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In Brief

In Brief
Lawyer for Brokovich dies in California

LOS ANGELES, California

Edward Masry, the crusty lawyer played by Albert Finney in the film "Erin Brokovich," died at 73, announced the city hall of Thousand Oaks, California, where Masry had served as mayor.

"City Council and staff offer our sincere condolences to the Masry family during this difficult time," said current mayor Claudia Bill-de la Pena. "Mr. Masrys passing is also a great loss to our community."

According to the council, Masry died Monday from difficulties connected to diabetes in a hospital in Thousand Oaks, 60 kilometers northwest of Los Angeles.

Masry and his assistant Brokovich - played by Julia Roberts in the 2000 film - gained fame as a small-town law office which successfully sued a power company for polluting the town's water supply and poisoning its residents. After the success of the case, Masry built a law practice which focused on personal injury, environmental and malpractice cases.

Van Halen divorced

LOS ANGELES, California

Actress Valerie Bertinelli and her rock star husband, Eddie Van Halen, are divorcing after 24 years of marriage, Bertinelli's publicist confirmed.

"Yes, that's true. They have been separated for four years and it's amicable," Bertinelli spokeswoman Heidi Schaeffer said yesterday. She said the actress would have no further comment.

A divorce petition Bertinelli, 45, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court yesterday cited irreconcilable differences.

The couple wed on April 11, 1981, and have one son, 14-year-old Wolfgang Van Halen. According to the petition, they separated on October 15, 2001.