It’s going to be quite a collection of Broadway divas gathered to pay tribute next month to one of the grandest divas of them all: Elaine Stritch.
The great Stritch died in July at the age of 89 and will be remembered on Nov. 17 in a Broadway-sized show called Everybody, Rise! A Celebration of Elaine Stritch at the Al Hirschfeld Theater.
The show will feature Tony winning divas Bernadette Peters, Patti LuPone, Betty Buckley and Christine Ebersole as well as Michael Feinstein and Hal Prince, among others.
Director and playwright George C. Wolfe, who is constructing the tribute, told The New York Times: “Elaine lived on so many of these stages, and she loved to perform, so it just seemed the fun, smart and correct thing to do.”
To mark Spirit Day on Thursday, a number of celebrities wore purple and millions of other people decided to “go purple” online in a united stand against bullying and to show their support for LGBT youth.
Emmy nominated actress Laverne Cox took things a step further when she took part in lighting New York City’s famed Empire State Building purple for the night.
The Orange is The New Black star, who has become one of the most famous transgender people in the US this year, told the crowd at the lighting ceremony about why the effort to stop bullying is so close to her heart.
‘The issue of bullying is so deeply personal to me because I spent much of my youth being bullied, being called names. being chased home from school practically every day by groups of kids who wanted to beat me up and far too many LGBTQ youth are enduring the same thing across (the US) and it’s unacceptable.
‘I want LGBTQ youth to know that they are beautiful, that they are divinely made and that their lives mater.’
Other celebrities who wore purple and posted it on social media were tennis legend Billie Jean King, singer Demi Lovato, stars of the sitcom MomAnna Faris and Allison Janney, singer Billy Ray Cyrus, the hosts of CBS’ The Talk, actor Beau Bridges and MSNBC Morning Joe personalities Thomas Roberts and Mika Brzezinski.
There are no real surprises in a report released today about the death last month of the late, great Joan Rivers.
She died from a lack of oxygen to her brain during a medical procedure to deal with changes to her voice as well as problems with acid reflex.
A report released today by the New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner revealed that the 81-year-old dynamo was sedated with Propofol during the procedure and determined what happened to be a ‘therapeutic complication.’
Melissa Rivers did not comment directly on the ruling but said in a statement: ‘We continue to be saddened by our tragic loss and grateful for the enormous outpouring of love and support from around the world.’
The procedure was taking place at Yorkville Endoscopy in New York City and her death led to an investigation of the clinic by the state health department.
The language from the official report states the death was caused by ‘anoxic encephalopathy due to hypoxic arrest during laryngoscopy and upper gastrointestinal endoscopy with propofol sedation for evaluation of voice changes and gastroesophageal reflux disease.’
At the time of her death, Joan was enjoying one of the busiest periods of her long career. She was host of weekly show Fashion Police, starred with daughter Melissa in a reality show, had her own web interview show, was performing stand-up dates and had authored a best-selling comedy book released during the summer.
It’s such a major loss still being felt by so many.
After playing a transgender woman who is a punk rock singer in Hedwig and the Angry Inch, I wouldn’t think there are many things that scare Neil Patrick Harris.
But the prospect of hosting the Oscars sure did.
“I’ve been in the hosting world for a little while and the Oscars has been that show that I was terrified to take on, but had never been asked to do,” Harris said in an interview with Z100.
‘So when Neil Meron and Craig Zadan, the producers of the show, they just reach out to someone, and thankfully, I think with the help of ‘Gone Girl’ and ‘A Million Ways to Die in the West,’ I had a couple more feature film credits than I did before and that definitely helps with the Academy and their decision making. It’s weirdly one of those things that you don’t know when it’s happening and you don’t reach out for it and present yourself, you just sometimes get a call.”
Is he excited to host Hollywood’s biggest night?
“Partly, I’m that way, and partly I’m reticent because I’ve always thought and said it’s the big target and as exciting as it is it’s potentially lose-lose in various ways because it’s just such a big show.”
We are so amazed at the longevity at Cher, 68 and Barbra Streisand, 72.
Well, they are just kids compared to amazing Angela Lansbury.
Miss Lansbury, the winner of a record-tying five Tony Awards, has had an A-list career that has spanned seven decades. She turned 89 today and is still going strong.
She was signed on at MGM way back in 1942 and soon after earned Oscar nominations for Gaslight (1944) and The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945). Her third Oscar nod came for 1962′s The Manchurian Candidate. Last year, she received an Honorary Oscar for her career in films which also includes National Velvet, The Harvey Girls, State of the Union, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, Death on the Nile and The Mirror Crack’d.
