Sunday, May 25, 2003

'Lizzie' breaks up with Disney

Los Angeles -- The star of the Disney Channel's hit "Lizzie McGuire" sitcom and its spin-off film is parting ways with the company that catapulted her to fame.

After weeks of negotiations over the future of 15-year-old Hillary Duff's career, the two sides confirmed Friday that they have split, the Los Angeles Times reported Saturday.

Disney was eager to hold on to the profitable "McGuire" franchise, but Duff wanted to move beyond the role as the awkward but cute middle-schooler that has brought her a devoted following among "tweens" -- children ages 9 to 14.

And the Houston native reportedly wanted more for an expanded TV series and movie sequel than Disney was willing to pay. She received $1 million for the first "Lizzie" film.


Indianapolis -- A federal judge ordered Michael Jackson to return to Indianapolis within three weeks to give a deposition the pop star missed after he was briefly hospitalized because of illness.

Judge Philip P. Simon on Thursday also ordered Jackson's attorneys to document the illness that led the singer to miss giving the court-ordered deposition in a copyright lawsuit.

Jackson was hospitalized in Indianapolis briefly Wednesday after he fell ill before the deposition could begin. He was released after a few hours and boarded a private jet Wednesday to return to Los Angeles.

Simon had ordered the 44-year-old Jackson to give a deposition in a lawsuit alleging that the Jackson Five used the name of another Gary, Ind., band and two of their songs without license.

Doubles, anyone?

Frankfurt, Germany -- Steffi Graf and Andre Agassi are to become parents for the second time, Graf's management company announced.

The Las Vegas-based tennis stars are expecting the baby in mid-November, her company said Thursday. Graf and Agassi were married in October 2001; they have a 19-month-old son, Jaden Gil.

Graf, 33, a seven-time Wimbledon champion, retired in 1999.

Agassi, also 33, is to play in the French Open starting Monday.

Ike turned away from Japan

Tokyo -- Ike Turner, billed as the top performer in a Japanese blues festival this week, has been refused entry to Japan by immigration officials because of a past drug conviction.

The 71-year-old singer-songwriter was jailed in the United States in 1990 for cocaine possession. He was turned back Wednesday after being questioned for five hours, a Kansai International Airport immigration official said.

Turner had been scheduled to headline the 2003 Japan Blues Carnival, a four-day tour through western Japan and the capital, Tokyo.