EDWIN STARR DEAD AT 61
Soul singer Edwin Starr died in England of an apparent heart attack Wednesday. He was 61.
Best-known for his hit songs, "War," "Contact," "Agent Double-O Soul and "Stop Her on Sight," the Nashville native died at his home near the central city of Nottingham, his manager Lilian Kyle said.
A staple on the "oldies" touring circuit, Starr performed two shows in Germany last weekend and sang at the star-studded wedding of Liza Minnelli and David Gest in New York last year.
WRITER PROTECTIVE OF 'THE GUYS'
When audiences flocked to see Anne Nelson's thoughtful, intimate play, "The Guys," it wasn't long before the word "movie" was mentioned.
Nelson, who says she wrote the play because she was uncomfortable with the alarmist and militaristic fashion with which the media reacted to the events of Sept. 11, 2001, was guarded about how her play might be adapted to film.
Explaining how she wanted to explore the way ordinary people deal with trauma, loss and grief, and the compassionate ways in which they aid each other in troubled times, the journalist-turned-playwright told reporters in New York how important it was to her that vision be retained if the drama moved to the big screen.
"I didn't want to just sell the rights to the highest bidder and have Hollywood have its way with it," she said. "I couldn't do that to the families because anything that was twisted, even in a well-meaning way in the screen-writing process, could hurt people and I wanted to be responsible, so my conditions as the author of the play was that it be filmed in a way that was very true."
"The Guys," the first feature film specifically about the Sept. 11 tragedies, opens Friday. Starring Sigourney Weaver and Anthony LaPaglia, it is based on Nelson's personal experience helping a heart-broken fire chief write eulogies for men he lost in the attacks on the World Trade Center.
"The Guys" is the film directorial debut of Jim Simpson, artistic director of the Flea Theater where the play was first performed.
GRAHAM NORTON TO RETURN TO NEW YORK
Graham Norton, one of Britain's hottest, most irreverent TV hosts, is bringing his wicked wit to New York City later this month.
"Graham Norton: Red-Handed," Norton's popular solo act, returns to the Big Apple for a special limited run following a wildly successful, sold-out engagement in September 2002. The stage show will run from Tuesday, April 22, through Saturday, May 10, at Manhattan's East 13th Street Theater.
Raised in a remote village in the Republic of Ireland, the 39-year-old comedian is the Emmy Award-winning host of British Broadcasting Corp.'s "So Graham Norton."
FAY WRAY APPROVES OF NEW 'KONG' PROJECT
Speaking exclusively to New Zealand's Dominion Post in Wellington, the Canadian-born actress, who is now 95, said she was impressed Jackson wanted to remain true to the original by setting it in the same period.
"I remember Merion Cooper so well, who created the original. I still remember when he was just thinking of the idea for the film and he looked at me and said, I know -- I think I will call it Kong -- no, even better, I will call it King Kong!'" she told the paper. "He was a wonderful person -- so strong and devoted to film. I think it is excellent and honorable that Peter Jackson wants to be true to the original. And I am proud that he wants to keep King Kong alive."
While Wray, who began her film career in 1923, approved the remake, she said she would not consider making a cameo appearance. When Jackson and backers Universal first considered making the film in 1996, Wray had been invited to make a cameo, uttering the famous line at the end of the original film: "It was beauty killed the beast."
"(King) Kong was always an independent kind of guy and I think he should stay that way," she joked. "But, it is wonderful knowing that people care, and that Peter Jackson cares. That is what is important."
Jackson said earlier this week he was 9 when he saw the original film, which features Wray in the clutches of King Kong on top of the Empire State Building, and it inspired him to make films.