Bette Midler may be best known for her singing and spectacular live shows, but her fans know that she is one heckuva terrific actress.
The Divine Miss M is a two-time Oscar nominee for The Rose and For the Boys, films for which she won Golden Globe Awards. She also won the Globe for her performance in the TV movie Gypsy.
My other favorite Bette movies are Beaches, First Wives Club, Outrageous Fortune and Big Business and she is first-rate in the lesser-known gem Then She Found Me in which she plays Helen Hunt’s long-lost birth mother.
Anyway, I’m reviewing Bette’s movie career because she has been cast in a new film!
Miss Midler will star opposite Al Pacino in a Phil Spector biopic for HBO which is currently in development. She will play Linda Kenney Baden, one of Spector’s defense attorneys in his trial for the murder of actress Lana Clarkson.
GLEEFUL: Well, if you are on the West Coast like me, then the season finale of Glee is just about to start so settle in for the gang from McKinley High taking New York where they will be performing in Nationals.
Here is video of the cast singing “New York, New York, It’s a Wonderful Town!”
Well, I guess it couldn’t have lasted forever but I wish it could have.
Deadline Hollywoodreports that Christopher Meloni is leaving NBC’s Law & Order: Special Victims Unit after 12 seasons.
The actor and the network reportedly could not come to terms for a 13th season. Meloni’s longtime co-star Mariska Hargitay, will be back next season but will have a reduced role after the first 13 episodes.
He is expected to be replaced by a “name” actor.
Deadline said sources close to the actor say he’d simply had enough.
“It was a great run and a wonderful experience,” the source said. “Now he is ready for the next chapter of his life.”
We love Patti LaBelle for so many reasons. But the biggest reason: she loves her gay fans and understands them. She talked to The Advocate a few years back about this strong connection:
“I guess because they see no prejudice in me and no judgment. I don’t judge you because you love who you love. I don’t judge because of the color that you are. I don’t judge anything. I’m very honest with gay people. I’m very honest with calling you out and saying come up to the front of the stage and let the audience know that you’re gay. You’re breathing and you’re just like them. The only thing that you have is a different sexual orientation. I’m honest, and most gay people appreciate that.”
Patti also had supportive words for her transgender fans: “That’s the way they were born — people put them through hell! This is the body that they were born in. They want to get changed into a woman because that’s who they feel they are. If they can afford it — do you think I’m going to read them? Get on their case? My God, people put too much worry and emphasis on things that they should not be. Try to worry and figure out world peace, not the piece that the person has on them! I’m sick of people! I am, you can say that too…judging. Everybody’s got to judge.”
In celebration of her 67th birthday, let’s enjoy some of Patti’s performances:
Angela Lansbury has succeeded in every area of showbiz from movies (Gaslight, The Manchurian Candidate) to television (Murder, She Wrote) to stage where she has won five Tony Awards for her various roles that have included the leads in Gypsy, Mame and Sweeney Todd.
The legendary star, still going strong at 85, talked with OUT Magazine recently about her great career. Here are some excerpts:
Where does your heart live: onstage or onscreen?
At the moment, it’s very much onstage, which it has been for the past six years. I have been working almost continuously on Broadway playing wonderfully diverse roles, which has been exciting and wonderful. It has given my career a whole new boost. Definitely. Is there a role you have always wanted to play but have yet to?
Not really. No. I can’t say that. I could say that I would love to play Lady M. Do you know who that is? We never discuss her real name. That is a role that would have entranced me at one stage in my career. Really, I have gotten to play some unique and unusual roles. I am comfortable with what I have done so far. I am always looking for a new challenge and a new possibility of bringing a new quality I haven’t to some role. I am at an age that I am very happy to work. That is the important thing — to keep working.
Because of your work with Stephen Sondheim, you have in a sense become a gay icon!
That’s very true and I am proud to be! I realize that has a lot to do with it but straight kids are also loving some of the old movies and the musicals as well. They certainly loved Stephen’s musicals.
What has been the highlight of your career?
