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Quick Takes: Kirk Douglas challenges Center Theatre Group

May 24, 2011

Film legend Kirk Douglas and his wife, Anne, have awarded a $1-million challenge grant to Center Theatre Group, which will be combined with an earlier $1-million donation from the couple to develop new works for the theater.

The grant is being made through the Douglas Foundation, the couple's philanthropic organization that supports education, healthcare and other fields.

The organization said the challenge grant will be active for the next 10 years and that for every $2 that CTG raises, the foundation will add another $1.

In 2004, the Douglases gave $2.5 million to help transform the Culver Theater in Culver City into what is now the Kirk Douglas Theatre. The 317-seat venue presents new plays, experimental productions and works in development. CTG's other venues are the Ahmanson Theatre and the Mark Taper Forum.

—David Ng

Harper Lee may have cooperated

Harper Lee's sister says the author of "To Kill a Mockingbird" has indeed cooperated with a memoir about her. And the publisher has set a release date: fall 2013.

The law firm Barnett, Bugg, Lee & Carter had released a signed statement last month from Harper Lee disputing an announcement by Penguin Press that Marja Mills' "The Mockingbird Next Door" had been written with "full access" to the media-shy novelist.

But Alice Lee, Harper Lee's sister, is a partner in the firm and said in a signed letter dated May 21 and released Monday by Penguin that the statement was prepared without her knowledge and "does not represent" the feelings of either sister.

A woman who answered the phone at Barnett, Bugg declined comment.

—Associated Press

Getty antiquities curator to leave

Karol Wight, the Getty Museum's senior curator for antiquities, is leaving the organization to become the executive director of the Corning Museum of Glass in upstate New York.

Wight, 52, will assume her new post Aug. 15, succeeding David Whitehouse.

Wight was named the Getty's antiquities curator in 2007. She succeeded Marion True, whose job she had held on an acting basis since True's controversial resignation in 2005 amid charges the Getty bought looted antiquities.

Wight joined the Getty in 1985 as a graduate-student intern and was made a curator in 1992. Her specialty is in glass from the Roman empire, and she co-wrote "Looking at Glass," published by the Getty in 2005.

—David Ng

'Jackie' will stay, but 'Tara' goes

Multiple personality disorders are out, but drug addiction and medieval mayhem are still in at Showtime.

The premium cable network has canceled "United States of Tara." Executive produced by Steven Spielberg and Diablo Cody, the show followed suburban mom Tara as she tried to make her marriage work and raise a family while contending with multiple male, female, young and old personalities.

Toni Collette, who played Tara during the show's three seasons, won an Emmy and a Golden Globe for the role. Though it generated a solid amount of buzz at its launch, the show never really caught on with sizable numbers of viewers. The dark dramedy drew about 1.9 million fans between live and time-shifted viewing. Ratings had been dropping: They're 30% lower this season than last.

Its season finale, scheduled for June 20, will also serve as the series finale.

"Nurse Jackie" — which the network has renewed for a fourth season, along with a previously announced second season of "The Borgias" — has been pulling in an average of 2.8 million viewers.

—T.L. Stanley

New Crichton, with some help

A new, posthumous story of science gone wrong is coming in November from the late Michael Crichton, with help from Richard Preston.

Crichton, author of such blockbusters as "Jurassic Park" and "The Andromeda Strain," died in 2008 and had written one-third of "Micro," a thriller about a biotech company in Hawaii and the graduate students who end up stranded and endangered in a rain forest.

Preston, known for his bestselling nonfiction work about the Ebola virus, "The Hot Zone," used Crichton's outline, reference materials and notes to finish the book.

—Associated Press

Finally

Dude's album: Oscar-winning actor Jeff Bridges will release his self-titled major-label debut album on Aug. 16, record company Blue Note said Monday. Bridges wrote or co-wrote four of the album's 11 songs.

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