An article by Newsweek writer Ramin Setoodeh with the point of view that openly gay actors cannot play straight convincingly, has prompted some big showbiz names to speak out publicly.
First Tony winner Kristen Chenoweth took the writer to task in a published rebuttal and now out stars Cheyenne Jackson and Michael Urie have also said their piece. AfterElton.com reports that the actors spoke out at a talkback event Monday night following a performance of Urie’s off-Broadway play The Tempermentals.
“It was very veiled self-loathing. Really upsetting,” Jackson said. “Everytime we go forward, some asshole like this takes us back a bit. I was really glad that Kristin Chenoweth wrote what she did [in defense of her Promises, Promises co-star Sean Hayes and other openly gay actors]. She sent it to me before it went out and about. I was very proud of her. For me to stand up and say, ‘F*ck you,’ that’s what you’d expect. But for someone like Kristin, she stands up for what she believes in and is very committed.”
Added Urie: “Cheyenne was f*cking Elvis in All Shook Up. He was sexy and hot. He’s always playing straight. And people buy tickets to see him. No straight critics accuse Sean Penn of not being able to play Harvey Milk or [criticize] Tom Hanks in Philadelphia.”
Update: Setoodeh is defending himself in a piece called Out of Focus in which he writes in part:
…What all this scrutiny seemed to miss was my essay’s point: if an actor of the stature of George Clooney came out of the closet today, would we still accept him as a heterosexual leading man? It’s hard to say, because no actor like that exists. I meant to open a debate—why is that? And what does it say about our notions about sexuality? For all the talk about progress in the gay community in Hollywood, has enough really changed? The answer seems obvious to me: no, it has not.
I realize this is a complicated subject matter, but the Internet sometimes has a way of oversimplfying things. My article became a straw man for homophobia and hurt in the world. If you were pro-gay, you were anti-NEWSWEEK. Chenoweth’s argument that gay youth need gay role models is true, but that’s not what I was talking about. I was sharing my honest impression about a play that I saw. If you don’t agree with me, I’m more than happy to hear opposing viewpoints. But I was hoping to start a dialogue that would be thoughtful—not to become a target for people who twisted my words. I’m not a conservative writer with an antigay agenda. I don’t hate gay people or myself.
Matt Doyle, a talemted young actor who starred on Broadway in Bye Bye Birdie and played Eric van der Woddsen’s boyfriend on Gossip Girl, has shared a deeply personal story on his blog that I hope will be widely read.
Here are some excerpts:
Today, I witnessed something that broke my heart. Every day, I walk by the many kids that go school here in Midtown Manhattan. I see bullying and name calling all the time. For the most part, it seems relatively harmless, especially when the kid being picked on can fight back a bit. I usually roll my eyes and keep walking, avoiding the after school energy of these 13 and 14 year olds. Today, however, I witnessed bullying of a different kind. The kind that churns your stomach and makes your truly angry. I was walking out of my building when I saw a group of boys throwing around and singling out another boy. When the victim tried to walk away, one of the others spat at him and called him a “faggot.” I yelled to the kids the only thing that could come to my mind, “Don’t use that word. Back off!” I wish these words had helped the situation, but the poor boy who had been harassed seemed to be more embarrassed than before. The look on his face hasn’t really left me since that moment.
Perhaps the main reason I was so deeply affected by what I saw today is because of what I went through in my own childhood. Believe me, I’m not writing any of this for pity or for reassurance. It was a long time ago and I’m doing fine now! But for anyone reading this blog that has either been a victim of bullying or has ever bullied someone else, I feel the need to write a bit of my own experiences.
