Arts and entertainment reports from The Times, national and international news services and the nation's press.


Isn't It Divine?: Fresh off her success in the hit film "The First Wives Club," Bette Midler will launch a multi-city West Coast concert tour at the Orange County Performing Arts Center on Dec. 3 and 4. Tickets, which will carry a top price of $75--lower than her last local shows in 1994--go on sale Sunday. Dates for Midler performances in Los Angeles and other cities are not set yet.


Remembering Morey: Cable's Nick at Nite and Nick at Nite's TV Land will salute actor Morey Amsterdam, who died Monday, by airing several classic episodes of "The Dick Van Dyke Show" and other shows in which Amsterdam guest starred (including "Love, American Style" and "The Phil Silvers Show"). The tribute begins Saturday on TV Land, with Amsterdam programming from 7-9 a.m. (with repeats from 3-5 p.m.), followed on Monday by a "Dick Van Dyke Show" block from 6 to 8 p.m. on Nick at Nite. Both networks began frequent airings Tuesday of 30-second spots with memorable moments from Amsterdam's "Van Dyke Show" character, Buddy Sorrell.

Jenny Jones Testifies: Taking the stand in the murder trial of a former guest, talk-show host Jenny Jones on Thursday denied misleading the public about the topic of a show on homosexual crushes when she expressed condolences on-air to the family of a slain guest. Jones was called to testify by lawyers for Jonathan Schmitz, a heterosexual accused of killing Scott Amedure three days after the two taped a "Jenny Jones Show" segment in which Amedure revealed he had a crush on Schmitz. Defense lawyers contend that the show misled Schmitz into thinking his secret admirer was a woman. The show never aired, but Jones later read a statement on the air, saying she wanted to set the record straight "about a show involving secret admirers." In court, Jones said that there was no deception in not mentioning the admirers were homosexual since the show's premise was "that it was a surprise."


Don Simpson Items Offered: Items from the estate of the late film producer Don Simpson will be up for grabs at Sotheby's in New York during the auction house's upcoming sales of contemporary prints (Nov. 9), contemporary art (Nov. 20) and 20th century decorative arts (Dec. 7). Simpson, who produced several hits including "Top Gun" and "Beverly Hills Cop" with partner Jerry Bruckheimer before his death last January, was an avid collector of contemporary prints and photographs, as well as early 1900 arts and crafts pottery.

Battling Scientists: Two New York brothers have sued actor Eddie Murphy and Universal Studios, claiming that their screenplay "Brand New Me" was stolen and incorporated into last summer's hit movie "The Nutty Professor." Steven and William Patrick claim that in 1991 they submitted to Universal their story about an overweight female geneticist who discovers a formula that enables her to instantly lose weight, only to regain it at inopportune times. The federal court suit seeks $15 million in damages and any profits from the film, about a science professor who discovers a formula for instant but temporary weight loss. A Universal attorney declined comment, saying the company had not yet seen the suit. In 1992, columnist Art Buchwald and producer Alain Bernheim won a $900,000 judgment against Paramount Pictures in a lawsuit claiming they weren't paid for their screenplay work on another Murphy film, "Coming to America."


Stallone's Baby Ailing: Actor Sylvester Stallone's says his 2-month-old daughter with model Jennifer Flavin has been diagnosed as having a hole in her heart and may need surgery. The baby, Sophia Rose, was born Aug. 27. "We're trying the best we can to be optimistic about it. From what we can see, I think it'll work out," Stallone said from Miami, where he and Flavin reside.

Vital Statistics: A real-life love story played out for Jennifer Lopez at the "wrap party" for her movie "Selena." The actress was dancing with her boyfriend, Ojani Noa, Monday night at the San Antonio Hard Rock Cafe when Noa suddenly grabbed a microphone, dropped to his knees and proposed to her in the middle of the dance floor. Without missing a beat--and despite yells from onlookers urging her to "think about it"--a tearful Lopez enthusiastically accepted. . . . R&B; singer Faith Evans and rapper the Notorious B.I.G. are the parents of baby boy Christopher Wallace, born Tuesday, Arista Records announced.


Bluesman John Lee Hooker will be inducted into the 1996 Blues Hall of Fame and receive the Blues Foundation's second annual Lifetime Achievement Award on Nov. 7 at B.B. King's Blues Club in Universal City. The award's first recipient was producer Jerry Wexler. . . . CBS' new Steven Bochco vice-squad comedy "Public Morals" didn't make many arrests in its premiere Wednesday, attracting just 8% of the available audience, compared to 22% for ABC's "The Drew Carey Show"--a record for that program. . . . ABC has ordered five more episodes of its new Tuesday night comedy "Life's Work," bringing the total to 18. . . . Bob Hope will be at Vroman's Bookstore in Pasadena today from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. to sign copies of his book, "Dear Prez, I Wanna Tell Ya! A Presidential Jokebook." . . . Chastity Bono, who as a child often graced TV screens at the close of her parents' "Sonny & Cher Show," has been appointed entertainment media director for the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, a role in which she will monitor the portrayal of gays and lesbians on television and film.

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