PASSAGES: Magic Gets Political
ABOARD: Former Los Angeles Lakers star Earvin "Magic" Johnson will play a major role in helping to defeat the secession movement in Hollywood and the San Fernando Valley, reports the Associated Press. Voters will decide in November elections whether to allow Hollywood and the San Fernando Valley to create their own cities. If approved, the measure would make the Valley the nation's sixth-largest city, tied with Phoenix. Los Angeles would fall behind Chicago to become the third-largest city...ILL: Widespread Panic guitarist and singer Michael Houser, 40, announced on his Web site that he has terminal cancer, reports the Associated Press. Speculation that the musician was ill began circulating last spring, when Houser missed several appearances with the Athens, Ga.-based jam band, which he cofounded in 1985... SET: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has moved the date of the 2004 Academy Awards up a month to Feb. 29, reports Variety. The Academy board voted to shift the date as a "two-year experiment," and hopes the change will help the broadcast capitalize on the February-sweeps period. The 2003 Oscars are set for March 23...DIED: Hal Simms, one of the most frequently heard announcers on CBS television, died on July 2, reports The New York Times. He was 83. Simms was a familiar voice on the network from the early 1950s until his retirement in 1992 on such shows as "Beat the Clock," "The Guiding Light" and "The Frank Sinatra Show."
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