With all the opening of presents, eating of tamales and visiting with friends and relatives, I forgot that not only is today Christmas Day, but it is also I Love Lucy Friday!
This is the one and only Christmas episode from the series and it was not aired in syndication. But several years ago, it emerged on video and parts of it are colorized.
The I Love Lucy Christmas Show, originally aired on Christmas Eve in 1956, and it’s actually a themed clip show.
As Lucy, Ricky, Fred and Ethyl get things ready for Little Ricky’s Christmas, they share memories (and clips) about the events that led up to his birth, from the classic episode where Lucy told Ricky she was pregnant (not that they could use the word “pregnant” on TV in 1956) to the episode where he’s born.
The framing sequence is where all the Christmas content is, and it’s really good, with Fred struggling with the Christmas tree and Lucy struggling to defend her singing ability… then we get a surprise guest-star at the end.
After her burial on Christmas Eve, Brittany Murphy’s family issued the following statement:
“Today a wife, a daughter, a niece, a cousin, a family member and dear friend to thousands was laid to rest. Brittany was an incredibly loving and passionate person and an artist to her core — she loved acting, singing, dancing, and performing. There are no words that can truly express the devastation felt by Brittany’s husband, mother, and everyone who attended the intimate service.
“At the funeral, Simon [Monjack, Murphy's husband] described his loving relationship with Brittany and how she was his best friend and soul mate. He went on to say that mystery is the nature of love, and you never know when or where it will strike or how quickly it will be taken from you. He also said that he knows the closeness and beauty of their love will live on forever.
“Several of Brittany’s closest friends and her cousin also recalled their favorite memories, concluding with an excerpt from The Little Prince, one of her favorite books.
“Brittany’s body was interred at Forest Lawn at twilight with the reading of the Kaddish and the singing of Amazing Grace. A bright light that lit the world is forever dimmed, but will live on in the hearts of those that Brittany touched.
“Christmas was Brittany’s favorite holiday. So the family asks that all those who wish to honor her light a candle and remember the beautiful angel that entertained, enlightened, and made the world a better place.”
The Classic Morning Man series concludes today with Ricky Nelson, one of the best looking men and most talented performers to ever grace a concert stage, television or movie screen.
He grew up in front of America’s eyes performing with his parents and brother on Ozzie & Harriet. He began singing in the show and became one of the biggest teen idols of the 50s and 60s with such hits as I’m Walking, Travelin Man, Poor Little Fool, Teenage Idol and 25 other top 40 hits in all.
Sadly, Nelson died at the age of 45 in a plane crash on New Years Eve 1985. But his music lives on. In the video below, Ricky sings A Christmas Song to his family including his baby daughter who grew up to become actress Tracy Nelson.
A few months back, I sat with actor David Pevsner to watch a late Friday night performance of the play WeHo at the The Celebration Theatre where David had performed earlier that evening in the main stage in F*cking Men in which resumes its run there on Jan. 6.
We got to talking about gay actors being out and David had some very strong opinions about it.
I suggested he write a column about it for Greg In Hollywood and he did!
Here it is, from the heart:
Dear A-List or A-List on the Cusp Leading Man…
I’ll get right to it. You’re gay. Are you tired of hiding yet? Come out of the closet. No matter what the conventional wisdom says…it’s important that you come out. I’ll get to why for your own good later, but we need you as a role model, we need kids to see that you can be out and a success, as high as the level will go.
It’s true that as a huge celebrity, people do care who you sleep with, do care what you do in your spare time, do want to know all they can about you. Whether you like it or not, disagree or agree, that’s just the way it is. Even if you choose not to play that game, the interest is there and affects how we perceive you. That’s difficult to deal with, I’m sure…I can’t even imagine.
When women celebrities come out of the closet (as welcome as it is), the straight men can still fantasize about them. If you were to come out, it’s feared that it’ll turn off the straight crowd all the way around and there will be negative interest in your off-screen life, you may lose the believability factor for straight romantic roles, and boom, your revenue potential for high profile projects is destroyed.
I know it’s all about money…how will it affect the bottom line? Some high profile gay behind-the-scenes men suggest it’s best for your career if you stay in the closet. It’s all so iffy, but the thing that gets lost in all of this is: How do they know? How does anyone know? No one has done it.
