Friends in high places

Los Angeles � Charlton Heston says he was overwhelmed by the concern � including calls from President Bush and former first lady Nancy Reagan � after his Aug. 9 announcement that he has symptoms consistent with Alzheimer's disease.

The Oscar-winning Heston said a telephone call from Bush last week meant "a great deal." "He wished me well and was proud of what I had done for my country," the actor told the Los Angeles Times in the interview published Sunday. "Which is, perhaps, overstating it a little."

Heston said he had also gotten calls from Sarah Brady, chairwoman of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, and Nancy Reagan, whose husband, former President Reagan, suffers from the degenerative brain disease.

Nancy Reagan gave Heston and his wife, Lydia, her private phone number and encouraged them to call. "She didn't really need to do that," said Heston, 77. "After all, she's the president's wife."

Marsalis moving on

Durham, N.C. � Branford Marsalis has ditched New York for Durham.

Earlier this month, the Grammy-winning saxophonist bought a home in the Treyburn subdivision to live with his wife and son.

Marsalis could not be reached for comment, but Durham jazz singer Nnenna Freelon said he had wanted to leave New York.

"I ran into him at the St. Louis Jazz Festival last month, and he said he was tired of it," Freelon said. "But he said he's moving here, and I told him it's a great place to live."

Marsalis, 42, comes from one of America's most distinguished musical families. He is the son of New Orleans piano great Ellis Marsalis, and the older brother of trumpeter Wynton Marsalis.

Gotta pay to play

Pittsburgh � A lawsuit on behalf of Bruce Springsteen and rocker Jon Bon Jovi has been filed in federal court.

The rockers, both members of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, are suing a local bar for allegedly playing their music without a license.

The lawsuit, filed Friday by the ASCAP on behalf of Springsteen, Bon Jovi and Universal-Polygram International Publishing Inc., says RPM's in Bridgeville is not allowed to play music by ASCAP members without paying an annual $2,818 fee.

The lawsuit alleges RPM's continues to play Springsteen and Bon Jovi tunes, despite being warned repeatedly not to do so. The suit seeks $750 to $30,000 in damages and a permanent ban on the use of ASCAP music at RPM's.

'Willy' star free

Portland, Ore. � The killer whale star of "Free Willy" is swimming free.

The orca's keepers were tracking him as he swam in the wild and had their last close-up look July 30, officials said.

Charles Vinick of the Ocean Futures Society in Iceland told The Oregonian that Keiko could still return to his pen off the Icelandic coast and that keepers could lead him there if it appears he needs help.

On Friday, satellite data found Keiko more than 250 miles from Iceland, some 100 miles north of the easternmost point in the Faroe Islands.


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