- The Washington Times - Monday, September 13, 2004

See ya, 3PO

Bidding goodbye to the famous gold robot after almost 30 years, actor Anthony Daniels shed a nostalgic tear for the mechanical manservant who changed his life.

“Oh yes, it was with moisture. This was very much a fond farewell,” Mr. Daniels said when describing his last scene as C-3PO, the easily frightened brainiac android that became an icon in the “Star Wars” movies, to Reuters News Agency.

“I finished filming on the last film last week. For the final shot, I walked along a blue corridor with a blue background behind me talking to someone who wasn’t there,” said Mr. Daniels, whose character has figured in each of the six “Star Wars” movies.

George Lucas’ “Revenge of the Sith,” the third and final “Star Wars” prequel, is due out next spring.

Mr. Daniels makes no secret about his favorite of the six.

“The first film spoke to everyone on the planet. It still works as a funny, bright movie. It still has legs,” he said.

He’s not so hot on the new trio.

“George’s devotion to digital effects overbalanced the films. Too many digital funky characters become a little bit wearing. The storytelling always gets subsumed,” Mr. Daniels said.

KenCen extension

Kennedy Center President Michael M. Kaiser just got seven years’ worth of job security.

Stephen A. Schwarzman, the KenCen chairman, announced Sunday that Mr. Kaiser’s contract, set to expire early next year, was extended through the end of 2011.

“Michael is unquestionably one of the top arts managers in the world,” Mr. Schwarzman said.

Said Mr. Kaiser, “The last four years have been the most enjoyable and rewarding of my life.”

Mr. Kaiser arrived at the center in January 2001 from London’s Royal Opera House. During his tenure here, he has linked Kennedy Center activities with international arts organizations such as the Kirov Opera and Ballet and the Royal Shakespeare Company.

He also arranged for the visit of the Iraqi National Symphony and has overseen the renovations of the performing arts center’s Opera House.

In a Flash

Grandmaster Flash is among the nominees for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame — the first rap artist to receive that distinction. He joins Irish mega-stars U2, L.A. singer-songwriter Randy Newman and soul-funk singers the O’Jays on the ballot.

Getting his start as a DJ at Bronx parties in the late 1970s, Grandmaster Flash (born Joseph Saddler) later joined with the Furious Five for the social commentary of “The Message” and “White Lines (Don’t Don’t Do It”).

Associated Press reports that other nominees this year include blues guitarist Buddy Guy, rockabilly pioneer Wanda Jackson, the new wave rock band the Pretenders, soul singer Percy Sledge, “Centerfold” singers the J. Geils Band and the late country crooner Conway Twitty.

Musicians, industry professionals and journalists vote, and results of the 20th annual election likely will be announced in December.

Breakin’ in America

Sue Whitehouse, manager of United Kingdom neo-hair metalists the Darkness, has “a bad taste” in her mouth since landing the band in America.

Doing business here, she told Billboard magazine, is “all about making a quick buck and not about building the band’s career. The album is referred to as ‘product,’ and they don’t consider the band as people. It’s quite depressing having to deal with that.”

“America destroys so many bands,” she said. “The bands want [U.S. success] enough, but they’re not prepared to sacrifice their sanity for it.”

Free rides

She’s as rich as a Rockefeller, but don’t call her ungenerous.

Talk-show host Oprah Winfrey yesterday celebrated the start of the 19th season of her daytime chat show with a big surprise — by bestowing a brand-new Pontiac G6 on each of the 276 members of her studio audience.

E! Online reports that Miss Winfrey had guaranteed viewers something momentous. She even had an emergency medical crew standing by in case anyone went into serious shock at the surprise.

“We’re calling this our wildest-dream season, because this year on the Oprah show, no dream is too wild, no surprise too impossible to pull off,” Miss Winfrey said.

Compiled by Scott Galupo from staff and wire reports.

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