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									Dec 23, 3:45 AM EST

Melanie Amaro wins 'The X Factor'
AP Entertainment Writer

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Melanie Amaro has "The X Factor."

The powerful 19-year-old vocalist from Sunrise, Fla., won the Fox talent competition Thursday
over soulful 30-year-old singer Josh Krajcik of Wooster, Ohio.

Amaro, who was mentored by judge Simon Cowell and was at one point eliminated then
reinstated to the contest, was awarded the grand prize: a $5 million recording contract and a
starring role in a Pepsi commercial.

"Oh my God. Oh my God. Oh my God," Amaro repeated after host Steve Jones announced her as
the champion.

Despite continued prodding from Jones, an overly emotional Amaro couldn't quite formulate
words when she was revealed to have captured the most viewer votes, and she struggled
through tears to reprise Beyonce's "Listen," the soaring ballad that Amaro crooned at her
audition and on Wednesday's final performance round.

"I want to say, `America, thank you for giving this girl an opportunity,'" said Cowell.

Krajcik, the struggling single father who delivered a stripped down rendition of "At Last" for his
final routine, seemed content with his status as "X Factor" runner-up to Amaro, who was born in
the British Virgin Islands.

"Melanie deserves it," Krajcik said. "She has a wonderful voice. I had such an incredible
experience here. I got to be myself, sing what I want to sing, and I couldn't be happier."

Chris Rene, the recovering 28-year-old singer-rapper from Santa Cruz, Calif., came in third

Before the winner was unveiled, the three finalists crooned classic Christmas tunes, and Justin
Bieber, Stevie Wonder, Leona Lewis, Pitbull, Ne-Yo and 50 Cent performed various songs with
former contestants. Amaro and Krajcik also dueted on David Bowie's "Heroes."

Unlike "American Idol," the contest was open to both solo singers and groups, and had a lower
minimum age of 12 and no upper age limit.

The judges also served as mentors. Cowell represented female vocalists, including Amaro; L.A.
Reid headed male singers, including Rene; Nicole Scherzinger was in charge of over-30 singers,
including Krajcik; and Paula Abdul helmed the groups.

Despite consistent viewership, "The X Factor" has failed to achieve popularity similar to "Idol,"
which Cowell left last year to import "The X Factor" from the U.K. to the U.S. Fox announced last
month that "X Factor" would return for a second season next fall.
            FILE- In this Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2011 file image released by Fox, judges, from left, Nicole
            Sherzinger, Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, and L.A. Reid attend "The X Factor" screening at the
            Arclight Cinerama Dome in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/FOX, Frank Micelotta, FILE)

Dec 23, 11:28 AM EST

George Michael thanks hospital for saving life
Associated Press

LONDON (AP) -- George Michael appeared outside his North London home Friday and
acknowledged that he had nearly died during his monthlong battle with pneumonia.

"It was touch and go for a while," said the singer, who appeared to have lost weight during his
month in a hospital in Vienna. He fought back tears and seemed short of breath.
"They spent three weeks keeping me alive basically. I don't want to take you through all of it
because some of it I want to protect my family from and I'm sure I'll get it all written down, but
it was by far the worst month of my life."

The solo star and former "Wham!" frontman said his staff had downplayed the severity of his
illness to avoid alarming his fans.

He implied that he had been in a coma when he talked about having "woken up" 10 days ago.

The singer also revealed he had undergone a tracheotomy while in the hospital.

Michael was rushed to AKH Hospital in Vienna late last month after canceling a performance in
the Austrian capital. He was released from the hospital Thursday.

During his hospital stay, some London newspapers reported that he was gravely ill even as the
singer's publicists said he was improving. Very few details were released, although Michael's
doctors did say publicly he is not suffering from any underlying medical problems.

Michael, 48, ended his appearance Friday after about 10 minutes. He seemed too weak to
continue, and also appeared to be overcome with emotion as he thanked the medical staff for
saving his life.

"I had streptococcal-something pneumonia," he said, trying to make light of the situation, which
forced him to cancel an extensive European concert tour. "I spent 10 days since I woke up
thanking people for keeping me alive in the ICU."

