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Roman Polanski speaks in libel suit with Vanity Fair



Published: Tue, July 19, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Roman Polanski speaks inlibel suit with Vanity Fair

LONDON -- Roman Polanski testified on the first day of his libel lawsuit against the publishers of Vanity Fair that he was the victim of an "abominable lie."

The Oscar-winning director is suing Conde Nast over a 2002 article that said he seduced a woman while on his way to the funeral of his wife, Sharon Tate. Tate, who was pregnant, was killed by followers of serial killer Charles Manson in Los Angeles in 1969.

The Vanity Fair article claimed Polanski went to Elaine's restaurant in New York City and sat next to a woman, "inundating her with his Polish charm."

Conde Nast, which is based in the United States, is contesting the lawsuit. Libel actions concerning the international media are often brought in British courts because they are considered friendlier to claimants than U.S. courts.

Polanski's lawyer, John Kelsey-Fry, asked the 71-year-old filmmaker, who testified Monday by video link from France: "Is it true that you tried to pick up or seduce a girl by exploiting the name of your late wife, who had just been murdered?" The director replied: "It is an abominable lie."

Kelsey-Fry said Polanski was seeking damages "sufficient to bring home the falsity" of the article, but did not mention a figure.

Mia Farrow, who starred in Polanski's 1968 film, "Rosemary's Baby," was expected to testify Tuesday in High Court on the filmmaker's behalf, Kelsey-Fry said.

Farrow will testify that she recalls going to the restaurant with Polanski and that they discussed how distressed he was over his wife's slaying, the lawyer said. Polanski's case is that the alleged seduction incident never happened, he said.

Polanski, who won an Oscar in 2003 for "The Pianist," has lived in France since fleeing child-sex charges in the United States in 1978. He was unwilling to come to Britain for fear of being arrested and extradited to the United States.

Kelsey-Fry said Conde Nast had accepted that the incident didn't happen on the way to the funeral. Its case is that the events occurred two weeks or so later, and that the article was substantially true.

Jude Law apologizes foraffair with kids' nanny

LONDON -- Jude Law publicly apologized to his actress-fiancee, Sienna Miller, expressing his "sincere regret" over an affair with one of his children's nannies.

"Following the reports in today's papers, I just want to say I am deeply ashamed and upset that I've hurt Sienna and the people most close to us," the 32-year-old actor said in a statement Monday to the British Press Association.

"I want to publicly apologize to Sienna and our respective families for the pain that I have caused," said Law, star of the films "Alfie" and "The Talented Mr. Ripley."

The publicity firm that represents Miller told The Associated Press the 23-year-old actress had no comment on Law's statement.

Miller was Law's co-star in the remake of "Alfie." The couple became engaged on Christmas Day 2004.

The nanny was identified in the newspaper reports as Daisy Wright, 26.

Law divorced fashion designer-actress Sadie Frost in October 2003 after a six-year marriage and three children.

The actor earned Oscar nominations for his roles in "The Talented Mr. Ripley" and "Cold Mountain." His screen credits also include "Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow," "Closer" and "The Aviator," all released in 2004.

Amazon.com celebrates10-year anniversary party

SEATTLE -- Amazon.com celebrated its 10th anniversary with an all-star lineup that included Bob Dylan and Norah Jones, and streamed the event live to its Web site.

"Dylan -- live on your computer," cracked comedian-host Bill Maher. "I remember it was a big deal when he went electric."

The lineup made clear that Seattle-based Amazon is "finally making some money," Maher told his audience Saturday, made up of 2,500 employees and guests of the Internet's top retailer.

To mark Amazon's beginnings as an online bookstore, authors James Patterson, Jim Collins and Daniel Handler also were on hand, along with screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan.

Dylan and Jones performed some of their best-known songs, then charmed the crowd with a duet of Dylan's "I Shall Be Released."

Today's birthdays

Actress-singer Sally Ann Howes is 75. Video artist Nam June Paik is 73. Rockabilly singer Sleepy LaBeef is 70. Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, D-Md., is 69. Actress Diana Rigg is 67. Rock musician John Lodge (The Moody Blues) is 62. Country singer T.G. Shepherd is 61. Singer Kim Carnes is 59. Rock musician Carlos Santana is 58. Rock musician Paul Cook (The Sex Pistols) is 49. Actress Donna Dixon is 48. Country singer Radney Foster is 46. Actor Frank Whaley is 42. Rock singer Chris Cornell is 41. Rock musician Stone Gossard (Pearl Jam) is 39. Actor Reed Diamond is 38. Actor Josh Holloway ("Lost") is 36. Singer Vitamin C is 36. Actor Simon Rex is 31. Actress Judy Greer is 30. Actor Charlie Korsmo is 27. Actor John Francis Daley ("Freak and Geeks") is 20. Actress Billi Bruno ("According to Jim") is 9.




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