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Friday, December 18, 1998 Published at 12:25 GMT


Sean Connery takes control

Sean Connery: Dual role in new movie

Sean Connery will working on both sides of the camera in a deal for a new film, Finding Forrester, which sees him producing as well as acting.

The deal, revealed by the Hollywood Reporter, is the latest in a series of films where Connery has begun to take more active control.

Since 1992's Medicine Man, Connery has been executive producer on many of his films. This year he co-produced Christopher Hampton's Art.

Cleopatra to perform for Pope

[ image: Cleopatra: Performing for the Pope]
Cleopatra: Performing for the Pope
Cleopatra will be 'comin' at' the Pope at the weekend, when they perform Christmas carols for him at a concert in Rome.

The Manchester trio have been given holy orders to perform at the Vatican, where they will be backed by a 100-piece orchestra.

The girls said they reckon it is because the Holy Father is a fan of their music: "He's got the album! He's just a funky kind of guy. He loves Cleopatra. He doesn't like you guys to know that but we've let it out now so it's too late now. Can't wait to get there."

As well as singing the girls say they will have a present for the Pope: "We've got to give him something different. We don't want to be the same as all the other groups, we're gonna get him a hat from the Life Ain't Easy video to wear throughout the whole show."

And they say they want to give the Pope a makeover: "Everyone says it's impossible. We've done so many things that have been impossible and I think we might be able to do it."

Pop star Gary's on the antiques trail

[ image: Gary Barlow: On the antique hunt]
Gary Barlow: On the antique hunt
Take That heart-throb Gary Barlow was spotted bidding for some of the personal treasures being sold off by the former manager of Sir Elton John.

The 27-year-old singer, wearing a tracksuit and sunglasses, stood out among the crowd of suited experts at Christie's auctioneers in London.

The two-day auction of possessions from 49-year-old John Reid's luxury homes in London, New York and St Tropez, stands to raise more than 3m.

Morrison's jail term halved

[ image: Mark Morrison: Should be free in February]
Mark Morrison: Should be free in February
R'n'B star Mark Morrison has seen his jail term cut by nine months after hiring a leading QC to fight his case.

The singer hired Michael Mansfield QC, whose previous high-profile clients include the Birmingham Six, according to Radio 1's The Net.

Morrison, who has converted to Islam while in prison and changed his name to Abdul Rahman, was given 18-months for breaching a community service order. He should now be released from jail in February.

Woman loses Montand paternity battle

[ image: Yves Montand: DNA tests disproved paternity claim]
Yves Montand: DNA tests disproved paternity claim
A French court has rejected a young woman's nine-year battle to prove that she is the daughter of actor and singer Yves Montand, who died in 1991.

The Paris appeals court overturned a 1994 ruling which declared Aurore Drossart was Montand's daughter after DNA tests carried out on the actor's corpse proved they were not related.

Aurore's mother, Montand's companion in the 1970s, has vowed to appeal.

One of the actor's last roles was in the acclaimed Jean de Florette (1986).

Thriller piano in Jackson legal dispute

A baby grand piano that Michael Jackson allegedly wrote his album Thriller on and a Rolls Royce have been seized as part of a Jackson family legal dispute.

A bitter legal battle has been raging between guitar company HVV Corp, who won an $1.8 (1.1m) judgement two years ago and Jackson Communications Inc.

The Jackson family lawyers say a federal court has since ruled in their favour, and that the piano which is intended for auction is Michael's and not Jackson Communications'.

Gorilla should be home for the holidays

Actress Doris Day is urging that a gorilla named King be transferred from "solitary confinement" to a new zoo as a Christmas present "two decades late".

King, 29, is a western lowland gorilla who has spent the last 18 years in what Day calls a desolate concrete and cage at Miami's Monkey Jungle.

"It's unthinkable that he should suffer solitary confinement any longer," said Day, founder and president of the Doris Day Animal League.

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