Britain's Press Association said Michael had been suffering from streptococcus pneumonia, a
bacterial form of the disease.

"I'm not supposed to speak for very long, but merry Christmas," Michael said as he came out to
meet reporters and photographers.

"I'm very weak but I feel amazing," the pop star said, wearing a gray overcoat and scarf as he
stood in front of a decorated Christmas tree outside his imposing red brick home in the Highgate

The singer behind hits such as "Faith" and "Father Figure" said the experience would make him
more spiritual and appreciative of his life.

"I have an amazing, amazing life and if I wasn't spiritual enough before the last four five weeks
then I certainly am now," he said.
            British singer George Michael leaves his house in north London, Friday, Dec. 23, 2011. George
            Michael, short of breath and appearing weak, said Friday he has recovered from a life-threatening
            bout with pneumonia that kept him in a Vienna hospital for a month.(AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

Dec 23, 10:54 AM EST

Nun famous for kissing Elvis prays for miracle
Associated Press

BETHLEHEM, Conn. (AP) -- In the little town of Bethlehem, a cloistered nun whose luminous blue
eyes entranced Elvis Presley in his first on-screen movie kiss is praying for a Christmas miracle.

Dolores Hart, who walked away from Hollywood stardom in 1963 to become a nun in rural
Bethlehem, Conn., now finds herself back in the spotlight. But this time it's all about serving the
King of Kings, not smooching the King of Rock and Roll.

The former brass factory that houses Mother Dolores and about 40 other nuns cloistered at the
Abbey of Regina Laudis needs millions of dollars in renovations to meet fire and safety codes,
add an elevator and make handicap accessibility upgrades.

Like 73-year-old Mother Dolores, the order's nuns have taken a vow of stability with the intent to
live, work and die at the complex. The order was established in 1947 in Bethlehem, a small burg
in Connecticut's rolling western hills.

Now, the historically self-supporting nuns have launched a fundraiser for the $4 million
renovation project dubbed "New Horizons." They don't have much money, but they have Mother
Dolores: a starlet-turned-supplicant whose unique story might lure the attention and donations
of generations of movie fans, particularly those who adore all things Elvis.
"This work may not be in my lifetime that it's finished, but we're sure trying," Mother Dolores
said of the upgrades, which are budgeted to run about $2 million for the fire code and
accessibility compliance work and another $2 million for improvements to the housing and other

They hope to break ground in January.

They're not in imminent danger of needing to move out, but many of the older nuns can no
longer navigate the narrow steps to the main building's third floor and must live in another
building. And without adequate fire escapes, the monastery has caught the eye of local
inspectors, though they've worked closely with the nuns on the improvement plans and haven't
ordered them to close the building.

For Mother Dolores, the monastery has been home since she was a 23-year-old actress in 1963
and walked away from Hollywood for a life of contemplation and prayer as a postulant.

The abbey's chapel, workshops, livestock pastures and other features are part of her soul now,
and its wood-paneled monastery is the only home she's known for 50 years. Its theater holds a
special place in her heart, harkening to the former career that landed her on talk shows, in
magazines and twice as Elvis Presley's co-star.

Dolores Hart was a vivacious, quick-witted blond starlet when she charmed Hollywood in the
1950s and early 1960s. She shared a kiss with Presley in the 1957 Paramount film, "Loving You"
- a modest liplock over which Mother Dolores still fields frequent questions about whether the
King was a good kisser.

"I don't know why they ask me. It's right there on the screen to see; it's right there for the
looking," she said Thursday.

Hart acted in 10 movies alongside stars including Montgomery Clift, Myrna Loy, Connie Francis
and Anthony Quinn.

She said she was engaged to be married before joining God's service and leaving the acting
world behind. She broke off her engagement, though her fiance remained a close friend and was
a frequent visitor and supporter of the abbey until his recent death.

The nuns also received support and help over the years from Mother Dolores' longtime friend and
fellow actress Patricia Neal, who was buried at the abbey after her death in August 2010.

Mother Dolores is still a voting member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences,
receiving copies of movies to watch in her small room - or cell, as they're known in the order - to
help select yearly Oscar winners.

