Add actor Morgan Freeman to the long list of stars and personalities who have their own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The walk people, on their Web site, say Freeman received the 2,220th star located just a couple of blocks from the site of this coming week's Oscar show, the Kodak Theater. Freeman, now 65, has a handful of movies coming out soon and used the spate of releases as a good time to accept his star. "Dreamcatcher," one of them, opens this week. Freeman was first thrust into national stardom because of his participation in the PBS television educational show "The Electric Company." He portrayed the character Easy Reader. That was back in the early 1970s. Since then he's received many awards and twice was nominated for the Oscar for his work in "Driving Miss Daisy" and "The Shawshank Redemption." He also won high praise for his work in "Unforgiven," "Amistad" and "Glory." The Memphis native has starred in nearly 50 major films since coming to Hollywood.
SHERYL CROW TO HEADLINE AT BEALE STREET
Promoters of the annual Beale Street Music Fair in Memphis say Cheryl Crow has been added to this year's all-star line up. Joining Crow will be India.Arie, ZZ Top, Jerry Lee Lewis, John Mayer and Wilco & LL Cool J. More than 60 acts have agreed to participate in the immensely popular event, part of the multi-week Memphis in May festivities. In addition to hiring national talent for the series, more than 30 percent of the line up will be local acts. Some of the entertainers only are regionally known, but others have gone on to earn a national reputation. Among them: Booker T and the MGs, Big Star, the North Mississippi Allstars, Jim Dickinson, Don Nix and Cory Branan. The Memphis Commercial Appeal says most performances will be held in outdoor venues.
DIXIE CHICKS SMUDGED BY WAR DEBATE
Recent anti-war comments by Dixie Chicks' singer Natalie Maines are dulling the group's appeal, if radio airplay is any indication. The Nashville Tennessean says national airplay for the Chicks' latest single "Travelin' Soldier" is down as much as 15 percent in just the past week. The publication says the song suddenly fell from the No. 1 position to the No. 3 slot just days after Maines made controversial comments about President Bush and Iraq. It was during a major concert in London Maines told the audience there is much anti-war sentiment in the States and she was ashamed Bush was from her home state of Texas. After the remarks evoked such a strong reaction, Maines publicly apologized. Meanwhile, the effects continue to show in the group's ratings. One anti-Chicks group gathered recently in Bossier City, La., home of Barksdale Air Force Base, to destroy the group's CDs.
RIGHTS LEADER HARDIN TO UNDERGO SURGERY
One of the nation's best known civil rights leaders, the Rev. Boniface Hardin, has undergone prostate cancer surgery. The Indianapolis Star reports Hardin is the second prominent black leader in the Indiana capital to be diagnosed with the ailment in just the past few months. The other was the Rev. Charles Williams, president of the Indiana Black Expo. Hardin's cancer was less advanced than was Williams' when it was discovered. Hardin is the founder of Martin University, a multi-cultural school of higher learning that has a reputation for working across racial and national boundaries. He also is famous for his theatrical portrayal of abolitionist Frederick Douglass. Because the death rate from prostate cancer is twice as high for black men as it is for whites, Hardin tells the paper the condition was discovered because he has been tested for the past 30 years. He's now 69.
CHIEF BILLIE OUSTED BY SEMINOLE COUNCIL
Although it sounds like a story out the Old West, a chief of a major American Indian tribe has been voted out of the tribe's highest circle. Chief James E. Billie was unanimously ousted from his own council this week. He was only recently suspended from duties as chairman of the Seminole Tribe of Florida by the Tribal Council. Nearly 100 high-ranking members of the tribe attended this week's closed-door meeting, as reported by the Miami Herald. Last week Billie publicly defended himself against charges of misconduct. The initial removal was carried out about a month ago when he was suspended from the post for 22 months.
COLUMNIST LISTS ANTI-WAR STARS
One of the nation's best-read gossip columnists, Richard Johnson, has published a list of anti-war stars. Johnson, who appears daily in the New York Post, says he printed the list for those people who just might be looking for movies and projects to boycott for patriotic reasons. Among those the columnist names and their associated projects are Tim Robbins, Sean Penn and Laurence Fishburn, stars of "Mystic River." "Basic" star Samuel L. Jackson, who recently sent an anti-war letter to the White House, is also named, along with Susan Sarandon ("Children of Dune"), Alfre Woodard ("The Core"), Limp Bizkit's Fred Durst and Jackson Browne. Danny Glover ("Good Fences") also makes the list and, of course, Martin Sheen is there too.
UPI DAILY SURVEY QUESTION NO. 548
Today we ask: "Should Hollywood stars and entertainers use their popularity to speak out on controversial issues, such as war?" Put STAR in the subject line and send to firstname.lastname@example.org via the Internet.
RESULTS OF QUESTION NO. 542 (BUS3)
Today we continue to look at the answers to a week-long series of "cross-country bus trip" questions. Each day last week we presented two people and asked which one you'd rather have as a seat-mate on a one-week trip. Here are the results of BUS3. It was a dead heat in our question about two famous song-and-dance men (in their prime):
-- Bob Hope, who celebrates his 100th birthday this year, though some experts says he's actually 102, 50 percent
-- Bing Crosby, 50 percent
TOMORROW: Everyone rides the bus. GBA