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

PEOPLE

Dark Hours: Christopher Reeve says his mother gave up hope in the first hours after his paralyzing fall from a horse and urged doctors to pull the plug. “They told her to calm down, to wait and see what would happen,” he says in his new memoir, “Still Me,” which tells how he battled back from the 1995 riding accident that paralyzed him from the shoulders down. But Reeve said he shared similar thoughts with his wife, Dana. “I mouthed my first lucid words to her: ‘Maybe we should let me go,’ ” he recalled. But Dana, crying, persuaded him to fight back, saying, “I want you to know that I will be with you for the long haul, no matter what. You’re still you, and I love you.” The “Superman” actor also credited his doctors for persuading his mother not to remove him from life support.

MOVIES

Spielberg to Direct ‘Geisha’: Steven Spielberg will direct “Memoirs of a Geisha,” a fictional story of a Japanese girl who is sold into slavery and educated as a geisha. Based on a best-selling novel by Arthur Golden, the movie is expected to begin production in October. Columbia Pictures and Spielberg’s own studio, DreamWorks SKG, will co-finance the production. Doug Wick, who will co-produce the film with Spielberg, said the book presents an “epic Cinderella story” that follows a geisha’s life over 60 years. “Steven read it over four days and said, ‘I’m doing it,’ ” Wick said.

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ARTS

More NEA Grants: There’s a little money left in the coffers of the beleaguered National Endowment for the Arts, and some of it is headed for Los Angeles, the agency announced Wednesday. The latest round of 1998 grants include the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, $125,000; Los Angeles Philharmonic Assn., $110,000; Cornerstone Theater Company of Santa Monica, $67,000; Center Theatre Group/Mark Taper Forum, $50,000; Museum of Contemporary Art, $50,000; Jazz Tap Ensemble, $25,000; Southern California Asian American Studies Central, $25,000; Self-Help Graphics & Art, $21,000; Armenian Film Foundation, $20,000; Japan American National Museum, $20,000; and the Simon Wiesenthal Center, $20,000.

QUICK TAKE

Among People magazine’s 50 most beautiful people in the world are Tom Selleck, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Anne Heche, Olivia Newton-John, Halle Berry, Helen Hunt, Calista Flockhart, Cameron Diaz, Erykah Badu, Britain’s 15-year-old Prince William--and on the cover “Titanic’s” Leonardo DiCaprio.


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