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People Watch

March 19, 1994|Arts and entertainment reports from The Times, national and international news services and the nation's press

Zsa Zsa Files for Bankruptcy: Actress Zsa Zsa Gabor filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Los Angeles Friday, according to her press agent, who quoted Gabor's attorney, Bennett Spiegel, as saying the actress "needed a breathing spell to reorganize her financial affairs." Last December, a Santa Monica Superior Court jury awarded actress Elke Sommer $3.3 million in damages from Gabor and her husband, Frederick von Anhalt, for defaming Sommer by saying she had fallen on hard times in interviews published in a pair of German publications in 1990. Verdicts against Gabor and Von Anhalt (who was not part of Gabor's bankruptcy action) were reportedly the largest personal libel judgments in history. Gabor said at the time that the judgments would be appealed.

STAGE

'Cyrano' Losing Millions: "Cyrano," a musical based on Rostand's play "Cyrano de Bergerac," is set to close Sunday on Broadway with losses that could make it the most expensive flop in Broadway history. While total losses are disputed--Robin de Levita, executive producer of the show, says $8 million while Variety says more than $10 million--it will certainly rival losses of more than $8 million by "Carrie," "Aspects of Love" and this season's "The Red Shoes."

* LuPone Not Likely to Play L.A.: Actress Patti LuPone, who originated the role of Norma Desmond in Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical of "Sunset Boulevard," was offered the role of replacing Glenn Close here when Close goes to play Desmond on Broadway, according to Lloyd Webber spokesman Peter Brown. Brown said that the offer was made to LuPone, who was originally contracted to play Desmond on Broadway, before LuPone concluded her London portrayal on Sunday. LuPone's New York-based agent Robert Duva said that LuPone "has not turned (Los Angeles) down officially," but added, "she has never replaced anybody in her career. She is the only American actress to win both a Tony (for Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's "Evita") and (Britain's) Olivier (jointly awarded for "Les Miserables" and "The Cradle Will Rock") in the best actress category."

OSCAR WATCH

Cuban Dancers Barred: While visas were granted for Cuba's most famous ballerina, Alicia Alonzo, and a ballet journalist to attend the Academy Awards ceremony Monday, the State Department has turned down visa requests from Cuban dancers Lienz Chang Oliva, a Chinese Cuban, and Maria del Rosario Suarez, who were invited to perform at the ceremony. Cuba was one of eight countries whose national dance companies were invited to send representatives to perform, but Washington officials said the U.S. government generally does not allow professional entertainers from Cuba to perform in the United States because of the U.S. embargo.

* A Party With a Dream: Add another charity competing for superstar attendees at its Oscar night benefit: West Hollywood's Chaya Brasserie is hosting a $50-per-person champagne, hors d'oeuvres and dessert event benefiting "We Have a Dream for Better Days Inc.," which assists homeless and troubled young people.

* The World Will Be Watching: ABC has licensed the 66th annual Academy Awards presentation to a record 103 TV markets around the world, including an unprecedented 50 countries and territories that will view the proceedings live. The 90-minute international version, to be transmitted via satellite Tuesday morning, will be seen in such far-off locales as Algeria, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Egypt, Iceland, Kuwait, Lebanon, Nepal, Romania, Tunisia and Vietnam.

* And for Those Who Can't Wait: Members of the on-line information service CompuServe will be the "first" to learn of Oscar's backstage goings-on, with live reports from the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. The computer service promises to cover "the happenings, the gossip, the quotable quotes--what TV viewers aren't seeing and hearing at home."

QUICK TAKES

Italian opera star Luciano Pavarotti, criticized for concert ticket prices as high as $910 in Manila, postponed Friday evening's Manila concert after catching a cold he said made his voice less than perfect. Among ticket holders outside the concert hall where the postponement was announced less than an hour before showtime was black-gowned former First Lady Imelda Marcos. . . . Movie critic Gene Shalit, in Florida to report on baseball spring training for NBC's "Today" show, suffered a broken leg when he was hit by a car Thursday night. He was listed in good condition at St. Petersburg's Palms of Pasadena Hospital. . . Burt Reynolds used his cast-clad hand to punch-out a would-be attacker when the TV star was shoved from behind when leaving a San Fernando Valley bookstore the other evening. A second attacker recognized Reynolds and ran. . . . And singer Billy Joel was on his way to a concert in Cleveland Thursday night when his van was hit by a truck. He wasn't injured but, left without transportation, he hitched a ride in a fire department emergency vehicle and signed autographs for the crew.

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