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“Who’s the Boss” alum Danny Pintauro on why he can’t pretend to call himself an activist … yet

Danny Pintauro is in the middle of quite a media whirlwind this week that continues today with an appearance on The View then HuffPost Live.

Before last weekend’s episode of Oprah Winfrey’s Where Are They Now? thrust him back into the spotlight, we heard very little from the former Who’s the Boss star.

Danny has also been talking this week about his decision to go public about being HIV positive on such shows as Entertainment Tonight and E! News Daily.

On Wednesday night, Danny posted a column on Facebook that he wrote before the Oprah appearance. He shares why he’s decided to become an activist at the age of 39 and what he hopes to accomplish.

‘I can’t pretend to call myself an activist … yet,’ he writes.

‘For the past fifteen years I would say I was one step above ‘neutral’ when it comes to being an ‘activist’ — especially when it comes to issues with the LGBTQ community…. For many of those years I was too lost in my own life crisis’s (note the plural) to spend much time worrying about the ‘greater good.’ For instance: a lot of the time I was worried about paying my bills or having my power turned off because I couldn’t pay my bills, for most of that time I was trying to figure out who I wanted to be when I grew up, for almost all of that time I grappled with being HIV positive, and for some of that time I grappled with meth…. But for every moment of the last fifteen years I felt like figuring me out was more important.’

Danny came out in 1997, five years after Who’s the Boss had ended its eight year run on ABC.

‘But at that time, only a small handful of celebrities had already come out, I was trying not to drown in my classes at Stanford, my parents were less than cooperative, I was barely grasping what it meant to NOT be a child celebrity, and I barely knew what being gay meant for ME … not a good combination to become a ‘Beacon of Light’ or ‘Activist.’ I regret that.’

But now he’s ready: ‘ … The fates allow everything to fall together in just the right way to make it clear to you that the time is finally right. I have a husband who is negative and loves all of my baggage, I’m finally happy, I’ve been financially secure for two plus years, I’m 100% comfortable with being positive, and I’m ready to take on the ‘greater good.’


Jennifer Grey says dad Joel Grey is ‘a lot happier’ since coming out publicly as a gay man

A lot of people were happy for 83-year-old Joel Grey when he decided to publicly come out as a gay man earlier this year.

It’s never too late!

According to the Oscar winner’s daughter, Dirty Dancing star Jennifer Grey, there’s no one happier about it than her father himself.

‘He’s a lot more gay! she joked this week at the premiere of her new series Red Oaks. ‘The truth is, he’s a lot happier. He feels very light, his energy feels light and joyful.It feels like there’s just more of a skip in his step. And it just feels like he’s alive.’

She added: ‘When he came out, I was so thrilled for him and for anybody who is able to fully be themselves without having any secrets and without having to make any excuses and without having any loss of self-esteem, and just declare, this is who I am.’

Joel Grey won the Oscar and Tony for playing the Master of Ceremonies in Cabaret on Broadway and in the 1972 film version. He was married to actress Jo Wilder for 24 years and are the parents of Jennifer and son James Grey, who is a chef. They divorced in 1982.

He was at the Red Oaks event in support of his daughter and said of life since coming out:

‘No different! I’m the same guy. I’m pretty happy.’


See Tom Daley’s sweet Instagram post about his engagement to Dustin Lance Black

UPDATE: Dustin Lance Black posted the identical photo on Facebook and writes: Thank you so much for all of the kind words and well wishes. Dream come true. ‪#‎IsaidYES‬ then ‪#‎HeSaidYes‬

FILE UNDER: Marriage

Friday Morning Man: Jason Looney!

Last week, had dinner with a friend at The Kitchen, one of my favorite restaurants in Silver Lake. After, we went next door to have a drink at Akbar.

While there, we ran into this handsome young actor named Jason Looney who I had also seen several times just a few days earlier at the Cinema Diverse Film Festival in Palm Springs.

Jason should be familiar to eagle-eyed viewers of Days of Our Lives as a guy named Jason who works behind the bar at Sonny and Chad’s club. His lines usually are limited to something like, “Sonny, Will was looking for you.”

But he’s on long enough for you to say: ‘Who is the cute blond guy behind the bar?’

