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Wa Wa Nee lead singer Paul Gray dies of cancer at age 54

Paul Gray, lead singer of the 1980s Australian pop band Wa Wa Nee, has died of cancer, his brother said on Wednesday. He was 54 years old.

He musician died on Tuesday of multiple myeloma, his brother and fellow band member Mark Gray said in a statement.

"It is with deep sorrow and a heavy heart that we announce that Paul Gray passed away peacefully," Mark Gray said.

"We would like to thank all the doctors, hospital staff, relatives, friends and fans for the overwhelming support given to Paul and our family while he heroically battled multiple myeloma," he added.

Wa Wa Nee formed in the early 1980s and had an Australian hit with their single, "Stimulation," in 1986.

The band later charted in the United States with the song "Sugar Free."

The band's broke up in 1989, but re-formed in recent years to perform at 1980s revival concerts and to support British group The Human League on their Australian tour last year.

'A Star is Born' steals show in starry Warner Bros. slate

Warner Bros. Pictures brought out the big names for its CinemaCon presentation Tuesday, from stars like Sandra Bullock to movies like "Wonder Woman 2," but it was Bradley Cooper's "A Star is Born" that stole the show.

Cooper showed the emotional first trailer for the film to conference attendees in Las Vegas to some hearty, and rare, applause from the crowd of theater owners and exhibitors.

It's the directorial debut for Cooper, who also stars in the film alongside Lady Gaga, who plays the aspiring singer. This marks the third remake of "A Star is Born," which has classic versions with Judy Garland and Barbra Streisand in the role of the ingénue Lady Gaga is playing.

"It's a big swing this movie, I totally get that," Cooper said. "But you can't control what moves you. And I always wanted to tell a love story."

He added that Lady Gaga is "kind of a revelation in this movie."

The film is three years in the making, and features live-singing on real stages at festivals like Glastonbury and Coachella. It hits theaters on Oct. 5.

Warner Bros. teased a massive slate of films Tuesday, stressing the diversity of their lineup, of "event films, DC tent-poles, animation, first class dramas, elevated horrors and comedies."

"We love making all times of movies for all types of audiences," said Warner Bros. Pictures Group chair Toby Emmerich.

Actor Will Arnett moderated the lively presentation, riffing with "Aquaman" star Jason Momoa about whether or not the famously ripped star will "ever do a movie with his shirt on" and other stars like the women of "Ocean's 8" and the cast of "Crazy Rich Asians."

The studio showed new, and unfinished footage from James Wan's "Aquaman" and also teased new details about a few anticipated sequels in video segments featuring "Wonder Woman" director Patty Jenkins, who says the sequel will be set in the 1980s and shows Wonder Woman struggling with the "temptations of our world," and "It" director Andy Muschietti, who says "Chapter 2" will be scarier and "more intense."

"So bring your adult diapers to the theater," Muschietti said.

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Follow AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ldbahr

Madonna loses battle to prevent auction of Tupac letter

Pop star Madonna has lost her battle to prevent an auction of her personal items, including a love letter from her ex-boyfriend, the late rapper Tupac Shakur, a pair of worn panties and a hairbrush containing her hair.

Last year, a judge ordered Gotta Have It! Collectibles to pull the items from its impending rock 'n' roll-themed auction after the Material Girl sought an emergency court order.

In a decision revealed Monday, the judge dismissed the case on grounds the statute of limitations to recover the items had passed.

The auction house told The New York Times it had done due diligence on the items and was confident Madonna had no claim.

The company says the auction will be in July.

Starting bid for the Tupac letter is $100,000.

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Information from: The New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com

The Latest: Trump, Macron toast to US-France friendship

The Latest on the first state dinner of the Trump administration (all times local):

9:25 p.m.

President Donald Trump and President Emmanuel Macron of France have toasted to continued warm relations between their countries.

Macron was honored Tuesday at the first state dinner of the Trump administration.

In his toast, Trump asked that their "friendship grow even deeper" and that their "kinship grow even stronger."

Relations between the U.S. and France date to the American Revolution, nearly 250 years ago.

Macron, who spoke in French, thanked Trump for making him the first world leader honored with a state visit.

Macron also toasted to what he characterized as the "unbreakable friendship" between France and the United States.

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9 p.m.

President Donald Trump has thanked his wife, Melania, for pulling together the first state dinner of his administration.

In a toast before Tuesday's dinner honoring France, Trump described his wife as "America's absolutely incredible first lady."

He thanked her for her efforts on the dinner and said she had created an evening that everyone will always "cherish and remember."

The dinner for 123 guests and a main course of lamb marked Mrs. Trump's highest-profile hostess gig to date as first lady.

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8:35 p.m.

The first state dinner of President Donald Trump's administration had 123 guests in attendance.

