News + Notes

Monitor

SPLITS

On May 23, Walt Disney Co. and tween sensation Hilary Duff, 15, parted ways, ending a three-year relationship that produced the Disney Channel hit comedy series Lizzie McGuire and the big-screen adaptation now in theaters. The split occurred over the future of the Lizzie character. ''We made them an extremely generous offer on which they passed,'' says a Disney rep. ''Hilary's a great girl, and we wish her the best of luck.''

ARRESTS

No, seriously, don't try this at home! Jackass buffoon Steve-O (Stephen Glover, right), 28, was busted May 22 in Stockholm after he announced he'd swallowed a condom filled with marijuana. After pleading guilty to possessing one Ecstasy pill and five grams of pot, Glover was released from his five-day stint in a Swedish jail and paid a 45,500 krona fine (roughly $6,000). A rep for Glover called the bust ''a major misunderstanding'' and claimed the arrest was sparked by ''comments made by an outrageous entertainer boasting about a 'stunt.'''... Los Angeles police picked up Dr. Dre's mother, Verna Griffin, 54, on May 20 for allegedly firing a gun at a friend in her Hidden Hills, Calif., home. She was released on $50,000 bail. Griffin was not available for comment.... Actor and former NYC firefighter Steve Buscemi, 45, was arrested May 25 after protesting the closing of Engine 204 in Brooklyn. He was charged with criminal trespass and disorderly conduct and was released on his own recognizance. ''I was there because the closing of these companies is putting the people who live in those communities at risk,'' says Buscemi.

BULLETS

On May 27, the Los Angeles headquarters of Death Row Records was riddled with bullets by unidentified gunmen. No one was injured. While police have yet to announce a motive, label owner Suge Knight offered his own: ''There have been a lot of girls flocking to [Death Row artists] Crooked I, Eastwood, and Kurupt. The crime was probably committed by a jealous boyfriend or husband.''

PARDONS

He feels good! On May 20, South Carolina officials pardoned Godfather of Soul James Brown, 70, for crimes including drugs and weapons charges, some of which dated back to the 1980s. Indicating he was ready to get on up with his life, Brown sang ''God Bless America'' at the conclusion of his hearing.

COURTS

On May 14, just before movie fans entered The Matrix Reloaded, an L.A. judge froze the assets of Larry Wachowski, 37, one half of the blockbuster's director-brother team. The freeze is part of divorce proceedings from wife Thea Bloom and forbids Wachowski to receive ''any monies, property or anything of value'' from his film production companies (see box, left). A rep for Wachowski had no comment.... Actor Scott Bairstow, 33, who played Neve Campbell's abusive boyfriend on Party of Five, was charged May 20 in Snohomish County, Wash., with child rape in the second-degree of a then-12-year-old girl with whom he allegedly had sex multiple times between 1998 and 2001. He will be arraigned June 3. A rep for Bairstow had no comment.

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