People talk 11/23/01

Friday, November 23, 2001

'Potter' maker gets Scottish mansion

LONDON -- J.K. Rowling has used some of the fortune from her phenomenally successful Harry Potter books to buy a secluded Scottish mansion.

Rowling has bought Killiechassie House, built by a Scottish general in 1865 on the picturesque banks of the River Tay near Aberfeldy in Perthshire, central Scotland, according to William Jackson of realtors CKD Finlayson Hughes in Perth.

"Killiechassie House is a most attractive family home," Jackson said Wednesday. "This area of Perthshire is most highly sought after with the most attractive countryside all around."

Rowling, who wrote her first book in coffee shops while struggling alone to bring up her daughter, now owns a mansion complete with two halls, a drawing room, morning room, dining room and library.

In the grounds is a sycamore tree said to have sheltered Prince Charles Edward Stuart, known as Bonnie Prince Charlie, during the Jacobite Rising of 1745, a failed bid to restore a Scottish Catholic to the British throne.

News reports said contractors working on the house have been asked to sign contracts that include clauses banning them from speaking to the media.

A spokeswoman for Rowling declined comment.

Rowling's four Potter books, which follow the adventures of an English boy who discovers he's inherited magical powers from his parents, have sold millions of copies.

The first Potter film, "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" -- known in Britain as "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" -- has smashed a series of box office records and grossed more than $100 million in its first five days of American release.

Country singer wins court decision on song

FRANKFORT, Ky. -- John Michael Montgomery did not have to obtain permission from his late father's estate to make his hit "I Miss You a Little," the Kentucky Supreme Court ruled Wednesday.

The country singer pays tribute to Harold Montgomery with the 1997 song and music video, including snippets from his father's own modest musical career before he died of cancer in 1994.

The video features Harold Montgomery's likeness, the elder Montgomery singing an original song titled "Let Me Be Young Again," and other remembrances of his father, including his gravestone.

Barbara Montgomery -- Harold's widow and John Michael's stepmother -- sued, claiming that the use of Harold's likeness violated a "right of publicity."

Justice Martin Johnstone, who wrote the 5-2 decision, said the 36-year-old Montgomery can use his father's likeness, or anyone else's for that matter, in a constitutionally protected expression, including a commercial music video.

"To put it another way, John Michael -- without either the consent or approval of Harold's estate -- could have produced a film biography of his father and prompted the film using Harold's name and likeness without violating Harold's estate's right of publicity," Johnstone said.

East Timor wants U2, Garth Brooks for holiday

DILI, East Timor -- Tiny East Timor has invited U2 and Garth Brooks to perform at independence celebrations next year.

Its acting foreign minister Jose Ramos-Horta said Wednesday he hoped they would take up the offer to witness the creation of the world's newest nation on May 20, 2002.

East Timor's people voted to split from Indonesia in 1999 and is now being administered by the United Nations.

Under a Security Council mandate, the world body has restored civilian government and has begun to rebuild the Southeast Asian country, which was all but devastated by withdrawing Indonesian militias and troops.

Ramos-Horta, a Nobel peace laureate, said his homeland wanted to shed its image as a trouble spot.

"We want to use the 30 days to promote East Timor as an island of peace," Ramos-Horta told journalists in the capital, Dili.

U.N. staff in East Timor said there was no confirmation so far about whether U2 or Brooks would come.

Prince Charles blames eye injury on tree talking

LONDON -- Laughing off an injury that has left him wearing a white eye bandage, Prince Charles joked that it all happened because of his talking to trees.

He got sawdust in his eye while cutting a branch off a tree at his country home, and was treated Sunday at a hospital.

Opening an exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum, the prince explained it all to an audience of about 1,000 museum supporters.

"I must apologize for this evening looking like someone who has been discharged prematurely from hospital," he said Tuesday.

--From wire reports

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