NEW ORLEANS – The actress who played Elly May Clampett on the hit television series “The Beverly Hillbillies” is suing toy manufacturer Mattel Inc., claiming the company used her name and likeness for a Barbie doll without her authorization.

The federal suit filed Wednesday in Baton Rouge, La., says packaging for the “Elly May” Barbie doll features a photo of Donna Douglas portraying the character. Douglas says she never endorsed the doll or gave Mattel permission to use her name to promote its sale before the toy maker introduced the doll in December 2010.

From 1962 to 1971, Douglas appeared in all 274 episodes of the CBS comedy show about a poor family that moves to Beverly Hills after striking oil on their land.

A Mattel spokeswoman didn’t immediately respond to a call and email seeking comment.

Douglas lives in Zachary, near Baton Rouge, and continues to make public appearances and speaking engagements in connection with the show, said one of her attorneys, Charles von Simson.

“Depending on their age, people remember the show immediately and they remember her,” he said of Douglas, now 77. “It’s something she gets a lot of fan interest from.”

The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages and a court order barring Mattel from using her “name, likeness, image and distinctive attributes.”

Filmmaker regroups after friend’s death in Libya battle

TOLEDO, Ohio – One of the makers of an Oscar-nominated war documentary says the death in Libya of his friend and co-director is making him rethink his future plans.

Sebastian Junger says he no longer wants to cover wars from the front lines. He and British director Tim Hetherington worked together on the acclaimed 2010 documentary “Restrepo” about a U.S. platoon in Afghanistan.

Hetherington died two weeks ago while covering fighting in Libya.

Junger talked about his friend’s death Wednesday during a speech in Toledo, Ohio.

The Blade newspaper says Junger wants to focus his reporting on the bigger picture of wars.

‘Thor’ director Branagh at happy spot in career

 

LOS ANGELES – After 30 years in film as an actor and director, Kenneth Branagh is right where he wants to be.

As his latest directorial effort, “Thor,” hits theaters today, the 50-year-old Branagh said his experience on both sides of the camera is lining up perfectly with his appetite, inspiring a new enthusiasm for each craft.

“It’s like returning to when I was 16 and first did a school play and thought, ‘Oh, this is what I should do. This is what I’m supposed to do,’” he said from a hotel suite where he was promoting the Marvel movie. “I’ve landed back in some moment where I feel, if nothing else, it’s right what I’m doing. For me.”

Branagh commanded a cast that included Oscar winners Natalie Portman and Anthony Hopkins in “Thor,” a superhero epic that spans planets and otherworldly realms.

Travolta film a family affair

 

NEW YORK. – Kelly Preston will co-star alongside her husband, John Travolta, in a planned film on John Gotti.

Production company Fiore Films said Wednesday that Preston will play John Gotti Sr.’s wife, Victoria. Travolta will play Gotti.

Making it even more of a family affair, the couple’s daughter, Ella Bleu Travolta, will play daughter Angel Gotti.

Production of “Gotti: Three Generations” is expected to begin later this year, with a theatrical release coming in late 2012. To be directed by Barry Levinson, it also stars Lindsay Lohan and Joe Pesci.