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Entertainment news for January 8, 1993

Madonna, Eddie Vedder, and Lily Tomlin made headlines this week

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VENTING
The most sizzling missive recently launched in Hollywood was the letter Madonna faxed to Disney producer Joe Roth last month. Accusing Roth of firing her from Angie, I Says, Madonna wrote: ”After directing Coupe De Ville you are certainly qualified to speak about the art of acting. I can see why you would think Geena Davis is the better actress for the part. After all,” Madonna sarcastically added, ”she’s Italian.” Roth says he never fired Madonna — she chose to do another film, Snake Eyes, instead. Madonna spokeswoman Liz Rosenberg claims the fax ”was never meant to be public.”…

PIGGING OUT
A fascinating rumor-of-the-week claims that Jason Patric has taken sole custody of Fergis, the potbellied pig he once shared with Julia Roberts, his now ex-love. Roberts’ publicists say they know nothing about the pig, and so can’t confirm its custodial status….

LIVING
Taking a cue from Mark Twain, Pearl Jam lead singer Eddie Vedder is denying reports that he died of a heroin overdose. The premature obit apparently started last month on the Prodigy computer network….

DISSING
Fans at the disastrous Dec. 26 Ice Cube concert in Seattle — which ended in a shooting outside afterward involving 30 to 50 gunshots from five weapons, at least seven people wounded, and nine arrests by 38 cops — now allege Ice Cube provoked the violence. According to press reports, Cube angered gang members in the audience by saying they were no gang, they were ”wannabes.” A member of his entourage denies Cube taunted anyone from the stage….

REGAL PASSING
Blues guitarist Albert King, 69, died of a heart attack Dec. 21 on the eve of a European tour with B.B. King and Bobby ”Blue” Bland. Though he was less popular than B.B. (whom Albert claimed to be a distant cousin), critics consider him a greater influence on rock guitarists. Eric Clapton is said to have heisted the guitar solo in ”Strange Brew” from King’s tune ”Personal Manager.”…

SNIPPING
The highbrow sales pitch of the week comes from Lily Tomlin, whose direct-mail and magazine ads offer a lock of her tresses (”a valuable hairloom”) to any customer who orders all five of her videotapes — The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe, Appearing Nightly, Lily Sold Out, Lily for President, and Ernestine: Peak Experience — for a total of $120. Tomlin says the marketing idea was ”something I came up with right off the top of my head.” — With additional reporting by Michael Szymanski