1. Archive

Actor Lynne Thigpen dies

Lynne Thigpen, a Tony-winning stage, film and television actor whose best-known roles ranged from The Chief in the long-running PBS children's show Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? to crime-fighting computer whiz Ella Farmer in the CBS police drama The District, died suddenly at her Los Angeles home Wednesday of unknown causes. She was 54.

Ms. Thigpen, who had been in good health, was at home Wednesday night with her partner, Larry Aronson, when she was stricken. An autopsy is pending, said her manager, Mel McKeon.

Production of The District, which was about to begin filming the 20th of 22 planned episodes, was suspended Thursday as the cast and crew mourned the loss of the show's co-star.

"I'm in shock. She was a wonderful actress and a friend," Craig T. Nelson, who leads the cast, said in a statement released by the network.

Among her many film credits were roles in Lean on Me, Bicentennial Man, Bob Roberts and The Paper. She also appears in the soon-to-be released Anger Management, a comedy starring Adam Sandler and Jack Nicholson.

HBO delays "Sopranos' taping

as Gandolfini dispute continues

They aren't prosecutors, but HBO executives shut down the mob Wednesday.

Bosses at the TV network told cast members of the The Sopranos that filming of the show's fifth season has been called off because of a contract battle with star James Gandolfini.

Work on the blockbuster series about a dysfunctional New Jersey mob family was to begin March 24.

"The start of production is postponed indefinitely," an HBO spokesman told the New York Daily News.

The Daily News reported that a source close to the contract negotiations said Wednesday that Gandolfini, who plays mob boss Tony Soprano, is asking for $25-million to film the show's next 13 episodes.

HBO is offering to give the two-time Emmy Award-winning actor what it describes as a substantial raise over his $400,000-an-episode salary.

Jackson must pay $5.3-million

A California jury decided Thursday that Michael Jackson owes a concert promoter $5.3-million for backing out of two concerts planned to celebrate the millennium on New Year's Eve 1999.

The verdict came in a $21-million breach-of-contract lawsuit filed against the singer by German concert organizer Marcel Avram. Jackson's attorneys said it was Avram who canceled the shows over concerns they would not be profitable.

The jury deliberated for nearly two weeks.