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Clint Walker, star of TV's 'Cheyenne,' dies at age 91

Clint Walker, the towering, strapping actor who handed down justice as the title character in the early TV western "Cheyenne," has died, his daughter said Tuesday.

Walker died Monday of congestive heart failure at a hospital in his longtime home of Grass Valley, California at age 91, his daughter, Valerie Walker, told The Associated Press.

"He was a warrior, he was fighting to the end," said Valerie Walker, a retired commercial pilot who was among the first women to fly for a major airline.

Clint Walker, whose film credits included "The Ten Commandments" and "The Dirty Dozen," wandered the West after the Civil War as the solitary adventurer Cheyenne Bodie in "Cheyenne," which ran for seven seasons on ABC starting in 1955.

Born Norman Eugene Walker in Hartford, Illinois, he later changed his name in both public and private life to the more cowboyish Clint.

He worked on Great Lakes cargo ships and Mississippi river boats and in Texas oil fields before becoming an armed security guard at the Sands Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

There, many Hollywood stars, including actor Van Johnson, saw the 6-foot-6, ruggedly handsome Walker and encouraged him to give the movies a try, which Walker said he did after realizing the money would be better and the bullets would be fake.

He soon found himself under consideration for his first role in "The Ten Commandments," starring Charlton Heston and Yul Brynner. He had a meeting with the film's legendary director Cecil B. DeMille, but was late after stopping to help a woman change a tire and feared he'd blown his shot.

"He just exuded power," Walker said of DeMille in a 2012 interview for the archive of the television academy. "He looked me up and down and said, 'You're late young man.'" "I thought 'oh no, my career is over before it even started.'"

Walker explained why he was late and said Demille responded "Yes, I know all about it, that was my secretary."

Walker was cast as the captain of the pharaoh's guard in the movie that came out in 1956.

He beat out several big names for the role of "Cheyenne," but speculated that it was because he was already under contract for much cheaper than the other actors would demand to Warner Bros., which produced the show.

Based roughly on a 1947 movie, "Cheyenne" began as an hour-long program that originally was alternated with two other Westerns. The only one of the three programs to survive, it made Walker a star, although a restless one.

He abandoned the role in 1958 in a contract dispute, and Ty Hardin was brought in briefly to replace him. He soon returned under better terms, and remained through the show's seven-season run.

Walker's most memorable big-screen appearance came in 1967's "The Dirty Dozen," whose all-star cast included Lee Marvin, Ernest Borgnine and Charles Bronson. In it, Marvin baits the much-larger Walker into attacking him then throws him to the ground in a training demonstration to his World War II crew.

He appeared in many other movies including the westerns "Fort Dobbs," ''Yellowstone Kelly" and "Gold of the Seven Saints" and in the Doris Day and Rock Hudson film "Send Me No Flowers" in 1964. He most recently lent his voice to 1998's "Small Soldiers."

Walker nearly died in 1971 when a ski pole pierced his heart in California's Sierra Nevada.

"They rushed me to a hospital where two doctors pronounced me dead," he recalled in 1987. "No pulse, no heartbeat; I was clinically dead." A third doctor detected life, and an operation saved him.

He would fully recover, and go on to live another 47 years.

In addition to his daughter, he is survived by his wife of 30 years Susan Cavallari Walker.

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This story has been corrected to show that Walker did not work as a sheriff's deputy.

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The late AP Entertainment Writer Bob Thomas contributed to this report.

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Follow Andrew Dalton on Twitter: https://twitter.com/andyjamesdalton .

CBS to finish season atop ratings, for 10th straight year

CBS is finishing another television season atop the television ratings, but the network had to sweat a little this time.

The traditional TV season that started in September ends on Wednesday, and CBS will win bragging rights for the 10th year in a row, the Nielsen company said. CBS has won for 15 of the last 16 years, the only exception being Fox during the height of "American Idol."

