took place at Mar-a-Lago, Donald Trump's opulent seaside mansion in Palm Beach. The estate also hosted the billionaire's wedding to Slovenian model Melania Knauss in 2005.

              Donald Trump, whom she divorced in 1990, attended, as did their children.

              Also among the almost 600 guests expected were hotel heirs Rick and Kathy Hilton, the parents of Paris; and singer-songwriter Neil Sedaka.

              Trump, 59, and Rubicondi, 36, have been together for about six years, her spokeswoman Catherine Saxton said. They got engaged in September, and this is her fourth marriage.

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                'Dr. Phil' staff bails out jailed teen

                39 minutes ago

                BARTOW, Fla. - Employees of the "Dr. Phil" television show posted bail for a central Florida teenager jailed for taking part in a videotaped beating of another teen, a spokeswoman for the show's host confirmed Saturday.

                Staff members of the talk show helped Mercades Nichols — one of eight teens facing charges in the case — post bond this weekend, "Dr. Phil" McGraw's spokeswoman Terri Corigliano said in an e-mail.

                "We have helped guests and potential guests in the past when they need financial assistance to come on the show — assisting with clothing allowance, lost wages, accommodations, travel and necessities," Corigliano wrote. "In this case, certain staff members went beyond our guidelines (re the bail being paid).

                "These staff members have been spoken to and our policies reiterated. In addition, we have decided not to go forward with the story as our guidelines have been compromised."

                The show's producers were in the process of booking guests for a program about the case, Corigliano wrote.

                Only two of the teens remained jailed late Saturday night, Polk County Sheriff's Office spokesman Scott Wilder said.

                The teens, whose ages range from 14 to 18, face kidnapping and misdemeanor battery charges. Three also face a felony charge of witness tampering. The state attorney's office says all will be tried as adults.

                They are accused of participating in a violent beating of another teenager, which was videotaped and has now been viewed widely on national television and the Internet.

                A judge on Friday set bails ranging from $30,000 to $37,000 for the teenagers.

                McGraw drew criticism earlier this year when he confronted troubled pop star Britney Spears at the UCLA Medical Center during a stay at the facility.

                At one point, McGraw had planned an episode of the "Dr. Phil" show about Spears, but quickly abandoned the idea. He has since apologized for discussing his visit publicly — but not for visiting her.

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                  Britney Spears in minor traffic mishap

                  1 hour, 14 minutes ago

                  LOS ANGELES - Britney Spears was involved in a minor traffic accident on a Los Angeles freeway Saturday, authorities said.

                  California Highway Patrol Officer Patrick Kimball says the two-car collision occurred about 8:20 p.m. Saturday on the northbound 405 at the 101 freeway. Kimball says it was a minor accident and nobody was hurt.

                  Kimball says it's unclear whether Spears was driving or which car she was in.

                  The CHP took a report and no one was cited.

                  An after-hours e-mail sent to Spears' publicist was not returned Saturday.

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                    Luminaries attend Heston's funeral

                    By BOB THOMAS
                    32 minutes ago

                    LOS ANGELES - Charlton Heston, one of the last lions of Old Hollywood, was remembered at his funeral Saturday as devoutly religious and patriotic — a man who was an imposing figure both in his politics and on the big screen.

                    Heston died April 5 at age 84 in his Beverly Hills home with his wife, Lydia, at his side following a battle with Alzheimer's disease. The service was held at the Episcopal Parish of St. Matthews, a church in a wooded canyon above Pacific Palisades.

                    "Charlton sat every Sunday morning right there," said Rev. Michael Scott Seiler, pointing to a front pew in the modernist wooden church shaped with seats arranged in a half moon.

                    About 300 people attended the funeral, including family members, politicians and actors.

                    A frail Nancy Reagan entered the church on the arm of Tom Selleck. Following the nearly two-hour ceremony, Reagan left with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Other notables from Heston's Hollywood history included Olivia DeHavilland, Keith Carradine, Pat Boone, Oliver Stone and Rob Reiner.

                    The first part of the ceremony was devoted to memories of Heston. His daughter, Holly Heston Rochell, recalled her father's love of poetry and recited the words of Shakespeare and Tennyson. Her brother, Fraser Clarke Heston, reminisced about his father's prowess on his tennis court, where he played every Sunday with friends.

                    He talked about his father's devotion to America and said he "loved his country."

                    "I never knew a finer man; I will never know a finer man," he said.

                    His father was cremated, and the family had a small ceremony before the funeral, he said.

                    Heston was one of the biggest box-office draws of the 1950s, '60s and '70s, often playing legendary leaders or ordinary men thrown into heroic struggles. Some of his notable roles included Marc Antony in "Julius Caesar" and "Antony and Cleopatra"; Michelangelo in "The Agony and the Ecstasy"; John the Baptist in "The Greatest Story Ever Told"; and an astronaut on a topsy-turvy world where simians rule in "Planet of the Apes."

                    In recent years, Heston became better known for his conservative politics and position on gun rights as head of the National Rifle Association. Heston also campaigned for Republican presidential and congressional candidates and against affirmative action.

                    Near the end of his five-year tenure as NRA president in 2002, Heston disclosed he had symptoms consistent with Alzheimer's disease. Heston told his fellow NRA members when he stepped down that his time in office was "quite a ride. ... I loved every minute of it."

                    Heston was born Charles Carter in a Chicago suburb on Oct. 4, 1923. He grew up in the Michigan wilderness and after serving in the Army during World War II began acting.

