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Walt Disney's Last Words Were 'Kurt Russell,' According To Kurt Russell


When it comes to the legend of Walt Disney’s final statement, Kurt Russell has the last word.
 
Disney Studios has always been a huge part of the actor’s career. He signed a 10-year contract with the studio early on and now Russell is starring as Star-Lord’s dad, Ego, in Disney and Marvel’s upcoming “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.” Still, his connection to the company goes well beyond business. 
 
As a kid, Russell had a close, personal relationship with Walt Disney. The industry pioneer thought so highly of the young actor that a legend surfaced claiming Disney’s last words were actually “Kurt Russell.”
 
In fact, it’s more than legend, according to Russell. It’s true. 
 
Disney died in 1966 when Russell was still a teen. The actor says he learned about Disney’s last words a couple of years later.
 
In a recent interview, Russell told HuffPost, “They pulled me into the office a couple years after he died, and this woman — who I don’t believe it was his secretary, but it might’ve been, I don’t know ― pointed to [something he wrote] and she said, ‘Do you know what that’s about?’ And I said, ‘No, I don’t.’[She said], ‘Because he wrote something after it. But then he went back up and he wrote your name. That was the last thing he wrote.’ And I said, ‘Oh gee. I don’t know what it’s connected to.’”
 
Was it because Disney considered Russell a friend? Was it for a movie role? Who knows?
 
Russell said he’s been asked about it for years, but he doesn’t know any more than that. “She was pointing out that that’s the last thing he wrote. That’s the only thing I know.”
 
The actor said Disney was very important in his life and he learned a “tremendous amount” from him. Russell’s stories are even more unbelievable than learning Disney’s last words.
 
“We did have a personal relationship. We played Ping-Pong at lunch sometimes. He’d come down to set. We’d go watch movies that the studio was making, and he’d come down and ask if I wanted to go see them. He’d took me around and introduced me to all the different departments at Disney, and at one point gave me a bunch of original photo cells that they make the backdrop drawings of the characters and stuff like that,” said Russell.
 
“There were many, many things that I connected with him [on],” he continued. “He reminded me a lot of my own grandfather. My grandfather was a creative and sort of inventive man, and they were not dissimilar in their demeanor, too.”
 
Apparently, Disney even liked to give Russell career advice. The actor’s family has a deep connection to professional baseball; his dad, Bing Russell, ended up owning a minor league baseball team — a “unique” minor league baseball team (which is the subject of the documentary “The Battered Bastards of Baseball”). Kurt played pro baseball himself for a while, too. Disney told him early on that he didn’t think it was for him.
 
“I was very comfortable around him, and I had a great time with him, great relationship, and it was very important. He said to me, ‘Baseball might not be something that you end up doing as a career.’ He said, ‘I think you might want to look at things in this business because I think you’re going to have a long career.’ So he did have a strong effect on me,” recalled Russell.
 
After an injury reportedly slowed his baseball dreams, Russell became an actor again, and Disney’s prediction of a long career came true. 
 
“Guardians of the Galaxy 2” is now set to be one of the biggest box-office successes of the actor’s career, and it’s coming on the heels of another one of the his movies, “Fate of the Furious,” which is soon passing $1 billion worldwide. 
 
Russell said, “It’s just serendipitous the fact that they’re coming out literally back-to-back, so that’s kind of [an] amazing event.”
 
Or perhaps it’s just a bit of Disney magic.
 
“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” hits theaters in May. 
 

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Whitney Houston Was 'Bisexual' and Found 'Safety and Solace' in Friend Robyn Crawford, New Film Says


Whitney Houstons long-rumored secret romance with her best friend and assistant Robyn Crawford has been detailed in the new documentary Whitney: Can I Be Me, which had its world premiere on Wednesday at the Tribeca Film Festival.
 
Among never-before-seen footage taken throughout the legendary singer’s tumultuous life both on stage and behind the scenes, the film offers a sensitive, trenchant examination of the star’s relationship with Crawford, long a topic of innuendo.
 
While it appears Crawford herself was not directly involved with the new documentary, the work features new and archival in-depth interviews from family members, friends and those closest to Houston and points convincingly to signs that Crawford’s relationship with Whitney was more than platonic, and that her eventual exile from Houston’s life was an overt factor in the singer’s undoing.
 
“I don’t think she was gay, I think she was bisexual,” Houston’s longtime friend and stylist Ellin Lavar says in the film. Lavar adds: “Robyn provided a safe place for her...in that Whitney found safety and solace.”
 
The film shows that the late Houston, who first met Crawford as a teen in East Orange, New Jersey and was later married to Bobby Brown for 15 years from 19922007, was often in the middle of a contentious relationship between her husband and Crawford.
 
By the end of the 1999 My Love Is Your Love world tour, tensions between Robyn and Bobby had reached a breaking point.
 
“Robyn and Whitney were like twins,” says Kevin Ammons, who worked security for Houston. “They were inseparable. They had a bond and Bobby Brown could never remove Robyn. He wanted to be the man in the relationship.”
 
“Bobby Brown and Robyn Crawford were like fire and ice. They hated each other,” says David Roberts, Whitney’s former bodyguard, on whom The Bodyguard was loosely based.
 
“They’d battle for her affections. Bobby and Robyn had some physical altercations and there were times where he wasn’t always the winner. But then Whitney would always come and pour oil over troubled waters,” he adds.
 
After the tour, Robyn left - and that’s when Houston’s “downfall” began, according to Lavar. “That was the downfall of of Whitney. Robyn was the person who was keeping her together,” Lavar recalls.
 
Houston was found submerged in the bathtub in her suite at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Feb. 11, 2012, a day before the Grammy Awards, and was pronounced dead at the scene soon afterward. She was 48. The cause of death was deemed accidental drowning, and an autopsy showed she had various drugs in her system.
 
Following Houston’s death, Crawford wrote an exclusive obituary for Esquire in which she described the superstar as “a loyal friend” who “looked like an angel.”
 
“I loved her laughter, and that’s what I’ll miss most,” she wrote.
 
In 2013, Whitney’s mother Cissy Houston told Oprah Winfrey that it “absolutely” would have bothered her if her daughter was gay.
 
Cissy also wrote for the first time in her 2013 memoir, Remembering Whitney, about her daughter’s relationship with Crawford.
 
“I just didn’t want her with my daughter,” she wrote. “I know nothing about a romantic relationship. That’s what everybody said but they didn’t know either.”
 
The film is co-directed by documentarians Nick Broomfield and Rudi Dolezal, with the latter having documented Houston throughout her career.
 
During a question-and-answer period following Wednesday’s premiere the directors admitted to receiving heavy legal pushback about the content of the film but did not disclose who all disapproved.
 
When asked what he made of Houston and Crawford’s relationship having known them personally, Dolezal told the audience, “I think that Robyn was probably the only person, at least that I met, who completely understood Whitney. Whitney trusted Robyn 100 percent. She was her confidante and that was the source of the friction and dilemma Whitney was in with now having a husband.”
 
Whitney: Can I Be Me screens three times at the Tribeca Film Festival ahead of its scheduled premiere on Showtime this August.
 
This article was originally published on PEOPLE.com

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Joseph Fiennes on Controversial Michael Jackson Portrayal: 'It's No Less Offensive Than Anything on SNL'


Actor Joseph Fiennes recently opened up to Vulture about playing Michael Jackson in an unaired episode of Sky TV’s Urban Myths series.
 
Fiennes portrayed Michael Jackson in the British TV production, and in the episode, his character embarks on a cross-country road trip with Elizabeth Taylor and Marlon Brando following the events of 9/11. The whole thing was based on an urban legend.
 
The trailer was released in January to swift backlash. The idea of a Caucasian actor playing Michael Jackson was not well-received. Even Michael’s daughter, Paris Jackson, weighed in with her thoughts on Twitter, writing, “I’m so incredibly offended by it, as I’m sure plenty of people are as well, and it honestly makes me want to vomit.”
 
In a new interview, Joseph defended his casting, telling Vulture: “Well, it’s a satire, so we have to look at it through that lens. The depiction of the three characters is very satirical, comic, lighthearted to examine the disconnect of iconic celebrity. But it’s good that people stand up for [what they believe], and I’m all for that. I’m all for that discussion, and it means a lot to me and my fellow actors to talk about casting, getting it right, getting it wrong, and then, if there’s a mistake, to examine that mistake and talk about it. Maybe the controversy is good if it brings about discussion. But it is satire. It’s a 20-minute sketch, and it’s lighthearted,” he added.
 
He also insisted that it wasn’t meant to be taken seriously, “It’s no less offensive than anything on SNL. That’s the level of offense.”
 
Sky TV never released the episode, and Fiennes wishes people could have seen his portrayal. However, he has no regrets about taking the role: “In life, you can’t avoid getting into hot water. It’s all lessons and learning. As an actor, you take on roles, and nobody has seen it, so nobody can even have the full comment, because they haven’t witnessed it.”

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'The Bachelor' Star Chris Soules Called 911 From The Scene Of A Fatal Accident


“The Bachelor” star Chris Soules called 911 from the scene of a deadly car crash on Monday night in Iowa that took the life of 66-year-old Kenneth E. Mosher.
 
The accident occurred around 8:20 p.m. about a mile north of Aurora on Buchanan County Road W45.
 
USA Today reported that audio released on Wednesday revealed that the 35-year-old reality TV personality told the female dispatcher he hit a man on a tractor. The publication also reported that the Des Moines Register obtained the 911 recording from the Buchanan County Sheriff’s Office.
 
The dispatcher asked if the tractor was in the ditch and if the man was thrown into the ditch. Soules replied with a yes. He also added that the man was not conscious.
 
“Stay on the phone with me,” the dispatcher urged. She is also heard on the recording requesting an ambulance. When asked if the victim was breathing, Soules said he couldn’t tell and “doesn’t appear to be.”
 
The dispatcher asked Soules if he knew CPR, but Soules said he didn’t. Soules is reportedly heard asking other people at the scene if they know CPR. Then, a person is heard counting out what sounds like CPR.
 
“I feel a pulse, yeah, he’s got a pulse,” said Soules.
 
“You guys are on the way?” he asked the dispatcher.
 
“I’m going to stay on the line with you. We have law enforcement, medical en route to you," she replied.
 
The recording ends with Soules asking the dispatcher if he can call her back “really quick” before hanging up.
 
Fox News learned that Soules was arrested on Monday following the fatal incident. According to a press release from the Buchanan County Sheriff’s Office, Soules was arrested and charged with “leaving the scene of a fatality motor vehicle accident (a class D felony).
 
"Due to the on-going investigation, further charges may be pending," the statement read.
 
Soules' attorneys, Sean Spellman and Molly Spellman of West Des Moines, Iowa released a statement to Just Jared on Tuesday saying, “Chris Soules was involved in an accident Monday evening (April 24) in a rural part of Iowa near his home. He was devastated to learn that Kenneth Mosher, the other person in the accident, passed away. His thoughts and prayers are with Mr. Mosher’s family."
 
USA Today also added that Mosher lived on his family farm near the crash site and was taken to Mercy Hospital in Oelwein where he was pronounced dead. He had been a resident Aurora, a town featuring fewer than 200 people, for most of his life.

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Jessica Biel Finally Finds A Role She Can Sink Her Teeth Into


She’s played a “summer catch.” A love interest. A leading lady in an action movie. A horror movie victim. But none of these roles have really given Jessica Biel the opportunity to truly excel, which is why her latest on-screen character is a welcome sight.  
 
In her first lead television role since her run as Mary Camden on “7th Heaven,” Biel plays Cora Tannetti on USA’s “The Sinner,” an upcoming eight-part series that premiered its pilot episode at the Tribeca Film Festival on Tuesday night. The thriller, based on the 2008 novel of the same name by Petra Hammesfahr, delves into the mystery behind Cora’s unexplained killing of a man on a public beach, surrounded by her husband, child and dozens of witnesses. What made this seemingly doting mother and wife do something so out of character? And why is it that we don’t fully trust her? “The Sinner” will, hopefully, explain it all when it debuts Aug. 2. 
 
Bill Pullman plays the detective working to uncover Cora’s motives, while Christopher Abbott portrays Cora’s husband, Mason. 
 
But it’s Biel who went all in for her role ― made clear by the applause she received following the Tribeca screening. Director Antonio Campos (”Christine,” “Simon Killer”) envelops the actress in dreamlike shots before zooming in for close-ups, letting her physical emotion easily slip through the screen. Her performance is committed, solid, and might be her best yet. 
 
“Obviously, she’s a terribly complex and complicated person,” Biel, who’s also an executive producer on the series, said of Cora during the post-screening Q&A. “Just in the pilot we get to see a tiny bit of what’s to come ... in her mind and in her past and everything. That was interesting, for me, to think about playing somebody like this.”
 
Biel admitted that the role was a bit daunting, due to the fact that Cora is, well, a murderer, and so hard to read; she wasn’t sure which direction to take the character at any given time. 
 
“The tracking of what she knows, what she remembers, what she thinks she remembers, what is a lie, what is told to her and when she’s lying [was difficult],” Biel explained. “It’s very complicated. We would constantly be going, ‘Wait, is this a moment where she’s telling the truth or is this a moment where she’s lying? Or is she telling the truth, but it’s actually a lie that we don’t know?’ So there’s this weaving of this denial and this shame and all these things,” Biel added, joking that there’s a lot of “fake news” in Cora’s head.
 
“It was very, very tricky to kind of remember and to keep it in line and that’s what I’ll be facing as we go forward,” the actress said.  
 
So far, only the pilot has been completed, so the cast and crew will return to film the remaining seven episodes. The hope is to create a series that analyzes the human psyche and investigates what we, as people, are capable of. 
 
“When I read the book, every step of the way for me was a shock, and I just feel like nothing can shock me anymore,” Biel said. “You know, like, I’ve seen it all, there’s nothing that weird or that dark. We’ve all seen it all, I think in a sense, the way we’re exposed and have access to everything. But every time there was a surprise, it was a genuine surprise for me and it just felt incredibly rare to find a piece of material where you didn’t expect every twist and turn every way. And then, generally, like, selfishly, I just wanted to play that girl and get to be a little nuts.”
 
“The Sinner” debuts on USA at 10 p.m. on Aug. 2.

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Jonathan Demme, Oscar-Winning Director, Is Dead at 73


Through Jonathan Demme's freewheeling filmmaking life sounded a steady rock 'n' roll beat.
 
Music was his first love and his first credit. Long before he was an Oscar-winning director, he was music coordinator for a little-seen 1970 thriller called "Sudden Terror."
 
And Demme's death Wednesday morning at the age of 73 means that the final scenes he shot in his adventurous, hopscotching career were musical, too. His last full-length documentary was a Justin Timberlake concert film. The last scene of his final feature, "Ricki and the Flash," was Meryl Streep, as an aging rocker, bringing down the house with Tom Petty's "American Girl."
 
Few filmmakers have been so drawn to the marrying of music and image the way Demme, a self-avowed "fanatical rock 'n' roller," was. He stuffed 49 songs into "Something Wild." Springsteen's "The Streets of Philadelphia" gave his "Philadelphia" its melancholy heart. And, of course, his seminal Talking Heads concert film, "Stop Making Sense," deftly captured the swell of David Byrne's art-funk spectacular.
 
Demme, and his films, were never so alive as when the music was playing — and playing loud.
 
"I've come to believe, and I kind of felt this when we did 'Stop Making Sense,' that shooting live music is kind of like the purest form of filmmaking," Demme told The Associated Press last year. "There's no script to worry about. It's not a documentary, so you don't have to wonder where this story is going and what we can use. It's just: Here come the musicians. Here come the dancers. The curtain goes up. They have at it and we get to respond in the best way possible to what they're doing up there."
 
The filmmaker died Wednesday morning of complications from esophageal cancer in his New York apartment, surrounded by his wife, Joanna, and three children, said Demme's publicist, Annalee Paulo.
 
Demme broke into moviemaking under the B-movie master Roger Corman in the early 1970s, and his prodigious, wide-ranging body of work always kept the agile curiosity of a low-budget independent filmmaker. His career spanned documentaries, screwball comedies and tales of social justice. Yet his most famous films were a pair of Oscar-winners.
 
"The Silence of the Lambs," the 1991 thriller starring Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter and Jodie Foster as an FBI analyst, earned him a directing Oscar, as well as best picture. He followed that up with "Philadelphia" (1993), with Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington, the first major Hollywood film to confront the AIDS crisis. It remains a landmark film in the portrayal of gay life and injustice, subjects Hollywood has previously largely turned a blind eye toward.
 
Hopkins, Foster and Hanks all earned Academy Awards for their performances in those films. Demme's sensitive, alert eye help produce countless other acclaimed performance, too, from Melanie Griffith ("Something Wild") to Anne Hathaway ("Rachel Getting Married").
 
"Just as passionate about music as he was about art, he was and will always be a champion of the soul," said Foster. Hanks called him "the grandest of men." ''Jonathan taught us how big a heart a person can have, and how it will guide how we live and what we do for a living," said the actor.
 
Martin Scorsese, in remembering "my young friend," praised Demme's use of music, from Buddy Holly to Miklos Rozsa. "His pictures have an inner lyricism that just lifts them off the ground — even a story like 'The Silence of the Lambs.'"
 
If there was one commonality in Demme's varied filmography, it was music. He made films with Neil Young, the Pretenders and Robyn Hitchcock. (He also memorably documented Spalding Grey performing a monologue in "Swimming to Cambodia.")
 
"I can't play any instrument and I have a hideous voice," Demme said. "But I've discovered that when I shoot music, I actually feel like I've become part of the band and I have something to do with the creation of music, which is a very good feeling for someone who loves music as much as I do."
 
Byrne said he was originally drawn to Demme for the way he'd "slip a reggae artist's song or a Haitian recording into a narrative film in ways that were often joyous and unexpected."
 
