By Stephen M. Silverman
November 13, 2002 11:00 AM

ANTICIPATED: Michael Jackson, 44, is expected to testify sometime Wednesday in Santa Barbara, Calif., Superior Court on claims that he backed out of two millennium charity concerts in 1999, leaving the promoter holding the bill, the Associated Press reports. Plaintiff Marcel Avram, who seeks $21.2 million from Jackson, says the star never returned the $1.2 million advance he was paid and spent all the money that had been earmarked for charity. However, attorneys for Jackson say it was not their client who canceled but rather Avram, whom they say decided to postpone the shows because he realized they would not be as profitable as he had hoped.

RELIEVED: After a nearly 23-year-old ban on rock concerts — following the trampling death of 11 people at a Who show — Cincinnati’s U.S. Bank Arena reopened Tuesday to Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. The show went off without a hitch, AP reports. “It’s night and day,” said John Beard, 42, who was at the Dec. 3, 1979, Who concert, where 11 fans were killed in a stampede. “This was well organized. That was not.” Only 1,800 general admission tickets were sold for Springsteen; another 15,000 tickets were sold for reserved seats, arena manager Jim Moehring said. At the Who concert, 14,770 general admission tickets were sold and only 3,600 were reserved.

NAMED: Clint Eastwood, 72, will receive the Life Achievement Award from the Screen Actors Guild at the ninth annual Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles on March 9. “His prolific career as an actor and filmmaker demonstrates a total command of the medium that has rightly earned him the admiration of his peers, the industry and the public. Over the past 42 years, he has starred in a remarkable 44 films and appeared in 55,” SAG President Melissa Gilbert said on Tuesday. The SAG Awards will air on TNT.

SUED: Former talk-show host Sally Jessy Raphael, 67, filed a $100 million lawsuit Tuesday against the National Enquirer for a report that claimed she suffered a mental breakdown following the termination of her TV show. “It was malicious. It came out of nowhere,” she said of the Oct. 22 story, which included the headline: “Sally Jessy Rushed to Mental Ward! … Shocking Reason Behind Her Breakdown.” The tabloid’s publisher, Boca Raton, Fla.-based American Media Inc., said it “stands firmly behind the accuracy of the information we published about Sally Jessy Raphael,” says AP.

FILED: Comic book creator Stan Lee, 80, the man behind Spider-Man, the Incredible Hulk and Daredevil, filed a $10 million lawsuit against Marvel Comics on Tuesday, charging his old comic book company is cheating him out of millions of dollars in movie profits. As part of the suit, reports AP, Lee says he hasn’t seen a penny from the box office of the summer movie hit “Spider-Man” despite its $400 million Northern American earnings. Lee’s court papers claim that Marvel signed a deal to give him 10 percent of any profits from his characters used in films and TV shows. Marvel issued a statement saying Lee “continues to be well-compensated” for his contributions to the industry and that the company is “in full compliance with, and current on all payments due under, terms of Mr. Lee’s employment agreement.”

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