News+notes

Monitor

PREMIERE

''Nelly's got unbelievable athletic ability, and he is so fast,'' Bill Goldberg said May 19 of his The Longest Yard costar (with headliner Adam Sandler). ''In one scene, I chased him 60 yards down the sidelines, and it almost killed me.''

FINES

Troubled Desperate Housewives son Cody Kasch (Zach), 17, was ticketed May 17 in NYC for allegedly smoking marijuana. He is due to appear in court June 20.

COURTS

According to The New York Times, hair-metal band Mötley Crüe filed suit against NBC, claiming the network's banning of the group after lead singer Vince Neil uttered an expletive on a New Year's Eve broadcast of The Tonight Show violated its right to free speech and hurt it financially. NBC says the suit, filed May 24 in L.A., is ''meritless.''. . . George Hogans, a former driver for the NBC show The Apprentice, filed a suit May 19 in NYC, alleging that Mark Burnett Productions discriminated against minority workers by promoting whites over blacks and Hispanics. The suit also claims that a hangman's noose in an open office area in Trump Tower made minority employees uncomfortable but was not removed for two months. Hogans seeks unspecified damages. The production company did not return calls for comment. . . .The battle of the Brit tabs rages on! A ruling ordering Hello! magazine to pay $1.9 million to rival OK! for printing unauthorized photos of the 2000 nuptials of Michael Douglas, 60, and Catherine Zeta-Jones, 35, was overturned May 18 in a British court. The stars — who were paid nearly $1.8 million by OK! for exclusive photo rights — failed to persuade the court to increase their $26,800 breach-of-privacy award.

RECOVERING

Gilligan's Island star Bob Denver, 70, is recuperating at his home in West Virginia from quadruple bypass surgery performed in early May. . . .Australian pop singer Kylie Minogue, 37, is recovering in Melbourne after having surgery May 20 to remove a cancerous lump from her breast. Doctors are confident they removed the cancer early enough to prevent spreading.

DEATHS

Thurl Ravenscroft, 91, the voice of cereal icon Tony the Tiger (''They're grrrreeeat!''), of prostate cancer, May 22, in Fullerton, Calif. He also sang ''You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch'' in the 1966 TV classic How the Grinch Stole Christmas. . . .Actress Elisabeth Fraser, 85, remembered for her role on The Phil Silvers Show, of heart failure, May 5, in Woodland Hills, Calif. . . .''King of Bluegrass'' Jimmy Martin, 77, of bladder cancer, May 14, in Hermitage, Tenn. . . .Character actor Stephen Elliott, 86, who played Dudley Moore's father in the 1981 film Arthur, of heart failure, May 21, in Woodland Hills, Calif. . . .Howard Morris, 85, best known as Ernest T. Bass on The Andy Griffith Show, of natural causes, May 21, in L.A. . . .Henry Corden, 85, the voice of Fred Flintstone since the late 1970s, of respiratory failure, May 19, in Encino, Calif.

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