Rowling book launch
LONDON - J.K. Rowling launched her long-anticipated first book for adults to publishing hype, mixed reviews and an enthusiastic welcome from Harry Potter's legion of now grown-up fans.
The lines were shorter and the wizard costumes were missing Thursday but "The Casual Vacancy" appeared to some of the same fanfare that greeted each Potter tome, with stores wheeling out crates of the books precisely at 8 a.m.
Almost 1,000 people were attending a reading Thursday evening at London's Southbank Centre, most of them clutching copies of the book to be signed by the author.
Many were young adults who had grown up with Rowling's boy wizard and wanted to see what the author would do next.
Rowling has said she was aiming for Dickensian sweep in the multi-character saga, whose doses of sex, satire and swearing mark a distinct departure from wholesome Harry.
'Sons of Anarchy' actor dies
LOS ANGELES - It was unclear Thursday whether "Sons of Anarchy" actor Johnny Lewis fell or jumped to his death after apparently killing his landlady at a hillside home near Hollywood, police said Thursday.
The body of Lewis, 28, was found in the driveway of the Los Feliz home Wednesday morning after neighbors reported hearing a woman screaming in the home, Cmdr. Andrew Smith said.
The body of 81-year-old Catherine Davis was found inside the home. Lewis had rented a room from Davis "for a short period of time" and although there were no witnesses, he is suspected of killing her, Smith said. Neighbors also told officers that a man had jumped a fence, assaulted a painter and homeowner next door and jumped back. Smith said that at some point, Lewis jumped or fell from the home's roof, garage or patio.
Witherspoon welcomes baby
LOS ANGELES - Reese Witherspoon has given birth to her third child, naming him after a place close to her heart.
Meredith O'Sullivan Wasson, Witherspoon's publicist, said Thursday that "Witherspoon and husband Jim Toth welcomed Tennessee James into their family today. Both mom and baby are healthy and the entire family is thrilled."
The 36-year-old "Legally Blonde" and "Walk the Line" star lived in Tennessee when she was young. Witherspoon is already a mom to Ava, 13, and Deacon, 8, from her prior marriage to Ryan Phillippe. Toth is an agent for Creative Artists Agency.
Lil Wayne tops Elvis
NEW YORK - Lil Wayne is not only making rap history, he's making rock 'n roll history: the rapper has surpassed Elvis Presley as the male with the most entries on Billboard's Hot 100 chart.
Lil Wayne now has 109 songs on that chart with Thursday's debut of Game's song "Celebration," where he is a guest. Of his 109 charted songs, only 42 are led by Lil Wayne; 67 are songs where he is the featured act.
Presley totaled 108 songs on the Hot 100 since it launched in 1958. Presley's career kicked off before that and several of his songs - like "Heartbreak Hotel" - could not be included in his total number. The "Glee" cast has the most Hot 100 entries with 204.
Bynes pleads not guilty
LOS ANGELES - An attorney for Amanda Bynes has entered a not guilty plea in a misdemeanor case that accuses the actress of two hit-and-runs.
The actress' case is due back in court on Oct. 19 and Bynes must be booked on the charges within two days of that hearing. Los Angeles prosecutors accuse Bynes of leaving the scene of two accidents, one on April 10 and another on Aug. 4, without providing proper information. The first incident occurred just days after Bynes was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving after grazing a sheriff's patrol car. She has pleaded not guilty in that case.
Patti Smith honored
BRYN MAWR, Pa. - Rock music veteran Patti Smith will be honored by Bryn Mawr College for her artistic accomplishments and pioneering spirit.
The women's liberal arts school near Philadelphia announced that Smith will receive the 2013 Katharine Hepburn Medal.
The college on Wednesday called Smith "a trailblazer in the male-dominated world of rock 'n' roll." She also wrote a critically acclaimed memoir in 2010.
Bryn Mawr will award the Hepburn Medal to Smith at a campus event on Feb. 7. A performance for students is being planned.
The medal is given to women who embody "the intelligence, drive and independence" of the Oscar-winning college alumna for whom it is named.
Hepburn graduated from Bryn Mawr in 1928. Previous winners include actresses Lauren Bacall and Blythe Danner.
Kennedy theater award
NEW YORK - A $100,000 theater award honoring the late Sen. Edward Kennedy has been established in New York.
The announcement was made Thursday by one of his sisters, former Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith, and Columbia University.
Pulitzer-winning playwright Tony Kushner will serve on the board.
The award is called The Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama Inspired by American History.
The prize will be given annually to the author of a new play or musical. Columbia's libraries will work with the winners to create online study and teaching guides.
The first winner will be announced on Feb. 22, Kennedy's birthday.
The Massachusetts senator died of cancer in 2009.
TV host gets $2 million back
MOSCOW - A glamorous Russian TV host who has emerged as a face of anti-Kremlin protests has won an unlikely victory in her battle against the government by seeing the return of nearly $2 million seized by authorities.
Russian investigators seized the cash during a search of Ksenia Sobchak's apartment in Moscow in June. Sobchak said she was keeping the money at home because she didn't trust Russian banks.
The authorities action was widely seen as part of a crackdown on dissent that followed President Vladimir Putin's inauguration to a third term in May. Sobchak is the only daughter of St. Petersburg's late mayor, who was Putin's boss in the 1990s.
Russia's top Investigative Committee said Thursday it sent the money back to Sobchak after seeing no evidence of tax dodging.