Dick Clark’s death yesterday at the age of 82 has resulted in a flood of tributes from scores of music stars.
What a life!
Clark accomplished so much becoming the host of American Bandstand at the age of 26 – a job he kept for 30 years.
He hosted The $10,000 Pyramid, New Year’s Rockin’ Eve and all those Bloopers and Practical Jokes shows, created the American Music Awards and produced scores of other shows including the Golden Globe Awards.
I remember my big sister watching and dancing to Bandstand every Saturday morning, such fond memories for me. And if I could manage to stay awake long enough, I tried watching New Year’s Rockin Eve each year when I was a kid.
He had such an ease on camera and was also just darn cute!
I’m thrilled for these determined twins who have worked tirelessly to get their movie to the public.
Directed by John Lavin, the film chronicles their cross-country trip to try and deliver a movie script they have written for their idol Dolly Parton when she is making appearances at Dollywood during the theme park’s 25th anniversary weekend.
In a rented RV they name Jolene, the Lanes and Gary’s boyfriend Mike Bowen embark on a road trip that is also a journey of self-discovery.
If you saw the movie at Outfest in LA last summer or at one of the other dozens of film festivals where it was screened, you will notice the addition of some new songs to the movie’s soundtrack.
While such Parton classics as Jolene and Coat of Many Colors remain, now added is her signature song I Will Always Love You and two previously unreleased tunes: Celebrate the Dreamer in You and Sky is Not the Limit.
“I can’t believe we have 15 songs of hers in our film,” Gary told me when we chatted earlier today. “She worked out an amazing deal with us. We wanted to capture what she has meant to us. To have her blessing on the movie is the ultimate thing that we could have asked for.’
Also appearing early parts of the film are Oscar winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, actress Beth Grant and actors Chad Allen and Leslie Jordan.
The movie is deeply personal. The twins open up about their fear of being rejected by their family – especially their mom – once the movie is out because through the film, they are very publicly coming out to everyone they know back home in North Carolina.
But it is clear that they have reached a point in their lives where they no longer want to suppress any part of themselves which has included not bringing boyfriends home for the holidays and not being openly gay during their visits back home.
Whether the film will bring forth full family acceptance remains to be seen. But because Gary and Larry have been willing to share their story so honestly, they are sure to help so many people with similar struggles.
Ironically, the twins initially did not want to discuss their sexuality in the movie. Instead they wanted it to focus on their script and getting it to Dolly. But director Lavin insisted that this was the real heart of the movie which was made from 43 hours of footage taken.
It was in 1984 that singer Sam Harris had just come off of a triumphant three-month run on Star Search – the American Idol of its day – when he appeared on American Bandstand with Dick Clark.
Sam, adorable even with a mullet, has just posted video of the appearance as a tribute to Clark who died today at the age of 82. Dick’s post-performance interview with a breathless Sam starts at the 3:50 mark.
Being on a conference call with Kathy Griffin is a whirlwind experience. She talks fast and she’s funny so trying to write down what she is saying is no easy task!
I focused and got down her responses to my questions for my Gay Star News story posted yesterday. Then just listened and laughed as she took questions from the other reporters because I knew a transcript would be coming today from Bravo which organized the call to publicize Kathy’s new talk show.
Here are some highlights:
On what topics she will be discussing: “First of all there is, of course, everything from actual genuine news items And I am very into The Celebrity Apprentice, although I do not concur with Donald Trump who I believe is a birther now. But I do like the cast of that show. Also I went to my mom’s apartment last night because she only stays at my house until she finds me annoying, and then basically she kicks herself out. And she would really like me to just have a panel of Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham. So unfortunately I had to shoot that one down. But I mean, look, I’m loving everything from the fact that the Wilson Phillips gals have their own reality show, to the fact that they performed at a Loehmann’s days ago.
Is anyone off limits? “Nothing is off limits and no person is off limits. And that’s another reason I really kind of have to just surround myself with civilians. And by the way, I know I’m kind of talking like Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men, but I do need – I do say civilians because I feel that — unlike celebrities — they can probably speak freely.