She would later go on to star for 12 seasons as Jessica Fletcher on CBS’s Murder She Wrote and be nominated for a total of 18 Emmy Awards for that and other television work. Where is her Lifetime Achievement Emmy television academy? It’s certainly deserved.
While Lansbury never won a competitive Oscar or the Emmy, she was showered with Tonys winning for her Broadway roles in Gypsy, Mame, Dear World, Sweeney Todd and Blythe Spirit. She was also nominated in recent years for the play Deuce and the musical A Little Night Music.
In 2012, Miss Lansbury starred in the Broadway revival of the Gore Vidal play The Best Man and was nominated for a Drama Desk Award. Last year, she starred with James Earl Jones in an Australian tour of Driving Miss Daisy.
She is one for the ages and below are three musical performances of Miss Lansbury’s that I especially like. The third video, Everything’s Coming Up Roses, doesn’t have sound for about the first 40 seconds but it will come on and you won’t miss a thing!
Am so sad to report that the wonderful actress Elizabeth Pena died today at the age of 55.
I was such a big fan of hers – especially of her work in the late, great Showtime series Resurrection Blvd.
Her film and television credits spanned such films as Lone Star, Jacob’s Ladder and Rush Hour to parts on such TV shows as Modern Family.
Pena most recently appeared on the El Rey Network drama Matador.
I interviewed the actress in 2008 for the LA Daily News.
Here are some highlights:
Resurrection Blvd lasted only three seasons on Showtime from 2000-2002 but fans of the show will never forget it. Elizabeth had a meaty role as Beatrice “Bibi” Corrales, sister-in-law to Tony Plana’s ex-boxer character who had a large brood of adult children, two of whom were boxers. The family dealt with all kinds of drama including when Bibi’s son turns out to be gay.
“I’m the one who posed that my son should come out and be gay,” she said. “We were in a household of testosterone boxers and what would happen if my son was gay? In Elzabeth Pena’s world, that means nothing but you have to see yourself through Bibi’s world and that would be something she has no information about.”
Elizabeth is a woman who speaks her mind and that’s what makes her such an interesting interview. I wondered about what it’s like to try and land good roles in film and on television: “There are no roles for women in America, lead roles, that are written for women over the age of 30. A co-starring role has maybe a 35-year-old playing 42. The reason I was drawn to (“Garcia Girls”) is because it’s a women-driven piece with wonderful roles that explores female sexuality beyond a certain age. In the movies, women don’t have sex after 40. If they do, they get raped. But you can see a 72-year-old man going at it (with a much younger female) and it’s accepted.”
I had heard that Elizabeth was set to be cast in the 1993 film “The House of Spirits” which starred Meryl Streep, Jeremy Irons, Glenn Close, Wynona Ryder and others all playing hispanic people.
“I had read the the novel and I loved it,” she remembered. “Now it comes time, they
are casting it. They offered me a wonderful role, a whore. I was ecstatic! That’s a great
role. I was fine. But then I find out the only female hispanic in the movie is Catherine the
whore! I’m sorry, but aren’t all the characters hispanic?”
She turned the role down and the movie was a major flop despite the A-list talent involved: “I like to make money as much as the next person but I also didn’t want to be an artistic whore.”
Not that she’s overly picky. If she didn’t take on roles in bigger commercial hits like “Rush Hour” and “The Incredibles” and do various TV guest spots and voiceover work, “I’d be in my house doing laundry all day.”
US readers are probably not aware of this guy but when he came out recently on live TV, it was big news in the UK.
He’s reality show star Charlie King who appears on TOWIE.
“I just felt that I was ready to tell my story,” Charlie tells Attitude. “People have followed my story on TOWIE, and they’ve questioned me and now it felt like the right time to put it out there.”
He adds: I’m a little bit overwhelmed by the response, because suddenly you get a hell of a lot of interest. I’ve got loads of new Twitter followers and lots of Facebook friend requests. I’m going to let it die down a bit, I’m not going to go and get busy. I’m going to take my time.”
I had a good gab with Jane Velez-Mitchell a few years back at an event and thought she was mighty cool.
So I’m sad to hear that her nightly show on HLN has been canceled and her entire staff let go.
HLN and CNN are having massive layoffs (about 1,500 expected) over the next few weeks.
Jane is one of the most high-profile gay persons in TV each night and I hope she will be able to land on the air somewhere else soon.
During our chat in 2012, she told me
she has not had a single regret since going public about her sexuality.
‘We are part of the culture, we are part of the fabric of America and we should celebrate that,’ she said. ‘People think your sexual orientation is about sex. Even if it is a little bit about that, it’s also about identity. I really feel proud to be comfortable in my own skin and to hopefully create and be part of chain reaction. I was inspired by other people and I might inspire someone else.’