But I ask you, how many high profile big star projects with supposedly straight romantic leads have tanked of late simply because they’re not very good? Here’s a thought: Put an out gay actor (you) who happens to be a fantastic artist (you again) in a high profile romantic comedy with a great script and terrific director guiding it along. I will wager that it becomes a hit. A huge hit. A bigger hit than anyone could have realized because the movie’s great and the gay guy pulled it off. Wahoo!
Come on, be the first! Start a trend! Those in the know will say that’s idealistic. But really, how can they speculate? It’s not been done before. I’m not talking about George Nader in the 50s and all the whispering. I’m saying that no leading man has come close to lifting the veil, and anytime there was going to be proof revealing their (your) status, suddenly they (you) get married or get involved in a (hetero) sex scandal. Ah…the secret’s still safe.
My fellow Gay Actor, .come out of the damn closet.
If you’re good and you choose your projects well, you stand to be an even bigger star than you are now. And if you’re on the cusp of stardom, do it and live your life your way. Not having to lie on in interviews, no fear of blackmail, the possibility that you will become a hero to millions and millions of fans who will support you in your artistic choices, and will go along with the stories you choose to tell as an actor. Sound good?
One day, none of it is going to be an issue. We will openly serve in the military, we will have total marriage rights, we will be able to love who we choose without fear of physical or emotional torment, we will show the world that we are everywhere in everyone’s lives in every industry whether they know it or not, and we will show them that we all want the same things: to work, to love and be loved, to have all the rights promised in the constitution and in every political document that exists.
That day is not here yet but change is happening at an incredibly fast pace. If you don’t think that you, as one of the most famous faces in the world, don’t have the power to help those changes happen sooner than later, you are mistaken.
It does matter if you come out. You should. You must. You may not think you’re lying when you show up on the red carpet with your female “date” when your boyfriend or partner or husband is sitting home watching you on TV, but you are.
I’m not going to blame the fate of Matthew Shepherd on you, but it’s all connected. If even one of us is self-loathing and hiding, it buys into the entire conservative agenda that being gay is a shameful embarrassment and worthy of only disdain, that we’re a bunch of perverts who need to go away. The world is your soapbox, more so than anyone out there, more than any politician or scientist or behind the scenes industry person.
Neil Patrick Harris and TR Knight are heroes for how they’re handling their out (and outed) status. Successes. Doing what they want. Both Emmy nominated for playing straight guys on high profile TV shows. Both were well deserved nominations and not because the gay guys “pulled it off.” My contention is that they were the right guys playing the right roles beautifully, and in Neil’s case…he’s frickin’ hilarious.
What a concept: do your job, do it well, and the rest takes care of itself.
Rumor and wishful thinking aside, I don’t know if you’re straight, gay, or bi, but if any of you are gay…it’s time. If any of your high profile actor friends are gay, be there for them and help them Out. Even if you’re not the romantic leading guy, come out. Characters welcome. All of you, 1…2…3…don’t flinch. Come out. Your career may not end up being what you thought it was going to be…it might be better and more rewarding than you could ever have hoped, with a life away from the biz that is more satisfying than you could have ever dreamed.
I’m an out gay actor in Hollywood. I’m not where you guys are. I’m older than most of you, I do character parts on TV, a lot of theater, and I have a side biz as a personal organizer that I love. No one really cares about my personal life…my mother maybe, but TMZ and the gossip rags have no interest, although since there’s enough dirt in my life to kill twelve careers, maybe they should. My earning potential as of now is nowhere near yours and I wouldn’t want you to lose your earnings, but doesn’t living life as a free man have any stock in your value systems?
Most importantly, who is to say that your earning potential will drop? I’m not being facetious here, but really…how do you know for sure? A couple of lousy movies will probably hurt you way more than you owning who you are for all the world to see. Any number of high profile male actors who could have taken personally the affront that is Prop 8 could have done worlds of good by speaking out.
Right now, no issue concerning gay rights is too small. We’re at a crossroads, a wonderful but difficult crossroads. Help us fight for equal rights…your equal rights…by coming out. Your voice is louder than the rest of us. We will support you every way we can. Please. I reiterate…it’s time. Come out.