When I moved to San Francisco, I was 12 years old. I left behind many friends and a huge public school to move into a much smaller community. Much smaller. There were 12 other boys in my grade. All of them had known each other since kindergarten. The situation was hardly ideal. … They were cruel in ways I didn’t think were possible beyond the text of a bad teen movie. I never once heard my name, only the words “faggot”, and “bitch.” I was beaten up regularly. Once, I left class to get a drink of water, only to be beaten out-cold with a text book by a class mate of mine. Over the years at this particular school, I withdrew from everyone around me including my family. No one could help. If I tried to be like them, I was a “poser.” I remember I bought a pair of baggy Jenco jeans and skateboard. My classmates laughed at the jeans and stole the skateboard. If anyone tried to help me, I was made fun of for needing the help. The sad part was, most of the time, no one helped. The day I hit rock bottom was when a group of boys continuously spat on me in front of my PE teacher. The teacher chose to blatantly ignore it, the more disgusting the behavior became.
When you’re 13 and you truly believe that there is nothing you can do to be happy, it’s a very scary place.
If you’re someone who is dealing with this kind of harassment and is wondering if it will ever go away, know that it will. This is just one moment of your life. Own whatever “quirky” or “strange” traits you may have. I promise you will be so much happier for it.
She was supposed to be the smart one on Charlie’s Angels, but now Kate Jackson says she’s broke.
The 61-year-old actress, who also starred in the hit shows The Rookies and Scarecrow and Mrs. King, has filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court against her former financial advisor seeking $3 million in damages.
According to TMZ.com: Jackson claims Farrah Fawcett’s former business manager, Richard B. Francis, knew about Kate’s “extremely close relationship” with Farrah and used that information to get Kate as a client.
Kate claims Francis told her she was worth roughly $5.4 million — and she could live off of the interest from her accounts … at least $300,000 per year. But Jackson said she was actually worth considerably less — only about $3 million. She claims she learned the truth about her finances when she agreed to buy a home in 2008 – a home she claims Francis knew she couldn’t afford but he drained her savings account in order to pay for it anyway. Kate also claims Francis knew she was grossly overpaying for the property.
Kate played Michael Ontkean’s wife in the landmark 1982 movie Making Love but has not starred in a TV series since the 1988-89 show Baby Boom. Still, she has dozens of TV movies and television credits over the past two decades. She made a memorable appearance at the 2006 Emmys with Fawcett and Jaclyn Smith and was close to Farrah until her death last year from cancer.
It’s so great that Diana Ross is still out there doing what she does best.
On last night’s Entertainment Tonight, Mary Hart went behind-the-scenes as Miss Ross rehearsed for her all-new More Today Than Yesterday tour which will includes many of the Motown legends big hits from the 60s, 70s, 80s and beyond.
“We work our way up: The ’60s — The Supremes — the 70′s and the ’80s and “I’m Coming Out” … The music is timeless, I must say, especially the Motown music; it’s timeless and it’s really special.”
Diana says she has about five or six costume changes during the show: “The way I can make those quick costume changes is because everything is built right in to the dress, so [my costumer] takes me out, zips me down and zips me up and I’m back out,” she explains. “The music continues … and goes right into the next song and I’m back out, so it never really stops.”
The show kicks off in Boston, MA this Saturday and runs through June 12, with stops in such cities as New York, Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, St. Louis, Knoxville, Toronto, Los Angeles and San Diego.
It’s easier to tour now that her kids are grown: “My kids have all left the nest now, so it’s easy for me to travel and to see my friends and my fans.”
Reflecting on how she managed to raise five children and maintain her career, she says, “I think it was all about having my priorities in the right place. I knew what was important when I had my children, I knew that I wanted to be a parent, a mom, and I wanted to have them — so they were always more important than anything.”
The first thing Donna Mills wondered about was why this feature is called Knots Landing Tuesday. After all, the show aired on Thursday nights for 14 years!
Good point. My only explanation is that when I started this feature a few months back, Thursdays were already taken by Designing Women.
I feel like a network programmer!
Donna and I chatted last week at an event at the Hollywood Museum and what fun it was to talk about her Knots alter-ego Abby Fairgate Cunningham Ewing Sumner who would stop at nothing to get what she wanted but would also do anything to protect those she loved – especially her children.
