Martina Navratilova , in my opinion, is second only to Steffi Graf as the greatest female tennis player of all time in singles. But off the court, there is no one who comes close to Martina when it comes to off-court courage.
The legend is sharing her expertise as a commentator on the Tennis Channel’s extensive coverage of the US Open which runs through Sunday.In the days leading up to the Open, the channel has been airing a wonderful documentary on the marvelous Martina.
It’s part of the Tennis Channel- Signature Series, a first person account of the life and times of Martina, from her childhood under a repressive communist regime in Czechoslovakia, through her defection to her unparalleled achievements on and off the court as an American citizen. Martina movingly narrates the moments from her life giving you unique insight into what she was thinking and feeling during the highest and lowest moments of her professional career and personal life.
I happen to have a copy of the documentary personally signed by Martina. The first person who sends me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org correctly answering the following 10 trivia questions about the nine-time Wimbledon singles champion wins the DVD!
UPDATE: Reader Steve Neil was first to reply with all of the correct answers. Thanks to all who played!
1. Who did Martina lose to in the semifinals of the 1975 US Open before announcing at a news conference that she was defecting to the United States?
2. Martina played in eight US Open singles finals, winning four of them in 1983, 1984, 1986 and 1987. What are the names of the four players she lost finals to in 1981, 1985, 1989 and 1991?
3. When Martina lost to doubles partner Pam Shriver in the quarterfinals of the 1982 US Open, she said in the post-match press conference that she had been ill. What was the illness?
4. How old was Martina when she won her final grand slam title (in mixed doubles) at the 2006 US Open?
5. Martina played Chris Evert 80 times in her career. What was her final won-loss record against Evert?
6. How many years separated Martina’s first and last grand slam finals?
7. How many singles titles did Martina win during her career?
8. Martina and Pam Shriver hold the record for the most consecutive matches won by a women;s doubles team. How many matches did they win before the streak was snapped.
9. What made Martina cry during the awards ceremony at the 1981 US Open?
10. What was Martina’s won-loss record against her late-career rival Steffi Graf?
Gloria Gaynor’s first big hit was 1974′s Never Can Say Goodbye in 1974. But that was just a warm-up for what was to be not only her anthem, but an anthem for every gay man who’s ever had a broken heart. The song is I Will Survive and it reached number one in 1979. Thirty years later the song is still going strong.
Today, Miss Gaynor Turns 60 years old. To celebrate, play the song and sing along.
We know that given the right role, Renee Zellweger can be dazzling.
Chicago, Bridget Jones’ Diary, Jerry Maguire and Down With Love are proof of that. Then there are times, like with Leatherheads and New In Town, where it’s just painful to watch!
Fortunately, Renee’s current film My One and Only is one of her gems and since it went into wider release this weekend, I wanted to take this chance to highly recommend it.
Here’s the plot: Beautiful, mercurial Ann Devereaux (Zellweger) has just left her philandering husband Dan (Kevin Bacon), a society bandleader, and taken to the road with her teenage sons, George (Logan Lerman) and Robbie (Mark Rendall), in search of a wealthy replacement mate. But it’s 1953, years past Ann’s courting days. Now it seems that the losers and playboys outnumber the eligible and willing bachelors. As the miles roll by, their journey veers from eccentric, to hair-raising, to poignant, to comic. The three travelers get to know each other much better than they’d ever expected.
Ultimately, George discovers the determination, dignity and love underneath his mother’s self-absorbed exterior. And Ann makes a different family for herself and her sons than any of them had imagined. The story is inspired by real events in the adolescent life of actor George Hamilton’s adventures with his mother.
The heart of the film is the relationship between Renee’s character and her two sons. What I really love is that Robbie (Rendall) is clearly gay and even though this is set in the 50s, his mother and brother accept him wholeheartedly as he needlepoints and vamps his way across the country. He has a strong sense of himself and goes about his way.
I didn’t have any problem with Robbie being a stereotype because it is a wonderful character who gets to be himself.
I had never heard of actress Patricia Mauceri until earlier this summer when she was replaced on One Life to Live.
She objected to dialogue her character was supposed to say as part of the current gay storyline involving Fish, Kyle, Cristian, Layla and Nick. Her character was not gay nor was her son, Cristian. But she mistakenly thinks Cristian is and is actually supportive.
Mauceri, who played the recurring role of Carlotta Vega for 14 years, is telling Fox News that she was fired because of her religious beliefs.