David Pevsner has appeared on Broadway in Fiddler on the Roof,the original NY and LA companies of When Pigs Fly, and regional productions of Jeffrey, Grease, Chicago and has performed for several years in productions of Corpus Christi. Television guest roles include Desperate Housewives, Criminal Minds and Las Vegas. He also had the lead in the film Myopia.
I don’t know about you, but I love going to the movies on Christmas Day. There are several new movies opening including one that’s first on my list: It’s Complicated starring Alec Baldwin, Steve Martin and my queen, Meryl Streep.
If that’s not your taste, then maybe you’ll want to take in The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, a fantastical morality tale directed by Terry Gilliam and starring Heath Ledger in what was to be his final role. Heath died during the filming of the movie so Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell and Jude Law stepped in and the film was able to be completed.
Gilliam spoke with The Wrap about the loss of Ledger:
“He wasn’t a neurotic James Dean or any of those things. Occasionally the gods send us down someone extraordinary, and we get to see them briefly, and then the gods pull them away. That’s how I feel about Heath.
The sad thing is we’ll now never get to see all his talent and capabilities fully realized. This was a guy who’d be directing, and he’d make a great director.”
BROADWAY BOUND: When you are as talented as Megan Mullally, you have plenty of options.
The Emmy winning star of Will & Grace has had a tough time achieving follow-up success on television with her talk show being a quick failure and a sitcom she co-starred in last year being cancelled.
But Megan is just as gifted as a stage actress and is set to return to Broadway in April in the Terrance McNally play Lips Together, Teeth Apart. Her most recent Broadway appearance was in Mel Brooks‘ musical Young Frankenstein. She has also starred in revivals of Grease and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.
Lips Together tells the story of two siblings spending July 4 at a beach house on Fire Island with their respective spouses.
Megan just finished an acclaimed run in Adam Bock’sThe Receptionist at LA’s Oddyssey Theatre.
TENNIS ELITE:Roger Federer and Serena Williams both won Wimbledon singles titles this year and this week, they were named International Tennis Federation World Champions for 2009.
Federer had a stellar year winning Wimbledon for the sixth time and the French Open for the first time. Those wins propelled him past Pete Sampras as the winner of the most grand slam tournaments in history (15). He also reclaimed the number one ranking from Rafael Nadal, made it to the finals of the US Open and the Australian Open and won five tournaments overall.
Serena, who was also named Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year, played her best when it counted winning Wimbledon for the third time, the Australian Open for the fourth time and the year-end championships for the second time. She regained the number one ranking toward the end of the year as well.
But Serena’s year has a few blots on it: She played abysmally in all of the other tournaments which is why she was ranked second most of the year. Then in the semifinals of the US Open, she exploded at a lineswoman after receiving a horribly wrong call at a crucial point of her match against Kim Clisters.
But she was the best out there and it’s nice when she lives up to her considerable talent. Serena, who set a prize money record in 2009, now has 11 grand slam titles on her resume. One more and she will tie Billie Jean King but will have to win a lot more if she wants to match Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova (both 18) or Steffi Graf (22).
Kathy Griffin has been a busy woman in the days leading up to Christmas. Yesterday, she did three signings of her book, Official Book Club Selection: A Memoir According to Kathy Griffin, in three different Southern California counties.
Why is she signing so many books? She wants to outdo her “nemesis” and fellow author Sarah Palin who Kathy apparently is not fond of.
“I think she’s a dumbass,” Kathy said during her appearance on Craig Fergeson’s show.
She also talked up her new comedy CD Suckin It For the Holidays which, Kathy admits, has not one reference to the holidays in it.
Imagine if two handsome and single male movie stars lived together as “roommates” on and off for a decade and even posed for a series of photos documenting their domestic bliss.
It would never happen!
But it did.
Cary Grant and Randolph Scott shared a Malibu bachelor pad and, according to multiple sources, were involved romantically. But neither man ever acknowledged anything more than friendship – publicly at least.
Grant had one of the greatest careers in Hollywood history starring in such classics as His Girl Friday, Bringing Up Baby, Suspicion, The Philadelphia Story, An Affair to Remember, Gunga Din, To Catch a Thief, North By Northwest, Notorious and Charade, among others. He retired from films after making Walk, Don’t Run in 1966.
