MRS. ROPER, R.I.P.: Veteran actress Audra Lindley, apartment landlord to the TV generation of the 1970s as the sexually frustrated Mrs. Roper on Three's Company, and later The Ropers, has died of complications from leukemia. She was 79. Recent roles included recurring stints on Cybill, as Cybill Shepherd's mother, and Friends, where she played grandma to Lisa Kudrow's ditzy Phoebe.
TRAILBLAZER: Network TV's first woman news correspondent has died. Nancy Dickerson, who debuted on CBS in 1960, was 70. She never fully recovered from a stroke suffered last year. The award-winning journalist was also the first woman to report from the floor of a presidential convention. She most recently worked for Fox as a commentator.
OFF THE WAGON: Actor Robert Downey Jr.'s struggles with sobriety continue. Downey went on a four-day drug-and-alcohol binge last month, his counselor told authorities Friday. That revelation got Downey's probation revoked and landed him a December 8 court date--during which a hearing on possible punishments will be held.
DENVER MEMORIAL II: Six airplanes dipped their wings in a salute to singer John Denver at a memorial service Saturday in Aspen, Colorado. More than 1,000 people attended. On Friday, at an even larger service, Denver was hailed as "the folk poet of our time." The country-pop crooner died last weekend in a plane crash.
LETTER OF LAW: Who owns the letter G? Rapper Warren G. seems to think he has dibs. (He's even trademarked his name.) And now he's sued county superstar Garth Brooks over the use of the letter in merchandising and tour advertisements. Asks the attorney for Warren G.: "What would happen if other groups began using the Stones' tongue logo...?"
SHUT UP: Scream studio, Miramax Films, has successfully silenced a competitor's ad campaign. A federal judge in New York has ordered Columbia Pictures to remove the tag line, "From the creator of Scream," from its ads for the thriller, I Know What You Did Last Summer. Miramax argued that the teaser would make people think Scream director Wes Craven made the new flick. (He didn't.) The line actually referred to the screenwriter, who dreamed up the stories for both movies.
MR. POTATOE HEAD: Dan Quayle is getting into the TV critic business again. The former vice president, who blasted Murphy Brown for depicting single parenthood, says Al Gore was playing up to "Hollywood elites" when the incumbent V.P. this week applauded Ellen's "coming out" episode.
LOW BLOW: Sunday in Los Angeles will see a Christie's auction of prized Muhammad Ali memorabilia--and the champ's not happy. "Somebody stole my stuff," Ali told reporters recently. He didn't elaborate. The auction is expected to gross between $1.2 and $1.5 million.
THE DONALD DISHES: Donald Trump's two ex-wives agree on one thing: Their former hubby's new autobiography stinks. Marla Maples (No. 2) says the tycoon lied about her supposed demand that he be home by 5 p.m. each afternoon. A spokesperson for Ivana Trump (No. 1) says she's upset her ex is dredging up their split again. Trump: The Art of the Comeback will be released next week.
BOOK 'EM: Add Van Morrison ("Brown-Eyed Girl") to the list of rockers who are writing their memoirs. His agent says the book will be about his childhood and influences.
ABSOLUT CONTROVERSY: An Absolut Vodka ad that pays tribute to Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho isn't winning any fans with mental health advocates. The print ad, called "Absolut Psycho," is under fire as insensitive.
SUED: Steven Spielberg's upcoming slave drama, Amistad, is based on her book, says a novelist--and she's suing for $10 million. Barbara Chase-Riboud says Jackie Onassis, then a book editor, gave Spielberg a copy of her novel, Echo of Lions, in 1988. The director passed on developing it into a movie. But Chase-Riboud claims Amistad is just that.
HE IS SPARTICUS: In Hollywood Saturday night, legendary actor Kirk Douglas was to receive a lifetime achievement award at closing ceremonies for the first-ever Hollywood Film Festival. The movie series has endured a rough first week, trying to carve out a niche in a crowded festival field.
MISSING CLASSICS: A new study by the Library of Congress says that much of TV's Golden Era--including early work by Milton Berle, Jackie Gleason and Ernie Kovacs--has been lost to poor preservation efforts. It calls for the establishment of a sort of National Film Registry for the tube.
FOUL BALL: World Series, schmorld series. At least one NBC executive thinks the match-up between the Cleveland Indians and Florida Marlins is going to strike out in the ratings department for his network. "The faster it's over with, the better it is," Don Ohlmeyer told reporters Friday.
BUILT TO BOMB: NBC is bailing on its low-rated Wednesday night shows: Canceling freshman sitcom Built to Last, and putting The Tony Danza Show on hiatus. Danza's would-be primetime comeback could come back to the schedule in December.
X-ITING? David Duchovny's recent Los Angeles-or-else ultimatum has spooked the Canadian crew of The X-Files. Series creator Chris Carter is trying to rally the troops without, uh, alienating his star, according to one published report.
SHHHH: Warren Beatty has reportedly wrapped production on his latest epoch as writer, director, producer and star. The top-secret movie is reportedly about a disillusioned U.S. senator. Could open as early as December.
S.O.S.: Metallica needs your help. The heavy metal gods want to perform a free, outdoor concert on November 11. One problem: They can't find anywhere willing to let them play. Now, the band's asking its fans for help. Leave your venue tips at its Website, or on its toll-free hotline: (800) 804-1400.
BRIDGE BUILDING: Meanwhile, the Metallica boys played a mellower version of their speed chops Saturday and Sunday, joining the Smashing Pumpkins, Lou Reed, Alanis Morissette and others at Neil Young's annual Bridge benefit. The show raises money for the Bridge School in Northern California.