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NEWS ROUNDUP: Bill Bell 1968 Anti-Violence Letter Reprinted In New Issue Of Variety, Kin Shriner & Genie Francis Return to GENERAL HOSPITAL; Y&R Alum Peter Barton Inherits Estate From Man He Never Knew

Bill Bell's 1968 letter to Variety re-printed in new "Violence & Entertainment" issue
In June 1968, Bill Bell, a writer for DAYS OF OUR LIVES, penned a short open letter to the TV and film industry and printed it in Variety. Spurred by the "insane, violent" deaths of Martin Luther King Jr. and Bobby Kennedy, Bell called upon his colleagues to "recognize our responsibilities and take decisive steps to temper and hopefully eliminate violence from our programming." Bell argued that much onscreen violence was not simply gratuitous, but artistically bankrupt. "As a writer, I know that…you can have conflict without violence," he wrote (emphasis his). "And that invariably it is finer drama."

The letter is reprinted in a new, glossy issue (digital version here) of the venerable showbiz rag that explores the claims, expressed most recently by the NRA's Wayne LaPierre, that the entertainment industry deserves some of the blame for mayhem like the Sandy Hook massacre. Instead of shrugging off the criticism, Variety editor-in-chief Timothy M. Gray embraces it and even echoes Bell's message in his opening note: "Don't underestimate your power or responsibility…When asked about violent or demeaning content, some in Hollywood shrug, 'It's what the public wants.' But there is a fine line between catering to the public and pandering to their basest instincts."

Photos of Laura and Scott's return to GENERAL HOSPITAL
The 50th anniversary really kicks into high gear this Monday when Genie Francis returns to GENERAL HOSPITAL on ABC. The icing on the cake continues on Feb. 19, when Kin Shriner will reprise his role as Scotty.

Genie Francis will live-tweet her return to GENERAL HOSPITAL on Monday, February 11
Francis will be tweeting during the East coast broadcast of GH from 2-3 p.m. ET.

Kin Shriner on John Stamos, Genie Francis and the Pot-Smoking Eighties
"I'm sure Stamos will come back because he knows GH started his career. And, of course, Ricky Dean Anderson. We need to get MacGyver back in the mix! We're like an old family from the '80s and I think we'll always feel that way. I'd love to work with Stamos again. As Blackie, he was Paul Drake to my Perry Mason, my footman, my go-to guy."

Pre-order PEOPLE magazine's special GENERAL HOSPITAL 50th Anniversary special book
The 128 page hardcover edition product description: "Celebrate the 50th anniversary of General Hospital, the longest running scripted television drama currently in production. Reminisce with the Quartermaines and Spencers, the famed residents of fictional Port Charles, New York. Learn about the troubled marriages of the Hardys and Brewers during the show's early days in 1963. Revisit the wedding of Luke and Laura in 1981, the most watched event in daytime television history. Relive BJ's ultimate sacrifice, Emily's untimely end, and the tragic teen lives of Stone and Robin. It's all there in words and pictures: the stars, the storylines, and the pictures-behind-the-scenes and in front of the camera. No wonder Princess Diana and Liz Taylor counted themselves among the millions of loyal General Hospital fans."

Laura Wright on ONE LIFE TO LIVE crossover actors Roger Howarth, Michael Easton & Kristen Alderson: "A few weeks!!! They'll be back!!!!"
"We are not saying goodbye to Roger, Michael and @krisalderson - just see ya in a few :))))))

Rick Hearst's son, Nicholas Herbst, lands gig on GENERAL HOSPITAL
"I can't believe that the first gig my son Nicholas gets is General Hospital," Rick wrote on his Facebook page. "Coolest thing is, I had nothing to do with it. Hahaha! Take that Hollywood nepotism!" There's no word yet on the character Nicholas, age 20, will play.

Kelly's is getting a makeover on GENERAL HOSPITAL GH tweeted a photo announcing the makeover.

CORONATION STREET producers issue anti-homophobia memo to cast and crew after 'offensive remarks' were made on set
This is after "several recent instances" of remarks were heard around the set and studio. Both the cast and crew have been reminded that ITV takes these issues of abuse very seriously.

Man's estate left to two actors he never knew, including THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS alum Peter Barton
Ray Fulk was 71 when he died last July. He lived alone on a 160-acre property in Lincoln, Ill. that he inherited from his father. He had no family or children.

"He was a loner, and a lot of neighbors didn't know who he was," estate attorney Donald Behle said.

What Fulk did have, though, was an admiration for actors Kevin Brophy and Peter Barton, whom he had never met. He admired them so much that he left his estate to be split between them.

AS THE WORLD TURNS alum Jake Silbermann and DALLAS guest star Judith Light join the cast of Manhattan Theatre Club's world premiere of "The Assembled Parties"
The complete cast has been announced for Manhattan Theatre Club's world premiere of "The Assembled Parties," the new play by Tony winner Richard Greenberg. Previews begin at Broadway’s Samuel J. Friedman Theatre on March 21. Opening night is set for April 17, directed by Lynne Meadow.

Joining previously announced stars Judith Light (as Faye), Jessica Hecht (as Julie), Jeremy Shamos (as Jeff), Mark Blum (as Mort) and Sam Robards (as Ben), the full cast will feature Lauren Blumenfeld as Shelley, Alex Dreier as Timmy and Jake Silbermann as Scotty/Tim.

Melissa Fumero Lands Female Lead In Upcoming FOX Comedy Pilot, Opposite Andy Samberg
ONE LIFE TO LIVE alum Fumero be will playing a hard-nosed detective (and a possible love interest for Samberg).

Peter Reckell Sells Eco-Friendly Brentwood Home
Reckell and his wife, singer Kelly Moneymaker, sold their 3,345-square-foot Brentwood home for $3.35 million. It overlooks the Santa Monica Mountain Conservancy.

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