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Web posted on: Friday, January 22, 1999 2:29:47 PM EST

Today's buzz stories:

Dustin Hoffman wins $1.5 million court case

LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- Dustin Hoffman on Friday won a $1.5 million court battle against Los Angeles magazine for publishing a computer-generated image of him wearing a dress. The Academy Award-winning actor had sued the magazine published by Capital Cities/ABC, claiming it created the picture and used his image without his permission in a 1997 article and photo spread promoting 1997s trendiest fashions. One of Hoffman's most famous films was "Tootsie," in which he posed as a woman. U.S. District Judge Dickran Tevrizian called the actor "one of our country's living treasures" and said the monthly magazine had violated Hoffman's rights to his own image. "The right to use (Hoffman's) name and likeness is an extremely valuable commodity and privilege, not only because of Mr. Hoffman's status as an actor, but because he does not knowingly permit commercial uses of his identity," Tevrizian said in a written ruling.The judge still must decide punitive damages in the case.

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Salman Rushdie's words become U2 lyrics

LONDON (CNN) -- "The Satanic Verses" author Salman Rushdie has written lyrics for a new song by Irish rockers U2, The Guardian reported on Friday. Rushdie gave U2 front man Bono the lyrics from his new novel, "The Ground Beneath Her Feet," the newspaper reported. The romantic song, which also will be called "The Ground Beneath Her Feet," will be on the band's next album. The Guardian reported that U2 hopes to release the song on its own to coincide with the April 23 release of Rushdie's new book, which is a retelling of the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice set in the world of rock 'n' roll. The newspaper quoted Rushdie as saying, "Bono and I have been friends for several years, and I sent him the novel when I'd finished it, and he responded by coming up with this beautiful melody. Simple as that, but of course very pleasurable." Rushdie lived for almost 10 years under an Iranian death sentence that was prompted by the 1989 publication of "The Satanic Verses."

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Richard Dreyfuss to make London stage debut

LONDON (CNN) -- Richard Dreyfuss will appear on the London stage, continuing a trend over the past year that has seen West End performances by film stars including Nicole Kidman, Liam Neeson, Juliette Binoche, Ewan McGregor and Kevin Spacey. In the production of Neil Simon's 1971 play "The Prisoner of Second Avenue," Dreyfuss will be reunited with Marsha Mason, who was his co-star in the 1977 movie "The Goodbye Girl." Dreyfuss won an Academy Award and Mason took home a Golden Globe for their performances in that film. The production will tour four English cities before opening in the West End on March 30, the producers said Friday. Although Dreyfuss has appeared on stage in the United States, this play marks his West End debut.

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Salma Hayek signs deal to produce Spanish, English TV

LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- Actress Salma Hayek has signed a deal to produce TV shows in Spanish and English, according to Daily Variety. A 30-year-old native of Mexico, Hayek was a Latin American star before she gained fame in the United States. Her deal will have her creating television shows in English for Sony's Columbia TriStar TV and in Spanish for the Sony-run Telemundo network. "I started out doing TV, and I know the Spanish TV market very well," she said in Thursday's Daily Variety. "I have a lot of ideas for shows that are commercial and high-quality that can raise the level of Spanish-language TV. And I have access to talent in Mexico that nobody knows about." The actress is now starring in the movie thriller "The Faculty."

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Kirk Douglas and wife fund playgrounds for kids

LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- Kirk Douglas and his wife, Anne, have donated $738,000 so that children will have more places to play. The couple announced 38 recipients of their Playground Enhancement Award on Wednesday. The program is financed by the actor and his wife as well as two foundations to restore and create play areas for kids. "The children of Los Angeles deserve to have clean, safe places to play," Douglas said. "Anne and I firmly believe that playing not only leads to better learning, but is one of the basic rights of childhood that we should all work to protect." The awards for this year will create playgrounds for 56,000 children.

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