December 10, 2004 08:00 AM

REVEALED: Five-week-old Phinnaeus Walter and Hazel Patricia Moder arrived home with Julia Roberts and their father, Danny Moder, this past Monday, PEOPLE reports in its latest issue. Hazel, who at 4 lb. 5 oz. weighed slightly less than her brother, was kept in an incubator for the first week of her life because of breathing difficulties. A family friend says Hazel Patricia is now “doing just fine.”

RELEASED: Nicole Kidman has dropped out of the movie adaptation of Broadway’s Mel Brooks musical The Producers, to begin shooting in February with Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick, reports Variety. Kidman’s reps say that the star, now shooting Bewitched, lacked enough time to rehearse singing and dancing before going to Australia to shoot Eucalyptus, with Russell Crowe. Kidman, 37, was to play sexy secretary Ulla in The Producers, a role played to Tony-winning perfection on the stage by Cady Huffman (Curb Your Enthusiasm). No new Ulla has been named.

DIAGNOSED: Godfather of Soul James Brown, 71, has announced that he has prostate cancer, telling the Associated Press in a statement Friday that he will undergo surgery on Dec. 15. “I have overcome a lot of things in my life. I will overcome this as well,” Brown said. He is expected to spend three weeks recovering from the procedure.

DIED: Country and Western singer Jerry Scoggins, 93, whose baritone rendition of The Beverly Hillbillies title song is a TV staple, died in Los Angeles, his family announced. The Texan was a stockbroker who moonlighted as a singer when he was approached by the show’s producers to sing “The Ballad of Jed Clampett” for the Hillbillies pilot in 1962. The song stuck.

GIFTED: Viggo Mortensen played Santa on Lord of the Rings, it’s revealed on “The Return of the King Special Extended Edition” DVD, which arrives Tuesday. As is recounted on the disc, the cast and crew had the opportunity to buy the film’s horses at the end of the production. Mortensen, 46, quickly purchased his companion, Uraeus, while also having his eye on the white stallion Florian – but so did Jane Abbott, who played Liv Tyler’s riding double. Alas, Abbott couldn’t afford Florian, but Mortensen could – as a gift for her. Abbott relates the tale with her answering machine tape of Viggo’s call to go to the stable. Her tearful thank-you is Oscar worthy.

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