On her inspirations for the new show: “You know, to tell you the truth, look, I’m 51 years old, so truly my inspirations go back to like – well okay, even Jack Paar was before my time. But like, you know, it’s elements of Johnny Carson inspired me, I’m not saying I’m Johnny Carson. But everything from when Joan Rivers took over and, of course, was outrageous and unlike anybody we’d seen on TV before, to the Mike Douglas Show. And then, you know, all the shows that are currently on, I watched them, I love them.
On appealing to the gays: “Well I have a little too much for them. Look, my struggle’s going to be to get the straights. So this show is for women and gay men. And it’s for married men on the down low. It’s for experimental men that have girlfriends that dress very well and have something to tell her but they can’t find the right time. It’s for guys who maybe just cheated on their girlfriends and now they need to make it up to her, so they will do f*cking anything. It’s for guys that fake it and act like they care about women’s issues, but don’t give a shit and they’re trying to get laid. That’s my demographic.
Why comics make good talk show hosts: “Nobody knows how to fill dead air like a comedian. Also we love to talk about ourselves and our thoughts and our feelings and our musings. And we like to also be offensive, which you will certainly get in buckets on this show.
On having fellow Bravo personalities like the Real Housewives on: “I will say the one thing Bravo’s been very nice about is they actually said I don’t have to have any of the Bravo people on if I don’t want to. So if it lends itself to what we’re talking about – well actually I don’t actually know if I’m ever going to have those Bravo people on. Because the nice thing is I want to be able to really talk smack about them, which I can’t do if they’re sitting in a swivel chair two inches away from me. And often I don’t think I could complete a sentence if I’m trying to – if I have issues dealing with the lights coming off of NeNe’s sparkly – and I believe she says (Louboutins) because she can’t pronounce the name of her own shoe. So I might find that blinding. You know, I don’t know if I can handle all that bedazzling.
Is she afraid to make fun of any famous people? “I’m trying to think of people I should be afraid of. And I know that there are people that logically I should be afraid of. But I just think that it is antithetical to all things comedy to be afraid of someone because I think that it’s important that they’re all fair game and that they’re all I mean, I guess I might be a little bit afraid of Lou Ferrigno because he did threaten to throw Lisa Lampanelli out a window on The Celebrity Apprentice. Okay, I admit it, I’m a little nervous around DMX when I watch him on Couples Therapy. But these aren’t people that are really in my daily world.
It was such a pleasure to be invited to spend some time on the set of the feature film Saltwater a few weeks back by the film’s producer Michael Shoal, producer of the Eating Out franchise.
I was there mainly to interview rugby pro-turned-actor Ian Roberts during a lunch break but since they were in the middle of shooting a scene, I got to watch him work for awhile and was also very impressed with his co-star Ronnie Kerr (who also wrote the film) and by the director Charlie Vaughn who was just a wonder to watch work.
I have posted the interview with Ian over at Gay Star News so please check it out!
Kerr and Roberts are joined by a cast that includes singer-songwriter Justin Utley, Bruce Hart, Will Bethencourt, Jonathan Camp, Russell Dennis Lewis, Brent Henry and John Stokkeland.
I asked Ian how he keeps up his striking physique and he said: ‘The typical gay man is probably a bit healthier in their lifestyle because most of us don’t have kids to bring up – our lives seems to be a bit more selfish. It’s only me and my partner so we get to look after ourselves. My brother has three kids, my sister has three kids. I can’t imagine the stress! But also the rewards that brings as well. It’s just a different lifestyle. Also, having played rugby, I have to keep training just because of all the old injuries I’ve got. If I stop training, they flair up terribly.’
I’ll write more about the film as it gets closer to release.
In the meantime, here are a few snapshots I took on the set:
1) Ian Roberts and his muscles 2) Director Charlie Vaughn, writer-star Ronnie Kerr, and Ian Roberts 3) Me and the 6 foot, 5 inch Ian Roberts 4) Charlie Vaughn giving the actors direction 5) Bruce Hart in a Halloween party wig (you can’t see his fab platform shoes!) 6) Two hunky cast members: Jonathan Camp and Brent Henry.