That's according to the official roster of names released by the White House after the last few guests arrived Tuesday night. The guest list included a number of Cabinet officials, Trump administration staffers, elected officials and some business leaders. Two Olympic gold medalists also made the list.

The tally does not include Trump, first lady Melania Trump, French President Emmanuel Macron or his wife, Brigitte.

The size of the crowd that accepted invitations to Trump's first state dinner makes it one of the more intimate events of its kind in some time.

Former President Barack Obama had more than 330 guests at his first state dinner, which honored India.

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7:50 p.m.

Melania Trump has chosen Chanel for the White House state dinner honoring the French president.

The first lady wore a full-length silver gown Tuesday night as she emerged from the White House to greet the French president and his wife. The White House said it was a black Chantilly lace Chanel haute couture gown, hand-painted with silver and embroidered with crystal and sequins.

French first lady Brigitte Macron wore a cream full-length gown by Louis Vuitton with long sleeves and gold details.

President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron both wore black tuxedos.

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7:25 p.m.

President Donald Trump has welcomed French President Emmanuel Macron to the administration's first state dinner.

Macron and his wife, Brigitte, arrived at the White House as a light rain fell Tuesday evening.

Trump and his wife, Melania, exchanged hugs and air kisses with the Macrons before going inside the White House for the festivities. About 130 guests have been invited.

Macron opened a three-day state visit to the U.S. on Monday.

The French leader is scheduled to deliver an address to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday.

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6:40 p.m.

Guests are arriving for the White House state dinner honoring the French president.

It's the first state dinner of President Donald Trump's administration.

Among those who have already arrived are Vice President Mike Pence, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, Apple CEO Tim Cook and two Winter Olympians who flashed medals on their way into the pre-dinner reception Tuesday.

The 94-year-old Kissinger caused a little scare when he stumbled while walking past the media.

Several Cabinet secretaries have also arrived, including Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and CIA Director Mike Pompeo, who is awaiting Senate confirmation to become Trump's new secretary of state.

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6:30 p.m.

The White House has some extra help in the kitchen for the state dinner honoring the president of France.

Former National Security Council spokesman Michael Anton is lending his skills to the occasion Tuesday night.

Anton is known for being particularly talented in the kitchen. In fact, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders cited his "amazing chef" skills in a statement earlier this month on his departure. The White House is serving rack of lamb for the main course.

Anton resigned from the White House just before new national security adviser John Bolton came on board.

He is now a writer and lecturer at Hillsdale College.

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5:30 p.m.

Melania Trump is embracing her moment in the spotlight for the French president's state visit.

She traded in her usual dark sunglasses for a white wide-brimmed hat that quickly became a trending topic on social media. She has thrown herself into planning the state dinner for President Emmanuel Macron and his wife, Brigitte. All eyes will be on the former model again Tuesday when she steps out in a designer gown to greet the Macrons as they arrive for dinner.

Seeing the gown is typically the highlight of a state dinner. But for once, it may pale in comparison to the hat.

The hat bobbed up and down across the bottom of TV screens as the first lady took her seat for the president's news conference with Macron.

Prince’s family sues Illinois hospital, Walgreens in singer’s overdose death

Members of Prince’s family have filed a lawsuit against an Illinois hospital and the Walgreens pharmacy chain, contending both could have done more to prevent the legendary entertainer’s opioid overdose death in April 2016, according to news reports.

>> Read more trending news 

The suit follows a decision made last week by the Carver County Attorney Mark Metz against filing charges in the superstar singer’s death. Following a two-year investigation, Metz, of Carver County, Minnesota, announced Thursday that “Prince died from taking a counterfeit Vicodin pill that contained fentanyl, a dangerously powerful opioid,” but that investigators could not determine who sold the “Purple Rain” singer the pill. Authorities fined the doctor who prescribed Prince painkillers in a friend’s name.

A week before Prince died, he was treated at Trinity Medical Center in Rock Island, Illinois for an overdose. His plane made an emergency landing in Moline after he had played a show in Atlanta, and he was briefly hospitalized after overdosing on the plane.

>> Related: Music legend Prince dead at 57

The suit by the six heirs to Prince’s fortune accuses the doctor who examined the entertainer of misidentifying the pain pill the singer took before his overdose as a Vicodin, when it was instead a counterfeit laced with fentanyl, the Minneapolis Tribune reported. The suit also accuses the hospital of failing to appropriately identify and treat the overdose.

In addition, the suit names Walgreens because it gave prescriptions meant for Prince to his longtime friend and manager Kirk Johnson. 

“We will have much to say when the time is right,” the attorney who filed the suit on behalf of the family, John Goetz, told the Star Tribune

“We have client interests to protect at the moment, including our theory of the case. What happened to Prince is happening to families across America. Prince’s family wishes, through its investigation, to shed additional light on what happened to Prince,” Goetz said.

