Holyfield Scores a Sweet Win Over Candy Company


An earful of chocolate. . . . Shaq, the son of Drac and a Stooge or Three litigate the Internet. . . . Three dozen alleged party crashers in blue. . . . Suing for a princely sum. . . . The case of the purloined Pamela Lee tape.

GETTING AN EARFUL: A North Hollywood candy company has agreed to stop making chomped-on chocolate ears commemorating the bite Mike Tyson took out of Evander Holyfield after learning that Holyfield was not amused and was threatening a lawsuit.

Evan Appel, one of Holyfield’s Atlanta lawyers, wrote Candy Factory proprietor Frank Sheftel, warning that the ears, called “Earvander-Tyson Bites,” might violate the World Heavyweight champ’s trademark on his likeness.


Sheftel’s lawyer, Gary Brown, recently responded that his client would stop making the chocolate ears “as a show of respect for Mr. Holyfield.” Sheftel, the letter added, “regrets that Mr. Holyfield was offended and honestly believed he had been presented with a sample of the item and had shown a sense of humor about it.”

The candy company, which has been in business for 20 years, continues to make other novelty candy items, including chocolate false teeth called “Munchy Marvs” after the orally fixated antics of Marv Albert.

WWW.SUED.COM: The heirs of the eye-poking, oddly coiffed comedy trio the Three Stooges are back in court--this time trying to make sure you don’t click on any unlicensed Stooges material on the Internet.

Comedy III Productions, a Glendale company formed in 1959 by Stooges Larry Fine, Moe Howard and Curly Joe DeRita, holds the trademark for the Stooges, and now controls use of their names, likenesses and comedy schticks on behalf of the heirs.

Filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, the suit seeks a preliminary injunction blocking Bruce A. LaLiberte from using the word “soitenly,” a widely imitated Curly-ism, on his World Wide Web site, The site also allegedly contains unauthorized photos, videos and other merchandise.

LaLiberte, who lives in Maryland, could not be reached for comment.

In the suit, attorney Bela G. Lugosi alleges that LaLiberte’s Web site could easily become confused with Comedy III’s official site,

“There are a lot of people on the Internet who are not sophisticated in intellectual property law,” said Lugosi, the son of the actor known for playing Dracula.

Lugosi long has been at the forefront of laws protecting the value of a celebrity’s name and likeness. He was a third-year law student when he sued Universal Studios over rights to his father’s Dracula image back in the 1960s, launching a legal odyssey that lasted nearly two decades.

He lost his case in 1979, but found better success before the state Legislature, which in 1984 enacted the Celebrity Rights Act recognizing celebrity as an inheritable property right.

Comedy III and basketball star Shaquille O’Neal, popularly known as Shaq, also have a case pending against the owners of a shop in the Glendale Galleria that peddles, without permission, T-shirts and other merchandise bearing the Laker’s and the Stooges’ likenesses. That case is set for trial in December, Lugosi said.

Where else but in a Los Angeles court case could you find Shaq, Drac, Larry, Curly and Moe?

IT’S MY PARTY: An invasion-of-privacy suit involving a July 12 police raid at a party thrown by the widow of baseball star Curt Flood has grown to include civil rights allegations against the city of Los Angeles and the LAPD and claims for $11 million in damages.

Last month, we wrote about Judy Pace-Flood’s Los Angeles Superior Court suit against Telemax Entertainment in which she claimed to have been victimized by the small screen equivalent of “stalkerazzi” during the raid, filmed for the Spanish language police reality show “Placas.”

The revised suit alleged that the raid was staged for the camera crew and was racially motivated.

The city and Police Department were added as defendants after they did not respond within the 45-day limit to a claim Pace-Flood filed with the city, said her attorney, Henry Gradstein.

The complaint contends that about three dozen police officers burst into the Baldwin Hills house without probable cause. They formed two riot lines--one in the family room, one by the pool--where they stood with batons raised, the suit asserted.

The officer who seemed to be in charge of the raid told Pace-Flood that the camera crew consisted of “ ‘police’ who were there to make sure that procedures were followed,” the suit said. “Indeed, the Telemax crew had arrived in a police car and wore caps that said ‘Police.’ ”

The suit, Gradstein said, “will test the propriety of what we believe to be an unholy alliance between the police and reality-based entertainment shows.”

The LAPD is not commenting on the case because the raid is under investigation by the Internal Affairs Division.

SOME DAY HER PRINCE WILL COME: A Beverly Hills publicist claims in a lawsuit that she is owed $1.7 million for polishing the image of a Saudi prince, who she alleges never made good on his charity pledges or promise to pay her.

In her suit, filed in U.S. District Court, publicist Kate Edelman called Prince Nawaf Bin Abdulaziz “a deadbeat Saudi Arabian jet-setter.”

Edelman’s suit stated that the prince hired her in 1995, saying he wanted to be prominent in “political, entertainment and charitable circles” in Los Angeles. But, Edelman claimed in her suit, the prince was nowhere to be found after she arranged for him to contribute to underwriting an American Film Institute tribute to Clint Eastwood and the 1996 Golden Globe Awards dinner.

Edelman also contends that the prince stiffed her for donations she fronted him for the Motion Picture and Television Fund 75th anniversary gala, AFI’s Life Achievement Award 25th anniversary gala and the John Wayne Cancer Institute’s 1996 golf tournament.

“Nawaf has hidden himself behind a nearly impenetrable fortress of ‘handlers’ and other ‘assistants,’ ” the suit alleged. He could not be reached for comment.

THE CASE OF THE PURLOINED VIDEO: Ever since late 1995, when someone snatched a safe containing a rather explicit honeymoon video from the garage of Tommy and Pamela Lee’s Malibu home, the celeb couple and their lawyers have been trying to keep the embarrassing tape out of circulation.

The most recent development involves a preliminary injunction the couple obtained blocking an adult film distributor from selling copies of the allegedly stolen sex tape on the Internet.

Superior Court Judge Robert H. O’Brien granted the injunction barring Milton Ingley and his companies from selling or distributing the video.

Attorney Michel Eidel said the couple never intended for anyone to see the tape.

Ingley could not be reached. He is believed to be out of the country.

The suit did not make clear how Ingley might have come to possess the tape, other than to say it was stolen and that a police report had been filed.

Eidel said the Lees have hired an Internet spy to track down other copies of the tape that may have been sold.

Staff writer John Glionna contributed to this column.