Congratulations to the great Patti LuPone who earlier this week received the Signature Theatre’s Stephen Sondheim Award at the Italian Embassy in Washington DC.
The two-time Tony Award winner has appeared in such Sondheim works as Sunday in the Park with George, Sweeney Todd, Gypsy and in last year’s filmed version of Company.
Rather than just bask in the tributes, LuPone performed Sondheim’s classic Anyone Can Whistle as well as Kurt Weill’sSeptember Song.
“I shouldn’t be singing for my supper,” LuPone told guests. “However, I had a little too much to drink; the wine’s been flowing. I’m not as young as I used to be, so the voice. . . we’ll see what happens. What the hell.”
LuPone won her first Tony for Evita in 1980 and was nominated again for Anything Goes.
Prior to the tribute, Sondheim said in a statement: “There are few performers who can play both Mrs. Lovett and Fosca, Evita and Reno Sweeney, Nancy in Oliver! and Cora Hoover Hooper in Anyone Can Whistle, and still create roles for David Mamet. In fact, there’s only one. Versatility of such a high caliber is rare indeed, and therefore it couldn’t be more appropriate that the recipient of this year’s Signature Theatre Sondheim Award is going to the best tuba player on Broadway: Patti LuPone.”
Have I ever mentioned that I have a thing for male tennis players?
Oh, I have? Like maybe 10,000 times or so?
Well, hotties like Dutch tennis pro Robin Haase are to blame!
Surprisingly, I wasn’t familiar with Haase until just last night as I was going over the results from the Monte Carlo Open.
He’s 25 years old and is currently ranked number 51 in the world. He achieved his highest ranking ever last fall when he reached number 40.
He has yet to reach his full potential when it comes to beating top players and doing well at the sport’s four grand slam tournaments. But he’s come awfully close taking Rafael Nadal to five sets at Wimbledon and Andy Murray at the US Open.
Let’s hope he does well this season so we can see that handsome face on television more often!
I just read over at Deadline Hollywood that Greg In Hollywood fave Delta Burke suffered an injury on the set of Counter Culture, a very promising pilot that also includes Emmy winners Margo Martindale and Doris Roberts in the cast.
She suffered a fall on the set and is expected to be out of commission for at least a week.
The show was scheduled to have a live taping before a studio audience this week.
Counter Culture revolves around three sisters — Billie (Kerri Kenney), Nonie (Burke) and Joyce (Martindale) — running their family diner together in West Texas who find that sibling dynamics are always getting in the way of getting the job done. Roberts co-stars as the sisters’ aunt.
Wishing the great Delta a very speedy recovery. She is a major comedic talent as we learned during her five delicious seasons as Suzanne Sugarbaker on Designing Women.
With her Designing Women co-star Annie Potts back in a series with a juicy role on ABC’s GCB, it would be great to be able to see Delta back on a weekly basis as well.
She has starred in several other sitcoms including CBS’s Women of the House which had her revive her Suzanne Sugarbaker character, ABC’s Delta and NBC’s DAG all which only lasted one season each.
Here is an episode of Designing Women with Delta at her best:
Beverly Hills 90210′s Andrea Zuckerman may have still been high school when she was 42 but the kids on Glee have got to move on at some point!
There are no more talks about a spinoff for some of the graduating characters but Darren Criss, who plays Blaine Anderson on the show, talked to TVGuide.com about what is in store for some of the kids at William McKinley High School whose high school days are numbered.
“This goes back to the beginning of the season where everyone was in a huff about people graduating and leaving, but I don’t think it’s a matter of saying goodbye so much as it is about moving on,” Criss said. “It’s about having a departure point and having grown into another person from the person you were when you started high school.”
Okay fine, but what about Blaine and his boyfriend Kurt (Chris Colfer)? Blaine is only a junior and will be back in high school but Kurt is graduating and wants to enroll in the New York Academy of Dramatic Arts.
