PASSAGES: Tom Hanks Leads Kazoo Chorus
OPENED: Tom Hanks, 45, dedicated a renovated, state-of-the-art theater at his Oakland, Calif., alma mater, Skyline High School, Monday in front of a crowd of 1,000 -- who were then led by Hanks in a kazoo chorus of "There's No Business Like Show Business." At the star's urging, reports the Associated Press, the venue (to which Hanks reportedly donated at least $100,000) was named after retired drama teacher Rawley T. Farnsworth, whom Hanks credited as an early influence when he accepted his 1993 Best Actor Oscar for "Philadelphia" . . . ANNOUNCED: Bruce Springsteen, 52, will release his first all-new studio recording with the E Street Band in 18 years on July 30, reports Reuters. It is a 14-song effort is to be called "The Rising" . . . OFFERED: Bette Midler, 56, hopes to place some 100 acres of her land on Hawaii's Kauai Island into the federal Wetlands Reserve Program for the benefit of endangered waterfowl, reports AP. The property is part of 1,400 acres of mostly sugarcane land that the Divine Miss M bought in 1999 . . . DIED: Hollywood honcho Lew Wasserman, 89, a former agent who helped transform the movies from a cloistered business run by a small group into a business owned and operated by multi-national conglomerates, died at his Beverly Hills home from a stroke on Monday, reports AP. His empire was MCA, which he ran for more than 50 years and which built Universal Studios from a B-picture factory into a home of mega-hits. Wasserman, an active humanitarian and staunch Democrat, was also close to the Reagans. "Lew was Ronnie's first agent in Hollywood, and they became fast friends," former First Lady Nancy Reagan said in a statement Monday. "He gave Ronnie some of the best advice in the business. It seems no matter where we've been -- Sacramento, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles -- Lew Wasserman was always there for us."
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