                    After acting in two independent films by a college classmate, Heston was put under contract by producer Hal B. Wallis ("Casablanca"). He was later cast as the circus manager in "The Greatest Show on Earth" and then as Moses in "The Ten Commandments."

                    Heston followed with several other films before "Ben-Hur" elevated him to the top of Hollywood's A-list.

                    Michael Levine, who was Heston's publicist for 20 years and attended the service, said he was struck by how many people attended from both sides of the political aisle. He attributed this to Heston's "virtue and character."

                    "It was a beautiful service," he said.

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                      Wednesday, April 9, 2008

                      Celebrity Birthdays

                      By The Associated Press
                      43 minutes ago

                      Celebrity birthdays for the week of April 13-19:

                      April 13: Actor Lyle Waggoner ("The Carol Burnett Show") is 73. Actor Edward Fox is 71. Actor Paul Sorvino is 69. Musician Jack Casady of Jefferson Airplane is 64. Actor Tony Dow ("Leave It To Beaver") is 63. Musician Al Green is 62. Actor Ron Perlman is 58. Actor William Sadler ("Wonderfalls," "Roswell") is 58. Singer Peabo Bryson is 57. "Late Night With Conan O'Brien" bandleader Max Weinberg is 57. Keyboardist Jimmy Destri of Blondie is 54. Singer-bassist Louis Johnson of The Brothers Johnson is 53. Actress Saundra Santiago ("Miami Vice") is 51. Guitarist Joey Mazzola of Sponge is 47. Actress Page Hannah (TV's "Fame") is 44. Actress-comedian Caroline Rhea ("Sabrina the Teenage Witch," "The Biggest Loser") is 44. Actor Ricky Schroder is 38. Singer Lou Bega is 33. Singer Nellie McKay is 26.

                      April 14: Actor Bradford Dillman ("Falcon Crest") is 78. Country singer Loretta Lynn is 73. Actress Julie Christie is 68. Guitarist Ritchie Blackmore is 63. Actor John Shea ("Lois and Clark") is 59. Actor Brad Garrett ("Everybody Loves Raymond") is 48. Actor Robert Carlyle ("Angela's Ashes," "The Full Monty") is 47. Singer-guitarist John Bell of Widespread Panic is 46. Drummer Barrett Martin (Screaming Trees) is 41. Actor Anthony Michael Hall is 40. Actor Adrien Brody ("The Pianist") is 35. Singer David Miller of Il Divo is 35. Rapper Da Brat is 34. Actor Antwon Tanner ("One Tree Hill") is 33. Actress Sarah Michelle Gellar is 31. Actress Abigail Breslin ("Little Miss Sunshine") is 12.

                      April 15: Actor Michael Ansara ("Buck Rogers in the 25th Century") is 86. Country singer Roy Clark is 75. Singer-guitarist Dave Edmunds is 64. Actress Lois Chiles ("Austin Powers") is 61. Actress Amy Wright is 58. Actress Emma Thompson is 49. Singer Samantha Fox is 42. Guitarist Ed O'Brien of Radiohead is 40. Actor Danny Pino ("Cold Case") is 34. Actor Seth Rogen ("Knocked Up") is 26. Actress Emma Watson ("Harry Potter" movies) is 18.

                      April 16: Singer Bobby Vinton is 73. Singer Gerry Rafferty is 61. Midnight Oil singer-turned-politician Peter Garrett is 55. Actress Ellen Barkin is 54. Bassist Jason Scheff of Chicago is 46. Singer Jimmy Osmond is 45. Singer David Pirner of Soul Asylum is 44. Actor-comedian Martin Lawrence is 43. Actor Jon Cryer is 43. Actor Peter Billingsley ("A Christmas Story") is 37. Actor Lukas Haas is 32.

                      April 17: Composer-musician Jan Hammer is 60. Actress Olivia Hussey is 57. Singer-guitarist Pete Shelley of The Buzzcocks is 53. Actor Sean Bean ("Lord of the Rings") is 49. Singer Maynard James Keenan of Tool is 44. Actress Lela Rochon is 44. Actress Kimberly Elise is 41. Singer Liz Phair is 41. Rapper-actor Redman is 38. Actress Jennifer Garner ("Alias") is 36. Singer Victoria Beckham of the Spice Girls is 34. Actress Lindsay Korman ("Passions") is 30. Actress Dee Dee Davis ("The Bernie Mac Show") is 12.

                      April 18: Actress Barbara Hale ("Perry Mason") is 87. Actor Robert Hooks is 71. Actress Hayley Mills is 62. Actor James Woods is 61. Actress Cindy Pickett ("Ferris Bueller's Day Off") is 61. Country keyboardist Walt Richmond of The Tractors is 61. Country bassist Jim Scholten of Sawyer Brown is 56. Actor Rick Moranis is 55. Actor Eric Roberts is 52. Actress Melody Thomas Scott ("Young and the Restless") is 52. Actor John James ("Dynasty," "The Colbys") is 52. Actress Jane Leeves ("Fraiser") is 47. Talk show host Conan O'Brien is 45. Actor Eric McCormack ("Will and Grace") is 45. Actress Maria Bello is 41. Singer Trina of Trina and Tamara is 34. Actress Melissa Joan Hart ("Sabrina the Teenage Witch") is 32. Actress America Ferrera ("Ugly Betty") is 24. Actress Alia Shawkat ("Arrested Development") is 19.

