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Friday, 19 January, 2001, 17:17 GMT
Irish soap Glenroe axed
Long-running Irish TV soap Glenroe has been axed after 18 years.

The series, set in a mythical rural village, will not return after its current run in May, the state-backed RTE network announced.

Director of television Cathal Goan said it had been clear for some time that Glenroe was nearing the end of its natural life.

An RTE spokeswoman said the cast were "very shocked" to hear the news.

Mr Goan said its Sunday night slot would be filled by new "home-grown quality drama".

'Frozen face' dies

Musical star Virginia O'Brien, who appeared in many MGM productions in the 1940s, has died aged 81.

O'Brien, the former wife of Kirk Alyn, the first screen Superman, was nicknamed The Frozen Face for her deadpan delivery.

Discovered by studio mogul Louis B Mayer in a Los Angeles stage show, O'Brien went on to star in 20 of the studio's musicals.

She sang Bring On The Beautiful Men to Fred Astaire and Lucille Ball in Ziegfeld Follies, and performed Rockabye Baby to the Marx Brothers in The Big Store.

Snatch star gets sci-fi role

Jason Statham, star of Snatch and Lock Stock And Two Smoking Barrels has won a part in sci-fi action thriller The One, which is being shot in Los Angeles.

Statham will team up with Hollywood actor Delroy Lindo as a pair of special agents responsible for stopping people travelling between parallel universes.

Chinese actor and martial arts star Jet Li, who starred with Lindo in Romeo Must Die, plays a renegade in the $48m (32.5m) film, directed by James Wong.

Connolly's fishy role

Billy Connolly has signed to star with Judy Davis in Australian comedy The Man Who Sued God, says Hollywood trade paper Variety.

The Bafta-nominated actor and comedian will play a fisherman whose boat is struck by lightning and overturns.

When insurers refuse reimbursement, deeming the incident an "act of God", Connolly's character tries to sue God.

Directed by Mark Joffe, the film starts shooting in Sydney next month.

Sting prize 'stolen'

Pop star Sting said on Thursday that a human rights award he received from the Chilean government was stolen before a concert in Argentina earlier this week.

Sting received the decoration in the Chilean capital of Santiago for his defence of human rights during the dictatorship of General Pinochet.

Argentine police said thieves raided Sting's dressing room on Tuesday and ran off with a bag of personal effects while the singer was at a sound test.

Fantasia row resolved

An eight-year copyright dispute over a piece of classical music in the Disney film Fantasia has been resolved.

Boosey & Hawkes said it would end all litigation concerning the use of Igor Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring in the home video release of Fantasia.

In return, Disney will pay the British company $3m (2m).

Boosey & Hawkes acquired the rights to The Rite of Spring in 1949, ten years after Walt Disney released Fantasia.

Manson and McGowan split

Shock rocker Marilyn Manson and his longtime girlfriend Rose McGowan have decided to break off their engagement and go their separate ways.

"There is great love, but our lifestyle difference is even greater," McGowan said of her relationship with Manson, known for his ghoulish public persona.

The pair became engaged in February 1999, according to their publicist Nicole Perez.

They had been together for about a year before that.

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