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Celebrity news

May 21, 2005

Grace to grace screen in Spider-Man movie


NEW YORK (AP) - Topher Grace, who starred in "That '70s Show," has joined the cast of "Spider-Man 3."

Although his character wasn't revealed, director Sam Raimi said Grace "will be perfect for the complexities of the role we are developing."

"Topher Grace is an extraordinarily talented actor," Raimi said in a statement Thursday. "I couldn't be more excited about the direction we are taking the continuing adventures of Peter Parker."

The 26-year-old actor will join franchise stars Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst and James Franco. "Sideways" star Thomas Haden Church also has been announced as a cast member in the film, which is set for release in May 2007.

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Shooting on "Spider-Man 3" is expected to begin next year.




Benefit raises money for AIDS research


MOUGINS, France (AP) - Penelope Cruz offered the dress off her back and Liza Minnelli sold a song - to help raise money for AIDS research.

The glitzy benefit dinner Thursday on the sidelines of the Cannes Film Festival brought in more than $3 million, a record at the annual fundraiser for the American Foundation for AIDS Research, or amfAR.

Host Sharon Stone showed off her talents as a speed-talking auctioneer. When an Alfa GT went on the block, the "Basic Instinct" star told one bidder: "You're good-looking, but you'd be better-looking in that car." It went for $90,000.

Stone hiked up the price of several items by promising a kiss to the highest bidder or offering to tag along with the buyer of a luxury vacation.

Two vanity cases that Stone designed for Louis Vuitton sold for $180,000 each.

Milla Jovovich offered $110,000 for Minnelli to perform "But the World Goes 'Round." Cruz's strapless pearl-colored gown was sold to restaurateur Giuseppe Cipriani for $100,000. And Miramax co-founder Bob Weinstein bought a tennis lesson with Boris Becker and Monica Seles for $100,000.

Salma Hayek, Clive Owen, Benicio Del Toro, Brittany Murphy, Jessica Alba, Javier Bardem, Ziyi Zhang and Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen were among those attending the dinner. Seats cost $2,500 each.




Hopkins to receive UCLA Medal


LOS ANGELES (AP) - Don't forget the Chianti.

Anthony Hopkins, who won an Oscar for his role in "The Silence of the Lambs," will receive the UCLA Medal - the highest honor at the University of California, Los Angeles - during the School of Theater, Film and Television commencement on June 17, the university said Wednesday.

Hopkins, who has been teaching a series of seminars for acting and directing students at UCLA, has appeared in nearly 100 films. His screen credits also include "The Remains of the Day," "Nixon" and "Amistad."

UCLA Chancellor Albert Carnesale will present Hopkins with the medal.

The school's commencement will honor some 250 students in the department of theater and the department of film, television and digital media.




Cronkite recovering from heel surgery


NEW YORK (AP) - Former CBS newscaster Walter Cronkite underwent a minor medical procedure on his right heel earlier this week and was reported doing well.

Cronkite, 88, was given a preliminary skin graft Monday to repair a wound related to surgery on his Achilles tendon three or four years ago, his chief of staff, Marlene Adler, said Thursday. He had injured the tendon playing tennis.

He felt "very well," but was advised to limit his activities for a week, Adler said.

If the procedure is successful, he could undergo a second graft, she said.

Cronkite underwent quadruple coronary bypass surgery in 1997 and had knee replacement surgery in 1996.

He anchored the "CBS Evening News" from 1962 until he retired in 1981.




Romano wants to do standup comedy


NEW YORK (AP) - Everybody loved Raymond - but don't look for Ray Romano to star in another network sitcom.

"You know, I think I've done that," Romano said in an interview with Fox News Channel's Alan Colmes that aired Wednesday and Thursday. "As far as network sitcoms go, that's my legacy. So I don't want to touch that."

Instead, the star of "Everybody Loves Raymond" said he plans to get back to standup comedy and possibly do an HBO show in the future.

"Something like on HBO, it seems intriguing," he said. "I want to curse. Nine years. It's been nine years since I've cursed on camera."

Though the 47-year-old actor-comedian said he won't be returning to CBS, a spinoff for another character on the show may be in the works.

Ray's sad-sack brother, Robert (played by Brad Garrett), and his wife may be moving in with her parents in Philadelphia, "but it's just in the talk stage now," Romano said.

Though Monday's series finale was filmed months ago, Romano said he still hasn't adjusted to life without a steady job - and doesn't plan to.

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