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Entertainment Today: Showbiz news

By United Press International   |   April 30, 2002 at 4:45 AM   |   Comments

CHER

Cher will play the role of God when she appears in an upcoming episode of "Will and Grace."

According to Extra magazine, Cher will make a second guest appearance on the hit comedy. Producers of the show tell the entertainment magazine that the role was one "Cher was born to play."

In the episode she appears to Jack in a vision. There are reports that it took some convincing for Cher to accept the acting assignment. The episode is set to air on May 16.

Cher's previous appearance on the popular comedy was last November.

(Thanks to UPI's Dennis Daily)


STARS LINE UP FOR 'CLONES' PREMIERE

Natalie Portman -- who plays Queen Amidala in "Star Wars: Episode II -- Attack of the Clones" -- will join Robert De Niro, Michael J. Fox, Susan Sarandon, Martin Scorsese, Tim Robbins and other guests on May 12 when the movie gets its premiere at the new Tribeca Film Festival in New York.

Proceeds from the event will benefit the Children's Aid Society. Lucas and his company have arranged other benefit screenings of the new movie -- even as Lucas has publicly taken issue with the practice that Enron executives employed, using the "Star Wars" saga as the inspiration for naming several of their offshore, off-the-books enterprises.

Names include Jedi Capital and Obi-1 Holdings.

"Star Wars' is part of the culture, and it's had a big influence on two generations now," said Lucas in an interview with Maxim magazine. "But I don't want to encourage people to disregard the law in the name of 'Star Wars.'"

(Thanks to UPI Hollywood Reporter Pat Nason)


'THE LION IN WINTER'

Award-winning actors Patrick Stewart and Glenn Close will star as King Henry II of England and his scheming wife, Queen Eleanor of Acquitaine, in a Showtime Original Picture "The Lion in Winter." Based on the Academy Award-winning 1968 screenplay by James Goldman, the film is being produced for Showtime by Hallmark Entertainment and Flying Freehold Productions. Shooting is slated to begin in Hungary in early 2003.

Stewart is best known as Capt. Jean-Luc Picard from "Star Trek: The Next Generation." Close is widely regarded as one of the screen's most talented actresses.

In addition to starring, Stewart will serve as executive producer.


BILLY WILDER MEMORIAL TRIBUTE

A memorial tribute celebrating the life and career of Billy Wilder -- hosted by the Directors Guild of America (DGA) and Writers Guild of America (WGA), west -- will be held Wednesday at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Beverly Hills, Calif.

In addition to a montage of Wilder's work, friends and fans will speak about this remarkable man and his awe-inspiring career in the entertainment industry. The speakers will include Cameron Crowe (Almost Famous, Jerry Maguire), Tony Curtis (Some Like it Hot, The Rat Race), Larry Gelbart (M*A*S*H, Tootsie), Curtis Hanson (L.A. Confidential, Wonder Boys), Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Road to Perdition), Jerry Moss, Sidney Poitier (In the Heat of the Night, They Call Me MISTER Tibbs!), George Schlatter (Norman ... is That You?), Kevin Spacey (The Usual Suspects, American Beauty) and Billy Bob Thornton (Sling Blade, Monster's Ball).


CELEBRITY AUCTION

A $35,000 dress worn by actress Kate Winslet in the 1997 blockbuster "Titanic" will go on the auction block June 12. It's part of an auction of celebrity memorabilia being conducted by Odyssey Auctions, the publisher of Autograph Collector magazine.

The post-Victorian style red silk dress is the costume Rose DeWitt Bukater (Winslet) wore as she contemplated jumping overboard because of her hopeless engagement, but then is saved by Jack Dawson (Leonard DiCaprio). The sequin and lace adorned dress cost $35,000 to make, and is accompanied by a letter of authenticity signed by Salvadore Perez, the film's costume manufacturing foreman.

Odyssey Auctions is based in Corona, Calif.

© 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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