Her own movies, including the highly popular "Where the Boys Are," were made before stars
routinely could negotiate to collect later royalties, she said, so that's not a potential source of
income for the upgrades to the abbey.

The abbey is financially independent from the Archdiocese of Hartford and supports itself through
the sale of everything from artisan cheeses and hand-crafted pottery to recordings of its choir.
Mother Dolores even recently signed autographs at a New Jersey convention, a rare foray out of
cloistered life as a favor for a friend, and one that helped boost the fundraising efforts.
Sister Angele Arbib, a coordinator of the New Horizons renovation and fundraising efforts, said
the order is applying for grants and the nuns are trying to spread the word among the abbey's
supporters, but are not disclosing publicly how much they've raised so far.

Unlike some orders, the Abbey of Regina Laudis has retained a steady number of nuns and new
postulants, including two starting in the next few weeks - but that can't continue if the housing
and other facilities keep eroding with age.

"We have focused on building our community, which has been wonderful, but now it's time that
we really have to address our space," said Sister Angele, 63, who left a thriving career of
managing opera singers when she was 50 to join the order.

"None of this, not one single thing we're doing, is an extravagance," she said of the upgrades.
"It's to make it possible for us to grow, for the elderly among us to live with as much
independence as possible and to allow us to live together in surroundings that let us continue our

Sister Angele said the nuns are not in any imminent danger of needing to move out, though she
acknowledges they'd be in dire straits if they had not anticipated the problems early enough to
prepare the upgrade plans and launch the fundraising efforts.

As word has spread of their needs, supporters of the nuns and those who've visited the abbey,
prayed in its chapel and picked up items in its gift shop have tried to help in ways of their own.

Liz Carpenter, a Watertown resident who owns the Children's Dance Workshop, said its children
have raised $600 to help through a raffle. She's been a grateful supporter since the nuns helped
her through a cancer battle about 10 years ago and now volunteers to clean the church once a

"I wanted to teach the kids that it's important to give back," she said of their fundraiser,
"especially for a place that does as many wonderful things as this one does."
            In this Thursday, Dec. 22, 2011 photo, Mother Dolores Hart is interviewed inside the Abbey of
            Regina Laudis monastery in Bethlehem, Conn. Mother Dolores, a cloistered nun whose luminous
            blue eyes entranced Elvis Presley in his first on-screen movie kiss, is praying for a Christmas
            miracle. She walked away from Hollywood stardom in 1963 to become a nun in rural Bethlehem.
            Now she finds herself back in the spotlight, but this time it's all about serving the King of Kings,
            not smooching the King of Rock and Roll. The former brass factory that houses Mother Dolores
            and about 40 other nuns cloistered at the Abbey of Regina Laudis needs millions of dollars in
            renovations to meet fire and safety codes, add an elevator and make handicap accessibility
            upgrades. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

Dec 23, 7:36 AM EST

NPR's 'Wait Wait ... Don't Tell Me' debuts on TV
WASHINGTON (AP) -- NPR's quiz show "Wait Wait ... Don't Tell Me" is making the leap from radio
to television.
The show debuts Friday evening on BBC America. The first show will be a year-in-review special.
Host Peter Sagal, scorekeeper Carl Kasell and a panel including Paula Poundstone and Alonzo
Bodden will discuss the year's events.

They promise to delve into 2011's biggest scandals, from former New York Rep. Anthony Weiner
to the phone hacking scandal at Rupert Murdoch's media empire and the Occupy Wall Street

The show will also broadcast on NPR stations this weekend. It was taped Dec. 2 in front of an
audience in Chicago.

"Wait Wait" is in its 14th season on NPR and draws a weekly audience of 3.2 million listeners on
595 public radio stations.

Dec 23, 9:28 AM EST

Queen to host royals' Christmas, Kate's first
Associated Press

LONDON (AP) -- It will be a traditional Christmas weekend for Queen Elizabeth II's extended
family, which now includes the former Kate Middleton, with the quiet holiday break to be
followed by a year's worth of festivities to mark the queen's 60th year on the throne.

