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Archive for Friday, July 9, 2004

People

July 9, 2004

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Michael shuts fan forum

London -- George Michael might have expected some praise from adoring fans when he set up a chat room on his Web site.

Instead, contributors complained the 41-year-old looked old and overweight and criticized his recent music, prompting the pop singer to announce Thursday he was shutting down the forum.

In a message posted on his site, Michael said the negativity was bad for him, his fans and his music.

"Those of you that want to carry on the media's work will have to do it somewhere else I suppose," he wrote.

He signed off: "Sorry guys, but that's the way it goes. ... Peace and Love ... or nothing at all."

Family sues for lion's share

Johannesburg, South Africa -- An impoverished South African family has filed a lawsuit against U.S. entertainment giant Walt Disney, seeking royalties for its use of a song by a popular Zulu composer in "The Lion King."

The estate of Solomon Linda, a Zulu migrant worker turned songwriter who in 1939 wrote the tune that became the world hit "The Lion Sleeps Tonight," filed a lawsuit last week in the Pretoria High Court. The lawsuit seeks $1.6 million in compensation from Disney, lawyer Hanro Friedrich said Wednesday.

Disney denied liability in a statement released Tuesday.

Linda died penniless in 1962, having sold the rights to the song to a South African publisher. Originally titled "Mbube," the song generated some $15 million in royalties after it was adapted by other artists, including American songwriter George Weiss, whose version is featured in Disney's 1994 film "The Lion King."

Linda's three surviving daughters and 10 grandchildren, living in poverty in the Johannesburg township of Soweto, have received only a one-time payment of $15,000 from the present copyright holder, Friedrich said.

Cantone gets one-man show

New York -- Mario Cantone, best known as the acid-tongued Anthony Marentino on HBO's "Sex and the City," will arrive on Broadway this fall in a new one-man show, "Laugh Whore."

The production, directed by Tony winner Joe Mantello, opens Oct. 17 at the Cort Theatre, with preview performances expected to start in late September, it was announced Wednesday. Cantone is a veteran standup comedian and will offer his acerbic views on current events, plus his take on celebrities, old and new.

Making baldness cool again

New York -- "Who loves ya, baby?" Ving Rhames does.

USA television network on Wednesday confirmed plans to produce a movie adaptation of "Kojak," the 1970s police drama that starred Telly Savalas as the stylish, crome-dome Lt. Theo Kojak.

Rhames, best known for his role as Marsellus Wallace in the 1994 film "Pulp Fiction," will star in the TV movie. Production is expected to begin this month.

Rhames, 43, also is to appear in "Mission: Impossible 3" and as Sonny Liston in "Night Train," both slated for release next year.

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