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Showbuzz

March 30, 1999
Web posted at: 4:43 p.m. EST (2143 GMT)

Today's buzz stories:

Pierce Brosnan as Agent 007, James Bond, in "Goldeneye"

The studio battle over Bond

LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- Two movie studios who were duking it out over the right to make the next James Bond film have ended their legal battles with an agreement that could speed production of the next 007 film adventure.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and partner Danjaq LLC will have exclusive, worldwide rights to make Bond movies, ending a court battle with Sony Pictures Entertainment begun in 1997.

MGM and its partner control 18 of the 20 existing Bond movies, and under the new agreement, the business partners will pay $10 million to Sony for the rights to "Casino Royale," made in 1967. The contract also stipulates that Sony will not make a James Bond film for international distribution.

For its part, Sony agreed to pay MGM $5 million to settle questions about who had the rights to make and distribute Bond films in the United States.

The only other film not controlled by MGM is 1965's "Thunderball," which was still part of a separate legal dispute with producer Kevin McClory.

The Bond films have been huge money makers. Over 36 years the 18 films controlled by MGM have produced approximately $3 billion in movie ticket sales. The latest Bond movie, "Tomorrow Never Dies," made over $350 million at box offices worldwide.

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Stern

Violinist Isaac Stern returns to Germany to teach

COLOGNE, Germany (CNN) -- At the close of World War II, Isaac Stern was a U.S. soldier fighting the Germans. On Monday, the now-acclaimed violinist returned to that country for the first time in a half-century, this time to teach young musicians.

"I have a responsibility to pass on to the next generation what I learned from my teachers," Stern said. "It keeps me young and reminds me where I came from. Teaching young artists is like giving water to a flower."

The 78-year-old virtuoso and his wife plan to visit the German cities where Beethoven, Bach and Mendelssohn lived and worked. Stern also said he's interested in learning what music young musicians are drawing upon from Germany's rich heritage.

Stern is currently president of Carnegie Hall in New York. Born in Russia, he moved to the United States at age 3, and is a U.S. citizen.

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Seinfeld

Seinfeld on neighbors: 'stinking from smoked salmon'

NEW YORK (CNN) -- With a single letter to the New York Times newspaper Sunday, comedian Jerry Seinfeld proved himself both the best and the worst possible spokesperson for his Manhattan neighborhood, the Upper West Side.

A March 21 newspaper article had described the expensive neighborhood -- and the setting for Seinfeld's TV show -- as no longer "party central," and said it had become "a sleepy suburb."

So Seinfeld fired off a response, which the newspaper printed Sunday. The letter to the editor manages to skewer just about all sides, including his Upper West Side neighbors.

"The article said that since the Upper West Side lost Charivari (an expensive clothing retailer) and the China Club (a nightspot), it's equivalent to 'a mall in Iowa,'" Seinfeld wrote.

"It's true. Now, to get ripped off I have to traipse all the way over to Madison Avenue, and to get crunched into a mass of pretentious drunken losers, sometimes I don't know where to go," he continued.

Of his priviledged Upper West Side neighbors, Seinfeld said that, "stinking from smoked salmon and covered in grass stains from playing in the park, (they) are not going away."

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Gallagher

'Oasis' rocker shaken by British soccer hooligans

LONDON (CNN) -- Bad-boy singer Liam Gallagher of the rock group Oasis and his pregnant wife were caught up in a rowdy crowd of hooligans before a soccer match Saturday in London, but managed to get away in their black BMW without injury.

"I was absolutely terrified," Gallagher said in the British tabloid, the Sun, describing how drunken hooligans shouted insults at him and his wife, actress Patsy Kensit, and threw a brick through the rear window of their car.

"Patsy's okay, but a bit shaken up," Gallagher told another London newspaper, and the car "is in a state," he said.

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