I’m going to have lots more form last night’s GLAAD Media Awards but wanted to first share with you the powerful speech from Scandal star Kerry Washington when she took the stage to accept the Vanguard Award at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.
‘I think some stuff needs to be said,’ Washington told the audience that included Ellen DeGeneres, Portia de Rossi, Channing Tatum, Patricia Arquette, Viola Davis, Andrew Rannells and Zoe Saldana, among others.
She then went on to say some stuff: ‘Women, poor people, people of color, people with disabilities, gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, trans people, intersex people — we have been pitted against each other and made to feel there are limited seats at the table for those of us who fall into the category of ‘other.’ As a result, we have become afraid of one another.
‘We compete with one another, we judge one another. Sometimes, we betray one another. Sometimes even within our own communities we designate who among us is best suited to represent us and who really shouldn’t even be invited to the party.’
Washington brought up DeGeneres’ very public coming out in 1997 and mentioned that it came just 30 years before the US Supreme Court ruled that the ban against interracial marriage was unconstitutional.
‘Up until then, heterosexual people of different races couldn’t marry who they wanted to marry either,’ she said.
‘When black people today tell me that they don’t believe in gay marriage… the first thing that I say is "please don’t let anybody try to get you to vote against your own best interest by feeding you messages of hate." Then I say "you know people used to say stuff like that about you and your love."’
Stephen Sondheim is responsible for such classic shows as A Little Night Music, Sweeney Todd, Follies, Company, and Sunday in the Park With George and wrote the lyrics for Gypsy and West Side Story just to name a handful.
He turns 85 years old today so it would be ridiculous not to feature numbers from his shows on Showtune Sunday.
But how do you decide?
Well, I’m going to make an executive decision and pick a handful of my favorites. But I’d love to hear what your faves are and next week we can do a reader’s choice column. If selected, I will include your name and what number you chose!
By the way, these photos are from Sondheim’s 80th birthday celebration when such Tony winning legends as Bernadette Peters, Patti LuPone, Elaine Stritch, Audra MacDonald and others performed his numbers.
The connection between Zachary Quinto and the late Leonard Nimoy went far beyond their shared role of Mr. Spock in the most recent Star Trek films.
‘We were very, very close and losing him was really difficult, obviously,’ Quinto said this week on Conan O’Brien’s late night show. ‘But I feel so grateful that I knew him and that he was such an instrumental figure in my life. He lived a beautiful life and a full life.’
Nimoy died on February 27, one month shy of his 84th birthday.
‘We’ll certainly miss him – he’s an amazing man,’ Quinto said. ‘He stood for and stands for such an ideal. He imbued that character (Mr. Spock) with so many of his finest qualities. He really carried that energy through his life – he was an incredibly generous and thoughtful and talented man.’
Quinto, currently starring in the NBC miniseries The Slap, added: ‘We should all be so lucky to live half as a fulfilled life as he did. There’s sadness but it’s tempered by the fullness of the life he lived.’
Today Rosie O’Donnell turns 53 so I’ve put together an appreciation for a woman who is much more professionally than two stormy seasons on The View.
Aside from her six seasons as host of The Rosie O’Donnell Show and nine Daytime Emmy wins for it, Rosie has had great success as an actress with some of my favorite roles being Betty Rubble in The Flintstones movie, Dawn Budge on Nip/Tuck and Gina in Beautiful Girls where her rant about men as she shops is one of my all-time faves.
Rosie has also been on Broadway in the musicals Grease (as Rizzo) and Seussical (as Cat in the Hat) and won a special Tony Award last year for her philanthropic work through Rosie’s Theatre Kids.
She’s one of a kind and whatever she decides to do next professionally, let’s hope it’s a good fit and makes her happy.
No one can say that Thomas Roberts hasn’t paid his dues.
For more than a year, the newsman rose well before dawn to host MSNBC’s Way to Early and to appear on the show that follows it, Morning Joe.
But three weeks ago, Roberts was moved to the afternoon shift on the cable network to take over a two-hour time block that had been formerly occupied by Ronan Farrow and Joy Reid.
