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Taking Names

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Diddy, model split

Sean "Diddy" Combs is flying solo.

The 37-year-old rap mogul and his longtime girlfriend, model Kim Porter, have split up, his spokeswoman, Keesha Johnson, told Associated Press yesterday.

Mr. Combs and Miss Porter have a son, Christian, and twin daughters, D'Lila Star and Jessie James, who were born Dec. 21. He also has a son, Justin, with ex-girlfriend Misa Hylton-Brim.

Mr. Combs, who has appeared on Broadway and in movies, has a record label and clothing line, among other ventures.

Count OK's Cruise

Tom Cruise yesterday received backing for his contested plans to play the mastermind behind a daring bid to assassinate Adolf Hitler from one of the real-life hero's fellow conspirators, Agence France-Presse reports.

Count Philipp von Boeselager, 89, told the German daily Bild that the uproar in Germany over the Hollywood star's links to the Church of Scientology in no way disqualifies him to play Count Claus Schenk von Stauffenberg.

"I think it is good that Cruise is playing Stauffenberg," Count von Boeselager said in an interview. "He is a good actor. But he must not be allowed to advertise for Scientology with the movie."

Filming is set to begin next week in Berlin on "Valkyrie," named after the code name of the plot. But city authorities have restricted where the crew can film, and some German officials have expressed discomfort with the idea of Mr. Cruise, a dedicated Scientologist, playing a national hero and martyr, AFP said.

Germany considers the Scientology movement a commercial operation that exploits vulnerable people.

Count Boeselager belonged to Count Stauffenberg's cadre of aristocratic military officers who conspired to kill Hitler in 1944.

Set in steel

A monument to the Beatles will be constructed in Hamburg, Germany, where the Fab Four started their international career 45 years ago, AP reports.

Radio station Oldie 95, the organizer, says the $625,000 steel monument will be built on a corner of the St. Pauli district near clubs where the Beatles played songs such as "Love Me Do" in 1962. The monument will represent Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison, Ringo Starr and early Beatle Stuart Sutcliffe, who died in Hamburg in 1962, the radio station said Monday. Construction is expected to begin this year.

Madonna does Blondie

Theatre producers yesterday announced plans for a London musical version of pop queen Madonna's 1985 film "Desperately Seeking Susan" that will feature hit songs by punk rock band Blondie.

Debbie Harry, now 63, has also written a new song, "Moment of Truth," for the production that will open in London's West End theater district in October, producers told AFP.

"It's going to be all Blondie songs," said Mark Rubinstein, one of the musical's producers. "It sets the world before Madonna, when there was Debbie Harry and Blondie. She's from that world and that time. 'Moment of Truth' is different."

The musical will also feature old Blondie hits such as "Heart of Glass," "Atomic," "One Way or Another," "Dreaming," and "The Tide is High."

Emma Williams, 24, who will assume the role of Susan — played by Madonna in what was her first major film — said her character "will be a cross between Madonna and Debbie Harry."

Kelly Price, who recently appeared in the West End production of Guys and Dolls, will play Roberta Glass, the bored suburban New Jersey housewife who becomes fascinated with Susan. Rosanna Arquette had the film role 22 years ago.

Miss Harry, whose new song is "based on an R and B idea," said: "The story just works with the lyrics. I thought it was a good idea, really smart. I would love it to come to Broadway."

She also said she expected the musical to be "more lighthearted" than the film.

The production will open at London's Novello Theatre Oct. 12.

Compiled by Kevin Chaffee and Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wire reports

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