NEW YORK – Paramount Pictures and Mario Puzo’s heirs agreed to drop legal action that began when the movie studio sued “The Godfather” author’s estate to prevent the publication of a sequel to the novel about a Mafia family.

The parties voluntarily dismissed the lawsuit, according to a stipulation filed Thursday in federal court in Manhattan. No details were given.

Paramount, a unit of Viacom, sued Anthony Puzo, Mario’s son and the executor of his estate, in February to stop the publication of a new sequel to “The Godfather,” claiming it wasn’t authorized. The heirs countersued in April to cancel the contract between the studio and Mario Puzo.

U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan in September denied the Puzos’ bid to terminate the agreement.

Paramount said in its complaint that after Puzo died in 1999, the company agreed to allow Bertelsmann’s Random House to publish one “Godfather” sequel, “The Godfather Returns,” which came out in 2004. The estate published another novel, “The Godfather’s Revenge,” in 2006, without Paramount’s approval, the studio said. Paramount sued after the estate announced a plan to publish a third sequel, “The Family Corleone.”

The sequel, written by Ed Falco, was published in May by Grand Central Publishing, a unit of Paris-based Hachette Livre. The terms of an interim settlement reached earlier this year stated that proceeds from the book would be put in escrow pending the outcome of the litigation, court papers said.

Paramount claimed the Puzo estate infringed its copyright with the publication of the novel and infringed its trademark with the design of the book. Puzo’s heirs said that the contract between the late author and the studio gave him certain rights, including book publishing.

Frank Serpico: Al Pacino played me better than I did

NEW YORK — New York police whistle-blower Frank Serpico says Al Pacino played him better than he did himself.

Pacino played the detective who exposed widespread city police corruption in the 1973 movie “Serpico.” The Daily News interviewed the real-life Serpico in Ghent, N.Y., for a story published Sunday.

The 76-year-old retiree spoke weeks after the death of fellow whistle-blowing former detective David Durk.

Serpico smiled as an interviewer noted he is ranked No. 41, just behind Lassie, on the American Film Institute’s list of movie heroes. He said that’s “good company.”

Serpico’s and Durk’s efforts resulted in front-page newspaper stories and a New York City panel that recommended reforms to prevent police corruption.

Rihanna gives hospital $1.75 million

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – Pop star Rihanna has given $1.75 million to a hospital in her Caribbean homeland of Barbados in memory of her late grandmother.

Rihanna said the donation to buy three pieces of medical equipment was her way “giving back to Barbados.”

She made the comments during a Saturday ceremony with relatives at the island’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital. The hospital’s radiotherapy unit has been renamed the Clara Braithwaite Center for Oncology and Nuclear Medicine after Rihanna’s grandmother, who died in June.

Rihanna just released “Unapologetic,” her seventh album in seven years.

‘Bethenny Ever After …’ not a reality

LOS ANGELES – Bethenny Frankel and husband, Jason Hoppy, are separating.

The 42-year-old TV personality, chef, author and entrepreneur told The Associated Press on Sunday that the split brings her “great sadness.”

“We have love and respect for one another and will continue to amicably co-parent our daughter who is and will always remain our first priority. This is an immensely painful and heartbreaking time for us,” she said.

Frankel and Hoppy were married in 2010 and have a daughter, Bryn, who was born that same year. The couple’s courtship and marriage were documented in two reality series, “Bethenny Getting Married?” and “Bethenny Ever After …”

Frankel gained fame as a star of “The Real Housewives of New York City.” Since her stint on the Bravo show, she has written four books, released a fitness video and founded her Skinnygirl line of cocktails, shapewear and nutritional supplements.

She launched a talk show, “Bethenny,” over the summer that will air on Fox in 2013.

– From news service reports