On the making of 1984's "Stop Making Sense," Byrne said: "Jonathan's skill was to see the show almost as a theatrical ensemble piece, in which the characters and their quirks would be introduced to the audience, and you'd get to know the band as people, each with their distinct personalities. They became your friends, in a sense."

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A Clearly Bothered Vin Diesel Can't Handle Charlize Theron's Kiss Diss


Vin Diesel is clearly a man who wants for nothing. With two blockbuster franchises spitting out new movies this month, he’s officially set for life and then some, but there’s one thing that seems to have evaded his presumably giant-sized grasp: the approval of one Charlize Theron. 
 
The two recently starred opposite each other in “The Fate of the Furious” and famously shared an on-screen kiss. The smooch left Theron feeling underwhelmed ― the words “dead fish” were used ― but for some reason Diesel couldn’t stop talking about it on the movie’s press tour. 
 
His co-star’s comments apparently put the “xXx” actor on the defensive, because he was more than ready to defend his skills on “The Ellen Degeneres Show” Tuesday. When DeGeneres recounted Theron’s version of events, a very excited Diesel sprung up from his chair to stomp around the stage not once, not twice, but three separate times. 
 
“C’mon, guys! Do I look like a dead fish?!” Diesel asked the audience. “First of all, you don’t come on ‘Ellen,’ with the wonderful animation of ‘Finding Dory,’ and compare me to a dead fish. Right or wrong?”
 
Likely in fear of a Tom Cruise couch-jumping scenario, DeGeneres had no recourse but to switch gears away from the controversial kiss and show the audience photos of Diesel’s adorable offspring. 

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'Teen Mom 2' Star Adam Lind Tests Positive for Meth, Amphetamines (REPORT)


A new report by The Ashley’s Reality Roundup claims that Teen Mom 2 star Adam Lind has tested positively for meth and amphetamine after taking a drug test. According to The Ashley, the failed drug test means that he’s been stripped of visitation with his daughter Paislee, whose mom is his ex Taylor Halbur.
 
According to the report, he will, however, be able to see Aubree — the daughter he shares with Chelsea Houska — as long as his parents are present for his visits.
 
So far, the father-of-two has yet to respond to the report.
 
Teen Mom 2’s signature bad boy has quite a colorful rap sheet; according to the recent report, he pleaded guilty to a charge of exhibition driving on April 17 of this year.
 
He’s previously had warrants out for his arrest for failing to pay child support and was previously jailed after an argument with an ex turned violent. Prior to that, he managed to earn three DUI convictions and eight cases of driving with a license or with a suspended license.
 
Chelsea has yet to respond to the allegations as well. She’s been too busy celebrating the three-month birthday of her baby boy Watson, whom she shares with her husband Cole DeBoer.

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Caitlyn Jenner Kept Rudely Interrupting Kelly Ripa on 'Live'


It’s “Live with . . . Caitlyn!”
 
On Tuesday morning’s “Live with Kelly” show, Caitlyn Jenner was a guest — and possibly one of the rudest ever.
 
Jenner, who appeared to promote her memoir, “The Secrets of My Life,” continuously cut off Kelly Ripa and guest co-host, John Leguizamo.
 
At one point, Jenner even turned the tables on Ripa, asking when she first identified as a female.
 
“Just think about that,” she said, pointing her manicured finger at Ripa. “When did you know you were a girl?”
 
Jenner then made Leguizamo her target, asking him how he enjoyed dressing in drag in the 1995 comedy, “To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar.”
 
The painful 15-minute interview consisted of endless, self-congratulatory rants by Jenner, coupled with awkward attempts at interjection by Ripa and Leguizamo.
 
Perhaps the former sports star forgot that she was on a talk show — not giving one of her for-pay motivational speeches.
 
She didn’t even need Ripa to ask her any questions: Jenner played both guest and interviewer throughout the show.
 
“I’m actually very excited to be here,” Jenner said. “Why? Because today, the 25th of April . . . my book comes out and I don’t have a secret left in my life.”
 
Later, Jenner mused that she’s had a “lifetime of soul-searching. It’s all in the book.”
 
“Yes, I know,” Ripa responded.
 
Of course, Jenner wasn’t merely content being a guest on the morning show.
 
“I want to win the best-entrance contest at the end of the year,” Jenner immediately proclaimed upon sitting in her chair.
 
Later on in her interview, Jenner interrupted the hosts again to let them know she had been snubbed in the past — and wasn’t happy about it.
 
“I have been around for 40 years, from the old ‘Regis and Kathie Lee’ — Kathie Lee’s [Gifford] the godmother to some of my children — and all this kind of stuff. I’ve watched your show for years, I’ve seen you go through all this stuff, and I’ve never been asked to co-host,” she complained.
 
We have a feeling that invitation will never come.

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Tom Hardy arrests moped thief after action-packed chase


Tom Hardy reportedly made a citizen's arrest on a moped thief after chasing him down in London on Sunday.
The 39-year-old actor is said to have switched into "superhero mode" when he witnessed two people stealing a moped before crashing it into a Mercedes at a busy junction in Richmond, south west London.
 
While one of the thieves was caught in seconds, the other made a run for it - which is when Tom reportedly began his pursuit.
According to witness Arun Pullen, Tom dashed after the culprit, chasing him through gardens and a building site before catching up with him, patting him down for concealed weapons and making a citizen's arrest.
"It was mental – like he’d switched to superhero mode in an action movie. Two boys on the (stolen) moped had jumped a red light and smashed into a car," Arun told Britain's The Sun newspaper. "Tom must have been walking down the road. He went off like a shot in pursuit and looked furious."
After catching the thief, Tom is said to have hauled him into a nearby bus stop, where he kept hold of him until police arrived. And when officers made an appearance on the scene, Tom apparently proudly told them: "I caught the ****."
"The kid looked wrecked and in shock," Arun continued. “Tom Hardy’s clearly not a man you’d mess with. I think he even checked the kid’s ID before cops took over."
"I asked Tom what happened and he told me he chased him through my back garden and caught him around the block - but the route was like an assault course."
Tom is also reported to have told another onlooker: "This little s**t nicked something and now he’s got himself a ­broken leg."
Both thieves were injured in the incident, and two suspects are now facing charges of theft.
Tom is no stranger to completing high-octane stunt scenes in his movies, having previously starred in films such as Inception, The Dark Knight Rises and Mad Max: Fury Road.

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Marilyn Monroe's last home selling for $6.9M


The California home where actress Marilyn Monroe was found dead in 1962 is now on the market for $6.9 million.
 
The home, located in the Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles, is described an "authentic 1929 Hacienda," by the real estate agency that listed the home, Mercer Vine.
 
"When you walk the house and grounds, you’re immediately struck by its serenity and warmth," the home's listing agent, Lisa Optican, said in a statement. "It’s an absolute oasis in the heart of one of the best neighborhoods in Los Angeles."
 
The four-bedroom, three-bathroom home features details like beamed ceilings and terra cotta tile floors and comes with a swimming pool, citrus grove and guest house. It is described by Mercer Vine as a home "steeped in Hollywood glamour."
 
It was at the Brentwood home that Monroe was found in the middle of the night lying face down in her bed clutching a telephone receiver, according to an account in The Los Angeles Times at the time.
 
The Times reported that Monroe, who was 36 years old when she died, had bought the house not long before her death for $75,000 and that the home was partially furnished.
 
Monroe herself spoke about the home during a 1962 interview with Life Magazine that took place inside.
 
"Anybody who likes my house, I’m sure I’ll get along with," Monroe told Richard Meryman, then an associate editor at Life.
 
In his own essay about the interview with Monroe, just months before she died, Meryman described the house saying, "It was a small, three-bedroom house built in Mexican style, the first home entirely her own she had ever had."
 
He continued, "She exulted in it. On a special trip to Mexico she had carefully searched in roadside stands and shops and even factories to find just the right things to put in it. The large items had not arrived -- nor was she ever to see them installed."
 
Monroe's former home was last sold in November 2012 for $5.1 million, a Mercer Vine spokeswoman told ABC News.

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'Romy and Michele's High School Reunion' turns 20: Lisa Kudrow and Robin Schiff tell stories from set


Lisa Kudrow is perhaps best-known for starring as lovable space cadet Phoebe Buffay in "Friends," but in 1997, she won acclaim for playing another ditz with a heart of gold: Michele Weinberger in "Romy and Michele's High School Reunion."
 
In the comedy, which premiered 20 years ago today, Kudrow and Mira Sorvino co-starred as two off-beat, fashion-obsessed best friends who go to great lengths to impress their former classmates at their 10-year high school reunion.
 
Thanks in part to regular showings on television, the film, which Kudrow described as "candy," developed a cult following, and the actress told ABC News that even today, people come up to her to recite their favorite lines.
 
"I think it was really funny and then also there was heart," she said of the film. "They were these two people [who] loved each other."
 
However, even the biggest fans of the film may not know everything about it. ABC News spoke with Kudrow and the film's writer and executive producer, Robin Schiff, about the production.
 
1. The film began as a play: About 30 years ago, Robin Schiff wrote a popular play called "Ladies' Room," which took place inside the women's bathroom. Two of the most popular characters in the show were Romy and Michele: vapid friends intent on picking up high-earning men. Kudrow originated the role of Michele, and her friend, actress Christie Mellor, played Romy. After the idea of a TV pilot focused on the characters failed to take off, Touchstone film executives approached Schiff about making a movie about the pair, hoping she could create "a female 'Wayne's World.'" Noting that she knew she wanted to do a movie focused on universal issues rather than the ones more often explored in female-driven films, Schiff admitted that the details of the plot stumped her. "I didn't know what to do, so I said, 'Romy and Michele Go to Japan,' 'Romy and Michele Go to College,' and I'm driving one day and I think to myself, 'They are invited to the reunion and they don't realize that their lives have amounted to nothing until they fill out the questionnaire!'" she told ABC News. "It made me laugh out loud. I had gone to my 10-year reunion and so I was able to pull off real emotions even though it's done in a heightened way." Ironically, the film will soon find its way back to the stage: On June 8, "Romy and Michele's High School Reunion: The Musical" will open at the 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle.
 
2. A line about vomiting proved to be very important: Kudrow was asked to read the part of Michele during a backer's audition, which was meant to raise money for the production. At the time, one exchange in the script struck her as particularly hilarious: Romy tells Michele that she hates throwing up in public, to which Michele responds, "Me too!" "It just seems very funny if you were really enthusiastic about, 'Oh my gosh, we have so much in common! I also hate throwing up in public! That's so unique to both of us!'" Kudrow said with a laugh. "That's why I got the part - because I said 'Me too.'" 
"Lisa played it with such confidence," added Schiff. "It gave me the idea that Michele was the follower and I started building out a character. I don't know if Lisa acknowledges the amount that she helped me create Michele. She inspired me."
 
3. "Friends" made the movie possible - and "Titanic" may have helped too: Though Kudrow began playing Michele in the 1980s, the film wasn't didn't begin production until after she began starring in "Friends" in 1994. For her part, Kudrow couldn't wait to make the movie, and recalls learning lines while on her honeymoon. "I didn't have to audition, so that was good!" she said.
 
Schiff said that Kudrow's then-newfound stardom helped get the movie made - and guessed that the successes of two other films might have helped too. "Right before the movie got greenlit, 'Clueless' came out and there was a market for something that was female-driven," she said. "[Also] 'Titanic' came out and it was propelled by this female audience, and maybe there was a pinprick window where they thought, 'We'll make something for the female audience because they'll see something multiple times.'"
 
4. Sorvino put her own spin on Romy: "By the time we did the movie, they really wanted a star and a co-star so Mira was offered the part," Schiff explained of casting Sorvino, who had just won an Oscar for "Mighty Aphrodite," as Romy. "She came in with the [masculine] voice and the [lumbering] walk... and she worked with me on the scene where they tell off the A-group. She had really good ideas. It was a collaboration."
 
Kudrow acknowledged that while it may have been difficult for Sorvino to step into a role that had been originated a decade earlier, "she knows what she's doing and she was great." "I missed Christie for sure, but they got Mira and you can't argue with that casting," Kudrow added. "I like Mira a lot. She's smart and she's a genuinely good person."
 
5. Everybody on set gushed over then-newcomer Justin Theroux: Kudrow acknowledged the coincidence that she worked alongside Justin Theroux during the same period she was starring with his now-wife, Jennifer Aniston, in "Friends," though it didn't occur to her right away. "I remember the first time we saw each other recently, we had been talking and it didn't come up at all and then I was like, 'Wait! You were in 'Romy and Michele's!' [He said], 'Right! Oh my God!'" she said. "I don't think I met him much on that shoot because I wasn't in those scenes, but I heard about him because everybody was talking about, 'Oh my God, he's the funniest, the coolest...' Everyone went on and on. Janeane Garofalo was going nuts. She was like, 'He's fantastic. That guy's great.'"
 
6. Romy's lie about creating Post-its wasn't an obvious one for Schiff: "I liked the idea that they would come up with something [to lie about], and I literally thought of everything you could think of: they'er rock-n-roll managers, jobs they thought were cool, but there were problems with all of them," she said. "But the woman who invented White Out liquid paper made a gazillion dollars so I started thinking, 'It could be something like that' and [the idea of Romy saying she invented] Post-its made me laugh out loud."
 
Sadly, Kudrow said that she no longer remembers the formula for glue, which she had to memorize for that story-line. "I know something about, 'You have to set the resin'?" she said. "No, and I had to do it many, many times. I was proud of myself that I was able to even do it." However, the scene remains close to her heart - and her desk. In addition to a framed photo of herself with Garofolo and Sorvino, Kudrow said that she kept a Post-it dispenser from the set as a memento.
 
7. The costumes were "the third character," according to Kudrow: From the business suits that Romy and Michele wore to job interviews to the "comfortable" pastel dresses they donned at the reunion, Kudrow credits the costume, hair and makeup teams for making the film what it is. Still, she admitted she had to psych herself to appear on-screen in just a bra for one scene. "Remember? [I say,] 'Sorry, I forgot my top'?" Kudrow recalled. "That was tricky."
 
Schiff noted that the color palette also keeps the movie from feeling dated. "The colors of the whole movie are so vivid and it’s not trendy. I think that's another reason why it's helped," she said. "It was this alternative universe anyway."
 
8. Will Ferrell had a part that was cut from the film: Like Schiff and Kudrow, Ferrell got his start with the Groundlings,an comedy troupe in Los Angeles, and was cast a waiter who tries to help Romy at the reunion. Sadly, his scene was cut in editing.
 
9. Some of the most memorable moments were improvised: Director David Mirkin would continue filming well after the scripted scene ended, which allowed Kudrow to improvise here and there. A few scenes that she expanded: Michele's failed job interview at Versace and when she rolls up her car window to mock a little boy. "You can see being an improviser and having been Michele all this time - that was genius," Schiff said. "All I do is feel grateful."
 
Kudrow noted that the scene she was most excited to influence was the dance number at the end. "Mira was full of ideas and Alan [Cumming] of course knows what he’s doing but I just was like, "O.K., I don’t dance so I think it’s really funny if Michele just poses and she thinks she’s dancing," Kudrow recalled. It worked.
 
10. A sequel was discussed, but the studio wasn't having it: Kudrow said she's open to the idea of a "Romy and Michele's" sequel, though finding a plot would be challenging, she said. "I don't know what that would be. 'Romy and Michele Get Divorced Again'?" she said. "We talked about it that with Robin Schfif, but [the studio] just wasn't interested."

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Charlie Murphy: Dave Chappelle, George Lopez and others pay final respects


Dave Chappelle, George Lopez and many others gathered Wednesday to pay final respects to their late friend Charlie Murphy.
 
The comedian, actor and entertainer, who was also the older brother of icon Eddie Murphy, died last week at the age of 57 after battling leukemia.
 
His fellow comedians posted tributes online.
 
"Tonight we honored #Darkness" Lopez wrote, along with a photo of the group huddled together in remembrance.
 
"Darkness" was a nickname that Charlie Murphy had said performer Rick James gave him years ago.
 
D.L. Hughley also posted a similar pic.
 
The tributes come after Chappelle, who worked with the late comedian on his show, spoke out last week after his death, telling an audience onstage, "Today, I got some terrible news. My good friend Charlie Murphy passed away this morning and everybody in comedy is heartbroken."
 
The Murphy family also released a statement about the death, saying, "Our hearts are heavy with the loss today of our son, brother, father, uncle and friend Charlie. Charlie filled our family with love and laughter, and there won’t be a day that goes by that his presence will not be missed."

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Miley Cyrus Is Apparently Secretly In 'Guardians Of The Galaxy 2'


You can’t stop and you won’t stop “Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2.”
 
The movie is already getting a ton of positive buzz from screenings, and now some breaking news is coming in like a wrecking ball: Miley Cyrus is supposedly secretly in the “Guardians of the Galaxy” sequel.
 
 Sarah Ruhlman ✔ @SarahScoop
Fun fact from the @JamesGunn @Kevfeige interview happening now! @MileyCyrus is the voice of Mainframe. #GotGVol2Event #GotGVol2
6:59 PM - 20 Apr 2017
  67 67 Retweets   67 67 likes
The tidbit was first tweeted out by blogger Sarah Ruhlman, who was at the Los Angeles press junket for the movie.
 
In an interview with The Huffington Post, actor Dave Bautista, who plays Drax, seemingly confirmed Cyrus has a role in the film, saying, “I heard that she’s uncredited and a voice somewhere.” He couldn’t remember the details but added, “I know I’ve heard that.” 
 
According to Ruhlman’s tweet, Cyrus is the voice of Mainframe. In the comics, Mainframe is an evolved technology that’s actually an alternative version of Vision. DenOfGeek explains Mainframe’s history:
 
In the Guardians future, the Vision had evolved to make up the operating system of an entire planet. Calling himself Mainframe, this hero from the past was tasked with protecting the shield of Captain America and later joined the Galactic Guardians. 
 
