Originally created 04/24/04

People in the News

JERUSALEM -- An Israeli movie theater plans to screen Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ," a decision likely to raise an uproar in the Jewish state over accusations the movie is anti-Semitic.

The Tel Aviv Cinematheque is in final negotiations with Gibson's production company for a one-time showing of the film in Israel, probably in a few months, cinema manager Alon Garbuz said.

The release of the movie in the United States sparked a debate over whether Jews bore responsibility for Jesus' Crucifixion. Rabbis in the United States warned that the film would fuel anti-Semitism.

Angry Jewish reaction prompted the Vatican to reiterate its stance that Jews were not collectively responsible for Jesus' persecution. Gibson has said he didn't mean to portray Jews in a damaging light, and was only trying to depict the New Testament as it was written.

Palestinians have applauded the film, saying it truthfully shows Jews as the culprits, and have compared the Crucifixion to their suffering under Israeli occupation.

Garbuz said the cinematheque has been criticized for its decision to show the movie.

"I think that those who think that the film is anti-Semitic shouldn't come see it," he said. "No one has the moral duty to decide for the public what they can see."

Jewish and Christian clergy will oversee a discussion with the audience after the viewing.

Israel's censorship board could prevent the screening if it deems the movie is anti-Semitic, but Garbuz said he has received word the board won't stop the showing.

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NEW YORK -- The rest of the country was stunned, but Jennifer Hudson says her ejection this week from "American Idol" didn't surprise her.

"I wasn't shocked at all," Hudson said on Fox's "Good Day Live" Friday. "If you've noticed, I've been through the fire."

The 22-year-old singer, among the finalists on the Fox competition dubbed "The Three Divas," had been in the bottom three in viewer votes before.

But the judges praised her for improving each week, and she wowed the audience Tuesday night with her powerful rendition of Barry Manilow's "Weekend in New England."

Theories abounded as to why she was voted off Wednesday night, ranging from racism to foul weather that knocked out power and phone service in her hometown of Chicago. Hudson and the other two "Divas," Fantasia Barrino and La Toya London, are all black and were the three lowest vote-getters this week, even though they'd been considered the show's strongest singers.

"To me, it's up in the air. ... It's a waste of thoughts to even think about what happened," Hudson said. "If there was a tornado in Chicago ... well, then, it wasn't fair for me to be leaving the show."

Hudson thinks there should be another vote, but she added, "I feel like I'm in a better place."

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NEW YORK -- Beyonce, Harry Connick Jr. and Nathan Lane are among the performers lined up to belt out tunes from "South Pacific" on the world's largest cruise ship Saturday at a fund-raiser for Katie Couric's colorectal research organization.

About 1,000 people will attend the event, which is expected to raise at least $4 million, said Couric, the co-host of NBC's "Today" show. It will take place on the Queen Mary 2, which arrived in Manhattan for the first time Friday. At 151,400 tons, the liner is three times larger than the Titanic.

"Cunard (Line) approached some people at my organization about a year ago and very generously offered to host our next event," Couric said. "At that point I thought, 'What next event?' but given their offer I felt like I needed to plan another one."

Couric partnered with the Entertainment Industry Foundation in 2000 to found the National Colorectal Cancer Research Alliance after her husband died of colon cancer.

The number of colonoscopy screenings has increased 20 percent since the center opened, according to the center.

Nicole Kidman, Antonio Banderas, Glenn Close and Jon Bon Jovi also are expected to attend the dinner and performance of Richard Rodgers' works, which includes "Oklahoma!" and "The Sound of Music."

Couric said she thought she'd interviewed all the performers at least once.

"After 13 years on the 'Today' show, you've pretty much interviewed everyone," she said. "I personally reached out to them. I called them personally to see if I could twist their arms."

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LONDON -- Frances Shand Kydd, the mother of the late Princess Diana, was being treated at a hospital in Scotland after falling ill at home, a friend said.

Shand Kydd, 67, was admitted to the hospital near her home on the Argyll coast several days ago, the friend said.

She is "on the mend," her friend and Catholic priest, Father William McLean, said after visiting her. He didn't identify her illness.

Diana's mother was taken from her home on Seil Island to the Lorn and Islands District Hospital on Oban. The Daily Record newspaper said that happened last week.

Shand Kydd, who regularly attends Mass at St. Columba's Cathedral in Oban, has previously said her Catholic faith helped her to deal with the grief of her daughter's death.

McLean said he hoped Shand Kydd would soon be healthy enough to be released.

A hospital spokesman refused to comment on her illness or her condition.

Princess Diana and her companion, Dodi Fayed, died Aug. 31, 1997, in a crash in a Paris tunnel as paparazzi pursued their Mercedes.

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COLUMBIA, S.C. -- The University of South Carolina has acquired more than 2,000 pages of F. Scott Fitzgerald's screenplay manuscripts.

The archive announced Tuesday is a collection of obscure manuscripts, revised typescripts and working drafts for screenplays Fitzgerald wrote for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer from 1937-38.

