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Nov. 14, 2003 at 2:10 PM
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, Nov. 14 (UPI) -- Ray Charles gives $1 million to Dillard U.

NEW ORLEANS, Nov. 14 (UPI) -- Soul music pioneer Ray Charles has donated $1 million to Dillard University of New Orleans to go toward the creation of a program about black culture.

The donation will create an endowed faculty position and program devoted to the musical, culinary, artistic and linguistic contributions of black Americans, Dillard spokeswoman Maureen Larkins said.

Charles received an honorary degree in May from Dillard, a private, predominantly black school associated with the United Methodist Church and the United Church of Christ.

Charles donated the money in the name of the Robinson Foundation for Hearing Disorders, a laboratory he founded in 1987 for the treatment and research of hearing problems. The new chair is separate from Dillard's Institute of Jazz Studies, which is directed by jazz musician Irvin Mayfield.

Southern Republican to head MPAA

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 14 (UPI) -- A southern Republican has emerged as the most likely candidate to become Hollywood's new top lobbyist on Capitol Hill.

Rep. W.J. 'Billy' Tauzin, R-La., is seen as the front-runner to replace Jack Valenti as the head of the Motion Picture Association of America in January, the Los Angeles Times reported Friday.

Valenti, 82, disclosed last summer he was planning his succession. He is expected to stay on as chairman, with responsibility for the movie ratings system he founded, the newspaper reported.

With an annual salary of $1 million, Valenti occupies one of Washington's highest-paying and most visible lobbying positions.

Tauzin's name had been linked to the job as far back as January, with the 60-year-old chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee edging slowly toward the MPAA post amid reports that a secret deal already had been forged.

But the newspaper's sources said there still was no formal agreement between Tauzin and the MPAA.

Several senior studio executives said it was informally understood that Tauzin would accept the title of MPAA president and chief executive if offered. MPAA member studios have given their quiet blessing to the move, sources said.

The MPAA declined to comment.

New Potter film darker

LONDON, Nov. 14 (UPI) -- The long awaited trailer for the next Harry Potter film reveals a decidedly darker tone than previous Potter films, the London Telegraph reported Friday.

The 90-second clip of "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" features a teasing shot of the corpse-like hand of a "soul-sucking" Dementor, said to be one of the foulest creatures on Earth.

Director Alfonso Cuaron still has seven months of work to complete the movie, set for a June 4 worldwide release.

Cuaron appears to have decided to make a less reverential version of J.K. Rowling's work than those developed by Chris Columbus in the first two Potter movies,

He has even included a choir of Hogwarts students singing, "Something Wicked This Way Comes," the title of a Ray Bradbury novel about a "dark carnival" that comes to a Midwestern town to destroy every life touched by its sinister mystery.

Pat Boone's golden wedding anniversary

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 14 (UPI) -- Pat Boone, whose white bucks became synonymous with late 1950s pop music, and his wife Shirley will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary Nov. 14.

Boone sold more records in the 1950s than any other artist except Elvis Presley. Boone's position as teen idol was clinched by the charting status of 60 of his singles -- 15 made it to the Top 10 and six hit No. 1.

Boone eloped with his high school sweetheart while the couple were still in their teens. They have four daughters, including singer Debbie Boone ("You Light Up My Life") and seventeen grandchildren.

The couple plans to celebrate their union during Thanksgiving weekend with an extended family outing in Orange County. Boone, who drew notoriety in recent years for his ironic covers of heavy metal classics, "In a Metal Mood," is currently running the Gold Label, which specializes in patriotic and religious music.

NYC jazz gala adds two new headliners

NEW YORK, Nov. 13 (UPI) -- Jazz at Lincoln Center has added Diana Ross and Roberta Flack to the stellar lineup for its annual fall gala on Monday, Nov.17.

"Here's to the Ladies: a Celebration of Great Women in Jazz," benefit concert hosted by CBS-TV's Ed Bradley also features Dee Dee Bridgewater, Cleo Laine, Marian McPartland and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis.

They will celebrate Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald and other legendary women of jazz for their achievements.

Singer Shirley Horn will be honored with Jazz at Lincoln Center's Award for Artistic Excellence and Phoebe Jacobs will receive its Award for Leadership.

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