General News

Here comes the judge

By:
May 08, 2001 | 3:20am EDT

Welcome to land of lawsuits and legal action, Hollywood-style.

In the last week, a few celebrities and other industry folk have either aired their grievances in court - or were dragged into it. It's not a new occurrence in the topsy-turvy world of entertainment. In fact, it happens all the time. Just seems that lately it's been catching. Here's a quick rundown:

Halle cries foul

Halle Berry and musician husband Eric Benet have filed a $5 million libel lawsuit against the Star tabloid for printing an article last week saying the newlyweds' marriage was already "on the rocks." The couple wed secretly in January after a 1 ½ year engagement.

The suit accuses the paper of causing undue emotional distress on the couple, as well as severely invading their privacy. In a statement, Berry and Benet said the article was "offensive and baseless" and the allegations that Benet and his daughter from a previous marriage have moved out of Berry's house and were looking for their own place to live were blatantly untrue.

No stranger to courtroom troubles, Berry is still on probation after pleading no contest last year to leaving the scene of an auto accident.

Fiorentino gets several fouls

Seems like actress Linda Fiorentino likes to accept work, but then never shows up, according to one lawsuit. A German production company is suing the actress for $5 million in damages, claiming she basically held their Georgia O'Keefe biopic, Till the End of Time, "hostage."

Fiorentino, who was to play O'Keefe, refused to report for rehearsals, makeup, and camera tests, the suit alleges. It charges the actress with jeopardizing the participation of Ben Kingsley, who was to play O'Keefe's lover, photographer Alfred Stieglitz. The film was finally shut down in August when the production company could not find a replacement for Fiorentino, Variety reported.

She also may be sued for abandoning her role in the CBS TV pilot Hudson's Law, a legal drama. In March, Variety reported that the producers couldn't locate her to begin work. They have since recast the role with actress Kyra Sedgwick.

Director Kevin Smith, who directed Fiorentino in Dogma, publicly stated he'll never work with the actress again. It is unclear whether she will reprise her role in Men in Black 2.

"Traffic" pays up

Producers for the Oscar-winning film Traffic have paid an undisclosed sum to the Cincinnati Country Day School, an elite private school, for the unauthorized use of its name in the film. The film depicted the excessive use of drugs by the students at the school. Further, the name will be not used in any re-release of the movie.

Bochco's "NYPD Blues" gets paid

The popular cop show NYPD Blues was finally back on the market this month. The rerun rights were picked up by Court TV and TNT as part of the settlement of Steven Bochco Prods.' lawsuit against 20th Century Fox Television.

The deal allows Court TV to run the show in primetime, starting in the fall; TNT will carry the reruns during other times in the day. Blue reruns play on F/X, Fox's sister cable network, which prompted Bochco in 1999 to sue Fox. He claimed he was cheated out of at least $50 million on the sale to F/X. Fox maintains its distribution rights to the long running cop drama.

Supremes' Wilson says, "Stop!"

Mary Wilson of the Motown legends The Supremes wants to stop copycat musical groups - in the name of morality. She testified Wednesday in Boston in front of eight lawmakers and a crowd of about 150 in favor of a bill that would penalize copycat groups, passing themselves off as the originals, and their promoters. These groups were "demeaning" to what The Supremes accomplished in their career, she said. The bill would require copycat groups to be listed as a featured act and would impose fines between $1,000 to $5,000 for violations.

And then there's Robert…

Poor Robert Downey Jr. So talented, yet so troubled. After his most recent arrest Tuesday, when an officer spotted him in Culver City, Calif., acting "suspicious" and booked him on investigation of using an undisclosed "stimulant," Downey won't be going to jail, as of yet. Instead, he's being sent to six months in rehab for violating his parole, officials said Wednesday.

"Just because somebody has violated their parole doesn't mean they go back to prison," California Department of Corrections officer Russ Heimerich explained to The Associated Press.

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