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Oscar winner seeks break

London � Oscar-winning actress Judi Dench, who has been busy for months with a string of film projects, said she plans to take a short break to confront her husband's death last year from lung cancer.

She told the British Broadcasting Corp. in an interview released Friday that she hadn't meant to throw herself into work after her husband, the noted Shakespearean actor Michael Williams, died in January 2001.

Dench said she had immersed herself in several projects because an actors' strike appeared likely last year and she hoped to finish them before it happened. She's nominated for an Oscar for her role in "Iris," appears in the recently released "The Shipping News," and has also been at work on the next James Bond movie.

New medium for McCartney

Liverpool, England � Liverpool's Walker Art Gallery previewed its exhibition of some 70 paintings, sculptures and photographs by Paul McCartney.

"The Art of Paul McCartney" exhibition has colorful abstract paintings with names such as "Boxer Lips," "Brains on Fire" and "Sea God." It also features "Yellow Linda With Piano," a portrait of the ex-Beatle's wife, Linda, who died of breast cancer in 1998.

The preview was Friday, and the exhibition will run from May 24 to Aug. 4.

McCartney began painting in the early 1980s after meeting American artist Willem de Kooning.

Time to reintroduce comedy

New York � Comedy has been a little timid since the terrorist attacks, and Colin Quinn is aiming to change that.

The former "Saturday Night Live" comedian plans jokes on the war, on Islam and on racial profiling in his new comic variety show. It debuts Monday on NBC.

"I don't think people should exploit or disrespect the dead, but I think there has been too much timidity," Quinn told The Associated Press.

His show debuts on the six-month anniversary of Sept. 11. But Quinn said he senses a yearning to laugh again.

Election restaged; results stand

Hollywood � Actress Melissa Gilbert was elected president of the Screen Actors Guild early Saturday morning for the second time since November, easily beating fellow 1970s TV icon Valerie Harper in a bitter rerun of a previously nullified vote.

Gilbert captured 21,351 of the vote to Harper's 12,613 in a record turnout for a highly publicized race.

Gilbert had won in November. But that election was overturned when a SAG committee upheld a challenge from Harper and others, who claimed that last fall's vote was tainted for several reasons.

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