Sherry Lansing, one of the most powerful figures in the movie business and the first woman ever to helm a major studio, plans to exit her position as chairwoman of Viacom Inc.'s Paramount Pictures at the end of next year when her contract expires, according to the Los Angeles Times. Lansing, 60, a former actress and model, became the first female president of production for a Hollywood studio in 1980 when she took the job at 20th Century Fox Productions. She later partnered with producer Stanley Jaffe in 1983 and together they made such films as Fatal Attraction and The Accused. When Jaffe became the president of Paramount Communications in 1992, he brought Lansing with him, making her studio chief. Some of the films under her watch included the Oscar-winning blockbusters Titanic, Braveheart and Saving Private Ryan. According to a source familiar with the situation, The Times reports Lansing will stay long enough to help choose her successor and to aid in the transition. But after 12 years in one of the most high-pressure jobs in the business, Lansing has made it known that she does not plan to seek another entertainment industry job.
Brosnan thinks Colin Farrell would be good Bond
Pierce Brosnan, who played agent James Bond in the last four 007 films, said although several actors could fill the secret agent's shoes, he favored a certain fellow Irishman, AP reports. "I'll give it to Colin Farrell. He'll eat the head off them all," Brosnan, 51, said following an entertainment awards ceremony Saturday in Dublin. Brosnan, who concluded his franchise run with 2002's Die Another Day, also said he was discussing a possible collaboration with director Quentin Tarantino, who is considering adapting the Bond novel Casino Royale. "We have discussed things, Quentin and I, but I don't know if it's going to be that particular project," Brosnan said.
Wyclef Jean goes to Haiti to end violence
Hip-hop star Wyclef Jean visited Haiti Sunday to try to help end a wave of violence that has left at least 79 people dead, AP reports, stemming from the Sept. 30 anniversary of a 1991 coup against former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide. The singer said he planned to talk to all sectors of Haitian society during his four-day visit to promote dialogue and plans for a peace concert in December. Jean also told AP the U.S. presidential election could help or hinder the process. "I think if (President) Bush comes in power then there's not too much of a negotiation with Haiti. It's more like whatever he wants to do he's just going to do it," Jean said in an interview Monday. "I think if (John) Kerry became president, he would bring peace. There would be a dialogue."
Dutch filmmaker shot dead
Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh, who outraged Muslims with his controversial films dealing with Islam after the Sept. 11 attacks, was stabbed and shot dead in Amsterdam Tuesday, Reuters reports. Van Gogh, 47, a distant relative of 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh, was attacked near a park close to the center of the Dutch capital. Police arrested a 26-year-old man with dual Dutch and Moroccan citizenship at the scene, officials told Reuters, after an exchange of gunfire in which the suspect wounded a police officer. Van Gogh received many death threats stemming from his most recent film, Submission, about a Muslim woman forced into an arranged marriage who is abused by her husband and raped by her uncle, which aired on Dutch television earlier this year.
Cosby starts scholarship in Mass. school
Bill Cosby helped his alma mater, the University of Massachusetts, raise $1.5 million for a new program aimed at giving scholarships to students from the poorer communities around the university, The Associated Press reports. The bulk of the money comes from a benefit concert that Cosby gave at the school Friday. "We want to say this is a place that reaches out to people living in depressed areas," Cosby said. "That this university has open arms for all Americans as a state school should." Cosby also said his hope is that students selected for the awards would teach in schools in economically depressed areas for at least two years after their graduation, AP reports.
McGraw joins AFL ranks
Tim McGraw, who plays a former high-school football player in the sports drama Friday Night Lights, has become a part owner of the Arena Football League's Nashville Kats, AP reports. The country singer joins Bud Adams, owner of the NFL's Tennessee Titans, and Mark Bloom as co-owners of the franchise. McGraw, who will perform for Kats' season ticket holders and sponsors next year in a bid to boost attendance, is not the only singer to head and AFL team. Jon Bon Jovi is part owner of the Philadelphia Soul. "If he gets out there, I'll get out there because I know I can cream him," McGraw joked, adding he'd do anything to help promote his own new team, even if it means getting on the field with Bon Jovi.
Movie musical star Peggy Ryan dies
Peggy Ryan, who teamed with dance partner Donald O'Connor in movie musicals such as This Is the Life and When Johnny Comes Marching Home, died Saturday in Las Vegas' Sunrise Hospital of complications from two strokes, AP reports. She was 80. Ryan and O'Connor became known for their routines in films such as Mister Big, Chip Off the Old Block and Bowery to Broadway. Her friend Dottie Fusch said Ryan had taught tap dancing and produced revues in Las Vegas for the last several years and was teaching and performing until several days before entering the hospital. Ryan is survived by her daughter, Kerry English, son, Sean Sherman, and five grandchildren.