                      April 19: Actor Hugh O'Brian is 83. Actress Elinor Donahue ("Father Knows Best") is 71. Actor Tim Curry is 62. Singer Mark "Flo" Volman of The Turtles is 61. Hip-hop mogul Suge Knight is 43. Country singer Bekka Bramlett of Bekka and Billy is 40. Actress Ashley Judd is 40. Actor James Franco ("Spider-Man" films, "Freaks and Geeks") is 30. Actress Kate Hudson is 29. Actor Hayden Christensen ("Star Wars Episodes II and III") is 27. Actress Catalina Sandino Moreno ("Maria Full of Grace") is 27.

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                        That Was the Week That Was

                        By The Associated Press
                        42 minutes ago

                        Entertainment highlights during the week of April 13-19:

                        1935: The long-running radio comedy program "Fibber McGee and Molly," starring Jim and Marian Jordan, premiered on the NBC Blue Network.

                        1956: Actress Grace Kelly married Prince Rainier of Monaco in a civil ceremony. A church wedding took place the next day.

                        1960: Singer Eddie Cochran died after suffering severe head injuries in a car crash in England. He was 21.

                        1962: Walter Cronkite made his debut as anchorman of the "CBS Evening News."

                        1964: The Rolling Stones' self-titled debut album was released in Britain.

                        1970: Johnny Cash refused to perform "Okie from Muskogee" at President Nixon's request because it wasn't his song. He performed "A Boy Named Sue" instead.

                        1980: "Kramer vs. Kramer" won the best picture and director Academy Awards, plus the best actor award for Dustin Hoffman. Meryl Streep, who also appeared in that movie, was named best supporting actress.

                        1983: Pete Farndon, formerly of The Pretenders, died of a drug overdose. He had been fired from the band the year before.

                        1990: Actress Greta Garbo died in New York at the age of 84. Among her movie credits are "Grand Hotel" and "Camille."

                        1995: Actor-singer Burl Ives died at his home in Anacortes, Wash. He was 85.

                        1997: Actress Brooke Shields married tennis star Andre Agassi in Monterey, Calif. They've since separated.

                        1998: Paul McCartney's wife, Linda, died of breast cancer. She was 56.

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                          Fey: No 'dangerous genius' wanted

                          1 hour, 59 minutes ago

                          NEW YORK (AP) — Tina Fey, the star and creator of NBC's "30 Rock," prefers cooperative, caring collaborators. "I think there's a certain way of making comedy where you're a dangerous genius and you throw things across the room," Fey says, "and that's not how we do things over here.

                          "This is a very respectful work place. Everyone has a tremendous amount of discipline, from the actors to our writing staff."

                          A darling of critics from the start, the show has gotten so-so ratings, raising concerns it would be canceled. But then it picked up a best-comedy Emmy last year. Last week, it picked up a Peabody.

                          And NBC has picked up the show for a third season.

                          Fey talked to The Associated Press on the set of "30 Rock" recently as it was wrapping up the five new episodes that have been shot since the end of the Hollywood writers strike. The first one airs Thursday.

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                            Ex-Miss Nevada USA takes plea deal

                            LAS VEGAS - A dethroned Miss Nevada USA agreed Wednesday to pay fines for five misdemeanor traffic violations in exchange for prosecutors dropping a charge of resisting arrest.

                            Katherine N. "Katie" Rees, 23, avoided trial by entering no contest pleas. If she had been convicted of the dropped misdemeanor charge of resisting arrest, she could have faced six months in jail.

                            "I'm just really glad this is over. It was a really traumatic experience and I'm ready to move on," Rees said outside the courtroom.

                            However, Rees and her lawyer, Michael Cristalli, said they are considering filing a federal police brutality and civil rights claim against the two Las Vegas police officers who they allege broke Rees' front tooth by slamming her against the hood of her car during her arrest Feb. 6.

                            Rees pleaded no contest to speeding, operating a motor vehicle without proof of insurance and driving with an expired registration, a suspended license and suspended registration. She agreed to pay up to $1,312 in fines.

                            Cristalli said Rees did not know her license and registration were suspended when she went to buy ice cream at about 3 a.m. She was stopped in a residential area several miles west of the Las Vegas Strip, and complained that she had no phone and way to get home after the officers impounded her car.

                            "It was only when she asked for assistance to get home that they initiated the arrest and used excessive force causing substantial injury," Cristalli said.

                            The Miss Universe Organization and co-owner Donald Trump dethroned Rees in December 2006 after racy photos appeared on the Internet showing her kissing other young women, exposing one of her breasts and pulling down her pants to show her thong underwear at a party in Tampa, Fla.

                            Rees appeared in court 80 minutes late, wearing a blue silk designer outfit and blue suede four-inch heels. Justice of the Peace Joe M. Bonaventure accepted Cristalli's apology and explanation that Rees' tardiness was his fault, not hers.

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                              More Braxton shows in Las Vegas canceled

                              LAS VEGAS - Four more Toni Braxton shows have been canceled as she recuperates following her hospitalization with chest pain. "We're going to go ahead and cancel her shows tonight and for the rest of the week," Flamingo Las Vegas hotel-casino and Harrah's Entertainment Inc. spokeswoman Deanna Pettit said Wednesday. "We expect she'll return to the stage next Tuesday."

                              Pettit says the 40-year-old Grammy winner is recovering at home following her release Tuesday afternoon after precautionary tests at a Las Vegas area hospital.

                              The exact cause of Braxton's chest pain has not been made public. Braxton has been treated in the past for pericarditis, a viral inflammation of the heart.

                              Pettit says the Flamingo Showroom is offering refunds for the canceled shows.

                              Braxton is a six-time Grammy winner for songs including "Un-break My Heart." Her Las Vegas act, "Toni Braxton: Revealed," is in the midst of a two-year run at the Flamingo.

