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Quick Takes

March 25, 2011

Celebs back autism book

Actress Kate Winslet will author a book of celebrity self-portrait photos by Ben Stiller, Jude Law, Meryl Streep and others to support the treatment of autism, Simon & Schuster said Thursday.

Winslet organized the collection of self-portrait photos for the book, "The Golden Hat," after becoming inspired by an HBO documentary she narrated called "A Mother's Courage: Talking Back to Autism" that aired last year.

The film shows Keli Ericsdottir, an Icelandic boy who suffered from severe nonverbal autism, eventually being able to communicate. He now composes poems, including one describing a magical hat that enables an autistic boy to communicate.

The book, which will be released this year, derives its name from Ericsdottir's poem and tells the story of Winslet's relationship with the Ericsdottir family as well as Keli Ericsdottir's poetry and writings.

—Reuters

Brown addresses 'GMA' rage

Chris Brown apologized for his destructive tantrum at "Good Morning America" this week, explaining that

he was surprised that his attack on Rihanna was brought up during his interview and needed to "let out steam" after getting upset.

"I didn't physically hurt anyone; I didn't try to hurt anyone. I just wanted to release the anger that I had inside of me because I felt like I worked so hard for this music and I love my fans and I love to be able to make positive music, but I felt like people kept just trying to take it away from me," he told the audience at BET's "106 & Park" on Wednesday evening.

ABC News said the 21-year-old singer smashed a window in his dressing room Tuesday after he was interviewed by "GMA" co-host Robin Roberts on the show. Brown was promoting his new album, "F.A.M.E.," out this week, but Roberts touched on his beating of then-girlfriend Rihanna in 2009 during an interview before his scheduled performance.

Brown offered apologies to "anybody who was startled in the office, anybody who was offended or really … disappointed in my actions, because I was disappointed in the way I acted."

—Associated Press

$13 million for arts education

A philanthropist has given $13.3 million to 11 of Britain's leading arts and culture organizations, including the National Theatre, the Tate Britain museum and the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Vivien Duffield says the money will be used to set up education centers for children. Duffield runs the Clore Duffield Foundation, established by her father, property magnate Charles Clore.

—Associated Press

Aretha Franklin, birthday girl

After battling back from health problems, the Queen of Soul plans to celebrate her 69th birthday in a big way in New York City.

Aretha Franklin has scheduled a birthday bash Friday at a luxury hotel with performances and special guests. Her publicist, Tracey Jordan, said Franklin planned to go to the theater earlier in the evening to catch "Driving Miss Daisy" on Broadway.

The music legend underwent surgery late last year in her native Detroit for an undisclosed ailment. Since then, she's lost more than 80 pounds. Franklin has said the weight loss was because of a change in diet and exercise.

She's due to return to the stage in May, and also has a new album on the way.

—Associated Press

PG-13 'Speech' due April 1

Colin Firth said he didn't like it, but a new version of "The King's Speech" is heading to theaters just the same.

The Weinstein Co. said Thursday that it would be releasing a tweaked version of the best-picture Oscar winner — in which a scene featuring Firth's Duke of York swearing has been amended so as not to include the F-word — on April 1.

The company said that the R-rated movie, currently in 1,249 theaters, won't be shown as of next weekend. The substitute version, rated PG-13, will go into about 1,000 theaters.

—Steven Zeitchik

Finally

Casting: Ed Harris has been cast as John McCain in "Game Change," HBO's retelling of the 2008 presidential campaign that's based on the bestselling book. Julianne Moore was previously announced to play McCain's running mate, Sarah Palin.

Ten count: FX has given up the fight on its boxing drama, "Lights Out," announcing that the critically praised but little-seen series will not return for a second season.

Donation: Talk-show host Maury Povich is donating $1 million to support journalism programs at the University of Pennsylvania, his alma mater.

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