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Hanks dines with hawk for role

Berlin, Jan. 24 (AFP): Tom Hanks flew to Berlin this week for lunch with East Germanyís last Communist ruler Egon Krenz, who is serving jail time for the stateís shoot-to-kill policy against people who tried to flee to the West.

The daily Berliner Morgenpost reported today that Hanks, 46, invited Krenz to lunch in preparation for a film role as Dean Reed, a US country singer who lived in East Germany until his mysterious death in 1986.

Krenz, 65, who was a close friend of Reed, is serving his sentence in an open prison and is allowed out during the day.

The Academy Award winner and the former hardline leader chatted for an hour-and-a-half in the wine cellar of the posh restaurant Guy and talked about Krenzís memories of his friend, according to the report. Reed emigrated to East Germany for love in 1972. In 1986 he was found slumped in his car by a lake near Berlin with his throat slit.

East German authorities first described the incident as a tragic accident, then as the suicide of a heart-broken man.

His widow, East German actress Renate Blume, and friends told another story, claiming he was murdered by the Stasi secret police because he was fed up with the Stalinist state and wanted to return home to the US. The case has never been solved.

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