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September 21, 1991

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of appeals has upheld a $400,000 award granted Bette Midler after the singer sued an advertising agency that used a ″sound- alike″ singer for a television commercial.

″We’re very pleased that the Court of Appeals has upheld the property rights which performers have in their voices,″ Peter Laird, Midler’s attorney, said Friday.

Lawyers for the ad agency, Young & Rubicam Inc., declined comment.

A federal jury in Los Angeles found in 1988 that Young & Rubicam violated Midler’s exclusive right to her vocal style by having another singer, Ula Hedwig, mimic Midler’s version of the song ″Do You Wanna Dance?″

According to trial testimony, the agency originally asked Midler to perform the song for a Ford commercial, then turned to Hedwig when Midler declined. Hedwig is a former backup singer for Midler.

--- NEW YORK (AP) - Rock guitarist Eric Clapton said he couldn’t believe his 4-year-old son had been killed in a fall from a 53rd-floor apartment until he arrived on the scene and saw the paramedic equipment.

″I ran down there, and I saw paramedic equipment everywhere, and ambulances and police cars,″ Clapton was quoted in the Oct. 17 issue of Rolling Stone magazine. ″And I thought, ’This is true.‴

Clapton’s son, Conor, whose mother is actress Lori Del Santo, died March 20 in the accidental plunge from a New York City skyscraper. Clapton was in a hotel a few blocks away at the time.

Clapton, 46, says Conor’s death, coming after his close friend Stevie Ray Vaughan died in a helicopter crash in August 1990, changed his view of life.

″The death of my son, the death of Stevie Ray, taught me that life is very fragile, and that if you are given another 24 hours, it’s a blessing,″ he said.

Clapton, a founding member of Cream and Derek & the Dominos, is considered one of the world’s greatest rock guitarists. He wrote and performed such rock classics as ″Layla″ and ″Let it Rain.″

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Academy-award winning actor Paul Newman took hammer, brush and other tools in hand to play a supporting role in a Habitat for Humanity project to build 15 homes for low-income families.

″I really came to work and not to talk,″ said Newman, who was dressed for work Friday in a baseball cap, T-shirt and blue jeans.

″The work they are doing here is inspiring to everybody. ... ″I’m very privileged to be down here,″ he said.

Newman did some roofing, painted, laid carpet, and put several porches in place.

The 66-year-old actor has supported Habitat in the past with donations from his food company, Newman’s Own Products. He gave $275,000 to the group last year.

He joked that he got involved in charities when ″the salad dressing started outgrossing my pictures.″ His food line also includes spaghetti sauce and popcorn.

--- LAS VEGAS (AP) - Entertainer Robert Goulet was recovering after surgery to clear an intestinal blockage caused by scar tissue left behind from a childhood appendectomy, his wife said.

″They removed the scar tissue and everything went extremely well,″ Vera Goulet said after Friday’s surgery on her 57-year-old husband. Goulet remained a patient at Desert Springs Hospital.

Goulet entered the hospital Thursday with stomach pains. Initial tests showed no blockage, but doctors decided to go ahead with exploratory surgery and found the scar tissue left over from an appendectomy done 50 years ago, Mrs. Goulet said.

Goulet, a baritone who grew up in Canada, rose to fame playing Sir Lancelot in the 1960s Broadway musical ″Camelot″ with Richard Burton and Julie Andrews.

He lives in Las Vegas and frequently performs here.

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BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) - President Carlos Menem got socked with a court complaint in which his estranged wife asked a judge to throw him in jail for two years, saying he had been stingy with alimony payments.

But Judge Hugo Martin Valerga promptly threw out the complaint filed last week by Zulema Menem, who was booted from the president’s official residence 15 months ago.

Without going into detail, Valerga said Mrs. Menem’s lifestyle doesn’t ″even remotely make you suppose that she finds herself in a state of need.″

″No more official cars, no more telephone bills, no more food,″ Menem, 61, said Friday in a radio interview. He said he would pay her a fixed sum out of his own pocket, but didn’t give the amount.

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MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay (AP) - Princess Anne, on a weekend visit to this South American capital, scheduled visits to a horse show, a school, a church, a hospital and two luncheon dates with President Luis Lacalle.

The British princess lunched Friday with Lacalle, visited a British school and laid a wreath at the monument of Uruguayan independence hero Gen. Jose Artigas.

She also stopped by an Anglo-Uruguayan cultural center, the British Hospital and an Anglican church. The British Embassy organized a reception in her honor Friday evening.

The princess was to leave Sunday.

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