On Abby: “I knew that she was going to be a trouble maker but actually knowing the writers and the producers, I knew that the character would be rounded and have dimension and that was really fun for me to play. It wasn’t one-note all the time, it was a lot of different colors.”
On keeping in touch with castmates: “We do to some extent. I saw most of the crew a few months ago, we did an autograph show together so that was fun. Michelle [Lee] and I socialize sometimes and we see each other around even if we’re not everyday friends.”
On how hunky Ted Shackelford was in their love scenes: “He still is [hunky] by the way! He was always working out and has a really nice body.”
Her favorite Abby-centric episodes: “Boy, I love the ones with Olivia, the drug ones. I wish I could remember the names of the episodes. There’s some really funny stuff that I did with Bill Devane [who played Greg Sumner]. There was one where he was determined, the first night of our marriage, that he was going to see me without my make-up. It didn’t happen. [laughs].”
Abby’s look: “I loved the shoulder pads, the eye make-up and the big hair. It was fun.”
Why Knots endures: “Because at that time there was no Tivo, people made it an event out of watching the show. They were there on Thursday nights, right at that time, with all their friends. It made the show more important. Now you can watch anything, anytime on your iPod, on your computer. It’s not special anymore.
It’s been 11 years since former major league baseball player Billy Bean came out of the closet with a heart-breaking memoir Going the Other Way. He did an interview with Diane Sawyer that I was watching while at the Gold’s Gym in Long Beach, got off the elliptical machine to completely focus on what Billy was saying.
I’ll never forget it because as he cried on the air, I also wept in a way that I prefer not to do publicly. He was telling of how he was playing for the San Diego Padres as a closeted young man and his lover died unexpectedly. Billy could not mourn him for fear of being outed and it took an emotional toll that resulted in his baseball career ending prematurely after 12 years in the major leagues.
Billy, who turns 45 years old today, came out after his playing days but is still one of the very few former pro athletes to do so. He’s gone on to have a successful real estate career, plays serious competitive tennis and has remained in the spotlight as a public speaker telling his story.
I’ve met Billy on several occasions – including at the 2004 National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Assn conference (pictured, left) – and talked to him about his story. We also did an interview two years ago for an article on Coming Out Day.
“For the most part I’d say 100 percent of the experiences people have shared with me, they always say their lives greatly improved once they did it,” he said. “None of us start in the same place and time. It’s showing people that you can live a life that is complete and full in an honest and open way.”
On his own coming out: “It was just really empowering…When I was in a position emotionally to make it happen, .the relief of living honestly and being able to give my family and friends and people who care about me the opportunity to know me completely, I just became so much closer to them.”
On gays and lesbians coming out younger these days: “I think kids at this generation are light years ahead of where we were. They are so much more aware because of the Internet and blogs. We had to interact face to face which kept us from doing that. They are so much more progressive in so many ways.”
On professional athletes being out: “We just have to embrace the few images that we have and keep building positive images to create a more diverse group of people. As their lives allow it, it will just keep happening. Slowly, but it will.”
American Idol is heading into the final weeks with early front-runner Crystal Bowersox squaring off against a trio of guys: Lee DeWyze, Michael Lynche and Casey James.
Tonight’s competition is crucial and the pressure is on. But this talented quartet tells TVGuide they remain thick as thieves: You guys have had plenty of time to bond, but where’s the fine line between camaraderie and competition? Clearly, you each want to win this. Casey James: We’re not competing with each other. Everybody’s so different. It’s like apples and oranges, one’s not the other. Each one of us has our own sound and people that are voting for Mike aren’t gonna vote for me or for Crystal. It’s not like that. It’s not like I’m setting out to beat them. I’m just setting out to do what I do, and hopefully do it well enough that it’s accepted and appreciated in a manner that people are gonna vote for you. Really, one has nothing to do with the other. You’re just gonna try and do the best you can do so that doesn’t bother me, personally, at all.