>> Related: Prince’s doctor fined for drug violations in singer’s death

Prince was 57 when he died on April 21, 2016, at his Paisley Park home of an accidental overdose, six days after the overdose on the plane. 

 

Miranda, "Game of Thrones" #MeToo figure take Webby Awards

Lin-Manuel Miranda, "Game of Thrones" and a key figure in the #MeToo movement are among the winners of this year's Webby Awards.

Miranda won the Webby for public service and social activism for his work raising money for charities assisting Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

Susan Fowler, the former Uber employee whose harassment revelations helped lead to the ouster of the company's CEO and bolstered the #MeToo movement, was named Webbys person of the year.

The awards, which honor internet excellence, were announced Tuesday and will be presented May 14 at a New York ceremony hosted by comedian Amber Ruffin.

Winners from music include Jay-Z, Katy Perry and Lada Gaga.

"Game of Thrones" won for best overall online presence, and the video game phenomenon Fortnite won for best multiplayer competitive game.

The Latest: Rapper Meek Mill rings bell at basketball game

The Latest on rapper Meek Mill's release from jail on bail (all times local):

8:05 p.m.

Newly freed rapper Meek Mill has rung the ceremonial bell before the start of Game 5 of the Philadelphia 76ers-Miami Heat playoff series in Philadelphia.

Sixers co-owner Michael Rubin posted a picture of himself with Mill on Instagram Tuesday night with the caption "On the way to the sixers game let's go."

Mill was freed from a prison outside Philadelphia shortly before 7 p.m.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court had directed a Philadelphia judge who had jailed him to immediately issue an order freeing him on bail while he appeals decade-old drug and gun violations.

Mill was sentenced in November to 2 to 4 years in prison for violating probation.

While he was incarcerated, celebrities including Rubin and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, visited him and offered their support.

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6:55 p.m.

Rapper Meek Mill is out of jail after being held behind bars for five months for probation violations.

Mill took off in a helicopter shortly before 7 p.m. Tuesday from the prison outside of Philadelphia.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Tuesday directed a Philadelphia judge who had jailed him to immediately issue an order freeing him on bail while he appeals decade-old drug and gun violations.

Mill was sentenced in November to 2 to 4 years in prison for violating probation.

A team of lawyers and public relations consultants had waged an all-out battle to get him freed on bail.

Philadelphia's district attorney believes Mill should get a new trial because of questions raised about the credibility of his arresting officer.

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4:30 p.m.

Pennsylvania's highest court has ordered a judge to free rapper Meek Mill on bail while he appeals decade-old gun and drug convictions.

The Supreme Court directed a Philadelphia judge who had jailed him to immediately issue an order releasing him on unsecured bail.

Mill was sentenced in November to 2 to 4 years in prison for violating probation.

Mill issued a statement saying his five months in jail have been "a nightmare" and thanking all his supporters.

A team of lawyers and public relations consultants had waged an all-out battle to get him freed on bail.

Prosecutors say they believe Mill should get a new trial because of questions raised about the credibility of his arresting officer.

Arizona woman gets prison along with ex 'Property Wars' star

An Arizona woman has been sentenced to 20 months in federal prison in connection with a bank fraud scheme that involved a former star on the "Property Wars" reality TV show.

Prosecutors say 44-year-old Veronica Castro also was ordered Monday to pay more than $1 million in restitution.

Castro previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud along with co-defendant Scott Menaged, the former TV program star.

Menaged in December was sentenced to 17 years in prison and ordered to pay more than $33 million in restitution to banks and more than 200 investors.

Menaged owned and operated furniture stores in the Phoenix metro area. Castro was a longtime employee.

Prosecutors say Castro helped Menaged create fake credit applications and receipts to submit to banks and conceal the fraud.

’Schoolhouse Rock’ composer, jazz musician Bob Dorough dead at 94

Gen Xers and millennials may not recognize the name, but they’ll certainly recognize the music and lyrics Bob Dorough wrote for “Schoolhouse Rock.”

>> Read more trending news 

Children who grew up in the 1970s and 80s watching Saturday-morning television invariaby saw and can probably recite Dorough’s “Conjunction Junction,” one of the best-known Grammar Rock cartoons, or maybe “Lolly Lolly Lolly Get Your Abverbs Here.” 

Dorough died Monday from natural causes at his home in Mount Bethel, Pennsylvania, according to The Associated Press. He was 94 years old.

Dorough was the artist behind the “Multiplication Rock” math series, creating all the lyrics and music for the series, which was part of ABC’s educational “Schoolhouse Rock” series, according to USA Today

>> Related: Longtime NPR broadcaster Carl Kasell has died from Alzheimer’s disease at 84

He also wrote the song, “Devil May Care,” which jazz legend Miles Davis recorded, according to Dorough’s biography.