I think I have had many, truthfully. I have always felt that my career was infectious starting off as a very young character movie actress at MGM. Then, I went to Broadway with Stephen in Anyone Can Whistle, and then I made a huge breakthrough with Mame [the Jerry Herman musical], and subsequently some very hot musicals in that period of the 1960′s and ’70s. Finally, there was Sweeney Todd. That finished that section of theater work. After Sweeney Todd, my husband and I agreed that I had worked so hard in theater and movies up until that point, that this was the time to get into television. I tried to stay away from it. I was always afraid of burning myself out and burning myself out with the audience. I did Murder She Wrote, which came along and seemed like the perfect thing for me to do. I did it for 12 years! That is a long time to stay away from movies. I did do a couple of movies, actually, during the lay-off period, but nothing that remained important in my career. When Murder She Wrote stopped, I laid back for a while. In the meantime, my husband died and that really stopped me in my tracks. I didn’t know how to carry on. Finally, I decided it was time to get off my ass and be an actress. I needed to go back to the theater or movies or whatever I can get a job doing. I did Nanny McPhee with Emma Thompson. It turned out to be a good way back into motion pictures. From there, oddly enough, I had the opportunity to return to theater, which was my first love. Terrence McNally offered me the role of Leona in Deuce — this lovely two-character play for Marian Seldes and me. The play didn’t receive the reception we had hoped. The audience enjoyed it, which was great. From there I went to Blithe Spirit and then A Little Night Music. That is the last thing I have done on Broadway. Looking forward to possibly doing a play next year on Broadway starting in January. Things are still trucking along.
Quite frankly, I don’t much care about anything this Jersey Shore star has to say except her answer to the qhestion about which Jersey Shore guy she thinks is the gayest.
Here’s what she said:
“Definitely Mike [“The Situation” Sorrentino]. Everybody thinks Mike is gay. I don’t see it, but then again, sometimes I see it. He just loves himself to death. He always wants to look good, and he always has that image where he wants to hook up with girls just to prove a point. We know he can get girls; it’s not a big deal. And he’s always washing his face and doing [facial] masks. He put a mask on me in Seaside, and I was like, [suspiciously] ‘Mike…?’”
It’s so wonderful when a famous straight person steps up and publicly supports LGBT equality.
The latest to do so is Phoenix Suns point guard Steve Nash who has taken the time to film a video in support of the New Yorkers for Marriage Equality campaign from the Human Rights Campaign.
“Hi, I’m Steve Nash,” he says in the 30-second video. “I spend my summers in New York and I love playing at the Garden. A growing number of professional athletes are speaking out in support of gay and lesbian couples getting married. I’m proud to be one of them.”
PHOTOGRAPHIC MEMORY: Chris Colfer appears on CNN tonight in an interview with Piers Morgan.
This clip is fascinating because Chris talks about attending the recent White House Correspondents Dinner in Washington D.C. and being approached for a photo by conservative politicians with an anti-gay right voting record.
Chris confesses to be a CSPAN nerd so he knows who’s who and how they have voted.
Says Chris (pictured at the dinner): “I’ll be like, yeah, sure you don’t believe in me and my rights but you want a picture with me. Sure, sure I’ll take a picture with you…it is kind of nice when people believe so strongly against you yet they want proof that they met you. It’s kind of awesome.”
If he succeeds, he will overtake Rafael Nadal as the number one player in the world and also achieve the longest winning streak ever in men’s tennis.
Here are some excerpts from an article on Novak in Vogue:
He is in fabulous form. Fierce, fast, and forceful in attack and defense.
Novak Djokovic was born in Belgrade in late May 1987. He and Andy Murray, born a week earlier, are nearly twins. (Rafael Nadal is eleven months older; Roger Federer, at 29, is a different generation.) Djokovic’s parents ran a café in a famous mountain resort above Belgrade; when he was four, tennis courts were built opposite, and Jelena Gencic, an inspired tennis coach, ran a tennis camp there one summer. When she spotted Novak, she said he’d be the best player in the world one day. At five, he modeled himself on Pete Sampras, packing extra shirts and a water bottle in his bag. By the time he was nine, Gencic was coaching him two or three hours a day, and monitoring his diet, class grades, and bedtime. When Novak was twelve-and-a-half, she contacted Croatian tennis legend Niki Pilic at his tennis academy in Munich. Whenever school was out, Pilic took Novak into his family and coached him. (Djokovic says, “He’s one of the most influential people in my career.”) This is the cute bit of his backstory.
