News Roundup: Aug. 19


Top Story

A steady stream of high-profile visitors, including Anthony Hopkins, Quincy Jones, Mort Sahl, Diane Sawyer and Barbara Walters, have come to visit actor Robert Blake in prison. According to Reuters, the celebs have come to chat with Blake, who has been held without bail since April 18 in the murder of his wife, Bonnie Lee Bakley, through interconnected telephones across bulletproof glass in the visiting room of the Men’s Central Jail in Los Angeles. But Blake‘s friend Dale Olson, a retired publicist, said that the Baretta star is not getting any special treatment. Blake is allowed only a half-hour for visits on Thursdays and Saturdays, but requests for visits are growing. “He’s booked up through the middle of September,” Olson told Reuters.


Oscar winner Charlton Heston, who announced earlier this month that he has symptoms consistent with Alzheimer’s disease, said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times Sunday edition he has no plans to retire. Heston, the president of the National Rifle Association since 1998, talked about the animated version of Ben-Hur, which is due out next spring. Heston, 77, will deliver the film’s introduction, narrate the story and provide the voice for the title role.

Actor Danny Glover has been honored by the Federation of Southern Cooperatives Land Association Fund for his efforts to combat AIDS in Africa, The Associated Press reports. Glover accepted the award at the Civil Rights Institute in Birmingham, Ala., on Thursday. The 55-year-old Lethal Weapon star said he was honored to receive the award because his grandparents were Georgia farmers.

Keiko, the killer whale star of Free Willy, is swimming free. The orca was flown to Iceland in 1998 with hopes that he could eventually be returned to the wild in the North Atlantic Ocean, where he was captured. He was escorted out to sea July 8, and satellite data found Keiko more than 250 miles from Iceland. Although he is free, Keiko could still return to his pen, and keepers could lead him there if it appears he needs help, the AP reports.


Johnson & Johnson will sponsor nine new episodes of the PBS drama American Family, the AP reports. The award-winning series chronicles the events of a Hispanic family in Los Angeles. Johnson & Johnson has been the sole corporate underwriter of the series.

There is no truth to the story that appeared in the Aug. 15 edition of the New Times Los Angeles, which claimed NBC was about to sign a deal for a new reality series hosted by Tamara Brooks and Jackie Marris, the two California teens who appeared on national news after being abducted and raped earlier this month. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the story, written in a straightforward news style, was intended as a satire of TV news and its extensive coverage of the Brooks/Marris case. NBC denied there was any truth to the story after receiving several inquiries from reporters who saw a link to it on the Drudge Report.


California recording artists have lost their yearlong bid to cap their recording contracts at seven years. According to the AP, Sen. Kevin Murray, a former music agent, withdrew the bill on the verge of a state hearing last week because the idea lacked the votes to pass. Singer and Eagles drummer Don Henley said in a statement, “After months of negotiations on the seven-year issue, the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) and the recording artists were at an impasse on several major points.” Record industry officials maintain they must hold their successful acts to long-term recording contracts to cover losses on the majority of acts that fail.

Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi filed a lawsuit Friday against a bar for allegedly playing their music without a license, the AP reports. The rockers, members of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, say the Bridgeville, Pa., club RPM’s isn’t allowed to play music by ASCAP members without paying the annual $2,818 fee. The suit seeks $750 to $30,000 in damages and a permanent ban on the club’s use of ASCAP music.