“That’s coming up for sure,” Criss said. “Those are the biggest stakes for Kurt and Blaine and that’s something they’re about to learn to deal with.”
Will Blaine be supportive of Kurt’s big move?
“Who knows? I have no idea. It’s going to involve music, I can tell you that!”
Was on a conference call with Kathy Griffin this morning and boy, she was on fire!
She was talking to reporters about her new Bravo show Kathy which premieres on Thursday night.
The network certainly needs her energy and intelligence.
My favorite thing she said this morning was that she wasn’t planning to have any members of the Real Housewives casts on her show I’m so over all of them!)
‘I want to be able to talk smack about them which I can’t do if they are sitting in a swivel chair a few feet away from me,’ she said. ‘I prefer to talk about people behind their back … I prefer to wait until people leave the room then I just let it rip.’
To read more about what Kathy said this morning, see my story over at Gay Star News.
The problem with Jamie Durie is that he’s such a slacker.
He is the author of 9 best-selling books including 100 Gardens, Jamie Durie’s The Outdoor Room, and Outside, is founder and Editorial Director of The Outdoor Room magazine, and is a successful television host and producer.
Gorgeous Jamie was born in Manly, northern Sydney and spent most of his childhood in the mining town of Tom Price in north Western Australia.
He hosts The Outdoor Room, which launched on HGTV in 2010 and is now in its fourth season of production. He also hosts White Room Challenge, HGTV Dream Home, HGTV Green Home, HGTV’d, Bang for Your Buck, HGTV Showdown, and America’s longest running gardening program The Victory Garden, which airs on PBS.
The 41-year-old hunk In 2012 Durie was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for service to the community as an ambassador and supporter of a range of charitable and environmental organizations and as a landscape designer.
Over dinner with my friend Michael in Los Feliz tonight, I was going on and on about the TCM Classic Film Festival.
It ended its four-day run in Hollywood on Sunday and, apparently, I’m not ready to let it go!
In all, I saw 10 films including Chinatown, Singin’ in the Rain, Marathon Man, Vertigo, Rosemary’s Baby, The Thomas Crown Affair, and Rio Bravo. The final one was Annie Hall and as I was walking out of Grauman’s Chinese Theater and over to the after-party at the Roosevelt Hotel last night, I mentioned to a guy that I was exhausted after so many movies.
Not him. He had traveled from the East Coast and seen EIGHTEEN movies.
Anyway, I can’t think of a better way to spend a weekend and to be around such devoted film buffs.
We were treated to such film stars, directors, screenwriters and producers as Liza Minnelli, Kim Novak, Debbie Reynolds, Kirk Douglas, Angie Dickinson, Robert Wagner, Norman Jewison, Robert Evans, Robert Towne, Stanley Donen, and John Landis.
Two of my favorite movies were two I had not been familiar with: Sullivan’s Travels starring Joel McCrea and Veronica Lake and Counselor at Law starring John Barrymore.
I took notes at screenings so I could share some of what was said.
Let’s start with Angie Dickinson who, at 81, is still looking very glamorous and lovely. How wonderful it was to have her on hand to talk about Rio Bravo, a film she starred in with John Wayne, Dean Martin and Ricky Nelson back in 1959.
Of John Wayne she said: “He had that size – you were just bowled over. He never tried to be bigger than he was. He was a very tender man. In Rio Bravo, he’s cute. It was his cute movie.”
The two got along well throughout the shoot – probably because they never talked politics.
“I knew John Wayne was Right and I just decided never to get into it. It was clear that I was a Democrat and a woman and I’ll leave it at that.”
While Dickinson is best known for her hit television series Police Woman, appeared in many films including the original Ocean’s Eleven and Dressed to Kill.
But Rio Bravo is clearly her favorite: “It really is the best vision of me and I’d like to think that’s how people will think of me in the future.”
Festival-goers got to see a lot of producer Robert Evans who was there to talk about five of his most successful films all of which were screened: Rosemary’s Baby, Chinatown, Marathon Man, Love Story and Black Sunday.
