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May 6, 2011 at 4:00 AM

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ARTHUR LAURENTS: Playwright, librettist and screenwriter Arthur Laurents died Thursday in his New York home, following a brief, unspecified illness, his agent said. He was 93.

The Tony Award-winning Brooklyn native penned the plays "Home of the Brave" and "The Time of the Cuckoo" before Jerome Robbins asked him to contribute the librettos to two iconic musicals -- "West Side Story," with music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, and "Gypsy," with music by Jule Styne and lyrics by Sondheim, Playbill.com said.

Laurents and Sondheim also collaborated on the musicals "Anyone Can Whistle" and "Do I Hear a Waltz?"

Although Laurents enjoyed great success directing the 1980s version of "La Cage aux Folles," his 1991 staging of "Nick & Nora" was a flop, Playbill.com said.

Other plays he wrote include "Jolson Sings Again," "Big Potato," "Two Lives," "Claudio Lazlo," "Attacks on the Heart" and "My Good Name."

He also penned the screenplays for the films "The Way We Were" and "The Turning Point."

Laurents was predeceased in 2006 by Tom Hatcher, his partner for 52 years.

"Of all his accomplishments the one he was most proud of was his relationship with Tom Hatcher," Laurents' agent Jonathan Lomma told the magazine. "They lived together in total happiness for 52 years and I hope they're together again. In a business that values youth and the current trend Arthur Laurents remained relevant until he was 93 years old. He was a good and honorable man and we'll miss him."


JACOB LUSK: Former spa concierge Jacob Lusk became the latest contestant eliminated from the singing competition series "American Idol" Thursday night.

The 23-year-old California native was voted off the show after his performances Wednesday of "No Air" and "Love Hurts."

He sang "A House is Not a Home" after learning his fate.

Still in the running are Lauren Alaina, James Durbin, Scotty McCreedy and Haley Reinhart.

Ryan Seacrest is the host of "Idol." Jennifer Lopez, Randy Jackson and Steven Tyler are the show's judges.


CHERYL COLE: British pop star Cheryl Cole has signed on to be a judge on the U.S. version of the singing competition series "The X Factor," Fox confirmed.

The former Girls Aloud singer previously served as a panelist on the British version of the series.

She is to join music experts Simon Cowell and L.A. Reid as a judge on the U.S. edition of the televised talent show, The Hollywood Reporter said Thursday.

"I'm thrilled for Cheryl. She is massively excited about this show, and has been fantastic to work with," Cowell said in a statement. "She is also a complete brat! Most importantly, this girl can spot talent."

"I'm so excited to be taking part in the American version of 'The X Factor,'" Cole added. "I absolutely love it here in the United Kingdom, and with the talent they have out in America, I'm sure we're going to find someone very special. I can't wait to get started. I just can't decide whether I am more excited to find and nurture the talent or for the unbelievable amount of amusement and entertainment I will have watching Simon doing everything and anything he can to beat me. He's tried to beat me for three years in the United Kingdom, and hasn't even come close. His ego must be so bruised. America is gonna love this."

Cowell was also a judge on the U.K. version of "The X Factor."


NIKKI COX: Actress Nikki Cox gave birth to a son Thursday, a representative for her husband, actor Jay Mohr, confirmed.

Cox is best known for her work in the TV series "Las Vegas" and "Unhappily Ever After."

Mohr is a comedian who has appeared in the films "Jerry Maguire," "Suicide Kings" and "Picture Perfect."

The couple have been married for more than four years.

UsMagazine.com said their first son's name is Meredith Daniel Mohr.

Mohr has a son from a previous marriage.

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