The nightmarish bit is the spring of 1999, when NATO, under the good offices of Bill Clinton and Tony Blair and the like, bombed Belgrade for eleven weeks. Novak lived it, daily, in a small apartment, with his mother and father and younger brothers, Marko and Djordje. “Four, four,” he says, to indicate the four-year age gap between the brothers. I say his mother must be a good planner. He hoots. “My mother is a special story. She went through so much to bring us up, four men at home, especially when our country was going through really difficult times.” He tells me without rancor about the day he turned twelve: “They were singing ‘Happy birthday to you,’ and I see a plane flying over—eeeeevroom!” He skims the table with his hand and shakes his head. Fixing his green eyes on my face, he says that though it was “a very emotional period for our country,” he always tries “to look on the positive side.” Djokovic’s English is terrific (he speaks four languages), but his words can seem blah on the page. Face to face—not so much. He means it. “All of us who went through that came out with their spirit stronger,” he says. “And now we appreciate the value of life. We know how it feels to be living in 60 square meters being bombed. And we know how it feels to be here.” His eyes blaze as he looks around the Ritz-Carlton lobby with all the pride of a man in his 20s who has both faced the threat of death and earned his worth. And who’d deny him?
Djokovic is really close to his family. His parents used to travel with him, but less so now. “I have two younger brothers [both up-and-coming tennis players], so they’re taking care of them more than me, and they should. And I like it. I went through that period already.” His family is also planning to add a tennis academy to Tennis Center Novak, which they built to house the Serbia Open. “To bring that possibility to kids in Serbia so that they don’t have to move outside the country in order to try to develop a tennis career,” says the much-traveled 24-year-old.
Djokovic really likes his job—the one he wanted when he was seven. He likes the medieval knight-errantry aspect of it, and the jousting, the derring-do. “Tennis players,” he says, “we’re always playing in center courts that feel like arenas. And when we get on the court and the crowd cheers your name or salutes you—it’s like you’re a gladiator in the arena. And everyone is cheering—and you’re fighting, you’re screaming, during your strokes—it feels like you’re an animal, fighting for your life.”
I don’t know about you, but I don’t remember who the heck the commencement speaker was at my college graduation or a single thing they said.
But if Billie Jean King had been the speaker, I would have remembered every word!
The great BJK, winner of 39 grand slam titles in singles, doubles and mixed, delivered the commencement address over the weekend at the University of Vermont. While her accomplishments on the court are legendary, it is her tireless work to bring gender equality to tennis and all sports that are her greatest legacy.
The champion told the crowd that she had “an epiphany” at age 12 that she would dedicate her life to “equal rights and opportunities for boys and girls and men and women.”
Billie Jean shared an anecdote about how in the early 70s she reluctantly went to a party attended by Elton John and they ended up becoming very close friends who have for many years held an annual tennis fundraiser for HIV/AIDS.. Elton even wrote “Philadelphia Freedom” in her honor.
“Relationships are everything,” she said. “When it comes to relationships, you never know when you’re going to touch another person’s life or how they will touch yours.”
Billie Jean, 67, concluded her speech by hitting more than a dozen tennis balls into the crowd as Philadelphia Freedom played over the loud speakers.
ABC will soon launch Extreme Makeover: Weight Edition which I predict will be a big hit.
And because it will be a big hit, you will become familiar with today’s Morning Man, fitness trainer and weight loss expert Chris Powell.
Chris is the guy who is going to help overweight people reshape their lives on the show which will feature Americans weighing more than 200 pounds who will have a chance to work one-on-one with a weight loss expert for a full year to get healthy.
Chris’s system of strength workouts and cardio circuits helped client David Smith lose a whopping 401 pounds, which was documented in “The 650 Pound Virgin.” And his online program, Reshape the Nation, is a total body transformation system that is helping people change their lives.
Chris calls himself a “transformation specialist” and says on his website: “The human body is an amazing machine that we can transform naturally through proper nourishment, movement, and a fresh perspective on how incredible we really are. I have devoted my being to developing innovative lifestyles and tools to enrich the lives of others – and have had the privilege of guiding thousands of people through their transformations. Each life changed has been an remarkable gift. I will continue my journey to educate, motivate, and inspire others to find their life of health and happiness. As you transform your life, I’d love for you to join me on my journey to help others around us. Together, we can do a world of good.”
