LONDON (AP) – Stolen gold and silver discs won by Ozzy Osbourne’s band Black Sabbath were recovered after thieves dumped them behind trash cans.

The discs were reported missing last week after a burglary at the home of Osbourne’s former manager Patrick Meehan, in Edenbridge, Kent, southeast England.

Kent Police said an anonymous tip led them to the eight discs, found Wednesday in a plastic bag dumped behind recycling bins.

Two other discs stolen in the haul – which included the albums “Master of Reality,” “Paranoid” and “Black Sabbath, Vol. 4” – had already been returned after being offered for sale on Internet auction site eBay.

Osbourne, who earned fame as a heavy metal rocker in the 1970s, was a victim of burglars himself last month.

He unsuccessfully attempted to tackle thieves who broke into his Buckinghamshire mansion, west of London, and made off with valuable jewelry.

Spears named top star in 2004

NEW YORK (AP) – “Access Hollywood” has named its “Top Ten Stars of 2004,” with Britney Spears in the No. 1 spot.

The rankings are based on the number of stories the syndicated entertainment television show aired on each star. Spears – who was married twice, canceled a summer tour because of a knee injury and released a greatest hits album – topped the list with 119 stories.

Beyonce is in the No. 2 spot, with 102 stories, followed by Donald Trump, 94 stories; Michael Jackson, 84 stories; Tom Cruise, 72 stories; Jessica Simpson, 69 stories; Paris Hilton, 63 stories; Nicole Kidman, 62 stories; Jennifer Lopez, 54 stories; and Whitney Houston, 52 stories.

“We want to thank these stars for helping to make 2004 the best in “Access Hollywood’ history,” executive producer Rob Silverstein said in a statement Tuesday. “Here’s to more “can’t miss’ moments in 2005.”

Morrison Hotel owner called ‘slumlord’

LOS ANGELES (AP) – Forty tenants of the Morrison Hotel – which is pictured on the cover of The Doors’ 1970 album of the same name – filed a “slumlord” lawsuit against the residential hotel’s owners.

The 90-year-old downtown hotel is best known for its depiction on the album cover, which features members of the band looking out a window bearing the hotel’s name.

A civil lawsuit filed Tuesday in Superior Court claims Hope Pico Co., which owns the hotel, and Sauli Danpour, the hotel’s manager, failed to “repair the unsafe, unsanitary and uninhabitable conditions.”

The lawsuit seeks general, punitive and statutory damages as well as legal and court costs.

Danpour wouldn’t comment and referred calls to his lawyer, Fariba Bakshian Banayan, who didn’t immediately return a phone call seeking comment.

The 111-unit building has been neglected for decades.

Stage musicians protest prerecorded music

COSTA MESA, Calif. (AP) – Following in the footsteps of their Broadway counterparts, Orange County musicians are protesting the move to prerecorded music as a means of cutting costs.

Musicians demonstrated Tuesday outside the opening-night performance of the musical “Oliver!” at the Orange County Performing Arts Center. The protesters offered leaflets “to patrons who will accept them,” said Tim Dunn, a spokesman for the center.

“We see this as an assault on our profession,” said Frank Amoss, president of Local 7 of the American Federation of Musicians. He hopes the union can rally the support of theatergoers who would prefer to see the musical based on the Charles Dickens classic accompanied by live instrumentalists.

The move to replace musicians with prerecorded music has drawn protests nationwide. In New York last year, Broadway musicians, joined by singers and dancers, staged a four-day walkout that forced producers to sign a 10-year agreement not to use virtual orchestra machines.

Typically, touring musicals travel with a conductor and a small contingent of musicians and hire local performers to fill out the orchestra pit. With so-called virtual orchestras, however, only a handful of live performers are brought in to add depth to the prerecorded sound.

“Oliver!” has been touring nationwide in cities such as Los Angeles and Chicago, and its producers made the decision to use a synthesizer, said Todd Bentjen, a spokesman for the center.

“It’s about balance,” Bentjen said. “Some shows can afford to use larger orchestras. Some use smaller orchestras enhanced by a synthesizer.”

Other musicals have been staged in the area with prerecorded music without complaint, he said.