Most of the senior royals, including Prince William and his wife, now formally known as the
Duchess of Cambridge, will be dispatched across the globe to help the aging monarch celebrate
her Diamond Jubilee in grand style.

Elizabeth and her husband, Prince Philip, are planning to mark the event with a series of tours
throughout England to culminate with a celebration in London in early June that will include an
unprecedented pageant on the River Thames with up to 1000 boats taking part.

In a carefully choreographed scenario, the flotilla will be led by the queen aboard the Royal

"They're hoping the Diamond Jubilee will be as successful as the Golden Jubilee in 2002," said
Joe Little, managing editor of Majesty magazine. "The media then thought the public wasn't
interested, but by the big weekend there were 1 million people in the streets celebrating. I think
that will happen again."

He said the queen was surprised by the outpouring of affection in 2002.

"Even after 60 years she is very self-effacing, and she's always amazed when people turn out to
celebrate her achievements," he said. "You'd think by now she'd know how loved she is."

The Diamond Jubilee will mean extra overseas travel for many royals: Prince Charles and his wife
Camilla will jet off to Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea; William and Kate
will represent the queen in Malaysia, Singapore, the Solomon Islands and the tiny island of
Tuvalu; while Prince Harry is being sent to the Caribbean to tour Belize, Jamaica and the
The queen and Philip plan a series of trips throughout England, Scotland, Wales and Northern
Ireland from late March to mid-July. She is then expected to help open the Olympic Games in
July before beginning her summer holiday.

With so many public events planned, it is not surprising that most of the Christmas festivities will
be held in private at Sandringham, the queen's sprawling estate in rural Norfolk.

Palace officials said Friday that the royals plan to attend a Christmas service at the Church of St.
Mary Magdalene on the estate grounds. This gives well-wishers a chance to see the royals
briefly, and also provides photographers a chance to snap pictures of the queen - and Kate.

The family traditionally exchanges gifts at Sandringham on Christmas Eve.

After the church service, the royals usually walk on the grounds, have a gala lunch, and gather
to watch the queen's prerecorded television broadcast, a tradition that began with a radio
address by King George V in 1932.

            FILE - In this June 11, 2011 file photo, from left, Britain's Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William
            the Duke of Cambridge, Countess of Wessex Sophie, Prince Edward the Earl of Wessex, their
            daughter Louise, Princess Anne, partially seen, her husband Tim Lawrence, Britain's Queen
            Elizabeth II, Prince Harry, Prince Philip the Duke of Edinburgh, and Prince Andrew, watch a Royal
            Air Force flypast on the balcony of Buckingham Palace after returning from the Trooping the
            Colour ceremony marking the Queen's official birthday in London. Queen Elizabeth II's extended
            family will gather at Sandringham Estate for a traditional holiday weekend that will mark Kate
            Middleton's first Christmas as a royal, Palace officials said Friday, Dec. 23, 2011. (AP Photo/Akira
            Suemori, File)

Dec 23, 11:24 AM EST

Young Buck could lose name in bankruptcy case
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Multiplatinum rapper Young Buck could lose his name and other assets
in a bankruptcy case that the rapper says is frustrating his attempts to sign with a new record
Davidson County Bankruptcy Judge George Paine converted the artist's bankruptcy from Chapter
11 reorganization to Chapter 7 liquidation this week.

The trustee administering his estate has said she plans to sell the trademarked "Young Buck"
name along with other assets. Buck, whose real name is David Darnell Brown, told The
Tennessean he was close to signing a recording deal with New Orleans-based Cash Money
Records ( http://tnne.ws/rQikXS ).

To date, creditors have submitted 22 claims totaling $11.5 million in Buck's bankruptcy case,
including $10 million that the record label G-Unit Records says Buck owes them over a contract

Dec 23, 7:00 AM EST

'Marilyn' actor Branagh parallels his character
Associated Press

New York (AP) -- Long before Kenneth Branagh stepped into the role of Sir Laurence Olivier in
"My Week With Marilyn," there already were strong parallels between them.

