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Ira Levin, whose genre-hopping novels such as the horror classic Rosemary's Baby and the Nazi thriller The Boys From Brazil provided meaty movie roles for Mia Farrow and Laurence Olivier, has died of a heart attack, his agent said earlier this week.

The 78-year-old Levin, who also wrote for television and Broadway during his career, passed away in his Manhattan apartment on Monday, agent Phyllis Westberg said.

Levin, lwatched his novels move inexorably to the big screen. Besides Rosemary's Baby with Farrow and The Boys From Brazil with Olivier, Levin's novels The Stepford Wives, Sliver and A Kiss Before Dying all received the Hollywood treatment.

His long-running 1978 play Deathtrap was also made into a Sidney Lumet-directed film, starring Michael Caine and Christopher Reeve.

Levin worked as a television writer before finishing his first novel, A Kiss Before Dying, a murder mystery that was an instant success. It won the Edgar Allan Poe Award as the best first novel of 1953, and was twice turned into a movie.

It wasn't until 14 years after his first book that Levin completed his second novel, Rosemary's Baby, the creepy tale of a New York couple in the clutch of Satanists who want the young wife to bear Satan's child.

The Stepford Wives was Levin's satirical tale of a suburban town where the spouses were converted into subservient robots, while The Boys From Brazil detailed a South American underground where the infamous Nazi doctor Joseph Mengele tried to clone Adolf Hitler.

In 1991, Levin wrote Sliver, a thriller set in a Manhattan high-rise apartment building, which became a movie starring Sharon Stone.

Levin is survived by three sons and three grandsons.

The role of Lavender Brown, Ron Weasley's girlfriend in the new Harry Potter film, has gone to an established actress, according to a source close to the film.

Around 7,000 young hopefuls auditioned in July for the role of Brown, who spends much of her time kissing fellow Hogwarts pupil Weasley in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

The casting advertisement had stated no acting experience was necessary. But the source said the part went to 20-year-old Jessie Cave, who has appeared with Helen Mirren in the film Inkheart and who is to star in the BBC's CBBC drama Summerhill, which goes out early next year.

Neither the producers nor Cave's agent would comment. The full cast is due to be released shortly.

Cave got the thumbs-up from Rupert Grint, who plays Weasley. He told CBBC's Newsround: "I was involved with the Lavender Brown audition and the whole Lavender thing. Her name's Jessie and she is really cool and it's going to be really funny."

The film, the sixth based on the Harry Potter book series, is due to be released in November 2008.

Hong Kong comedian and director Stephen Chow (周星馳) will be producing the movie adaptation of popular Japanese manga cartoon Dragon Ball for 20th Century Fox, his company spokesman yesterday.

But Chow, best known for Kung Fu Hustle and Shaolin Soccer, turned down a Fox offer to direct the project, saying he would only take the helm for his own film ideas, the spokesman said.

Dragon Ball will be directed by James Wong, (黃毅瑜) the 48-year-old who directed thrillers Final Destination and Final Destination 3. It will star Justin Chatwin, who played Tom Cruise's son in War of the Worlds as Goku.

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