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Hollywood Digest

By PAT NASON, UPI Hollywood Reporter   |   April 3, 2002 at 4:23 PM   |   Comments

GRAMMYS LOVE NEW YORK

Four years after moving to Los Angeles over a falling out with former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, the Recording Academy is taking the Grammy Awards back to the city that never sleeps.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, academy president Michael Greene and CBS president-CEO Les Moonves announced Wednesday that the 45th Annual Grammy Awards will be telecast from Madison Square Garden next Feb. 23 on CBS.

"We look forward to working with Mayor Bloomberg and his staff and our great friends at Madison Square Garden," said Greene. "The Academy itself never left New York, and now we are thrilled to bring our main event -- the Grammy Awards -- back to the city."

After the announcement, pop star Marc Anthony presented Mayor Bloomberg with a guitar donated and autographed by legendary musician Les Paul -- painted with a Sept. 11 scene by Peter Ortel, a retired New York City fireman from Rescue 3. The academy said the guitar would be auctioned off, with the proceeds going to the Uniformed Firefighters Association Widows and Children Fund.


OPRAH FEELS 'EXTREMELY USED'

Oprah Winfrey -- who has taken a bit of a PR beating since reports last week that she turned down a request from President Bush to headline a tour of Afghanistan schools because she was too busy -- says she feels "extremely used" by the White House.

Star Jones -- a friend of Winfrey's and one of the hosts of the ABC daytime show "The View" -- told viewers Tuesday that Winfrey telephoned her before the show to "talk a little bit about what the real story was." Jones said Winfrey told her the White House approached her a few weeks ago and told her about "ultra-sensitive" plans for the tour.

"She was really, really quiet and the White House said check your schedule and she did but she had some fund-raisers that she had committed to and anybody knows when you do these things," said Jones, "people sell tickets expecting you to be there."

According to Jones, Winfrey couldn't get out of appearing at the fund-raiser -- and didn't even want to "because she had made the commitment." Jones said Winfrey was surprised when it was reported last week that she had turned down the president.

"She did say, 'Star, I felt extremely used by the Bush administration,'" sad Jones.


SONGWRITERS HALL WILL HONOR GARTH, STEVIE

Hal David, chairman of the National Academy of Popular Music/Songwriters Hall of Fame, has announced that Garth Brooks will receive special awards at this year's Songwriters Hall of Fame Awards Dinner in New York on June 13.

Garth Brooks will receive the Hitmaker Award and Stevie Wonder will be honored with the Sammy Cahn Lifetime Achievement Award.

David announced recently that Barry Manilow, Michael Jackson, Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson, Randy Newman and Sting will be indicted into the academy's Hall of Fame.

David also announced that the Towering Song Award will be presented to George M. Cohan's "You're A Grand Old Flag."

Brooks was the best-selling solo artist in the history of recorded music when he announced plans, which he later abandoned, to retire from country music in October 2000. In the United States alone, his albums had sold more than 100 million copies.

He has received virtually every honor the recording industry presents to an artist -- Grammys, American Music Awards, Country Music Association awards, Academy of Country Music awards and People's Choice trophies. He was named artist of the decade by both the American Music Awards in 2000 and the Academy of Country Music in 1999.

Since beginning his recording career as an 11-year-old in 1962, Wonder has turned out classic hits such as "Superstition" and "You Are the Sunshine of MY Life," as well as the Oscar-winning song "I Just Called to Say I Love You" from "The Woman in Red" (1984). He won album of the year Grammys for "Innervisions" (1973), "Fulfillingness' First Finale" (1974) and "Songs in the Key of Life" (1976).

Wonder also was a driving force behind the campaign in the 1980s to have the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. designated as a national holiday in the USA.


ELTON JOHN CARRIES 'LAST CALL' TO PRIMETIME

NBC has decided that Elton John's guest appearance on the late-night show "Last Call with Carson Daly" is worthy of a primetime presentation, so the network will show the episode at 8 p.m. on April 20.

The primetime edition will be a half-hour version of John's hour-long appearance with Daly, in which the Oscar and six-time Grammy winner talked about his sexuality, drug and alcohol addiction, eating disorders and profligate spending.


MORE MARKETING!

According to a report in The Hollywood Reporter, Sony Pictures Entertainment has worked a deal with several retailers to give them a presence in Adam Sandler's upcoming animated feature "8 Crazy Nights" in return for participating in promotion of the movie.

Described as a "Hanukkah musical," the movie features Sandler in multiple roles -- as Whitey, an elderly basketball coach, and Davey, the head of marketing for the New York Knicks. Much of the story takes place in a shopping mall, and the Reporter said Sony and its marketing team talked with retail chains, including Foot Locker, KB Toys, the Sharper Image and Victoria's Secret, about the marketing opportunity. Sources told the paper that the picture -- due in theaters for Thanksgiving weekend -- includes a scene showing an animated panda from Panda Express, the fast Chinese food chain.


STARS TURN OUT TO HONOR ROWAN & MARTIN

Former cast mates Ruth Buzzi, Henry Gibson, Arte Johnson, Gary Owens, Lily Tomlin and Jo Anne Worley turned out Tuesday to help dedicate a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Dick Martin and the late Dan Rowan, hosts of the groundbreaking TV comedy series "Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In."

Bob Newhart, Don Rickles and Dick Van Dyke also showed up for the occasion.

"Laugh-In" is widely credited as the inspiration for such TV comedy series as "Saturday Night Live" and "SCTV," but creators of "Sesame Street" also have said the format for the long-running public television children's show was based on the show, which ran on NBC from 1968-73 and made stars out of Gibson, Johnson, Tomlin and Goldie Hawn.

The show also is responsible for introducing such catch-phrases as "Sock it to me," "Here come de judge" and "You bet your sweet bippy" into American culture.

© 2002 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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