Lee DeWyze: I do think that there is somewhat of a line. We’re all friends and that’s not gonna change anything. But as far as the show, at the end of the day all of us do want to win. That’s why we’re here. We all want that number one spot. But I don’t think that we look at it as ‘I wanna take it from Michael. Michael’s taking it from me,’ or ‘Crystal…’ It’s not like that. It’s more that we all want that number one spot for ourselves, not because we don’t want anyone else to win. If any one of these guys were to win, I’m sure we’d all be happy for each other. But at the end of the day we have to sit there and work on our songs, make them the best they can be, and do whatever we can to have the best performance on any given night. So us being friends isn’t gonna change. We all want to win, but that doesn’t change how we feel about each other.
Crystal Bowersox: We’re all definitely friends and then the line between friend and competitor is – I don’t know, for me, it doesn’t really exist.
Out.com has a great new interview with Kimberley Locke who first came into the spotlight in 2002 when she appeared on the second season of American Idol. She finished third behind runner up Clay Aiken and winner Ruben Studdard and has been working steadily since the show.
Here are some highlights from the Out interview:
On hiding Clay Aiken’s secret that he was gay: I never saw Clay on Manhunt. I’ll be honest with you — Clay shared with me that he was gay early on in the competition… It wasn’t really a secret to me but it wasn’t really my place to push him in any direction. That’s his thing. And that’s anybody’s thing who’s not ready to come out — you’ve got to do it in your own time because your life changes after that. It’s not one of those things you can say and take back. You’ve got to answer a lot of questions for it. So, I did know and people grilled me about it and people asked me, every interview that I did, they were like, “So, is Clay gay? So, you live with Clay — is he gay? So, you and Clay are really best friends…” And I’m like, “You know what, I don’t know. Ask him.” It’s not my place to tell. So, I kept his secret because that’s what friends do. They keep your secrets. My friends better keep my secrets!
On what she hated about American Idol: One of the things I didn’t like about Idol was the Ford commercials. It was like, “Come on.” For a lack of a better word they would whore us out, we did all these commercials for free, they got to use our image and our names. But the thing that upset me the most about it is that it took up so much time in our day. We were already exhausted running around doing press, people pulling us in a thousand directions, now we’ve go to do Coke and Ford and all these different spots for the sponsors. Those things would take, like, an entire day. Some nights we wouldn’t get finished from doing just that until midnight. It’s like, “Really?” And then they’re like, “Practice your song in your sleep.” I was like, “Really? Come on.” So, the Ford commercials were kind of annoying. And, we didn’t get a car. So, go figure.
On whether or not American Idol is still relevant: I think that they’re going to have to go back to the raw talent. The other night, on the show, I think everybody except for two people, maybe, played the guitar. I don’t play an instrument. I love people who play instruments — I think it’s great — but American Idol is a singing competition and I think it distracts and it takes away. I think some of them are better musicians than they are singers — if you really want to know the truth about it. When I was on American Idol it was about raw talent; you had a microphone, a microphone stand, a spotlight, and a track. We didn’t even have a band on my season! So, I do think it’s still a great way to find talent. I think they just need to get back to the basics of singing.
William Baldwin has been doing a multi-episode arc on Gossip Girl, his first recurring TV role since Dirty Sexy Money was canceled.
On Gossip, Billy plays the long-lost father of Serena and Eric van der Woodsen and he wasn’t such a good guy it turns out. He skipped out of town on last night’s episode just ahead of the cops.
“The hardest thing to take in was that I was playing Blake Lively’s father,” he told EW recently. “As scary as it is, I AM old enough to be her father. But it’s still tough to take. … I’m [supposed to be] with the girl,” he “not the father of the girl.”
That’s because Billy is now 47! He’s still looking awfully good and is the father of two children with wife Chynna Phillips.