In his first two-and-a-half weeks, Roberts has quickly more than doubled the ratings of Farrow and Reid who have been given other assignments at MSNBC.
AdWeek reports Roberts at 1pm ET has increased the hour by 20% in viewers and 37% in the coveted 25-54 age demographic versus the final two weeks of Farrow’s show. At 2pm ET, Roberts has increased viewership by2% and has grown the demographic by 14% compared to the final two weeks of Reid’s show.
Roberts is one of the highest-profile openly gay anchors in television news. He came out publicly in 2006 at a convention of gay and lesbian journalists in Miami when he was an anchor for CNN Headline News.
He has also hosted the Miss Universe pageant for NBC the past two years.
Imagine if there were only two seasons of HBO’s Sex and the City.
Carrie, Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte were just getting started by that time and went on to have four more glorious seasons and two feature films.
That’s the way a lot of us feel about Patrick, Dom, Agustin and the rest of the gang on HBO’s Looking which ends its second season on Sunday night.
The show has never been a huge ratings hit compared to Girls which follows it on the Sunday schedule.
I asked HBO’s President of Programming Michael Lombardo about the show’s fate last weekend at the Human Rights Campaign Dinner in Los Angeles where he was being honored.
‘It hasn’t been (renewed) yet,’ he said. ‘Wait and see.’
He had been quite chatty up until that question. I hope that’s not a bad sign.
At an Paley Center event in Beverly Hills a few weeks earlier, I chatted with cast members Jonathan Groff, Murray Bartlett, Frankie J Alvarez, Raul Castillo and Daniel Franzese about their characters, fan reaction, the show’s future and more.
On the show’s rabid fan base:
Groff: ‘This experience on Looking has been really amazing in particular. I’ve done things where people are like, "I love your show" or "I love that movie" or whatever. But when I meet a fan from Looking who comes up to you in the street, it’s very intense. Their opinions, their feelings, their passion for the show is really palpable and I love it. I love having moments with people on the street and talking about the stories. It’s nice to know that it’s resonating with people.’
Franzese: ‘I’ve always gotten a lot of love from Mean Girls and other projects but this has been overwhelming. Everyone really has been loving Eddie. I’ve been getting a lot of really great, energetic the HIV-positive community as well. I’m the only HIV-positive character on television currently.’
Castillo: ‘We have some really considerate, thoughtful fans – they respond to the show with passion and in a genuine way.’
Bartlett: ‘I feel that fan response has been really fantastic even more so this season – people have really responded to the show. As the show goes on, it gets more depth and more levels and the characters flesh out. I feel like our writers have done a really fantastic job of that this season. People are really responding to that and enjoying it.’
On playing their characters:
Groff (Patrick): ‘It’s a dream role, I have had the greatest time playing this character. I’ve never played a character that’s felt more personal before and I know all of us on the show feel a real personal attachment to it and a personal commitment to it. We’re trying to tell complicated, gay stories – not gay stereotypes. I know that we all feel really connected to that mission.’
Alvarez (Agustin): ‘I’m super thankful to the writers and the creator for making this incredibly complex and exciting character and being able to show up to the plate and try to hit a homerun every time.’
Bartlett (Dom): ‘It’s not smooth sailing for Dom. He’s trying to leave old versions of himself behind but that’s never easy. For me, it’s exciting to keep having obstacles for him to deal with and keep him searching for who he is and try to figure stuff out.’
Franzese (Eddie): ‘I’m a bigger hairy dude that’s seen as something other than comic relief. I’m able to be presented on a gay show as someone who’s pursued and desirable and I really love that. That’s what drew me to the character the most. I think it’s wonderful that somebody who is a larger HIV-positive dude can also find love which is not often seen in our narrative although it happens every day in our lives. I think it gives a little more hope to people when they are able to see themselves in different ways on television.’
On the Patrick-Kevin-Richie triangle:
Groff (Patrick):’That’s such an interesting love triangle between Kevin and Richie. I think it’s a credit to those actors that they both carry so much sex appeal and so much charisma and a testament to the writing that they’ve kept these stories alive and kept them interesting and kept them really surprising. I think it’s rare. Everyone has a different opinion. I’ve had texts from people saying, "Richie!" and some people saying, "Kevin!" It’s amazing that people get so invested and that it’s so split.’