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                                Ashlee Simpson, Pete Wentz engaged

                                16 minutes ago

                                LOS ANGELES - Ashlee Simpson and her rocker boyfriend Pete Wentz are engaged.

                                "We know there has been a lot of speculation recently about Pete and I, and we wanted our fans to be the first to know, because you guys are the best," Simpson said in a statement posted Wednesday on People magazine's Web site. "Yes, we are thrilled to share that we are happily engaged."

                                Simpson's manager-father, Joe Simpson, told the magazine he's "totally happy" and "so excited to have Pete as part of (our) family."

                                The couple began dating in fall 2006, according to People.

                                Wentz, 28, is bassist for Fall Out Boy. Simpson, 23, a singer, songwriter and actress, is the younger sister of pop star Jessica Simpson. Ashlee Simpson's new album, "Bittersweet World," is set for release on April 22.

                                A phone message left Wednesday for Joe Simpson by The Associated Press was not immediately returned.


                                On the Net:

                                People: http://www.people/people

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                                  New photos of Elvis in 1972 surface

                                  By COLLEEN LONG, Associated Press Writer
                                  1 hour, 32 minutes ago

                                  NEW YORK - Never-before-seen photos have surfaced of Elvis Presley rocking Madison Square Garden in all his jumpsuited glory. The images were taken in 1972 by George Kalinsky, the official photographer of the famed arena, the singer's estate said Wednesday.

                                  Kalinsky came across the photos while working on a campaign for a billboard company called "Great Moments in New York." Now one of them is on display as part of the campaign on a three-story billboard atop the Virgin Megastore in Times Square; it shows The King glancing up, his outstretched arms holding the cape of his glittering jumpsuit.

                                  Kalinsky needed to get permission from Elvis Presley Enterprises, the business arm of the performer's estate, to reproduce Presley's image for the campaign. The estate asked if he had any more photos, and Kalinsky came back with about 40 unpublished images from Elvis' second-night performance at the Garden in 1972, said Kevin Kern, spokesman for Elvis Presley Enterprises.

                                  Kern said a team of archivists well-acquainted with publicized images of Presley were quite impressed with Kalinsky's photos.

                                  "What came from their mouths was `Wow!'" Kern said. "These are very crisp, clear, professional photos of Elvis. It's such a rare find."

                                  The collection will be displayed at Graceland starting Memorial Day weekend as part of "Elvis Jumpsuits: All Access," an exhibit that will also feature more than 50 of Elvis' famous jumpsuits.

                                  Kalinsky said he didn't realize at the time that he had so many good shots.

                                  "When I photographed the show, I thought I only had a few good ones," he said. "I just never really looked at the files until recently."

                                  Kalinsky has been the official Garden photographer for more than 40 years. He's also the official photographer of Radio City Music Hall and a special photographer for the New York Mets.

                                  He has photographed scores of celebrities and famous athletes, including Muhammad Ali, Frank Sinatra, Luciano Pavarotti and Pope John Paul II, and his images have appeared in Life, Sports Illustrated, Esquire, Time and Newsweek. Kalinsky's images of Jimi Hendrix and Sinatra are also part of the Times Square billboard campaign.

                                  Back in '72, he went backstage to meet Presley.

                                  "He was electrifying in his white jumpsuit, with his cape on," Kalinsky remembered. "He was quite humble, but he had an aura. There are very few people who have triple-X charisma, and Elvis was one."

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                                    Sunday, April 6, 2008

                                    Muslims should boycott Dutch goods over film: Iran

                                    TEHRAN (Reuters) -
                                    Iran's parliament speaker called on
                                    Muslim nations on Sunday to boycott Dutch products in response
                                    to a film by a Dutch lawmaker that accuses the Koran of
                                    inciting violence, Iranian media reported.

                                    "The best reaction by the Islamic world is to avoid buying
                                    products made in those countries that allow themselves to
                                    insult Islam," Iran's state broadcaster IRIB quoted
                                    parliamentary speaker Gholamali Haddadadel as saying.

                                    Haddadadel said European countries "would retreat from the
                                    path they are taking once they see their economies are in

                                    Geert Wilders, leader of the anti-immigration Freedom Party
                                    in the Netherlands, launched his short video on the Internet
                                    last month, drawing condemnation from Muslim nations including
                                    Iran and Indonesia.

                                    A group of about 40 hardline students held a peaceful
                                    demonstration outside the Dutch embassy in Tehran on Saturday.

                                    Iran's Foreign Ministry summoned the Dutch ambassador to
                                    Tehran last month to protest against the video and called it
                                    "heinous and blasphemous."

                                    Wilders' film urges Muslims to tear out "hate-filled"
                                    verses from the Koran, mixing images of bombings with
                                    quotations from Islam's holy book.

                                    The video starts and ends with a cartoon of the Prophet
                                    with a bomb under his turban, accompanied by the sound
                                    of ticking.

                                    The cartoon, first published in Danish newspapers, ignited
                                    violent protests around the world in 2006. More than 50 people
                                    were killed in those riots in Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

                                    (Writing by Zahra Hosseinian; editing by Robert Woodward)

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                                      Actor Farrell sickened by visit to Srebrenica

                                      SARAJEVO (Reuters) -
                                      Irish actor Colin Farrell toured
                                      Bosnia this weekend to get a feel of how it was to be a
                                      reporter during the 1992-95 war, in preparation for a new film.

                                      Farrell first went to the eastern town of Srebrenica where
                                      some 8,000 Muslim men and boys were killed after it fell to
                                      Bosnian Serb forces in July 1995.

