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Quick Takes: Roger Ebert seeks 'Movies' aid

November 08, 2011

Film critic Roger Ebert told his readers that he may have to cancel his television show "Ebert Presents: At the Movies" unless someone steps up and helps him and his wife pay for it.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic wrote on his blog that after an initial contribution of $25,000 from Kanbar Charitable Trust, he and Chaz Ebert have been paying virtually all the bills for the show, which began airing on public television in January.

Ebert said he has been pleased with the program, which is hosted by Associated Press movie reviewer Christy Lemire and film critic Ignatiy Vishnevetsky.

But after months of paying for such things as screen tests, interns and lunch on taping days, "we can't afford to support the show any longer," wrote Ebert, who can no longer speak after cancer surgery. Ebert wrote that he had hoped foundations and others would step forward to underwrite the show, but that nobody has.

—Associated Press

Ratner sorry for use of gay slur

Filmmaker Brett Ratner issued an apology Monday for using a gay slur during a question-and-answer session at a screening for his new film, "Tower Heist."

Responding to a question about rehearsing his actors, the 42-year-old director used a pejorative term to describe gay men.

On Monday, he called the slur "a dumb and outdated way of expressing myself" and said that "as a storyteller I should have been much more thoughtful about the power of language and my choice of words."

Ratner is set to produce next year's Academy Awards. Film academy president Tom Sherak called Ratner's remarks "inappropriate" but said the academy doesn't plan to remove him from his Oscar-producing position.

—Associated Press

Doctor expects Adele to recover

The doctor who performed surgery on British singer Adele for a benign polyp on her vocal cords says he expects her to make a full recovery.

A statement released by Massachusetts General Hospital, where the singer had surgery, contained the optimistic prognosis from Dr. Steven Zeitels, director of the Massachusetts General hospital Voice Center. It said Zeitels uses specialized lasers to stop vocal cord bleeding in singers. Steven Tyler of Aerosmith was another of his patients; he underwent throat surgery in 2006.

Adele has been plagued with vocal cord problems for months, issues that eventually forced her to cancel her 2011 tour last month.

—Jeannine Stein

Academy honors Redgrave, Jones

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences plans to honor Vanessa Redgrave on Sunday in London, where she is starring with James Earl Jones in the stage production of "Driving Miss Daisy."

Jones is to receive an honorary Oscar on Saturday at the academy's Governors Awards, but the 80-year-old actor is skipping that ceremony in Los Angeles to continue the play's run without interruption.

The academy will honor Redgrave for her five decades in film. The 74-year-old actress has been nominated for six Academy Awards and won for her supporting role in 1977's "Julia," playing an anti-Nazi activist murdered by the Germans. This latest honor does not involve an Oscar statuette.

The academy honored producer Jeremy Thomas in London last year. Previous London honorees include Terry Gilliam, Harold Pinter and Lewis Gilbert.

—Associated Press

Cancer won't stop Williams

Singer Andy Williams says he has bladder cancer but plans to be around next year to celebrate his 75th year in show business.

"I do have cancer of the bladder," Williams, 83, told the audience at the Moon River Theatre in Branson, Mo., over the weekend. "But that is no longer a death sentence. People with cancer are getting through this thing. They're kicking it, and they're winning more and more every year. And I'm going to be one of them."

—Associated Press

Christo's river project OKd

Federal land managers announced a final decision Monday approving Christo's art proposal to suspend 5.9 miles worth of silvery, translucent fabric over a stretch of the Arkansas River, with measures aimed at protecting bighorn sheep and other wildlife.

Christo's team still needs permits from two counties, the Colorado Department of Transportation and the State Patrol for the $50 million "Over the River" project, but construction is expected to start next year. It would be displayed for two weeks in August 2014 before being dismantled.

Christo and his late wife, Jeanne-Claude, first put a vague idea for "Over the River" on paper in 1992. It has taken years to get proper approvals for it, but it was also delayed while the couple focused on the 2005 display of "The Gates," which erected 7,503 saffron-colored fabric panels in New York's Central Park.

—Associated Press

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