Mauceri said the gay-friendly dialogue was not in line with her character: “I did not object to being in a gay storyline. I objected to speaking the truth of what that person, how that person would live and breathe and act in that storyline. And this goes against everything I am, my belief system, and what I know the character’s belief system is aligned to.”
Mauceri said she offered changes to the script and hoped for a compromise. She seems to be taking a page from fellow anti-gay bigot Carrie Prejean and is exploring her legal options.
Since One Life to Live is doing such a wonderful, groundbreaking job with this storyline, Mauceri misses out on being part of a sbow with renewed buzz. It’s really her loss.
Broadway actor Nicholas Rodriguez was only supposed to be on One Life to Live for a few episodes. How lucky we are that his character of Nick Chavez has been extended and will get more involved with Kyle (Brett Claywell) who is trying to move past his relationship with Oliver Fish (Scott Evans).
Rodriguez did a lengthy interview with AfterElton.com posted last week. Here are some excerpts:
AE:What does it mean to you as a gay person to be playing this part? Do you think you can bring something to it that a straight actor could not?
NR: I’d like to think so. There’s a lot of pressure. I’m incredibly proud to be playing this role. Unlike the roles of Kyle and Fish, I’m walking into the scene playing a gay character. Both of them have kind of come out, but I get to say, this is who a gay man is and this is how I think a gay man thinks. It’s a lot of pressure. People didn’t know me before, so they’re only getting to judge me based on this. In a way, there’s a kind of pressure and obligation to represent. I’m definitely putting a lot of my personal experiences into Nick because I think it fits with this storyline.
NR: I’m obviously coming into this couple who people are already rooting for and have a history with, and it could easily be so cliché. I could so easily be “the other guy.” At the same time, being an out man playing an out man, I’m trying to infuse a lot of compassion towards Oliver. I don’t want to just look at him as the competition. I want it to be like, “I’ve been there. I know exactly what he’s going through.” We don’t all come out at the same time or under the same circumstances. He’s not a bad guy; he just hasn’t figured it out yet. Do I want him to be with Kyle? No! I want to be with Kyle. But at the same time, it doesn’t have anything to do with us, with Oliver and Nick. It’s about chemistry and finding the right way. He’s just not out yet.
It’s so easy in Soap Opera Land to go for the first choice, like to be the jealous boyfriend. Like, “I’m gonna cut a bitch!” But I get it. These guys have history. They have to work it out. If I’m going to be with Kyle, he’s going to have to work out his stuff with Oliver, and I’m going to have to be there. Let’s be realistic. That’s how it happens in the gay world. We all know that our exes stick around.
AE:How does it feel to be doing something groundbreaking by bringing a first all-guy love triangle to a soap opera?
NR: At first I was a little scared, I have to be honest. We all were. Not scared, but apprehensive. Like, “Oh God, is this the way we want our career to go?” Because, let’s be honest, it’s not the easiest path right now. But the second you do it, it just feels so good. When we’re doing it, and Brett and I talk about this all the time, we’re being honest. These are real emotions.
If we can put that in American homes, people who may not know another gay person, people that live outside of New York and California, if they can like us as real people, then we’re really making a difference, especially with some of the stuff that’s coming up.
AE:Give me a hint or tease about what’s coming up in the next few weeks with Nick and Kyle.NR: I don’t know how much I can say, but I’m really excited to be sticking around for a little bit. My character is a leader for the Llanview Gay and Lesbian Alliance, if that tells you anything. We now have a Gay and Lesbian Alliance in Llanview, so you can expect to see a little more activism on my part, and the relationship with Kyle really progresses. They become a real, deep, caring relationship. That affects Fish, obviously, and the three of us have to deal with it. None of us are going away, at least immediately, so we either have to become friends and deal with it or move on. There’s some really great stuff that I’m really proud of and I wish I could talk about. I get the scripts and I’m just like, “I’m going to do what?” It’s really that level 10 excitement. “We’re going to do that on TV?” I get excited every day about going to work.
There had not been a whole lot of good gay romantic comedies when The Broken Hearts Club hit theaters back in 2000.
It remains one of the best of the genre.
The film revolves around a group of gay friends in West Hollywood who lean on each other to work their way through gay life, not always with success.
The cast is stellar led by Timothy Olyphant who anchors the film emotionally. Then there is Dean Cain as the male slut of the group who goes through boyfriends like Kleenex, a pre-ScrubsZach Braff as the friend who loses his way, Andrew Keegan as the youngest guy in the group and John Mahoney of Frasier who is the group’s father figure.
In this scene, we also see Kerr Smith of Dawson’s Creek fame who succumbs to Cain’s charms.