He was married five times, including marriages to heiress Barbara Hutton and to actress Dyan Cannon with whom he had a daughter.
Scott appeared in approximately 100 films, more than half of which were westerns including his first starring role in the 1932 film Heritage of the Desert and 10 movies in the Zane Grey series of westerns.
His other films included Rocky Mountain Mystery, Go West Young Man, The Last of the Mohicans, Belle Starr, Western Union, The Desperados, Seven Men From Now, and Westbound.
His final film was 1962′s Ride the Tall Country.
He married twice with his second marriage to Patricia Stillman lasting from 1944 until his death in 1987.
Author Brett L. Abrams wrote about the actors in his book Hollywood Bohemians: Transgressive Sexuality and the Selling of the Movieland Dream.
Here are some excerpts:
The first publicity images containing information about Grant and Scott began after they became friends while filming the movie Hot Saturday in mid–1932. Press reports during the first two years described the actors’ shared celebrity home and domestic life through phrases including, “Hollywood’s twosome” and “the happy couple.” The innuendos provided details about the two actors’ personal lives which thrilled fans, making the actors appear to be two men sharing more than lodgings.
The pair continued their domestic relationship even after Grant’s marriage to Virginia Cherrill in early 1934. Reporters noted, “The Grants and Randolph Scott have moved, all three, but not apart.” Indeed, this choice for living arrangements appeared preplanned. An item from two weeks prior to Grant’s marriage observed that Scott would not seek any permanent quarters until he heard from Grant. Innuendos continued later that year. Shortly after Grant’s divorce from Cherrill, an article proclaimed that Randolph Scott had moved back in with Grant. This article’s title, “A Woman Is Only a Woman,” suggested that the two men formed a home life with one another that they probably could not have with a woman. These items associated the actors’ home with a forbidden sexuality, turning the place into an exotic experience.
The Paramount publicity department shot over thirty photographs of Grant and Scott within different rooms of their Santa Monica beach house. The studio focused its interpretation of these pictures on the stars’ personalities, bachelorhood, and use of the house. The caption stamped on the back of each photograph highlighted that the actors were two of filmland’s most eligible bachelors who shared quarters but lived independent lives.
The actors’ living arrangement lasted until early 1942 when they moved apart for the remainder of their lives.
A Single Man is a film about a gay man (Colin Firth) who is in deep mourning over his dead lover. What is not gay about that? And yet, there has been an annoying chorus of “it’s not a gay film” comments and silly marking attempts to downplay the gayness of a gay story. The attempt was insulting to audiences both gay and straight.
Boy Culture has posted a new still from the film that leaves no doubt as well as a new trailer. Enjoy the very gay A Single Man which expands to just under 50 locations of Christmas Day.
Back in the 80s, I was involved in a couple of fairly serious relationships with women who were first-rate individuals and loved me greatly. But as we all know now, I was hiding the fact that I was gay from them and everyone else.
Thank God I stopped living that lie by my late 20s but I still feel regret over the emotional damage I caused. So the story of Welsh rubgy star Gareth Thomas strikes a particular cord with me as does the story of his former wife, Gemma Thomas, who talks about their relationship in an interview with the Daily Mail.
Gareth finally told her the truth in 2006 and she was heartbroken.
But she has forgiven the man who she says she “absolutely adored Gareth with every bone in my body … As I said my vows, all I could think was: “He’s mine, this wonderful, amazing man is all mine.”‘
‘I still love Gareth and I will never stop loving him,” she adds. ‘What happened to us is just so terribly sad. He really was the perfect husband in every other way.”
Gemma, 33, has moved to Spain to escape the scrutiny and the memories but she has a really good perspective on what has happened:
“I’m incredibly proud of him for coming out and if anyone thinks any less of him because of it, then they are stupid. I know it was a massive relief when he told me, his family and close friends three years ago, and it will be even more of a relief now that everyone knows.
‘He is now free to be who he is and I, and everyone else who knows and loves him, am happy for him because he is a very special person. I don’t feel angry, embarrassed or humiliated, nor do I regret marrying Gareth for a second. I know with all my heart that he adored me as much as I adored him on our wedding day, and I had the most fantastic years of my life with him.
