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October 2002
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TUCKER WANTS POWELL FOR PREZ

Comedian Chris Tucker is studying Secretary of State Colin Powell as a character guide for his upcoming role in "Mr. President." Powell himself says he has no interest in becoming the first Black president, but Tucker feels he's the perfect model. Tucker met with Powell last month as he headed to Johannesburg to represent the US at the World Summit on Sustainable Development. "I'm basing a lot of my character on the secretary," Tucker told the Associated Press. "I want to make sure I represent the office right."


FISHBURNE TURNS PRODUCER

Laurence Fishburne will produce and executive produce the action drama "Sleepwalker" for CBS
through his company Cinema Gypsy Productions.The show will portray a modern-day superhero. "Spawn" writer Alan B. McElroy, will write the series. This is Fishburne's first time at producing. The show is expected to debut next season.


WHITAKER AT HOME IN TWILIGHT

Forest Whitaker is the new host of UPN's version of the Rod Serling classic "The Twilight Zone." The actor said he has watched the show since he was a child and will not try to be the "black" Rod Serling. "I couldn't nor wouldn't want to try to re-create something that's classic in the sense of trying to re-create his behavior or the way he does things," Whitaker said. As host, Whitaker won't play a character in any
of the shows, but he hopes to direct.


THE COZ TO BE GRAND MARSHAL

Bill Cosby will be joined by Fred Rogers and Art Linkletter to head the 114th Tournament of Roses parade on New Year's Day. Tournament president Gary Thomas said of the three: "These three personalities have spent a lifetime entertaining children of all ages, offering insight into their imaginations, and in turn, serving as advocates for child welfare and development." The theme will be "Children's Dreams, Wishes and Imagination."


WHOOPIE GETS LIFETIME AWARD

Whoopi Goldberg recently received the lifetime achievement award for the Marshalls Women in Comedy Festival. The award is given to "comediennes who have kept us laughing for decades and inspired the country with their commitment to charitable causes."


AFRICAN AMERICAN FILMMAKER RECEIVES MacARTHUR FELLOWSHIP

Boston-New York-based documentarian Stanley Nelson, producer of American Experience's upcoming "Emmett Till," has been named recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship. Nelson received word of the prestigious grant while on a location shoot in Mississippi. "The MacArthur Fellowship will give me time to think through new projects, like the series we have in development on the economic history of the transatlantic slave trade," said Nelson. "I really hope that getting this kind of recognition will help more people appreciate the importance of documentary film, and will encourage other documentary filmmakers, who are so often left wondering if their work has any impact." Nelson's 60-minute documentary is the story of a young African American boy from Chicago who was brutally killed for whistling at a white woman while visiting relatives in Money, Mississippi. The murder and corrupt trial that followed horrified the nation and sparked the civil rights movement. "Emmett Till" will air on PBS's American Experience January 20, 2003.



TYRA BANKS CAMP FOR KIDS

Tyra Banks has set up a summer camp to help girls develop self-esteem in California and is planning to expand to Florida next year. Banks said she is considering the Fort Lauderdale and Orlando areas as possible sites for the new non-profit camp, called T-Zone. "The facility is very important," Banks told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. "It has to be safe, something sanitary and exceptionally staffed." Banks started the first T-Zone camp in Santa Barbara, Calif. in 2000. The week-long, all-expenses-paid camp for girls ages 13 to 15 was born after Banks received countless letters from teenagers seeking guidance about body image, self-doubt and pressures from boys. Banks eventually hopes to open T-Zone camps all over the country.


DIGGS ON STAGE

Taye Diggs is heading back to the stage. He starred on Broadway in the musical "Rent," and now will star in the musical "Chicago." Diggs will also star in the screen adaptation of the musical, but will play a different character.


HOUSTON VS. DAD IN LAWSUIT

On August 30, Whitney Houston's father, John Houston filed a lawsuit against her in a New Jersey Superior Court. Mr. Houston is suing for breach of contract. He claims Whitney owes him $100 million for services his entertainment company, Houston Entertainment LLC, provided to her. Houston Entertainment LLC allegedly negotiated Whitney's recording deal with Arista last year and also retained the lawyer, Allen Grubman, who persuaded Hawaiian prosecutors not to file charges against Whitney after she was busted at an airport with 15 grams of marijuana.