The university bought the collection with $475,000 in private contributions.

The archive will become part of the Matthew J. and Arlyn Bruccoli Collection at the university's Thomas Cooper Library in Columbia.

Matthew Bruccoli is an English professor at the university who has written or edited dozens of books about Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and their generation. He obtained the archive from a dealer, who got it from a former studio employee who does not want to be identified.

Bruccoli said the new documentary evidence "fills the largest gap in our knowledge of Fitzgerald's career and his professionalism. It will yield long-term benefits for teaching and research."

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DETROIT -- The Detroit Symphony Orchestra has hired Anne Parsons, general manager of the New York City Ballet, as executive director.

Parsons, 46, replaces Emil Kang, who resigned in December following the orchestra's financial problems, the Detroit Free Press reported Thursday.

Detroit orchestra officials declined comment.

The orchestra has a $2.2 million accumulated deficit and is searching for a successor to music director Neeme Jarvi. It is developing plans for the $60 million Max M. Fisher Music Center, which opened in October.

Parsons has run the New York City Ballet since 1998. She was general manager of the Hollywood Bowl and Hollywood Bowl Orchestra at the Los Angeles Philharmonic from 1991-98. She was orchestra manager of the Boston Symphony from 1983-91.

"I think it's an inspired choice," said Deborah Borda, president of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Detroit orchestra's executive director from 1989-90. "Anne has a tremendous background in orchestral management and in arts management. It's a wonderful match."

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TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Jackie Chan's next movie should be banned in Taiwan because of the actor's remarks about last month's presidential election, a senior ruling party lawmaker said.

At a news conference in Shanghai last month, the action star called Taiwan's disputed election "the biggest joke in the world."

"We want to propose a motion at the legislature to ask the government to ban showings of Jackie Chan's new movie," Parris Chang, a senior member of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party, said Thursday.

Chan's latest Hollywood film, "Around the World in 80 Days," is set to open on the island in June. His other Hollywood films include "Shanghai Knights" and the "Rush Hour" movies.

President Chen Shui-bian narrowly won the March 20 vote, but opposition candidate Lien Chan claims the vote was marred by irregularities, though he's provided little proof.

The High Court is working out how to conduct a recount, tentatively scheduled for next month.

Chan, who's married to a Taiwanese actress, is a frequent visitor to the island, where he has appeared in commercials for humanitarian causes.

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COPENHAGEN, Denmark -- As she prepares to marry Denmark's crown prince, Australian Mary Donaldson said learning her fiance's mother tongue is a difficult prospect. In private, she said Thursday, the two converse in English.

"There are many difficult things about the Danish language. The pronunciation is hard," Donaldson said in an interview that aired on Danish public television network DR-1. She spoke in Danish with a noticeable accent.

Crown Prince Frederik and Donaldson, who met during the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, will marry May 14 at Copenhagen's Lutheran cathedral. The 32-year-old will become the first Australian woman to stand in line to become queen.

"It takes a long time to learn to speak Danish because many Danes also speak English very well," she said.

When the couple are together, "we do speak a little bit of English together when I should be practicing Danish," she said with a shy smile.

The interview was part of a 52-minute documentary about the future crown princess made for the Danish Broadcasting Corp. by a local production company, JJ Film. The entire program will air May 10.

The film crew followed Donaldson as she prepares to become a Danish citizen and readies for the wedding.

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NEW YORK -- Richard Gere has been honored by the American Museum of the Moving Image.

Louis Gossett Jr., his co-star in "An Officer and a Gentleman," recalled that his combat with Gere in the 1982 film left him with "a hairline fracture in the ribs."

"But we never had a cross word," Gossett added, the New York Daily News reported in Thursday's editions. "Debra Winger took care of that."

Gere, 54, won a Golden Globe Award for his role as Billy Flynn in the 2002 film "Chicago." His other movies include "Pretty Woman" and the upcoming "Shall We Dance?"

Past "Salute" honorees include Julia Roberts, Goldie Hawn, Dustin Hoffman, Tom Hanks, Mel Gibson and Billy Crystal.

Also attending Tuesday night's event were Winona Ryder, Gere's co-star in "Autumn in New York"; Hector Elizondo; and Sharon Stone. The show will air May 8 on the USA Network.

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LONDON -- To celebrate her 78th birthday, Queen Elizabeth II appeared to her subjects in one of her favorite poses - on horseback.

In an official photograph released Wednesday to mark the occasion, the monarch is pictured with her daughter, Princess Anne, and granddaughter Zara Phillips, who are also in the saddle.

Buckingham Palace said the three royal horsewomen were photographed at Windsor Castle west of London over the Easter weekend.

The queen - who wears a headscarf rather than a protective riding hat donned by the others - is seated on her favorite homebred mare, Tinkerbell, while Anne, 54, rides Peter Pan and Zara, 22, is on Tiger Lily.


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