                                      "I felt sick," Farrell told Reuters after visiting the
                                      cemetery for the victims of the massacre, regarded as Europe's
                                      worst atrocity since World War Two.

                                      "It is hard to describe how obviously the air and the land
                                      has been poisoned by the act of killing 8,000 people in the
                                      space of a day. But you really do get the sense of the pain and
                                      the loss and I am sad, I really am sad."

                                      "Triage" will be directed by Bosnian filmmaker Danis
                                      whose "No Man's Land" about the absurdity of war won
                                      the Oscar for best foreign language film in 2001. It will
                                      co-star Spanish actress Paz Vega and British actor Christopher

                                      Farrell said shooting of the film, which deals with
                                      dilemmas in wartime, would start in a week in Spain and will
                                      then move to Ireland.

                                      "I am playing a war photographer who has been covering wars
                                      for 12 years or so and something takes place in the film that
                                      closes the distance between himself and what he does," Farrell

                                      "It is a funny journey into himself and the far-reaching
                                      effect of the war back at home."

                                      Triage is based on a screenplay by U.S. reporter Scott

                                      (Reporting by Maja Zuvela; Editing by Daria Sito-Sucic and
                                      Robert Woodward)

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                                        Regional comedy set to break French film record

                                        By James Mackenzie

                                        PARIS (Reuters) -
                                        A feel-good comedy about regional
                                        prejudices and the inhabitants of the rainswept north of France
                                        is poised to become the most successful French film ever,
                                        attracting more than 17 million viewers in less than six weeks.

                                        "Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis" (its title is based on a
                                        dialect word for northerners) looks certain this weekend to
                                        break a 41-year record held by the 1966 comedy "La Grande
                                        Vadrouille," according to the film's producers Pathe.

                                        The U.S. melodrama "Titanic" still holds the absolute
                                        record in France, with more than 20 million viewers, but
                                        "Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis" has become a phenomenon for the
                                        local industry, which has often struggled to produce home-grown

                                        "It's astonishing. It's amazing. I can't believe that we
                                        are the number one film of all times," the film's director and
                                        star Danny Boon told TF1 television, anticipating the French

                                        The film pokes fun at stereotypes about the damp and chilly
                                        north, a region blighted by high unemployment and industrial
                                        decline whose inhabitants are often stigmatized in the rest of
                                        France as a backward race of uncouth beer drinkers.

                                        Made for a reported 11 million euros ($17.28 million) by
                                        Boon, a native of the region, it centers on the trials of a
                                        post office manager transferred from an idyllic southern town
                                        to exile in the distant region of Nord-Pas-de-Calais.

                                        He faces bad weather, incomprehensible local accents and an
                                        unfamiliar diet of fried chips, beer and a pungent local cheese
                                        normally enjoyed dunked in coffee ("It mellows it," he is

                                        Inevitably, however, he learns to appreciate the loveable
                                        cast of eccentrics he encounters.

                                        Inspired by Boon's observation that most French comedies
                                        are set either in Paris or the sunny south, "Bienvenue chez les
                                        Ch'tis" has transformed the dour image of the north, bringing
                                        flocks of tourists to the town of Bergues where it was made.

                                        Wildly popular among "Ch'tis" themselves, the film has
                                        attracted audiences across the whole country and President
                                        Nicolas Sarkozy
                                        is reported to have asked for a special private
                                        screening in the Elysee Palace.

                                        The prejudices that still exist against the region were
                                        underlined by a banner unrolled at a football match last
                                        weekend involving the northern club of Lens, reading
                                        "Paedophiles, unemployed and inbred, Bienvenue chez les

                                        But the flood of outraged comment and the massive police
                                        hunt for the opposition supporters behind the taunt has
                                        underlined the effect the film has had.

                                        Its success has also inspired filmmakers in the United
                                        States and Germany to consider a possible remake based on
                                        regional differences in their own countries, a Pathe executive
                                        told Le Monde last month.

                                        "Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis" itself looks unlikely to be an
                                        international hit with much of its humor based on accents and
                                        dialect which inevitably get lost in translation.

                                        (Editing by Crispian Balmer and Mary Gabriel)

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                                          Some of Charlton Heston's films

                                          By The Associated Press
                                          6 minutes ago

                                          Films of Charlton Heston include:

                                          "Peer Gynt," 1942

                                          "Julius Caesar," 1949

                                          "Dark City," 1950

                                          "The Greatest Show on Earth," 1952

                                          "The Savage," 1952

                                          "Ruby Gentry," 1952

                                          "The President's Lady," 1953

                                          "Pony Express," 1953

                                          "Arrowhead," 1953

                                          "Bad for Each Other," 1953

                                          "The Naked Jungle," 1954

                                          "Secret of the Incas," 1954

                                          "The Far Horizons," 1955

                                          "The Private War of Major Benson," 1955

                                          "Lucy Gallant," 1955

                                          "The Ten Commandments," 1956

                                          "Three Violent People," 1957

                                          "Touch of Evil," 1958

                                          "The Big Country," 1958

                                          "The Buccaneer," 1958

                                          "The Wreck of the Mary Deare," 1959

                                          "Ben-Hur," 1959

                                          "El Cid," 1961

                                          "The Pigeon That Took Rome," 1962

                                          "Diamond Head," 1963

                                          "55 Days at Peking," 1963

                                          "The Greatest Story Ever Told," 1965

                                          "Major Dundee," 1965

                                          "The Agony and the Ecstasy," 1965

                                          "The War Lord," 1965

                                          "Khartoum," 1966

                                          "Counterpoint," 1968

                                          "Planet of the Apes," 1968

                                          "Will Penny," 1968

                                          "Number One," 1969

                                          "Julius Caesar," 1970

                                          "Beneath the Planet of the Apes," 1970

                                          "The Hawaiians," 1970

                                          "The Omega Man," 1971

                                          "Call of the Wild," 1972

                                          "Antony and Cleopatra," 1972 (also director)