Dorough was born in Arkansas and raised in Texas, where he “immediately fell in love with music upon joining the Planview Texas High School Band,” his biography said.

He gained musical experience after serving in the Special Services Army Band Unit from 1943-1945, playing multiple instruments, including the saxophone, clarinet and piano.

>> Related: Actor comedian Harry Anderson of 'Night Court' fame dead at 65

Dorough, a 1949 graduate of the University of North Texas, studied composition and piano and went on to perform in jazz clubs in Los Angeles and Paris, but it was a commission in 1971 to “set the multiplication tables to music” that led to his most well-known gig. Dorough became the musical director for “Schoolhouse Rock,” and entertained and instructed unsuspecting children from 1973 until 1985.

In 1995, Dorough signed on with jazz label Blue Note Records and recorded three albums for the label.

Dorough’s funeral is scheduled for Monday in Mount Bethel, Pennsylvania. 

First lady steps into spotlight for state visit with France

There were no celebrity guests, Hollywood entertainers or superstar chefs. But as she stepped out of the background to host her first state dinner, Melania Trump sought to sparkle in her moment in the spotlight.

After ditching her trademark dark sunglasses for a white skirt suit and hat earlier Tuesday, the first lady appeared in a Chanel gown to greet President Emmanuel Macron of France and his wife, Brigitte, as they arrived for the first state dinner of Trump's administration.

It was a big moment in fashion — and public life — for the former model, who has kept a relatively low profile since Trump took office, and one that played out as her husband is shadowed by a legal threat from a porn actress who says she was paid to keep quiet about a sexual encounter with Trump, which he denies.

With the opulent affair, Mrs. Trump seemed to be aiming to make a statement, stressing her personal involvement in picking the menu and gold-trimmed table settings. In a nod to France, she wore a black Chantilly lace Chanel haute couture gown, hand-painted with silver and embroidered with crystal and sequins, according to her spokeswoman. Her French counterpart wore Louis Vuitton.

The president lavished praise on his wife in his toast, calling her "America's absolutely incredible first lady." He went on to hail the bonds between the United States and France, saying: "May our friendship grow even deeper, may our kinship grow even stronger and may our sacred liberty never die."

With 123 attendees, the event was smaller and more intimate than President Barack Obama's dinners. Among those attending were Vice President Mike Pence, Chief Justice John Roberts, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and two Winter Olympians, who flashed their gold medals on their way into the pre-dinner reception.

Guests at Trump's table included Apple CEO Tim Cook and CIA Director Mike Pompeo, the president's nominee for secretary of state, as well as Macron and his wife.

In his toast, Macron talked about the countries' "unbreakable friendship" and referenced both his and Trump's rapid political ascents, saying: "On both sides of the ocean some two years ago, very few would have bet on us being here together today."

While Ivanka Trump, a senior White House adviser and the president's elder daughter, and Louise Linton, the wife of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, wowed in designer gowns, there were no surprise celebrity guests, in contrast with past years.

Asked what she was looking forward to, Linton said: "Everything French!"

The White House stressed that Mrs. Trump, who planned her 2005 wedding, had a hand in every aspect of the social denouement of Macron's visit. She released a brief video showing her working on the details with her staff, including the menu and the table settings.

The guests, seated at round candle-lit tables decorated with bouquets of white flowers, dined on rack of lamb and nectarine tart served on a mix of china settings from the presidencies of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. After-dinner entertainment was courtesy of the Washington National Opera.

Trump's Cabinet was well-represented at the dinner. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen were there, along with Mnuchin and Trump's new national security adviser, John Bolton, and new top economic adviser Larry Kudlow. Others were absent, including Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, who has been under scrutiny over ethical questions.

And while it was an evening of celebration, Trump aides couldn't fully escape questions about the tumult within the administration, with many dodging questions about his pick to head the Department of Veterans Affairs, who is facing questions about improper workplace behavior.

Earlier Tuesday, Mrs. Trump wore a stylish belted suit with a broad-brimmed chapeau for her public appearances, including on a brief outing to the National Gallery of Art with Mrs. Macron to view an exhibit of works by French painter Paul Cezanne.

The hat stayed put as she returned to the White House and took her front-row seat in the East Room for the president's joint news conference with Macron. It bobbed up and down across the bottom of television screens as she entered the room and again as she rose to leave, spawning many a Twitter meme.

The hat was designed by Herve Pierre and the skirt suit was by Michael Kors.

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Follow Darlene Superville at http://www.twitter.com/dsuperville and Catherine Lucey at http://www.twitter.com/catherine_lucey

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