Well, who w0uldn’t?
BTW, the film was written and directed by Greg Berlanti, producer of Brothers & Sisters, Eli Stone and Dirty Sexy Money.
Love, love, love JoAnne Worley who is 72 years young today.
Best-known as a standout in the great Rowan & Martin’s Laugh In series, she has worked steadily since then on television, in films and on stage. She delighted audience in Los Angeles a few years back when she played the role of Madame Morrible in Wicked at the Pantages Theatre for seven glorious months.
But what seems most near and dear to Miss Worley’s heart is her work with Actors and Others for Animals of which she is currently president.
Still, she remains busy on stage with an upcoming two-day engagement of her one-woman show Keep Laughin!, a celebration of her life in song and comedy. It’s at The Grove Theatre Sept. 19 and 20. More information at http://www.grovetheatre.com.
She is such a delightful life force and a genuinely nice woman. Earlier this year, I bumped into her in the lobby of the Ahmanson Theatre during intermission of the musical Minskys. I’d mentiioned her in a few columns but didn’t expect this welcome when I went up to introduce myself: “I loooooooooooooove yooooouuu!” she said in her famous operatic trill. For my pal Eddie, who was standing next to me, it was even better than the show.
For me too.
Here are a few clips of Miss Worley. The first two are from Laugh-In and the third, her and David Letterman playing the $100,000 Pyramid:
There’s good news for fans of the handsome actor Dylan McDermott: he’s returning to television in a new series: Dark Blue on TNT.
The former star of The Practice plays a veteran cop who heads a squad of undercover LAPD officers.
The premise sounds much more promising than Dylan’s previous series Big Shots which was canceled after just 11 episodes a few years back. I’ve been a fan of Dylan’s ever since his early film work in Steel Magnolias and In the Line of Fire.
But he really won me over with his performance as defense attorney Bobby Donnell during six seasons on ABC’s The Practice. It was the role of a lifetime for the actor, now 47. Never has a television character been more sexy giving a closing argument to a jury!
My fsve Andy Roddick not only lost his match at the US Open today, he lost in a heartbreaking way.
After clawing his way back from two sets down, Andy ended up losing to fellow American John Isner in a fifth set tie-breaker. The final score was 7-6 (3), 6-3, 3-6, 5-7, 7-6 (5).
“It’s tough,” a disappointed Andy said after the match. “I mean, I don’t know if I’ve come to a tournament with as much confidence—into a Slam—as I did with this tournament. Leaving earlier than I want to.”
Roddick was considered one of the few pkayers capable of stopping Roger Federer from winning a sixth straight title. Andy narrowly lost to Roger in an classic Wimbledon final in July.
Didn’t want to let the day pass without wishing a happy birthday to Phillip P. Keene, the handsome actor who has played Buzz Watson on the smash TNT drama The Closer for five seasons.
Buzz is the guy who keeps things running when Kyra Sedgwick’s character of LAPD Deputy Police Chief Brenda Johnson is making criminals confess in the interrogation room.
I met Phillip at AIDS Walk Los Angeles last fall and was pleasantly surprised to find out that he is an out and proud actor.
Phillip has been in a committed relationship for 16 years and said the couple had considered marriage last year but wanted to wait to find out what happened with Proposition 8.: “Because I don’t want something like that being ripped out from under us after the fact, you know?”
Hopefully, marriage will become legal in California again and they can tie the knot then! Meanwhile, hopefully Phillip is having a wonderful birthday!
With Michael Jackson’s burial finally taking place earlier this week, thought it would be nice to share a few videos of him and his brothers from the summer of 1977 when they had their own variety series on CBS. This was after they left Motown and before Michael achieved adult stardom with Off the Wall.
Below is a lovely photo my friend, Lorna Harris, took in mid-July at Neverland Ranch. Lorna has a terrific blog called CalifLorna which shares slices of life about their family’s new life in Newport Beach after a decade in Great Britain.
Back in the fall of 2006, Neil Patrick Harris was still best known for his starring role in the 1989-93 series Doogie Howser MD. But since then, he had kept working in television (Stark Raving Mad), movies (Harold and Kumar go to White Castle) and on Broadway (Cabaret, Assassins).
Not too long before we met at a splashy party for the DVD release of the movie 9 to 5 (Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin and Dolly Parton reunited for the event), I had heard an interview Neil gave to Terry Gross on NPR and gained a whole new appreciation for his intelligence and commitment to his craft.
