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Web posted on: Thursday, June 18, 1998 5:02:42 PM

Today's buzz stories:

New leadership sworn in at NEA

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- As Republican leaders in the House prepare a new effort to abolish the National Endowment for the Arts, Vice President Al Gore on Wednesday swore in William J. Ivey, a country music expert, as head of the agency. Ivey has directed the Country Music Foundation in Nashville, Tennessee, since 1971. At Ivey's swearing in, Gore vowed to fight to defend the endowment, which some conservative members complain has supported pornographic artwork. A House Appropriations subcommittee was scheduled to discuss funding for the agency on Thursday.

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Tony Randall, 78, a father again

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Tony Randall is a father again. The 78-year-old actor and his 28-year-old wife, Heather, welcomed 7-pound, 2-ounce Jefferson Salvini Randall into the world on Monday. The boy was named after two performers of the late 1800s -- comic actor Joseph Jefferson and Italian tragic actor Tommasso Salvini. Randall became a father for the first time a little over a year ago, when his wife gave birth to a daughter.

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Jordan's life a movie in the making

LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- Pre-production for a movie on the life of basketball legend Michael Jordan is underway with a nationwide search for a person to play the lead role. "Michael Jordan: The Untold Story of an American Hero" will debut next year on cable's Fox Family Channel.

"Obviously, casting someone to play a larger-than-life character like Michael requires good looks, charisma and an ability to shoot a 30-footer, someone that will not be easy to find," Lance H. Robbins, president of TV movies and series for Saban Entertainment, said Tuesday. Jordan and his Chicago Bulls just won their sixth NBA championship of the decade, and rumors have swirled over whether or not he will retire.

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Christie's auctioning off TV, film history

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Memorabilia from film and television history was to go on the auction block at Christie's in New York on Thursday. Items up for bid include a jeep from the show "M*A*S*H," an original "Seinfeld" script, and a model of a "Star Trek" Klingon warship. From the world of film: Charlie Chaplin's cane, James Dean's first movie contract and the actual model of the Titanic used in the 1953 film starring Barbara Stanwyck.

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Alec Baldwin sounding like a tank

LONDON (CNN) -- The popular children's television series "Thomas the Tank & Friends" will return to British airwaves after a four-year absence -- with a new voice. Alec Baldwin is replacing former Beatle Ringo Starr, narrating and providing the voice of Thomas. Baldwin has starred in several films, including "The Hunt for Red October."

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Maples wants more from Trump

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Lawyers for Donald Trump and Marla Maples were due in court on Thursday to discuss the ex-couple's 1993 pre-nuptial agreement. The paper says Maples wants more money than she agreed to in the agreement, which is worth about $2.5 million. That's less money than what she'd be entitled to under New York law -- which is potentially half of what Trump earned during their three-and-a-half-year marriage. Trump's lawyers say the pre-nup is set in stone.

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