What was so great about having Florence Henderson compete on ABC’s Dancing With the Stars last season was that everyone got to see what a real dynamo she still is.
She turns 77 years old today but she doesn’t look or act like someone that age often does.
The lovely lady best-known for her role as the mom on the classic sitcom The Brady Bunch and all its subsequent incarnations (variety series, TV movies, cartoon, drama series and on and on) is a force of nature and one of the really great showbiz legends.
I’ve seen her terrific one-woman show a few times (All the Lives of Me) and learned that there’s a lot more to Florence than her time spent teaching life lessons to Marcia, Greg, Peter, Jan, Bobby and Cindy!
She was the youngest of 10 children and her mother was very tough on her. Explains Florence in her show: “She was a real stage mother. She would have made Gypsy Rose Lee’s Mama Rose look like Little Bo Peep. She’s lucky I didn’t turn out to be a stripper. She made me sing every chance she got.”
Her father, who she adored, drank and her mother left the family when Florence was only 12. But she continued to rely on her talent and after high school and a year at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City, she started getting Broadway roles.
Her first big break came when she was given the lead in the national tour of Oklahoma! She also screen-tested for the movie role but “the little bitch Shirley Jones got it.”
Florence was a major star on Broadway in such shows as Fanny, The Girl Who Came to Supper, Oklahoma! and Wish You Were Here. She also starred in major productions of The King and I and The Sound of Music.
But Florence explained that “you could be a big hit in New York City and everybody knows who you are. But around the country, they don’t really know you.”
That all changed with The Brady Bunch: “I never meant for it to happen, I never thought it would happen. I never wanted it to happen. I always thought I would live in New York City and be on Broadway. Along comes this little show, it’s never been off the air in this country! You cannot kill it with a stick. Believe me, I have tried.”
Darren Criss may be new to the cast of Glee this season but it’s clear that he and his character of Blaine have quickly become an integral part of the show.
Last week’s Valentine’s Day episode gave Criss two big numbers and he, of course, nailed both.
In the new issue of OUT Magazine, Criss says he knew playing gay would raise immediate questions about his own sexuality. Initially thinking he would play it coy, he soon came out as straight.
“It’s more empowering to everybody if I’m articulate about identifying myself as a straight male playing a gay character,” Criss says. “Ultimately that’s more powerful for both communities.”
Still, as a kid, Criss had plenty of exposure to the gay community having performed in local musicals in his hometown, San Francisco. As a performer, Criss quickly befriended cast mates in their 20s and 30s.
“I was staying out much later than most kids after shows, going to restaurants,” he remembers. “It’s not like I was doing body shots off beautiful Castro boys. I was friends with older guys–they were who I looked up to. It wasn’t until later that I put together that they were gay.”
Will Criss’ Blaine and Chris Colfer’s Kurt Hummel ever wind up together? Glee creator and showrunner Ryan Murphy remains coy on the subject.
“When that moment comes–if it comes,” notes Murphy, “I want to treat that relationship like we treat all the other relationships on the show. I want it to be flawed and as exposed as everyone else’s.”
Murphy also addressed recent rumors that one-half of that potential Glee coupling will experiment with bisexuality. “It’s my job as showrunner to keep them apart as long as possible,” Murphy says. “Blaine will openly question whether bisexuality is real. I think that some people will love that discussion and some will not love it.”
Romance or not, Glee continues to show that out gay teens can have a support network in honest and platonic relationships. “The most important thing to convey to those watching is for Kurt to have someone he can relate to,” Criss says. “This is the first time he has a young out male friend, a support system, to show that that’s possible.” How Glee-ful!
DOUBLE TAKE: If you saw The Social Network, one of this year’s 10 Oscar nominees for best picture, then you know the story of the Winklevoss twins who were portrayed by Armie Hammer in the film.
Tyler Winklevoss and Cameron Winklevoss were classmates at Harvard with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and sued him for $140 million claiming he stole their idea for a social networking site they called HarvardConnection (later renamed ConnectU).
