PASSAGES: Jackson Sued for $20 Mil
SUED: Concert promoter Marcel Avram, who has handled Michael Jackson concerts in the past, is suing the Gloved One for more than $20 million, claiming that the star, 43, is looking for another promoter for an as-yet-unannounced world tour despite a signed agreement with Avram, reports Variety. Avram is already suing Jackson in another case for some $25 million, after the star allegedly backed out of two millennium concerts. Reps for Jackson declined to comment . . . FILED: Emilio Estefan has slapped a $1 million defamation lawsuit against Venezuelan actor Juan Carlos Diaz, who has publicly accused Estefan of making unwanted sexual advances toward him, a charge the Latin music mogul has vehemently denied. Estefan is accusing Diaz of stalking his family, including his wife, singer Gloria Estefan, fondling Gloria and crashing his New Year’s Eve party. Diaz’s lawyer, Ellis Rubin, has denied that his client has harassed or defamed Estefan, reports Reuters . . . DIAGNOSED: Renowned British playwright (“The Birthday Party”) Harold Pinter, 71, has cancer of the esophagus, the Daily Telegraph reported Friday. His agent Judy Daish told the paper that he is undergoing chemotherapy but that he is also intending to keep on working . . . DENIED: The Motion Picture Assn. of America (MPAA) on Thursday prohibited New Line Cinema from using the title “Austin Powers in Goldmember” for the third installment of the spy spoof starring Mike Myers, reports Variety. (New Line, like PEOPLE, is part of AOL Time Warner.) MGM, which owns the 1964 James Bond film “Goldfinger,” had petitioned against the use of “Goldmember” as a title. No new name for the Myers film, which is set to open July 26, has been announced as yet . . . SENTENCED: A Florida judge on Thursday sent “Apt Pupil” actor Brad Renfro, 19, to jail after he turned himself in for a probation violation, reports the Associated Press. Renfro is currently on probation for trying to steal a yacht in August 2000. His latest violation concerned a Jan. 14 incident near his hometown of Knoxvile, Tenn., for which he was charged with driving without a license and public intoxication. In 1998, Renfro, then 16, was charged with possession of cocaine and marijuana but copped a plea and avoided jail time . . . DIED: Oscar winner Harold Russell, 88, a disabled World War II veteran who won two Oscars (including one for best supporting actor) for his role as the soldier who had lost his hands in the 1946 movie classic “The Best Years of Our Lives,” died in a nursing home in Massachusetts on Thursday, reports the Associated Press. In his later years, Russell became an advocate for the rights of the disabled . . . RELEASED: Musician Freddy Fender, 64, has left a San Antonio hospital following kidney transplant surgery a week ago, reports the AP. His daughter, Marla Huerta Garcia, 21, donated one of her kidneys for her father and went home last Sunday . . . BORN: Rudy, a 280-pound healthy female Asian elephant calf, arrived at the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Center for Elephant Conservation on Tuesday. It is the 13th such baby in the center’s 10-year-old breeding program. Mother elephant Sally, 33, is doing fine, says the center, which also mentions in its press release that the new calf gets her name from the former mayor of New York, Rudolph Giuliani.