Evans talked about working with Roman Polanski on Rosemary’s Baby and Chinatown: “This man became a very close friend of mine and I think, quite possibly, the best director I’ve ever worked with.”
He had plenty of juicy stories including how Rosemary’s Baby star Mia Farrow was served with divorce papers on the set by then-husband Frank Sinatra because he wanted her to leave the picture to star with him in The Detective.
“They broke up over it,” Evans recalled. “Sinatra wasn’t very happy but it made Mia a star.”
The movies ended up opening on the same weekend with Rosemary’s Baby, made on a budget of just $2.3 million, going on to gross $33 million at the domestic box office – a huge number for 1968.
Evans also talked about how difficult it was to get insurance for Laurence Olivier who he wanted to star opposite Dustin Hoffman in Marathon Man: “He was broke … he didn’t have the money to send his son to college.”
Finally getting Lloyds of London to insure Oliver, the great actor went on to earn a best actor Academy Award nomination for his performance.
“He got his dignity back,” Evans said of Oliver. “He couldn’t breathe if he wasn’t an actor.”
Norman Jewison, whose films Moonstruck and The Thomas Crown Affair were screened, talked about working with Steve McQueen in the latter film: “Steve was so far away from this character. … It was fascinating because no one had seen him dressed up… He just looked wonderful and he liked it.”
Since McQueen and Jewison were close in age, the director would not be the father figure that the actor seemed to be looking for: “When he worked with an older director, he felt more comfortable. They were like a father just telling him what to do. I told him, ‘I can’t be your father. … But I can be your older brother. … I’ll always look out for you and I’ll always be there for you.”
I have to say, one of the real highlights for me was seeing Kim Novak in person for the first time. This gorgeous star got her footprints at Grauman’s Chinese Theater on Saturday. The night before, she was on hand to talk about Vertigo, the Alfred Hitchcock thriller in which she starred opposite James Stewart.
Novak said of Hitchcock: “I liked working with him. He knew exactly what he wanted. … He knew when to let you take charge. I felt like I could just be the character.”
The film, which has since become a classic, initially was not embraced by critics or the public.
“I enjoyed working on it and I was proud of it,” Novak said. “When it was rediscovered, I felt redeemed.”
And finally, the unsinkable Debbie Reynolds.
She was an absolute delight at the screening of Singin’ in the Rain and it was clear that the audience would have been happy to just have the Q&A go on and on. Miss Reynolds is so full of good cheer, humor and wonderful stories. Why we don’t see her on Inside the Actors Studio I do not know. It would be a wonderful hour.
Of her leading man Gene Kelly she said: “He was a terrific guy. I became 18 on the movie. Donald [O'Connor] was 27 and Gene was 39. I thought he was really ancient. We had a wonderful time making [the movie]. Donald O’Connor was the most fun and brilliant.”
At 80, Reynolds is as feisty and fit as ever telling the audience that she still dances: “I just tie my tits down and go!”
Anyway, festival host Robert Osbourne shared some wonderful news with us at the final screening: the festival, which just completed its third year, will be back for a fourth.
Just noticed on Twitter that today is Sean Maher’s birthday!
I hope this handsome and talented actor is having a wonderful day!
Saw Sean a few weeks ago at The Advocate’s 45th anniversary party and he told me he has completed filming on the Joss Whedon-directed Much Ado About Nothing and looking to whatever comes next.
Sean, who starred in the TV series Firefly and The $treet and had the title role in Ryan Caulfield: Year One, came out publicly as he was playing a closeted gay man on NBC’s short-lived drama The Playboy Club.
“I am still hearing from people who were inspired by my story and came out to their parents,” Sean told me last fall. “I’ve also been getting some old-fashioned fan mail from people that brought me to tears – their stories so inspire me.”
I hope that his honesty will result in more good television and film roles as gay or straight characters. He has proven he can do both!
Today’s episode of Days of Our Lives is a real yawner (No Will! No Sonny! No Chad!) so thought I’d give the afternoon a jolt of excitement with a coupla photos of a smoking hot Ryan Gosling arriving at LAX.