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Also: Listen to "Celebrity Watch" from CNN Radio's Ken Pauli
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Web posted on:
Friday, March 26, 1999 5:23:01 PM EST

Today's buzz stories:

"Life is Beautiful"

Benigni's 'Life' to be reborn in English language

LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- Roberto Benigni's "Life Is Beautiful" continued to conquer U.S. audiences as few internationally-made films have done before, with plans to expand showings to 1,000 screens over the weekend, and to dub the Italian-language film into English.

Benigni, easily the most ecstatic winner at Sunday's Academy Awards, will voice his own character when the film is dubbed into English. His wife and co-star, Nicoletta Braschi, will voice her own character as well, said a spokesperson for the distributor, Miramax Films.

"Life" won three Oscars for best actor (Benigni), best foreign film, and best dramatic score. The film's unique plot follows an Italian Jew through his marriage to his family's internment in a Nazi death camp, where he shields his young son from reality by creating an elaborate game.

Miramax has not yet announced the release date for the English-language version.

As it moves onto 1,000 screens across the U.S. this weekend from 650, "Life" becomes the first foreign-language movie to hit that mark, easily passing the previous record holder, "Il Postino," which played on roughly 400 screens.

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Celebrity sighting: Sir Ian McKellen and Monica Lewinsky

LONDON (CNN) -- "I was at home and didn't have a date," said actor Sir Ian McKellen when asked about his choice of Monica Lewinsky as his companion Thursday evening for the British premier of "Gods and Monsters."

Ever the gentleman, 59-year-old McKellen said, "She was coming to London and I thought, 'We want to give her a good welcome.'" The two reportedly met at an Oscars party in Los Angeles. McKellen has garnered international attention and an Oscar nomination for his performance in "Gods and Monsters."

Lewinsky was in London to promote a book about her affair with President Bill Clinton. That liaison between the former White House intern and the U.S. president led to his impeachment in Congress.

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TV movie to tell Doug Flutie's comeback story

BUFFALO, New York (CNN) -- Next December, TV viewers may be treated to the story of Buffalo Bills quarterback Doug Flutie's life, including his professional comeback and his inspiring work to help children with autism.

Flutie's agent, Jack Mula, said this week that an agreement had been signed with a film production company, which in turn had guarantees from a TV network to air the program over the holiday season.

Football fans still remember Flutie's last-ditch touchdown pass in 1984 to give Boston College a 47-45 upset victory over the University of Miami. Flutie won the Heisman Trophy that year.

Flutie came back to the NFL last year after eight seasons in the Canadian Football League.

Mula said some profits from the TV movie would go to the "Doug Flutie Jr. Autism Foundation," which is named after the quarterback's 7-year-old son.

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Buddy Holly's widow calls MCA suit a last resort

DALLAS (CNN) -- Forty years after pioneer rocker Buddy Holly died in a plane crash at age 22, his widow, Maria Elena Holly, explained her suit against MCA Records was a "last resort."

Holly and her lawyer told a press conference Wednesday that she was stonewalled by the record company for years, as she tried to raise royalty payments for her husband's rock songs.

"I have never given up, I have always had different lawyers approaching MCA . . . This is like David and Goliath. MCA laughs in everybody's face," said Mrs. Holly, who's now in her late 50s.

Universal Music Group, which owns MCA, has refused to comment on the lawsuit, saying it does not discuss legal disagreements in public.

Holly was a major influence on the development of Rock and Roll music, despite recording for just two years to produce such classics as, "That'll Be the Day," "Rave On," and "Not Fade Away."

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Cher on life after love in Rolling Stone

NEW YORK (CNN) -- With a hit single that asks, "Do you believe in life after love?", it's only fitting that Rolling Stone magazine pries into singer/actress Cher's love life in the most recent issue. What readers will find is a lack of romantic love just now for the 50-something Cher.

"I've never been alone this long," Cher told Rolling Stone. She describes some advantages to being single, but admits she misses other experiences of a loving relationship.

"There's not someone who tells you how adorable you are and rubs your head and goes into a crowded press conference and stands at the back and winks at you so that you think, 'I can get through this.'"

Cher's versatile career has included the '70s variety show "Sonny and Cher" show and an Academy Award for 1987's "Moonstruck." She will return to the movies this spring, co-starring in Franco Ziffirelli's "Tea With Mussolini" with Judi Dench, Joan Plowright and Maggie Smith.

On her up and down celebrity, Cher told Rolling Stone, "Some years I'm the coolest thing that ever happened, and then the next year everyone's so over me, and I'm just so past my sell date."

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