If Cyrus is in fact Mainframe, it solves a little mystery from the “Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2” press conference on Thursday, when Marvel boss Kevin Feige and director James Gunn reportedly teased the role. As ScreenRant recaps:
 
Kevin Feige: Have you told anyone who Mainframe is?
 
James Gunn: I haven’t told anyone, yeah. Should we?
 
James Gunn: Oh I think I actually did. I blew it. I told one person.
 
Kevin Feige: It’ll get out.
Well, now it looks like it’s out. And it’s a party in the gal-ax-ay!
 
”Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2” hits theaters May 5.

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Kris Jenner Has 'Never Been So Angry' After Reading Caitlyn Jenner's New Book


Caitlyn Jenner is spilling all the (alleged) tea in her upcoming memoir, and her ex-wife Kris Jenner isn’t having it. In a clip for Sunday’s Keeping Up With the Kardashians, Kris vents to daughters Khloé and Kim after reading an advanced copy of The Secrets of My Life.
 
“I read it, and basically the only nice thing she had to say was that I was great socially at a party one time,” Kris, who was married to Bruce for 22 years, tells her daughters. “None of it makes sense. Everything she says is all made up. Why does everything have to be that Kris is such a b**** and an a**hole?”
 
It’s been about two years since the gold medal-winning Olympian publicly transitioned from Bruce to Caitlyn. Since then, one of the biggest points of contention between Kris and Caitlyn has been over when Kris knew about her former husband’s gender identity struggle. That is brought up again in Caitlyn’s book.
 
“I was curious and said, ‘What the hell is going on?’” Kris, 61, reflects on pressing Bruce years ago. “She said, ‘You just would never understand.’ And then, all through the book, Kris knew. ‘Kris knew before I even made love to her.’ I’m like, ‘What?’”
 
That’s not all Caitlyn has to say about their intimate life. In an excerpt obtained by People, she describes the sex as “imbued with love” but admits she wasn’t “entirely comfortable” with the act.
 
“We fall in love quickly (we marry after seven months),” Caitlyn writes. “Since — let’s not kid ourselves — everyone wants to know, Kris and I have good and frequent sex at the beginning.”
 
She continues, “I tell Kris about my gender issues before I make love to her. This will always be a subject of dispute between us. She insists that she was taken by surprise by my ultimate transition to Caitlyn, which obviously means in her mind that she did not know enough.”
 
Caitlyn, 67, adds she dressed as a woman a number of times in front of Kris.
 
All that info apparently is enough for Kris to be “done” with Caitlyn. “I’ve never been so angry and disappointed in someone in my whole life,” Kris says on Sunday’s Keeping Up. “I’m not going to be used as a person who benefits someone else’s life just to make them look better. I just can’t sit back and be an enabler anymore.”
 
The Secrets of My Life hits shelves on April 25.

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Julia Roberts is "People's" Most Beautiful Woman for the Fifth Time


JULIA ROBERTS has been named "People" magazine's Most Beautiful Woman in the World for the FIFTH time . . . 26 years after she first won the title in 1991.  She also won in 2000, 2005, and 2010. 
 
So what does she plan to do with her title?  Rub it in GEORGE CLOONEY's face.  He's only been "People's" Sexiest Man Alive TWICE.  And she says, quote, "I'm going to mention that in my Christmas card to the Clooneys this year."
 
Julia was 23 when she won for the first time, and she wasn't sure she deserved it.  At the time she thought, "Was I old enough to be voted into this level of popularity?"
 
But she's 49 now, and she's not going anywhere.  She says, quote, "I think I'm currently peaking."
 
At Julia's age, the idea of plastic surgery is obviously going to come up.  And she's not against it.  Quote, "Do it if you need it . . . I think that we should all do what we want."
Other women in this year's Most Beautiful issue include Viola Davis, Taraji P. Henson, Chrissy Metz and Mandy Moore from "This Is Us", Emma Watson, Oprah Winfrey, and Carrie Underwood. 

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Celebrities react after Fox News fires Bill O'Reilly


Bill O'Reilly is officially out at Fox News.
 
Following public backlash and sponsors withdrawing over the revelation of numerous sexual harassment allegations against The O'Reilly Factor host, parent company 21st Century Fox pulled the plug on the network's most high-profile personality. The news of O'Reilly's dismissal has been cheered by celebrities on social media as a "win for women" and an "effective signal" to harassers.
 
Among the famous faces to weigh in on the decision to oust the controversial political commentator were Cher, Jesse Williams, Michael Moore, Ludacris, Mia Farrow, Stephen King, and more. Read some of their reactions below.
 
 Debra Messing ✔ @DebraMessing
A WIN for Women & the Men who Respect them. https://twitter.com/paolamendoza/status/854765638975447040 …
3:36 PM - 19 Apr 2017
  
 Stephen King ✔ @StephenKing
New book by FOX News: Killing Bill O'Reilly.
3:01 PM - 19 Apr 2017
 
 Cher ✔ @cher
3 FAMOUS OLD MEN…ROGER AILELS,
BILL O’REILLY,& DONALD TRUMP HAVE SEXUALLY HARASSED WOMEN 4 YRS,TWO GOT FIRED,& ONE WAS ELECTED PRESIDENT‼️
2:52 PM - 19 Apr 2017
  
 jesse Williams. ✔ @iJesseWilliams
BYE chump. 
Weak sauce Bill O'reilly been out here sellin' that hard white for far too long on fox news. #OneBattleAmongMany #BackToWork
3:27 PM - 19 Apr 2017
  
 W. Kamau Bell ✔ @wkamaubell
Bill O'Reilly
Alex Jones
Rudy Giuliani
Tomi Lahren
Chris Christie
People who are having a waaaaaay different 2017 than they expected.
2:59 PM - 19 Apr 2017
  
 Mia Farrow ✔ @MiaFarrow
Fox firing Bill O'Reilly is huge and hopefully sends an effective signal to all guys, however powerful, who harass & maul women
2:44 PM - 19 Apr 2017
  
 billy eichner ✔ @billyeichner
Goodbye @oreillyfactor! What a terrible day to be a horrible, old, racist white person.
1:28 PM - 19 Apr 2017
  
 billy eichner ✔ @billyeichner
I'm certainly a narcissistic actor who loves attention but I take no joy in Bill O'Reilly. He's a disgusting pig & Fox News is still garbage
3:15 PM - 19 Apr 2017
  
 Michael Moore ✔ @MMFlint
So I'm walking down the street one day, O'Reilly drives by, screeches to a halt, jumps out & starts yelling @ me. Ha!
3:32 PM - 19 Apr 2017
 
 Ludacris ✔ @Ludacris
HATE MAY WIN SOME BATTLES, BUT LOVE WINS IN THE END. YOURS TRULY, LUDA
3:01 PM - 19 Apr 2017
 
 Jon Favreau ✔ @jonfavs
O'Reilly for @PressSec? May I start that rumor?
2:50 PM - 19 Apr 2017
  
 Morgan Spurlock ✔ @MorganSpurlock
Don't worry Bill, at least you can still be president. https://twitter.com/nytimes/status/854766755696316416 …
3:43 PM - 19 Apr 2017 · Kentucky, USA
 
 Dan Pfeiffer ✔ @danpfeiffer
If the public had not pressured advertisers to stay away, O'Reilly would've be back on the air on Monday. Activism works, even with Fox News
2:46 PM - 19 Apr 2017
 
 yvette nicole brown ✔ @YNB
Wait, @oreillyfactor is NOT returning to @FoxNews after his vacation?! Color me SHOCKED! 😒 #HowsMyHairBill? #DidItDistractYouFromThisTweet?
2:47 PM - 19 Apr 2017
  
 yvette nicole brown ✔ @YNB
So #RogerAiles & @OReillyFactor were pushed out for sexual harassment & abuse but ol' dude grabs nether regions & becomes president? Mmkay😒
2:50 PM - 19 Apr 2017
  59 59 Retweets   248 248 likes
 Follow
 yvette nicole brown ✔ @YNB
ICYMI @FoxNews has been settling w/ women for YEARS they only cut @oreillyfactor loose because they were losing $$$ #ProfitsOverPeople #MAGA
2:52 PM - 19 Apr 2017
 
 Montel Williams ✔ @Montel_Williams
RT if you think I was right this summer about Bill O'Reilly being a coward in every sense of the word... https://www.pscp.tv/w/a8WTODIyOTM3MHwxbW54ZWtab2pNTEdYo5Aupn-PIvbNbyJ5sjU8NprvkzPuv5ax-Rs65Y7VU0Q= …
12:54 AM - 19 Apr 2017
 
Montel Williams @Montel_Williams
Responding to Bill O'Reilly... #gopconvention
pscp.tv
  490 490 Retweets   682 682 likes
 
 Margaret Cho ✔ @margaretcho
Well Bill, I guess we wont be doing it live. 👋🏼 @oreillyfactor
2:41 PM - 19 Apr 2017
 
 Symone D. Sanders ✔ @SymoneDSanders
Thank you to the advertisers who pulled their ads on O'Reilly's show and FORCED Fox to this decision. https://twitter.com/ap/status/854765906068738053 …
2:59 PM - 19 Apr 2017

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Tennis Superstar Serena Williams Confirms Her Pregnancy


Tennis superstar Serena Williams is pregnant and expecting to deliver her first baby this fall, her spokeswoman said on Wednesday, capping a day of intense speculation set off by a short-lived selfie posting on social media.
Williams, who has not played since her Australian Open win in January, citing a knee injury, plans to sit out the rest of the 2017 season and return to competition in 2018, her publicist, Kelly Bush Novak, said in a statement.
The confirmation came hours after the 35-year-old athlete posted a picture of herself in a yellow one-piece swimsuit on the photo-sharing site Snapchat with the caption: "20 weeks."
Williams, who will return to the No. 1 ranking in the world next week, deleted the photo shortly after it appeared. She waited more than six hours to make any public comment, stoking furious debate among tennis fans about whether or not she was joking.
"I'm happy to confirm Serena is expecting a baby this fall," Los Angeles-based Bush Novak said.
If Williams is indeed 20 weeks into her term, that would mean she was approximately two months pregnant when she captured her record 23rd Grand Slam tournament title at the Australian Open in January.
Her victory over older sister Venus Williams broke a tie with Steffi Graf for the most Grand Slam singles championships in the sport's modern era. Serena Williams has not played since.
Fans and celebrities reacted with a mixture of awe and glee to Williams' Snapchat post.
"Serena Williams was pregnant when she won her 23rd grand slam tournament at the Australian Open. And did not drop ONE SET. Let that sink in," wrote Twitter user @noelleharmony.
"So Serena cheated," Trevor Noah, the host of "The Daily Show" on Comedy Central, wrote on his Twitter account. "Because that's technically a doubles match."
Williams, the world's highest paid female athlete, announced her engagement to Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian last December.
The Women's Tennis Association initially congratulated Williams on Twitter before deleting its post.
Tennis' U.S. governing body, the United States Tennis Association, wrote on Facebook, "Join us in congratulating the GOAT and her fiancé Alexis Ohanian on this incredible news!" referring to Williams with the acronym for "Greatest of All Time."
The next Grand Slam tournament this year is the French Open, which starts in May. If Williams is 20 weeks pregnant and gives birth after a full term, she would have her child in early September, during the fourth Grand Slam, the U.S. Open in New York.
Other women have left the tour to have children and returned at a high level, though none has done so at Williams' age. The Belgian player Kim Clijsters retired and had a child before coming back at age 26 and winning three Grand Slam titles as a mother.
Australians Evonne Goolagong and Margaret Court also won Grand Slam titles after having children.
Former No. 1 Victoria Azarenka of Belarus, 27, missed most of the 2016 season to have a baby and is expected to return to the tour this summer.
For Williams, who commands nearly $29 million in salary and sponsorship earnings, becoming pregnant makes her all the more attractive to corporate sponsors, industry executives said.
Williams is the oldest woman to win a Grand Slam singles title and still dominates the tour at an age when most players have retired.
Williams, who has played professionally for two decades, first gained the No. 1 ranking in 2002 and has held that spot for more than six years in total during her career.
Sister Venus, 36, has won seven Grand Slam singles titles. 

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Aaron Hernandez's former agent isn't convinced it was suicide and at least one person might agree


Former New England Patriots tight end and convicted murder Aaron Hernandez was said to have committed suicide early Wednesday morning, although not everyone is convinced that Hernandez killed himself.
 
Hernandez’s former agent, Brian Murphy, tweeted out following the news that he’s not entirely convinced the death was by his own hands.
 
Absolutely no chance he took his own life. Chico was not a saint, but my family and I loved him and he would never take his own life.
 
There have been a lot of reactions around the NFL to Hernandez’s death, and Murphy’s suspicion might not be shared by many. Especially after it was reported by the Massachusetts Department of Corrections that Hernandez “was in a single cell” with “his door [blocked] from the inside by jamming the door with various items.” That would suggest that it could be only suicide, if the details are accurate.
 
Following the suicide report, another person close to the case reportedly had their doubts. TMZ is reporting that Hernandez’s lawyer, Jose Baez, who recently helped get a not guilty verdict for Hernandez last week in the double murder case that was separate from the Odin Lloyd conviction, does not believe it was suicide and says it could be an inside job — either from an inmate or a prison worker.
 
After beating the double-murder rap, Hernandez might have been a year away from having an appeal heard by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in the Odin Lloyd case and — slim or not — possibly one day being a free man again.
 
Do others agree that this could have been something other than suicide? ESPN’s Josina Anderson reportedly spoke with one of Hernandez’s former Patriots teammates who had his doubts upon hearing the news.
 
Josina Anderson ✔ @JosinaAnderson
Another former teammate of Aaron Hernandez I spoke with this am having a hard time believing he took his own life: "I am not buying it."
9:48 AM - 19 Apr 2017
 
The lack of a suicide note perhaps will keep this a mystery until further proof surfaces that this was at the hands of Hernandez and not someone else.

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Beyoncé Asks Court To Dismiss $20 Million 'Formation' Lawsuit


Beyoncé is seeking to dismiss a $20 million lawsuit over the “Formation” music video filed by the family of late New Orleans-area YouTube star Anthony Barré.
 
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the singer’s legal team filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit by Barré’s sister that claims Beyoncé used clips of his voice in her “Formation” music video without permission. The suit asks for royalties and damages, and insists that Barré be given credit for the track. 
 
The motion to dismiss argues that Beyoncé’s use of the clips were considered “fair use” because they were less than 10 seconds. Her lawyer also argues that the family has “grossly overstated” how much the clips were being used.
 
“In reality, the snippets from the YouTube Videos were used only in the Music Video and, to a lesser extent, during the Live Performances,” the motion, filed by Beyoncé’s legal team, states. “As a result, all defendants without an alleged involvement in the Music Video or Live Performances should be dismissed regardless of the merits of Plaintiffs’ claims.”
 
Barré, who also went by the name Messy Mya, was 22 when he was shot and killed in the 7th Ward of New Orleans in 2010. Barré’s family argued that the “Formation” video stole his signature phrase, “I like that,” from his YouTube video and used his voice.
 
The singer’s legal team claims that using Barré’s voice is protected under the First Amendment for its “artistic relevance.” 
 
Sampling and copyright issues are constantly at odds in the music industry, especially for hip-hop artists. Copyright laws have typically protected artists who sample based on the “fair use” protections, but their work must meet the standards of being limited and “transformative.” 

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Richard Simmons hospitalized in California, battling severe indigestion


Fitness icon Richard Simmons is doing better after being hospitalized on Monday for "severe indigestion," his rep exclusively told ABC News.
 
"Richard Simmons was hospitalized on Monday at an undisclosed location in California," his spokesman Michael Catalano said. "After a few days of battling severe indigestion and discomfort while eating, we agreed it was best for him to seek treatment.”
 
He continued, "He's already feeling better and is expected to make a full recovery.”
 
Simmons, 68, who over the past few years has vanished from the public eye, signed a business deal for "merchandising, endorsements and licensing opportunities," Catalano announced earlier this month.
 
Catalano told ABC News on April 6 that Simmons pursued the deal.
 
The new venture comes on the heels of questions about Simmons' health in recent years, including a viral podcast on his disappearance from public view, titled "Missing Richard Simmons."
 
Catalano commented on his client's relatively low profile, telling ABC News that Simmons just wants a break from fame. Catalano's comments echo what Simmons told "Entertainment Tonight" last year.
 
"No one should be worried about me," Simmons said. "It was time for me to take some time to be by myself."

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'Better Call Saul' Postmortem: Vince Gilligan on Getting Gus Fring's Return Just Right


We all knew that this season Breaking Bad’s Gustavo Fring would soon make his presence felt in the Better Call Saul world, and now, with the April 18 episode, “Witness,” Gus has finally arrived to wreak some havoc — eventually, at least — on the lives of both Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk) and Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks).
 
Saul co-creator Vince Gilligan broke down Gus’s entry for Yahoo TV, including its impact on Mike, how important it was to get the shot where we see Gustavo’s face for the first time just right, and the exact moment when we saw not “nice Gus Fring,” but “the real Gus Fring.”
 
He’s here. And now that Gustavo Fring has revealed himself in the Saul universe, we know by the end of “Witness” that Mike has finally met someone who is as formidable as he is. Now Mike’s facing an opponent on his level.
This is the most capable man in this universe meeting the other most capable man in this universe, and I couldn’t agree more. I was lucky enough to get to direct that episode, and having the first episode where Giancarlo Esposito comes back and once again plays the role of Gus Fring was very exciting. It was exciting for me. It was exciting for the crew. It was just great to see him suited up and on the Los Pollos Hermanos set once more. I felt a great weight of responsibility on me to reintroduce this character in the most dramatically interesting way possible.
 
I thought long and hard about, how are we first going to lay eyes on this guy? And I had a lot of help from my editor, Kelly Dixon. I had a shot that you see in the episode, but I intended to use a lot more of it and have Gus basically appear from the background walking to the foreground, and you’d see his entire face. The first time he shows up, he’s busing tables and cleaning tabletops, and I was originally going to let it run in the edit so that he walks right into frame and you see his face very completely. My editor, Kelly, cut it a different way.
 
