News, Sept. 22: Brando’s Ashes Scattered, Moore’s Next Docu Lands at Miramax, U.S. Turns Away Singer Cat Stevens, More…

Brando’s gets final resting place

Legendary actor Marlon Brando was finally put to rest when his ashes were spread in Tahiti and Death Valley, Calif., the Los Angeles Times reports. A recent memorial service for The Godfather star, who died of lung failure at age 80 on July 1, was held at the home of Hollywood producer Mike Medavoy and was attended by Warren Beatty, Jack Nicholson and Sean Penn. Some of Brando‘s ashes were scattered in Death Valley, a place that the actor cherished, his son Miko Brando told the Times. The ashes of Brando‘s late friend Wally Cox, who died in 1973, were also poured onto the desert landscape as part of the same ceremony, but how Cox’s ashes were in the possession of Brando‘s family was unknown, the paper reports. The family is also preparing a set of DVDs based on unreleased footage, shot within the past three years, of Brando teaching the finer points of the acting craft to young performers and interviewing prominent fellow professionals, which includes Brando talking to other actors such as Penn, Nick Nolte, Jon Voight and Edward James Olmos.

Miramax snags Moore’s next docu

Miramax Films will finance and distribute Michael Moore‘s upcoming documentary, tentatively titled Sicko, Variety reports. Moore is expected to begin production on the film, which examines the American healthcare system, early next year. The filmmaker’s current documentary, the anti-Bush rant Fahrenheit 9/11, was purchased by Harvey and Bob Weinstein’s newly created distribution company, Fellowship Adventure Group, and released in association with Lions Gate Films and IFC Films after Disney, Miramax’s parent company, refused to distribute the film. According to Variety, it is still unclear where Disney stands on Moore‘s newest venture.

CBS faces new improprieties over bogus Bush memos

CBS News faced new charges of journalistic impropriety Tuesday, a day after the network said it regretted using questionable documents in a report challenging President Bush’s military service, Reuters reports. In a USA Today report, the source, retired National Guard Lt. Col. Bill Burkett, allegedly gave CBS the documents only after the network agreed to arrange a conversation between Burkett and someone from Democratic Sen. John Kerry’s presidential campaign. In an interview with CNN, Kerry campaign aide Joe Lockhart confirmed that CBS had given him Burkett’s number and said he had a conversation with him about how Kerry should run his campaign–just days before the CBS story aired.

Cat Stevens’ flight diverted

Former pop singer Cat Stevens, who quit the music industry after converting to Islam in 1977, was denied entry to the United States, Reuters reports. His flight from London to Washington was diverted to Maine after his name, Yusuf Islam, turned up on a watch list, a U.S. transportation security official said. U.S. Customs and border protection authorities discovered the name matched a federal watch list, including the no-fly list. Federal authorities planned to put the singer, known for hit songs such as “Moonshadow” and “Wild World,” on a return flight early Wednesday, the official said.

O’Donnell sued over courtroom sketches

Two courtroom artists are suing former TV talk show host Rosie O’Donnell for copyright infringement, accusing her of trying to pass off photographs of their sketches as her own work, Reuters reports. According to a 33-page complaint, artists Andrea Shepard and her mother Shirley gave O’Donnell digital photographs of the drawings, made during O’Donnell‘s $100 million breach-of-contract trial with the now defunct magazine Rosie, for the purpose of helping the former talk show host choose which images she wished to buy. But the suit alleges O’Donnell cut the photos apart, removed the Shepards’ name, address and copyright notice and made collages of their work, autographing them with her name. O’Donnell‘s publicist insists the comedian merely used the contact sheets as a small part of her own artwork that combines painting and collage to convey her emotional experience during the trial.

Mexican pop diva released from prison

Mexican pop diva Gloria Trevi, once known as the Mexican Madonna, was freed from prison Tuesday after being found not guilty of helping to kidnap and rape teenage girls lured into her cult-like musical clan with promises of stardom, Reuters reports. Judge Javier Pineda acquitted Trevi, 36, and two backup singers on charges of acting as accomplices in the corruption, kidnapping and rape of minors by Trevi’s former manager and ex-lover, Sergio Andrade. Trevi and Andrade were arrested in 2000 in Brazil after living for several months as fugitives from sexual abuse charges in Mexico. The trial for Andrade is still ongoing.

Petrie Jr. officially voted in as WGA prez

Writers Guild of America members overwhelmingly elected appointed incumbent screenwriter Daniel Petrie Jr. (Toy Soldiers) over reform-minded challenger Eric Hughes (White Nights) as WGA West president, Variety reports. Petrie, who has held the post since March, garnered 1,506 votes (71 percent) to Hughes’ 541, with 64 votes for write-in candidates or left blank. 27 percent of eligible members cast ballots.

Adult filmmaker Russ Meyer dies

Producer-director Russ Meyer, best known for creating “skin flicks” including the 1966 cult-classic Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!, died Saturday in Los Angeles from complications of pneumonia, AP reports. He was 82.