He became a movie star at a young age in such films as Backdraft, Flatliners, and Three of Hearts, but in recent years has been gravitating to TV roles. It’s a career strategy that has worked out quite well for his older brother, Alec Baldwin, who is a smash and an Emmy winner on 30 Rock.
I’ve interviewed Billy a few times in recent years and he’s most gracious. The first time we talked, he had just begun Dirty Sexy Money on ABC, playing a state attorney general character carrying on an extra-marital affair with a transgender woman who is portrayed by Candis Cayne, a real transgender actress.
“It’s been great, it’s been a lot of fun,” Billy told me in 2007. “It comes very easily. i don’t know what that means but it just comes very easily and very naturally. They write the scripts, we have the scenes, we play the scenes, we have this incredible affection for one another and sensitivity in our relationship and it just comes very easily for both of us. I think it’s great. I love it.”
We also talked a little bit about Billy’s very-public disagreement at that time with his conservative Christian brother, actor Stephen Baldwin, about gay rights. I wondered if they usually duked it out this way. “The fights we have in real life are a lot worse than the quotes,” Billy said. “We let each other have it all the time, Daniel and Alec and Stephen and I. That’s the nature of a raucous, rowdy, Irish-Catholic upbringing. We sat around the dinner table and we talked about a lot of things and fought about a lot of things.”
The first time I met Billy, he tried to trick me into believing he was one of his brothers. But I know my Baldwin brothers and I know that he’s the hottest one.
She may not look it or act it, but Barbara Walters is 80 years old and now has to undergo heart surgery.
Barbara, looking quite well, made the announcement this morning on The View: “You know how I always say to you how healthy I am. … I’ve never missed a day’s work,” she told viewers. “Later this week, I’m going to have surgery to replace one faulty heart valve. Lots of people have done this and I have known about this condition for a while now.”
Co-host Whoopi Goldberg asked Barbara if she is scared and Walters said: “Look, nobody wants to have this kind of surgery.”
The first female network news anchor in TV history, the first female co-host of The Today Show, and co-host of 20-20 for 25 years, said recovery will take 1-3 months and she has scheduled the surgery for later this week.
As creator, executive producer and part-time panelist on The View, Barbara wanted part of her recovery time to coincide with the show’s summer break which is part of July and all of August.
While she hasn’t “felt differently” lately, an echocardiogram showed that her valves were “getting tighter and smaller,” she said.
ABC News president David Westinsaid in statement, “There’s no denying that this is serious surgery. But it’s also a type of surgery that has been done often and successfully. And, as those of us who work with Barbara know, she’s in excellent condition. So, we have every reason to expect a great result and a speedy recovery.”
Walters said she anticipates recovery will take at least a month but she expects “to be calling in from time to time.”
“I don’t think I’m really scared,” she said. “I’m glad it’s going to be over with.”
Barbara is a TV icon and will be missed while she’s off the air. I wish her a good recovery and hope she takes all the time she needs to enjoy … the view.
Okay all you Claymates, you’re going to have to wait until June 1 to get your hands on Clay Aiken’s new album Tried and True.
But the now openly gay star talked to ET.com about his fifth studio album which is filled with timeless classics.
“There are a lot of elements to this album that are about me returning to what I’m comfortable with,” he says. “To me, older songs are more melodically appealing and beautiful. So doing this album was an opportunity to just be myself.”
The album will includes such songs as Can’t Take My Eyes Off You, Misty, Suspicious Minds and two songs Clay sang while on American Idol:Mack the Knife and Unchained Melody.
Last night’s Amazing Race finale saw the hot cowboys Jet and Cord McCoy fall behind after brothers Jordan and Dan Pious charmed their way into first class on a flight from China to San Francisco.
They darted off the plane first and never relinquished their lead during a final leg that included a challenge at George Lucas’s Lucasfilm facility and ended on the field at Candlestick Park.
Jordan is the gay half of the winning team and deserves kudos for being able to stand getting real dizzy as his bro tried to figure out a clue.
Congrats to the brothers Pious for a perfectly-executed final leg.
