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May 2002
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LISA 'LEFT EYE' LOPES DIES IN HONDURAS

Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes of the Grammy-award winning R and B trio TLC, was killed in a car crash while in Honduras last month. In addition to singing, Lopes had appeared in the film "House Party 3" and had been under consideration for one of the roles in "Josie and the Pussycats." Her record company said there were six other people in the car, but that she was the only fatality. "No words can possibly express the sorrow and sadness I feel for this most devastating loss," said Arista president L.A. Reid. The singer had been active in helping out at a child development center in the Central American country and had often traveled to Honduras' northern coast to work with a nonprofit organization, U.S. Embassy spokesman Carlos Bakota said. Lopes's rental car crashed and rolled on a highway 150 miles north of Tegucigalpa, the capital.


WILL SMITH INTO REAL ESTATE

Will Smith's company may soon be building a 500-room hotel in Broward County, Florida. USA Today reports that Smith's company, Treyball Developments, may step in as the developer in a stalled project to build a minority-owned hotel. Smith's brother, Michael Peck, told Broward's County Commission that their firm is in the final stages of a plan to build the hotel and that the project may be able to be completed without cash from the county. This is not the first hotel project for Smith. He was involved in others including one in his hometown, Philadelphia.


BERRY GETS AN EYEFUL

SPAIN - Oscar-winning actress Halle Berry was injured last month on the set of her new film, the latest James Bond installment, "Die Another Day." The star was filming a scene in which Pierce Brosnan shoots down a helicopter flown by Rick Yune, who plays the heavy XAO, when the accident happened. During a series of explosions a piece of debris from a smoke grenade flew into the 33-year-old actress' left eye and she was rushed to a Spanish hospital where the fragment was removed during a half hour operation. The accident left her with an inflamed, bright red eye, but went right back to work after just one day off. Doctors said the star was lucky and there was no permanent damage.


MURPHY SUED BY SUPER

MAccording to Variety, a Chicago housing super is suing Eddie Murphy. In a suit filed March 22 in Illinois, Tally Collier is seeking $75,000 in actual damages and $10 million in punitive damages, from Murphy and others connected to the comedian's claymation TV show, the "PJ's." The "PJ's" revolved around the wacky life of a Chicago housing project superintendant. It ran on Fox starting in January 1999 and finished on the WB, in 2001. Murphy, was the executive producer and provided the voice for the lead character. The janitor claims that Murphy based his show on an amateur documentary in which he was featured and that certain other characters from the "PJ's" were lifted from the documentary. He believes Eddie and other producers connected to the series got a hold of the tape, after it was submitted to the Oprah Winfrey Show in 1998, for a possible show segment.



PRINCE SUED OVER GIFTS

Singer and part time actor Prince and Paisley Park Enterprises have been sued by one of the singer's former girlfriends over gifts he gave to her while they were dating in 1991. Prince gave her a jacket he wore during a concert, an audiocassette, a Christmas card, a comic book, and a video, that she tried to auction off last summer. But when Prince found out, he blocked the sale saying that she'd received the items unlawfully. His ex is now suing for defamation, tortious interference with an existing contract, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and negligent infliction of emotional distress.


GOLDBERG OUT OF CENTER SQUARE

Comedienne/actress Whoopi Goldberg has decided not to return to "Hollywood Squares" for a fifth season after failing to reach an agreement with Squares syndicator, King World Productions. Goldberg was earning $10 million a year for her seat in the center square and an executive producer title. For that kind of money, what's not to work out?


GAYE TO BE IN MATRIX

After the death of singer/actress Aaliyah, rumors ran rampant about who would take her place in "The Matrix" sequels. Brandy's came up several times, but that didn't pan out. Finally, the producers of the sci-fi action thriller have finally given the role to Nona Gaye, daughter of tragic soul singer Marvin Gaye. Gaye will play the character Zee. No stranger to the big screen, Gaye starred in "Ali" as Belinda, one of the boxer's wives. The second installment of the trilogy, "The Matrix Reloaded," is expected in theaters in May 2003.


GRIER WANTS TO DO SERIOUS COMEDY

In the 70s Pam Grier toted big guns around on screen. These days the original Foxy Brown wants to be funny in films. Recently the actress told AP she may do a comedy series. She said that while Chris Tucker and Eddie Murphy get opportunities as funnymen, female performers "aren't very funny in comedies. (Producers) usually want the women to be straight and pretty," she said.


FOREST WHITAKER IN "TWILIGHT ZONE"

Actor-director-producer Forest Whitaker is set to host UPN's pilot of Twilight Zone." In additon to hosting the anthology series, Whitaker will also have producing input. Whitaker will take on the role Rod Serling played in the original "The Twilight Zone" series.


REVLON BOSS ANGRY WITH BERRY

According to Britain's The Daily Star newspaper, Revlon owner Ron Perelman was at Elton John's post Oscar bash in the Moomba when newly crowned Oscar winner Halle Berry, casually said, "Of course, now you'll have to pay me more." According to the newspaper column, "Perelman turned purple with rage and stalked off." A Hollywood source said, "Perelman was furious. He turned purple with rage and stalked off. He said Halle was just a 'bit-part' actress when Revlon signed her up and paid her a lot of money." The following day Perelman told his lawyers to figure out how to make the most from Halle's Oscar win. The cosmetics giant took out a full-page ad in a fashion magazine, congratulating the star on her win.



MONICA TO GET SERIOUS

R&B singer Monica is looking for her next movierole. Her acting debut was in the MTV movie "Love Song," in 2000, but she told the Associated Press that she hasn't been able to shake the character she played in that TV flick. She said that all of the scripts she's viewed have cast her in a very similar role, but she says she's now looking for something more "serious."


BET AWARDS MOVES TO LOS ANGELES

Last year the inaugural BET Awards were in Las Vegas. Now the award show is relocating to Los Angeles. Blacks will be honored for outstanding achievements in music, motion pictures and sports. This year, BET has added three new categories, including additions to Viewers’ Choice. The awards will be at the Kodak Theater on Tuesday, June 25, 2002. The show will be hosted by Steve Harvey and Cedric
"The Entertainer."


JACKSON TO HOST ESPY's

Samuel L. Jackson will again host the upcoming 10th annual ESPY Awards. The awards show is in celebration of sports and athletes and will be broadcast on the cable sports channel on July 10 from LA's new Kodak Theater. "From celebrity golf events to Hollywood hoops leagues, actors clearly dream of athletic stardom," Jackson said in a statement. "The ESPY Awards provide us the chance to live out those dreams and share the stage with sport's most accomplished performers. The 10th annual show stands to be particularly memorable. I can't wait."


OPRAH CHANGES MIND ON AFRICA TRIP

Actress and talk show diva Oprah Winfrey recently postponed a planned trip to South Africa because she said she just got a funny feeling about traveling outside the US right now. "My instinct says things aren't right in parts of the world," said Winfrey. But it's not just Africa, the actress says she is not traveling anywhere for the time being. Winfrey was due in South Africa for the launch of her monthly magazine "O." South Africa will be the first country outside the United States to have its own edition.


STUNTMAN KILLED ON "XXX" SET

An American stuntman was killed while filming a scene for Vin Diesel's new film, "XXX." The 45-year-old died when he smashed into a bridge while parasailing in the Czech Republic. XXX is being made by "Fast and Furious" director Rob Cohen, and co-stars Samuel L. Jackson. Police said the unidentified victim had been parasailing behind a boat in the Vlatva River in Prague. XXX is a spy thriller about an extreme sports athlete recruited by authorities to infiltrate a crime ring.