Nielsen says CBS averages 9 million viewers in prime-time this season. NBC is averaging 8.9 million, but there's not enough time to catch up. NBC made it particularly close this year because it televised both the Super Bowl and the Winter Olympics, which let the network dominate in February.

But CBS withstood it with the strength of its regular schedule.

"This is an amazing accomplishment," said Kelly Kahl, CBS entertainment president.

Still, it's NBC's closest finish to CBS in 16 years. NBC won among viewers aged 18-to-49-years-old, the demographic its advertisers care most about, for the fourth time in five years.

ABC is averaging 6.1 million viewers this season, and Fox is at 4.9 million, Nielsen said.

CBS won the last full week of the TV season, averaging 6.6 million viewers. NBC had 5 million viewers, ABC had 4.5 million, Fox had 2.5 million, Univision had 1.5 million, the CW and ION Television had 1.2 million and Telemundo had 1.1 million.

TNT was the week's most popular cable network, averaging 3.06 million viewers in prime-time. Fox News Channel had 2.34 million, ESPN had 2.28 million, MSNBC had 1.67 million and USA had 1.39 million.

ABC's "World News Tonight" topped the evening newscasts with an average of 8.2 million viewers. NBC's "Nightly News" was second with 7.8 million and the "CBS Evening News" had 5.7 million viewers.

For the week of May 14-20, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: "NCIS," CBS, 12.71 million; "Roseanne," ABC, 10.74 million; "NCIS: New Orleans," CBS, 9.44 million; NBA Conference Finals: Golden State at Houston, Game 1, TNT, 8.9 million; "The Voice" (Monday), NBC, 8.7 million; NBA Conference Finals: Cleveland at Boston, Game 2, ESPN, 8.42 million; "60 Minutes," CBS, 8.36 million; "The Voice" (Tuesday), NBC, 8.16 million; "Billboard Music Awards," NBC, 7.87 million; "NCIS: Los Angeles," CBS, 7.82 million.

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ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Co. CBS is owned by CBS Corp. CW is a joint venture of Warner Bros. Entertainment and CBS Corp. Fox is owned by 21st Century Fox. NBC and Telemundo are owned by Comcast Corp. ION Television is owned by ION Media Networks.

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Online: http://www.nielsen.com

Trayvon's parents say Weinstein's company owes them $150,000

The parents of slain Florida teen Trayvon Martin say The Weinstein Company owes them at least $150,000 for optioning the rights to their book in order to make a yet unaired television series based on their son's legacy.

Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin filed court papers last week in the company's case in federal bankruptcy court in Delaware. The television series has been filmed and they are owed fees for "executive producer services," the parents said in the court filing.

If the television series airs, the parents will be owed further money, the court filing said.

The court filing also said the deal includes an option for the studio to purchase movie rights to their book, "Rest in Power: The Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin," though that hasn't been exercised yet.

Earlier this month, a judge said she would approve a private equity firm's purchase of the studio. The company was forced into bankruptcy by the sexual misconduct scandal that brought down Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein.

Trayvon Martin was fatally shot by George Zimmerman in 2012 as Martin walked home from a convenience store in Sanford, Florida. Zimmerman was acquitted.

Martin's death became a rallying cry for millions of black Americans seeking justice for the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teen.

Like Martin's parents, several dozen actors, writers, producers and companies have filed court papers saying The Weinstein Company owes them money. Those claims will be addressed at a hearing in Delaware next month.

Poland's Olga Tokarczuk wins Man Booker International Prize

Polish novelist Olga Tokarczuk won the prestigious Man Booker International Prize for fiction Tuesday with "Flights," a novel that charts multiple journeys in time, space and human anatomy.

"Flights" beat five other finalists, including Iraqi writer Ahmed Saadawi's horror story "Frankenstein in Baghdad" and South Korean author Han Kang's meditative novel "The White Book."

Tokarczuk's novel combines tales of modern-day travel with the story of a 17th century anatomist who dissected his own amputated leg and the journey of composer Frederic Chopin's heart from Paris to Warsaw after his death.

