PASSAGES: Big Day for 007, David Lynch

01/11/2002 at 01:25 PM EST

RESUMED: The 20th James Bond adventure was launched at Pinewood Studios near London Friday, reports Reuters. The beginning of shooting coincides with the 40th anniversary of the first 007 movie, 1962's "Dr No," starring Sean Connery, now 70. The new film, still untitled, stars PEOPLE's Sexiest Man for 2001, Pierce Brosnan, 47, in his fourth Bond outing, with Halle Berry, 33, as the feisty female lead. Judi Dench, 67, will returns as Bond's boss, M, while John Cleese, 62, makes his second appearance as Q. The movie's release is slated for later this year. . . NAMED: "Mulholland Drive" and "Blue Velvet" director David Lynch, who also gave TV "Twin Peaks," has been named as the head of this May's Cannes Film Festival, the 55th, fest organizers said in Paris Friday. "I feel excited, nervous and fully conscious of the responsibility," Lynch said in a statement . . . RATED: Wednesday's three-hour telecast of the 29th annual American Music Awards, which featured Michael Jackson, 43, accepting his artist of the century award, averaged an impressive 16.02 million, according to Nielsen Media Research. These are ABC's strongest Wednesday scores since the Orange Bowl college football game in January 2001, said Reuters . . . DIED: Character actor Bill McCutcheon, 77, best known for playing Uncle Wally on "Sesame Street," died of natural causes Wednesday, reports the Associated Press. On the big screen, he played Shirley MacLaine's suitor 1989's "Steel Magnolias"; on the small screen, in the '50s, he appeared on "Howdy Doody."

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