Harrison denies report

Former Beatle George Harrison and his wife, Olivia, issued a written statement Monday denying published reports that he is close to death after recent treatment for cancer.

The English newspaper The Mail said Sunday that Harrison had told his friend and former Beatles producer George Martin "that he does not have long to live."

The Harrison statement used strong language to deny the story. "We are disappointed and disgusted by the report," it said. "It was unsubstantiated, untrue and totally uncalled for, when in fact Mr. Harrison is active and feeling very well. It has caused untold distress amongst our family and friends. The original 'story' was conjured up by the National Enquirer, the Globe and the Daily Mail."

Government lawsuit

Attorney F. Lee Bailey, who in recent years has gone from representing famous defendants to fighting his own legal battles, is suing the government for millions of dollars.

On Monday, Bailey, who represented Dr. Sam Sheppard, self-professed Boston Strangler Albert DeSalvo, Patty Hearst and O.J. Simpson, began defending his right to reclaim more than $10 million he says the government owes him in a breach-of-contract case.

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. Federal Court of Claims in Washington, D.C., is about how much Bailey is due for his work in getting convicted French drug smuggler Claude Duboc's foreign assets ready to be liquidated for the government.

Dropping the ball

Conan O'Brien says it's his fault that a racial slur aired on his late-night talk show.

O'Brien and NBC have been criticized for the July 11 episode, in which comedian Sarah Silverman used a racial epithet for people of Chinese descent.

The network said in a statement last week that airing the word "chink" was a mistake, but O'Brien apologized over the weekend during the Television Critics Assn. annual summer meeting in Pasadena, Calif.

"The ultimate responsibility to drop audio on something like that is mine. It's my show, 'Late Night with Conan O'Brien,"' he said. "If I had to do it over again, I understand that word is offensive to people, it hurts people. I would say, 'Let's drop audio on it."'

Easy roles

Erik Estrada says lending his voice to The Cartoon Network's "Sealab 2001" was an easy decision.

"They wanted a character who's rugged, funny, a ladies' man," Estrada tells TV Guide in the July 28 issue. And, he added, "I don't have to shower, shave. I can just show up and do it."

The former "CHiPs" star also says he has been having fun playing himself on shows such as "V.I.P.," "Popular" and "The Nanny." He said he may even hold the record for playing himself the most.

"I think me and Bill Shatner are neck-and-neck," Estrada said.


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