                                          "Skyjacked," 1972

                                          "Soylent Green," 1973

                                          "The Three Musketeers," 1974

                                          "Airport 1975," 1974

                                          "Earthquake," 1974

                                          "The Four Musketeers," 1975

                                          "The Last Hard Men," 1976

                                          "Midway," 1976

                                          "Two-Minute Warning," 1976

                                          "The Prince and the Pauper" (or "Crossed Swords)," 1977

                                          "Gray Lady Down," 1978

                                          "Mountain Man," 1980

                                          "The Awakening," 1980

                                          "Solar Crisis," 1990

                                          "Almost an Angel," 1990

                                          "Wayne's World 2," 1993

                                          "Tombstone," 1993

                                          "True Lies," 1994

                                          "In the Mouth of Madness," 1995

                                          "Alaska," 1996

                                          "Hamlet," 1996

                                          "Hercules," 1997

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                                            Britain challenges Snoop Dogg decision

                                            LONDON - Britain is appealing a court's decision to allow Snoop Dogg into the country, the Border Agency said Friday. He was barred from Britain after he was arrested on charges of violent disorder at London's Heathrow Airport in 2006. But the hip-hop heavyweight successfully appealed the ban and received entry clearance from an asylum and immigration tribunal in January.

                                            The Border Agency said Friday it would challenge the ruling at a hearing next week.

                                            In March 2007, Snoop Dogg (real name: Cordozar Calvin Broadus Jr.) was forced to cancel a tour of Britain with fellow rap icon Sean "Diddy" Combs after authorities denied him a visa.

                                            That followed an incident in which Snoop Dogg and five others were arrested on charges of violent disorder and starting a brawl at Heathrow in which seven officers were injured. Trouble flared when some in his party were denied entry to British Airways' first-class lounge at the airport.

                                            In April 2007, Snoop Dogg was refused entry into Australia, with then-Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews saying the rapper "doesn't seem the sort of bloke we want in this country."

                                            A former associate of the Los Angeles gang the Crips, Snoop Dogg built his early career on recordings offering gritty details of gang life.

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                                              TV show finds humor in getting sued

                                              LOS ANGELES - Courtroom drama is usually nothing to chuckle about — unless it's in the Laugh Factory and Tom Arnold or Sinbad are the lawyers.

                                              Entrepreneur Jamie Masada was sitting in his venerable Sunset Boulevard comedy club one night when a patron screamed so loudly at a comedian's joke that the guy sitting next to him claimed his hearing was damaged. Next thing the club owner knew, Masada said, he was being named in a lawsuit.

                                              "It was so ridiculous. I thought, 'This is a TV show.'"

                                              Not long after, the "Supreme Court of Comedy" was born.

                                              The show, which launched last month on DirecTV, is taped at the Laugh Factory.

                                              The premise is the same as shows like "The People's Court" or "Judge Joe Brown," with a twist: The plaintiffs and defendants are represented by comedians acting as their lawyers.

                                              "They are real people with legitimate small claims disputes," says Ronit Larone of DirecTV, adding that the show's producers comb through hundreds of cases to find ones involving things like a a guy who sued a house-sitting friend for allegedly absconding with his sex tape. Arnold and Sinbad squared off against each other in that episode.

                                              In another, Paul Rodriguez defended a man against charges of taking his former girlfriend's clothes and wearing them at a club, where one of her friends saw him.

                                              Comic Dom Irrera presides over each episode as the judge.

                                              "We spend so much money on these cases, and they really belong in a comedy club, not a courtroom," Masada said of his idea to take them to TV.

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                                                Neville plans return to New Orleans area

                                                NEW ORLEANS - Aaron Neville is finally coming home to New Orleans — almost.

                                                The R&B singer, who bought a house in Brentwood, Tenn., after Hurricane Katrina, said he's buying a home near Covington, across Lake Pontchartrain about 40 miles from New Orleans. He expects to close on the property in the coming weeks.

                                                "It's nice," he told The Times-Picayune newspaper for a story on its Web site Friday. "I can sit outside and watch the sun go down, then drive on in to New Orleans."

                                                Neville was on tour with the Neville Brothers when Katrina hit in August 2005, leaving much of the city under water. Though he watched the disaster unfold from a distance, he couldn't see himself returning.

                                                Now he says he wants to be nearer to his children. He hadn't returned until last year, to fulfill his wife's wish to be buried in her hometown, and he has visited family and friends in New Orleans several times since then.

                                                The city itself holds too many memories of the life he and his wife, Joel, shared, he says, and the place he found is on higher ground.

                                                "I don't want to run every time a hurricane comes," he said.

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                                                  Looks like Jay-Z and Beyonce are married

                                                  NEW YORK - It appears that Jay-Z and Beyonce have finally tied the knot.

                                                  There was a swirl of activity Friday at the rap mogul's Tribeca apartment. Delivery trucks funneled in and out of the building, dropping off silver candelabras and white flowers. A white tent was set up on the roof, and stars including Beyonce's former Destiny's Child bandmates, Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams, along with Gwyneth Paltrow, were spotted arriving.

                                                  A swarm of media camped outside the building was in a state of frenzy, snapping and shouting at any sport-utility vehicle that drove down the cobblestone street.

