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SLEEPS WITH THE FISHES: Author/screenwriter Mario Puzo, who penned the pulp novel that inspired the Oscar-winning Godfather series, died today of heart failure. He was 78.

CASE CLOSED! Garry Shandling reaching an out-of-court settlement with his ex-manager and bringing an end to his $100 million lawsuit battle.

SICK BAY: Portly Blues Traveler singer John Popper hospitalized in New York for chest pains, forcing the band to cancel its annual Fourth of July show in Colorado.

SPICE WEDDING! The U.K. press zeroing in on Dublin as the likely site for Posh Spice's planned Sunday nuptials.

LOVE UPDATE: Andie MacDowell and her hubby of 13 years now living apart, the actress' rep confirms to the New York Daily News. No formal separation or divorce papers filed.

SEPARATED AT BIRTH: Blonde bombshell Loni Anderson to play the TV mom of blonde bombshell Pamela Anderson Lee on new episodes of V.I.P. For more casting news, see Dotted Line.

UNHOOKED: Jim Carrey officially dropping out of that planned remake of fish tale The Incredible Mr. Limpet, Variety says. Robin Williams and Mike Myers likely to be pursued.

TOURIST ATTRACTION: George Jones' wrecked sports-utility vehicle (the one he drove into a bridge) now sitting along a Tennessee highway, to remind motorists not to drink and drive.

CURIOUSITY BUY: The Encino, California, house where Phil Hartman's wife killed the comic and then herself sold for $1.2 million, the Los Angeles Times says.

GUILTY: In California, a 17-year-old and his cousin convicted of murdering the boy's mother in a slaying they said was inspired by the Scream flicks.

CAN'T TOUCH THAT? In California, a court-appointed trustee charging that in-the-red rapper MC Hammer hasn't fully disclosed assets in his ongoing bankruptcy case.

FIGHTING BACK: A ex-CNN producer filing a $106 million lawsuit against the net, claiming she was wrongly canned over a since-retracted Vietnam War/nerve gas story.

REAL BEAUT: In Tennessee, the opera singer who did the singing voice for the title character in Disney's Sleeping Beauty claims a condo development messed with her driveway--she's suing.

YEAH, BABY! Felicity Shagwell's 1965 Corvette from the Austin Powers sequel, and other props, up for bid on New Line Cinema's new auction site (www.auction.newline.com).

BOMBS AWAY! Forty percent of Americans say they'd likely stay away from a movie because of violent content--down 20 percent from a decade ago, a new Associated Press poll shows.

ANOTHER POLL! Seventy-six percent of adults favor limiting advertising on kids' shows to six minutes per hour, a survey by the group People for Better TV says.

FAB TWO: John Lennon named greatest music star of the 20th century; Beatles mate Paul McCartney ranked No. 2, in a British magazine readers' poll.

OBITUARY: Blacklisted "Hollywood 10" director Edward Dmytryk (The Caine Mutiny), who earned disdain for "naming names" in the 1950s, died Thursday. He was 90.