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Saturday, February 15, 2003

Banjo player honored with Walk of Fame star

LOS ANGELES -- It seems fitting that "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" banjo player Earl Scruggs got his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on a rainy, foggy morning.

Scruggs, the banjo master whose three-fingered approach to playing is credited by many with giving bluegrass music its distinctive sound, was honored Thursday with a ceremony in front of the Hollywood Entertainment Museum. His is the 2,215th star on the Hollywood Boulevard sidewalk.

Scruggs, 79, grew up on a farm in North Carolina and worked as a textile worker in the early 1940s before he began performing professionally.

With Lester Flatt, Scruggs created two well-known pieces of bluegrass music -- the theme song for "The Beverly Hillbillies" TV show and "Foggy Mountain Breakdown," which was recorded in 1949.

Actor delivers check for $1 million to charity

MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. -- Denzel Washington brought a $1 million check with him to a recent dinner celebrating the 90th anniversary of the Mount Vernon Boys & Girls Club, a city councilman says.

Washington, who grew up in Mount Vernon, "is truly a great person and very dedicated to the club," said Councilman Lyndon Williams, a member of the club's board.

"First, he spent most of Friday at the club. He stayed there until sometime past midnight, hanging out with everybody and with no fanfare at all.

Then he comes to the dinner Saturday with $1 million for an endowment."

Sponsors were hoping to raise about $200,000 from the black-tie, $150-a-plate event, which also featured Ossie Davis, Jermaine Jackson and several public officials.

Washington, 48, won a best-supporting Oscar for 1989's "Glory" and a best actor Oscar for 2001's "Training Day."

Fashion show inspires Bette Midler's artwork

NEW YORK -- Bette Midler turned the tables on the press at the Cynthia Rowley fashion show: Instead of posing for the cameras, Midler sat quietly sketching the fashion editors.

Dressed in a turtleneck and sunglasses, Midler said she was just making use of the sketch pad and pencil that Rowley left on each seat. Thursday night's fashion show, previewing fall 2003, took place in an art gallery, and Rowley said her shimmery skirts and dresses with bow-tied waists were inspired by the women who work in the hip, downtown art world.

"I'm just doodling," said Midler, whose pad was filling up with both portraits of the crowd and still-life pictures of the stage. She even offered a reporter tips on creating cartoon characters, beginning with a very round head, and exaggerated and expressive eyes.

Former TV stars team up for performance

RENO, Nev. -- Dawn Wells and Adam West are teaming up for a Valentine's Day performance to help raise money for a local charity in Wells' home state of Nevada.

Wells, who starred in the 1960s sitcom "Gilligan's Island," and West, television's "Batman," will appear in A.R. Gurney's "Love Letters" at the Golden Phoenix hotel-casino in Reno.

"I guess your hometown is where your heart is," Wells said. "I'm really hoping a lot of my classmates will come."

The dinner show will raise money for Project Solution, a Reno-based program that promotes education, recreation, arts and affordable housing.

Wells worked as a producer on "Return to the Batcave: The Misadventures of Adam and Burt." The CBS television movie, starring West and Burt Ward (Robin), is scheduled to air later this year.

In the film, the Batmobile is stolen from a car museum and West and Ward decide to track it down. Julie Newmar, who played Catwoman in the 1960s fantasy adventure series, also is featured.

Lennon's childhood home going on display

LIVERPOOL, England -- The house where John Lennon spent his childhood and wrote some of the Beatles' first hits will open to the public next month, Britain's National Trust said Friday.

Mendips, the suburban home Lennon shared with his Aunt Mimi, was bought last year by the Beatle's widow, Yoko Ono, who donated it to the heritage organization.

"When John's house came up for sale I wanted to preserve it for the people of Liverpool and John Lennon and Beatles fans all over the world," Ono said.

Lennon lived at 251 Menlove Ave. in the Liverpool suburb of Woolton from age 5 -- when his parents separated and he went to live with his Aunt Mimi -- until he was 23. He taught himself to play guitar in the four-bedroom 1930s house, and reportedly wrote "She Loves You" in the front room.

Starting March 29, the Trust will run tours of the house in connection with the McCartney home at 20 Forthlin Road in Liverpool's Allerton district.

-- From wire reports

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