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Morning Report

Arts and entertainment reports from The Times, national and international news services and the nation's press.

May 16, 1997|SHAUNA SNOW

LEGAL FILE

Murphy Sues: Eddie Murphy has sued the National Enquirer and Globe tabloids for $5 million each, claiming they damaged his reputation and caused him to seek medical attention for "severe emotional and physical distress" by printing false stories about his sexual appetites in conjunction with his much-publicized encounter with a transsexual prostitute. In a statement Thursday, the Enquirer said it stood by its story and would not "tolerate this legal attack. . . . Mr. Murphy is attempting to rehabilitate himself at our expense. We intend to prove our case in open court." Murphy has said he was just being a "good Samaritan" by offering a ride home to Atisone Seiuli, 20, who Murphy picked up May 2 in West Hollywood. Murphy, 36, was pulled over minutes after the prostitute got into his car; police arrested Seiuli on a prostitution warrant but said Murphy had broken no law. Murphy also filed a third L.A. Superior Court lawsuit against Ioane Seiuli--a relative of the prostitute--for comments made in the New York Post. Ioane Seiuli and a Globe spokesman could not be reached for comment.

ART

Sold!: In the third and final night of big-ticket Impressionist and Modern art auctions in New York, Christie's took in a total of $119.8 million Wednesday--within its $102.1-million to $137.5-million estimate. Combined with its $92.7-million take Monday night from the John and Frances L. Loeb collection and daytime sales that continued Thursday, the auction house has racked up sums not seen since the market crashed in 1990. Bringing Wednesday's top price of $12.4 million was Pierre-Auguste Renoir's "Young Girl Bathing," which had been valued at $8 million to $10 million. Next came "La Seine at Argenteuil," an 1875 Claude Monet landscape consigned by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art to raise funds for works that fit the time frame of the museum's 20th century collection. Estimated at $5 million to $7 million, the Monet was sold to an anonymous American private collector for $8.3 million. Twelve of the 63 works offered failed to find buyers, but more than half of those that were sold exceeded pre-sale estimates. And 27 works fetched more than $1 million each.

Preserving Their Art: The Estate Project for Artists With AIDS will fund four programs through a $90,000 grant from the Robert D. Farber Foundation, including a UCLA Arts Library plan to develop an oral history program around documentary tapes by controversial performance artist Ron Athey. The other programs: "Whiplash," a previously unknown experimental film by Californian Warren Sonbert, that will be restored in association with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences; art supply grants and documentation and legal services that will be offered by the L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center to artists living with HIV or AIDS; and the Virtual Collection, the Estate Project's largest program, which will digitize slide archives of images created by American artists with AIDS. The Farber Foundation was established last year by the estate of Robert Farber, an artist who died of complications of the disease.

RADIO & TV

Better Late Than . . . : Syndicated radio host Don Imus has finally issued an apology of sorts for insulting the Clintons to their faces at a Washington dinner last year. Imus, who had joked about the president's alleged extramarital affairs and other topics and then later dismissed the cracks as good for business, told George magazine editor John F. Kennedy Jr. that he's changed his views. "It wasn't whether it was funny or not; it was whether it was appropriate. Now that I've had time to think about it, it was hideously inappropriate," Imus said in the magazine's June issue. On his show Thursday, however, the contrary Imus denied that the statement was indeed an apology.

In a Family Way: HBO will launch a new movie channel on June 1 called HBO Family. However, the 24-hour, commercial-free channel initially will be available only via satellite (USSB and DSS). The channel will show all "G" and "PG" fare--except after 10 p.m., when some "PG-13" fare such as "Sabrina" and "Mission: Impossible" will be screened.

QUICK TAKES

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