“This has been the most incredible experience, and there was no way I could ever have been here without my brother,” Jordan Pious said at the finish line, at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park.
“This is my biggest dream come true, and he is the reason,” Pious added, nodding toward his brother.
“I’m thrilled I did the race,” the previously reluctant Dan Pious said. “It turned out to be an incredible experience. I made my little brother’s dream come true. We did the race. We made the final three. And we won. This is crazy, man.”
Jet and Colt were philosophical in defeat: “There are things that are more important than money,” Jet McCoy said. “The experience of being able to travel all the way around the world with my best friend and my brother, and in the end having our character and integrity intact, means we can walk out of here with our heads held high and look people straight in the face.”
While Jordan made gay peeps proud, Carol and Brandy made us cringe. Brandy decided to bitterly confront third-place finishers Brent and Caite for u-turning them.All I can say is Brent and Caite, thanks!!!
What a miserable pair – especially Brandy. Carol, if you haven’t escaped yet, I suggest you RUN!!!<
Cynthia Nixon seems like one of the coolest women on the planet.
We’re less than three weeks away from another Sex and the City movie where she steps back into Miranada’s shoes for further exploits with BFFs Samantha, Carrie and Charlotte.
But there is so much more to this acclaimed actress who has won two Emmys, a Tony Award and a Grammy. She has become one of the most articulate gay activists around, using her fame to speak out about inequality. And she knows her stuff!
In the new issue of The Advocate. Miss Nixon talks about how her life changed when she met and fell in love with a woman for the first time: Christine Marinoni who she has been with since 2004.
Here are some excerpts from the article:
“I identify as gay as a political stance,” she says. “If anybody, prior to my meeting and falling in love with Christine, had asked me about what I think about sexuality, I would have said I think we’re all bisexual. But I had that point of view without ever having felt attracted to a woman. I had never met a woman I was attracted to [before Christine]. And maybe if I’d met her when I was 20, I would have fallen in love and only dated women. But maybe if I’d met her at 20, I wouldn’t have responded at all. Who knows?
In fact, when she started to consider Marinoni as a possible partner, Nixon says she paid more attention to her girlfriend’s capacity to care for Samantha and Charlie than she did any questions about her own sexual orientation. “Maybe I’m just lucky, but I feel like Christine is so amazing with our kids—because they’re our kids,” she says. “I feel like falling in love with her is part of being amazed at how she makes our family so much better.”
If there was any surprise among Nixon’s fans upon seeing her with Marinoni, it was that she’s clearly different than the women we’re used to seeing Nixon with. Marinoni dresses in men’s clothes. She looks butch. She’d clearly be the odd woman out at brunch with Miranda, Samantha, Charlotte, and Carrie.
“She’s basically a short man with boobs,” Nixon says, laughing. “A lot of what I love about her is her butchness. I’m not saying I fell in love with her in a sexually neutral way. I love her sexuality—it’s a big part of what I love about her—but I feel like it was her. It wasn’t something in me that was waiting to come out. It was like, This person is undeniable. How can I let this person walk by? Christine would probably kill me for saying this, but my daughter said one time that if you really had to break this down, [it looks like] she would be butch and I would be femme…but really once you get to know us it’s really the opposite.”
Six years into the relationship (they’re now engaged to be married in New York as soon as it is legal), Marinoni now stays home with the children. They both adapted quickly to the new household structure, with Samantha being the first one to broach the idea of calling Marinoni something more familial than “Christine” (they call Nixon “Mommy” and Marinoni “Ma”).
It was cool to look up David Burtka’s Wikipedia page and see that the photo on it was taken by ME.
I snapped it at the 2009 Emmys when I had a roaming red carpet pass and wandered around taking pictures. David could not have been nicer as we chatted awhile while his partner, Neil Patrick Harris, did TV interviews.
The 34-year-old David told me that day that he was in school studying to be a chef. Since then, He graduated from the Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts Pasadena in summer 2009 and is currently running a catering company called Gourmet M.D. in Los Angeles.
