By Stephen M. Silverman And Anne Marie Cruz
June 25, 2003 02:44 PM

WON: 50 Cent was named best male hip-hop artist and best new artist Tuesday night at the third annual BET Awards at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood. Other winners: Missy Elliott (best female hip-hop artist), India.Arie (best female R&B artist), Yolanda Adams (best gospel artist), R. Kelly and Jaheim (tied for best male R&B artist) and Erykah Badu and Common (video of the year honor for their collaboration on “Love of My Life”). Queen Latifah was named best female actress; newcomer Derek Luke, best male actor, Reuters reports.

CAST: “Will & Grace” star Debra Messing, 34, has landed her first feature-film role, opposite Dermot Mulroney in the romantic comedy “Something Borrowed,” which begins shooting next month, says the Hollywood Reporter. She will play a woman who goes to her sister’s wedding in London and hires an escort (Mulroney) to make her look good in the eyes of her ex-fiance.



ORDERED: New York State Supreme Court Justice Walter Tolub ordered “Do the Right Thing” director Spike Lee to post a $2.5 million bond by Monday, reports Reuters. This is money that would go to TNN should Lee lose his court battle against the network, which is trying to rename itself Spike TV. Lee, 46, claims the name would mistakenly cause the public to think he’s associated with it.

DIED: Novelist Leon Uris, 78, whose epic, best-selling tomes include 1958’s “Exodus,” tracing the rise of the state of Israel, died Saturday of natural causes at his home on New York’s Shelter Island, his ex-wife, photographer Jill Uris, tells the Associated Press. His other books included “QB VII” (1970), “Trinity” (1976), “The Haj” (1984) and “Topaz” (1967), though it was the 600-page “Exodus” — and the subsequent 1960 movie starring Paul Newman — that put him on the map.

SIGNED: Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant, 24, has signed a deal to endorse Nike products after having parted ways with German sportswear company Adidas-Salomon AG last year, reports the Los Angeles Times, which estimates that the Bryant-Nike deal is worth between $40-$45 million. Representatives of Nike would not confirm the amount. Nike spokesman Mark Shapiro did say that the company’s design team and Bryant are collaborating to develop new signature basketball shoes that the star will be wearing on the court.

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