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Showbuzz

March 24, 1999
Web posted at: 2:33 p.m. EST (1933 GMT)

Today's buzz stories:

Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis

Veteran actors Ruby Dee, Ossie Davis arrested at protest

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Veteran actors Ruby Dee and husband Ossie Davis made their latest public appearance at a protest outside New York City police headquarters and were quickly arrested with 69 other people. Dee said the police shooting of an unarmed African immigrant in February, "reminds me of when there were lynchings all over the country."

"We've got to start saying 'No further. This must stop,'" added Dee.

The actors join a long list of prominent people -- including former Mayor David Dinkins and NAACP President Kweisi Mfume -- arrested for acts of civil disobedience intended to protest the February 4 killing of Amadou Diallo, an immigrant from Guinea.

Police were reportedly looking for a rape suspect when they fired 41 shots at Diallo, hitting him 19 times. A grand jury in the Bronx has been investigating the killing.

Dee, who is 74, tried to explain why she provoked the arrest Tuesday. "I have to do it. I have no choice, because I've got five grandsons and one son. I wake up thinking that could happen to them."

Dee and her 81-year-old husband, Ossie Davis, recently published a biography covering their acting careers and their marriage, which have both lasted more than 50 years.

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Madonna

The face to launch a thousand purchases? Meet Madonna!

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Cosmetics-maker Max Factor was set to air a commercial in much of the world featuring none other than Madonna, as the face of its new Gold Premium makeup line.

The 30-second ad was directed by Alek Keshishian, the film maker who captured a slice of the singer's life in "Truth or Dare."

Madonna signed a two-year contract with Max Factor to promote Gold Premium cosmetics in Europe and Asia. The new commercial will air in the United Kingdom in May, and is not currently scheduled to be aired in the United States.

According to a company spokesman, Madonna is perfect for the job because she's "renowned for always changing her appearance and for using makeup to do so."

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Marlon Brando, the original shouter of "Stella!" in "A Streetcar Named Desire"

Kim Hunter to judge 'Stella Shouting Contest'

NEW ORLEANS (CNN) -- A docile literary festival to be held in the French Quarter should be greatly enlivened Sunday by a "Stella Shouting Contest," which actress Kim Hunter will help judge.

Hunter brought the roll of Stella to life in the original Broadway production of Tennessee Williams' "A Streetcar Named Desire," and went on to win an Academy Award for best supporting actress in the 1951 film adaptation of the play.

The contest at the Tennessee Williams-New Orleans Literary Festival will feature round after round of screaming actors strutting the stage at Le Petit Theater, not far from where Williams originally wrote the play.

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Stewart

Rod Stewart cancels concert, appears at Oscar party

TOLEDO, Ohio (CNN) -- The mystery of why rock singer Rod Stewart canceled Sunday's scheduled concert in Toledo may have been solved when he was seen at an Academy Awards party.

Stewart had canceled the concert due to an undescribed scheduling conflict, and one of the singer's publicists, Paul Freundlich said he didn't know anything about the situation.

Then Sunday night, when he was to have performed in Toledo, Stewart was seen at an Oscar party in Los Angeles.

John Itsell, the concert's promoter, said it's up to the artists to decide "what they feel is more important to them."

Reba Sarver, one of some 6,000 concert ticket buyers said, "It's a bummer. I guess that's what you do if you're a star."

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Magic Johnson shakes hands with New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani at the announcement in City Hall

Magic Johnson brings screen magic back to Brooklyn area

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Former basketball great Magic Johnson has agreed to renovate a closed Brooklyn theater to create a cutting-edge 12 screen movie complex in a struggling urban neighborhood. The $30 million development would open in 2001.

The 1920s-era Flatbush Avenue Cinema has been closed for 22 years. It has been city property since 1978, when it was seized for nonpayment of taxes.

Johnson announced the deal at New York's City Hall on Tuesday. City and state governments plan to support the development with low-interest loans and tax breaks.

"We feel that we are going to have a great success here in Brooklyn, a theater that everybody will be proud of and everybody will come and support," said Johnson. "We will continue to be a community-based theater. That's what we do different than any other theater chain."

Johnson has built theaters in neglected black communities in three cities. His developments offer services not generally found at movie theaters, including reading programs for children and free blood pressure tests.

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