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Joan Collins’s lawsuit and Martin Balsam’s death made news the week of February 23, 1996

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LAWSUITS
A New York jury ruled that actress Joan Collins, 62, can keep the $1.3 million advance Random House gave her in 1990 for two novels. The publisher sued to have the money returned, alleging that the star submitted incomplete manuscripts…. Litigation, 90210: John Travolta, 42, and wife Kelly Preston, 34, are being sued by lawyer Bob Cohen for breach of contract. Cohen, who rented his Beverly Hills house to Travolta and Preston last year, says the couple caused $500,000 in damage. ”They left the place in immaculate shape,” says Martin Singer, Travolta’s lawyer. ”The suit has no merit.”

REAL ESTATE
Tom Selleck, 51, is going home again. The Magnum, P.I. star, his two brothers, and their dad bought an abandoned General Motors plant near their hometown of Van Nuys, Calif., and will convert the 68-acre property into a $100 million mall. Van Nuys, said Selleck, ”is where we grew up… and it seemed a good fit.”

DEALS
Maybe they should call themselves Boyz II Moguls. On Feb. 13, Boyz II Men and Sony Music Entertainment president Tommy Mottola announced a joint venture giving the quartet their own record label, Stonecreek Recordings. The deal seems to edge the group a step further away from Motown, their current label, with which they have been dissatisfied. For now, Boyz will continue to record for Motown to honor a long-term contract while developing new talent and producing other artists’ albums for Stonecreek.

DEATHS
Academy Award-winning actor Martin Balsam, 76, of unidentified causes, Feb. 13, in a Rome hotel room. A stage actor in the ’40s, Balsam made his film debut in 1954 in On the Waterfront and went on to appear in dozens of movies, including such classics as Breakfast at Tiffany’s, All the President’s Men, and A Thousand Clowns, for which he won an Oscar as Best Supporting Actor in 1965. With his trustworthy demeanor, Balsam was often called upon to portray sturdy, hardworking men, like the disgruntled transit worker in The Taking of Pelham One Two Three and Archie’s bar-owning partner in the early-’80s television series Archie Bunker’s Place…. Actor Guy Madison, 74, of emphysema, Feb. 6, in Palm Springs, Calif. Best known for playing tight-lipped cowboys, Madison starred in the ’50s TV series The Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok, as well as in a number of spaghetti Westerns in the ’60s.

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