                                                  The Web sites of celebrity magazines People and Us Weekly reported the couple married and threw a lavish but small party at the apartment Friday, citing unnamed sources who are friends with the pair. The Web sites reported their families attended the party.

                                                  Rumors circulated all week about the event after a report that the couple had taken out a marriage license in Scarsdale, N.Y. Representatives for Beyonce Knowles and Jay-Z declined to comment on reports ahead of the event. Jay-Z's publicist had no comment Saturday.

                                                  The couple, who have apparently been dating for six years, have never publicly acknowledged they are together. Knowles, 26, and Jay-Z, 38, whose real name is Shawn Carter, have collaborated on the songs "03 Bonnie and Clyde" and "Crazy In Love."

                                                  It's been a big week for the hip-hop mogul. On Thursday, concert promoter Live Nation Inc. said it was in talks with Jay-Z over a potential business deal. The Los Angeles-based company stopped short of confirming published reports that the deal would give Live Nation a stake in virtually every aspect of Jay-Z's career and land him a potential windfall in excess of $100 million.

                                                  A person familiar with the negotiations between Live Nation and Jay-Z told The Associated Press that the proposed 10-year deal was worth about $150 million and would cover three albums.

                                                  The person requested anonymity because of the confidential nature of the ongoing talks.

                                                  Live Nation is currently producing a tour with Jay-Z and Mary J. Blige.

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                                                    Film legend Charlton Heston dead at 84

                                                    By BOB THOMAS, Associated Press Writer
                                                    1 hour, 58 minutes ago

                                                    LOS ANGELES - Charlton Heston, who won the 1959 best actor Oscar as the chariot-racing "Ben-Hur" and portrayed Moses, Michelangelo, El Cid and other heroic figures in movie epics of the '50s and '60s, has died. He was 84.

                                                    The actor died Saturday night at his home in Beverly Hills with his wife Lydia at his side, family spokesman Bill Powers said.

                                                    Powers declined to comment on the cause of death or provide further details.

                                                    "Charlton Heston was seen by the world as larger than life. He was known for his chiseled jaw, broad shoulders and resonating voice, and, of course, for the roles he played," Heston's family said in a statement. "No one could ask for a fuller life than his. No man could have given more to his family, to his profession, and to his country."

                                                    Heston revealed in 2002 that he had symptoms consistent with Alzheimer's disease, saying, "I must reconcile courage and surrender in equal measure."

                                                    With his large, muscular build, well-boned face and sonorous voice, Heston proved the ideal star during the period when Hollywood was filling movie screens with panoramas depicting the religious and historical past. "I have a face that belongs in another century," he often remarked.

                                                    Publicist Michael Levine, who represented Heston for about 20 years, said the actor's passing represented the end of an iconic era for cinema.

                                                    "If Hollywood had a Mt. Rushmore, Heston's face would be on it," Levine said. "He was a heroic figure that I don't think exists to the same degree in Hollywood today."

                                                    The actor assumed the role of leader offscreen as well. He served as president of the Screen Actors Guild and chairman of the American Film Institute and marched in the civil rights movement of the 1950s. With age, he grew more conservative and campaigned for conservative candidates.

                                                    In June 1998, Heston was elected president of the National Rifle Association, for which he had posed for ads holding a rifle. He delivered a jab at then-President Clinton, saying, "America doesn't trust you with our 21-year-old daughters, and we sure, Lord, don't trust you with our guns."

                                                    Heston stepped down as NRA president in April 2003, telling members his five years in office were "quite a ride. ... I loved every minute of it."

                                                    Later that year, Heston was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor. "The largeness of character that comes across the screen has also been seen throughout his life," President Bush said at the time.

                                                    He engaged in a lengthy feud with liberal Ed Asner during the latter's tenure as president of the Screen Actors Guild. His latter-day activism almost overshadowed his achievements as an actor, which were considerable.

                                                    Heston lent his strong presence to some of the most acclaimed and successful films of the midcentury. "Ben-Hur" won 11 Academy Awards, tying it for the record with the more recent "Titanic" (1997) and "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" (2003). Heston's other hits include: "The Ten Commandments," "El Cid," "55 Days at Peking," "Planet of the Apes" and "Earthquake."

                                                    He liked to the cite the number of historical figures he had portrayed:

                                                    Andrew Jackson ("The President's Lady," "The Buccaneer"), Moses ("The Ten Commandments"), title role of "El Cid," John the Baptist ("The Greatest Story Ever Told"), Michelangelo ("The Agony and the Ecstasy"), General Gordon ("Khartoum"), Marc Antony ("Julius Caesar," "Antony and Cleopatra"), Cardinal Richelieu ("The Three Musketeers"), Henry VIII ("The Prince and the Pauper").

                                                    Heston made his movie debut in the 1940s in two independent films by a college classmate, David Bradley, who later became a noted film archivist. He had the title role in "Peer Gynt" in 1942 and was Marc Antony in Bradley's 1949 version of "Julius Caesar," for which Heston was paid $50 a week.

                                                    Film producer Hal B. Wallis ("Casablanca") spotted Heston in a 1950 television production of "Wuthering Heights" and offered him a contract. When his wife reminded him that they had decided to pursue theater and television, he replied, "Well, maybe just for one film to see what it's like."

                                                    Heston earned star billing from his first Hollywood movie, "Dark City," a 1950 film noir. Cecil B. DeMille next cast him as the circus manager in the all-star "The Greatest Show On Earth," named by the Motion Picture Academy as the best picture of 1952. More movies followed:

                                                    "The Savage," "Ruby Gentry," "The President's Lady," "Pony Express" (as Buffalo Bill Cody), "Arrowhead," "Bad for Each Other," "The Naked Jungle," "Secret of the Incas," "The Far Horizons" (as Clark of the Lewis and Clark trek), "The Private War of Major Benson," "Lucy Gallant."