They got a multi-million settlement but are now pursuing more money. I watched the handsome 29-year-old brothers on Piers Morgan’s CNN show over the weekend and they claim much more evidence has come to light since they entered into their settlement with Zuckerberg so this story is far from over.
The brothers have not been spending all their time in litigation however. They were members of the Varsity Crew Team at Harvard and competed in the men’s pair rowing event at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
So what did they think of Armie Hammer’s portrayal of them?
“He definitely, I thought, captured two distinct personalities,” Cameron told Morgan.
Added Tyler: “There was a relief when it was over that our story was told, and we were portrayed, what we believe was a positive light. … We don’t think the story is fully told yet.”
After the horrible The Bounty Hunter and the boring Love Happens, I didn’t even bother checking her out in last summer’s The Switch.
But it was my big sister’s birthday this weekend and I treated her to lunch and a movie – her choice. She picked Just Go With It starring Miss Aniston and Adam Sandler with a hilarious turn by Nicole Kidman.
The movie was very enjoyable,. quite funny in parts and very sweet in others. The best part is the undeniable chemistry between Sandler and Aniston.
Just Go With It is not only good, it ends a box office losing streak for Jennifer since the movie opened in first place with an estimated $31 million in ticket sales. It goes in the hit column for the former Friends star along with Marley & Me, The Break-Up, Along Came Polly, He’s Just Not That Into You and Bruce Almighty.
Just Go With It managed to edge past Justin Bieber’s new 3D flick Never Say Never which took in an estimated $30 million.
I just don’t get the Bieber fever thing but then again, I’m so clearly not a teen girl.
Elton John and Disney had to settle for third place with the animated flick Gnomeo and Juliet, which features Elton’s music, opening in third place. But it took in a strong $25.5 million and scored the highest February opening in history for an animated film, according to Paul Dergarabedian of Hollywood.com.
In fourth place was Channing Tatum’s new flick The Eagle which took in an unimpressive $8.6 million in its debut weekend and will likely fade from view fast. Pity this film is not more successful since while making it, the hunky Channing suffered a humiliating on-set injury [Read about it HERE].
Rounding out the top five is The Roommate which grossed an estimated $8.4 million in its second weekend in theaters. The thriller has taken in $26 million to date.
The 2011 Grammy Awards will be taking place tonight (airing on CBS) and the telecast has long been more about the live performances than the handing out of awards (Of more than 100 categories, only about a dozen are presented on air).
Among those scheduled to perform are Barbra Streisand and let’s face it, whenever she makes one of these rare appearances, it’s always a memorable experience.
One of Streisand’s most memorable Grammy moments ever came more than 30 years ago when she and Neil Diamond paired up to sing their hit duet You Don’t Bring Me Flowers.
It was something very special.
So was a performance by Tina Turner a few years later during her big comeback year. The way she comes down those stairs in that red dress singing What’s Love Got to Do With It created a performance for the ages.
And finally, a personal favorite from 1989. Bonnie Raitt had been sweeping the awards that year and all that was left to present was Record of the Year. But before that happened, Bette Midler was introduced as the final performer and she sang her number one hit Wind Beneath My Wings.
Then a few moments later, she was back on the stage as the winner of Record of the Year! The first words of her speech were: “Hey Bonnie Raitt! I got one too!”
We all know James Taylor is one of the greatest and most enduring talents in pop music.
His voice on such hits as Fire and Rain, You’ve Got a Friend, Sweet Baby James, Carolina On My Mind, Shower the People and Mexico has remained as strong and soothing as ever at the age of 62.
But what I could not help but notice as I watched the wonderful documentary Troubadours last week – with its terrific footage of Taylor, Carole King and other singer-songwriters in the late 60s and early 70s – was just how breathtakingly handsome he was!
He had long hair like one of The Beatles (his first album was released by Apple Records) and combined with the voice, he was the ultimate singer-songwriting heartthrob.
Taylor was famously married to Carly Simon in the 70s through the early 80s and they have two children together. He kicked his longtime drug habit by the early 80s.
