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June 9, 2012 at 1:00 PM
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Fire in Robert De Niro's NYC apartment

NEW YORK, June 9 (UPI) -- Firefighters contained a small fire that broke out at actor Robert De Niro's apartment building in New York City, witnesses said.

The fire began Friday afternoon on the fourth-floor of the 12-story Brentmore apartment building near Central Park and was put out about an hour later, The New York Times reported.

Some residents told the Times the fire started in the laundry room of De Niro's apartment, which spans the fourth, fifth and sixth floors.

The actor was not in the building at the time of the incident, fire officials said. No injuries were reported.

Academy award-winning actress Celeste Holm and her husband, Frank Basile, were trapped in their apartment in the building as firefighters battled the flames, the Times reported.

"My wife and I were out late last night, and we were woken by the fire trucks and phone calls saying, 'Get out, the apartment building is on fire,' " Basile said.

Fire officials are investigating the cause of the blaze.

Hough sad lap dance scene with Cruise cut

HOLLYWOOD, June 9 (UPI) -- Actress Julianne Hough said she's disappointed a scene in "Rock of Ages," in which she gives Tom Cruise a lap dance, has been cut from the movie.

Director Adam Shankman cut the scene from the upcoming rock-and-roll musical because it wasn't received well by test audiences, USA Today reported Friday. Audiences will eventually get to view the dance on the DVD release of the film.

Hough said she's bummed because she and Cruise worked so hard on perfecting the routine.

"I don't mean to be on the record saying I'm upset that the world doesn't get to see me give Tom Cruise a lap dance," she said. "The reason I'm upset is we worked so hard on that number. I'm sad no one will see the hard work we put in until the DVD comes out."

"Tom and I worked on this number for weeks. For me, I felt it was one of the best performances of the movie," Hough added. "It was just two people singing and dancing. And it was hard. It was the hardest dance I did. And the same for Tom. He actually got to dance."

"Rock of Ages" opens in movie theaters Friday.

Lawyer: Hudson's fame influenced jury

CHICAGO, June 9 (UPI) -- Lawyers for the Chicago man convicted of killing actress Jennifer Hudson's family asked for a new trial, saying her fame had a "prejudicial effect" on the jury.

Cook County public defender Amy Thompson filed the 19-page motion Friday seeking a new trial for William Balfour, 31, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

Balfour was convicted in May of killing Hudson's mother, brother and 7-year-old nephew out of jealousy that his estranged wife -- Hudson's sister -- was dating another man.

Prosecutors called Hudson as the first witness in the April trial, in which she testified she never liked her former brother-in-law and she begged her sister, Julia, not to marry him.

"[Hudson's] testimony was irrelevant, and because of the fame of the witness, the prejudicial effect of the testimony on the jury far outweighed any probative value that it would have," the document said.

The defense is also requesting a new trial, in part, because prosecutors alerted them to "a potential alternate suspect" after a jury had already been selected, three days before opening statements, the filing said.

Balfour's lawyers also alleged assistant state's attorney James McKay made "improper and inflammatory" statements about the defendant, saying "Calling the defendant a 'dog' is an insult to dogs," the Sun-Times reported.

Judge Charles Burns scheduled a hearing to consider the new trial request for July 24. If he denies a new trial, he could sentence Balfour that day, the Chicago Tribune reported.

'Dynasty' designer Nolan Miller dead at 79

WOODLAND HILLS, Calif., June 9 (UPI) -- Fashion designer Nolan Miller -- best known for his work on "Dynasty" -- died at a California hospital, his former assistant said. He was 79.

Miller's death Wednesday was caused by complications from lung cancer, former assistant, Rene Horsch said.

Peplum suits and large shoulder pads were made popular by Miller's designs for Joan Collins on "Dynasty," prompting the show's fans to request sketches of his work, the Los Angeles Times reported Saturday.

"When I'm 90, my name will still be synonymous with shoulder pads," Miller once told The Independent newspaper of London in an interview.

During a decades-long career that began in the mid-1950s, Miller designed for some of Hollywood's top leading ladies, including Lana Turner, Barbara Stanwyck, Joan Crawford and Ann-Margret. In his television collaborations -- "Charlie's Angels," "Green Acres" and "Fantasy Island" -- he preferred more elegant fashion, the Times said.

"He always wanted us to be fashionable and elegant," said Jaclyn Smith, one of "Charlie's Angels." "He couldn't wait to get us in a scene where we would have a gown."

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