When I first saw it, I was like, “What are you doing? You need to see his face.” She said, “I like just hinting at him here, and then having him move through frame, and then you wait a couple minutes more, and then Jimmy is reaching in the trash can, and then you’ve got that great reveal there in the footage where Jimmy jerks his arm out of the trash can and there is Gus Fring. I think that’s your big moment. That’s your million dollar shot. Don’t dilute it with this previous moment.”
 
I was like, “No, I’m the boss,” and I threw a little tantrum, but then I got over it, and I said, “Wait a minute, Kelly’s right.” I give great credit to her. I love the way he is revealed, and it took a village to make that work.
 
Breaking Bad's notorious villain, Gustavo Fring made his much anticipated debut on Better Call Saul. Last week, when hitman Mike Ehrmantraut discovered he was being tracked with a tracking device that he found in his gas cap, he used the same technology to help him track down the tracker, which led him to the drug czar's chain, Los Pollos Hermanos. Mike enlisted the help of Jimmy McGill to figure out what was going on in the restaurant, requesting that he buy something and patiently wait for the man with the green Chevy Blazer to arrive and to watch his every move and especially what he did with his bag. Perhaps Saul got a little overzealous as he switched seats to get a better look. Gus Fring was tooling around the restaurant cleaning up and passed by the mysterious man who promptly left, doing nothing with the bag or its contents and instead dumping his trash in the trashcan. Jimmy found himself digging through the trash in the hopes of finding the mysterious contents, he heard someone asked if he could help him. Jimmy quickly ditched his watch in the trash, and spun around to see Gus Fring, at his service. Although in this episode there were no signature explosions or murders with Fring's appearance, it's a good bet we'll see something nefarious in the future.
I also love the scene when Gus is outside Los Pollos Hermanos sweeping, after Jimmy has had his postmortem with Mike on what he saw inside the restaurant during his recon mission. Gus doesn’t turn around, but you know, from the look on his face, that he knows what they’re up to.
That was a fun one to shoot. That’s one of those moments, it can either be unbelievably frustrating or wonderfully thrilling when you’re there as the director watching it on the monitor. There were so many moving parts, because we’ve got two actors across the street, and we could see them, but we can’t really talk to them easily. While you’re watching that scene, there’s an assistant director hiding behind a tree, holding a walkie-talkie, and then if I need to talk to them, I talk into the walkie-talkie, and the assistant director pops out of hiding and passes along, like a game of Telephone, the directions I’m trying to give. Bob [Odenkirk] had to pull out of that car, and he had to turn left and then drive through frame. And then the camera was always moving. The camera had to reach Giancarlo’s face just when the car is at the right position. And then Giancarlo had to give the perfect look at just the right moment.
 
Bob Odenkirk as Jimmy McGill, Jonathan Banks as Mike Ehrmantraut on AMC’s Better Call Saul. (Photo: Michele K. Short/AMC)
Sometimes these moments can drive you up a wall as a director if things aren’t happening just as they should at the exact microsecond that they’re supposed to occur. Yet, I think we only did that three times, and it was just about perfect every time, because these actors are so good. Giancarlo, in particular, gave the perfect reaction at the perfect moment, and it just thrilled me when I saw it, because that was the first moment.
 
We’d worked with him all day, but he had been the nice Gus Fring. The good boss and good restaurant owner Gus Fring. That was the first moment any of us saw the bad Gus Fring, the real Gus Fring, and it was thrilling to watch.
 
On an unrelated note, we were a little taken aback to see that Jimmy, a lawyer in his 40s, still uses a Velcro wallet. Is there a reason for that?
You know what? I think it’s kind of lame. It’s fun how lame it is. But also, and I’m just saying this for the first time, you could maybe make the argument that, for a guy as rascally as Jimmy McGill, who is sort of attuned to the streets and the seedy side of things, maybe he’s thinking, “If someone lifts my wallet, I’ll hear the Velcro [sound] if they’re trying to steal my money.” It will be like a tip off to him.

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Melissa Etheridge admits she's smoked pot with her 2 grown children


Melissa Etheridge thinks it's silly that there's still a stigma around smoking weed -- especially since the plant helped her cope with her cancer treatments after being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004.
 
Along with undergoing a lumpectomy, the "Come to My Window" singer had five rounds of chemotherapy and radiation.
 
"It wasn’t about being high," she said of using medical marijuana in a new Yahoo project "Weed and the American Family". "It was just being to a place where I could communicate with my children, to where I could get up, to where I could eat. It was great medicine."
 
Etheridge, 55, said she feels it's now important to educate her children about weed without a sense of shame.
 
The singer and her wife of three years, Linda Wallem, are parents to 10-year-old twins, Johnnie Rose and Miller Steven along with two adult children, Bailey, 20, and Beckett, 18.
 
"My children have a very clear understanding of cannabis," she said. "When I hold it without shame or confusion, then they can understand it as simple as if I was pointing to a bottle of Percocet and said, 'That’s Mama’s medicine.'"
 
Etheridge added, "You take the naughtiness out of it, and it’s not something that kids run to."
 
However, the singer admitted that she's smoked weed with her two adult children -- Bailey and Beckett.
 
"I have smoked with my older two," she said in the documentary. "It was funny at first, and then they realized, it’s a very natural, end-of-the-day [thing] and it brings you much closer. I’d much rather have a smoke with my grown kids than a drink -- oh, God, no."
 
The Grammy Award-winning singer said she's also smoked with her wife, calling cannabis "the best marital aid."

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Netflix on the verge of hitting 100 million subscribers


Netflix is on the verge of surpassing 100 million global subscribers, a testament to how much the video streaming service has changed the entertainment landscape since its debut a decade ago.
 
The company will reach that milestone this weekend if its projections are correct. Netflix made the prediction Monday with the release of its first-quarter earnings.
 
The service added nearly 5 million subscribers during the first three months of the year, and will end March with 98.7 million customers in roughly 190 countries.
 
Over the past decade, "what really did it for Netflix was the explosion of phones and tablets that allowed people to watch video everywhere," said Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter. "But Netflix clearly had a vision before those devices became so ubiquitous."
 
About 51 million of Netflix's subscribers are in the U.S. By the end of this year, Piper Jaffray analyst Michael Olson expects the majority of the company's subscribers to be overseas. Netflix ended March with nearly 48 million subscribers outside the U.S.
 
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings expects the next 100 million subscribers to come more quickly than the first 100 million, but he didn't provide a specific timetable during online video review of the company's first quarter.
 
"Everybody watches TV and nearly everybody has the internet, so I don't see anything that's going to stop Netflix from getting to most people in the United States and then eventually hopefully most people around the world," Hastings said.
 
Progress toward that ambitious goal has helped drive the company's stock price progressively higher over the past five years. In that time, Netflix has added 72 million more subscribers.
 
The Los Gatos, California company currently has a market value of about $63 billion. Its stock rose $1.90 to $149.15 in Monday's extended trading, even though subscriber growth during the first quarter came in slightly below management forecasts.
 
STILL CHASING HBO
 
For all its success, Netflix still has a ways to go before it catches up with HBO, the popular pay-TV channel that has served as its role model. HBO has 134 million subscribers worldwide, including viewers paying for an internet-only version of the channel that was inspired by Netflix's success.
 
Other cable channels also are offering internet-only options as more viewers, especially younger people, eschew traditional TV packages and subscribe to streaming services instead.
 
The trend has confronted Netflix with more competition in the battle for household entertainment budgets. Netflix so far has answered the challenge by spending heavily on original shows such as "Stranger Things" and "House of Cards" and selling its service at a relatively low price. Netflix's subscriptions range from $8 to $12 per month, with the most popular option at $10.
 
"The model works from a consumer perspective because it is such a good value," Pachter said.
 
In a measure of how much Netflix subscribers like the service, Hastings said Monday that they collectively stream more than 1 billion hours of programming per week.
 
By comparison, Google says about 1 billion hours of video per day are watched on its mostly free YouTube service. "We have YouTube envy," Hastings joked.
 
WILL NETFLIX RAISE PRICES?
 
Pachter and other analysts wonder how long Netflix will be able to hold the line on price as its programming costs rise in tandem with its appeal to a more diverse international audience. Movie and TV studios typically also demand more money as more people subscribe to channels to in an effort to make as much as possible off their content.
 
As it is, Netflix expects to spend about $6 billion on programming this year.
 
Netflix hasn't given any inkling it will raise prices again. It lost some long-time U.S. subscribers after their rates went up by as much as $2 per month last year. Netflix had previously frozen prices for millions of subscribers at 2014 levels.
 
But if it wants to keep investors happy, the company will eventually have to improve its relatively low profit margin. The Los Gatos, California, company earned $178 million on revenue of $2.6 billion in the first quarter. Analysts predict Netflix will make $482 million on revenue of more than $11 billion for the entire year.

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Kim Kardashian Skips Angel Gala to Be by Kanye's Side After Breakdown


On Keeping Up With the Kardashians, Kim Kardashian received news from a friend about Kanye’s nervous breakdown and hospitalization. In the episode, we see her on the phone with the friend crying and not really getting a lot of information about Kanye’s state. She received the news just after arriving in New York City for the Angel Ball, which is an annual gala to raise money for cancer. Her late father, Robert Kardashian, was going to be honored. However, with the news of Kanye’s state, Kim decided she needed to be by her husband’s side and left for Los Angeles, leaving Khloé, Kourtney, and Kris Jenner behind.
 
Between the robbery in Paris and Kanye’s hospitalization, Kim has suffered her share of problems recently, but luckily, there was a good omen during a dinner in the form of a fortune cookie. It said that her troubles will soon cease and “good fortune will shine upon you.”
 
Keeping Up With the Kardashians airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on E!

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Search Warrants In Prince's Death To Be Unsealed Today


It's been nearly a year since Prince died from an accidental drug overdose at his suburban Minneapolis recording studio and estate, yet investigators still haven't interviewed a key associate or asked a grand jury to consider whether criminal charges are warranted, according to an official with knowledge of the investigation.
 
Prince was 57 when he was found alone and unresponsive in an elevator at his Paisley Park home on April 21. His death shocked fans and led to tributes worldwide. And news that he died of an overdose of fentanyl — a synthetic drug 50 times more powerful than heroin — surprised and saddened those who knew him as someone with a reputation for clean living.
 
Dozens of counterfeit pills were found in a search of Paisley Park, including at least one that tested positive for fentanyl. Yet authorities still don't know the origin of those drugs and there has been no indication that they are poised to hold anyone responsible anytime soon.
 
Investigators' actions in the hours immediately after his death aren't entirely known, and search warrants — aside from one that was accidentally and briefly made public — have been sealed. The search warrant that was briefly public notes that first responders started CPR on Prince before determining he was dead.
 
Authorities conducted a second search more than two weeks after Prince died and recovered more evidence, including many of the counterfeit pills, the official said.
 
Some information may be revealed on Monday when search warrants executed by local authorities, likely including one from the first search of Paisley Park, are due to be unsealed.
 
Criminal justice experts say the slow pace of the investigation doesn't necessarily mean it's in trouble or that no one will ever be charged. They cite the complexity of tracking illegally obtained pills, the need to be sure before they issue subpoenas, and the high stakes for investigators and prosecutors, who don't want to suffer an embarrassing defeat in a high-profile trial.
 
"Federal prosecutors, especially, do not like to lose," said Gal Pissetzky, a Chicago-based criminal lawyer. "That is why they can take so long."
 
One key figure investigators want to interview is Kirk Johnson, a longtime drummer for Prince and the estate manager at Paisley Park who was among those who discovered the musician's body. Johnson also was with Prince six days earlier when he fell ill on a flight home from a performance in Atlanta and had to be revived with two doses of an opioid antidote.
 
Experts say it's natural authorities would want to speak with Johnson, given his proximity to Prince. But Johnson hasn't talked to federal prosecutors, according to the official with knowledge of the investigation, who spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing.
 
While authorities have the power to ask a grand jury to investigate and issue subpoenas for testimony, that step hasn't been taken, the official said.
 
Johnson's attorney, F. Clayton Tyler, confirmed that his client hasn't been subpoenaed. He would not confirm whether Johnson refused to speak with authorities since an initial interview with detectives in the hours after Prince's death.
 
Johnson declined to talk to the AP. When pressed in a recent CBS interview to talk about Prince's final days, Johnson pointed to his head and said: "Kirk has a vault. Right here. It's never gonna be unlocked."
 
The official told the AP that investigators also haven't talked with Dr. Michael Todd Schulenberg since an initial interview after Prince's body was found. Schulenberg, who saw Prince on April 7 and again the day before his death, told a Carver County sheriff's detective he had ordered tests and prescribed medications for the musician. Those tests and medications haven't been disclosed.
 
Schulenberg's attorney, Amy Conners, confirmed that her client hasn't had any more requests from authorities.
 
That some Prince confidants or doctors haven't been interviewed shouldn't necessarily raise red flags, Pissetzky said. Prosecutors typically want to be armed with enough incriminating evidence to put an interviewee on the spot, he said.
 
"They want to show a suspect that, even though there might be holes in the evidence, they have enough to make it look like they have you dead to center," he said.
 
Jeff Cramer, a former federal prosecutor in Chicago, said subpoenas aren't always the best tool. A person with useful information can exercise their right against self-incrimination if brought before a grand jury, and at that point the only way to get them to talk is to offer immunity.
 
"The last thing law enforcement wants to do is to potentially have to immunize somebody who could be the only target of the investigation," Cramer said. "At that point, there's no going back ... so chances are they are still running down some leads before coming to that fateful decision."
 
Cramer said investigators are likely trying to uncover everything they can, and they need to get the drugs into a suspect's hands, either through a paper trail or witnesses. He said a year isn't an unreasonable length of time for the investigation. If questions remain six months from now, however, he said he'd question what law enforcement is doing.
 
Investigators have said little about the case over the last year, other than it is active. They have explored whether doctors illegally prescribed opioids that were meant to go to Prince and whether the fentanyl that killed him came from a black-market source online or on the street.
 
The official said the case has taken investigators to Illinois and California, as authorities have interviewed friends, family and any potential witnesses, including the flight crew and hospital staff members who were present when Prince overdosed on a plane. They've also searched cellphone records, medical records and computers.
 
Most fatal opioid overdoses that are investigated never lead to criminal charges, said Kerry Harvey, a former U.S. attorney for eastern Kentucky who made prosecuting such cases a high priority. A common problem is that evidence gets destroyed by first responders focused on saving a life.
 
It's not clear whether this is a problem in Prince's case.

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Sounds Like Netflix Is Bringing Back 'Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego?'


Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego? It seems like the answer could soon be Netflix.
 
Tracking Board, a site dedicated to entertainment industry news, is reporting that the streaming service has ordered 20 episodes of an animated series based on the video game series and children’s game show “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?”
 
We even have a name for who will voice the globetrotting Sandiego: Gina Rodriguez, star of “Jane the Virgin,” is reportedly all aboard. 
 
The brand has always doubled as an educational tool for young children, and it sounds like Netflix has no interest in moving away from that.
 
It seems to be part of a larger Netflix push to reboot some of America’s favorite educational children’s shows. In February, for example, Netflix revealed that “Saturday Night Live” cast member Kate McKinnon would be voicing Ms. Frizzle for a reboot of “Magic School Bus.”
 
The original PBS “Carmen Sandiego” game show ran for five seasons in the early 1990s.

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"The Fate of the Furious" Had a Record Worldwide Opening


"The Fate of the Furious" opened with $532.5 million globally, making it the biggest worldwide opening ever.  It just edged out "Star Wars: The Force Awakens", which made $529 million in its opening weekend.
 
 Here in the U.S., "The Fate of the Furious" made $100.2 million, which was obviously good enough for a #1 debut. 
 
 Here's the Top 10:
 
 1.  NEW:  "The Fate of the Furious", $100.2 million.
 
2.  "The Boss Baby", $15.5 million.  Up to $116.3 million in its 3rd week.
 
3.  "Beauty and the Beast", $13.6 million.  Up to $454.6 million in its 5th week.
 
4.  "Smurfs: The Lost Village", $6.5 million.  Up to $24.7 million in its 2nd week.
 
5.  "Going in Style", $6.4 million.  Up to $23.4 million in its 2nd week.
 
6.  "Gifted", $3 million.  Up to $4.4 million in its 2nd week.
 
7.  "Get Out", $2.9 million.  Up to $167.5 million in its 8th week.
 
8.  "Power Rangers", $2.85 million.  Up to $80.6 million in its 4th week.
 
9.  "The Cast for Christ", $2.7 million.  Up to $8.4 million in its 2nd week.
 
10.  "Kong: Skull Island", $2.67 million.  Up to $161.2 million in its 6th week.

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Jennifer Garner Files For Divorce From Ben Affleck


Making it official. Jennifer Garner has filed for divorce from Ben Affleck, Us Weekly confirms. 
 
The actors both filed without a lawyer, and lodged Garner's divorce petition and Affleck's response at the same time, suggesting a coordinated move to end their marriage amicably, TMZ reported on Thursday, April 13. According to the site, the former Alias star and the Argo director are both seeking joint legal and physical custody of their three children, and negotiating a financial settlement.
 
The pair previously announced the end of their marriage in a joint statement on June 30, 2015, just one day after their 10th anniversary.
 
Us Weekly reported in February that Garner was set to finally file for divorce nearly two years after their split. "No matter what happens, Ben and Jen are committed to raising their family as one unit and will continue to do so as it has worked for them," a source close to the couple told Us in regards to Garner's plans to officially split from the actor. "They are both committed to their family." 

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Audience Laughs as Kellyanne Conway Complains About Liars


If all press is good press, Kellyanne Conway is a superlative spokesperson for the Trump administration. Her every public appearance provides a new soundbite, and even a photo of her at work are cause for global outcry. She was put on the bench by President Donald Trump for a few weeks in late February and March due to several bizarre television appearances in which her messaging conflicted with White House messaging. Today, Conway is back.
 
