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NEWS BRIEFS: Bruce the Boss of Concerts

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EARNED: Bruce Springsteen, 54, proved he’s boss of the concert business in 2003, raking in $115.9 million to rank second only to the Rolling Stones for the most money ever earned by a concert act in a year, reports the Associated Press, based on tallies by Pollstar. The Stones’s 1994 earnings of $121.2 million remains the record. This year, the Stones brought in $38.5 million, ranking 14th. Celine Dion, 35, finished second to Springsteen, earning $80.5 million for her ongoing Las Vegas gig.

AGREED: Former “Seinfeld” costar Michael Richards, 54, who played Kramer, says he will participate in interviews and promotion of a DVD package of the 1990-98 NBC hit, reports The New York Times. Earlier reports had said he and costars Jason Alexander and Julia Louis-Dreyfus refused to participate because of financial concerns. Yet Richards still thinks everybody ought to be paid, he tells the Times, adding that it would be “honorable” for them to receive compensation – though so far the producers and distributors have reportedly said nothing about money.

QUOTED: “Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night.” — St. Nicholas, age unreported, as quoted by scholar Clement Clark Moore

PARDONED: Pioneering standup comic Lenny Bruce, who died of a drug overdose in 1966 at age 40, was given a historic posthumous pardon by New York Gov. George Pataki on Tuesday, clearing him of a 1964 obscenity conviction that some supporters believe hastened his demise, reports AP. Pataki called the pardon “a declaration of New York’s commitment to upholding the First Amendment.” Bruce had been arrested after a performance at Cafe au Go Go in Greenwich Village. Undercover cops cited him for using words they deemed “obscene.”

GIVEN: Recently reunited Paul Simon, 61, and Art Garfunkel, 62, announced another collaboration Tuesday: a joint $1 million donation to the Children’s Health Fund, reports AP. The singers, who launched a reunion tour earlier this year, made a two-part donation. Half of the money will go to CHF’s national network for poor and homeless children; the other half will go to a pediatric preparedness program run by CHF at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health in New York.

ADDED: Veteran TV star James Garner, 75, will continue for the remainder of the season as a member of the Hennessy clan on ABC’s “8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter,” says the Hollywood Reporter. Garner was initially hired only to guest star in four episodes this fall, to help take the sitcom through the tricky transition of the show after the death of its star, John Ritter.