We got to see a lot more of Jason on his popular web series Not Looking which recently wrapped its second season. Jason is not only one of the show’s stars, he also wrote, directed and produced the episodes.

You gotta respect someone who makes things happen for himself. (You can see Not Looking episodes HERE).

As Jason works on his own projects, he has also done several TV guest spots on such shows as Devious Maids, Shameless and One Tree Hill.

Good luck to Jason in all he does – hope to run in to him again sometime soon!

FILE UNDER: Morning Men (2015)

President Obama angrily addresses UCC shooting: “We collectively are answerable to those families who lose their loved ones”

President Barack Obama stepped out today to make remarks about what is the 15th mass shooting of his presidency. It took place this morning at Umpqua Community College in Oregon and left ten dead and another seven wounded.

With less than 16 months left in his presidency, Obama can speak his mind and he certainly did so today. Above are his full remarks, below are some excerpts:

“This is a political choice that we make to allow this to happen every few months in America,” the President told reporters. “We collectively are answerable to those families who lose their loved ones.”

“Somehow this has become routine. The reporting is routine. My response here at this podium ends up being routine,” a clearly frustrated president said. “We’ve become numb to this.”

“We’ve talked about this after Columbine and Blacksburg, after Tucson, after Newtown, after Aurora, after Charleston,” he continued, rattling off the names of cities where other mass shootings have taken place. “It cannot be this easy for someone who wants to inflict harm on other people to get his or her hands on a gun. … There is a gun for roughly every man woman and child in America…How can you with a straight face make an argument that more guns make us safer?”

FILE UNDER: Politics

Nick Jonas on his very different gay roles on TV’s “Scream Queens” and “Kingdom”

Cutie pie Nick Jonas is already all the rage with gay fans and has only become more popular since he began portraying gay men on two different TV series.

While he has acknowledged consciously courting gay fans when it comes to his music, Jonas claims he’s not that calculated when it comes to choosing acting roles.

His roles are ‘not based on whether the character is gay or straight, but about what the story is and what the audience is going to get out of it,’ Jonas tells USA Today.

He is playing two very different kind of gay men. On Fox’s Scream Queens, Jonas plays a preppy college student while on Direct TV’s Kingdom, he plays a deeply closeted fighter.

‘In the case of Scream Queens, there’s comedy within the role and I think at its core it really is a social commentary about stereotypes and breaking down some of those barriers. (Creator) Ryan Murphy obviously does that so well.’

Of Kingdom he says: ‘My character is going through a really different journey where he’s struggling with who he is. I think that’s a highly relatable story line that a lot of my fans, both gay and straight, have come and told me that that’s been incredibly important for them: to see the journey he’s on and to know they’re not alone, whatever it is that they’re going through in their life that makes them feel different or strange. There’s real peace and a community and a story being told that feels honest and grounded.’

FILE UNDER: Actors/Actresses

Following US Open heartbreak, Serena Williams puts an abrupt end to her 2015 season

When Serena Williams lost to Roberta Vinci in the semifinals of the US Open, it didn’t just put an end to her grand slam dreams.

It also ended her season.

Williams confirmed today what many had suspected: she will not be playing for the rest of the year.

Serena, who turned 34 last week, withdrew from the China Open and the season-ending WTA Championships which she has won five times.

“My journey in tennis this year has been at times exhilarating, at times disappointing,” Williams said in a statement. “I’ve played injured most of the year—whether it was my elbow, my knee, or in the finals moments after a certain match in Flushing, my heart. I’m a fierce competitor and I want to compete as well as I can, for as long as I can. This is a very difficult decision, but one ultimately made because of the love of the game.”

It’s a big loss for the women’s game with Serena by far the biggest star. But hopefully this means she will be refreshed and hungry when it comes time to play the Australian Open in January.


Lunch Break Video: Spaniards react to homophobia in a way we wish everyone in US would

I just finished writing about a homophobe over at Gay Star News so this video came at a really good time. In this video, an American couple traveling in Spain is seen asking various Spaniards to help them translate a letter giving them directions to their hostel. The letter includes homophobic insults and the people translating are just not having it. They are outraged and some get emotional.

“Here in Spain, you cannot say this,” says one man. “You can take this to the police and they can close his business.”

