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People in the News

Eds: Contains items on Tavis Smiley and Dennis Haysbert, Manuchehr Mohammadi and Live. Also contains items on The Rock, Vin Diesel, Paris Hilton and Ice Cube; Clint Eastwood; Sarah Ferguson; and Hans Christian Andersen. In MTV item, CORRECTS spelling of Scarlett Johansson, sted Johannson.

AP Photo NYET182, NYET183, NYET184, NY107, NY112, NY108, NY109, CAVAN101, NY111

By The Associated Press

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) – Talk-show host Tavis Smiley and Dennis Haysbert, who plays the president on the Fox TV series “24,” were among those honored at an annual awards dinner held by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

The Roy Wilkins Freedom Fund Dinner took place Tuesday in honor of the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in “Brown v. Board of Education,” the historic ruling that heralded the official end of segregation not only in education but also in areas such as housing and work.

“As one who was a beneficiary of the struggle that Thurgood Marshall and those brilliant lawyers waged on my behalf … it’s humbling and it challenges me now to do some significant work to live up to the award,” Smiley said.

Though much has been accomplished since the landmark decision, Smiley said the situation in American education leaves much to be desired.

“One can argue legitimately that our schools are as segregated now as they ever have been,” he said. “I pause in using the word “resegregated’ because that would suggest at one point we had full integration. Clearly that was not the case.”

Educator Theodore Alexander, who won the W.E.B. Dubois Education Award, oversees integration programs in Los Angeles schools. Haysbert serves as a role model both as an actor and for the positive character he plays in the TV thriller, said Stasia Washington, head of the Los Angeles chapter of the NAACP.

“And you have Tavis Smiley,” Washington said of the PBS talk-show host, who also hosts a radio program on public television and is a frequent guest on many other news programs. “Fifty years ago we couldn’t do any of the things that Tavis is doing.”

LOS ANGELES (AP) – A judge has ruled against an overseas film distributor who tried to block the release of the controversial Iranian film “The Lizard” in the United States.

The satirical movie featuring a thief disguised as a cleric was a smash hit in Iran until authorities pulled it from theaters May 19. It won top honors at Tehran’s international film festival in February and took in about $1 million.

Director Manuchehr Mohammadi agreed to a contract to distribute the film through Atlantis Enterprises in the United States and elsewhere. The film’s Iranian distributor, Kamal Mosafaye Tabrizi, sought a temporary restraining order in Los Angeles Superior Court to block the U.S. debut.

Judge Dzintra Jamavs denied that restraining order Tuesday.

Tabrizi’s lawyer, Patrick M. Saboorian, said he would be back in court next week if the parties can’t work out a private agreement.

Among depictions that angered the conservative Iranian clergy were a man singing inside a mosque and a cleric robbing a driver and sweet-talking a young woman. In one scene, a thief escaped from prison disguised as a cleric.

The film, whose Farsi name is “Marmoulak,” opened in late April and had been scheduled to continue until the end of July, screening in 33 theaters in Tehran alone.

YORK, Pa. (AP) – The rock band Live has mended fences with its hometown.

In the late 1980s, the band, then known as Public Affection, reportedly was booed off the stage of the York Fair during a battle-of-the-bands event.

“I honestly don’t remember that happening,” Cres Ottemiller, the fair’s musical director, said recently. “Oh, it’s a charming story. It really illustrated that they did start at the bottom of their profession.”

Live included an unflattering song about its hometown on 1994’s “Throwing Copper” album. The song title consisted of the word “town” tacked to an expletive.

In a recent interview, guitarist Chad Taylor said the band hadn’t played in the York area since the early 1990s, when it appeared before a small audience at York College.

The band will play its 20th anniversary show Friday at the Strand Theatre and return for a Sept. 11 concert at the York Fair.

“We feel that it’s all working out for the better,” Ottemiller said. “For all parties – the Strand, Live and us.”

LOS ANGELES (AP) – The Rock, Vin Diesel, Paris Hilton and Ice Cube will share the stage as presenters at the upcoming MTV Movie Awards.

Other presenters announced Tuesday by the music channel include Ashton Kutcher, “Friends” star Matthew Perry, Queen Latifah and Marlon Wayans and Shawn Wayans.

They will join previously announced participants Snoop Dogg, Dave Chappelle, Kirsten Dunst, Eve, Jimmy Fallon, Kate Hudson and Scarlett Johansson.

Lindsay Lohan, the 17-year-old star of “Mean Girls,” is set to host the show, which will be broadcast June 10.

“Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” has the most MTV Movie Award nominations with six, including best movie and best on-screen team for co-stars Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom.

D12, the Beastie Boys and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs are among the bands scheduled to perform. The will be taped June 5 at Sony Pictures Studios in Culver City, Calif.

On the Net:


LONDON (AP) – Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, had a testy exchange with the host of a British TV talk show when the topic turned to the royal family.

The former daughter-in-law of Queen Elizabeth II was being interviewed on Channel 4’s “Richard and Judy” show Tuesday when host Richard Madeley said: “A couple of quick questions about the Windsors … “

“I suppose you have to, don’t you?” Ferguson replied.

When asked if she is still on speaking terms with Prince Philip, her former father-in-law, she gave a curt “yes.”

Madeley persisted and asked if there was any possibility she would get back together with her former husband, the Duke of York.

“I really thought I was going to come on to this show and you were really honestly going to take Sarah Ferguson as Sarah Ferguson – a single working mother with two girls,” she replied.

“I’m very serious about what I do. OK? And don’t make a mockery of it, all right?”

She told the host he’d been warned “not to go there” on the topic of the royal family before the show started.

“We were told the opposite, actually,” said Madeley, whose wife and co-host, Judy Finnigan, watched the spat silently. “I was told you were happy to talk about anything by your people.”

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) – Clint Eastwood wants you to volunteer, punk.

The “Dirty Harry” star reprised his role Tuesday as spokesman for Take Pride in America, an organization of volunteers who maintain public lands.

Eastwood previously promoted the group in the 1980s.

On Tuesday, he posed for photographers while helping students in a fifth-grade class clean up a hiking trail and paint picnic tables at Franklin Canyon in the Santa Monica Mountains, adjacent to Beverly Hills.

Take Pride in America is a federal organization that supports volunteers who tend to public parks, forests, grasslands, reservoirs, wildlife refugees, playgrounds and historic sites.

On the Net:


COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) – Danes, preparing for the 2005 celebration of the bicentenary of Hans Christian Andersen, will have two different exhibitions that will focus on the life of the Danish fairy tale writer.

A traveling exhibition that will be shown in Europe, Asia and North America will include original Andersen artifacts, artistic interpretations of his works and interactive media exhibits.

The show, called “H.C. Andersen, the Greatest Tale,” will be housed in a 6,458-square-foot tent built in the shape of an open book, organizers of the 2005 jubilee said recently.

The exhibition, which has its first stop in Edinburgh, Scotland, in December, was designed by Ralph Appelbaum, who created the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.

From Scotland it will tour through Europe, Asia and North America.

Another exhibition will remain in Copenhagen, Danish Culture Minister Brian Mikkelsen said as he unveiled the H.C. Andersen Fairy Tale House, which opens June 1.

The permanent 4,844-square-foot exhibit has 10 galleries with scenes from some of Andersen’s 156 fairy tales.

The writer’s hometown, Odense, in central Denmark, has its own Andersen museum in the writer’s childhood home.

Andersen, who was born in 1805 to a poor charwoman and a shoemaker, is famous worldwide for his fairy tale classics, including “The Emperor’s New Clothes” and “The Little Mermaid.”

AP-ES-05-26-04 1440EDT

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