Both are synonymous with film adaptations of William Shakespeare, delivering lines with
implausible realism, and earning accolades for their troubles. Each starred and directed their own
successful adaptations of "Hamlet," and "Henry V," that earned Oscar nods for their work on
both sides of the camera. (Olivier received an honorary award that included directing the film).

With such similarities, it seems fitting that Branagh earned a Golden Globe nomination for his
performance as the legendary actor.

"He was a master of his craft, and at the same time very vulnerable," Branagh says of Olivier.

"My Week with Marilyn," is in theaters and stars two-time Oscar nominee Michelle Williams as
Marilyn Monroe. It's based on the writings of Colin Clark, who spent a week with the iconic
actress in 1957 while she was filming "The Prince and the Showgirl" in the United Kingdom.

"When they were making this film, Olivier, saw it as means to reinvigorate his career, especially
in the states," Branagh said. "But he found it a challenge to work with Marilyn (Monroe), whom
he considered less than professional."

Olivier eventually lightened up to Monroe, admitting she was wonderful in the film.

But Branagh says his co-star, Michelle Williams, who plays the iconic Monroe, has been
wonderful from the start.

"Before we ever started filming, she learned everything she could about Marilyn, and played her

"After some time you live the character, and stop playing it," he added.
Olivier was 50 when he starred and directed "The Prince and the Showgirl," and Branagh was 50
when he portrayed Olivier in the film.

"He had this attitude of, `It's not over, yet,' and I feel the same way," Branagh said.

The actor always has held Olivier in high regard and is humbled whenever critics draw
comparisons. That comes as no surprise when you consider Olivier's body of work. Classic
performances include Heathcliff in "Wuthering Heights," the title characters in "Othello" and
"Richard II," and Andrew Wyke from "Sleuth."

"How could you not be an Olivier fan? Just think of that scene in Marathon Man, where he's
torturing Dustin Hoffman with a dentist's drill. That scene alone could be responsible for a
generation of British not going to the dentist," Branagh said before breaking into laughter.

So while he's a serious actor, Branagh also has a good sense of humor. And he's going to need it
at the Golden Globes, where Ricky Gervais returns as host.

Branagh and Gervais grew up in the same English town of Reading; Branagh moved there as a
child from Belfast. Branagh is a year older than Gervais and says their schools often played
football games against one another. Branagh was an avid footballer through school.

"I'm not sure if he ever played," the actor said of Gervais. "But if he did, we certainly played
against one another."

Because of the hometown connection, Branagh expects Gervais to focus some the jokes about
growing up in Reading. And the actor says he has no problem with that.
            FILE - In this Nov. 20, 2011, file photo, British actor Kenneth Branagh arrives for the UK Premiere
            of "My Week With Marilyn" at a central London cinema. Branagh, as Laurence Olivier, Monroe's
            exasperated co-star and director on "The Prince and the Showgirl," has been nominated for
            supporting actor for the role at the Golden Globes. (AP Photo/Joel Ryan, File)

Dec 23, 3:48 AM EST

CNN's Morgan testimony has little impact
AP Television Writer

NEW YORK (AP) -- CNN's Piers Morgan was in the position few television interviewers like to be
this week: on the other side of the microphone.

He testified by video link about his past life as a London tabloid editor before a British panel
looking into media ethics. It was big news back home, but his appearance made little splash in
the country where he's known as a celebrity interviewer and former host of a prime-time talent

Experts suggested on Thursday that this week's testimony won't have much effect on his
standing in the United States, while cautioning things could change if future evidence emerges to
tie him directly to hacking by journalists into private cell phone accounts.

"I didn't see anything that would make them turn him or the television off," said Frank Sesno,
director of the School of Media and Public Affairs at George Washington University and a former
CNN Washington bureau chief.

Morgan was behind his desk at CNN shortly after his testimony. It has been nearly a year since
he replaced veteran interviewer Larry King, and his guests Tuesday included former GOP
presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty and football analyst Tony Dungy. Rocker Lenny Kravitz was
on Wednesday's show.

