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Morning Report

July 06, 1999|SHAUNA SNOW

POP/ROCK

Fatal Performance: Mark Sandman, lead singer of the Boston rock band Morphine, died of a heart attack early Sunday after collapsing at a rock concert outside Rome. Police said Sandman, 46, collapsed on stage in front of several thousand spectators at a music festival Saturday night just before midnight. A doctor tried to revive him but failed, and Sandman was pronounced dead in an ambulance en route to a nearby hospital. "We're devastated," band manager Deborah Klein said Sunday. "We don't even know what to say. We're all in shock." Sandman, known for his deep, murky baritone, also played bass and wrote all of Morphine's songs. Klein said Sandman did not have a known heart condition or any other major health problems. The band had recently finished a live album, due out in October, and had nearly completed work on another project, Klein said.

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Popper Hospitalized: Blues Traveler frontman John Popper was hospitalized at an unidentified West Coast location over the weekend after suffering chest pains. According to a statement on the band's official Web site, Popper, 32, has been experiencing chest pains "for the past few months" and doctors are monitoring his condition to consider "possible preventive steps . . . to improve his current physical condition. The hospitalization forced cancellation of the band's annual July 4th weekend shows at Colorado's Red Rocks Amphitheater.

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Spice Girl's Posh Wedding: An elaborate fireworks display and an after-dinner performance by Elton John were the order of the day on Sunday as English soccer star David Beckham and Spice Girl Victoria "Posh Spice" Adams tied the knot at one of Ireland's most sumptuous hotels. The couple--who have a 4-month-old son, Brooklyn--were married in a chapel on the grounds of the 14th-century Luttrellstown Castle, on the outskirts of Dublin. In addition to John, the 236 guests included the other Spice Girls, most of Beckham's Manchester United teammates and singer George Michael. Meanwhile, the British glossy magazine OK reportedly paid more than $1.5 million for exclusive rights to the wedding, which was in the planning for 14 months.

TELEVISION

Soap in Their Eyes: Two of NBC's affiliates aren't too passionate about the network's newest soap. NBC stations in Detroit and Houston have opted against showing the new daytime serial "Passions," which premiered Monday. However, a network spokesman said that an independent station is airing the program in Detroit, meaning that it will still be seen in 96% of the country. The Detroit and Houston NBC affiliates also do not air the network's second newest soap, "Sunset Beach."

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Wrestling Ratings: For the first time, a cable network has beaten one of the broadcast networks in the ratings for a full quarter, and the victor, USA, has pro wrestling to thank. USA, home of the World Wrestling Federation, bagged an average 2.7 million viewers in prime time from April through June, while struggling broadcaster UPN averaged 2.5 million. However, the two outlets' battle may intensify in the fall, when UPN adds the two-hour Thursday night program "WWF Smackdown."

QUICK TAKES

"Frasier's" David Hyde Pierce will lead the cast of "The Boys From Syracuse," a "Reprise! Broadway's Best in Concert" production, Sept. 22 to Oct. 3 at UCLA's Freud Playhouse. . . . Supermodel Cindy Crawford, 33, and her club-owner husband, Rande Gerber, 36, are parents. Their son, 8-pound, 4-ounce Presley Walker Gerber, was born Friday at an undisclosed L.A. hospital. . . . The Comedy & Magic Club in Hermosa Beach celebrates its 21st birthday this week. Tonight through Saturday, the club will feature 21 performers (plus birthday cake and party favors) each night, with comics Bob Saget and Wil Shriner among those scheduled.

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