                                                    Most were forgettable low-budget films, and Heston seemed destined to remain an undistinguished action star. His old boss DeMille rescued him.

                                                    The director had long planned a new version of "The Ten Commandments," which he had made as a silent in 1923 with a radically different approach that combined biblical and modern stories. He was struck by Heston's facial resemblance to Michelangelo's sculpture of Moses, especially the similar broken nose, and put the actor through a long series of tests before giving him the role.

                                                    The Hestons' newborn, Fraser Clarke Heston, played the role of the infant Moses in the film.

                                                    More films followed: the eccentric thriller "Touch of Evil," directed by Orson Welles; William Wyler's "The Big Country," costarring with Gregory Peck; a sea saga, "The Wreck of the Mary Deare" with Gary Cooper.

                                                    Then his greatest role: "Ben-Hur."

                                                    Heston wasn't the first to be considered for the remake of 1925 biblical epic. Marlon Brando, Burt Lancaster and Rock Hudson had declined the film. Heston plunged into the role, rehearsing two months for the furious chariot race.

                                                    He railed at suggestions the race had been shot with a double: "I couldn't drive it well, but that wasn't necessary. All I had to do was stay on board so they could shoot me there. I didn't have to worry; MGM guaranteed I would win the race."

                                                    The huge success of "Ben-Hur" and Heston's Oscar made him one of the highest-paid stars in Hollywood. He combined big-screen epics like "El Cid" and "55 Days at Peking" with lesser ones such as "Diamond Head," "Will Penny" and "Airport 1975." In his later years he played cameos in such films as "Wayne's World 2" and "Tombstone."

                                                    He often returned to the theater, appearing in such plays as "A Long Day's Journey into Night" and "A Man for All Seasons." He starred as a tycoon in the prime-time soap opera, "The Colbys," a two-season spinoff of "Dynasty."

                                                    At his birth in a Chicago suburb on Oct. 4, 1923, his name was Charles Carter. His parents moved to St. Helen, Mich., where his father, Russell Carter, operated a lumber mill. Growing up in the Michigan woods with almost no playmates, young Charles read books of adventure and devised his own games while wandering the countryside with his rifle.

                                                    Charles's parents divorced, and she married Chester Heston, a factory plant superintendent in Wilmette, Ill., an upscale north Chicago suburb. Shy and feeling displaced in the big city, the boy had trouble adjusting to the new high school. He took refuge in the drama department.

                                                    "What acting offered me was the chance to be many other people," he said in a 1986 interview. "In those days I wasn't satisfied with being me."

                                                    Calling himself Charlton Heston from his mother's maiden name and his stepfather's last name, he won an acting scholarship to Northwestern University in 1941. He excelled in campus plays and appeared on Chicago radio. In 1943, he enlisted in the Army Air Force and served as a radio-gunner in the Aleutians.

                                                    In 1944 he married another Northwestern drama student, Lydia Clarke, and after his army discharge in 1947, they moved to New York to seek acting jobs. Finding none, they hired on as codirectors and principal actors at a summer theater in Asheville, N.C.

                                                    Back in New York, both Hestons began finding work. With his strong 6-feet-2 build and craggily handsome face, Heston won roles in TV soap operas, plays ("Antony and Cleopatra" with Katherine Cornell) and live TV dramas such as "Julius Caesar," "Macbeth," "The Taming of the Shrew" and "Of Human Bondage."

                                                    Heston wrote several books: "The Actor's Life: Journals 1956-1976," published in 1978; "Beijing Diary: 1990," concerning his direction of the play "The Caine Mutiny Court Martial" in Chinese; "In the Arena: An Autobiography," 1995; and "Charlton Heston's Hollywood: 50 Years of American Filmmaking," 1998.

                                                    Besides Fraser, who directed his father in an adventure film, "Mother Lode," the Hestons had a daughter, Holly Ann, born Aug. 2, 1961. The couple celebrated their golden wedding anniversary in 1994 at a party with Hollywood and political friends. They had been married 64 years when he died.

                                                    In late years, Heston drew as much publicity for his crusades as for his performances. In addition to his NRA work, he campaigned for Republican presidential and congressional candidates and against affirmative action.

                                                    He resigned from Actors Equity, claiming the union's refusal to allow a white actor to play a Eurasian role in "Miss Saigon" was "obscenely racist." He attacked CNN's telecasts from Baghdad as "sowing doubts" about the allied effort in the 1990-91 Gulf War.

                                                    At a Time Warner stockholders meeting, he castigated the company for releasing an Ice-T album that purportedly encouraged cop killing.

                                                    Heston wrote in "In the Arena" that he was proud of what he did "though now I'll surely never be offered another film by Warners, nor get a good review in Time. On the other hand, I doubt I'll get a traffic ticket very soon."


                                                    Associated Press writer Thomas Watkins contributed to this report.

                                                    Full Coverage: Charlton Heston

                                                      News Stories

                                                    • Charlton Heston, Epic Film Star and N.R.A. Leader, Dies at 83 at The New York Times, Apr 06
                                                    • Legendary actor Heston dies at 84 at Houston Chronicle, Apr 06
                                                    • Oscar-winning actor played larger-than-life figures at The Los Angeles Times, Apr 06
                                                    • Charlton Heston dead at 84 
                                                      AP via Yahoo! News, Apr 06

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