After non-stop commercial success through the early 80s, Taylor went 16 years without a hit album. But the dry spell ended with the critically-acclaimed 1997 album Hourglass which was a big seller followed by the hit albums October Road, Covers and Live at the Troubadour (with Carole King).
He married for the third time in 2001 to Caroline Smedvig and they have twin boys who will be 10 years old this spring.
Here is the first family portrait, taken Friday in New York City, of Cynthia Nixon, Christine Marinoni and their newborn son Max Ellington Nixon-Marinoni.
Christine gave birth to the baby on Feb. 7.
Cynthia, a two-time Emmy winning actress best known for her role as Miranda in the Sex and the City TV series and movies, began dating Christine in 2004. They announced their engagement in 2009 and have been at the forefront of the fight for marriage equality in the state of New York.
Cynthia came into the relationship with two children from her previous relationship with teacher Danny Mozes: Samantha, 14, and Charles, 8.
After winning last year’s US Open followed by the year-end championships then starting off the 2011 season by taking the Australian Open crown, it has been clear for some time that Kim Clijsters is the best female tennis player in the world.
But it is only now that the Women’s Tennis Association’s silly computer is reflecting that fact as Clijsters reclaimed the top spot by reaching the semifinals of the Paris Open on Friday. She won her semifinal match earlier today and will play for the title tomorrow.
“I’m very happy to be number one again,” Clijsters told the crowd as she was handed a giant number 1 made out of flowers on the court. “Thanks for all your support and I hope I can also win the tournament maybe. It’s a nice feeling but it doesn’t change anything for me personally.”
Clijsters had been number one in the world for several stretches between 2003 and 2006 but this is her first time on top since she returned to the tour in summer 2009 after more than two years off to get married and have a child.
It’s a simple fact that the Women’s Tennis Association needs to change its ranking system to give far more weight to winners of the four grand slam tournaments on the tour.
This way they would avoid the embarrassment of having a player who has never won a major being ranked the world’s best and also prevent putting undo pressure on players like Caroline Wozniacki, Dinara Safina and Jelena Jankovic who wilted under the pressure and constant question of “How can you be number one if you haven;t won a major?”
The answer was clear: These girls played and won a lot in lesser events while Serena Williams won a lion’s share of the majors in recent years but rarely any other titles and has been off the tour for long periods of time dealing with injuries.
Anyway, here’s hoping Clijsters, a three-time US Open champion, can keep up her winning ways and be a number one we can all be proud of.
Elizabeth Taylor remained in Cedars-Sinai Medical Center Saturday where she is being treated for congestive heart failure.
The movie icon, a two-time Oscar winner and Dame of the British Empire, will turn 79 later this month.
She has battled many health problems over the years and always rallied so we hope she will recover and be able to return home soon. She first disclosed in November 2004 that she suffered from a congestive heart condition.
“Her family and close friends are appreciative of the warm support and interest of her loyal fans but have asked that people respect her privacy and allow her medical team the time and space to focus on restoring her back to health,” her publicist Sally Morrison said in a statement.
The episode of I Love Lucy that has Lucy and Ethel dressed up as martians on top of the Empire State Building is a classic. But the funniest scenes, to me and my friends at least, take place before the girls agree to take part in that publicity stunt.
The reason they take the gig is because they need money to donate to a charity run by Lucy’s very rich school chum Cynthia who has blown into town. Lucy has fibbed and said she and Ricky are much more well off and starts saying things to the haughty Cynthia like: “This morning I flew into a nasty rage and fired all the servants.”
She then tells one lie after another like that she has a country house (the New York City apartment is just a place for Ricky to hang his hat) and she explains that they manage to fit their yacht into the harbor in West Palm Beach in Florida this way: “To make it fit we crank down the smoke stack and squeeze in the poop deck.”
It’s hilarious stuff and marked the first appearance of Mary Jane Croft who would guest on a later season as a woman Lucy sits next to on the airplane back from Europe. She then had the recurring role of Lucy’s neighbor Betty Ramsey once the Ricardos and the Mertz’s moved to Connecticut.