OPRAH GETS ANOTHER AWARD

Oprah Winfrey was recently presented with the inaugural Humanitarian Award during the Emmy Awards by Tom Hanks. "We all are just regular people seeking the same thing: the guy on the street, the woman in the classroom, the Israeli, the Afghani, the Zuni, the Apache, the Irish, the Protestant, the Catholic, the gay, the straight, you, me -- we all just want to know that we matter. We want validation," Winfrey said as she accepted the award. Before she received the award, a series of taped messages from Coretta Scott King, Jim Carrey, Celine Dion and others were played. "She is," actress Julia Roberts said, "a girlfriend to the world."


FISHBURNE MARRIES

Laurence Fishburne has married actress Gina Torres of the new Fox series "Firefly." The two were married at the Cloisters museum in New York, Fisburne's publicist, Alan Nierob, confirmed. The newlyweds have been an item for nearly seven years, since friends set them up on a blind date. They were engaged for nearly eight months.


MOVIEGOER TOP COMPLAINTS

A new survey of moviegoers by Zagat, the restaurant guide people, lists moviegoer top complaints as: 1. People talking; 2. High ticket costs; 3. Cellphones; 4. Bad seats; 6. Crowds, 7. Dirty theaters; 8. Ticket lines; 9. Unending trailers; 10. Ads.



BLACK HOLLYWOOD HONORED BY BLACK BRITAIN

According to World entertainment News Net, Denzel Washington was voted Best Male Screen Personality at Britain's inaugural black film and TV awards ceremony. Angela Bassett won the Best Female Screen Personality award. The event took place at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London. It marked the first Black Filmmakers Magazine Film and Television Awards.


WHITNEY FINED OVER WATER

According to the New Jersey polic, Whitney Houston and husband, Bobby Brown, were cited for violating the state's water-use restrictions, which were imposed because of ongoing drought conditions. Police got a call that the sprinkler system at the Houston/Brown home had been on at night and that puddles were forming in the curb. Officers came out to the property and instructed the security guard to turn off the sprinkler system. Houston nor Bobby were home at the time. "A judge will understand that someone taking care of the property obviously made a mistake," a spokeswomen told The Star-Ledger of Newark.


WILL SMITH SHOPPING IN PITTSBURGH?

Actor Will Smith shops at Sears in Pittsburgh, PA. Not! Smith's business manager alerted federal authorities of an identity theft against the actor after noticing $5,447 worth of items had been charged on a Sears account there in the actor's name. It turns out that Carlos Lomax, 41, had used Smith's social security number and other information to open 14 credit accounts at various stores around Pittsburgh. Lomax was apprehended after he'd charged $32,897.34 worth of loot. Lomax faces a maximum of 20 years in jail. At the time he stole the Fresh Prince's identity, Lomax was on probation for committing the same crime against basketballer Steve Smith.


TUCKER IN AFRICA

Chris Tucker, former President Bill Clinton, and Kevin Spacey are going to Africa on a five-day tour of Ghana, Nigeria, Rwanda, Mozambique, and South Africa, on an AIDS prevention/economic development campaign.


DENZEL WASHINGTON TO RECEIVE AWARD

Two time Academy Award®-winning actor Denzel Washington will put another prestigious trophy on his mantle when he receives the 17th Annual American Cinematheque Award on December 5, 2002 at the Beverly Hilton. "Denzel's career has been exemplary, encompassing every genre from drama to comedy, film noir to action, science fiction to Shakespeare, horror to history, and demonstrating enormous taste and respect for the art with roles that show a remarkable versatility from powerful leaders to slaves, authority figures to lawbreakers and beyond," American Cinematheque co-chairmen Peter Dekom and Mike Medavoy said in a joint statement. Previous recipients of the Cinematheque award include Eddie Murphy, Steven Spielberg, Sean Connery, Mel Gibson, Tom Cruise, Jodie Foster and Nicolas Cage.


STUDIOS ARE PLANTING PHONY REVIEWS ON WEB SITE MESSAGE BOARDS

Studios have admitted that they have recruited fans to plant rave (and often lengthy) reviews of movies on web site message boards. But following complaints from movie-related websites, Universal Studios Vice Chairman Marc Schmuger countered that the people posting the reviews were not employees but unpaid volunteers. "It's aggressive marketing, but it is not deceptive marketing," he told the Los Angeles Times. Web site visitors and owners call that kind of thinking ridiculous and believe such postings should be stopped.