Cleese sues newspaper over flop allegations

Saturday, January 25, 2003

LONDON -- Actor-comedian John Cleese told London's High Court that a British newspaper article suggesting his career flopped when he moved to the United States was offensive and damaging.

Cleese, who is suing The Evening Standard newspaper over the article, earlier rejected a compensation offer of $16,000 from the newspaper because he regarded its published apology as insufficient.

Giving evidence by a video link Thursday from his home in California, the star of the "Monty Python" TV show and movies said he felt the newspaper was not genuinely sorry for the "nasty" article printed April 11, 2001.

"The general tenor of the correspondence over weeks and months was the grudging response of a bully," Cleese, 63, told the court.

Cleese, who was born in Somerset, England, said he repeatedly asked for a justification for the report but was never given one.

Adrienne Page, the Evening Standard's lawyer, told the court Cleese's advisers were attempting to inflate the cost of damages by pulling out of the agreement and pushing the case into court.

Justice David Eady said he would give his ruling in the next few days.

Spacey, Elton John to sing at event

LONDON -- Oscar-winning actor Kevin Spacey will show off his vocal talents alongside Elton John at a fund-raiser next month for a historic London theater.

The pair will perform a duet on some of John's hit songs at a Feb. 5 benefit for the Old Vic, organizers said Thursday.

John is chairman of the Old Vic Theater Trust, which bought the 185-year-old theater in 1998 when it was in danger of closing.

Spacey, who starred in Eugene O'Neill's "The Iceman Cometh" at the Old Vic in 1998, is a board member of the trust. In November 2001, he performed The Beatles' "Hey Jude" at the Old Vic during a tribute to Sept. 11 victims.

Ticket prices range from $400 to $1,600.

Pavarotti schedules four concerts for U.S.

LONDON -- Luciano Pavarotti has scheduled four concerts in March in the United States, his spokeswoman said.

The 67-year-old tenor will perform March 11 in Los Angeles. He also has concerts set in Portland, Ore., March 14; San Antonio, Texas, March 19; and Reno, Nev., March 23, his London-based spokeswoman, Terri Robson, said Thursday.

A Three Tenors concert with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra set for Jan. 5 previously had been rescheduled for Sept. 28 because Pavarotti's companion, Nicoletta Mantovani, was in the final weeks of her pregnancy.

Mantovani, 33, gave birth prematurely to a girl last week at a hospital in Bologna, Italy.

Pavarotti will play additional U.S. dates in the fall, Robson said.

He hasn't appeared in an opera performance since singing in Puccini's "Tosca" at The Royal Opera, Covent Garden, in London last Jan. 22.

Pavarotti has said he intends to retire Oct. 12, 2005, his 70th birthday.

Chan not leaving kung-fu movies for other genre

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Jackie Chan says he's sticking with kung-fu movies and doesn't plan to act in films featuring other martial arts.

"My fans and producers have also dissuaded me" from switching to other martial-arts movies, he told reporters Thursday.

Actors kick and box in kung-fu films and need to be more skillful than in movies where they seem to fly, Chan said.

He was in Taiwan to promote his latest film, "Shanghai Knights," co-starring Owen Wilson.

"Kung-fu films don't have to be brutal. They are catering to both the young and the old," the 48-year-old said. "I had great fun dancing and playing in my latest film."

-- From wire reports

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