She spoke at D.C.'s Newseum during an all-day examination of journalism in the Trump era. Other speakers included recent Pulitzer winner David Farenthold of the Washington Post and press secretary Sean Spicer. What does Conway, the woman who coined the term "alternative facts" to describe the information that President Trump relayed to the country regarding his inauguration crowd size, have to say about honesty in the media?
 
"You can turn on the TV-more than you can read in the paper because I assume editors are still doing their jobs in most places-and people literally say things that just aren't true," Conway said with no trace of irony. The crowd at the Newseum promptly laughed in her face, to which she nodded and smiled as if to note she was in on the joke.
 
Conway also complained about the words journalists use to discuss Trump on Twitter. "I think we have to have a conversation about the use of Twitter among the media, too, because there are things said about this president on Twitter that would never pass an editor's desk," she said. "I see people live-tweeting at Spicer during his press conference [sic]." Again, Conway skimmed over the irony of President Trump's own Twitter feed, a veritable graveyard of name-calling and insults.
 
Perhaps the most memorable moment of her long interview, though, came when moderator Michael Wolff of the Hollywood Reporter quoted back to her the Washington Post's new tagline, "Democracy Dies in Darkness." "I'm going to tell you, when they say democracy dies in darkness, you're the darkness," Wolff said. Again, the audience laughed.
 
Conway paused before responding. "I'm not the darkness," she said.

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Jenna Elfman Trolled With Scientology Questions During Reddit Q&A


Hindsight is 20/20, especially when you’re a former Scientologist. In an effort to promote her new show, Imaginary Mary, Jenna Elfman took part in a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” — but it turned out the questions people wanted to ask had nothing to do with the star’s (widely panned) series. Instead, users asked Elfman questions about her past with the controversial church.
 
“Do you know where Shelly Miscavige is?” one user asked. (ICYMI, Shelly Miscavige is the missing wife of Scientology’s leader, David Miscavige.) Another wanted to know what the former Dharma & Greg star thought of fellow actress Leah Remini, an outspoken critic of the religion.
 
Remini has launched her own TV series, appropriately titled Scientology and the Aftermath, which was recently renewed for a second season. “The show is really about standing up for what is right and not letting bullies have their way. I feel it is important for people to know that you can take action to bring about change, both for yourself and for others,” the actress said.
 
Elfman, however, has not commented much on her involvement with the church, so she may have been thrown by the questions posed during the Q&A. Making matters worse for the star, some users claimed that Elfman’s team had established fake accounts in order to ask friendlier, even flattering questions about topics like how Elfman stays so beautiful and her tips for recovering from being sick (which included the revolutionary advice of … sleeping).
 
“Wow, this is the most staged AMA I’ve ever witnessed,” xjayroox wrote. “How many Sea Org members joined Reddit in the last 2 hours?” A user named trevorplantaginous asked, “Who recommended this AMA? Have they been fired? Have they ever actually been on the internet?” Another, called sixstringkiing questioned, “How many people did your cult pay to start new reddit accounts in order to post questions on this thread that you wanted to answer? And how stupid do you think we are?”
 
When many of these new accounts vanished after the AMA ended, users noticed that too. “It’s amazing how many users created an account seemingly just for this AMA,” one said. Another wondered, “Jenna, why did all the new accounts leave at the same time you did?” Elfman has struggled to find a home on TV since Dharma & Greg ended its run in 2002, and this disastrous attempt to promote her latest effort probably isn’t going to help her cause.

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Comedian Charlie Murphy dies at 57


Comedian Charlie Murphy has died after battling leukemia, his rep confirmed Wednesday to ABC News. He was 57.
 
The successful stand-up comic and former star of the "Chappelle's Show," was also the older brother of comedic legend Eddie Murphy.
 
Charlie Murphy rose to fame on Dave Chappelle's sketch show, where he would tell stories about his brother and other celebrities like Rick James that the duo used to hang out with.
 
Murphy was a New York City native and also was featured in other shows and movies like "Jungle Fever," "Night at the Museum" and "Lottery Ticket." His latest work was on the show "Power" on Starz.
 
As a comic, he also went on tour with greats like D.L. Hughley and George Lopez.
 
After news broke of his passing, other comedians and actors took to social media to pay their respects.
 
 Chris Rock ✔ @chrisrock
We just lost one of the funniest most real brothers of all time . Charlie Murphy RIP.
1:27 PM - 12 Apr 2017

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Shia LaBeouf spending a month living alone in Finland cabin


Shia LaBeouf's latest stunt is to spend a month isolated in a cabin in Finland's remote Lapland region with his only communication with the outside world coming via text message to visitors to a Helsinki museum.
 
The project is called #ALONETOGETHER and involves the other two members of the actor's art collective, Nastja Ronkko and Luke Turner. Ronkko and Turner are also spending time isolated in separate cabins in Lapland beginning Wednesday.
 
Visitors to the Kiasama museum in Helsinki can visit a cabin and send a text to LaBeouf, Ronkko and Turner, who can respond to visitors but can't talk to one another.
 
The public can view a livestream of museumgoers and the trio's texts on the museum's website.
 
LaBeouf was arrested in January at his anti-Donald Trump livestream in New York.
 
———
 
This story has been changed to correct a misspelling in the actor's last name, which is spelled LaBeouf, not LeBeouf.

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Angelina Jolie Already Talking Marriage With New Man — "The News Caught Brad Completely Off-Guard" (EXCLUSIVE)


Just because Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt's divorce isn't finalized yet doesn't mean the actress isn't moving on!
 
Sources exclusively tell In Touch the 41-year-old A-lister has a new man in her life — and they're already talking about getting married!
 
"The news caught Brad completely off-guard. He had no idea she was seeing anybody, let alone someone she’s considering marrying," the source reveals.
 
Brad, according to the source, feels extremely threatened by Angie's new relationship because they are currently in the middle of an unrelenting custody battle over their six children.
 
"The idea that another man will be spending time with his kids is absolutely sickening and disheartening," the source adds. "Brad hasn’t met Angie’s man, doesn’t want to meet him, and considers him an interloper in his family."
 
Life for Maddox, 15, Pax, 13, Zahara, 12, Shiloh, 10, and twins Knox and Vivienne, 8, is about to change again once their mom finalizes the divorce and moves on with her new man. Although, Angelina allegedly putting her kids' needs before her romance.
 
"Initially, Angelina was hoping to wait until the divorce with Brad was settled," a second insider reveals. "But now she may introduce her new man to her children in LA in the next few weeks. She’s especially concerned that he bonds with Maddox and Pax."
 
Angelina has yet to go public with her new relationship, but her husband-to-be is reportedly a philanthropist businessman who she met last year in London. We wonder what's next for the couple!

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Guitarist J. Geils dead at 71, police say


Guitarist John Geils of the J. Geils Band was found dead at his Massachusetts home by police Tuesday, authorities said.
 
Police responded to Geils' home on Graniteville Road for a well-being check around 4 p.m., according to the Groton Police Department. Upon their arrival, police found Geils unresponsive, and he was pronounced dead at the scene.
 
The musician, whose full name is John Warren Geils Jr., was 71 years old. He is also listed as the homeowner of the house, police said.
 
Pearl Jam, Tupac among 2017 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame nominees
Geils' death is under investigation because he was alone at the time of his death, but a preliminary investigation indicates that Geils died of natural causes, according to authorities. Foul play is not suspected at this time.
 
Further information on the incident was not immediately available.
 
Geils was the frontman for the J. Geils band, best known for the No. 1 single "Centerfold" from its 1981 album "Freeze Frame." The band is a nominee for the 2017 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

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Gordon Ramsay's Father-in-Law Admits To Hacking Chef's Computer


Hell’s Kitchen star Gordon Ramsay may be a culinary genius, but his personal legal troubles continue to plague the renowned chef outside the galley.
 
Ramsay has been embroiled in a bitter family feud that has lasted nearly seven years. His father-in-law, Christopher Hutcheson, and two other family members recently plead guilty to hacking the chef’s computer that he used for his business. Hutcheson and his sons, Adam and Christopher, admitted in a London court to conspiring to unlawfully access computers at Gordon Ramsay Holdings Limited in 2010-2011.
 
Hutcheson served as chief executive of Ramsay’s business empire and ran his company, but was fired in October 2010. Ramsay accused his father-in-law of embezzling money to fund a personal lifestyle that included a second family he kept secret for 30 years, and hacking into his private emails.
 
Ramsay has been married to Hutcheson’s daughter Tana for 11 years, and the couple have four children together.  Tana sided with her husband and severed all ties with her family.
 
Meanwhile, Ramsay recently stated that he wouldn’t leave his $160 million fortune to his children. “It’s definitely not going to them,“ he revealed.  “And that’s not in a mean way; it’s to not spoil them”
 
The TV star flies first class, but remarked that his children “haven’t worked anywhere near hard enough to afford it. They have a completely different life than I did growing up. I worked my arse off to get out of the s*** mess that I grew up in and they’re grateful, they’re not spoilt,” he added.

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Michael Bublé's Wife Luisana Lopilato Speaks Out About Son's Cancer Treatment for First Time


Michael Bublé‘s wife Luisana Lopilato is speaking out for the first time about her 3 1/2-year-old son Noah‘s battle with cancer.
 
In a press conference in Buenos Aires on Monday for her new film — Those Who Love, Hate — the 29-year-old Argentinian mother-of-two gave an update on Noah’s health while revealing how cancer has helped her appreciate each day.
 
“It’s difficult for me to speak about this, it’s very recent and I’m still a bit sensitive about the subject,” Lopilato said in Spanish, The Daily Express reported. “My son’s recovery is a long process as you all know and he has to continue with check-ups. But we are very happy. We are looking forward to thinking about the future, to seeing our children grow.”
 
“Thank God my son is well,” she continued. “When things like those that happened to us occur, your take on life changes. Now I value life much more, the now and the today.”
 
Thanking fans for the support they’ve sent in the months since Noah’s diagnosis was announced, Lopilato said that the kindness aided her and her family.
 
“Out of respect I wold like to thank people for their support, for the many prayers they said — for their love,” she said. “I would like them to know and tell them that everything reached me and that it helped us a lot to get through this.”
 
“The love is daily, when people stop me in the street. It’s wonderful to know that you’re accompanied in life and that people love you,” Lopilato added.
 
She explained that her religious faith has been a source of strength for her and, in turn, her son. “My faith in the fact God had a miracle helped me,” Lopilato said. “I became strong so my son would get better. I transmitted that to all my friends and family.”
 
Though Lopilato had to take a break from filming Those Who Love, Hate to concentrate on Noah’s treatment in Los Angeles, she said his strength allowed her to return to Argentina in March to complete the project.
 
“Seeing Noah grow and being happy gave me the strength to return and finish this film,” she said.
 
Lopilato went on to thank her coworkers on the film for their support “I’m very proud of the team that accompanied me during this time which were very difficult months for me and my family,” she said. “Everyone accompanied me and not only did they show me they confided in me to work on the film, but they waited for me and put everything on hold. The show of love is incredible and something that I can’t put into words.”
 
Bublé, 41, and Lopilato wed in 2011 — and are also parents to 1-year-old son Elias.
 
The couple first revealed Noah’s illness in an emotional message on Bublé’s Facebook page in November.
 
“We are devastated about the recent cancer diagnosis of our oldest son Noah who is currently undergoing treatment in the U.S.,” the couple wrote. “We have always been very vocal about the importance of family and the love we have for our children.”
 
Since receiving the devastating news, Bublé has made caring for Noah the priority as he undergoes treatment — canceling his December BBC Music Awards Performance and pulling out of hosting February’s Brit awards and April’s Juno Awards.
 
“We are so grateful to report that our son Noah has been progressing well during his treatment and the doctors are very optimistic about the future for our little boy,” Bublé told PEOPLE and shared on Facebook in February.
 
“He has been brave throughout and we continue to be inspired by his courage,” he said “We thank God for the strength he has given all of us.”

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Ryan Reynolds Played This Baby-Making Song While Blake Lively Was In Labor


Ryan Reynolds is many things ― a father, a husband, Deadpool, a Twitter pro and, apparently, a top-notch delivery room DJ. 
 
In the latest installment of Michael Kors’ “Glamour Games,” Blake Lively revealed the song her husband played while she was in labor, and it’s probably not what you’d expect.  
 
As the two were playing a game of “Fact or Fiction,” the actress presented this statement: “My husband played ‘Let’s Get It On’ when I was in labor.” 
 
Kors laughed at the possibility, but guessed the statement was a fact. And he was right. 
 
“My doctor was laughing so hard that I thought she was going to drop our baby,” Lively joked. 
 
Reynolds told his side of the story earlier this year during an appearance on “Late Night with Seth Meyers.”
 
“I jammed a little Marvin Gaye’s ‘Let’s Get It On.’ It was like steak knives came out of her eyes,” Reynolds told Meyers. “Like, ‘Are you f**king s**tting me right now?’ Real bad, yeah. But she was a mercenary. I think I just caught her right in the middle of a contraction.”
 
It seems Lively was ultimately a good sport though, as Reynolds admitted, “She was making jokes the entire time.”

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A 'Friends' Musical Is Opening In New York This Fall


Thirteen years after “Friends” ended its 10-season run comes “Friends! The Musical!”
 
Yes, Ross, Rachel, Monica, Chandler, Joey and Pheobe will be there for you, singing their hearts out, as they “navigate the pitfalls of work, life and love in 1990s Manhattan.”
 
Written by pop culture parody masters Bob and Tobly McSmith ― the brains behind previous off-Broadway hits “90210! The Musical!,” “Katdashians! The Musical!” and the “Saved by the Bell” parody “Bayside! The Musical!” ― “Friends!” is sure to be just as wonderful, snarky and over-the-top as the duo’s past shows. 
 
Judging from the song titles, the musical promises to highlight the sitcom’s best, most memorable and most absurd moments: 
 
“The Only Coffee Shop in New York City”
“45 Grove Street – How Can We Afford This Place?”
“How you Doing, Ladies?” 
“Hey Ugly Naked Guy Who Lives Across the Street!”
“We were on a Break!” 
“I’m Gonna Hump U” 
“Oh. My. God. It’s Janice!” 
“Will They or Wont They” 
“The Ballad of Fat Monica”
“Could I BE Anymore…..in Love with Monica” 
“The One Where We Make a Million Dollars An Episode”
“We’ll Always Be There For You”
In some of their past productions, the McSmiths have convinced former cast members to guest star for a show or two. We don’t expect to see anyone making cameos this time around, but who knows?
 
Tickets for “Friends! The Musical!” go on sale in June. The show will open sometime in Fall 2017 at the Triad Theater in New York.

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Ashton Kutcher Credits His Twin Brother For Teaching Him How To Love


Ashton Kutcher highlighted some less-than-perfect moments from his life during an acceptance speech this weekend.
 
The 39-year-old actor was in Iowa on Saturday to receive the Robert D. Ray Pilliar of Character Award for demonstrating "good character as a role model."
 
"I’m also probably the first person to get this award for character who had, like, his name splashed across every gossip magazine as an adulterer like five years ago," he told the audience, referring to his 2013 split from Demi Moore.
 
"Character comes when those magazines tear you apart for something you may or may not have done and you gotta go out and perform tomorrow -- with everyone looking at you like you might be an adulterer," he added.
 
He also mentioned being arrested at 18 for "felony burglary for trying to break into his high school" -- he was given a deferred judgment -- and getting "pulled over by a state trooper while tripping on mushrooms," -- for which he escaped arrest.
 
Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher Welcome Baby BoyPlay videoMila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher Welcome Baby Boy
He credited his family, including his twin brother, Michael Kutcher, for helping to shape his character.
 
"My brother was born with cerebral palsy and it taught me that loving people isn't a choice and that people aren't actually all created equal," the actor said, fighting back tears. "The Constitution lies to us. We're not all created equal. We're all created incredibly unequal to one another, in our capabilities and what we can do and how we think and what we see. But we all have the equal capacity to love one another, and my brother taught me that."
 
It's his wife, Mila Kunis, who kicks his butt "on character every day," he said, including that morning.
 
"I thought I was awesome because I got up early and helped with the kids before she woke up and I let her sleep a little bit and then she's like, 'Well, now you're gonna act tired? I do it every day.' But it was a character moment, right? Because she's right!" he said.
 
He called his young children, 2-year-old daughter Wyatt and 4-month-old son Dimitri, "the greatest lesson in character in my life."
 
Ashton Kutcher testifies at hearing about ending m …Play videoAshton Kutcher testifies at hearing about ending modern …
"When my wife and I had these kids, and we got to share that amazing, amazing, amazing honor, my first response was I wanted to call my parents and say, 'I’m sorry, because I never knew how much you loved me,'" Kutcher said.

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Janet Jackson Splits From Husband


Janet Jackson and her super rich businessman husband have split just months after welcoming a baby together.
According to reports, Jackson and hubby Wissam Al Mana -- who is worth almost a BILLION bucks -- recently came to an agreement things weren't working and decided to go their separate ways.
Al Mana is Janet's third husband ... she married James DeBarge in the 80s but split after a year and was with Rene Elizondo Jr. from 1991 to 2000.
Jackson married Al Mana in 2012 ... they have one kid together, a son named Eissa who was born January 3.

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Fox to investigate sexual harassment claim against O'Reilly


NEW YORK (Reuters) - Fox News parent Twenty-First Century Fox Inc said on Sunday it will investigate a sexual harassment claim against TV anchor Bill O'Reilly, who has seen several companies pull their ads from his top-rated news show in the past week.
 
The investigation comes after a complaint was phoned in to the network's corporate hotline last week by Wendy Walsh, a former regular guest on Fox's "The O'Reilly Factor" TV show, and her lawyer, Lisa Bloom, which the two posted to YouTube.
 