Television news networks in Britain carried Morgan's testimony live. Not so in the United States.
CNN did a handful of reports summing up the appearance, with some video footage. Market
leader Fox News Channel's Shepard Smith mentioned it during a newscast, with no video.
MSNBC also did brief reports, and it was a topic on the "Morning Joe" political talk show the next

While Morgan didn't win raves for his performance - The Associated Press called him "tense and
sometimes hostile" - the headlines were primarily about what he didn't say. The stories focused
on Morgan's refusal to illuminate how he heard a phone message left by Paul McCartney for
then-wife Heather Mills.

That failure to advance the incident, coupled with limited exposure at a time when many news
consumers are preoccupied with the holidays, contributed to the sense that the event didn't
mean much for Morgan in the United States.

"I don't think it's going to have any effect on his career," said Paul Levinson, professor of
communications and media studies at Fordham University in New York, "but you shouldn't make
the mistake of thinking that it's a good thing."

CNN has largely kept quiet about this week's events. "Piers' testimony speaks for itself and does
not impact his CNN program," spokeswoman Meghan McPartland said.

There's a certain irony that, in the United States, CNN seems more directly tied to the British
phone hacking scandal than competitor Fox News Channel - even though Fox's parent company
also owned the News of the World tabloid that has been at the center of the story. That's
because Morgan is a familiar face and none of the Fox News personalities that viewers know
have been tied to the scandal.

Morgan's performance at CNN has given ammunition to both his supporters and detractors.

His average viewership of 735,000 viewers each night is up 9 percent over King's audience in
2010, Nielsen said. Viewership is up by 26 percent in the 25-to-54-year-old demographic, which
advertisers consider more valuable.

That doesn't make it a hit, however.
"CNN hoped Morgan would be the sort of feisty and combative host who could attract a loyal
following," said Sid Bedingfield, a former CNN executive and now a journalism professor at the
University of South Carolina. "It hasn't really happened. The cable news audience doesn't seem
that interested. Barring new revelations, I doubt his testimony will change that one way or

They're tougher on Morgan in England, where the Guardian's Richard Adams called Morgan's
testimony "bumbling" and suggested CNN's outlook on Morgan will be less positive next month
when it can no longer compare his ratings performance to King's poor final year. Steve Hewlett,
a British media analyst and consultant, said Morgan's performance turned him "from the man
who knows everything to the man who knows nothing."

Hewlett said Morgan would not survive if investigators find evidence that he lied during
testimony or to his bosses at CNN.

"He's given everybody enough rope to hang him with," said Hewlett, presenter for BBC Radio's
"The Media Show."

"If anything turns up to show that what he was saying wasn't true, then he's toast," Hewlett

George Washington's Sesno, however, said the hacking case was still amorphous as it concerned
Morgan. Viewers in the U.S. also probably don't hold Morgan, as a celebrity interviewer, to the
same standards as they do most journalists, he said.

"He's got half a foot in the entertainment world," he said. "Is anybody expecting him to perform
by the traditional rules? I don't think so."
            FILE- This Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2011 file photo shows Piers Morgan, host of CNN's "Piers Morgan
            Tonight," as he leaves the CNN building in Los Angeles. Morgan was in the position few television
            interviewers like to be this week: on the other side of the microphone. He testified via video link
            about his past life as a London tabloid editor before a British panel looking into media ethics after
            the phone hacking scandal. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, FILE)

Dec 23, 7:03 PM EST

LA's 'Wonderful Life' Day honors Frank Capra film
Associated Press

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- George Bailey can rest easy. He really did make a difference in the lives of
people, including all 3.8 million in Los Angeles.
Bailey, for the one or two people who still haven't seen the classic Frank Capra film "It's A
Wonderful Life," is a man driven to the brink of suicide when he comes to believe his life never
really mattered.

It's up to his quirky guardian angel Clarence to set him straight by showing Bailey, played by
Jimmy Stewart, what the world would have been like without him.

In honor of the film's 65th anniversary, the City Council declared Friday "It's A Wonderful Life
Day" in Los Angeles.

