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By United Press International   |   Nov. 11, 2011 at 4:00 AM

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BILLY CRYSTAL: Comic actor Billy Crystal announced via Twitter Thursday he will serve as host of Hollywood's Academy Awards show for a ninth time.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences confirmed his hiring later in the day.

"Some of the best moments of my career have happened on the Oscar stage. I am thrilled to be back there. Actually, I am doing the Oscars so the young woman in the pharmacy will stop asking my name when I pick up my prescriptions. Looking forward to the show," Crystal said via Twitter.

Crystal, who last emceed the Oscars in 2004, is replacing Eddie Murphy, who exited Wednesday as planned host of the next ceremony. Murphy quit one day after his "Tower Heist" director Brett Ratner bowed out as telecast producer.

Brian Grazer was announced Wednesday as Ratner's replacement.

Ratner, with whom Grazer worked on the big-screen comedy "Tower Heist," stepped down from producing the Oscars after he created a media firestorm by publicly using a slang word for gay people.

Academy President Tom Sherak said he was happy Crystal has agreed to return as host.

"I'm thrilled to welcome Billy back to the Oscar stage," Sherak said in a statement. "He's a comic legend and Oscar icon, and it feels good to have him back where he belongs."

"Like so many others, I've been eager to see Billy host again. It's very gratifying that he agreed to do it with [producer] Don [Mischer] and me at the helm," Grazer added.

Only Bob Hope has served as host for more Academy Awards presentations than Crystal, with 19 ceremonies between 1940 and 1978.

Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2011 are to be presented Feb. 26 at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, and televised live by the ABC Television Network.


PRINCE WILLIAM: Britain's Prince William is to be deployed to the Falkland Islands for six weeks of active work with the Royal Air Force, officials said Thursday.

E! News quoted the Ministry of Defense as saying the newlywed duke of Cambridge will "complete a routine deployment to the Falkland Islands as part of a crew of four personnel during February-March 2012."

The RAF said the assignment is part of the prince's "training and career progression as a search and rescue pilot."

Prince William, the son of Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana, wed Kate Middleton in April.


BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN: One of Bruce Springsteen's acoustic guitars has been sold for $160,000 at a New York benefit show for the Bob Woodruff Foundation, organizers said.

The Newark (N.J.) Star-Ledger said the rock star donated the instrument for the cause and played four songs at Wednesday night's "Stand Up for Heroes" fundraiser at the Beacon Theatre.

The buyer of the guitar presented it to a serviceman at the show as an expression of gratitude, the newspaper said, without identifying either person by name.

Comedians Ricky Gervais, Jim Gaffigan and Jon Stewart performed during the show, which also featured appearances by celebrity guests including President Bill Clinton.

The foundation was created to aid those affected by war. It is named for the ABC News journalist who was critically wounded by a roadside bomb while covering the war in Iraq in 2001. He has since recovered from his injuries and resumed his reporting career.


EDIE FALCO: Oliver Platt and Edie Falco are to serve as co-hosts of this month's 21st annual Gotham Independent Film Awards ceremony in New York, organizers said.

The event is to take place Nov. 28 in Manhattan.

"We are absolutely thrilled to be co-hosting this year's Gotham Awards," Platt and Falco said in a joint statement Wednesday. "We look forward to an evening that celebrates outstanding independent film-making, brave and bold voices against the backdrop of this incredible city."

"We are honored that Oliver and Edie will be co-hosting the Gotham Awards this year," added Joana Vicente, Independent Filmmaker Project's executive director. "They are both highly regarded actors who have played vital roles in enriching the world of independent film and embody the essence of what the Gotham Awards are all about."

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