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Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published July 6, 2001

'Sopranos' son denies it all

The Sopranos actor charged with taking $40 in a robbery denied any involvement in the crime Thursday. Robert Iler, 16, who plays the son of mobster Tony Soprano on the HBO series, and three other youths were arrested early Wednesday. Iler pleaded innocent to two counts of second-degree robbery and one count of marijuana possession. "I feel terribly embarrassed," Iler said in a statement Thursday. "I never, ever would or did rob anybody in my life. I know that the events of the past two days have been extremely difficult for my family and friends, and for that I am deeply sorry." The four were picked up by New York police and accused of robbing two teens. Iler had a bag of marijuana and a water pipe in his pocket when he was arrested, police said. He was released after posting $2,500 bail.

New day, new theory

First the New York Post said Julia Roberts and Benjamin Bratt split because they squabbled over how to raise children. Now People weighs in, saying Bratt wanted his pretty woman to spend more time being a girlfriend and less time being a movie star. He wanted to settle down. She didn't. Bratt was eager to start a family and wanted Roberts to cut back on making the films that kept them apart. He also wanted her to leave the Big Apple and move to San Francisco, where his mother and siblings live. In the end, it was Bratt who broke it off.

Short takes

SURVIVE THIS: A group of aborigines are taking Mark Burnett and Survivor to court Down Under, saying the creators of the Outback-set CBS reality show used tribal music, particularly the unique sounding didgeridoo, without paying or crediting the tribe, Australia's Herald Sun reports.

YOUR OWN LIZARD KING: McFarlane Toys plans to release an action figure of Jim Morrison this September. Tuesday marked the 30th anniversary of the Doors frontman's death.

ON THE MEND: Doobie Brothers drummer Michael Hossack, seriously hurt in a motorcycle crash last month, is out of intensive care. The band's manager says the rocker could be home this week.

FORCED OUT? Michael Moriarty, who played prosecutor Ben Stone on Law & Order, has accused executive producer Dick Wolf of pushing him off the show because of the actor's political stance against then-Attorney General Janet Reno.

SURF'S UP: Original Beach Boys member Al Jardine is suing former bandmates Mike Love and Brian Wilson for $4-million, claiming they excluded him from recent concerts.

MAD MONEY: Last month, Oprah Winfrey bought a 42-acre estate in Montecito, Calif., for a cool $50-million, but the word "mortgage" never came up. Her daytime highness paid with a personal check.

OBITUARY: Ernie K-Doe, a flamboyant rhythm and blues singer who had a No. 1 hit with Mother-In-Law in 1961, died Thursday in New Orleans. He was 65.

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