To get people in the spirit, Councilman Tom LaBonge, several members of Capra's family and a
few others gathered at the director's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on a sunny holiday

The section of the walk, it turns out, is one filled with cheesy souvenir shops and sex toy
emporiums. They give it more the look of Pottersville, the disreputable place in the film that the
evil banker Mr. Potter turns bucolic Bedford Falls into when Bailey isn't there to stop him.

That didn't dampen Friday's celebration, however, which included Jimmy Hawkins, the actor who
played Bailey's 5-year-old son, Tommy.

As one of the last surviving cast members, the 70-year-old actor-producer said he considers it an
honor to introduce new audiences to the movie.

When it debuted in theaters in 1946, "It's A Wonderful Life" was actually a commercial and
critical flop. But if that bothered Capra, he never let it show.

"My father always said that `It's A Wonderful Life' was the best movie that he ever made," Tom
Capra said. "As a matter of fact, he said it was the best movie ever made."

The film, whose story takes place at Christmas, became a holiday classic with the dawn of
television, when families began to gather each holiday season to watch it.

It airs again Saturday night on NBC.

"It carried with it the message that you can find in each of my dad's films. The message of
hope," Capra said. "Maybe like George Bailey, we should pause for a brief moment and examine
our lives and see if we can make a difference as long as we never give up."

Dec 23, 4:41 PM EST

Etta James hospitalized for breathing trouble
RIVERSIDE, Calif. (AP) -- Etta James' longtime manager says the terminally ill blues singer has
been hospitalized after experiencing difficulty breathing.

Lupe De Leon says James' family is with her at a Southern California hospital where she was
taken earlier this week.
De Leon, who has been James' manager for 30 years, says the singer is "in pretty bad shape"
but it remains unknown whether she will be able to be released. He says James was taken to the
hospital on Wednesday evening and is on a breathing apparatus.

James' doctor recently announced that the "At Last" singer has been diagnosed with terminal
leukemia. The Grammy-winner and Rock-and-Roll Hall of Fame member is also suffering from
dementia. She has been receiving mostly at-home care.

A judge on Monday set aside $350,000 for James' treatment.

Dec 23, 5:24 PM EST

Robert De Niro, wife welcome baby girl
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Robert De Niro is a father again.

Stan Rosenfield, the 68-year-old actor's spokesman, says De Niro and his 56-year-old wife,
Grace Hightower, welcomed a healthy 7-pound, 2-ounce baby girl named Helen Grace Hightower
through a surrogate mother.

She is the couple's second child. Their son, Elliot, is 13. No other details were provided.

The "New Year's Eve" and "Limitless" star has four other children from previous relationships.
            FILE- In this Sunday, Feb. 22, 2009 file photo, Robert DeNiro and Grace Hightower arrive at the
            Vanity Fair Oscar party in West Hollywood, Calif. (AP Photo/Evan Agostini, FILE)

Dec 23, 3:22 PM EST

Haiti leader cancels concert to raise school funds
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) -- Haiti pop star-turned-president Michel Martelly will not be singing
tonight at a concert that aimed to raise money for schools.

Presidential adviser Damian Merlo says the Friday night concert was canceled because of the
holiday season and the complexity of organizing such an event.

Martelly had said he would take the stage as his alter ego, "Sweet Micky". He also had urged
officials from the United Nations and the neighboring Dominican Republic to buy tickets to help
raise $10 million for the country's education program.

Merlo said the administration still plans to do a concert next year.
Dec 23, 6:19 PM EST

Mel Gibson, wife finalize divorce in Los Angeles
AP Entertainment

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Mel Gibson's three-decade marriage is officially over.

A judge finalized the actor-director's divorce on Friday from his wife Robyn, who was married to
Gibson during his acting heyday and his more recent public downfall.

The judgment entered by Superior Court Judge Mark Juhas keeps virtually all details of the pair's
split confidential. Neither Gibson nor his ex-wife, whose name is being restored to Robyn Moore,
attended Friday's proceedings.

It does not indicate an official date for the former couple's separation. Robyn Moore did not list a
date in her April 2009 divorce filing, although Gibson indicated they had been living apart since

The former couple have seven children together, but only their 12-year-old son is a minor and
subject to a custody agreement.

