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Diamond donating 'Caroline' sales after Boston bombings

by The Associated Press on April 25, 2013 10:50 AM

NEW YORK — Neil Diamond is donating this week’s sales from “Sweet Caroline” after the tune became a source of comfort following the explosions at the Boston Marathon.

Sales from Diamond’s song are up by 597 percent, Nielsen SoundScan said Wednesday. Diamond’s representative said the singer will donate the recent sales to marathon bombing victims.

“Sweet Caroline” sold 19,000 tracks this week. It sold 2,800 tracks the previous week and 1.75 million tracks to date.

The crowd-pleasing song is a staple of Boston Red Sox games. It makes no specific mention of Boston or the Red Sox, but the team started playing it regularly at Fenway Park more than a decade ago and fans took to it.

The New York Yankees, Toronto Raptors and other professional sports teams also have played the song at games in the days after the deadly blasts April 15.

Diamond released “Sweet Caroline” in 1969. The song was inspired by Caroline Kennedy’s name.

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Academy Award-winning actor and director Ben Affleck is among six artists, writers, scientists and educators selected to receive honorary degrees from Brown University at next month’s graduation ceremonies.

The Ivy League school in Rhode Island says Affleck will receive a doctor of fine arts during commencement exercises May 26. The Massachusetts native directed, produced and starred in “Argo,” which won this year’s Oscar for Best Picture.

Others getting honorary doctorates are author and MIT Professor Junot Diaz; retired Stanford University bacteriologist Stanley Falkow; Tougaloo College President Beverly Wade Hogan; medical doctor and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation President Risa Lavizzo-Mourey; and Miami Dade College President Eduardo Padron.

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LOS ANGELES — Gwyneth Paltrow says she’s thrilled to be picked by People magazine as “World’s Most Beautiful Woman” for 2013 but it’s “obviously not true.”

Paltrow questioned her own selection as she walked the red carpet at the Hollywood premiere of “Iron Man 3” Wednesday night.

“It’s funny, these things, because it’s like obviously not true. But it’s very sweet to be named that,” Paltrow told The Associated Press. “Because I mean you can’t say that, you know! But it’s been wonderful. It’s been very wonderful. And as my friend said, it’s so nice that someone who has kids and is a mom and is not like 21 is named that. It’s really an honor.”

Paltrow, 40, said her two children weren’t aware of the news in this week’s edition of the magazine, but she’d been getting plenty of congratulatory emails from friends and family.

The actress stars as Pepper Potts, Tony Stark’s love interest and assistant-turned-business partner in the “Iron Man” trilogy. Her co-stars in “Iron Man 3” praised People’s proclamation.

“Completely justified. Completely justified. She’s gorgeous,” said Guy Pearce.

“Let me tell you: She is as gracious and beautiful inside as she is outside. She’s got a good heart. She’s got a good heart. A lovely girl,” said Ben Kingsley.

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NEW YORK — NBC says it’s planning a 12-day-long, around-the-clock competition show to air this fall.

The network said Wednesday that the trivia-based game show, “The Million Second Quiz,” will air live in prime time from a specially built studio in the heart of Manhattan. This hourglass-shaped complex will also serve as the living quarters of the four finalists.

When the 12 days — or 1 million seconds — draw to a close, the winner could claim a cash prize of as much as $10 million.

Viewers will be able to play along in real time and sync to the prime-time broadcast.

NBC’s president of alternative and late night programming calls the show “a game, a social experiment and a live interactive event.”

The network didn’t announce a premiere date.

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LOS ANGELES — Jane Fonda is planning to shed a few tears on Saturday.

That’s when the Oscar winner will place her hand and footprints next to her father’s in the concrete shrine to celebrity outside Hollywood’s Chinese Theatre. Then she’ll present a special screening of the film she made with her dad, 1981’s “On Golden Pond.” The cement and cinematic tribute is part of the 2013 TCM Classic Film Festival, which is honoring Fonda, 75.

“I am very, very excited,” Fonda said in an interview this week. “I thought probably I would die and this would never happen. I’m just really thrilled that it actually is happening and not only that, but I get to put my hand and footprints right next to my father. ... I’m just so happy I’ll probably cry.”

The honor inspired Fonda to reflect on her career, which hasn’t slowed since she returned to acting in 2005 after a 15-year hiatus.

“I’ve made some really good films. There’s also a lot of films I wish I could do over again,” she said. “But I’ve been lucky: I’ve worked with some great directors, and I feel like I’m still a work in progress as an actor. I feel like I’m still learning.”

After her guest-starring stint on “The Newsroom,” she’s more interested than ever in television.

“I’d love to have a television series of my own,” Fonda said. “I’m hoping that might happen.”

A fitness pioneer, Fonda continues to focus on health and wellness with a series of videos aimed at older exercisers. She also inspired countless Oscar watchers earlier this year with her fitted, bright yellow gown, and she serves as L’Oreal’s oldest spokeswoman.

“When you’re younger, you don’t have to put so much time into it, but also I didn’t care that much. I was an activist and I didn’t think so much about how I appeared,” she said. “As I’ve gotten older, I’ve paid more attention to how I dress, how I look, what makeup I use, what skincare products I use ... I guess one reason that I put more effort into looking good now is because I think it gives hope to other women. It takes the edge off the fear that young people have of getting older.”

The wisdom and openness that come with aging are easy to wear well, and Fonda said she’s happier now than ever.

“This event that’s coming up where I get to put my hand and shoeprints next to my dad in front of the Chinese Theatre, it’s coming at a very happy time in my life,” Fonda said, “and making it even happier.”

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