Kathy Griffin, the hilarious redhead with a deep hunger for big shiny trophies, is heading into town next month.
According to BroadwayWorld.com, Kathy will perform at Broadway’s Belasco Theater March 11-13 and 15-19. The name of the show? “Kathy Griffin Wants a Tony.”
The two-time Emmy winner for Bravo’s My Life on the D-List was just as straight-forward when she recorded the CD For Your Consideration which was a blatant – and successful – attempt to get nominated for a Grammy last year. She’s up for a Grammy again on Sunday.
Kathy will no doubt touch on a lot of what’s been going on in the world so expect plenty of Lindsay Lohan material and, oh boy, Bristol Palin’s name is sure to come up too!
Don’t you think the fresh-faced, blue-eyed stage actor Claybourne Elder is adorable too?
He’s got a role in the Broadway bound musical Bonnie & Clyde in which he plays the role of Buck Barrow.
The 26-year-old goes by “Clay” and is from Springville, Utah – the youngest of eight kids!
“I popped out last, the only one with the performer gene,” he told Broadway.com a few years ago.
Although he got involved in community theater while in high school, he dropped out of college for awhile to work abroad in underdeveloped communities and spent a year in Moscow and in a fishing village in China teaching English.
He returned to college and since graduation has been a busy man appearing in productions of Curtains, Into the Woods, Cabaret and Take Flight.
Clay is clearly a star in the making judging from the reviews he’s been getting for almost every show he’s in from major publications including the New York Times.
It’s a bit of a shock to learn that Van Hansis, who did some of his finest work as Luke Snyder during the final months of As the World Turns, decided not to enter himself into the Daytime Emmy race.
One of the better actors in daytime, Van has been nominated for an Emmy four times but not yet won. This could have been his best chance to take home the prize for his top-notch acting opposite Eric Sheffer Stevens as Dr. Reid Oliver whose death in the final weeks were high drama.
[BTW, as much as I love Van and his work as Luke, I think the supporting actor Emmy this year should go, hands-down to Eric Sheffer Stevens who was a revelation on so many levels and brought to daytime TV a rare combination of snark and tenderness that has never been executed so effectively.]
Anyway, the LukeandReid blog broke the news and Van has explained his decision via Facebook:
It’s just been announced that Tony and Olivier Award winner Patti LuPone will be the one to belt out The Ladies Who Lunch in the New York Philharmonic’s concerts of Stephen Sondheim and George Furth’sCompany in April.
Miss LuPone, who most recently appeared on Broadway in Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, will perform the role of Joanne and sing the number made so famous by Elaine Stritch in the original Broadway production of the show.
She adds great luster to an already stellar cast: Neil Patrick Harris as perennial bachelor Bobby, Stephen Colbert (as Harry), Martha Plimpton (as Sarah), Anika Noni Rose (as Marta) and Jim Walton (as Larry).
The concerts, to be directed and produced by Lonny Price, will be performed April 7-9. The famed orchestra will be conducted by Paul Gemignani.
Company follows five married, once-married, and soon-to-be-married couples and their mutual friend who is still single and unable to connect in a long-term relationship. The relationships are presented in a series of vignettes and the songs include Company, Side by Side by Side, The Ladies Who Lunch and my very favorite, Being Alive.
In case you missed Adam Lambert’s appearance on The Talk yesterday, thanks to YouTube I have it right here in its entirety!
Adam shared all kinds of things with the audience and co-hosts Julie Chen, Sara Gilbert, Sharon Osbourne, Holly Robinson Peete and Leah Remini.
Adam said he has broken down a door, changed a battery, has never changed a tire and to prove that he could do the fireman carry, he effortlessly threw Miss Gilbert her over his shoulder and spun her around.
Adam also said he’d love to duet with David Bowie (would that not be awesome?) and also announced that on March 22, a live DVD of his Glam Nation Tour will be released!
If you are a Barbra Streisand fans then these are good days.
