By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated December 30, 2002 01:00 AM
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RETURNED: Former Chicago Bull Michael Jordan, 39, missing from Gatorade’s TV lineup for three years, will return on New Year’s Day with a commercial that uses digital technology to show him in three phases of his career, reports Ad Age. As described by the trade publication, the spot will open with Jordan being challenged to a game of one-on-one by himself circa 1987 (he was still a Bull back then) and will also show him early on, as a University of North Carolina player attempting to join the game.

DIED: Oscar-winning director George Roy Hill, 81, whose films included two legendary pairings of Paul Newman and Robert Redford, 1969’s “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” and 1973’s “The Sting,” died Friday at his home in New York City of complications from Parkinson’s disease, said his son, George Roy Hill III. “He was the best friend that anyone could have: friend, mentor, enemy,” Newman, 77, told the Associated Press. “He gave everyone a hell of a ride. Himself included.”

CONFIRMED: Former Clash singer-guitarist Joe Strummer, 50, died of a heart attack and his death was not drug-related, the BBC reported, quoting coroner Michael Rose of Somerset, England. The autopsy, conducted on Christmas Eve, revealed that the musician died on Dec. 22 of sudden cardiac arrest.

HURT: Donald Trump Jr., 24, son of the New York real-estate mogul, was hit in the head with a beer stein early Saturday morning at a comedy club in Greenwich Village, reports the New York Post, quoting police. The Post said customers at a neighboring table thought Trump’s beer might have splashed on a woman, which conceivably prompted the incident. Trump reportedly required 28 stitches to the head. Two men, both 23, were arrested and charged with assault.