July 15, 2004 08:00 AM

DRAWN: Troubled rocker Courtney Love, 40, has gone from the front pages of the world’s tabloids to a new Japanese comic book called Princess Ai, reports USA Today. The $9.99 publication is the first of artist Ai Yazawa’s three-part manga series whose title character is based on Love, who reportedly approached publisher Tokyopop last year with her idea for a story about a girl in search of her place in the world. Love also included some personal sketches of what the character might look like, says the paper, which describes the centerpiece of the finished product as an artistic, strong-minded and ferociously independent outsider pursued by demons.

TRADED: In one of the biggest deals in NBA History, the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday swapped Shaquille O’Neal – a dominant NBA figure since 1992 – to the Miami Heat for Lamar Odom, Caron Butler, Brian Grant and a first-round draft choice. The move officially ends the popular partnership of Laker duo O’Neal and Kobe Bryant. Last season, O’Neal, 32, averaged 21.5 points a game, a career low for him.

CONFIRMED: Directors Quentin Tarantino, 41, and Sofia Coppola, 33, are “seeing each other,” Bumble Ward, publicist for both, confirms to the Associated Press, adding that they “enjoy each other’s company.” The couple were recently photographed together in Madrid, Spain, where he was promoting Kill Bill – Vol. 2. She won an Oscar in February for her screenplay for Los in Translation, which she also directed.

SOLD: Distressed domestic diva Martha Stewart, 62, who faces sentencing on Friday, unloaded her luxury Greenwich Village duplex for around $7 million, reports the New York Post. The penthouse pad in a building complex (where Nicole Kidman and Calvin Klein also own units) had been on the market since 2002. Stewart originally purchased it while the complex was under construction. She reportedly paid slightly more than $6 million.

SOUGHT: A lawyer for Michael Moore, 50, asked a federal judge on Wednesday to dismiss a libel lawsuit against the documentary filmmaker filed by the brother of Oklahoma City bombing conspirator Terry Nichols, reports the Associated Press. James Nichols claims Moore tricked him into appearing in Bowling for Columbine, the Oscar-winning 2002 documentary that studied guns and violence in American culture. Nichols also contends Moore libeled him in the film by linking him to the 1995 bombing that killed 168 people. Neither Moore nor Nichols attended Wednesday’s hearing, and the judge did not indicate when he would issue a ruling.

BEQUEATHED: The Odd Couple star Tony Randall, who died at 84 on May 17, left more than $1 million to his wife, Heather, and their two children, Julia, 7, and Jefferson, 5, according to his will, which was filed for probate in New York’s Surrogate Court. He also bequeathed $50,000 each to the Actors Fund and The Neighborhood Playhouse School of Theater, both in Manhattan.

DIED: New York Dolls bassist Arthur Kane, 55, died Tuesday night in Los Angeles due to complications from leukemia, the pioneering ’70s glam group’s manager tells Billboard.com. The reunited Dolls participated in a well-received appearance at Morrissey’s Meltdown Festival in London last month and also opened some of Morrissey’s concerts in May in New York. It is unclear if the David Johansen-led group will still perform next month at Little Steven’s International Underground Garage Festival in New York.

VOTED: TV personality Kelly Ripa, 33, was voted as the most-trusted celebrity mother to baby-sit children in a poll by Parenting magazine and AOL (which, like PEOPLE, is part of Time Warner). Some 3,000 moms approved of Ripa by 37 percent, followed by a 31 percent approval rating for Reese Witherspoon. The remaining top five: Jada Pinkett Smith (19 percent), Sarah Jessica Parker (9 percent) and Madonna (5 percent).

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