"21st Century Fox investigates all complaints and we have asked the law firm Paul Weiss to continue assisting the company in these serious matters," the company said in a statement.  
Walsh, a psychologist and radio host, said O'Reilly reneged on an offer to secure her a lucrative job on the network after she declined his invitation to join him in his hotel suite after a dinner in early 2013.
 
"I'm told that they are taking it seriously, and they are going to do the investigation that's legally required of them," Bloom told CNN on Sunday.
Fox and O'Reilly have paid $13 million to five women who accused him of sexual harassment, the New York Times reported last weekend. O'Reilly said in a statement then that he had been unfairly targeted because of his prominence and has not made further comment.
 
Numerous companies have pulled ads from O'Reilly's Fox News show since the report, including BMW of North America, Allstate Corp, French pharmaceuticals maker Sanofi SA, direct marketer Constant Contact, men's clothing company Untuckit and mutual fund operator T. Rowe Price. British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline Plc said it temporarily suspended its advertising.
Fox News, the top-rated cable news network, has faced heightened scrutiny of its workplace climate after sexual harassment allegations led to the resignation of founding Chairman Roger Ailes last year.
 
21st Century Fox hired law firm Paul Weiss to investigate Ailes.
On April 3, Democratic political consultant and Fox News contributor Julie Roginsky sued the network and Ailes, accusing them of denying her a permanent hosting job after she rebuffed Ailes' sexual advances.
 
Roginsky said that a misogynistic culture at Fox News had not changed since Ailes left the network.
(Additional reporting by Lisa Richwine in Los Angeles; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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'The Boss Baby' Crushes 'Smurfs: The Lost Village' With $26 Million at the Box Office


In another box-office blow for Sony, Smurfs: The Lost Village bombed in its North American debut with an estimated $14 million from 3,610 theaters, one of the worst starts in recent memory for an animated offering from a major Hollywood studio.
 
Smurfs 3 was undone by a pair of hearty family holdovers, DreamWorks Animation/Fox’s The Boss Baby and Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.
 
Boss Baby — voiced by Alec Baldwin, who is making headlines for his impersonation of President Donald Trump on Saturday Night Live, plus his new book — stayed atop the chart in its second weekend, falling 48 percent to $26.3 million for a pleasing domestic total of $89.4 million.
 
Related: Alec Baldwin Pulls Double Duty, Interviews Trump as Bill O’Reilly on ‘SNL’
Now in its fourth weekend, Beauty and the Beast followed at No. 2 with $25 million for a domestic tally of $432.3 million. The live-action fairy tale is days away from jumping the $1 billion mark globally after finishing Sunday with a dazzling global haul of $977.4 million.
 
Smurfs: The Lost Village, placing No. 3, was intended to reinvigorate the franchise after Smurfs 2 earned $347.5 million worldwide in 2013, far less than the $563.7 million global tally scored by The Smurfs in 2011 (the first two titles were CGI/live-action hybrids). Lost Village, costing a reported $60 million to make, will have to do huge business overseas if Sony is to get its wish.
 
Sony maintains that Lost Village can still find its way, thanks to spring break and the upcoming Easter holiday. Also, the movie earned an A CinemaScore.
 
The new film centers on a mysterious map that sets Smurfette (Demi Lovato) and her friends Brainy, Clumsy and Hefty on a race through the Forbidden Forest leading to the discovery of the biggest secret in Smurf history. Rainn Wilson, Joe Manganiello and Jack McBrayer are among the voice cast. Kelly Asbury (Gnomeo & Juliet) directed.
 
Related: Box Office: ‘Smurfs’ Could Get Lost Amid a Family-Film Glut
In a surprise twist, Village Roadshow and Warner Bros.’ Going in Style — catering to the elderly set — came in well ahead of expectations with $12.5 million.
 
Directed by Zach Braff, the $25 million movie is a remake of the 1979 heist film and stars Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine and Alan Arkin as three retirees who decide to rob a bank when their pensions go belly-up. Ann-Margret and Matt Dillon also star in Going in Style, which had been expected to open to $8 million. The movie, coming in No. 4, received a B+ CinemaScore.
 
The weekend’s third new nationwide offering, The Case for Christ, placed No. 8 with just $3.4 million. The faith-based drama, from Pure Flix Films, tells the real-life story of a self-avowed atheist and journalist who sets out to disprove his wife’s newfound Christian faith. Nabbing an A+ CinemaScore, Case for Christ stars Mike Vogel, Erika Christensen, Faye Dunaway and Robert Forster.
 
At the specialty box office, Niki Caro’s The Zookeeper’s Wife expanding into a total of 804 theaters after a limited debut last weekend. The Focus Features film, starring Jessica Chastain, grossed a muted $2.9 million for a 10-day domestic total of $7.6 million.
 
Colossal, starring Anne Hathaway as a woman who battles a Godzilla-like creature in South Korea, opened in four theaters in New York and Los Angeles, grossing an estimated $130,000 for a screen average of $32,500, the best of the weekend. The independent film marks the first release from Neon, the distribution company launched by former Radius-TWC co-chief Tomas Quinn and Alamo Drafthouse founder Tim League.
 
Fox Searchlight opted for a bigger footprint for Gifted, directed by Marc Webb and starring Chris Evans, Mckenna Grace and Octavia Spencer. Rolling out in 56 locations, the drama opened to $476,000.
 
STX Entertainment’s critically acclaimed British romantic comedy Their Finest, starring Gemma Arterton, Sam Claflin and Bill Nighy, debuted to $77,000 from four theaters in L.A. and New York for a screen average of $19,250.

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Bradley Cooper and Irina Shayk Welcome First Child


Bradley Cooper‘s bundle of Joy has arrived!
 
The Oscar-nominated actor and his girlfriend of two years, Irina Shayk, welcomed their first child two weeks ago, a source tells PEOPLE.
 
The baby is the first child for the Russian supermodel, 31, and the Silver Linings Playbook star, 42, who have been dating since spring 2015.
 
A source confirmed the couple’s baby news to PEOPLE in November shortly after Shayk’s appearance on the 2016 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show runway.
 
In February, the model’s baby bump was clearly visible under an all-black ensemble during a trip to Disneyland, where she sported a Minnie Mouse-ears headband and enjoyed a meet-and-great with Pluto.
 
And although Cooper wasn’t in attendance for that particular day of magic, a source told PEOPLE in December that he seemed “more protective” of his girlfriend in her pregnancy.
 
“He has been spotted dropping her off at the airport with kisses as she is about to take off for another job,” the source explained. “They are just a very sweet couple.”
 
It’s likely that the Los Angeles digs the duo plan to raise their baby in has undergone quite the change since December, when a source told PEOPLE it wasn’t exactly baby-proof.
 
“It seems L.A. is now their home base,” the source said at the time. “When they are together in L.A., they are very low-key and mostly hang out at home.”
 
Shayk, who is active on Instagram, has stayed quiet about the baby’s birth over the past two weeks, instead focusing her social media posts on her friends and editorial work she has done.
 
Reps for Shayk and Cooper did not respond to requests for comment.

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Don Rickles, comedy legend, dead at 90


Comedy legend and actor Don Rickles died Thursday morning of kidney failure, Fox News has confirmed. He was 90 years old.
 
"Emmy-award winning iconic comedian Don Rickles passed away at his home Los Angeles this morning (Thursday) as a result of kidney failure," his rep said in a statement. "Rickles would have turned 91 on May 8."
 
His funeral will be private.
 
Born in New York City, Rickles served in the U.S. Navy for two years during World War II before he found fame.
 
He got his big break when his insult comedy began getting him some attention from the "Chairman of the Board," Frank Sinatra. He connected with Sinatra by chiding him during a show and eventually became the go-to comic of the Rat Pack stars.
 
"Make yourself at home Frank. Hit somebody," Rickles reportedly said during the show.
 
His career took off when he began making appearances on the late-night shows. He was a frequent guest on "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson" and "Late Show with David Letterman."
For more than half a century, "Mr. Warmth" headlined casinos and nightclubs from Las Vegas to Atlantic City. N.J.
 
Despite jokes that from other comics might have inspired boycotts, he was one of the most beloved people in show business, idolized by everyone from Joan Rivers and Louis CK to Chris Rock and Sarah Silverman.
 
"I think the reason that (my act) caught on and gave me a wonderful career is that I was never mean-spirited," he once said. "Not that you had to like it, but you had to be under a rock somewhere not to get it."
 
Carl Reiner would say he knew he had made it in Hollywood when Rickles made fun of him. James Caan once said that Rickles helped inspire the blustering Sonny Corleone of "The Godfather."
 
Rickles also found success as an actor an author. He appeared in shows like "Gilligan's Island" and "The Munsters" after he made his acting debut in the film "Run Silent, Run Deep."
 
He also had a notable role as Sgt. Crapgame in the 1970 film "Kelly’s Heroes" that also starred Clint Eastwood. He continued to star in a series of variety television specials in the '70s.
His most recent film work included a voice-over role as the grumpy Mr. Potato Head in the “Toy Story” films and shorts.
 
In February, he told Closer Weekly he had no plans to slow down. 
 
“Honestly, I didn’t realize it — all of a sudden I was 90,” said the comedian on his 60-plus-year. “The years skipped by quickly. When it happened, I said, ‘Where did the time go?’”
 
“At 90, I’m still going pretty damn good,” he said. “And it’s nice because I have no plans to slow down.”
 
Rickles is survived by his wife Barbara, daughter and two grandchildren.
 
The statement from his rep noted: "In lieu of flowers, it is suggested that donations be made to the Larry Rickles Endowment Fund at Children's Hospital Los Angeles." 

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Movie theaters are bringing in audiences in record numbers


Despite the offerings of streaming networks and video-on-demand, movie theaters are seeing tremendous audiences this year. 
 
Ticket sales and domestic grosses haven't been this high since 2004, and with the current revenue for the first three months of 2017, so far the box office totals are on track to beat last year’s record $11 billion, according to Box Office Mojo.
 
And a study conducted by the National Association of Theater Owners found that more people are going to the theater than all professional sporting events combined.
 
One reason is that the studios, taking a page from premium cable and streaming channels such as Netflix, are doling out their films on an ongoing basis, not just waiting for the traditional summertime or award-season release times, says Leslie Combemale, a film critic at Cinema Siren.
 
“Studios are releasing films throughout the year, and people are getting excited about that,” she said. “And there are so many platforms available, and movie theaters and studios are watching that.”
 
“King Kong,” was released in early March, an extremely unusual time in the year for a big budget film, and it’s currently one of the top grossing films of 2017.
 
Also, many of this year’s blockbuster films were released in IMAX and 3D, where ticket prices are higher, she said, citing "Civil War," "Beauty and the Beast" and "Captain America" as examples.
 
Disney, which includes LucasFilm, Pixar and Marvel, is laying out a slate of movies and choosing its release dates three or four years ahead of time, forcing other studios to work around them by distributing their films throughout the year, said Patrick Corcoran, vice president and chief communications officer of The National Association of Theater Owners.
 
He said Amazon wants its films in the theaters first, and it wants to keep them in the theaters. “Manchester By the Sea” is still in theaters.
 
“They’re committed to the idea and they say their customers believe that movies that stay in theaters longer are higher quality, and it makes them more likely to go,” he said.
 
Theaters also have made some impressive changes to the movie going experience in recent years. They’ve dramatically improved their audio and video, they’ve redesigned their seats and they’re enabling customers to reserve specific ones.
 
“We’ve changed projection technology,” Corcoran said. “Some people prefer film to digital, but film degrades and shutters, and so people seeing it a few weeks in find it’s not as good. Digital doesn’t change.”
 
While larger seats may mean fewer seats, audiences “love it,” Corcoran said, adding that the companies are making more money even with fewer seats. And being able to reserve seats gives people more time to stop at the concession stands — a big part of how theaters make their money.
 
Though admission prices haven’t risen significantly, revenue has.
 
“Since 2001, we’ve had two recessions and unemployment rose to 10 percent,” Corcoran said. “With the average medium income today back to what it was in 2000, essentially we’ve managed to grow in a horrific economy, and looking ahead we’re poised for more growth.”
 
But regardless of Corcoran’s upbeat projections, the movie business is tricky. A film is usually released to cable or a streaming network after around 90 days in theaters, but audiences are increasingly demanding earlier releases to homes, and studios are putting pressure on theaters to comply.
 
The theater owners, understandably, are less than enthusiastic about the idea. They believe audiences will stay home and wait if films become available for rent or purchase within weeks of their release.
 
In 2011, Universal hoped to release “Tower Heist” a scant two weeks after it premiered in theaters, and theater owners threated to boycott the film. In 2015, when Paramount tried to get AMC theaters to allow an early release of “Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension,” Regal snubbed the movie altogether.

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Mel B's Estranged Husband Controlled Her Finances and Kept Her in the Dark: 'She Never Knew Where Her Money Was' Says Source


Melanie “Mel B” Brown was the breadwinner in her relationship with estranged husband Stephen Belafonte, but he wielded total control over her finances, a source tells PEOPLE.
 
“She never knew where her money was or how she could get to it,” the source says, adding, “He set up the account, put the accountants in place; she literally never knew where her money was.”
 
The source says that with Belafonte, 41, in control, he would have Brown do “anything that would earn him a bit of money.”
 
As the couple goes through the process of divorcing, Mel’s lawyers will be bringing in a forensic accountant to sort through the finances, the source says.
 
The singer and TV personality, 41, filed for a temporary restraining order Monday against Belafonte, claiming that he beat, threatened and exploited her throughout their nearly 10-year marriage. He has denied the allegations.
 
“Mel kept turning up with bruises,” the source tells PEOPLE. “Everyone said, Are you OK?’ and she just kept coming up with excuses.”
 
Belafonte has been ordered by authorities to leave the family’s Los Angeles home and to stay away from Brown and her three daughters: Phoenix, 18, Angel, 10, and 5-year-old Madison.
 
In documents related to the order, Brown details the years of their troubled relationship, with the first alleged incident occurring five months into their marriage.
 
Brown claimed that before a TV appearance following her Dancing with the Stars finale in November 2007, Belafonte choked and slammed her against the floor while she got ready at home. She said he would abuse her whenever she saw career success in any way, noting that “when something good would happen for me, he would beat me down to let me know that he was in charge.”
 
In July 2012, Belafonte allegedly accused Brown of flirting with R&B singer Usher while she taped X Factor. Brown claimed Belafonte “flew into a rage,” punching her in the face and splitting her lip.
 
To cover up the injury when she returned to set, Brown says she told people who questioned her that she’d had an allergic reaction to shellfish. The crew then had a doctor give her an unnecessary steroid injection intended to treat an allergic reaction.
 
The couple’s marriage came under fire in late 2014 after the star was hospitalized for two days, then appeared three days later on the finale of the U.K. version of The X Factor with what appeared to be bruises.
 
X Factor producer Simon Cowell attempted to procure legal and financial advice for Brown at the time, a source tells PEOPLE.
 
Brown tried to leave Belafonte several times, she said in the documents. But he allegedly threatened to destroy her career by releasing sex tapes and take her children.
 
“I have lived the past decade in fear that [Belafonte] would release intimate videos of me that would embarrass me and damage my reputation and my career,” she claims in the filing. “Once [he] made the threat of releasing videos, it became impossible to say no to him, giving him complete control.”
 
In divorce papers filed on March 20, Brown listed their date of separation as Dec. 28.
 
This article was originally published on PEOPLE.com

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William Shatner recalls spending First Contact Day with Carrie Fisher


William Shatner paid tribute to his late friend Carrie Fisher on First Contact Day.
 
The "Star Trek" star shared a photo to his Twitter page of his 2013 celebration with the "Star Wars" actress.
 
In the picture, Fisher, who died this past December, has her hands around Shatner's neck.
 
"I remember fondly #FirstContactDay a few years ago," he wrote. "Lunch at a certain alien's house where she definitely made first contact."
 
In "Star Trek," the first interaction between humans and alien life is said to take place on April 5, 2063. As a result, fans of the series mark April 5 as a special day.
 
Shatner, 86, shared the same photo in 2014. Three years before that, he and Fisher had a public debate as to who starred in the better franchise.
 
"'Star Trek' had relationships and conflict among the relationships and stories that involved humanity and philosophical questions,” Shatner said in an interview shared to his YouTube page. "'Star Wars' was special effects. It was ILM at its best! First of all, 'Star Wars' is derivative of 'Star Trek,' by what 10, 15, 20 years, something, whatever it was? Derivative!"
 
"They're not in the same league," Fisher countered in another interview. "I mean, they have the word 'Star' in the title, and there's space travel — right, where did they go to? I don't really… Klingon? It just sounds like a laundry detergent!"

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Taylor Swift's home has been designated as a historic landmark


Taylor Swift's home is one of significance.
 
On Tuesday, the Beverly Hills City Council approved the singer's request to designate her mansion, which she purchased in 2015, as a historic city landmark.
 
The designation is not because its current resident is the Grammy-winning pop star.
 
The 11,000 square foot home is known as the Samuel Goldwyn Estate, because it was owned by famed Hollywood producer Samuel Goldwyn, the co-founder of the studio which eventually became MGM. Travel + Leisure reported that Swift paid $25 million for the home, which was built in 1934.
 
Back in the day, stars like Marlene Dietrich, Charlie Chaplin and Clark Gable reportedly hung out at the home, which includes a tennis court, pool, library, card room, a home theater and more.
 
The home was marked for preservation because it "possesses a high artistic or aesthetic value and embodies the distinctive characteristics of an architectural style ... type... or period."
 
In this case, it's considered an excellent example of Georgian Revival style, which was popular in the 1920s and 1930s among Hollywood types.

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Teen Mom OG Catelynn Lowell Baltierra on Fake Pregnancy Announcement: It's My Way of Messing with People'


Catelynn Lowell Baltierra caused quite a stir on Tuesday after she posted a faux ultrasound photo on her Instagram, claiming she and Tyler were expecting again.
 
Stopping by PEOPLE Now on Wednesday, the Teen Mom OG star opened up about why she tricked fans into thinking she was pregnant with her third child.
 