The Gibsons' divorce has been more dramatically more low-key than Gibson's custody battle with
Russian musician Oksana Grigorieva, who the "Braveheart" star agreed in August to pay
$750,000 to settle a bitter dispute and split custody of their young daughter.

Recordings that sounded distinctly like the Oscar winning director engaged in a racist and sexist
tirade were leaked during the couple's dispute. Grigorieva accused Gibson of domestic violence
and he pleaded no contest, although admitted no fault, to a misdemeanor battery count earlier in

Robyn Moore came to her estranged husband's defense, filing a brief declaration in the
Grigorieva case stating that Gibson had never physically abused her or their children.

Attorneys handling the divorce have worked for months to reach a settlement in the case and
records show Robyn Moore signed the final judgment last week. Gibson signed it Wednesday,
records show.
      FILE - In this Oct. 14, 2011 file photo, Mel Gibson poses at the 25th American Cinematheque
      Award benefit gala honoring actor Robert Downey Jr., in Beverly Hills, Calif. Gibson has finalized
      his divorce from his wife of 28 years. Attorneys for the Oscar winner and his ex-wife appeared
      briefly in a Los Angeles courthouse Friday, Dec. 23, 2011, to submit a proposed judgment, which
      a judge signed hours later. Robyn Gibson filed for divorce in April 2009, just months before
      Gibson's then-girlfriend gave birth to a daughter. The "Braveheart" star indicated in his own court
      filings that the couple separated in 2006. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, File)

Dec 23, 3:44 PM EST

Rapper 'Tyler, the Creator' arrested for vandalism
WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. (AP) -- The rapper known as "Tyler, the Creator," was arrested after
authorities say he got rowdy following a show at The Roxy Theatre in West Hollywood.

Los Angeles County sheriff's Sgt. Arthur Famble Jr. said the rapper was arrested Thursday night
after he appeared in a show by his group, Odd Future, and destroyed the Sunset Strip
nightclub's electronic soundboard.
The sergeant said Roxy security guards called deputies, and the 20-year-old rapper, whose real
name is Tyler Gregory Okonma, was booked for investigation of felony vandalism. He was
released early Friday on $20,000 bail.

As Okonma was being led to a squad car, the crowd leaving the Roxy became angry and rushed
toward deputies, Famble said.

Additional deputies were called in to disperse the crowd, and Sunset Boulevard was shut down
for about a half-hour.

No one was hurt.

Telephone numbers for Okonma and his Los Angeles record company couldn't be found. Okonma
said in a Twitter message that he wasn't arrested.

            This police booking photo released on Friday Dec. 23, 2011, by the West Hollywood Sheriff’s
            Department shows Tyler Okonma, 20, known as "Tyler, the Creator." Okonma was arrested on
            Thursday, Dec. 22, 2011, after authorities say he got rowdy following a show at the Roxy Theatre
            in West Hollywood. (AP Photo/West Hollywood Sheriff’s Department)
Dec 23, 1:33 PM EST

Richard Gere to receive George Eastman Award
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) -- Richard Gere is getting a George Eastman Award in upstate New York
for his contributions to movies and humanitarian causes.

The star of such films as "An Officer and a Gentleman" and "Pretty Woman" will be honored Feb.
16 during a ceremony at Rochester's George Eastman House, the restored home of the founder
of photography pioneer Eastman Kodak Co.

Gere has appeared in more than 40 films. In 1991, he founded the Gere Foundation, which gives
grants for public health, education and emergency relief in Tibet. He has long been prominent in
the fight against HIV-AIDS.

Past recipients of the George Eastman Award include Lauren Bacall, Martin Scorsese and Meryl

            FILE- In this Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2011 file photo, actor Richard Gere attends amfAR's annual New York Gala at Cipriani Wall
Street in New York. Gere is getting a George Eastman Award in upstate New York for his contributions to movies and
humanitarian causes. The star of such films as "An Officer and a Gentleman" and "Pretty Woman" will be honored Feb. 16
during a ceremony at Rochester's George Eastman House, the restored home of the founder of photography pioneer
Eastman Kodak Co. (AP Photo/Evan Agostini, FILE)

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