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Taking Names: Arnold bummed by closed Taj Mahal

- - Sunday, February 5, 2012

Closed Taj Mahal disappoints visiting Schwarzenegger

Arnold Schwarzenegger's dream of visiting the Taj Mahal has been dashed.

The former California governor traveled to the Indian city of Agra on Friday, the one day each week the monument is closed to tourists because of Muslim prayers at a nearby mosque.

His tour guide, Nitin Singh, said the movie star was disappointed and had to view the Taj Mahal from a nearby road.

Mr. Schwarzenegger took pictures with his cellphone and posed for photos with the mausoleum as the backdrop.

He is in India for an environmental conference.

He told a TV channel he would consider acting in Bollywood if offered an interesting script with a good director.

"I'll be back," he told the cheering studio audience.

Roseanne Barr seeking Green Party presidential nod

Roseanne Barr said Thursday she's running for the Green Party's presidential nomination - and it's no joke.

The actress-comedian said in a statement that she's a longtime supporter of the party and looks forward to working with people who share her values. She said the two major parties aren't serving the American people.

"The Democrats and Republicans have proven that they are servants - bought and paid for by the 1 percent - who are not doing what's in the best interest of the American people," Ms. Barr said.

Occupy Wall Street protesters popularized the "We are the 99 percent" slogan in their fight against economic disparity and perceived corporate greed.

Ms. Barr has submitted paperwork to the Green Party for her candidacy. The party's presidential nominee will be selected at a convention in Baltimore in July.

Ms. Barr said she has been fighting for working-class families and women for decades.

"I will barnstorm American living rooms," she said in a candidate questionnaire submitted to the Green Party. "Mainstream media will be unable to ignore me, but more importantly they will be unable to overlook the needs of average Americans in the run-up to the 2012 election."

Ms. Barr's hit TV sitcom "Roseanne" aired from 1988 to 1997 and earned her an Emmy and a Golden Globe.

Billy Ray Cyrus inks deal with Amazon for memoir

Billy Ray Cyrus is the latest celebrity to sign up with Amazon.com

The singer of "Achy Breaky Heart" and father and former co-star of Miley Cyrus has a memoir, "Hillbilly Heart," coming in spring 2013.

Amazon.com, which has been aggressively expanding its publishing operation, announced Thursday that Mr. Cyrus would discuss with "great candor" everything from his early years to life as the parent of a teen superstar. Mr. Cyrus and his daughter starred together in the hit TV series "Hannah Montana."

Others with Amazon deals include actress-director Penny Marshall and actor James Franco. Those books, however, will not be available everywhere. Barnes & Noble Inc. announced earlier this week that it would not stock releases from its rival retailer.

Playwrights to mark Japan quake anniversary

Celebrated playwrights including Stephen Sondheim, Tony Kushner and Edward Albee have joined a fundraiser to mark the anniversary of last year's devastating earthquake in Japan.

All will be offering 10-minute plays and songs to be performed March 11. The effort also has united 35 arts organizations across 12 states. Funds will help the Japanese theater community.

Participating artists include Suzan-Lori Parks and Richard Greenberg, both of whom will write original pieces. Mr. Sondheim with writer John Weidman will revise a section of their musical "Pacific Overtures."

In New York, the effort has united some of the city's most powerful theaters, including Lincoln Center Theater, Playwrights Horizons, the Public Theater and Manhattan Theatre Club. Theatre Communications Group said Thursday it's leading the effort.

An earthquake and tsunami struck Japan last March 11, leaving 20,000 people dead or missing.

Bee Gee Robin Gibb reports his health has rebounded

Bee Gee star Robin Gibb said he is making a strong recovery and putting on weight after suffering from a serious illness.

He told BBC radio on Friday that he feels better than he has in a decade.

The 62-year-old had suffered from severe weight loss in recent months and has been hospitalized for stomach and colon problems that forced him to curtail public appearances.

He has not specified the exact nature of his illness but told the BBC he had a growth on his colon that was removed.

The singer said his doctors have been amazed by his recovery.

Tomei sued over damage to John Waters' apartment

A lawsuit claims a leak from Marisa Tomei's New York City apartment has damaged the homes of two downstairs neighbors, including director John Waters.

The neighbors' insurance companies filed the suit this week in a Manhattan court. The suit said the "My Cousin Vinny" actress' "negligence" caused a September 2010 leak that left more than $128,000 in damage at the building in Manhattan's Greenwich Village.

Mr. Waters said in an email that the case is a standard insurance claim completely out of his hands. The "Hairspray" director said there's no animosity between him and Ms. Tomei.

The insurers' attorney and representatives for the Academy Award-winning actress didn't respond to messages seeking comment.

Compiled from Web and wire service reports.