Scoop: Nicolas Cage gives back stolen dinosaur skull

Nicolas Cage has given back to Mongolia a dinosaur skull he bought from a Beverly Hills gallery. (Paul A. Hebert/Invision/AP)

In a story ripped straight from a Nicolas Cage film, the Oscar-winning actor has agreed to turn over a stolen dinosaur skull that he bought for $276,000 to the Mongolian government.

Cage had purchased the rare Tyrannosaurus bataar skull back in 2007, unaware that it had entered the country illegally, USA Today reported.

Alex Schack, a spokesman for Cage, told Reuters the “National Treasure” actor was contacted by the Department of Homeland Security in July 2014, and agreed to hand over the skull to U.S. authorities after investigation proved it had been taken illegally from Mongolia.

A civil forfeiture lawsuit to take possession of the skull was filed by U.S. attorney in Manhattan, Preet Bharara, last week.

Cage bought the skull from a Beverly Hills gallery, I.M. Chait, in March 2007, outbidding fellow actor Leonardo DiCaprio, according to reports at the time. Cage even received a certificate of authentication from the gallery.

According to the New York Times, Cage also is an avid collector of rare cars and comic books. In 2011, he sold a like-new copy of Action Comics No. 1, which featured the first appearance of Superman, for $2.1 million.


Drake Bell arrested for DUI

Drake Bell isn’t giving himself any breaks these days.

The former Nickelodeon star, 29, was arrested on suspicion of DUI in Glendale on Monday, according to Us and the Los Angeles Times, which reported that police pulled Bell over around 2:20 a.m. when he was seen “swerving and speeding” after an abrupt stop at a red light.

A police officer also smelled alcohol coming from his car.

Bell, who filed for bankruptcy in February 2014, was arrested after he failed a sobriety test.

TMZ also reports that he was driving 55 mph in a 35 mph zone. He was detained for nearly 10 hours before posting bail at $20,000.

Bell is best known for playing Drake in “Drake & Josh” from 2004 to 2007. He also starred opposite Amanda Bynes in “The Amanda Show” from 1999 to 2001.

QUICK TAKES
On social media, J.K. Rowling gave a thumbs up to the casting of black actress Noma Dumezweni to portray Hermione in “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” a play about the wizard and his pals as adults employed at the Ministry of Magic that’s slated to open July 2016 in London.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY

Singer Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam is 51. … Novelist Donna Tartt is 52. … Football coach Jim Harbaugh is 52. … Actress Susan Lucci is 69. … Actor-comedian Harry Shearer is 72. … Actor Frederic Forrest is 79.

— Wire reports

Got scoops or Bay Area gossip? Email scoop@sfexaminer.com

dinosaur skullDrake BellI.M. ChaitNicolas Cage

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Nicolas Cage, who unwittingly bought a stolen dinosaur skull from a Beverly Hills gallery, has agreed to return it to Mongolia. (Paul A. Hebert/ Invision/AP)

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