Stephen M. Silverman
September 21, 2004 08:00 AM

REVISED: Despite earlier reports that he was receiving such hospital visitors as Jay Leno and Adam Sandler, comedian Rodney Dangerfield, 82, slipped into a coma while recovering from heart surgery in recent weeks but “is starting to show signs of awareness,” his wife Joan said Monday. The comedian has been able to breathe on his own for the past 24 hours, she said, adding that Dangerfield remains in stable condition overall. Reuters quotes her as saying: “Our family remains optimistic that Rodney will make a complete recovery.”

RELEASED: The long-awaited DVD version of George Lucas’s Star Wars trilogy, consisting of the original 1977 movie, 1980’s The Empire Strikes Back and 1983’s The Return of the Jedi, arrives in stores Tuesday. Asked by CNN why he finally agreed to release the much-asked-for titles, Lucas, 60, said: “Piracy … has really eaten dramatically into the sales. It really just came down to, there may not be a market when I wanted to bring it out, which was like, three years from now. So rather than just sit by and watch the whole thing fall apart, better to bring it out early and get it over with.”

RECEIVED: Billy Joel, 55, got his star on the Hollywood Boulevard Walk of Fame Monday, saying, “I had not considered this when I wrote ‘Say Goodbye to Hollywood.'” Joel’s bronze plaque was placed on the sidewalk in front of the Pantages Theatre, where the Tony Award-winning musical based on his songs, Movin’ Out, is playing through Oct. 31.

SUED: The Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown, 39, has filed a lawsuit in Manhattan Federal Court against California novelist Lewis Purdue, who’s accused the best-selling Brown of poaching his ideas, reports New York’s Daily News. Though his lawyers sent Brown’s publisher a warning letter asking for a settlement, Purdue has not filed any legal action against Brown, who says he has never read Purdue’s work – which includes the 1983 The Da Vinci Legacy. Purdue’s book flopped upon its original publication but hit bestseller lists after Brown created a sensation with his own book.

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