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Anthony Hopkins' home burns but firefighters save his Oscar

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BIRTHS Actor-director Stanley Tucci (Big Night), 39, and his wife, Kate, 37, welcomed twins Nicolo Robert, 4 pounds, 10 ounces, and Isabel Concetta, 4 pounds, 4 ounces, Jan. 21, in Manhattan. They are the couple’s first children. Tucci missed the Sundance premiere of a film he directed, Joe Gould’s Secret, to witness the births.

SPLITS After 13 years of marriage, talk-show host Marie Osmond, 40, announced plans Jan. 17 to separate from her record-producer husband, Brian Blosil, 47. Osmond’s publicist described the split as “amicable”; Blosil could not be reached for comment. It was the second marriage for the Donny and Marie co-host, who has seven children.

RECOVERING Body-slammer Stone Cold Steve Austin, 35, checked out of San Antonio’s Methodist Hospital Jan. 19, two days after a four-hour operation on his neck to remove bone spurs. The WWF star is recuperating at his home near San Antonio, and could be out of commission for six months to a year. “We welcome Steve back to action the moment he’s ready,” WWF spokesman Jim Byrne said. On the bright side: “Steve’s neck will be stronger than it was before the injury,” said hospital spokeswoman JoAnn King-Sinnett. “Now he has metal in his neck.”

SAVED Called to a blaze that threatened to engulf the four-story London home of Anthony Hopkins, 62, firefighters not only doused the flames but saved Hopkins’ Oscar for The Silence of the Lambs. Investigators are still looking into the cause of the accidental fire, which destroyed most of the second floor, according to a spokesman for the London Fire Brigade. Hopkins’ estranged wife, Jenni, still lives in the home but was out during the incident.

DEALS Two weeks after news of the mega-merger between AOL and Time Warner (parent company of EW), London-based EMI and Warner Music announced a union of their own Jan. 24. Pending regulatory approval, the $20 billion deal would join such EMI acts as the Rolling Stones and the Spice Girlsand Warner Music stars like Madonna and Jewel, creating a colossus that could control nearly 25 percent of the global music market.

ANNOUNCEMENTS Disney CEO and chairman Michael Eisner, 57, promoted Robert Iger, 48, to president and COO, the No. 2 position in the media giant, on Jan. 24. Iger, formerly the chairman of Disney’s ABC Group and president of Walt Disney International, fills a spot left open since Michael Ovitz departed in ’96. Eisner has dismissed speculation that the new title makes Iger his heir apparent.

RUN-INS Security guards at Hawaii’s Kona airport seized the carry-on bag of singer Whitney Houston, 36, on Jan. 11, after allegedly discovering it contained half an ounce of marijuana, according to an airport official. Houston and hubby Bobby Brown nevertheless boarded their San Francisco-bound plane. Hawaii County prosecutor Jay Kimura said he is awaiting a police report before deciding whether to charge the singer with a misdemeanor (punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a $1,000 fine). Houston’s reps didn’t return calls.

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