So as I was standing near the stage waiting for the Parton, Fonda, Tomlin appearance, I turned aroumd and there he was. I told Neil how I had just listened to the interview and how well he came off and he was genuinely appreciative. I’ve since seen him many times and done some interviews but that very first time remains the most special.
It’s been amazing to see how Neil’s star has risen so high since then. He really is the toast of the town and it’s so nice to see it happen to an openly gay man and to someone who is so talented.
Why do I lovely? Because I’m staying with British friends this weekend and we used words like lovely to describe anything we find pleasing.
I find Scott Herman, the hunky man from Real World: Brooklyn quite pleasing. He’s a model and fitness expert (scotthermanfitness.com) – clearly the perfect lines of work for him!
He did an interview with the terrific blog AKA William so I thought I’d share a little bit of it to enjoy with photos of this guy who clearly has a brain to go along with the brawn.
You have quite a gay following. Do you prefer twinks or bears following you?
Well, after Google searching what a “twink” is, I would have to say that I can’t make a decision. A “twink” is more of a fragile man and a “bear” is big and burly, but when you put them together, you have the best fans and supporters anyone could ask for!
In your “How To Shave Your Groin” video — where you don’t actually show us how you shave your groin — did you not show us how to groin-shave because you really don’t know how?
I actually used to shave my groin area all the time when I wrestled in high school. I think you lose .000000002 of a pound if you did? Haha.
Brad Gilbert, a man who has been a far more successful as a coach coach than he was a player, committed a very stupid faux paus. He was doing commentary for the Juan Martin Del Porto match on ESPN and had some things to say about the fifth-ranked Argentine player’s tennis attire:
Gilbert:” I’m giving a big thumbs-up to Del Potro’s all-black gear. It looks physical, he’s stepping up. They had him in too much of a fruity-looking outfit at the French and Wimbledon. Now he’s looking like a physical specimen. He could be a nice guard in the NBA.”
Fruity? What? Did he look like a banana? A mango?
Brad, you’re not on the playground in fifth grade where, unfortunately, this kind of thing is all too prevelant. Gilbert, once ranked as high as fourth in world, has also coached Andre Agassi, Andy Roddick and Andy Murray. He’s always been one of the game’s more articulate players so this kind of thing is very disappointing and, frankly, inexusable.
Entertainment Weekly’sMichael Ausiello chatted up Neal Bledsoe about his upcoming guest spot on Gossip Girl. He plays a lawyer who is a well-connected alumni at the university where Blair Waldorf (Leighton Meester) wants badly to give the famous freshman speech.
Bledsoe’s character is gay, can make it happen but he wants a kiss from Blair’s boyfriend Chuck (Ed Westwick).
Tell me about your character.
BLEDSOE: Initially I was supposed to play the dean of the freshman class. But then they hired a 28-year-old actor so that seemed like a little bit of a stretch. Now I play a lawyer who is a very well connected alumni at the university who has a hand in deciding who is going to give the famous freshman speech.
An honor you agree to extend to Blair in exchange for the kiss. Is it as simple as you just wanting to say you made out with the legendary Chuck Bass?
BLEDSOE: I will tell you this: I have a very unexpected and darker motivation about it.
Was shooting the kiss awkward?
BLEDSOE: No. We were both professionals about it. [It helped] that we got to know each other a little bit beforehand. And we certainly rehearsed it.
Rehearsed it? How many takes did you do?
BLEDSOE: [Laughs] More than a few.
How would you characterize the kiss? Steamy? A little peck?
BLEDSOE: I would characterize it as a nice kiss.
Complete this sentence: Ed Westwick kisses just like…
BLEDSOE: [Laughs] …he kisses just like Chuck Bass.
Jim Verraros and his fiancee Bill Brennan will tie the knot in Chicago.
Jim, 26, starred in the first two Eating Out movies and was a finalist during the first season of American Idol. He and Bill, 42, met in 2005 on, of all places, MySpace, and discovered that they only lived 20 minutes apart from each other in the Chicago area.
“The whole blond-haired, blue-eyed thing piqued my interest,” Jim said when we chatted recently. “He’s very warm and down to earth. We talked seven hours that first night, I moved in a couple of months later and never left.”
They were two-and-half years into their relationship when Bill, president of Bridal Expo Chicago, pulled a white gold ring with eight diamonds out of his pocket.
“Being a gay male in this day and ag,e you don’t really think about marriage,” Jim admitted. “He’s in the business and he really wanted to have a wedding,. Everything changed for me when I met.”
