News Roundup: Nov. 13

Top Story

SAG presidential candidate Valerie Harper, who lost in a bitterly contested race to Little House on the Prairie star Melissa Gilbert by 1,588 votes on Nov. 2, is challenging the election results because of what she claims were improper balloting procedures, Reuters reports. Fellow SAG members Elliot Gould and Kent McCord will join Harper in her fight, even though they won their races for recording secretary and treasurer respectively. “This step is based on our disturbance over the legitimacy of the election itself and not in terms of individual races,” Harper told Daily Variety. “So many voters are questioning how this election was conducted.” Harper said that she would challenge the election on three points: 24,800 of the 73,800 New York ballots lacked a signature line despite SAG requirements, there was an unannounced two-day extension for New York ballots, and SAG staff members were allegedly involved in the presidential campaign, despite a warning by SAG CEO Bob Pisano to remain neutral.

Ailing

George Harrison was released from Staten Island University Hospital in New York over the weekend and is reportedly receiving personalized care at the home of his doctor, Gil Lederman. According to ABCNews.com, Dr. Lederman spoke to the media in general terms about his stereotatic radiosurgery procedure, and how it’s helped patients who suffer from various forms of cancer, but the physician did not confirm that Harrison was his patient.

Deaths

British television and theater actress Peggy Mount died after a long illness at Denville Hall Nursing Home in Northwood, West London, BBCNews.com reports. She had suffered a series of strokes over the year, and she had recently lost her sight. Mount‘s film credits include Oliver!, Hotel Paradiso with Alec Guiness and The Naked Truth with Peter Sellers.

Weddings

Andie MacDowell married high-school classmate Rhett DeCamp Hartzog in a private ceremony at the Central United Methodist Church in Asheville, N.C., on Saturday, The Associated Press reports. “It was just real sweet and simple,” MacDowell‘s sister, Babs Rogers Richard, told AP. About 200 guests joined the family for a reception at the Biltmore Forest Country Club.

In Courts

The former husband of Spice Girl Melanie Brown, also known as Scary Spice, is facing charges for assaulting a 3-year-old boy on a children’s ride at London Zoo, AP reports. Jimmy Gulzar was reportedly visiting his 2-year-old daughter, Phoenix Chi, when the incident took place. Gulzar married Brown in 1998; the couple divorced after 15 months of marriage.

After what they’re calling a thorough investigation, Brazilian authorities claim that Mexican singer Gloria Trevi, who has been held since January 2000 in a Brazilian jail, became pregnant by artificial insemination to avoid being deported and facing child abuse charges in her native country. In the past, foreigners who are arrested in Brazil have avoided extradition by having a child of Brazilian nationality, the Brazilian newspaper paper O Estado de Sao Paulo reported. According to BBCNews.com, Trevi spent several months on the run in various Latin American countries before finally arriving in Rio de Janeiro, where she was arrested following an extradition request from the Mexican Government. The Brazilian press has mentioned that the singer might have impregnated herself after receiving a used condom and a syringe, but nothing has been confirmed. At first, Trevi claimed that she was raped during a riot at the Policia Federal prison in March, but BBCNews.com is reporting that police have concluded that she impregnated herself with a male prisoner’s sperm. Now six months pregnant, the singer has refused to have a DNA test to prove the identity of the father.

In General

Paul McCartney had just flown into New York on Monday to raise funds for the Sept. 11 attacks when he witnessed the aftermath of the American Airlines crash in Queens. “It was horrendous and tragic irony trying to raise money for the victims of the last crashes and then something dreadful was happening all over again,” McCartney told his spokesperson after landing, Reuters reports. The singer was returning to the city to promote his latest record, From a Lover to a Friend, and to do radio interviews. “That’s why I wrote ‘Freedom’ and that is why I am going to keep pushing it. I will not stop,” he said.

The sci-fi series Battlestar Galactica will not be re-launching any time soon. Director Bryan Singer, the driving force behind resurrecting the series, which first premiered on ABC in 1978, is too busy working on the sequel to X-Men, Reuters reports. Fox wants Singer to concentrate on the X-Men sequel before committing to any other work. X-Men, which is one of the studio’s most important projects currently in development, is slated for a fall 2002 release.

One or two production staff members at CBS’s 60 minutes may lose their jobs, or simply be assigned to another CBS news magazine, as the station tries to restructure expenses while covering the war on terrorism, a network spokesperson, Sandra Genelius, told AP on Monday. The final decision hasn’t been made yet, she added.

Michael Douglas may team up for the first time with both his father Kirk and his 23-year-old son Cameron in the comedy Smack in the Puss, Reuters reports. “It’s a black comedy about three generations of a dysfunctional family living in New York, and their attempt to reconcile,” Michael Douglas told Reuters. Fred Schepisi is attached to direct, and Cameron Douglas‘ Furthur Films production company has plans to produce the picture and secure its financing. Shooting will begin in February 2002.

The State of California will allow film and TV production companies to use dozens of reduced price or free public locations to prevent the companies from taking their business elsewhere, Reuters reported. “By making more public properties available, we will enhance California’s dominance in the entertainment industry while boosting our state’s economy,” Gov. Gray Davis said in a statement. Film and TV production companies have been moving projects to Canada because tax breaks there and a strong U.S. dollar can reduce production costs by up to 30 percent.

Lady Diana — A Smile Enchants the World, the first stage musical about the life and death of Diana, Princess of Wales, has failed to attract audiences after opening to a half-empty theatre in Saarbruecken, Germany, on Saturday. According Reuters, the musical won what one critic described as “polite” applause as it portrayed Diana’s struggle with an eating disorder and a troubled marriage. “I was disappointed,” Sandra Brettar, a local resident, told Reuters. “I thought it would be a tribute to Diana but it definitely wasn’t. She comes off badly in it.”

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