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TRIBUTE ”I actually consider [indie] films to be the fun things to do,” said Spirit of Independence award honoree George Clooney (with Sam Rockwell) June 25 in L.A. ”Sometimes the other [big commercial] films are sacrifices along the way.”

ENGAGED Avril Lavigne, 20, and Sum 41 frontman Deryck Whibley, 25, will wed. No date has been set.

BIRTHS Country singer Martina McBride, 39, and husband John welcomed third daughter Ava Rose Kathleen on June 20. . . . Law & Order‘s Angie Harmon, 32, and former New York Giant Jason Sehorn, 34, greeted second daughter Avery Grace on June 22.

DEPARTURES Esai Morales is available for work. Producers of The Mambo Kings announced June 27 that the musical will not open on Broadway. Panned by critics during its San Francisco run, the production was scheduled to open Aug. 18 at the Broadway Theatre.

ARRESTS On June 17, rapper Cassidy (né Barry Reese), 23, turned himself in to Philadelphia police on murder charges relating to an April 15 skirmish that resulted in the fatal shooting of Desmond Hawkins, 22, and the injury of several others. Cassidy was denied bail and will remain in prison until his preliminary hearing, scheduled for July 19. Cassidy’s lawyer said he ”will be exonerated.”

COURTS In a decision that opens the floodgates for future file-sharing litigation, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled June 27 that file-sharing sites like Grokster that promote the distribution and downloading of copyrighted songs and movies are violating the law. The decision overturns an earlier ruling in Grokster’s favor. The company’s rep said, ”File-sharing is not going away.”. . .Twentieth Century Fox and Marvel Enterprises filed suit June 20 against Sony Pictures and Revolution Studios, claiming their upcoming adaptation of the graphic novel Amazing Adventures From ZOOM’s Academy steals plot points from the next X-Men sequel. Sony and Revolution lawyers said, ”The two pictures are totally different.”

RECOVERING Recent Tony nominee for Broadway’s On Golden Pond James Earl Jones, 74, has been diagnosed with pneumonia, forcing producers to close the play two months early. Doctors expect Jones to recover fully.

DEATHS Ventriloquist, inventor, and the original voice of Winnie the Pooh‘s Tigger, Paul Winchell, 82, June 24, of undisclosed causes in Moorpark, Calif. . . .Fellow Pooh fixture, the voice of Piglet and actor (The Bob Newhart Show), John Fiedler, 80, June 25, of cancer, in Englewood, N.J. . . .Gospel singer Ronald Winans, 48, June 17, of a heart condition, in Detroit. . . .Historian Shelby Foote, 88, best known for his appearance in Ken Burns’ 1990 documentary The Civil War, June 27, of undisclosed causes, in Memphis. . . .”Father of the Summer of Love” Chet Helms, 62, who discovered Janis Joplin, June 25, of complications from a stroke, in San Francisco. . . .Journalist Shana Alexander, 79, who famously battled James Kilpatrick in 60 Minutes‘ ”Point/ Counterpoint” segments during the 1970s, June 23, of cancer, in Hermosa Beach, Calif. . . .Trumpet master Chris Griffin, 89, who played with Benny Goodman and the orchestras on the Ed Sullivan and Jackie Gleason shows, June 18, of melanoma, in Danbury, Conn.

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