On a website dedicated to their wedding, Bill said: “As with many couples who first start dating, we had some bumps in the road that first year. But we worked through them and became a better couple because of those bumps. When I proposed to Jim nearly a year and a half ago, I knew I found my soul mate and my best friend. I look back to November of 2005 and remember the kind of person I was back then and how incomplete I felt. Finding Jim has changed me and has helped me become a better person. And most of all, I have never felt more complete or fulfilled than in any time I have walked this earth.”
“People say, ‘Why are you even doing it if it’s not even legal?’ We don’t have to wait for the government to tell us it’s okay, we’re doing it anyway. It’s more about our family and friends and people we care about witnessing something that is true and beautiful. It’s important for us to see our family to see something that is very traditional. Hopefully we will begin to create a movement. You can still have a wedding and no one has to tell you you cant do it.”
Jim plans to sing to Bill at tomorrow’s festivities and they have gone all out with such things as an ice sculpture bar with the MGM lions carved at the bottom and a 10-piece orchestra. Each of their fathers will serve as their best man.
Jim the groom is a bit more buff than Jim the Idol contestant. He has added 20 pounds of muscle to his frame through intensive workouts.
“You get to a point in your life when you are ready for a change and you get to it,” he said. “I changed my diet and threw myself in the gym to see how far I could take my body, I got tired of being that geeky dork from the Eating Out movies.”
Jim has released some albums and is still keeping active musically:”I just put two songs on iTunes off the record., playing it by ear and giving it to fans still interested in following me….no pressure, I have my life, the fans have always been supprtive.”
Connie Chung caused quite a stir when she decided to get glammed up to sing Thanks for the Memory when she and hubby Maury Povich signed off from their weekly MSNBC show for the last tine. I had not watched it – ever – until today.
It’s even worse than I thought!
That being said, I do miss Miss Chung on TV. At a time when Diane Sawyer and Katie Couric have ascended to the network newscast anchor seat, it’s worth pointing out that Connie had done so in the mid-90s when she was paired with Dan Rather.
She started with CBS News in her 20s covering Watergate, was a superstar anchor in LA in the late 70s and early 80s before moving to NBC then CBS then ABC then CNN before a year on MSNBC.
I hope she does something else soon because I miss seeing her!
Thank God it’s Friday! Hope you are all about to enjoy a wonderful Labor Day weekend.
One thing to ponder before you light up the barbecue is the status us Harvey Milk Day in California. The bill, which designates May 22 as a day of special significance in California, passed the Assembly on Thursday and will next go before the State Senate where it is also expected to be passed.
It will then be up to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who vetoed a similar bill last year, to sign.
San Francisco Senator Mark Leno authored Senate Bill 572 and had this to say: I am pleased my colleagues in the Assembly recognize and honor Harvey Milk´s contributions to our state,” Leno said. “He is an inspiration to people worldwide who believe in fairness and equality and he fought for many of the issues we value today, including access to education, public transportation, affordable housing and protecting the environment.
“Although he vetoed a similar bill last year with the message that Harvey Milk should be recognized only at the local level, I am confident Governor Schwarzenegger now understands the historic and international nature of Harvey´s legacy,” Leno added. “Last week the Governor contradicted his 2008 veto message when he and the First Lady announced that Harvey will be inducted into the California Hall of Fame, acknowledging that Harvey and the other inductees touched the ´lives of millions of people – not just in this state, but around the world.´”
The legislation is sponsored by Equality California and co-authored by 22 members of the Legislature.
STILL DAZZLING: I’m just crazy about Mitzi Gaynor, star of the classic big-screen musical South Pacific and all those great television specials in the 60s and 70s.
Miss Gaynor, whose performing again, turns 78 years young today!
I have a big crush on her and boy, she’s still got it going on! When I last saw her in June at the LA Tony Award Party, I was sort of staring at her after we finished talking but not in a way that I wanted her to notice! She busted me, giving me a sideways glance and says: “You’re checking me out aren’t you!”
Mitzi had been retired from showbiz but after her husband Jack Bean died in 2006 (they were married for 52 years), she has re-emerged professionally and been touring with a one-woman show.
How has it been since she has re-emerged in recent years?
“It’s kind of wonderful. I can go to Trader Joes now and everybody knows who I am. Instead of saying, “Aren’t you?” they say, ‘Mitzi!’ and it’s kind of marvelous.”
THEY’RE ACES: I’m in The OC enjoying the Labor Day weekend and plan to watch a lot of US Open tennis! Here are Wimbledon finalists Andy Roddick and Roger Federer in action this week. Both are safely in the third round and looking mighty good while doing it! Also looking good is third-ranked Rafael Nadal who is back from injury and trying to win the Open for the first time.