‘It would be easy to wallow in self-pity and dwell on the negatives, but I am a positive person and I’m grateful that he loved me so much he had to tell me the truth because he felt I deserved better.
‘He released me and in doing so he released himself. Gareth could have waited for years to tell me, wasted my life, and where would that have left me? I was only 30 when he told me, still young enough to meet someone else and have children.’”
My schedule is a little wacky right now so I’m posting when I can. But I am posting and will be through the holidays. Starting after Christmas will be the annual Greg’s List feature naming my top stories, movies, out stars,TV shows etc. for the year (I’m staying way from the decade in review stuff!).
I found these pics of a shirtless Maksim Chmerkovskiy of Dancing With the Stars fame and had to run them. He’s a real dreamboat and completely charming. I’ve interviewed him a few times and he is very appreciative of his gay fans – like Lance Bass!
Maksim is performing on Broadway in Burn the Floor, an electrifying Latin and Ballroom dance spectacular which opened this summer at Broadway’s intimate Longacre Theatre. Lance and his great friend Joey Fatone caught a performance recently and got to hang out with a shirtless Maksim.
The show has been extended through February 24 2010 before embarking on Australian, Asian and U.S. tours.
CRUISIN’ FOR A SUING: Usually it’s Tom Cruise who is doing the suing so this is a real switch.
According to the American Lawyer’s blog, Cruise and his longtime attorney Bert Fields sued Michael Davis Sapir, the editor of Bold Magazine, in 2001 for defamation after Bold advertised a $500,000 reward for anyone who could provide evidence that Cruise is gay. Bold followed the ad up with a press release saying someone had leaked the magazine a videotape proving it,
Now it is Sapir who is suing Cruise and Fields for $5 million.
Because he alleges that Fields and Cruise hired convicted wiretapper Anthony Pellicano to wiretap conversations between Sapir and his attorney and that the information the Cruise team gleaned from those conversations gave them a strategic edge that led Sapir to enter into an unfavorable settlement.
Under the terms of that settlement, Sapir stipulated that Cruise did not appear on the leaked tape and that Cruise “is not, and has never been, homosexual and has never had a homosexual affair.”
Pellicano is currently serving a 15-year prison sentence on charges of unlawful wiretapping linked to the divorce case of billionaire Kirk Kerkorian.
Yes, he has starred in Broadway musicals, yes he has a lot of gay fans and yes, Matthew Morrison is the star of Glee, the gayest show on broadcast television in eons.
But that does not mean the handsome, sexy and single 31-year-old actor is gay.
Advocate.com has posted a portion of an interview Matthew gave to Elle magazine where he makes clear his sexual orientation:
lle: So, Matt, you’re a musical theater star who’s been interviewed by The Advocate and much discussed on Manhunt.com, and you star in Glee, a program that’s referred to as “the gayest show on TV.” You must feel particularly proud being the first gay man to grace this page.
Morrison: I’m not gay.
I had indeed read in various places that you’re straight, but in light of the circumstantial evidence, I wasn’t sure.
I grew up singing and dancing, so people have been calling me gay since fifth grade. I’ve heard everything you could possibly hear about it. But I do love gay people, so I’m not going to act like I was insulted or angry about it.
I’m just nuts about Carrie, Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte. So even this little taste of the upcoming Sex and the City movie (out May 28) has me feeling a little bit like Christmas has arrived a few days early. I don’t know about you, but I cannot figure out what is happening other than all the gals look sensational, as always. Someone at The Wall Street Journal has attempted to decode it. Check that story out HERE.
Some people have grainy home movies to remember their childhood by. Then there are people who have network Christmas specials to look back on!
When your parents are Cher and Sonny Bono, television is a part of your childhood as was the case with a little girl named Chastity who went on to become a man named Chaz Bono.
I cannot look at any photos or video of Chaz now and not think about what he was going through inside. Even back then, he said he always wanted to wear clothes like his dad’s, not his mom.
This video is from a 1976 Sonny and Cher Christmas special which would mean the famous couple was already divorced but still working together. Cher, at that time, was married to Gregg Allman and had given birth to their son Elijah Blue Allman who also makes a brief appearance here.
