- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Honoring the fallen

Oklahoma natives Vince Gill and Toby Keith will headline a benefit concert April 22 to honor rescue workers, survivors and family members of victims of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, AP reports.

April 19 is the 10th anniversary of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building bombing, which killed 168 people in downtown Oklahoma City.

Other Oklahoma natives slated to perform include singer-guitarist Ty England, fiddler Byron Berline and newcomer Katrina Elam.

“The concert is a way for the memorial to thank the people of Oklahoma who’ve worked so hard to support us with their generosity and giving spirit,” said Kari Watkins, executive director of the Oklahoma City National Memorial.

The next ‘Ray’

The filmmakers behind “Ray” are taking on another story about breaking racial barriers. Baldwin Entertainment Group is producing a film biography of baseball pioneer Jackie Robinson, with an assist from Robert Redford, whose Wildwood Enterprises will co-produce.

Mr. Redford, who starred in the 1984 baseball classic “The Natural,” also will play Brooklyn Dodgers General Manager Branch Rickey, who in 1947 signed Mr. Robinson as the first black player in Major League Baseball.

“This will be our next ‘Ray,’” said producer Howard Baldwin, whose film on Ray Charles brought Jamie Foxx the best-actor Academy Award.

“This is one of the most important stories not just in sports, but in our history,” Mr. Baldwin told Associated Press.

Mr. Robinson himself starred in 1950’s “The Jackie Robinson Story,” a dramatization of his entry into baseball.

Princess diaries

Actress-turned-novelist Carrie Fisher is set to publish a tell-all book about the original “Star Wars” films. According to the Internet Movie Database, Miss Fisher, 48, kept a diary during the late 1970s and early 1980s, when she played Princess Leia with Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill.

Against the wishes of her publisher, she explained: “When I was in ‘Star Wars,’ I kept diaries — big books full of what went on, what I thought, what I did. I am going to write them all up as a narrative. It will be riveting. Once I get started, that is. I’m months behind already.”

Day trading

Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen are selling their $7.3 million Manhattan apartment before they’ve even lived in it, according to People magazine.

The 18-year-old actresses bought the 6,000-square-foot penthouse before moving to the city to attend New York University and planned extensive renovations.

“It turned out to be too much space, along with the fact that the renovation was going to take far longer than anyone expected,” Michael Pagnotta, the twins’ publicist, told the magazine. “It just didn’t make sense anymore. Their needs changed in terms of their living situations.”

Code’ crackers

Children in the United Kingdom will soon be able to play their own version of “The Da Vinci Code” — sort of.

A children’s book about Leonardo da Vinci, set for publication in May, is loosely linked to the highly successful Dan Brown novel “The Da Vinci Code.”

According to the BBC, “Who Can Crack the Leonardo Da Vinci Code?” is being touted as “more historical” than the Brown novel, whose historical accuracy has been assailed by the Vatican.

The book, by Austrian writer Thomas Brezina, gives young readers puzzles to solve in an “interactive adventure.”

A spokesman for Prestel Publishing said the book is a “marketing tool” designed to “tap into parents’ excitement about ‘The Da Vinci Code.’”

“It’s not in the Dan Brown mold of conspiracy theories,” he added, “and there will be nothing about the Holy Grail.”

Compiled by Scott Galupo from Web and wire reports.

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