But hopefully David will still do some acting. He made his Broadway debut was as Tulsa in the 2003 production of Gypsy starring Bernadette Peters. He played The Boy in the American premiere of Edward Albee’sThe Play About the Baby, for which he won the 2001 Clarence Derwent Award for most promising male performer.
In 2004, David originated the role of Matt in the musical The Opposite of Sex, and reprised the role in the work’s East Coast premiere in the summer of 2006.
He made his television debut in 2002 with a guest role on The West Wing; this was followed by guest appearances on Crossing Jordan. In How I Met Your Mother, the actor, David has made several appearances as “Scooter” (whose actual first name is Bill), the former high school boyfriend of Alyson Hannigan’s character of Lily.
David, who has two children from a previous relationship, and Neil have been together since 2004.
The people who do break down barriers and do not allow the world to treat them like second class citizens.
Lena Horne, who died today at the age of 92, was one of those people.
The ground-breaking singer, actress and civil rights activist who, in 1942, became the first African-American performer to be put under contract by a major studio.
EW.com writes: Though her movie career spanned nearly six decades and included a smattering of well-regarded films, like Stormy Weather (1943), Ziegfeld Follies (1946), and Meet Me in Las Vegas (1956), Horne was best known for her singing. Her music highpoints include blockbuster collaborations with Tony Bennett, Grammy-winning recordings of her Vegas nightclub act (1981′s The Lady and Her Music, Live on Broadway, and 1995′s An Evening With Lena Horne), and her Tony-nominated performance in the Broadway musical, Calypso.
Her knack for dramatic flourish and romantic renditions of jazz standards led to appearances on TV variety shows including The Ed Sullivan Show and The Dean Martin Show, as well as a role in the big-screen musical, The Duke Is Tops (1938). Though she never found the substantial, satisfying work she sought on film, Horne did make an impact, later in life, on TV in recurring roles on The Muppet Show and The Cosby Show
Throughout her career, Horne was equally dedicated to her advocacy for civil rights. She was an early pioneer in the movement for equality, fighting for desegregation alongside such legends of the movement as Paul Robeson and Medgar Evers. She also fought with first lady Eleanor Roosevelt to pass anti-lynching laws. The combination of Horne’s disarming talent and fierce individuality created a powerful force in breaking down racial barriers in Hollywood and beyond.
Horne is survived by her daughter, Gail Lumet Buckley.
Enjoyed the hell out of Betty White’s appearance on Saturday Night Live.
It’s been ages since I’ve stayed awake throughout an entire episode but you really didn’t want to miss any of Betty who, at 88-and-a-half-years-young was in most of the sketches. She elevated every scene she was in.
My main quibble was no appearances of her iconic TV characters Sue Ann Nivens and Rose Nyland. It would have been so great to see them drop into some kind of new situation.
Anyway, Betty helped SNL reached its largest TV audience in 18 months during a Mother’s Day show that saw the TV icon star make fun of her age, Facebook, sex and utter the phrase, “Wizard of Ass” – twice!
The show averaged an 8.8 rating in cities where viewership is measured overnight, up 66 percent from last year’s 5.3 rating, according to preliminary figures released by the NBC network on Sunday.
It is the highest overnight rating for “SNL” since November 1, 2008 when John McCainwas a special guest during his presidential campaign and comedian Tina Feywas drawing fans with her impression of Sarah Palin.
Final audience figures will be released on Monday.
Kristin Chenoweth is already a goddess in my mind and now, she is a hero. Ramin Setoodeh wrote an infuriating article for Newsweek.com in which he claims that Kristin’s current leading man on Broadway, Sean Hayes, is not convincing playing a straight man.
