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LaChanze to Play Housekeeper

January 3, 2003

Broadway actress Rachel York and television's own Madeline Zima have been cast to portray Lucille Ball in the upcoming CBS Television made-for-tv movie about the great comedienne. Ms. York will play Lucy as an adult (ages 20-40s), while Ms. Zima will portray her as a teen attempting to start a career in New York. Tentatively titled "Redhead," the film will be directed by Glenn Jordan, veteran of such award-winning films as "Sarah Plain and Tall." Filming will begin later this month.

Rachel York, 31, has been delighting New York theatre audiences for over a decade in a variety of roles, and most recently starred in the National tour of the hit Broadway revival, "Kiss Me Kate," opposite Rex Smith. Her performance as Lilli/Kate earned her a Helen Hayes Award nomination. Ms. York also made her London debut this past summer in the West End version of "Kate," which was also taped for presentation this winter on PBS. No stranger to television, she has made guest appearances in such popular series as Frasier, Arliss, Spin City, and Diagnosis: Murder.

Madeline Zima virtually grew up in America's living rooms as Grace Sheffield on the popular CBS Television Network series, The Nanny (1993-99). Now 17, Ms. Zima reportedly agreed to cut her long hair into a 1920's style bob for the new film role. Madeline will play Lucy as she starts her long struggle to achieve acclaim as an actress -- including her days attending an acting school along side a young Bette Davis.

Stage actress LaChanze has also been cast in the film, portraying a former dancer who becomes Lucy's housekeeper. LaChanze is a veteran of such Broadway musicals as "Once on This Island" and "Ragtime."

"Redhead" will reportedly be "an inside account of the celebrated, complex, passionate and tumultuous relationship between Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz," who entralled audiences as Lucy and Ricky Ricardo, but could not solve the problems facing their own marriage.

The film is being produced under the leadership of executive producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, who produced the recent "Martin and Lewis" bio-pic, and were also responsible for "Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows."

We will keep you updated as more information becomes available.

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