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Also: Listen to "Celebrity Watch" from CNN Radio's Ken Pauli
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Web posted on: Monday, April 19, 1999 4:17:25 PM EDT

Today's buzz stories:

The Three Tenors

First and last: Three Tenors in Africa and good-bye to Boxcar Willie

(CNN) -- Some 35,000 people took in Jose Carreras, Placido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti in Pretoria, South Africa, as the Three Tenors made their first joint appearance on the African continent.

Sunday's concert was produced to mark the first five years of democracy in South Africa.

Across an ocean and half a continent, country music fans filled Boxcar Willie's theater in Branson, Missouri, Saturday to say goodbye to the singing hobo.

Willie, born Lecil Travis Martin, died April 12 of leukemia at age 67.

Branson stars including Mel Tillis, Andy Williams, Jim Stafford and Yakov Smirnov attended the service in which Rev. Cliff Braschler delivered a eulogy with clips from shows.

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From starving artist to MTV queen

NEW YORK (CNN) -- A 21-year-old Florida woman is MTV's latest VJ. Thalia D. DaCosta of Sunrise took home the big prize Saturday in the music network's second annual VJ "Wanna-Be" tryout.

DaCosta bettered 6,000 other 18-to-28-year-olds for the spot, taking home $25,000 and a new car.

"I just won a contest for being myself," she says. "I was really a struggling, starving artist yesterday. And today, I have ... a really well-paying job."

DaCosta, whose salary has not been determined, goes on the air for the first time next week, according to MTV executive vice president Dave Sirulnick.

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Mad about Janeane Garofalo

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Helen Hunt plus Paul Reiser equals Janeane Garofalo?

The equation works that way for the finale of TV's "Mad About You." Comic Garofalo plays Jamie and Paul Buchmans' daughter Mabel -- all grown up -- in an episode directed by Hunt and written by Hunt and co-star Reiser and executive producer Victor Levin.

The hourlong final episode is scheduled to air May 24, bringing to a close seven seasons on the air.

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Eartha Kitt stands in support of Jesse Ventura

ST. PAUL, Minnesota (CNN) -- Singer Eartha Kitt demonstrated the importance of physical fitness last Friday by doing a handstand on Minnesota Gov. Jesse "The Body" Ventura's desk.

The former pro wrestler said Kitt's stunt was "amazing," to which the one-time Catwoman of TV's "Batman" quipped, "At the age of 72."

Kitt was in the Twin Cities for a weekend of shows at a nightclub. She visited with Ventura for about 15 minutes.

"I'm here to support his original ideas about supporting common sense," she said. "He's fun because of both his sense of humor and practical common sense."

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'Happy Days' actress to stand trial in shotgun incident

LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- Roz Kelly, who played the girl who won the heart of the Fonz on the sitcom "Happy Days," is competent to stand trial for allegedly using a shotgun to blast a neighbor's car and apartment, a judge has ruled.

Judge Michelle Rosenblatt had ordered a psychiatric evaluation for Roz Kelly following her November 29 arrest. She has pleaded innocent to three felony firearms charges.

Kelly, 56, is said to have been annoyed by a blaring car alarm prior to the shooting. No one was seriously hurt in the incident, police said. If convicted, Kelly could face up to six years in prison, prosecutors have said.

Kelly played Pinky Tuscadero on the '50s-nostalgic "Happy Days." The show ran from 1973 to 1984.

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