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Buyer of Carson home has a memorial in mind



Published: Wed, February 23, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Buyer of Carson homehas a memorial in mind

NORFOLK, Neb. -- The new owner of Johnny Carson's childhood home is a private real estate company that wants to turn it into a memorial. Historic Properties Inc., based in Norcross, Ga., bought the five-bedroom house for an undisclosed price in a deal sealed Friday, said company spokesman Cal Oren. Carson, who died Jan. 23 at 79, lived in the house from ages 8 to 18. "Our primary motivation here was as a tribute to Carson," Oren said. Jim Pruett of Brandon, S.D., and Rick Runge of Sioux Falls, S.D., bought the home in March 2003 for $150,000 and spent about $20,000 renovating it in hopes of selling it at a profit. Runge said Monday that Pruett took over ownership more than a year ago. Pruett didn't immediately return a telephone call seeking comment. The men had listed the house on the Internet auction site eBay and with a local real estate company. They also had asked the city to buy the house and use it as a tourist attraction. There were no takers until after Carson's death and Historic Properties made an offer. Oren said Historic Properties has no specific plans for the property but hopes to somehow honor Carson. The company specializes in restoring, preserving and operating buildings of historic significance. Carson was considered the king of late-night television for his 30 years of hosting the "Tonight Show." He retired in 1992.

Hampton's vibraphonenets $50,000 at auction

PHILADELPHIA -- Lionel Hampton's engraved vibraphone chimed its way to a $50,000 top price Sunday at an auction of memorabilia to raise money for jazz charities. Hampton's instrument nearly doubled the $26,000 fetched by Dizzy Gillespie's custom-made Martin trumpet. One handwritten letter from native Philadelphian John Coltrane to his mother in 1964 sold for $16,000; another written by the great saxophonist sold for $14,000. Items were donated by the musicians' families. Proceeds from the sale were to go to jazz foundations, archives and young jazz artists.

Slater fills in on Broadway

NEW YORK -- Christian Slater has jumped at the last minute into the Broadway revival of "The Glass Menagerie." He's replacing Dallas Roberts as Tom, the discontented son and narrator of the Tennessee Williams drama. No reason was given for Roberts' departure. Slater recently won rave reviews in London for his performance in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," but is probably best known for his roles in such films as "Heathers" and "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves." Scheduled to open March 15, the production begins previews Thursday, but don't go then expecting to find Slater on stage. Until he learns the large part, the understudy will play Tom opposite Jessica Lange's Amanda Wingfield.

Beyonce will lead musicfor Oscar nominated tunes

LOS ANGELES -- Beyonce isn't nominated for any Academy Awards, but she will be the main musical attraction at Sunday's Oscars ceremony. The singer will perform three of the five tunes nominated for best original song. She and Josh Groban will sing "Believe," the Glen Ballard/Alan Silvestri tune from "The Polar Express." Groban performed it on the movie's soundtrack. Beyonce will step in for Minnie Driver on "Learn to Be Lonely," the Andrew Lloyd Webber/Charles Hart song from "The Phantom of the Opera." Driver performed the song on the film's soundtrack. Accompanied by the American Boychoir, Beyonce also will sing "Look to Your Path (Vois Sur Ton Chemin)" from "The Chorus (Les Choristes)." Counting Crows will do "Accidentally in Love" from "Shrek 2." Rounding out the nominations lineup, Carlos Santana and Enrique Iglesias will perform "Al Otro Lado del Rio" from "The Motorcycle Diaries."

Cosby renews messageto youths: Go to school

CLEVELAND -- Entertainer Bill Cosby's message to urban youths was the same by telephone as it would have been in person: Get an education. Be responsible. Make a difference. On Monday, Cosby made up -- to some degree -- for a canceled appearance at a town-hall style meeting last month after a female acquaintance accused him of inappropriately touching her a year ago at his home in suburban Philadelphia. He denied the allegations, and prosecutors in Philadelphia have said they found insufficient evidence to support the woman's claims. Cosby, 67, spoke by telephone for about five minutes to about 250 adults and children at East Tech High School for an event billed as "A Conversation With Cleveland's Youth." About 3,600 people, including many public school pupils and their parents, had received free tickets for last month's appearance. During the call, amplified for the audience, Cosby reiterated the values and focus he believes poor black communities need to embrace. "We've got to get back our educational drive ... our respect for our elders ... that feeling that we can make a difference, that this is our empowerment," said Cosby, who was in Houston on a business trip.

Today's birthdays

Songwriter Bob Willis is 71. Actor Peter Fonda is 65. Author John Sandford is 61. Singer-musician Johnny Winter is 61. Country-rock musician Rusty Young is 59. Actress Patricia Richardson is 54. Rock musician Brad Whitford (Aerosmith) is 53. Singer Howard Jones is 50. Rock musician Michael Wilton (Queensryche) is 43. Country singer Dusty Drake is 41. Actress Kristin Davis is 40. Tennis player Helena Sukova is 40. Actor Marc Price is 37. Rock musician Jeff Beres (Sister Hazel) is 34. Country singer Steve Holy is 33. Rock musician Lasse Johansson (The Cardigans) is 32. Actress Dakota Fanning is 11.




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