Castillo (Richie): ‘The writers have done such a great job of exploring these sides of Patrick through Richie and Kevin. I think it’s very universal what those two characters bring out in people. I think people can identify with these characters. I think when they met on that train, that they identify something very special in each other. I don’t think that they knew it right away but I think it was revealed to them over the course of the first season. ‘
On working with each other:
Castillo on Groff: ‘You never know how these things are going to go. We didn’t know each other before the pilot. I feel so lucky to have just an incredible and giving and respectful and respecting scene partner. We have a lot of fun working together.’
Murray on Lauren Weedman (Doris): ‘The more I can work with Lauren, the better. The writing is really great and Lauren is just a force of nature. We fortunately really hit it off and have a fantastic time together. It is one of those magic things I guess where everything comes together and it works.’
On recurring guest star Scott Bakula:
Bartlett: ‘It was all kind of intense the first day we had him on set because we’re all big fans. It was a huge thrill. And he’s so down to Earth and genuine. This season, he’s doing NCIS (New Orleans) now so he would fly in – take the red eye – on a Friday night then do a full day. We adjusted our schedule so we could work with him on a Saturday. Then he’d fly back and do a full week of work (on NCIS) and then come back. He’s a super human, lovely man.’
On being out in real-life too:
Franzese: ‘(coming out) was so liberating. I feel like I took off a backpack full of bricks. What better life-affirming thing than to go onto a show where it is not only okay to be gay, but cool to be gay. I didn’t have to hide anything about me working on this role. In my entire career, this is the first time I felt totally comfortable – I let myself go on this set and I think it’s about time. I’ve been in this business 15 years and it was about time I was just able to go into something 100%.’
Bartlett: It was never something that I hid before. This show is based around gay characters there’s a lot more conversation about that so I get asked it more often I guess. It hasn’t really changed things except I get asked more of these questions.’
On the show’s uncertain future:
Alvarez: ‘If it were based on quality then we definitely deserve a pick up but it’s out of our control. I’m super proud of the second season and hopefully the powers the be will give us another chance to continue developing stories and living with these beautiful characters we all adore.’
Castillo: ‘I really hope that we get a season three. I think it would be a great gift to continue to explore these characters – I think we’ve just kind of scratched the surface.’
Bartlett: ‘I don’t think it’s the end. I don’t know what the future holds. I think there’s definitely more.’
Madonna has a message for designers Dolce & Gabbana: ‘Think before you speak.’
The Material Girl, who has been extremely high profile in recent weeks promoting her new album Rebel Heart, took to Instagram to deliver a message to the gay designers who have infuriated many.
They stated last week that ‘the only family is the traditional one’ and labeled as ‘synthetic’ children born through in vitro fertilization.
‘All babies contain a soul however they come to this earth and their families. There is nothing synthetic about a soul!! So how can we dismiss IVF and surrogacy?’ Madonna wrote.
She added: ‘Every soul comes to us to teach us a lesson. God has his hand in everything even technology! We are arrogant to think Man does anything on his own. As above so below! Think before you speak.,,,,,,,,,,,❤️’
Tonight is the series finale for Glee after six seasons on the air.
Matthew Morrison will be seen throughout the two-hour finale which is fitting since his character of Mr. Schuester is the reason there was a glee club at McKinley High in the first place.
The actor is already on to his next gig – the Broadway musical Finding Neverland. He has the leading role of Peter Pan creator J.M. Barrie.
Pre-Glee, Matthew had already been a smash on Broadway with the role of Link Larkin on Hairpsray and a Tony-nominated performance in The Light in the Piazza.
Now 36, Matthew got married last year to Renee Puente at a private home on the island of Maui.
Back in 2009, Matthew was forced to come out as straight after a writer for Elle Magazine assumed he was gay.
The topic was brought up again today in a HuffPost Live interview last year and here is what the actor had to say: ‘I don’t really care to be honest with you what people think. I know my own truth, I’m a very happy heterosexual man. But … I have a lot of gay friends and I’m a big supporter of gay rights and gay marriage. This is America, this is the land of freedom and opportunity and I think it’s kind of crazy that a loving or committed gay or lesbian couple can’t marry just because they’re different.”
