^Reuters/Variety Entertainment Summary
Homage to a Country Music Legend
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Reuters) - Country music stations across the United States have been playing lots of Tammy Wynette songs today in honor of ``The Queen of Country Music,'' who died yesterday at the age of 55. Workers at the original home of The Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee, are also remembering Wynette, calling her death ``a big loss'' for country music. A friend and colleague, Brenda Lee, said Wynette was a voice to be reckoned with in country music and had opened many doors for women in the business. A spokeswoman said Wynette, who had suffered from various ailments, died of a blood clot in her lung. A public memorial service for Wynette will be held in Nashville's Ryman Auditorium Thursday afternoon.
Clintons Mourn Wynette
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Hillary Rodham Clinton once made a disparaging remark about Tammy Wynette on national TV but today she was among those mourning the death of the country music star. President Clinton released a statement saying: ``Hillary and I were deeply saddened to learn of the untimely death of Tammy Wynette. During a ``60 Minutes'' interview in 1992, Mrs. Clinton touched off a furor by saying she was not ``some little woman standing by my man like Tammy Wynette'' as she defended her husband from adultery charges. After protests from country music fans and Wynette herself, Mrs. Clinton telephoned the singer to apologize.
Ailing Taylor Clears Schedule
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Elizabeth Taylor has more health problems. She announced today that she's clearing her social calendar because of a severe compression fracture of a vertebra. Doctors have told her to rest as much as possible for the next four months. ``I am so sorry that I will not be able to attend any of the charitable events to which I committed myself ...,'' Taylor, 66, said in a statement. ``To all those I made the commitments to, I am deeply sorry and my heart will be with you on the evening of each of those events.'' Taylor was hospitalized last month for a back injury. She had a benign brain tumor removed last year and has had two hip replacement operations. A respiratory illness almost killed her in 1990 and she also has been treated for drug dependency.
Myers Cranks Up 'Sprockets'
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Would you like to touch Dieter's monkey? Mike Myers is bringing another of his ``Saturday Night Live'' characters to the big screen with a movie based on the ''Sprockets'' sketch. He'll co-write the film and star as Dieter, the too-hip-for-his-own-good nihilistic host of a German TV show. Variety says Myers will get $10 million or 10 percent of the gross -- whichever is more -- for the acting and an unspecified payday for the writing. The ``Austin Powers'' star will be seen next in ``54'' about the infamous Studio 54 disco and in the Irish film ``The Meteor.'' He also has an upcomng role as a Bill Gates-like character in ``Twenty Billion.''
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Michael Richards may be going from wacky neighbor on TV to evil villain on Broadway. The New York Post says there's talk of having Richards, who plays Kramer on ''Seinfeld,'' take over in the stage version of ``Wait Until Dark'' when Quentin Tarantino's 10-week run is up. The show opened last week with Marisa Tomei opposite Tarantino. As a stage actor, New York reviewers seem to think Tarantino is a great movie director. The Post said he was ``merely terrible'' and had the charisma of ``a week-old head of lettuce'' while The New York Times said he's guilty of ``draining the adrenaline'' from the play. Nonetheless, ``Wait Until Dark'' has sold $3 million in advance tickets.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Dennis Franz says one reason he took the role of an angel in ``City of Angels'' was to get away from the hard-nosed Andy Sipowicz character he portrays on ``NYPD Blue.'' ``A lot of times people confront me expecting to see Sipowicz,'' Franz says. ``I am who I am and I am certainly not Andy Sipowicz.'' But that doesn't mean he won't fall back into character when necessary -- like the time he got stopped for speeding. Franz says the cop shook his head and said: ''Sipowicz, you should know better than this.''
Gigantic Role for Muresan
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Studying the script for ``My Giant'' was a tall order for Gheorghe Muresan. ``For the first time, it was pretty well hard because I don't speak very well English,'' the Romanian native told the Los Angeles Times. But the 7-foot, 7-inch Muresan, the center for the Washington Wizards of the NBA before suffering an injury, worked with a translator and labored over the script with the director and writer until he got it down. Muresan's love interest in the movie was named Lillianna -- like his real-life wife -- to make it easier for him. ``He's so interesting and vulnerable and charming,'' said co-star Billy Crystal. And he breaks your heart with his honesty.''
Boyle Hatches 'Plan'
HOLLYWOOD (Reuters) - Lara Flynn Boyle has a plan. Boyle, a regular on the ABC legal drama ``The Practice,'' will join Dan Aykroyd and Nastassja Kinski in ``Susan's Plan.'' It's described as a black comedy about a woman who wants to kill her husband for the sake of insurance money. Boyle, a former ``Twin Peaks'' star, is coming off Alan Rudolph's arthouse hit ``Afterglow.''
Veteran Drummer Dies in Crash
LONDON (Reuters) - A mainstay of the British rock scene is dead after a weekend car crash. Drummer Cozy Powell, 50, was killed when his car spun out of control and hit a barrier near Bristol in western England. Powell was a well-regarded musician who had played with Jeff Beck, Black Sabbath, Rainbow and Whitesnake. He made a comeback in 1996 with blues guitarist Peter Green, one of the founders of Fleetwood Mac.
'Oscars at Home on ABC
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (Reuters) - ABC has won TV broadcast rights to air the Oscars through 2008 under a deal that moves the star-filled telecast to Sunday, shows it earlier and limits its number of commercials. ABC also will air a half-hour pre-show to spotlight celebrities as they arrive for the event. The agreement extends a current TV deal which ends in 2000, and becomes the longest broadcast agreement ever signed by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which hands out the Oscars each year.
for more features.