The judging panel led by writer Lisa Appignanesi called the "Flights" a witty, playful novel in which "the contemporary condition of perpetual movement" meets the certainty of death.

Tokarczuk is one of Poland's best-known authors. She has been criticized by Polish conservatives — and received death threats — for criticizing aspects of the country's past, including its episodes of anti-Semitism.

The prize is a counterpart to the Man Booker Prize for English-language novels and is open to books in any language that have been translated into English.

The 50,000-pound ($67,000) award is split evenly between the writer and her translator, Jennifer Croft.

R. Kelly loses lawsuit against Georgia venue after attorneys quit

R. Kelly’s lawsuit against a Georgia venue was thrown out when he failed to appear in court.

In a May 15 filing, U.S. District Judge John Robert Blake dismissed the singer’s case against Macon Coliseum in Macon, Georgia. In the suit, Kelly’s management company, RSK Enterprises, claimed Macon Coliseum-operator Comcast Spectacor did not pay him $100,000 for a show he performed. Kelly asked for that amount plus damages.

>> Read more trending news 

The case was thrown out because Kelly failed to appear in a Chicago court. He also did not appear at hearings on April 3 and May 8 and was warned “that any future failures to appear may subject this case to a dismissal for want of prosecution,” according to court documents.

Furthermore, the two attorneys representing RSK Enterprises, Heather Blaise and Travis Life, stepped down from the case in April.

“As a result of ethical obligations, Ms. Blaise and Mr. Life are no longer able to represent plaintiff,” part of the April 25 motion read, according to The Chicago Tribune.

The dismissal comes after a Texas woman, Faith A. Rodgers, filed a suit in a New York court Monday seeking unspecified damages, alleging sexual battery, false imprisonment and failure to disclose a sexually transmitted disease. Spotify announced earlier this month that it would no longer promote Kelly’s music by having it in playlists under a new hateful content policy.

'Wake-up call': Vegas casino workers vote on citywide strike

Hundreds of unionized Las Vegas casino workers gathered at a university arena in red T-shirts and work uniforms as they voted Tuesday on whether to call for a citywide strike that could have huge financial implications for the tourist-dependent destination.

Members of the Culinary Union cast ballots in the first of two separate sessions expected to draw as many as 25,000 workers and show the collective power of the largest labor organization in Nevada.

A majority yes vote would not immediately affect the casinos but would give union negotiators a huge bargaining chip by allowing them to call on a strike at any time starting June 1.

"I'm here to show the younger generations that this is the way we fight to maintain our jobs, job security, health benefits and to gain a pay raise," Lewis Thomas, a utility porter at the Tropicana casino-hotel, said before voting. "This will be a wake-up call to let (the companies) know we are together, we are united, we are not separated."

The vote comes as the contracts of 50,000 unionized workers were set to expire at midnight May 31 and negotiations with individual casino-operating companies for new five-year contracts have not led to agreements.

The union last voted for a strike in 2002 but reached a deal before employees walked off the job. The last strike spanned 67 days more than three decades ago and cost the city millions of dollars.

Union members — some attending with their young children — enthusiastically gathered Tuesday at the Thomas and Mack Center at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. They high-fived, took selfies and video, and carried signs urging people to vote.

Outside the arena, pro-union chants in English and Spanish welcomed the workers. Some chanted "Hey, Caesars, look around, Vegas is a union town" and "No contract, no peace."

Banners outside the Thomas and Mack Center at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, read, "Show up or give up, security strike vote." Inside, workers dropped paper ballots into numbered boxes.

Some workers stopped by in their uniforms on their way to or from work, while others wore shirts emblazoned with "Vegas Strong" and the union logo.

Bartenders, housekeepers, cocktail and food servers, porters, bellmen, cooks and other kitchen workers employed at 34 properties were eligible to vote.

Union officials have said they want to increase wages, protect job security against the increasing use of technology at hotel-casinos, and strengthen language against sexual harassment.

