Heh-heh. He said, ”penal system.” Artist James Kodadek filed a copyright-infringement suit against Beavis and Butt-head creator Mike Judge, MTV, and parent company Viacom, Feb. 29 in L.A. Kodadek claims he created the metalhead cartoon duo in 1991 and was never credited or paid. MTV calls the allegation ”ludicrous.”… Lawyer-turned-author John Grisham, 41, is suing the estate of his late agent, Jay Garon. In papers filed Feb. 28 in Oxford, Miss., Grisham claims Garon and Grisham lawyer Elliott Lefkowitz diverted an undisclosed amount from the millionaire scribe. Garon died of a heart attack Aug. 23.
Move over, Jerry Lewis. Peter Falk received the Chevalier of Arts and Letters, France’s highest arts honor, Feb. 28. Award presenter Gerard Depardieu praised Falk, best known as gumshoe Columbo, as ”one of the 15 best actors on the planet.”
It’s advantage Bill Clinton in the latest family-values serve and volley. The President hosted a two-hour powwow at the White House Feb. 29 with 30 of America’s biggest media moguls. The topic: a self-imposed TV ratings system. The result: A ”voluntary agreement” that would require TV producers to rate their own shows, starting Jan. 1, 1997.
Country comedian Minnie Pearl, 83, of complications from a stroke, March 4, in Nashville. Pearl’s down-home charm, signature ”How-dee” shriek, and trademark straw hat with $1.98 price tag made her the grande dame of the Grand Ole Opry. ”She was one of its pillars,” says Opry house manager Jerry Strobel. In 1975, Pearl was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame…. French author Marguerite Duras, 81, March 3, at her home in Paris. Duras wrote 35 novels, including 1984’s The Lover, for which she won France’s top literary award, the Prix Goncourt…. Character actor Lyle Talbot, 94, March 3, in San Francisco. Talbot was just as comfortable playing a neighbor on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet as he was appearing in Plan 9 From Outer Space. In 1935, he and 23 colleagues founded the Screen Actors Guild…. Pop songwriter Wes Farrell, 56, of cancer, Feb. 29, in Coconut Grove, Fla. Farrell’s tunes included the McCoys’ 1965 No. 1 hit ”Hang On Sloopy.” He also created music for The Partridge Family.