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Celebrity news

April 14, 2005

Fonda signs few books in Atlanta


ATLANTA (AP) - Jane Fonda's book signings in New York and West Hollywood, Calif., attracted about 300 fans at each event, but fewer fans showed up in her adopted hometown of Atlanta.

Borders Books employees handed out only 146 fluorescent green numbers to fans who turned up for the scheduled noon to 1:30 p.m. signing Tuesday. By 1:05 p.m., Fonda had signed a copy of "My Life So Far" for the final time at the store in Atlanta's Buckhead neighborhood.

"These are always a bit like, 'What if you threw a party and nobody comes?'" Fonda joked to the crowd.

Museum to honor Griffin at the Waldorf


NEW YORK (AP) - Who is ... Merv Griffin?

The "Jeopardy!" and "Wheel of Fortune" creator will be honored by the Museum of Television & Radio at its annual New York gala on May 26. The event will be held at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel.

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"Merv Griffin is a unique force in the world of entertainment and media, combining his talents as a singer, performer and television personality with his skill as a business leader and entrepreneur," museum President Stuart N. Brotman said in a statement Tuesday. "He's truly a living legend."

Griffin, 79, began as a 19-year-old radio singer. His pseudo-Cockney interpretation of "I've Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts" sold 3 million copies in 1950.

He was often a substitute host on the "Tonight Show" before Johnny Carson took over, and later had his own long-running daytime talk show.

Nelson invites Dylan to his annual picnic


FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) - Willie Nelson is returning to Fort Worth for his Fourth of July picnic - and he's bringing Bob Dylan with him.

His 32nd annual picnic will be at the 27-acre North Forty concert field, just east of Billy Bob's Texas. Last year's concert at the same site drew 19,000 people.

Los Lonely Boys will perform, and about 20 more acts will be announced over the next month.

"Willie takes such an interest," said Pam Minick, marketing director for Billy Bob's Texas, which helps organize the picnic. "He picks every artist according to who he likes, and he negotiates the contract. Last year he wrote on a brown paper bag how much each one was going to get."

This year's picnic will honor the memory of Rick Smith of Fort Worth-based Smith Music Group, who died in August of complications from a heart attack.

Smith, a friend of Nelson's, convinced the Texas country music singer that the picnic should be in the Fort Worth Stockyards. His brother, Randy Smith, now runs the Smith Music Group, also is an organizer of this year's event.

James Dean Fest attracts celebrities


MARION, Ind. (AP) - Martin Sheen and Dennis Hopper will be among the celebrities visiting Indiana to mark the 50th anniversary of the death of James Dean.

The James Dean Fest is scheduled June 3-5 at the airport in Marion, about 60 miles northeast of Indianapolis.

Included on the festival schedule, released by organizers Tuesday, is the American premiere of a documentary on Dean's life, "James Dean: Forever Young," narrated by Sheen.

Sheen, who stars in NBC's "The West Wing," has said he was inspired to become an actor after watching Dean's performance in the film "East of Eden."

He will introduce the new documentary, which will be shown on June 4.

Organizers had wanted to show Dean's movies on the Fairmount farm where he grew up, but the plans outgrew the farm. Warner Bros. moved the event to Marion, where Dean was born.

Dean died Sept. 30, 1955, in a car crash in Cholame, Calif. He was 24.

Dean's three movies, "Giant," "East of Eden" and "Rebel Without a Cause," also will be shown during the three-day festival. The films will be introduced by actors who co-starred with Dean.

Dead microphone mutes Jeff Daniels


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Jeff Daniels called it a classic "Dumb & Dumber" moment.

During a live broadcast of Country Music Television's video awards show Monday, Daniels was performing a takeoff of Bob Dylan's 1965 "Subterranean Homesick Blues" film clip, arguably the first music video, when his microphone went dead.

Viewers saw a stagehand walk out and replace the microphone while Daniels kept going with his act, in which he played a guitar and did a humorous monologue by stringing together the titles of popular country songs.

"I could hear it through the monitors, but then I see all the people who were going along with it, and they're just sitting there," said Daniels, who starred with Jim Carrey in the 1994 comedy film "Dumb & Dumber."

"All of a sudden here comes the stage manager. I'm going, 'OK, at least it wasn't my fault.' It was a 'Dumb & Dumber' moment."

Daniels, 50, whose screen credits also include "Terms of Endearment" and "The Purple Rose of Cairo," was able to finish his act with the new microphone. He shrugged off the incident as part of live television.

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