The Baltimore Sun

Actors union to honor James Earl Jones

James Earl Jones has been tapped to receive this year's life achievement kudos from the Screen Actors Guild, the trade paper Variety reports on its Web site.

The actor's "distinguished career on stage, in film, on television, in commercials and as a vocal presence without peer commands our admiration and respect. His long and quiet devotion to advancing literacy, the arts and humanities on a national and local scale deserves our appreciation. It is our honor to bestow the Guild's highest tribute on this extraordinary actor," said SAG President Alan Rosenberg in a statement.

Jones, a staple of the stage and screen, made his Broadway bow in 1957 in The Egghead as an understudy. In 1969, he won his first Tony Award for his role as a fictionalized Jack Johnson in The Great White Hope.

Jones' many screen roles include The Hunt for Red October, Clear and Present Danger, Coming to America and the voice of Darth Vader in the Star Wars franchise.

The honor will be presented during the 15th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards on Jan. 25.

Final bows

* Broadway theaters will dim their lights tonight at curtain time to honor Paul Newman, who died last week at age 83.

Newman appeared in five Broadway productions, starting in 1953 in William Inge's Picnic. He then appeared in Joseph Hayes' thriller The Desperate Hours, in 1955, followed by Tennessee Williams' Sweet Bird of Youth in 1959.

Newman co-starred with his wife, Joanne Woodward, in James Costigan's comedy Baby Want a Kiss in 1964. His last Broadway appearance was as the stage manager in a 2002 revival of Thornton Wilder's Our Town, for which he received a Tony nomination.

The Broadway League, the trade association for Broadway theaters and producers, says lights will be dimmed for one minute at 8 p.m.

* TCM will air a tribute to Newman on Oct. 12, with a marathon of his movies that will replace scheduled programming. The films, in order: The Rack (6 a.m.), Until They Sail (8 a.m.), Torn Curtain (10.a.m.), Exodus (12:15 p.m.), Sweet Bird of Youth (3:45 p.m.), Hud (6 p.m.), Somebody Up There Likes Me (8 p.m.), Cool Hand Luke (10 p.m.), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (12:15 a.m.), Rachel, Rachel (2:15 a.m.), The Outrage (4 a.m.).

Mo' Po

DreamWorks Animation SKG is planning a sequel to Kung Fu Panda to be released in 2011.

Jack Black will return to provide the voice of Po, a panda in ancient China who becomes an unlikely martial-arts hero. Angelina Jolie is also slated to return as the voice of Tigress.

The movie, like all DreamWorks Animation films starting in 2009, will be produced with 3-D technology, the company said in a statement Wednesday.

The computer-animated comedy has brought in more than $200 million in domestic box office and more than $600 million worldwide since its release in early June, making it DreamWorks Animation's most successful original film ever.

The return of Rosie

Rosie O'Donnell will return to the small screen with a live special on NBC the night before Thanksgiving, according to the Hollywood Reporter .

Rosie's Variety Show could expand to a full series, depending on viewer reactions.

Quick clicks

Fringe, the FBI-centric sci-fi thriller from J.J. Abrams, has gotten a full-season order from Fox, reports Variety.

The show ranks No. 1 among all new shows in the adults 18-to-49 age demographic.


Rock 'n' roll star Chubby Checker, 67.

Magician Roy Horn, 64.

Rock musician Tommy Lee, 46.

Singer Gwen Stefani, 39.

Singer India.Arie, 33.

Singer Ashlee Simpson-Wentz, 24.

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