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Also: Listen to "Celebrity Watch" from CNN Radio's Ken Pauli
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Web posted on:
Friday, April 30, 1999 3:57:08 PM EST

Today's buzz stories:


Flockhart, 'Today' can't overcome weighty issue

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Actress Calista Flockhart doesn't want to talk about her weight. So "Today" doesn't want to talk to her.

The ultra-thin star of FOX's "Ally McBeal" backed out of a long-scheduled interview with the NBC morning show after refusing to talk about her weight, which has been the topic of rumor in recent months. Reports have speculated that McBeal suffers from an eating disorder.

"We never agree to restrictions on interviews," says Allison Gollust, a "Today" spokeswoman. Flockhart had been booked on "Today" for Monday to promote her new movie. She also has appearances planned for next week on CBS's "Late Show" with David Letterman and on "The Rosie O'Donnell Show."

Flockhart has answered questions several times about her weight "and it always comes out the same," says Pat Kingsley, her publicist. "We just said, 'Enough is enough.' We're fed up with it and we don't want to put her out there anymore."

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Parks, shown here meeting Pope John Paul II in January, will soon be the subject of a CBS movie

Rosa Parks story headed for CBS

HOLLYWOOD (CNN) -- CBS is telling Rosa Parks' story. The 86-year-old, considered by many to be the mother of the African-American civil rights movement, is participating in a filmed account of her life for the first time, striking a deal with Hollywood production company Jaffe/Braunstein Films to make a two-hour TV movie for CBS.

No air date or writer has yet been announced, but producers say they intend to focus on the culture and events around Parks' 1955 refusal to give up her seat on a public bus to a white person in Montgomery, Alabama. The gesture, made when Parks was 42, triggered many events in the civil rights movement, beginning with the Montgomery bus boycott.

Parks, who now lives in Detroit and Los Angeles, continues to be active in public life. This year she's slated to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor.

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No ATM for Brandy

(CNN) -- Brandy may make millions, but she doesn't have access to it through an ATM. The pop star's mother keeps all the checks.

"I basically have access to my money, but my mom won't trust me with an ATM card. She knows I'll stop every minute to get $20 out," Brandy told USA Weekend. "My weakness is Louis Vuitton purses."

Brandy says teens who don't have millions should be charitable by making donations from their after-school earnings. "I take more than 10 percent of my money and give it back," she says.

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DiCaprio publicist releases statement on run-in

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Leonardo DiCaprio's publicist has issued a statement explaining his client's view of the controversy around DiCaprio's stopover in Taiwan. DiCaprio had just finished shooting in Thailand on his film, "The Beach." Ken Sunshine of Sunshine Consultants says DiCaprio's party was verbally assaulted by paparazzi when he arrived at the Taipei Airport on Monday, en route to Los Angeles.

A friend of the "Titanic" star admits to swearing at one of the photographers, and security police threatened to detain DiCaprio's party "unless the insulted photographer was appeased," according to Sunshine.

"The so-called security police at the airport did little or nothing to prevent this security threat to Mr. DiCaprio's party and patrons of the airport," Sunshine says.

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Maria Stader dead at 88

ZURICH, Switzerland (CNN) -- Lyric soprano Maria Stader, a leading interpreter of Mozart arias, died Tuesday. She was 88.

Stader rose to prominence when she won an international competition in Geneva in 1939. She spent World War II in Switzerland, but went on to sing throughout Europe, specializing in Bach cantatas and masses and particularly in Mozart's concert arias.

In 1950 and 1956, Stader was awarded the Lillie Lehmann medal for outstanding artistic achievement by the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria. Stader, who'd made her U.S. debut in 1954, retired from the stage after a final 1969 performance of Mozart's Requiem at New York's Carnegie Hall.

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Reuters contributed to this report.

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