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Entertainment: News In Brief

Wednesday, July 7, 1999 Published at 14:05 GMT 15:05 UK

Veteran actor Jack Watson dies

British character actor Jack Watson, who appeared in some 60 films in a career spanning seven decades, has died aged 84.

The craggy-faced Londoner began his career as a comedian, but is best known for his roles in films such as The Hill, This Sporting Life, Wild Geese, The Sea Wolves and The Mackenzie Break.

He also occasionally appeared in Coronation Street between 1964-83 as Bill Gregory - Elsie Tanner's married lover.

Roles in Heartbeat, Minder, Edge of Darkness and A Horseman Riding By were among his TV credits.

Fifties singing star Guy Mitchell dies

American singer Guy Mitchell has died after complications following surgery, aged 72.

Mitchell, who had a string of hit records between 1950 and 1960, including Singing The Blues and Heartaches By The Number, died in Las Vegas where he had lived since 1981.

In his heyday, he had 40 chart-topping songs in the US and Britain. His first UK number one, She Wears Red Feathers, came in 1953. Four more followed: Look At That Girl also in 1953, Singing The Blues in 1956 and Rock-A-Billy in 1957. He also went to number one in the US in 1959 with Heartaches By The Number.

At the same time, he also pursued an acting career, making movies with Teresa Brewer and Rosemary Clooney, to name a few.

He was married three times, first to Jackie Loughery, a former Miss USA, then to Elsa Soronson, also a beauty queen as a former Miss Denmark. His third wife Betty survives him after 25 years of marriage.

Jim fixes tea for Charles

Sir Jimmy Savile is to welcome the Prince of Wales to his tiny hideaway in the Scottish Highlands - for a cup of tea.

Sir Jimmy said they were old friends and the visit to his 700-year-old cottage would be "a bit of fun".

The Prince is in the area to present the keys for a new mini-bus to the Glencoe mountain rescue service.

Sir Jimmy explained: "He said 'I am up in your neck of the woods soon and I am coming for tea' and that was it."

Ricky Martin set to storm UK charts

Latino pop sensation Ricky Martin looks set to storm to the top of the UK singles chart on Sunday with Livin' La Vida Loca.

Early sales figures show the song is way ahead of rival Gary Barlow, who may not even make the Top 10 with Stronger.

The 27-year-old's release is the first track on his debut English-language CD and means "living the crazy life".

Before embarking on a successful solo career, teen heart-throb Martin was part of the Latin group Menudo.

Wild Wild West series star slates film

Robert Conrad, who starred in the cult 1960s TV series Wild Wild West, has slated the film version with Will Smith

Conrad said of the movie: "There were all these sexual connotations in the script and bizarre sexual gadgets."

The actor expressed particular offence at the casting of Kenneth Branagh as the evil Dr Arliss Loveless.

In the TV series Loveless was played by a 3ft 8in actor. "The part should have been played by a dwarf," said Conrad.

Screen legend Loren opens Harrods sale

Italian film star Sophia Loren arrived in a horse-drawn carriage to open the 150th Summer sale at London's Harrods department store.

The film legend was greeted at the Knightsbridge store by its chairman, Mohamed Al Fayed before the traditional countdown to the opening.

Loren made her name as a screen siren in the 1960s, winning an Oscar in 1961 for her performance in Two Women.

She presented the foreign language film award at this year's Oscar ceremony in Los Angeles.

Queen of soul sings stars and stripes

Aretha Franklin will sing the American national anthem at the start of a Three Tenors concert in Detroit on 17 July.

The Queen of Soul may even join Luciano Pavarotti, Jose Carreras and Placido Domingo for an encore.

Pavarotti suggested having Ms Franklin sing at the Tiger Stadium concert.

The pair became friends after Aretha stepped in to sing Pavarotti's Nessan Dorma when he became ill before the 1998 Grammy Awards.

'Hatred of LA drove Kubrick to Britain'

Eyes Wide Shut director Stanley Kubrick left America in 1968 to live in Britain because he hated Los Angeles, long-time friend Michael Herr has claimed.

"It wasn't America he couldn't take. It was LA. The only other two places he knew of to make movies in were New York and London and New York was too hard and expensive," Herr told Vanity Fair.

But he said Kubrick, a native New Yorker, retained a devotion to American pop culture and was an avid fan of The Simpsons, Seinfeld and Roseanne.

Manics scotch 'splitting up' rumours

Welsh band The Manic Street Preachers have dismissed rumours that they are splitting up by announcing they have been recording new material.

The band were forced to cancel a gig in Belgium after singer James Dean Bradfield strained his voice, sparking rumours about the band's future.

But bassist Nicky Wire told Radio 1 that their new single The Masses Against the Classes would be released in October, marking a return to the group's You Love Us days.

Star Martine 'believed she was Tiffany'

EastEnder-turned pop star Martine McCutcheon has revealed how she "lost the plot" and started to believe she had become her character.

"I said to the EastEnders bosses, 'do me as many storylines as you want'. I ate, slept, breathed Tiffany," she said. "I did not want to be Martine."

After splitting from boyfriend DJ Gareth Cooke she said she immersed herself in her role. "I did not think Martine was wanted. I'd just lost the plot."

Dani shook off mugging to go to wedding

TV star Dani Behr said she nearly went to Posh Spice's wedding with a a black eye after being mugged last week.

The 24-year-old presenter was punched in the face by a thug who then ripped off her wristwatch.

"Thankfully the swelling on my face went down for the wedding.

"I told Victoria I might have a black eye for the wedding but I'm glad I didn't because it would have clashed with my outfit," she added.

Cleese in talks with 3rd Rock makers

Actor John Cleese is rumoured to be in talks with the creators of the American comedy series 3rd Rock From the Sun, about a new television venture.

Cleese, who made a guest appearance in 3rd Rock From the Sun, is wanted by the producers to star in a show described as a dark look at the legal profession.

But sources say it is unlikely that the 59-year-old actor, who starred in the Monty Python films and Fawlty Towers TV series, would want anything more than a co-creator role.

Greenaway in multi-media project bid

British director Peter Greenaway has announced that he is about to embark on a vast multi-media film project that could take years to complete.

Greenaway, whose pioneering films include The Draughtsman's Contract, says he no longer wants to make traditional-format films for the cinema

His next project will be a series of four feature-length films shot in 20 languages which he plans to put out in CD-ROM and DVD formats as well as broadcasting it on the Internet.

Radio station fined over fake winners

Watchdogs have fined Cheltenham's Cat FM £20,000, the joint highest penalty yet imposed, after inventing winners to three on-air contests.

"What concerns the authority is that the station wilfully and repeatedly misled listeners," said Tony Stoller, chief executive of the Radio Authority which investigated after a complaint.

In a statement, the Cat FM management admitted the error but director David Greenslade says the fine "is completely over the top and just plain daft."

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