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By United Press International   |   Dec. 28, 2012 at 9:31 AM

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The latest news on today's hottest celebrities ...

FONTELLA BASS: R&B singer Fontella Bass has died in a St. Louis hospital from complications she suffered following a heart attack three weeks ago, her family said.

She was 72 when she died Wednesday, TMZ said.

Bass is best known for her hits "Rescue Me," "You'll Miss Me [When I'm Gone]" and "Don't Mess Up a Good Thing."


BRITNEY SPEARS: Pop star Britney Spears likely won't return next season as a judge of "The X Factor" talent competition series, UsMagazine.com reported.

Spears joined the panel for the show's second season, which wrapped Dec. 20. She served alongside fellow judges Demi Lovato, L.A. Reid and Simon Cowell.

"They paid all that for her to say 'amazing' and offer half-claps," an insider told UsMagazine.com of Spears' $15 million salary and how she didn't earn it this season.

"He wanted crazy Britney but he got boring Britney," another source said of Cowell, the show's co-creator.


MADONNA: Pop star Madonna says her Raising Malawi charity and the nonprofit buildOn have completed construction on 10 primary schools, which will educate 4,871 children.

The singer adopted her son David and daughter Mercy from the poverty-stricken African country.

The schools she helped build are in rural villages across Malawi and were finished six months ahead of schedule.

Six of the schools are already in use and all 10 will be operating in January for the first day of school in the new year.

"I am overjoyed that my commitment along with buildOn's to help educate the children of Malawi has come to fruition," Madonna said in a statement Thursday. "In a country where girls have little opportunity for education, it's additionally inspiring to know that more than half the students attending will be young girls. The fact that more than 4,800 children in Malawi will get to go to school next year is a tremendous step forward for their individual growth and the growth of Malawi."

"Madonna's commitment to the children of Malawi is inspiring," said Jim Ziolkowski, founder and chief executive officer of buildOn. "Through Raising Malawi's support we were able to build 10 schools that will educate literally generations of children who need it the most."


CHARLES DURNING: The marquees of Broadway theaters will be dimmed Thursday evening in honor of late actor Charles Durning.

Durning, a star of stage, film and TV, died Monday at the age of 89.

"Charles Durning was a memorable figure on Broadway who delighted audiences in thousands of performances," Charlotte St. Martin, executive director of The Broadway League, said in a statement. "It made no difference if he was an ensemble player or leading man, his talent enabled him to show the truth and reveal the story of any role. He will be greatly missed."

Durning's portrayal of Big Daddy, the bullying, dying plantation owner in a 1990 Broadway revival of Tennessee Williams' "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof," earned him a Tony Award for best featured actor in a play.

His other Broadway credits include "That Championship Season," "Boom Boom Room," "Au Pair Man," "Knock Knock," "Inherit the Wind," "The Gin Game" and "The Best Man."

He also appeared in the films "The Sting," "Dog Day Afternoon," "Tootsie," "To Be or Not to Be" and "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas."

He was a cast member on the TV shows "Everybody Loves Raymond" and "Rescue Me," as well.

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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