Jane Fonda to be honored by Los Angeles LGBT Center with award to be presented by Lily Tomlin

The Los Angeles LGBT Center’s 46th Anniversary Gala Vanguard Awards is going to be one for the ages.

The Center has announced that film legend and activist Jane Fonda will be honored at the November 7 event with an award to be presented by her Grace and Frankie and Nine to Five co-star Lily Tomlin.

“This honor means a lot to me. The work that the Center does for the LGBT community, its children and extended families is profound and essential,” Fonda said in a statement.

Tomlin, a longtime supporter of The Center, had this to say: “Since long before I worked with Jane, I was in awe of her energy, activism and generosity. Three decades later, I am still in awe of her and feel truly privileged to bestow this well-deserved honor. She has earned this over and over and over in her lifetime.”

Fonda was an early LGBT activist who campaigned with Harvey Milk in the late 1970s against California’s anti-LGBT Briggs Initiative which sought to ban gays and lesbians from working in public schools.

Also being honored is Oscar-nominated screenwriter Ron Nyswaner who wrote Philadelphia, the first major studio film to address homophobia and AIDS. Nyswaner also wrote and received a Peabody Award for Soldier’s Girl, which tells the true-life story of transgender heroine Calpernia Addams. The film starred Fonda’s son, Troy Garrity, and Lee Pace as Addams.

Nyswaner’s latest film is Freeheld which hits theaters in LA on Friday. It tells the true story of Laurel Hester (Julianne Moore), a police detective with incurable lung cancer who fought a legal battle to have her pension benefits left to her domestic partner Stacie Andree (Ellen Page).

He also is the co-creator of the Nyswaner/Salzman Film Archive, the fourth largest LGBT film archive in the United States.

His award will be presented by Oscar and Emmy-winning actress Frances McDormand.


Dustin Lance Black and Tom Daley are engaged!

This is awfully sweet.

Oscar winner Dustin Lance Black and 2012 Olympic Bronze Medalist Tom Daley have announced their engagement after more than two years together.

They made the announcement in the back of The Times newspaper this morning.

The announcement in the Births, Marriages and Death section read: ‘The engagement is announced between Tom, son of Robert and Debra Daley of Plymouth, and Lance, son of Jeff Bisch of Philadelphia and Anne Bisch of Lake Providence.’

Earlier this year, Daley opened up in The Guardian about how falling in love with Black quickly answered for him any questions about his sexuality.

The couple first met in March of 2013 in Los Angeles at a dinner party held by a mutual friend.

“I’d never had feelings for a person along those lines. I’d been in relationships with girls where I’d had sexual feelings, but it became so much more intense when I met Lance. I thought, ‘Whoa, this is weird. Why am I having these feelings for somebody?’ It freaked me a little bit initially, but then it was like, ‘OK, this makes sense’. Lots of things started to make sense.”

“I always knew that I had that attraction to guys, but I just thought that was a usual thing, being attracted to guys and girls. It was only when I met Lance I started having such strong feelings.”

It’s his first relationship with a guy and one in which they are not dependent on each other.

“It makes it so much easier, being with someone who gets having to work really hard, and gets how we have other things in our life that we want to be successful at,” Daley says. “And we’ve both worked really hard all our lives to get things we want. I want an Olympic gold medal; he wants a smash hit in the box office or a really good film.”


There Is Nothin Like A Dame! Wishing a happy 80th birthday to Dame Julie Andrews!

There are stars and there are stars.

Julie Andrews is the real deal.

This legendary star of the classic films The Sound of Music, Mary Poppins, Victor/Victoria and Thoroughly Modern Millie and of Broadway’s Camelot and My Fair Lady turns 80 today.

The Hollywood legend with the amazing vocal range had her vocal chords damaged during a botched operation in 1997 and she has been unable to appear in any musicals since then.

But she hasn’t stopped working in films with The Princess Diaries and its sequel to her credit as well as the Shrek franchise.

She has also penned her memoirs and a series of popular children’s books.

At least we will always be able to hear that glorious voice by watching her classic movies and TV appearances. Here are four for you:

FILE UNDER: Birthdays

Morning Man Classic: George Peppard!

The luminous Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly isn’t the only reason why I’ve watched Breakfast at Tiffanys more than 100 times.