"We've been in negotiations with the companies, and they are not giving the workers what they deserve according to the economy right now," Geoconda Argüello-Kline, union secretary-treasurer, said after the first voting session. "They are very successful. They have a lot of money."

MGM Resorts International and Caesars Entertainment operate more than half of the properties that would be affected by a strike. MGM said it will keep meeting with the union.

"As we continue to bargain in good faith, we are confident that we'll resolve contract issues and negotiate a contract that works for everyone," the company said in a statement.

Caesars did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Don Leadbeter, a bellman at the MGM Grand, has worked at Las Vegas casino-hotels for more than four decades and participated in previous strike votes. He said workers this time want to protect their job security and ensure that employers provide training as they adopt more workplace technology.

He said bartenders are already using automated systems that could potentially eliminate their jobs, and guests are now able to check in and out of resorts without interacting with front-desk personnel, putting those jobs at risk, too.

"I want the companies to open up their eyes and think what's going to happen if we go on a strike," Leadbeter said. "That's a lot of business that's going to go down."

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Follow Regina Garcia Cano on Twitter at https://twitter.com/reginagarciakNO

PHOTOS: Newlyweds Prince Harry, Meghan Markle attend Prince Charles’ 70th birthday celebration

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the Duke and Dutchess of Sussex, made their first royal engagement as newlyweds at The Prince Of Wales’ 70th Birthday Patronage Celebration.

Hall of fame to redo soccer star Brandi Chastain plaque

A bronze plaque honoring soccer star Brandi Chastain got a red card Tuesday after a social media outcry over its unflattering portrayal of the athlete.

The Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame in San Francisco said Tuesday it will redo the plaque, which was unveiled a day earlier and quickly panned by the public.

Fans on Twitter compared the likeness to former President Jimmy Carter, actors Gary Busey and Mickey Rooney, baseball player Babe Ruth, New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick and movie character Mrs. Doubtfire, played by Robin Williams.

Chastain is often remembered for ripping off her jersey in celebration of her game-winning penalty kick in the 1999 World Cup.

Chastain attended the unveiling of her plaque at a San Francisco hotel Monday night and graciously commented, "It's not the most flattering. But it's nice," according to The Mercury News of San Jose.

Hall of Fame president Kevin O'Brien told KTVU-TV that he spoke with Chastain on Tuesday and offered to redo the plaque if she sent in a new photograph of herself. She agreed and a new plaque will be made, O'Brien said.

"It's expensive," he said. "But it's the right thing to do."

Houston Texans star J.J. Watt visits Santa Fe High School shooting victims 

Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt continues to make an impact in the wake of the mass shooting at a southeastern Texas high school, KTRK reported.

>> Read more trending news

Watt visited some of the victims injured in the deadly shooting at Santa Fe High School on Monday and took photographs with them and their nurses at the hospital. He also visited several victims at their homes, KHOU reported.

A gunman opened fire Friday at the high school in Santa Fe, Texas, killing 10 and wounding 13.

Among the students Watt visited Monday was Chase Yarborough, who he visited at home; and Clay Horn, who remains in the hospital after suffering a gunshot wound.

Horn could undergo more surgery Tuesday, KTRK reported.

>> J.J. Watt offers to pay for funerals of Santa Fe victims

Last week, Watt offered to pay the funeral expenses for the people who were killed.

>> Exchange student, substitute teacher among those killed

German foundation examining origin of colonial-era goods

The German foundation that coordinates research into the origin of Nazi-confiscated property says it will also start looking into cultural objects collected during Germany's colonial past.

The German Lost Art Foundation said Tuesday it will begin developing guidelines for project funding that will include provenance research in museums, collections and basic research.

It says it will work closely with the German Museums Association and experts.

Founded by the government in 2015, the foundation's main job is help identify property confiscated from Jewish owners during the Nazi era from 1933-1945 to facilitate its return or compensation, and cultural assets lost under the Soviet occupation and in communist East Germany.

German colonies included territories in what is today Namibia, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Mozambique in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

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