Amoss said “Oliver!” would have hired about 15 local musicians at a rate of about $157 per performance but is using a smaller number of traveling performers instead.

Elvis is alive and on CBS

NEW YORK (AP) – Irish actor Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, who played the soccer coach in 2002’s “Bend It Like Beckham,” will star as Elvis Presley in a four-hour miniseries to air on CBS.

The fact-based drama will also star Camryn Manheim (“The Practice”) as Presley’s mother, Gladys, and Randy Quaid (“LBJ: The Early Years”) as his manager, Col. Tom Parker, the network said Tuesday.

Rose McGowan (“Charmed”) will play Ann-Margret, the actress who co-starred with Presley in the 1964 film “Viva Las Vegas.”

The miniseries, titled “Elvis,” is being made with the cooperation and participation of the Elvis Presley estate and will include actual master recordings of Presley’s most famous hits, CBS said in a statement.

Leoni keeping it really real

LOS ANGELES (AP) – How many actresses would let themselves be seen with a red, runny nose and messy hair in a movie? Tea Leoni does in “Spanglish.”

Leoni says it’s a natural way to look for a woman who has seen her husband walk out after she confesses she had an affair.

“There was no wish to make this look pretty,” the 38-year-old actress told reporters recently, according to AP Radio.

“I think it really would have taken away from the performance,” she said. “And I’m glad to see that the way that I look matches the way that I felt.”

In “Spanglish,” directed by James L. Brooks, Leoni plays an overbearing, meddlesome dynamo of neuroses whose authoritarian exterior conceals deep self-doubt. Adam Sandler plays her husband.

Leoni starred in the ‘90s TV series “The Naked Truth.” Her screen credits also include “The Family Man” and “Deep Impact.”

Clinton house bought by Univ. of Ark.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) – The University of Arkansas has agreed to buy the house where Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton lived when they worked in Fayetteville in the 1970s.

The university said it would pay $249,950 for the property and structure at 930 California Blvd.

University vice chancellor Don Pederson said the campus plans to hold the house until the city of Fayetteville or a nonprofit group can purchase it.

The UA System Board of Trustees still must approve the purchase. The panel meets next on Jan. 27. The sellers, James and Janet Greeson, have lived in the house since 1983. They approached the Fayetteville Advertising & Promotion Commission last month, saying they were interested in selling.

The Clintons were married in the house.

Marilyn Heifner, executive director of the advertising and promotion commission, said the home could be used as a museum, but said the group couldn’t act quickly enough to buy it. The museum would link Fayetteville to other Arkansas cities with Clinton ties, including Hope, where Clinton was born; Hot Springs, where he grew up; and Little Rock, where his presidential library is now drawing visitors.

The house was built in 1931 and has one bedroom and one bathroom. The Clintons lived there from August 1973 to December 1976 while they taught at the UA law school.

An assessment found that the house needs about $75,000 in repairs and updates.

Pederson said the university would use the space for academic purposes if no buyer takes over the home.

“There are no plans for the university to operate or fund a museum,” he said in a statement.

Buddist monk song banned

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) – A government order banning a pop song about a Buddhist monk falling in love will unlikely affect its sales, a production manager said Tuesday.

Officials recently pulled the plug on radio and television broadcasts of “Wrongly Quitting Monkhood for Love,” saying it tarnishes the reputation of Cambodian Buddhism.

Information Minister Khieu Kanharith said in a statement last week that the song’s content “affects the dignity of other monks who are striving to sacrifice their physical and mental strength to devote themselves to Buddhist teaching.”

The song was released as a video CD, which shows scenes of the monk hugging and kissing the girl while bathing in a pond near a pagoda.

Iep Chimeng, manager of a studio that produced the video CDs, said the ban would have little impact on the sale of the 4,000 copies already out in the market.

He said the aim of the video was not to degrade Buddhism in Cambodia but to educate monks who might not yet have rid themselves of sexual desire.

“He was obsessed with her beauty, and, against advice from older monks, he left the monkhood for her. But when she abandoned him later, he realized that he was wrong and that he’s the one who was hurt,” Iep Chimeng said, adding that the man returns to the monkhood.

Some 90 percent of Cambodia’s 13 million people adhere to Buddhism. About 60,000 monks live at more than 4,000 temples across the country.


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