Lennon items fail at auction

Baby, you can drive my car.

Bidders hesitated to take up the invitation Tuesday, as a limousine once owned by John Lennon failed to reach its reserve price at auction. The 1970 Mercedes Benz 600 Pullman attracted a telephone bid of $270,000 � $14,000 short of its reserve price � during a sale at London's Hard Rock Cafe.

A Steinway piano that once sat in Lennon's New York home drew a top bid of $1.1 million � $360,000 short of the anticipated price.

The Mercedes limo, complete with black velvet upholstery and a built-in record player, was made to order for Lennon in 1970. Lennon sold it to fellow Beatle George Harrison when he moved from Britain to the United States in 1973. It was subsequently owned by Mary Wilson of the Supremes.

Eagles ascend to lofty perch

The Eagles have soared to "record" status. The Recording Industry Association of America announced Tuesday that the "Hotel California" rockers now rank as the third highest-selling band in the United States. A recent audit by the Eagles' label, Elektra Records, boosted its album sales by more than 17 million, for a total of 83.5 million.

The Eagles, known for such hits as "Life in the Fast Lane" and "Take it Easy," now follow only The Beatles, with 163.5 million sales, and Led Zeppelin, with 103.5 million. Pink Floyd has fallen to fourth place with 68.5 million sales.

The band's "Their Greatest Hits: 1971-75" remains the best-selling album in history for sales of 27 million copies.

Tennis role transforms Holly

Holly Hunter never played sports growing up, so portraying tennis star Billie Jean King showed her how it felt to be an athlete. "We haven't seen too many women athletes portrayed on film," she said. "I thought, what a great opportunity to use my whole body."

Hunter said she was exhausted a month into her four months of training for "When Billie Beat Bobby," airing April 16 on ABC. "Then I kind of broke through that and started feeling I was in the best shape of my life," she said. "That was intoxicating, to feel capable."

Hunter learned to play tennis and drilled five days a week with 1974 Wimbledon doubles champion Peggy Michel.

Stone stalker confined

A man who said he had traveled from Italy to wed actress Sharon Stone was slapped with a restraining order and placed in a Los Angeles mental hospital, according to court papers released Wednesday.

Agostino P'Omato, 32, was told by Los Angeles Superior Court to keep at least 100 yards away from Stone, her newspaper executive husband, Phil Bronstein, and their 10-month-old son, Roan.

P'Omato went to Stone's Los Angeles-area home last week determined to see her, the papers said. He told an employee at the house he was in love with Stone and "had come all the way from Italy to marry her."


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