I don’t need much of an excuse to post photos of the handsome and talented Nicholas Rodriguez.
But I happen to have a very good reason to do so today: his character Dan on the web series Then We Got HELP runs this week’s therapy meeting and has each participant write their thoughts about their partner.
Bisexual character Vance is at the meeting and his answer is a little complicated because it is clear that he is caught between his boyfriend and his girlfriend (he lives with both of them!)
Dan had my favorite line of the episode. Vance’s comments remind him a bit of the HBO show Big Love which stars Bill Paxton as a man with three wives.
“I never got into that show,” Eric says. “I mean, who would believe that Bill Paxton would get that much action in real life?”
Before General Hospital’s Luke and Laura became the most celebrated couple in soap opera history, Laura (Genie Francis) had been married to Scotty Baldwin who was played by the adorable Kin Shriner.
Sure Luke (Tony Geary) was more exciting, but Scotty was a sweetheart and the actor who played him was an early crush of mine.
Looking back at some of these photos from the early 80s, I think it’s easy to see why!
Kin, who is now 57, appeared as Scotty off and on from 1977 through 2008 and also played the role on the spinoff soap Port Charles.
His twin brother is Will Shriner, also an actor.
General Hospital is his most famous role but not his only one. He left the show for a while to join the cast of the NBC soap Texas and during other breaks from the show he was a regular on The Bold and the Beautiful, As the World Turns and a short-lived soap called Rituals.
He also played Harrison Bartlett on The Young and the Restless in 2004 and returned to the show earlier this year to fill in for Ted Shackleford as Jeffrey Bardwell.
Pirates of the Caribbean 4? Transformers 3? Hangover 2?
I could care less.
When it comes to summer movies, I’m most looking forward to seeing the filmed version of Company which hits theaters on June 15. The cast includes Patti LuPone, Stephen Colbert, Christina Hendricks and Neil Patrick Harris, among others.
Entertainment Weekly’sDave Karger chatted with Neil:
On Company: “When you have a short-term performance, it’s hard to get a ticket. So we recorded the Friday and Saturday night performances, mixed them together and got the best of both shows. It was pitched to everyone as a semi-staged production, which we figured meant script in hand, go to mic number three, say your lines. But it’s a full production. There’s a giant orchestra. It was all put together in a ridiculously short amount of time, there was lots of choreography, lots of memorization. [laughs]. We had no idea. The first time we ran the whole thing was the dress rehearsal, which was the afternoon of the first performance – when we were reviewed! I hope there’s something exciting about the fact that you sense a hint of panic in everyone. We were all going off gut instinct.”
On singing and dancing: “I’ve always sung, always been a big proponent of the live theater. But I’ve never taken a dance class, ever, which I should at this point. Thankfully, a lot of the things I’ve done – Glee, awards shows – are just one-offs. You don’t have to learn a lot of choreography.”
On hosting the Tonys on June 12: “I’ve pared my seven and a half hours of Spider-Man jokes to a lean two hours and 42 minutes, so I’m hoping there will be room for a couple of production numbers and an acceptance speech or two. The rest is going to be all Spider-Man comedy, all the time.”
Dustin Lance Black is featured as one of the People of 2011 in the current issue of LA Weekly. He chatted with staff writer Patrick Range McDonald at a health food bistro on Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood.
The Oscar winning screenwriter of Milk wrote the script for the J. Edgar Hoover biopic being directed by Clint Eastwood and is writing a screenplay about the young outlaw Colton Harris-Moore who is known as “The Barefoot Bandit.” He’s also working on an HBO pilot and is on the board of The Trevor Project and the American Foundation for Equal Rights.
“I have a few different careers going on right now,” he said with a smile.
McDonald writes that Black’s friends want to slow him down but he has a hard-charging drive that’s sparked by a difficult childhood and his desire to make a difference in the world.
“It probably comes from rejection issues early on,” he said. “That I was abandoned by my Mormon father and then abandoned by the Mormon Church … I want to do good for other people. I genuinely feel sorrow when I see other people in pain. … Those are deep wounds but I’m a happy guy now. I’m not tortured anymore.
What drives his activism?
“I don’t think the status quo is good enough yet,” Black says of American society. “I don’t want to leave things the way they are, because I don’t think they’re very good.”