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EDITIONS
 Sunday, 12 January, 2003, 16:23 GMT
Sir Paul's US success
Sir Paul McCartney earned more than 68m on a US tour last year, according to a poll published in the US.

The Pollstar report showed Sir Paul beat The Rolling Stones for the top prize. The Stones made 58m on tour.

Other big British draws were Sir Elton John, touring with Billy Joel, who made 47m, and The Who, who made 20m.

Despite an economic downturn and falling album sales, Americans have been flocking ot live concerts over the last year, the poll says.


Pitt stars in Birdman movie

Brad Pitt is to produce and possibly star in a drama based on the true story of the psychiatrist who treated Robert Stroud, the Birdman of Alcatraz.

Called The Madman Of Alcatraz, the script will be penned by Vanity Fair writer Ned Zeman, Variety reports.

The film will focus on the psychiatrist who worked with Stroud, almost losing his own sanity in the process.

Zeman says his view of Stroud will be less sympathetic than Burt Lancaster's 1963 Oscar-nominated portrayal.


Ross not required for hearing

Diana Ross will not appear in court for alleged drink drive offences next week, it has been decided.

The 58-year-old denies three misdemeanour charges after allegedly driving the wrong way down a street in Tucson, Arizona, on 30 December.

The pop legend is not required in Tucson City Court for her arraignment on Monday.

In a separate hearing, the singer's lawyers will try to block the release of a police videotape that shows her undertaking sobriety tests.


Rings star to encourage young performers

Lord of the Rings actor Billy Boyd has spoken of his desire to encourage young people to take up acting.

The Scottish star, who played the hobbit Pippin, said he has held talks with acting union Equity in a bid to get disadvantaged people into the profession.

The 34-year-old was speaking on his return to Easterhouse in Glasgow, to unveil an exhibition honouring notable names from the area, including himself.

"There's definitely a stigma when you say you want to take up acting or drama and I hope this can change," he said.


Irish PM's daughter secures $1m book deal

Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern's youngest daughter has signed a million dollar book deal with a US publisher.

Cecilia Ahern, 21, landed the contract for two books including PS I Love You, due to be released in 2004.

The journalism graduate had already sealed a six-figure deal for her work to be published in the UK and Ireland.

"Last night was just unbelievable. I got another deal with America for two books as well and for a million dollars. I can't believe it," she told an Irish radio station.


Rhames signs up for Kojak remake

US actor Ving Rhames has signed to play legendary cop character Theo Kojak - made famous by the late Telly Savalas - in a new take on the famous 70s series.

The new version for cable channel USA Network will start with a two-hour TV movie, with an option for several more.

"Kojak is a great brand that we can reinvent and bring something special to," said a USA Network executive. Rhames' film credits include Pulp Fiction, Con Air and both the Mission Impossible movies.


Elvis grand piano sold

A grand piano once owned by Elvis Presley has been sold for $685,000 (425,711).

Music producer Robert Johnson and partner Larry Moss sold the piano to the chairman of the Blue Moon Group, Michael Muzio.

Mr Muzio is planning to take the piano on a casino-sponsored promotional tour, before allowing it to go in to the proposed rock museum at Walt Disney World.

Presley's friend George Klein said the star enjoyed playing the Knabe piano at his Graceland mansion up until 1969, when his wife, Priscilla Presley, bought him a Steinway grand piano.


Bruce Willis set for amnesiac role

Bruce Willis is set to play an amnesiac in crime drama Me Again, trade newspaper Variety reports.

His character wakes up in a hotel with no memory and a dead body in the room.

He must figure out if he is a hitman or the undercover cop assigned to take down the assassin. The film will be directed by Dean Parisot.

"I'm drawn to characters who have to overcome obstacles... it seems like a great chunk of work to bite off," the 47-year-old Die Hard star said.


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