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Thursday, November 28, 2002

Action hero role no jinx for Halle Berry

LOS ANGELES -- Halle Berry figures Hollywood's ready to serve up more women in strong action-hero roles such as the character she plays in the new James Bond movie, "Die Another Day."

"Somebody asked me earlier, 'Did you ever think you'd grow up and be an action hero?"' said Berry, 34, who plays an American agent called Jinx in the film.

"The answer was 'no.' When I was growing up, there were no women action heroes. It was all men. And only now as we're starting to evolve is it even becoming possible," she said in a recent interview.

Sigourney Weaver in the "Alien" franchise and Linda Hamilton in "The Terminator" movies helped open the door for women in action films.

Some Bond women have had stronger roles than their predecessors, including Berry, Michelle Yeoh in "Tomorrow Never Dies" and Famke Janssen in "GoldenEye."

Bond distributor MGM liked Berry's character Jinx so much that the studio has talked about building a spinoff movie around her.-- From wire reports

"I do think this woman action hero could be a fun sort of medium to try to work in," said Berry, who won a best-actress Academy Award last spring for "Monster's Ball." "I'm thinking there will be an audience. People will want to see women in those strong, empowered roles."


LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Actor Nicolas Cage has filed for divorce from Lisa Marie Presley less than four months after their romantic wedding in Hawaii.

The actor -- filing under his real name, Nicolas Coppola -- cited irreconcilable differences as the reason for the split in a petition filed Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court.

"I'm sad about this, but we shouldn't have been married in the first place. It was a big mistake," Presley said in a statement. Cage's representatives said he declined to comment.

Presley, 34, was married previously to musician Danny Keough and pop singer Michael Jackson. It was the second marriage for Cage, 38, who divorced actress Patricia Arquette in 2000.

Presley has two children from her marriage to Keough, and Cage has a son from a previous relationship.

The two were married Aug. 10 before family and friends at a resort on Hawaii.

Presley is the only child of Priscilla Presley and singer Elvis Presley. Cage won a best-actor Academy Award for 1995's "Leaving Las Vegas." His other recent movies include "Captain Corelli's Mandolin," "The Family Man" and "Gone in 60 Seconds."


LONDON (AP) -- Flamboyant drag artist Danny La Rue dressed in a sober top hat and suit to receive a prestigious award from Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace.

The veteran entertainer, who has met the queen many times, was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire, or OBE, for raising thousands of dollars for AIDS charities.

"I feel 20 feet tall," La Rue, 75, said Tuesday. "I've spoken to the queen so many times and I wondered what she was going to say and she told me what a pleasure it was for her to give me this honor."

La Rue added, "As far as I know I'm the first female impersonator to be given an honor."

Born Daniel Patrick Carroll in Cork, southern Ireland, La Rue moved to London with his mother when he was 9. "I came here as an Irish child and Britain sheltered my widowed mother and her children," he said. "If I live for 1,000 years I could never repay what Britain has given me."


KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) -- A reel-to-reel audiotape of Bob Marley playing with musician Jimmy Norman will be sold at auction next month in New York City, Christie's auction house said.

Marley met Norman during a visit to Manhattan in early 1968. Eight songs they played together in Norman's Bronx apartment are on the tape. Marley plays guitar and Norman plays piano. Marley's wife, Rita, and Norman's wife, Dorothy, sing backup.

The tape includes "I'm Hurting Inside," a hit for The Wailers, the group Marley co-founded with Bunny Wailer.

Initial asking price for the tape, described as being in "fragile, but good playing condition" is $15,000.

"That's a pretty reasonable price for a rare piece, and considering it's by Marley," said Margaret Barrett of Christie's.

Christie's will auction the tape Dec. 20, along with other memorabilia such as items bearing the signatures of The Beatles, and clothing worn by Elvis Presley in the movies "Speedway" and "Double Trouble," she said.

Norman was introduced to Marley by Danny Sims, an American producer who met the singer during a visit to Jamaica in 1967.

Marley died of cancer in 1981 at 36.

Norman, 65, said he found the tape in his Manhattan apartment in June. Two months ago, he approached Christie's to sell it.


LUMBERTON, N.C. (AP) -- The mother of slain rapper Tupac Shakur has donated $15,000 to her former elementary school.

Afeni Shakur presented the check to W.H. Knuckles Elementary School on Saturday before attending a benefit golf tournament she organized to raise money for new playground equipment and a school fence. The event raised about $2,500.

"Ms. Shakur approached us about this," said school principal Susan Blackmon. "She wanted to make a contribution to the school and to the community."

W.H. Knuckles is a pre-kindergarten through fourth-grade school in south Lumberton. Built in 1912, it's the only year-round school in Robeson County, where Shakur still has family.

Shakur recently produced a double album of her son's unreleased songs. Proceeds from the "Better Dayz" CD will go to the Tupac Shakur Foundation, which provides training to aspiring artists.

Tupac Shakur was killed in September 1996 in Las Vegas.


WASHINGTON (AP) -- Between appearances on NBC's "Law & Order," retiring Sen. Fred Thompson is finding time to lead a group dedicated to making Washington, D.C., a better place.

Thompson will be the next president of the Federal City Council, a nearly 50-year-old nonprofit, nonpartisan group of business, educational and civic leaders. He takes over from former Sen. Bob Dole, who has led the Council the last four years.

The organization has pushed for projects that include the Metro mass transit system and the MCI Center. Among its present projects is the development of plans for a National Music Museum.

Thompson, a Tennessee Republican, announced in March that he was leaving the Senate for personal reasons. In August he joined "Law & Order," where he plays District Attorney Arthur Branch. Thompson has also appeared in more than a dozen films, including "In the Line of Fire" and "The Hunt for Red October."


On the Net:

Federal City Council Web site: http://www.federalcitycouncil.org

NBC Web site: http://www.nbc.com/Law--&--Order/index.h...


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