“I posted it because ... people don’t see what I see on Twitter all the time,” the 25-year-old said. “People kept asking and saying, Oh, she’s pregnant. She’s definitely pregnant.’ If you see the picture that I posted, it’s a fake baby in a uterus picture.”
 
 
“I told Amber [Portwood] yesterday, Why would I cover up my own baby in an ultrasound? I just wouldn’t do that,’ ” she continued. “For me, it’s my way of messing with people and be like, Oh, look! You’re all right again!’ And no. You’re really not.”
 
When asked if she was shocked by the backlash that came from her post (especially from women who have trouble conceiving), Catelynn said she understands where they are coming from and she “gets that.”
 
“If I did offend anybody that struggles with that, I apologize and I can say that I am sorry,” she said. “I am though, because some girls and women do struggle with it and can’t have babies.”
 
“Sorry if I offended anybody,” she added. “That’s not what I meant to do at all.”
 
From Coinage: See Where 6 Stars Were Before They Were Famous
 
As for having any regrets about posting the faux ultrasound on social media, Catelynn admitted that she has none.
 
“To all the people who are freaking out because they want me and Tyler to have more babies, we will one day,” she said. “I’m definitely still on birth control.”
 
Teen Mom OG returns on April 17 at 9 p.m. ET on MTV.

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Susan Sarandon Explains '90s Feud With Julia Roberts Was Totally Made Up


Susan Sarandon is starring alongside Jessica Lange in Feud, which depicts the rivalry between Bette Davis (Sarandon) and Joan Crawford (Lange).
 
While promoting the series on Twitter, Sarandon let slip that she was involved in a similar feud in the ’90s with Julia Roberts while on the set of the movie Stepmom. Only problem was that that beef was totally made up.
 
The fake fight probably helped stir movie buzz, but one of the film’s producers, Michael Barnathan, replied to Sarandon’s tweet, explaining his side of things.
 
Sarandon also set the record straight on her current co-star, Jessica Lange. She observed that the most common question she received while promoting Feud was if there was any tension between them behind the scenes. She joked that the exact opposite was true:
 
The #1 question I get in interviews is whether Jessica & I get along. Jess & I not only got along great during filming, we’re now dating.

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Alec Baldwin Says That Angry 2007 Voicemail Hurt Daughter In A 'Permanent' Way


Alec Baldwin is no stranger to controversy. 
 
With a career spanning decades, the “Saturday Night Live” guest star has battled many demons in the public eye. Baldwin’s new memoir, Nevertheless, details his struggle with drugs and alcohol in his early days ― but there’s one scandal that still haunts him to this day.
 
In 2007, an angry voicemail Baldwin left for this then 11-year-old daughter, Ireland, leaked online amid the actor’s contentious divorce from ex-wife Kim Basinger. In the message Baldwin calls his daughter a “rude little pig” and threatens to “straighten [her] ass out” after she “humiliated [him] for the last time.”
 
Speaking with “Good Morning America” on Monday ahead of the release of his new book, Baldwin revealed that the voicemail caused “permanent” damage to his relationship with Ireland nearly a decade after the incident. 
 
“It’s thrown in your face every day,” Baldwin explained to “GMA” anchor George Stephanopoulos. “There are people who admonish me, or attack me, and use that as a constant spearhead to do that.”
 
The relationship between Baldwin and his daughter has been on the mend in recent years, as the two regularly attend red carpets and award shows together. However, at the time, the voicemail sent Baldwin spiraling and at one point led him to contemplate suicide. 
 
“It’s a scab that never heals cause it’s being picked at all the time by other people,” he added. “My daughter, that’s hurt her in a permanent way.”
 
Despite all this drama, ICYMI, Ireland grew up to be a world-famous supermodel, and judging from her social media accounts, she’s made amends with her famous father.
 
Every now and then, Baldwin shares shoutouts and throwback photos featuring dear old dad, posting an Instagram of her half-brother at the movie premiere of “Boss Baby” just last week.

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Goldie Hawn Gushes Over Kurt Russell's Resurgence: 'I Just Love It'


After a 15-year absence, Goldie Hawn will make her return to the movie screen in May’s R-rated comedy Snatched. The film will open one month after The Fate of the Furious and two weeks after Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 — two surefire hits from mega-franchises that co-star Hawn’s longtime partner, Kurt Russell.
 
So while the 71-year-old Hawn took a long hiatus from acting, her Overboard shipmate Russell, 66, has never been busier. The Escape From New York actor has been in major demand over the past decade, beginning with his acclaimed role in 2007’s Death Proof and also including parts in such high-profile films as The Hateful Eight (2015) and Deepwater Horizon (2016). The Russurgence is real, and Hawn couldn’t be happier.
 
“I love it, I just love it,” Hawn told Yahoo Movies (watch above) last week at CinemaCon in Las Vegas, where she was joined by her Snatched costar Amy Schumer. “Aside from the fact that he’s a great lover.” Hawn caught herself. “Did I say that?” (Yep, loud and clear.)
 
Schumer jumped in: “Everyone can tell! It’s not going to be viral. People know. They look at you, they go, ‘I’d like to watch them.‘”
 
Hawn met Russell while filming her film debut, the 1968 musical The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band, though they did not start dating until the mid-1980s, around the time they collaborated on the movies Swing Shift (1984) and Overboard (1987). They have one son together, the actor Wyatt Russell, though Hawn’s children Kate Hudson and Oliver Hudson are extremely close to Kurt.
 
“I’m just so excited because he creates these [characters,]” Hawn said. “He’s unbelievably creative. These movies didn’t quite look that way until they got into it.”
 
Hawn cited Mr. Nobody, the covert government agent introduced by Russell in Furious 7 (2015) who returns in Fate of the Furious: “Mr. Nobody was Kurt’s idea,” she said. “So I’m just watching him. I love it, I’m excited.”
 
Snatched opens May 12.

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Melania Trump's new portrait divides public opinion


Washington (AFP) - The White House released the official portrait of First Lady Melania Trump, with the photograph of the former model dividing public opinion.
 
Trump is shown from the waist up, standing with arms crossed, dressed in a black jacket with a black bow around her neck. She's wearing a very large diamond ring on her left hand, and a more subdued sparkler on her right.
 
Shot by Belgian-born photographer Regine Mahaux, who has previously worked with the Trump family, the first lady is smiling slightly, with a perfectly flawless visage.
 
"I am honored to serve in the role of first lady, and look forward to working on behalf of the American people over the coming years," Trump said in a short statement accompanying the photo's release.
 
While some commenters gushed that the first lady was "beyond beautiful" and "gorgeous," others mocked the image as highly airbrushed and compared the gauzy background -- a window in the White House residence -- to 1990s school portrait settings.
 
Other critics jumped on a line in the White House statement that said the portrait was taken in Trump's "new residence at the White House."
 
While every other modern first lady has accompanied her husband to Washington, the 46-year-old Trump has remained at her luxury triplex penthouse in Manhattan and not made many public appearances.
 
Trump has said she would remain in New York until son Barron finishes the school year.
 
It's not the first time that a first lady portrait has stoked controversy. Michelle Obama was criticized for wearing a sleeveless dress in her first official portrait in 2009, with some saying the bare arms were too casual. 
 

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'The Walking Dead' Season 7 Finale Features One Last Tearful Tribute


Here come the tears a-Glenn.
 
As promised, “The Walking Dead” Season 7 finale was certainly a “circus of emotion.” With everything that was going on, it was easy to miss the show’s final touching moment.
 
But first ...
 
In the episode, Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) died after taking the suicide pill from Eugene (Josh McDermitt); we learned the “little birdies” who told Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) about Alexandria’s plan to attack were the junk yard people (as predicted); later, Negan created another lineup like in the Season 6 finale and Season 7 premiere, only this time it was just Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and Carl (Chandler Riggs); just when we thought Carl was going to die, The Kingdom and the Hilltop showed up to save the day at the last second, eventually sending the Saviors and the junk yard people running. 
 
In addition to all the highlights from the episode, the show tugged on our heartstrings with a final tribute to a beloved character ― and everyone’s favorite former pizza boy ― Glenn (Steven Yeun).
 
Yeun was a staple on the show until Glenn’s brutal death in the Season 7 premiere. In memory of the character, the show referenced Glenn throughout the season. Maggie even donned a hat and gloves in the midseason finale, seemingly as a nod to the hat her now-deceased husband used to wear and the fingerless gloves of Abraham (Michael Cudlitz), Negan’s other victim in the premiere.
 
In the closing moments of the Season 7 finale, Rick told Maggie that she made the right decision to come and help in the fight. She said the decision was made a long time ago when Glenn originally helped Rick.
 
“Glenn made the decision, Rick. I was just following his lead,” she said.
 
In her hand, we see Glenn’s watch, which was given to him by Maggie’s dad, Hershel (Scott Wilson).
 
Of course, it would’ve been better if Glenn had lived, but what are you gonna do, right? These are crazy times.
 
Here are some other can’t-miss moments from the finale, along with the amount of tissues you’d probably have to use to wipe the tears away.
 
Sasha’s death is sad, and it sucks, but don’t feel bad for Sonequa Martin-Green. She’s starring in “Star Trek: Discovery.” Also, Sasha could still be alive if her plan to kill Negan wasn’t so dumb. It was just really, really dumb.
 
Rather than wait outside the Saviors’ compound for a chance to snipe Negan from afar, Sasha decided to go running into their headquarters. That sounds less like someone trying to kill Negan and more like someone who’s late getting on set for “Star Trek.”
 
Plus, in becoming a zombie and popping out of a coffin, she surprised Negan and gave Alexandria a chance to fight back, so that’s pretty sick.
 
While Sasha was dying, she apparently had a flashback of Abraham. He memorably gave her a peace sign before his death in the premiere. Now, he was back to see his lover one last time.
 
Dang. Someone play “Unchained Melody” and get these two some pottery or something. 
 
Rick Grimes officially isn’t invincible, as he was shot in the episode by Jadis (Pollyanna McIntosh), the junk yard people’s leader. But shake it off, dude. After Andrew Lincoln described the incredible “death scene” he had planned for Rick, there’s no way he’s dying from a wound like that.
 
Rosita (Christian Serratos) also got shot, but she’ll probably be OK. We don’t feel that bad for you, Rosita. You helped Sasha with that plan to kill Negan. As we explained, that was dumb. Sasha died, so you should consider yourself lucky.
 
In a callback to a scene from the comic book where another character who Rick cares for, Andrea, fights on a tower, Michonne (Danai Gurira) got into a fight on a balcony. Someone fell. Rick doesn’t know who it was, so that’s not great for him. But then, we learn that it wasn’t Michonne. She’ll probably look like Rocky after a boxing match for a while, but she’s gonna make it.
 
When Carl and Rick were lined up, even if you’re aware that there’s a similar scene in the comics, you still thought one of them could end up dead. Thankfully, the Kingdom and Shiva the tiger showed up just in time.
 
They’re greaaaat!

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Love in Bloom! J Lo and A-Rod Are All Smiles During a Spring Stroll in NYC


Hot new couple Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez couldn’t hide their wide smiles on a lovely spring day.
 
The pair was spotted out and about in New York City in Sunday, dressed casually and joined by Lopez’s mother, Guadalupe Rodríguez.
 
Their weekend stroll came on the heels of Rodriguez’s appearance on The View on Friday, when he opened up for the first time about his new romance.
 
“We’re having a great time, she’s an amazing, amazing girl, and one of the smartest human beings I’ve ever met and also an incredible mother,” the former Yankee player, 41, shared.
 
Lopez, 47, shares two children with ex-husband Marc Anthony: twins Emme and Maximilian, both 9. Rodriguez has two children of his own with ex Cynthia Scurtis: daughters Natasha, 12, and Ella, 8.
 
The pair was first linked in March, when a source confirmed to PEOPLE that Lopez and Rodriguez had “been dating for a few weeks.” And they haven’t been shy about stepping out, having been spotted together several times since the news broke.
 
A Lopez insider told PEOPLE, “It’s like they can’t get enough of each other.”
 
The 47-year-old singer took a stroll with both boyfriend Alex Rodriguez and her mom, Guadalupe Rodriguez, on Sunday in New York City. J.Lo and A-Rod were comfortable showing PDA out and about in the city -- holding hands -- as Guadalupe smiled alongside the couple.
 
The family stroll comes after J.Lo spent time with her beau's sister, Susie Dunand, last month. On Instagram, Susie referred to the singer as "sister-in-law."
 
Clearly, everything appears to be going smoothly for the attractive couple. A source close to the former New York Yankee recently told ET that Rodriguez has fallen fast for Lopez, in large part because she gets along so well with his family. The source also said the two are now exclusive, and that the elite athlete is happy and knows he's with a beautiful woman.
 
During 41-year-old Rodriguez's appearance on The View on Friday, he couldn't help but gush about his gorgeous gal.
 
"She's an amazing girl," he marveled. "One of the smartest human beings I've ever met, and also an incredible mother."

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Naya Rivera responds to David Spade dating rumors after poolside PDA pics surface


Naya Rivera has something to say about rumors that she's dating David Spade.
 
The former "Glee" star, who was spotted cuddling and hugging Spade in a pool in Hawaii on Friday, took to Instagram Stories on Saturday to poke fun at the photos.
 
"Holy sh*t guys. The Easter bunny and the f**king tooth fairy are for sure dating," she joked while relaxing in bed. "I just saw them."
 
ET first published the photos of Rivera, 30, and Spade, 52, packing on the PDA poolside at the Halekulani Hotel pool in Waikiki on Friday, though an eyewitness revealed that the two tried to be discreet.
 
 "The pair went for a short swim, hugged and had lots of body contact in the pool. They kept to one side of the pool where there was the most covering from prying eyes," the eyewitness recalled, noting that Rivera and Spade were joined by Adam Sandler, Rob Scneider and their families. "Outside of the pool, they sat on lounge chairs and talked animatedly. They spent about an hour poolside together."
 
As for whether they're a hot new couple, a source told ET, "It's very casual and they had a fun time together."
 

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New 'Game Of Thrones' Teaser May Confirm Set Leaks


The new “Game of Thrones” teaser is here, and all men (and women) must freak out.
 
In the latest video, Daenerys (Emilia Clarke), Cersei (Lena Headey) and Jon Snow (Kit Harington) all take their seats as they prepare for upcoming conflict. And it looks like White Walkers aren’t far behind.
 
Cersei is in the Red Keep, Jon Snow appears to be at Winterfell, and Dany, well, Dany appears to be in a third location. 
 
From the stone-like seat Clarke sits on, it’s possible Dany is at Dragonstone. If that’s the case, it may confirm that the set leaks showing Jon Snow meeting Dany and interacting with dragons (supposedly at Dragonstone, the ancestral seat of House Targaryen in Westeros) are authentic. 
 
There was some speculation that the set leaks, especially photos of Harington with dragons, could’ve been staged purposely by HBO to throw people off. The new teaser seems to offer support.
 
As the King in the North, Harington, already told HuffPost, “Lots of people cross paths, and that’s something that I think the audience has been waiting for for a long time.”
 
Dragons are coming.
 
“Game of Thrones” Season 7 premieres July 16.

 

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Gordon Ramsay Ends the Debate on Whether Pineapple Belongs on Pizza


Though it’s been around for decades, pineapple pizza-and its right to exist-has become a hot-button issue in recent weeks, thanks largely to Iceland’s president Gudni Thorlacius Johannesson, who (jokingly) suggested a ban on pineapple pizza in late February.
 
Twitter, of course, ran with it, with 140-character rants raging on both sides of the debate. According to Yale University’s The Politic, “pineapple on pizza” had it’s most-searched month since Google started collecting the data in 2004.
 
And yet with all the noise and opinions out there, who should we turn to for the definitive answer? Enter Gordon Ramsay.
 
The celebrity chef hosted the U.K.’s The Nightly Show on Tuesday, and gave a predictable expletive-ridden response to an audience member who suggested he ordered a pineapple pizza.
 
“You don’t put f-ing pineapple on pizza,” he declared. 
 
 Well there you have it. Case closed, apparently. But just for the sake of democracy, we’ll go ahead and let you guys decide.
 
Next debate to settle: Is a hot dog a sandwich?
 
This article was originally published on PEOPLE.com

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'Prison Break' Star Dominic Purcell Thought He Was Going to Die on Set


Breaking out of a Moroccan prison can be a dangerous business — even if you’re just pretending to be an inmate. Prison Break star Dominic Purcell found this out the hard way last summer while shooting an episode for the Fox revival of the long-running series. “I was running into a prison, and this explosion just occurred,” says Purcell of the stunt gone wrong. “I hit the ground, and there was blood just pouring onto the ground.” Though the actor wasn’t knocked unconscious, his skull was slashed open in three places by a falling iron bar. You can still see the scars:
 
 
“It was a really surreal feeling,” says Purcell. “Like, ‘Really? This is how it’s gonna end? I’m gonna die in Morocco?'” Fortunately, it didn’t come to that, because miraculously Purcell was able to get up after a few minutes and head straight to the hospital to get sewn up. Production on Prison Break wasn’t even affected — though the actor’s nose, broken during the accident, did cause a bit of a continuity issue as shooting went on. “The audience will notice that in some scenes my nose is bigger than in other weeks,” says Purcell with a laugh. “It’s kind of embarrassing, actually.”

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George Clooney Reveals The Baby Names Amal Has Vetoed


While the world waits for the Clooney twins to arrive, their father, George, is hamming it up as usual. 
 
The 55-year-old actor was in Las Vegas for CinemaCon on Tuesday, promoting the trailer for his latest film, “Suburbicon,” when he told Entertainment Tonight that wife Amal has already nixed a couple of baby name ideas. 
 
“My wife says I can’t name them Casa and Amigos. That’s the one thing I’m not allowed to do,” he joked to ET. 
 
We agree that it’s probably not the best idea to name your children after your tequila company. He added, “It was just a thought. I mean, you know, it’s a family business.”
 
