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By United Press International   |   Feb. 4, 2012 at 4:00 AM

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BEN GAZZARA: Actor Ben Gazzara died of pancreatic cancer at New York's Bellevue Hospital Center Friday, his lawyer said. He was 81.

The New York Times confirmed Gazzara's death with his attorney Jay Julien.

Born Biagio Anthony Gazzara in New York, he studied acting with Lee Strasberg at the Actors Studio in Manhattan and went on to star in the original 1955 Broadway production of "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof," as well as director John Cassavetes' films "Husbands," "Opening Night" and "The Killing of a Chinese Bookie."

His other big-screen credits included "Anatomy of a Murder," "Saint Jack," "They All Laughed," "Bloodline," "Bandits," "The Spanish Prisoner," "The Big Lebowski" and "Summer of Sam."

Gazzara appeared in the stage productions "Nobody Don't Like Yogi," "A Hatful of Rain," "The Night Circus," "Strange Interlude," "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" "Hughie" and "Duet." His last Broadway appearance was in the revival of "Awake and Sing!" in 2006, the Times said.

He starred in the 1960s TV series "Run for Your Life," and TV movies "An Early Frost" and "Hysterical Blindness," as well.

The actor had been married to the former Elke Stuckmann since 1982. He is survived by his wife and his daughter Elizabeth from a previous marriage, as well as Danja, his wife's daughter, whom Gazzara adopted, the Times said.

Gazzara is also survived by a brother, Anthony.


GRIFFIN O'NEAL: A San Diego judge sentenced Griffin O'Neal to 16 months in prison for driving under the influence of drugs and possession of a firearm by a felon, E! reported.

The charges stem from a car crash the 47-year-old actor caused, injuring a motorist last summer. A gun was found in O'Neal's vehicle at the scene.

The son of film star Ryan O'Neal pleaded guilty to the crimes in November. He has a history of prior DUI arrests and was placed on 18 months' probation, following a 1986 boating accident that killed filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola's son Gian-Carlo.

Griffin O'Neal's film credits include "The Escape Artist," "April Fool's Day," "Assault of the Killer Bimbos" and "Ghoulies III."


PRINCE HARRY: Britain's Prince Harry won't be climbing Mount Everest this spring with a group of wounded servicemen as planned, his spokesman said Friday.

The 27-year-old royal made a four-day trek to the North Pole with members of the Walking with the Wounded organization last April and was expected to reunite with them to scale Everest this May.

"He won't be going to the Himalayas because of his military commitments. Naturally, he is very disappointed that he won't be able to join the Walking with the Wounded team," Harry's representative told The Daily Telegraph.

Among his other upcoming engagements are his grandmother's Diamond Jubilee celebration, the London Olympics and his first official solo tour of Jamaica, Belize and the Bahamas, the Telegraph said.


DON CORNELIUS: U.S. talk-show host Tavis Smiley is praising the late "Soul Train" creator Don Cornelius for helping to preserve and promote African-American culture.

Cornelius served as host of the TV dance series from 1971 to 1993. The show wrapped up its final season in 2006.

Cornelius died this week after apparently shooting himself in the head in his California home. He was 75.

"Don Cornelius was our cultural ambassador when black music, when black dance, when black fashion were under-appreciated in this country," Smiley told TMZ. "I think that Don Cornelius' real contributions were never really appreciated ... Sometimes, it takes something tragic like this to really appreciate the contributions one has made ... I hate to see it happen like this ... He will be missed."

The Rev. Al Sharpton and his National Action Network said they plan to hold a tribute to Cornelius in New York's Harlem neighborhood Saturday morning.

Cornelius will be remembered for "his frequent visits to the community and finding talent and giving in national attention on 'Soul Train,'" organizers of the tribute said.

The Los Angeles Times said Cornelius was distraught when he called his son Anthony shortly before he killed himself.

Anthony went to Cornelius' home and discovered his father critically injured with a gunshot wound to the head. The older man was pronounced dead at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, the Times said.

"You have to be in a person's shoes really to understand. Obviously, me being extremely close to him, I could tell that he was uncomfortable," Anthony told "CBS This Morning," explaining Cornelius lately had been in failing health. "But our family could never know that he would -- how uncomfortable he really was."

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