Kristin has written a rebuttal and here it is:
As a longtime fan of Newsweek and as the actress currently starring opposite the incredibly talented (and sexy!) Sean Hayes in the Broadway revival of “Promises, Promises,” I was shocked on many levels to see Newsweek publishing Ramin Setoodeh’s horrendously homophobic “Straight Jacket,” which argues that gay actors are simply unfit to play straight. From where I stand, on stage, with Hayes, every night — I’ve observed nothing “wooden” or “weird” in his performance, nor have I noticed the seemingly unwieldy presence of a “pink elephant” in the Broadway Theater. (The Drama League, Outer Critics Circle and Tony members must have also missed that large animal when nominating Hayes’ performance for its highest honors this year.) I’d normally keep silent on such matters and write such small-minded viewpoints off as perhaps a blip in common sense. But the offense I take to this article, and your decision to publish it, is not really even related to my profession or my work with Hayes or Jonathan Groff (also singled out in the article as too “queeny” to play “straight.”) This article offends me because I am a human being, a woman and a Christian. For example, there was a time when Jewish actors had to change their names because anti-Semites thought no Jew could convincingly play Gentile. Setoodeh even goes so far as to justify his knee-jerk homophobic reaction to gay actors by accepting and endorsing that “as viewers, we are molded by a society obsessed with dissecting sexuality, starting with the locker room torture in junior high school.” Really? We want to maintain and proliferate the same kind of bullying that makes children cry and in some recent cases have even taken their own lives? That’s so sad, Newsweek! The examples he provides (what scientists call “selection bias”) to prove his “gays can’t play straight” hypothesis are sloppy in my opinion. Come on now! Openly gay Groff is too “queeny” to play Lea Michelle’s boyfriend in GLEE, but is a “heartthrob” when he does it in Spring Awakening? Cynthia Nixon only “got away with it” ’cause she peaked before coming out? I don’t know if you’ve missed the giant Sex and the City movie posters, but it seems most of America is “buying it.” I could go on, but I assume these will be taken care of in your “Corrections” this week.
Similarly, thousands of people have traveled from all over the world to enjoy Hayes’ performance and don’t seem to have one single issue with his sexuality! They have no problem buying him as a love-torn heterosexual man. Audiences aren’t giving a darn about who a person is sleeping with or his personal life. Give me a break! We’re actors first, whether we’re playing prostitutes, baseball players, or the Lion King. Audiences come to theater to go on a journey. It’s a character and it’s called acting, and I’d put Hayes and his brilliance up there with some of the greatest actors period.
Lastly, as someone who’s been proudly advocating for equal rights and supporting GLBT causes for as long as I can remember, I know how much it means to young people struggling with their sexuality to see out & proud actors like Sean Hayes, Jonathan Groff, Neil Patrick Harris and Cynthia Nixon succeeding in their work without having to keep their sexuality a secret. No one needs to see a bigoted, factually inaccurate article that tells people who deviate from heterosexual norms that they can’t be open about who they are and still achieve their dreams. I am told on good authority that Mr. Setoodeh is a gay man himself and I would hope, as the author of this article, he would at least understand that. I encourage Newsweek to embrace stories which promote acceptance, love, unity and singing and dancing for all!
Bjorn Borg will turn 54 in a few weeks and he has become quite the Swedish silver fox.
The tennis legend, once ranked number one in the world over archrivals John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors, burst onto the scene in 1973 when he made the quarterfinals of Wimbledon and became a major teen idol.
He went on to win a record five consecutive Wimbledon singles titles (an all-time record he holds with Roger Federer and four consecutive French Open singles titles (an all-time record he holds with Rafael Nadal), and is considered to be one of the greatest tennis players of all time.
He is the only player in the open era to win both Wimbledon and the French Open in the same year more than once, winning both for three consecutive years. In all, he won in Paris a record six times.
Bjorn broke a lot of hearts when he walked away from the game in 1981. He was just 25. But he’s stayed busy playing seniors events and with various business interests including a recent line of men’s underwear. It featured an ad campaign for his new underwear line “Love For All” with an amazing new ad featuring two male priests getting married.