He added: “I support my gay friends and they support me.”
Tom Goss posted this new video today – it’s Wait, the title track off his 2014 release.
Here is the synopsis: Tom has a new manager, and he’s in luck, the manager LOVES HIM! He’ll make sure that Tom is a star. But before he can do that, there’s just a few things that need to change… Watch as Tom tries to re-invent himself over and over, only to fail miserably each time. At least it’s entertaining.
Kathy Griffin may try to embarrass the hell out of Anderson Cooper each year when they co-host CNN’s New Year’s Eve coverage but the Silver Fox has still got her back.
On Wednesday’s night’s Watch What Happens Live after show, Cooper stood up for Griffin during a discussion about her well-publicized decision last week to quit as host of the E! show Fashion Police.
‘I’m on Team Griffin,’ said Cooper who accused Cohen of loving to ‘stir the pot.’
Griffin had said the show was not the right fit for her brand of humor and said in interviews she didn’t want to look at photos of celebrities and make fun of them.
Cohen, who is best friends with Cooper, said it was ‘the pot calling the kettle black.’
‘She’s like "Oh, I don’t want to make fun of anyone – this show is about making fun of people and the reason everyone loves Kathy Griffin is she makes fun of people constantly.’
Griffin had said in a Twitter statement that she did not want to ‘contribute to a culture of unattainable perfectionism and intolerence towards difference.’
Cohen said of that: ‘I just think if it wasn’t working, say it wasn’t working but don’t make it about body shaming. … I think she’s hilarious when she makes fun of Renee Zellweger and Oprah and my crossed eyes.’
Cooper said he thought Griffin ‘put out a long, well-written statement’ and had texted her a supportive message afterward.
‘I want nothing but the best for Kathy and I think she’s going to go on to bigger and better things,’ he said.
But Cooper was not as complimentary about her former Fashion Police co-hosts.
Not naming names, he said: ‘I don’t understand some of the other folks who are on that show. I would watch that show for Kathy Griffin. Some of the other people I’m like, "I don’t get why this person’s on television."’
In recent months on NBC’s Days of Our Lives, the character of Will Horton has cheated on his husband, Sonny Kiriakis, and is now trying to blackmail the mother of Paul Narita, the man he slept with who also happens to be his husband’s ex.
Will also had the nerve to suggest that since Sonny had previously proposed to Paul, he was simply in a rush to marry anybody.
It’s a real turn for Will who viewers came to adore as he struggled with being gay and eventually came out to all of Salem and fell in love with Sonny.
Guy Wilson stepped into the role of Will in early 2014, replacing the popular Chandler Massey who played the role for four years.
I recently had a nice chat with Guy about the evolution of his character, about the love scenes between he and Freddie Smith (Sonny) and Christopher Sean (Paul), and a bit about his predecessor Massey.
Q. Your character is really in the thick of it right now and testing us with his infidelity and his reaction to Sonny previously having with Paul. What was it like filming all of those confrontation scenes?
A. As a performer, it was immeasurably fun to really use some dark terrible things that enabled Freddie Smith and I to go places with our characters where we hadn’t gone before. So now we have this level of strife and conflict. Sonny and Will have had their conflicts before but for them to be so engaged against each other, it’s new territory for us as actors as well as the characters. This was really a turning point for us in how we were able to really define the relationship of Sonny and Will. Moving forward, there’s going to be a new dimension that can’t be taken away. Sonny and Will have now gone to this dark area that no relationship is immune to, gay or straight it doesn’t matter because these things happen, it’s another way to make this relationship even more fully fleshed out – much more true to life.’