I fell hard for the beautiful George Peppard as Paul Varjak, a young writer being kept by the older married woman played by Patricia Neal.

It was a gorgeous performance that made Peppard a major film star for a time. He went on to appear in the epic western How the West Was Won and the dramatic saga The Carpetbaggers. After his film stardom faded, Peppard turned to television starring in the 70s series Banacek and the 80s hit The A Team. He was originally cast as Blake Carrington in Dynasty but was fired after the pilot after clashing with producers.

The actor was just 65 and battling lung cancer when he died in 1994 of pneumonia. Today is the 87th anniversary of Peppard’s birth so it seemed like just as good a time as any to feature his young self on the blog.

FILE UNDER: Morning Men (2015)

Late Night Video: See Stephen Colbert’s thoughtful interview with the extraordinary Ellen Page

Ellen Page is out doing heavy promotion for her new film Freeheld and I’m so glad because she has a lot to say.

Ellen was on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert yesterday and it was a smart and thoughtful conversation between two smart and thoughtful people.

Imagine that.

Ellen talked about how coming out publicly in February 2014 has impacted her life: “I feel so grateful for it. I feel so grateful to feel how I feel now, compared to [how I felt] when I was a closeted person. It’s not a nice place to be. [Staying in the closet] is toxic.”

She was “sad” about keeping her sexuality a secret and adds: “I wish that no one had to live that way.”

Ellen has had her rough times personally but she is aware that as a famous actress, she has it better than most: “As a person I’m a very privileged gay person and those who are affected the most in our community are the most vulnerable. And I feel very grateful to be able to talk about things or share stories and meet incredibly inspiring people and have connections with people. … It really changes minds, it touches people’s hearts and makes it shift from seeing something as ‘other’ or ‘different’ to of course realizing that we are all the same and all we’re asking for is equality.

‘We want to] grow up in a society that doesn’t make us feel less than, doesn’t make us feel shame.’

Well said Ellen!

FILE UNDER: Late Night

Alyssa Milano on how she and Danny Pintauro lost touch: “We didn’t have cell phones or Facebook or anything”

Alyssa Milano was in tears this week on The Talk when she talked about her former Who’s the Boss co-star Danny Pintauro’s disclosure recently that he is HIV positive.

Although her co-stars Judith Light and Tony Danza had long been aware of the news, Milano found out along with the rest of the public.

It seems the two former child stars did not stay in touch at all after the ABC sitcom ended its eight-year run in 1992.

Explains Alyssa: ‘Danny and I didn’t talk for many years after the show was over. When the show ended, it was a different time. We didn’t have cell phones or Facebook or anything. I would have been calling his parents house saying, “Hi! Can I talk to Danny?” (laughs). We didn’t have anything, no testing or anything. I’d lost contact with him for a long time.’

The two certainly went in different directions more than two decades ago. While Pintauro graduated from Stanford University, he did little acting. Milano went on to become a cast member on Melrose Place then spent eight years on the TV series Charmed. More recently, she starred in the ABC series Mistresses.

FILE UNDER: Television

Kim Kardashian talks about Caitlyn Jenner with Ellen

The big Caitlyn Jenner news for the day is that the DA in Los Angeles will not be charging her criminally in the Malibu car crash that left a woman dead.

Also today, her stepdaughter Kim Kardashian guested on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and chatted about Caitlyn. Some of it has been covered in KUWTK episodes but especially interesting is the discussion about whether Caitlyn will be dating men or women.

‘Kim asked Caitlyn about it recently: ‘That’s not where her mind wants to go.’


Despite the risks, Neil Patrick Harris explains why he would only do NBC’s “Best Time Ever” if it was live

Caught the third episode of Best Time Ever last night and I officially love it. Neil Patrick Harris is really finding his groove as host and the live format gives the show an extra edge. Last night, heavy winds in Chicago forced the show to scrap a stunt with a big inflatable slide with an engaged couple who were trying to win a trip to Australia.

Instead, some hilarious video clips involving Cobie Summers - meant for a future episode – were used instead.

