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Hollywood Digest

By PAT NASON, UPI Hollywood Reporter   |   Feb. 28, 2003 at 3:45 PM   |   Comments

BYE-BYE BUFFY

UPN and 20th Century Fox Television have announced that "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" will end production in April and air its final original episode on May 20.

"It's hard to believe it's over," said Joss Whedon, the show's creator and executive producer and creator. "Well, it's hard to think at all, or stand, or form vowel sounds, so maybe it's time to take a break."

Whedon said he and his creative team feel as though they gave it everything on every episode of the show's seven-year run.

"We didn't always succeed, but we never slacked, and I'm immensely proud of my writers, actors and crew for that," said Whedon.

Perhaps sounding a bit punch-drunk, Whedon went on to say he is proud of what the show means -- "except for that whole weird 'feminist' thing people attached to it. What was that all about? Girls are stupid."

"Buffy the Vampire Slayer" -- starring Sarah Michelle Gellar in the title role -- had its TV premiere in March 1997 on The WB. It switched to UPN in October 2001. The upcoming series finale will be the show's 144th episode.

The show has been nominated for nine Emmy Awards, and has won twice -- for Outstanding Makeup and Music Composition for a Series in 1998. Gellar was nominated for a Golden Globe in 2001.

The UPN statement announcing the end of production on the show left the door open for future "Buffy"-related projects.

"Discussions regarding the future of the 'Buffy' franchise and a possible spin-off are ongoing," said the network.


COMPOSER WALTER SCHARF DIES AT 92

Hollywood is mourning the death of prolific film and TV composer Walter Scharf, of heart failure at his home in Brentwood, Calif., on Monday. He was 92.

Scharf was born into a show business family on Aug. 1, 1910, in New York City. His mother, Bessie Zwerling, was a famous female comic in the New York Yiddish Theater.

He came to Hollywood in 1934 and worked for such entertainment legends as Al Jolson, Danny Kaye and Rudy Valle. From the 1930s through the '70s, Scharf was musical director, arranger or composer for more than 250 movies and TV shows -- including the classic "White Christmas."

Scharf composed music for the TV series "Ben Casey," "Hawaii Five-O," "The Man from U.N.C.L.E.," "Mission: Impossible" and "The Wild Wild West." His film credits included several movies for Elvis Presley, including "Loving You" and "King Creole."

He was a frequent collaborator with Jerry Lewis on such pictures as "The Nutty Professor," "The Errand Boy," "Cinderfella," "The Geisha Boy" and "Rock-a-Bye Baby."

During his career, Scharf was nominated for 10 Oscars. Among his Oscar nominated scores were "Funny Girl" and "Hans Christian Anderson."

He won an Emmy for Outstanding Achievement in Music Composition for "The Tragedy of the Red Salmon," a 1971 episode of the ABC series "The Underwater World of Jacques Cousteau." Scharf won a Golden Globe for the movie "Ben."


STARS LINE UP FOR OSCARS

Oscars telecast producer Gil Cates has announced that Michael Douglas and Harrison Ford will be presenters at the Academy Awards in Los Angeles next month.

Douglas -- who won the Best Actor Oscar for "Wall Street" in 1987 and a Best Picture Oscar for producing "One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest" in 1975 -- will be making his 10th appearance as a presenter at the Academy Awards.

Ford -- a Best Actor nominee in 1985 for "Witness" -- will be making his third appearance on an Oscar telecast.

The 75th Academy Awards will be presented on March 23 at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood.


MUSICIANS LINE UP FOR ANTI-WAR CAMPAIGN

Dozens of recording artists have announced the formation of Musicians United to Win Without War, an offshoot of the Washington-based Win Without War.

The new group features hip-hop, pop, country, jazz and other artists. David Byrne, formerly of Talking Heads, is a co-founder of the new organization.

"In the rush to war, the voices of reason and debate have been trampled and ignored," said Byrne in a statement. "Musicians United to Win Without War represents a diverse group that feels that war is not an inevitable, forgone conclusion."

Hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons said the group would urge music fans to oppose war in Iraq.

"Iraq's been contained for 12 years," said Simmons. "Hundreds of thousands don't have to die. Stand up, demonstrate, and have your voice heard."

The list of recording artists who have signed on as members of Musicians United to Win Without War includes Laurie Anderson, T. Bone Burnett, Busta Rhymes, Sheryl Crow, Missy Elliott, Fat Joe, Peter Gabriel, Emmylou Harris, Jay-Z, Kronos Quartet, Dave Matthews, Lou Reed, REM, Sonic Youth, Wilco and Lucinda Williams.


'GARFIELD' -- THE MOVIE

Breckin Meyer is reportedly in talks to star as Jon Arbuckle, the guy who owns Garfield the cat, in a movie version of the long-running comic strip "Garfield."

The Hollywood Reporter said that Meyer ("Rat Race," "Road Trip") is in talks for the upcoming project, which will combine live-action with computer-generated images, and that Jennifer Love Hewitt ("I Know What You Did Last Summer") is close to a deal to play his love interest.

Peter Hewitt ("The Borrowers," "Tom and Huck") is directing the project from a screenplay by Joel Cohen and Alec Sokolow, co-writers on "Toy Story."

© 2003 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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