It’s been a great year for the talented actor Benedict Cumberbatch who gained fame in the US for his work on the hit series Sherlock, which won him an Emmy Award.
He has three movies scheduled for release between Thanksgiving and Christmas which ought to make his growing fan base mighty happy.
The movie expected to earn him Oscar buzz is The Imitation Game, a biopic about the gay mathematician Alan Turing and his role in breaking the Enigma code used by Germany during World War II.
Cumberbatch appears on the cover of the new issue of Out Magazine and inside is a revealing interview. Here are some excerpts:
On being openly gay in Hollywood:
“I think if you’re going to sell yourself as a leading man in Hollywood to say ‘I’m gay,’ sadly, is still a huge obstacle. We all know actors who are [gay] who don’t want to talk about it or bring it up, or who deny it. I don’t really know what they do to deal with it. Human rights movements and sexual and gay rights movements have made huge social progress in the last 40 years, without a doubt, but there’s a lot more work to be done. I think it’s extraordinary that every time we get to a point where there’s any kind of trouble in society, people are scapegoated very, very, very quickly.”
On the various slash fiction turning Sherlock and Watson gay:
“Because, you know, they either want to make John [Watson] into a sort of cute little toy, or me into a cute toy, or we’re fucking in space on a bed, chained together. It’s always , like, one of them is tired, one comes back from work, the other is horny, a lump appears in his trousers, and then they’re at it. It’s usually me getting it – I’m biting Watson’s dog tags.”
On his days at English boarding school, where sexual antics are supposedly notorious:
“While there was experimentation [at Brambletye], it had never occurred to me as Oh, this is that. It was just boys and their penises, the same way with girls and vaginas and boobs. It wasn’t out of desire.”
On the fact his latest character, Alan Turing in The Imitation Game, had to receive a posthumous royal pardon for being gay:
“It’s an insult for anybody of authority or standing to sign off on him with their approval and say, ‘Oh, he’s forgiven.’ The only person who should be [doing the] forgiving is Turing, and he can’t because we killed him. And it makes me really angry. It makes me very angry.”
On religious tolerance:
“People are being beheaded in countries right now because of their beliefs or sexual orientations. It’s terrifying. It’s medieval – a beheading! I’d take up arms against someone who was telling me I had to believe in what they believed or they would kill me. I would fight them. I would fight them to the death. And, I believe, the older you get, you have to have an idea of what’s right or wrong. You can’t have unilateral tolerance. You have to have a point where you go, ‘Well, religious fundamentalism is wrong.’”
Shia LaBeouf had more than a few too many when he found himself attending a performance of the Broadway musical Cabaret last June.
He had been drinking whiskey all day and at one point during the performance, thought star Alan Cumming was winking at him.
The audience is seated at tables instead of traditional rows to simulate a nightclub and the cast moves among them.
So LaBeouf made his move when Cumming walked past.
‘All I’m thinking about are his leather pants and him winking at me, and he walks past me and I give him a slap on the ass cause I think he deserves it, and he’s seducing me, I mean he’s the sexiest man I’ve ever seen,’ LaBeouf told Jimmy Kimmel on Monday night.
‘And I just don’t slap and slap but I slapped and grabbed him. I grabbed the whole cheek cause I wanted the party right here in my pants. I wanted to grab the whole party.
‘He finds a way to wiggle out of my Hercules grip…we get to intermission and somebody says ‘there’s another party outside.’ And I see six cops having their own party. Anyways, they wanted to take me to the station.’
LaBeouf, who was also smoking during the show, was arrested and the incident made headlines.
In this 1968 interview with KTRH Houston, he talks about the “peacocking” of men’s fashion, hard work, his divine calling and what he’d do if he were president.
“Anyone that dares begrudge what I have today just better get off their duff and do something about it – do something for themselves as well as their country,” he says. “I feel that I have a perfect right to spend my money the way I damn please.”
Finally caught the first two episodes of ABC’s How to Get Away With Murder and was pleased to see that one of the most handsome of Morning Men alums, Charlie Weber, is part of the ensemble cast.
He plays a lawyer in Viola Davis’ firm named Frank Delfino and it looks like he is some sexy trouble.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans may know Charlie best from his recurring role of Ben. He played an intern who shared his body with female god Glory but, unfortunately, his character was killed off at the end of season 5.
Charlie went on to have recurring roles on 90210 and on the series Underemployed.
The 36-year-old actor and one-time Abercrombie & Fitch model has done scores of TV guest spots over the years on such shows as Warehouse 13, Bones, Burn Notice, Dirt, CSI, CSI: Miami, CSI: NY, House, Veronica Mars and Reaper.
Charlie has also been in several feature films including The Broken Hearts Club, Cruel Intentions 3 and 2010′s Vampire’s Suck.