NPH talked to the Wall Street Journal about the live element of the show:

I’ve only considered it an option as being live. If it were not, it would need to be produced in a way that guaranteed results. But that’s why you want to watch it, because you’re never sure how it’s going to go. Is the person going to win the money? Is the End of the Show Show going to succeed? Is the audience on the couch going to be surprised? If that was pre-taped, you’d just assume that there has been a lot of editing. I’ve been very opinionated about having the authenticity of guests be real. I do not want to be casting only people that are perky, young, fun, enthusiastic types who will be good on TV. If we pull out the name of someone for the game and they’re not into it, or terrified, or a dud, that’s great. I can riff off of that all show long. I don’t know that NBC feels the same way I do, because they understandably want to make sure it’s very view-able television. But throw me curve balls, and I’ll take a crack at them.


LA District Attorney’s office: Caitlyn Jenner won’t be charged in fatal Malibu car crash

Caitlyn Jenner won’t face criminal charges in connection with a car crash in Malibu last February that left one woman dead.

The Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office announced today that Jenner would not face manslaughter or other charges.

Sheriff’s investigators had found that Jenner was driving ‘unsafe for the prevailing road conditions’ because her SUV rear-ended another vehicle and caused a chain-reaction that resulted in the death of a 69-year-old Kim Howe.

The Lexus being driven by Howe was pushed it into oncoming traffic on Pacific Coast Highway.

Jenner has said she remembers ‘very little’ about the collision but told Matt Lauer earlier this month that she was driving under the speed limit.

‘I remember it happening. That’s about it,’ she said. ‘A tragedy like this, you’ll never get over it. You just learn to live with it the best you possibly can.’

Jenner had said being charged and being sentenced to jail was a ‘worst case scenario.’

‘The media wants that picture, don’t they?’ Jenner told Lauer on NBC’s The Today Show. ‘That is the worst case scenario. I don’t know. We’ll see. The men’s county jail. It is an enormous problem that they would put trans-women in a men’s county jail.’

FILE UNDER: Transgender

Round-up of “Show People” episodes with Jonathan Groff, David Burtka & Andrew Rannells

I somehow managed to get far behind in watching episodes of Show People with Paul Wontorek which is just a terrific talk show with Broadway stars.

I love it because it’s a real conversation about theater and showbiz and the guests seem to have a real level of comfort and confidence in the host who is just a treasure trove of information so he’s able to bring out the best in guests.

I watched several episodes last night and really enjoyed these three from earlier this year with three talented openly gay performers: David Burtka, Jonathan Groff and Andrew Rannells.

Especially noteworthy is the conversation with Burtka because we don’t get many sitdown interviews with David without his famous husband Neil Patrick Harris.

FILE UNDER: Broadway

Wednesday Morning Man: Jacob Soboroff!

I’ve become quickly smitten with Jacob Soboroff who made his debut earlier this month as a correspondent for MSNBC.

He did a story yesterday from Bakersfield, CA,, the home district of Rep. Kevin McCarthy who could become the next speaker of the House. He had a white T-shirt on and jeans and looked like a cute college kid out there talking to residents.

Soboroff is smart, asks good questions and is just a natural on the air.

He was previously the host of YouTube Nation and the co-host of TakePart Live on Pivot TV. He was also a founding host and producer of HuffPost Live, the live streaming network of The Huffington Post.

Soboroff was a contributor to MTV’s 2012 presidential election coverage and is familiar to AMC viewers from his work interviewing actors and filmmakers at film festivals around the world.

FILE UNDER: Morning Men (2015)

Venus Williams achieves landmark 700th career win

She may have long ago been overshadowed by her younger sister Serena but things like this remind us that Venus Williams is a tennis legend in her own right.

Earlier today, Venus recorded her 700th career win at a tournament in China. She’s only the ninth female player in history to reach that milestone. The only other active player in the exclusive club is Serena Williams with 737.

Among Venus’ 46 titles during her 21 year pro career are five Wimbledons, two US Opens and an Olympic Gold Medal won at the 2000 Summer Games.

The other seven players in the elite 700-plus club are Martina Navratilova (1,442 wins), Chris Evert (1,309), Steffi Graf (902), Virginia Wade, (839) Arantxa Sanchez (759), Lindsay Davenport (753) and Conchita Martinez (739).

Now 35 years old, Venus is ranked 24th in the world and made it to the quarterfinals of the US Open earlier this month losing to Serena in three tough sets.