Q. What was it like filming the scenes in the hotel room between Will and Paul. You guys were hot together.
A. Thank you, that is the greatest compliment. What was interesting was that in doing a lot of the lovemaking scenes with Freddie, because the characters of Sonny and Will were in love, it’s so easy and kind of comes naturally – especially since Freddie and I have a natural rapport. But doing these scenes with Christopher Sean, they more or less come from a primal place of lust. As a straight man, I had to really approach it in a different way. I realize this is a different relationship than what Will has with Sonny so what Freddie and I do to prepare for those scenes is completely different. So for Christopher Sean and I to get ready to do these very lusty sexual scenes, it was coming from a place that I had never come from before as a professional performer. We were insecure about it coming off as authentic and that it would be believable because it’s just different for us in terms of how we live our lives. Now that it;s all been done, it’s fun and I can look back and think, “I did that, I’m proud of that.” And now, it informs even more who the character is’
Q. You’re kind of seen as a villain now and we’re not used to that with Will because he’s been sort of beloved. Sure he got Gabi pregnant but we sort of forgave him. The fans are so opinionated about this.
A. It makes sense for Will to go this route when you take into consideration who his mother is. He’s very much Sami Brady’s son. The void left by EJ DeMira and Sami, it makes sense that Will would, in times of crisis, evolve into a villain. But he does not think of himself as a villain. He thinks of himself now and moving forward as having to protect what’s his. Now that his marriage is in jeopardy, he’ll do whatever it takes,
Q. And this evolution for Will has happened since you took over for Chandler Massey who played Will right up to shortly before Will and Sonny got married.
A. What Chandler had the privilege of doing and what he handled so wonderfully well was the coming out story and he really took Will into that place and he did a great job with it. I can’t make Will gay again. So now to have this new benchmark in Will’s life and in his development, I’m very excited to be able to have something like this that I can help guide Will into the next stage of his life. Will is a very important character, he’s been around for a generation. So now, as it relates to the fans, I’m getting a lot of heat but really what matters to me is that people are still watching the show and still feeling connected and having an emotional response whether it’s positive or negative – it just means they’re watching the story. No matter how bad Will is, it enables other people to do good things. You see a lot of new things come from Sonny and from Paul. I’m excited that there are these momentous life moments happening for Will now that he’s a young adult – he’s no longer a boy.’
Sending out good wishes to the legendary Liza Minnelli who has checked in to a rehab facility in Malibu to be treated for alcohol abuse.
The Oscar-Emmy-Tony winner turned 69 recently and it’s good to see that she wants to take care of herself.
Her rep said in a statement: “Liza Minnelli has valiantly battled substance abuse over the years and whenever she has needed to seek treatment she has done so. She is currently making excellent progress at an undisclosed facility.”
We all know this is not Liza’s first time in rehab but she keeps fighting the good fight and has managed to survive and thrive for a long time – and we want her around a lot longer.
“My whole life, this disease has been rampant,” she said in 2008. “I inherited it, and it’s been horrendous, but I have always asked for help.”
The TCM Classic Film Festival, one of my absolute favorite events all year, will begin a week from today without its rock star.
He’s Robert Osborne, the face of TCM Classics, and a beloved presence during this four day event in Hollywood.
Osborne fully plans to attend next year.
He’s released a letter explaining why he will be absent. Here it is in its entirety.
I’m Robert Osborne and I want to tell you about a funny thing that happened to me on the way to this year’s Film Festival. I’ve been putting off a minor health procedure (as everyone tends to do now and then). I planned to take care of it as soon as the Festival was over but my doctor said, “enough already, Osborne. Let’s get this done now so that sooner rather than later you can get back to introducing movies on TCM.” So that’s what I’m in the process of doing right now—taking care of that medical procedure.
The downside is that it means I won’t be joining you at this year’s Festival in Hollywood—very disappointing for me because for the past six years the TCM Classic Film Festival has been one of the things I’ve enjoyed most: sharing the Festival with you, the great sense of community we have, the conversations with so many of you Festival goers as well as the gifted actors and artisans who are part of the classic films we show, the pure joy of it all. But as we all know, one’s health is a gift, and has to be protected and put first. Rest assured that the many talented hosts at the Festival, including Ben Mankiewicz, will be helping you have the very best Festival going experience.
I know you’ll enjoy the wonderful films we have programmed, and meeting the gifted artists who are participating in this exceptional event. Enjoy every moment of it and make as many memories and new friends as you can. And rest assured, I’ll be seeing you again, very soon.