‘The great star who often goes years between movies and alums is back with a vengeance with a new book out (My Passion for Design), a part in the box office hit Little Fockers, two more movie roles in the works as well as a new album.
On Friday night, as I reported earlier this week, Streisand will be feted by an all-star cast at the MusiCares benefit in Los Angeles. But there’s more: It’s just been announced that the 8-time Grammy winner and 2011 nominee is going to perform on Sunday’s awards show to be telecast by CBS.
Except for singing a few lines of You’ll Never Know when she was presented with the Grammy Legends Award back in 1992, I do believe this will be Streisand’s first full-scale Grammy performance since 1980 when she and Neil Diamond did a duet of their hit You Don’t Bring Me Flowers.
It has not been announced what Streisand will sing but it’s a safe bet it will be something from her Love is the Answer CD which is nominated for best traditional pop album.
So will she win her first album since The Broadway Album way back in the 80s?
She tells USA Today that the numbers are in her favor: “My lucky number is 24. I was born on the 24th and had my son at 24. When I won my last Grammy, I said, ‘Maybe I’ll see you in 24 years.’ That was 24 years ago. We’ll see.”
Streisand talked about her upcoming film roles playing Seth Rogen’s mom in the comedy My Mother’s Curse and Mama Rose in Gypsy.
“We’re still in negotiations,” she said of Gypsy. “But Arthur [Laurents, the show's librettist] let the cat out of the bag.”
The star is also working on an album celebrating the lyrics of Alan and Marilyn Bergman, close friends who have written several of her hits including The Way We Were.
Elton Johnmade headlines last week when he told Rolling Stone Magazine that his frequent touring partner Billy Joel is an alcoholic in need of some tough rehab.
“At the end of the day, he’s coasting,” Elton told the magazine. “I always say, ‘Billy, can’t you write another song?’ It’s either fear or laziness. It upsets me. … Billy’s a conundrum. We’ve had so many cancelled tours because of illnesses and various other things, alcoholism. … He’s going to hate me for this, but every time he goes to rehab they’ve been light. When I went to rehab, I had to clean the floors. He goes to rehab where they have TVs. I love you, Billy, and this is tough love.”
Publicly, Joel took the high road and said “Elton is just being Elton” and said the remarks would not change his affection for him.
But on The Today Show this week, Elton shared the skinny on Billy’s real reaction: “He hates me at the moment. He sent me a message and he’s not happy. I understand that. I’m sorry I had to say it, but I’m saying it because I really want Billy to live a long life and be very happy. That’s all it came from. I understand why he’s mad at me. I’m only trying to help. Maybe I should have done it privately, but I’ve been so frustrated over the years.”
I may have strongly disliked the Sue Sylvester stuff in the post-Super Bowl episode of Glee but was so pleased that just two days later, the show was back to its wonderful self for the Valentine’s Day episode.
Featured prominently was Santana Lopez (Naya Rivera), the bad-girl” member of the Cheerios and the glee club who speaks her mind with brutal honesty. She also had a showdown with Lauren (Ashley Fink) over the affections of Puck (Mark Salling), gave Finn (Cory Monteith) and Quinn (Dianna Agron) mono and began a flirtation with Sam (Chord Overstreet).
So Santana is a busy girl!
But whatever happened to her bisexuality?
Back in October, she and Brittany (Heather Morris) were making out on top of a bed. As Santana kisses her neck, Brittany sighs: ‘Oh, sweet lady kisses’, before Santana smiles and says: ‘It’s a nice break from all that scissoring’, referring to a lesbian sexual position.
Well, I’ve just read in TV Guide that when Gwyneth Paltrow returns to Glee for another guest appearance this spring, her character of Holly Holliday will be the substitute sex education teacher.
Holly will encourage Santana to open up about her bisexuality and and show a deeper side to her new beau …. SPOILER ALERT … Sam!
“Sam’s a conservative guy,” Overstreet tells TV Guide. “But now he’s oddly turned on by Santana’s forcefullness.”