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By DENNIS DAILY, United Press International   |   Jan. 18, 2002 at 6:06 PM   |   Comments

LATEST JIM CARREY PROJECT NIXED

Funnyman Jim Carrey was to have starred in a major motion picture that was planned as Universal's big Christmastime release at the end of this year. Now, according to Variety, the project has been put on hold, possibly canceled. The movie was to have co-starred Nicole Kidman.

The planned project would have seen Carrey playing a widower who decides it's time that he get out of his depressive rut and start dating again. He finds, though, that he is plagued with the memory of his late wife, played by Kidman.

Speaking of depression, Carrey's long-awaited 2001 Christmas release, "The Majestic," was one of the big box office failures of last year. When you consider that Carrey was paid $20 million for the movie and it's only taken in about $26 million in North American release ... well.


RISING YOUNG RENFRO CHARGED WITH DUI

Nineteen-year-old actor Brad Renfro has been hauled into a Knoxville, Tenn., court, charged with public intoxication and driving without a license. The Knoxville News-Sentinel says that Renfro -- whose film credits include "The Client," "The Cure," Telling Lies in America" and "Sleepers" -- would not comment about the arrest when the newspaper reached him by phone.

Renfro is currently in the middle of a two-year probationary period slapped on him by a Florida judge after he a was found guilty of trying to steal a yacht from a Ft. Lauderdale marina.


LADY ROCKERS BACK ON LAS VEGAS STRIP

Some of the most successful female singers from the early days of rock 'n' roll are back on the boards in Las Vegas in a revue called "The Legendary Ladies of "Rock 'n' Roll." The show, playing at the Wayne Newton Theater in the Stardust, features Lesley Gore, Shirley Alston Reeves (the original lead singer of the Shirelles) and Little Peggy March and the Chiffons.

Best known, of course, is Lesley Gore. She was only 16 when she went to the top of the charts with "It's My Party," a song you can still hear daily on many oldies stations. "It's My Party" is considered by many music experts to be one of the most popular sing-along rock songs of all time.

And Gore reached her early success at a time when all-male acts, such as the Beatles and Elvis, were dominating the charts. She was named America's favorite female recording artist by Cash Box, Record World and Music Business magazines. Reeves founded the Shirelles with two other friends while attending high school in New Jersey.

The group's best known hits are "Dedicated To The One I Love" and "Tonight's The Night." Little Peggy March was just that, "little," when she signed with RCA at age 15. Her biggest hit, "I Will Follow Him," is also a staple on oldie stations and was used in the movie "Sister Act."


MLK'S SON: THERE IS STILL WORK TO BE DONE

Martin Luther King III says he thinks that the national holiday in honor of his late father is a wonderful thing, but he told an audience in Knoxville, Tenn., this week that much work remains to be done.

According to published reports, the younger King, speaking at a forum sponsored by the Tennessee Valley Authority, noted that from his standpoint the struggle for total civil rights is not fully won.

He told the audience that " ... we have not reached the point in my personal judgment of having a holiday or celebration." Rather than totally taking next Monday off, King suggested that the holiday be used to do constructive work, "doing something that will uplift the dream and make the dream become a reality."

He suggested that the holiday be used to do volunteer work, including neighborhood clean-ups, visits to nursing homes and house building.


L.A. CORONER RULES IN O'GRADY CASE

Five months ago actress Lani O'Grady was found dead in her mobile home. Now, the Los Angeles County coroner's office says that the 46-year-old star of "Eight is Enough" died of a drug overdose.

After intense research, though, forensic pathologists say they cannot determine if the overdose was accidental or suicide. Her body contained high levels of Prozac, the anti-depression drug. A painkiller, Vicodin, was also found in her bloodstream. The official cause of death, therefore, was listed as "multiple drug intoxication."

Published reports indicate that it was widely known that the actress had been suffering from severe panic attacks. Additionally she was in pain in the aftermath of two knee operations. One media report indicated that O'Grady's mother had spoken with her daughter about an hour before the actress's death and said that she seemed to be in good spirits. On "Eight is Enough," O'Grady played the eldest daughter of the family. The show ran in the late 1970s.


KENTUCKY INMATES STAGE SHAKESPEARE DRAMA

You would not think of a rural Kentucky prison as the best place to mount a production of a Shakespeare play. Well, according to the Christian Science Monitor, that's just what inmates at the Luther Lucket Correctional Complex in LaGrange, Ky., have done, and "Titus Andronicus" is playing to rave reviews.

Some 23 inmates have taken on the daunting task of producing, staging and acting in the play. One of the actors tells the publication that doing the play gave him a sense of deja vu. He says that taking part in the death scene of the play was "almost a reenactment of the crime I committed."

The project, Shakespeare Behind Bars, is the brainchild of Curt Tofteland, whose usual job is as director of the not-behind-bars Kentucky Shakespeare Festival. At the prison shows, instead of going through a ticket booth, friends and family pass through a vehicle checkpoint, two metal detectors and four locking doors. So far it's been standing room only.


UPI DAILY SURVEY QUESTION NO. 250

Yesterday I was in a major electronics chain store. I was shocked at what was playing on the video monitors. I asked the manager if he picked the content. He told me that what I was seeing -- a scantily clad female singer gyrating for minute upon minute -- was part of the company's satellite programming. It was being shown, tough, in full view of several families and their children. "This is not the first complaint I've gotten," he remarked. "You should call the president of the company." And, I'm going to do just that next week. So, today's question: "What has been your experience when it comes to the kinds of things being shown on the TV sets in stores, as related to content?" Put MONITOR in the subject line and send to survey@upi.com via the Internet.


RESULTS OF QUESTION NO. 245 (ANCHOR)

Last week I asked who you thought were the most attractive anchors on network TV today. Here are some of the replies: SJ says that Tucker Carlson of CNN is the big spiff, but adds that she hasn't seen much of him lately. She also thinks that Katie Couric is top notch. Additionally she predicts that if Carlson ever went into politics, he has the charisma to be president. A ton of people, including Lennie, voted for Peter Jennings. He gets my vote. Of all the people on TV today, I think that Peter Jennings has the most moxie. He has an amazing way of staying calm. During some of the 9/11 coverage I was amazed at the way he was able to look straight into the camera and speak, without notes or Teleprompter, putting things into common sense perspective. Flip Spiceland, long with CNN's weather department, even got a vote. IMTU voices the sentiments of many: "Bring back Walter Cronkite." GBA.

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