The search for photos of a young Robert Conrad resulted in mostly shirtless pics of this studly television star.
Oh well. I guess we’ll just have to go with them!
Conrad was quite the beefcake when he starred in the hit shows Hawaiian Eye and Wild, Wild West in the 1960s. By the 70s, he had developed a tough guy persona that he exploited in a series of popular commercials for Everready Batteries. He also starred in the hit show Black Sheep Squadron in the mid-70s and was the leader of the NBC team in the then-popular Battle of the Network Stars competitions.
Now 79, Conrad hosts a weekly radio show and a few years back, ran for the presidency of the Screen Actors Guild but lost.
Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe got raves when he appeared on Broadway last year in Equus. There is now hope that Radcliffe might return to the New York stage in a revival of the musical How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.
Radcliffe (pictured in Equus) took part in a reading of the show this week and, according to Broadway World, was sensational.
Writes the site’s Realto Chatter columnist: He interpreted the role in a charming, adorable and fresh way. He sang great. I think everyone was there to see if he could do it. And boy, he really did it. He was great. He came off as a full-fledged musical star. Those of us who saw him in Equus know he has the stage chops as a dramatic actor but now I can say that he could easily take Broadway by storm as a musical comedy star, too. After that final Harry Potter movie comes out, this guy can do whatever he wants in any medium. I loved him. And it seems to me that he is the youngest actor to play the role of Finch. And his youth made the show feel fresh and new. It had a new kind of innocence to contrast the cynicism of the world he is in.
Oscar-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black had not said much about the controversy that arose earlier this year when the dean of students at Hope College in Holland, Michigan, said he was unwelcome to screen his film Milk on campus and to speak to students about it.
Lance was in town to shoot a new movie – he was directing this time – and lived in the conservative town for several months. A student he met at a coffee shop had asked him to do a screening. He writes about the experience – and its surprising twist – in a column on The Daily Beast.
Here are some excerpts:
Production began, and though I was busy I occasionally wondered, “Why haven’t they confirmed that screening date yet?” The answer came soon enough. Four weeks into shooting, I walked into my now-favorite coffee shop and saw the local paper’s front-page headline: “Filmmaker Receives Mixed Welcome from Hope.” The story said I had been banned from screening Milk and was officially not welcome on Hope College’s campus. The dean of students wasn’t shy about it. He called my brand of “advocacy” hurtful to the student body. Without ever meeting me in person, without so much as a phone call, he had publicly declared me and Milk unholy and unwelcome.
I had met the same fate as many of my favorite writers: I was banned. Naïveté was gone. My education had begun. Between the apologetic handshakes were glares from unknown locals. The politeness I’d come to admire was lifted up, revealing hidden enmity. But let me be clear: I don’t think the town was homophobic. I think they had simply never discussed gay rights openly before, and here I was, an interloper, threatening to thrust this hot-button issue into their community. As the dean kept talking and students began protesting, calls came from journalists in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York. I did my best to stay focused, wrap up production, and in the end, decided to move my editing room out of West Michigan.
But that’s not how the story ends. Two weeks ago, in blizzard conditions, a Delta pilot landed on a snowy runway in Grand Rapids, and I drove the half hour from the airport to Holland, watching SUVs slide into ditches in front of me. With five minutes to spare, I arrived at the Park Theater off Main Street, right across from the steeples of Hope College.
Why had I made the journey back? Because when I decided I needed to set things right with the people of Holland who had been so welcoming, I called that same student who had come up to me in the coffee shop months ago, and we decided not to take “no” for an answer.
He organized a new group called “Hope Is Ready,” and raised funds from local city leaders who had never taken a stand on gay rights before, but in the face of Hope’s now widely publicized homophobia, decided to put their quiet courtesy aside (most for the first time), and donated time, money, and space to do what Hope wouldn’t: have this conversation.
The theater sold out in an hour. We booked a second night at a larger venue and it, too, filled up. As the film wrapped up, Harvey called out from the screen: “You gotta give ‘em HOPE. You gotta give ‘em HOPE.” And for the first time, those words meant something very different to me. They meant, as we fight for equality in California and New York, we can’t forget about those kids out there in small-town America, in the Hollands or Hope Colleges. Their lives are too valuable.