Of course, in Hollywood, the sky’s the limit when it comes to names. We can think of far stranger monikers that have been bestowed on the offspring of famous parents. 
 
The actor also told ET that he’s “excited” to be a father and thinks it will be “fun.” 
 
The twins will be the first children for both George and Amal, who tied the knot in September 2014 in Venice. News the couple was expecting was confirmed in February, and the babies are reportedly due in June. 

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Academy Awards retains PricewaterhouseCoopers despite Best Picture mix-up


LOS ANGELES –  PwC accountants won't be allowed to have their cellphones backstage during future Oscar telecasts.
 
Film academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs sent an email to academy members Wednesday detailing the new protocols for announcing Oscar winners developed after the best-picture flub at last month's Academy Awards. Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences spokeswoman Teni Melidonian confirmed the authenticity of the email.
 
The academy's Board of Governors discussed its ongoing relationship with PwC, formerly known as PricewaterhouseCoopers, and established the new controls at a meeting Tuesday night. Besides banning cellphones, the academy is adding a third balloting partner to the telecast, and bringing in PwC's U.S. chairman to provide oversight.
 
PwC, which has handled Oscar balloting and other academy business for 83 years, has claimed responsibility for the biggest mistake in Oscar history. Balloting partner Brian Cullinan tweeted a photo of Emma Stone backstage moments before handing presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway the wrong envelope for best picture. They announced "La La Land" as the winner, though "Moonlight" actually won.
 
Boone Isaacs blamed Cullinan's distraction for the error. PwC said that both he and partner Martha Ruiz failed to follow established protocols that night and did not act quickly enough to correct the error.
 
Traditionally, two PwC partners have overseen Oscar balloting and are the only two people who know the winners before they are announced live onstage. They're stationed on opposite sides of the Dolby Theatre stage, each with an identical set of winners' envelopes for the show's 24 categories.
 
Boone Isaacs said in her email Wednesday that a third balloting partner with knowledge of the winners will sit with the telecast director going forward. Balloting partners will also be required to participate in Oscar rehearsals, she said.
 
She called the 89th Academy Awards "the most extraordinary and memorable Oscars ceremony in decades" and said that academy officials have been working since then to develop the new protocols adopted Tuesday.

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Brad Pitt Secretly Tagged Along With Angelina Jolie to Cambodia to See His Kids


It seems that the tension between Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt has eased at least a bit. It turns out that while Jolie was in Cambodia filming First They Killed My Father — with her brood in tow — Pitt was reportedly traveling there regularly as well to hang out with the kids. A source recently revealed to E! that 53-year-old Pitt was in Cambodia “most of the time except when it conflicted with his own shoot schedule.” While Brad “wasn’t in Cambodia the entire time they filmed,” he “made multiple trips there to spend time with the kids.” Though Pitt’s visits happened “in secret,” he was around “all through production and filming.” Overall, the children “were with Angelina for probably 75 percent of the time when Brad was in the country, and they’d go back and forth between her and Brad.”
 
That means that the former loves figured out a way to work out a visitation schedule so that Shiloh, Maddox, Knox, Vivienne, Zahara, and Pax could get quality time with each of them. What’s more, the parents made sure to fill the kids’ days with culture. A second source reported that the six children took turns sightseeing with each parent separately. Some of the children even reportedly flew back and forth between Cambodia and Los Angeles to spend additional time with Pitt.
 
This marks a major change from the fiery kickoff of their divorce last September. “Things have calmed settled between Brad and Angelina. It’s not as tense as it had been,” a source explained. “They are focused on the kids and working to do what’s best for them.” Over the last six months, “Brad has been able to spend more time with the kids. He’s doing well and is focused on healthy, clean living. He’s in a good place.” In addition to hanging with his kids, Pitt has been getting in touch with his artistic side, working on a sculpture at Thomas Houseago’s studio.
 
Meanwhile, 41-year-old Jolie has thrown herself into her humanitarian efforts. “She has no issues getting her hands dirty and was never a prima donna about doing anything less than glamorous,” the source added. “She is all about the cause. She embraced the country, and the country genuinely loves her back. She also is very easy to talk to and not intimidating. During downtime, she’d just casually hang out with the crew there with her, and was always polite and nice to people.”
 
Last month, while addressing her relationship with Pitt during an appearance on Good Morning America, Jolie said, “We will always be a family. Always.” Based on Pitt’s recent stint in Cambodia, they are making progress on the task of figuring out just what that new family looks like.

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Britney Spears leaving Las Vegas this summer for overseas concerts


Britney Spears fans, we've got good news and bad news.  First the good news: Britney is going to perform a few shows somewhere other than Las Vegas. Now the bad news: those shows are overseas, and so far, there are only two of them.
 
Britney's website announces that she'll be playing in Manila, The Philippines on June 15, and in Tel Aviv, Israel on July 3. Tickets for Manila go on sale April 5, while the tickets for Tel Aviv are already on sale.
 
Brit tweeted, "Excited to be performing abroad this summer!"
 
These will be Britney's first-ever shows in the Philippines and in Israel, and the Times of Israel describes the Tel Aviv show as "part of her upcoming world tour."  No word on additional dates.
 
The last time Britney toured outside of the U.S. was in 2011, during her Femme Fatale tour.  That trek took her to North America, Europe, Asia, South America and Central America.

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Andy Cohen Thinks Trump Is Pretty Much Just A 'Real Housewife'


After his whole White House stint, President Donald Trump might have a future in the “Real Housewives” franchise. 
Andy Cohen is convincing the world tweet by tweet that Trump behaves exactly like the cast members on his Bravo reality series. The host shared his latest evidence to his 2 million Twitter followers Tuesday after Trump wondered why the White House isn’t looking into Bill and Hillary Clinton’s alleged ties to Russia. 
 
 Follow
 Donald J. Trump ✔ @realDonaldTrump
Why isn't the House Intelligence Committee looking into the Bill & Hillary deal that allowed big Uranium to go to Russia, Russian speech....
 
Deflection just so happens to be a tactic taken right out of the “Housewives Playbook.” 
 
 Follow
 Andy Cohen ✔ @Andy
HOUSEWIVES PLAYBOOK: deflect from the hot seat by focusing on Wives who are no longer on show & ain't coming back. A classic! https://twitter.com/realdonaldtrump/status/846533818811080704 …
 
This isn’t the first parallel Cohen has made between Trump and the “Real Housewives” ladies. Last week, he compared Trump to a first-season cast member “making stuff up to stay on the show.” 
 
 Follow
 Donald J. Trump ✔ @realDonaldTrump
What about all of the contact with the Clinton campaign and the Russians? Also, is it true that the DNC would not let the FBI in to look?
 
 Follow
 Andy Cohen ✔ @Andy
Sweetie you are a first season Real Housewife making stuff up to stay on the show. https://twitter.com/realdonaldtrump/status/843813078076719107 …
 
Cohen also reminded critics that the former “Apprentice” host’s résumé is far better suited for reality TV than government. 
 
 Follow
 Andy Cohen ✔ @Andy
@fancimimi sweetie he is a reality star who has as much political experience as me. Or you. Or my cab driver. Or Vicki Gunvalson. Or my dog
 
Oh, Andy.

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Scarlett Johansson Uses Same Old Line To Defend 'Ghost In The Shell' Casting Controversy


Scarlett Johansson has addressed the casting controversy surrounding her new film, “Ghost in the Shell,” for a second time. 
 
In an interview with Michael Strahan on “Good Morning America,” the actress defended her role, saying, “This character is living a very unique experience, she is a human brain in an entirely machine body, she is essentially identity-less.”
 
Johansson’s casting in the film, which is based on Masamune Shirow’s popular Japanese comic, has sparked plenty of controversy since it was first announced. The actress plays Major (known in the comic as Major Motoko Kusanagi), who has traditionally been portrayed as an Asian woman. The film has been accused of whitewashing Asian characters on multiple occasions, but the actress and the film’s producer continue to defend it. 
 
“I would never attempt to play a person of a different race,” Johansson told Strahan. “Hopefully any question that comes up of my casting will hopefully be answered by audiences when they see the film.”
 
Johansson’s comments very closely echo the responses she gave to Marie Claire earlier this year. She told the magazine almost the exact same thing: “I certainly would never presume to play another race of a person. Diversity is important in Hollywood, and I would never want to feel like I was playing a character that was offensive.”
 
In both that Marie Claire interview and on “GMA,” Johansson seemingly turned the conversation toward sexism in Hollywood. 
 
“I’m not afraid to say what I feel is right just because I think I might face criticism, or some people might not like me,” she said on “GMA.” “If fighting for women’s rights, if that will mean some people don’t want to buy a ticket to see ‘Ghost in [the] Shell,’ then I’m okay with that.” 
 
Of course, Hollywood’s inequality problem is one that needs to be discussed, but as we’ve said before, celebrating her casting in a major franchise as a win for equality in Hollywood as opposed to speaking about the real issue at hand ―whitewashing in the industry ― is another case of white feminism. 
 
The problem with Johansson’s reasoning is this: it’s not necessarily her feminist activism that might stop people from seeing “Ghost in the Shell.” It’s instead the fact that many people don’t wish to support an industry that casts a white woman in a role plenty of Asian actresses could have could filled. 

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Emmy Rossum Thanks Police After Reported $150,000 Burglary


Emmy Rossum was shameless in her gratitude for the Los Angeles Police Department on Tuesday, after her Los Angeles home was reportedly burglarized in a $150,000 heist.
 
The “Shameless” star took to Twitter to share her support for the police, writing, “Thank you to the LAPD. I fully support the police efforts and dedication.”
 
Rossum’s message of gratitude came following reports that her Los Angeles home was targeted in a burglary last week, with $150,000 in vintage jewelry and other valuables being stolen.
 
New York Daily News reported that Rossum’s home was broken into by burglars who shattered a glass pane at or near the back door, then found the written combinations for a pair of safes.
 
While an initial report stated that Rossum had left the combinations out in the open, a source told the Daily News that the combinations “were not readily available. Whoever did this really dug and searched for them.”
 
According to the source, it’s unclear whether the culprits disabled her alarm by cutting the power, though a surveillance camera might have captured the burglary.
 
“It’s an ongoing investigation. There might be camera footage. Everything has to be looked at,” the source told the Daily News.
 
TheWrap has reached out to Rossum’s spokeswoman for comment.

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The 'Jumanji' Sequel Will Not Include A Magical Board Game


Most news about the “Jumanji” sequel has so far centered around Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s silly Instagram posts. But now we have confirmation of a longtime rumor that Sony’s continuation of the 1995 classic about a magical board game won’t feature a very key element of the original ― the board game. 
 
Instead, it’ll be a magical video game that transports a group of unsuspecting youths into a dangerous jungle world, to be represented by avatars. A lucky audience at Las Vegas’ CinemaCon got a peek at some footage and that one big plot change on Monday. 
 
According to The Wrap, Jumanji is “a classic, ‘90s-era video game console” in the upcoming movie, now titled “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.” Full of action and comedy, it “looks fantastic,” one critic tweeted from the event. 
 
In the film, four wildly different teenagers stumble across the game console while serving detention at school, becoming avatars totally different from themselves: the “meek” Spencer becomes “a stupid and girl-crazy jock” avatar played by Dwayne Johnson, “football jock” Fridge becomes “a tiny Einstein” played by Kevin Hart, popular girl Bethany becomes “a bookworm professor” played by Jack Black and “un-athletic” Martha becomes “an Amazonian warrior” played by Karen Gillan, according to the studio.
 
Giving off strong “Breakfast Club” vibes, the group of teens can return to their lives only after they “start seeing things in an entirely different way.”
 
Fans of the original can expect some familiar sights, though.
 
The Wrap reports that the footage, thankfully, featured some “wild, running CGI rhinos,” and Deadline makes note of a big stampede scene. Johnson also previously stated the film will include a tribute to original star Robin Williams.
 
“Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” hits theaters Dec. 22. 

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Brad Pitt, Sandra Bullock Are Reportedly Dating


Things between Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt have already calmed down, and the “Mr. & Mrs. Smith” are already back on speaking terms. Does this mean the “Allied” star is ready to move on and date again?
 
A new report has claimed that the “Fight Club” star and Sandra Bullock have started dating. Their hookup was reportedly instigated by mutual friend George Clooney, who apparently believes that the pair would make a great couple. “It was George who set Brad up with Sandy,” an insider told New Idea.
 
Pitt and Bullock attended Clooney’s charity event a couple of years ago. The two reportedly got along so well during the event that many thought they suited each other.
 
After Pitt’s highly publicized split from Jolie, the “Money Monster” star has reportedly been planning to help the “Troy” actor move on. And the source claimed that Clooney thinks Bullock is the best person to help Pitt do so. “George is determined to help heal Brad’s heart and couldn’t think of anyone better than Sandy. They’re keeping it on the down-low.... George thought that Sandra was the ideal girl for Brad,” the insider explained.
 
However, this report should be taken with a grain of salt as another source recently revealed that Pitt is not in a hurry to get back in the dating game.
 
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are on speaking terms again six months after they officially split, and sources tell Us Weekly that the ‘conversations are cordial.’
According to People, Pitt is currently content with the single life. In fact, the “Ocean’s Eleven” star has been enjoying a low-key social life and prefers to hang out with his old friends rather than start dating again. “He often has friends over,” said the insider. “Old friends are back in his life, and he seems happy about it.”
 
Although he is not ready for a new romance, Pitt is getting back on his feet and seems to be much happier nowadays. However, prior to his recent upswing, Jolie’s husband reportedly locked himself in an art studio, where he spent 15 hours a day sculpting while listening to breakup ballads, Daily Mail reported. Sources revealed it was Pitt’s way of keeping his mind off everything he was going through.

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Abby Lee Miller Quits 'Dance Moms,' Says She Was Denied 'Creative Credit'


Abby Lee Miller announced her departure from Lifetime’s “Dance Moms” in a heated Instagram post on Sunday.
 
The dance instructor wrote that she was quitting the show after being denied “creative credit” for her ideas and routines, and that she was “manipulated” by the producers of the reality series.
 
“For the past six years/ seven seasons I have asked, begged and even demanded creative credit for all the ideas, award winning routines, themes and costuming – to no avail!” she wrote.
 
“I don’t have a problem working with any kid, I love children and have dedicated my life to making other people’s children successful,” she continued. “I just have a problem with being manipulated, disrespected and used – day in and day out by men who never took a dance lesson in their lives and treat women like dirt!”
 
Also Read: 'Dance Moms' Star Abby Lee Miller Pleads Guilty to Fraud, Money Laundering
 
The announcement comes as the star of the Lifetime series awaits final sentencing in a bankruptcy fraud case. In October 2015, she was indicted on charges of concealing income in the amount of $675,000 from her stint on the Lifetime reality show in 2012 and 2013. During that same period, her dance studio filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
 
Federal agents claimed Miller created bank accounts to conceal income she earned as an instructor on the show, which follows competitive young dancers and inevitably showcases conflicts between their mothers and Miller. In addition, Miller admitted to smuggling between $120,000 and $150,000 in Australian currency back into the U.S. without properly declaring it.
 
At a sentencing hearing in January, prosecutors urged the federal judge overseeing the case to sentence Miller to jail time.

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Senator Cory Booker Asks Mindy Kaling Out For Dinner Twitter; She Says 'Yes'


What have we here? Senator Cory Booker just asked Mindy Kaling out for dinner on Twitter, and she happily accepted.
 
It all started when the New Jersey senator commented on Kaling's show, "The Mindy Project" in which the main character, Mindy Lahari, took a shot at the city of Newark, New Jersey, of which Booker was formerly mayor.
 
"Ouch! @MindyKaling, heard Dr. Lahiri dissed Newark last night... @VogueMagazine & I disagree," he wrote with a link to a Vogue magazine article raving about the New Jersey city. "(I still [heart] U!)"
 
 Cory Booker ✔ @CoryBooker
Ouch! 💔@MindyKaling, heard Dr. Lahiri dissed Newark last night 🤔... @VogueMagazine & I disagree ✌🏼: http://cor.bo/2nJtwhP  (I still ❤️U!)
 
Kaling, 37, replied minutes later, saying: "Senator, if Mindy Lahiri shades it, it means we know it's cool. Thanks for the [love]. It's mutual!"
 
Senator, if Mindy Lahiri shades it, it means we know it's cool. Thanks for the ❤. It's mutual! https://twitter.com/corybooker/status/844971581084516353 …
 
Booker, 47, then said her response was "making my day! Thanks for the clarification."
 
Next, the senator made a bold request: "And If the [love] is really mutual... Come have dinner with me in Newark? #PleaseSayYes"
 
You are making my day! Thanks for the clarification. And If the ❤️is really mutual... Come have dinner with me in Newark? #PleaseSayYes 🤞🏾 https://twitter.com/mindykaling/status/844973476007989249 …
 
And she said...
 
@CoryBooker yes. Now let me get the PATH train schedule.
 
It didn't take long for the official Twitter account for the PATH commuter train line between New Jersey and New York to help by offering the trains' schedules.
 
@mindykaling @CoryBooker Here's the schedule: http://www.panynj.gov/path/full-schedules.cfm …
 
Still, Booker had a better plan.
 
"Thank you! PATH train is awesome when you are Jersey bound. But you are @Lyft worthy!" he wrote. "I will send one to you for the door to door."
 
🎉 😁Thank you! PATH train is awesome when you are Jersey bound. But you are @Lyft worthy! I will send one to you for the door to door. https://twitter.com/mindykaling/status/844996730449899520 …
 
There's no word on whether an actual date is set.
 
ABC News reached out to both camps, but mum is the word so far.

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Kanye West And Kim Kardashian Attend Funeral For Cousin's One Year Old Baby Avery Anderson


Rapper Kanye West and his Keeping Up With The Kardashians star wife Kim Kardashian were among the mourners at his cousin's infant son's funeral.
 
Avery Anderson died in his sleep a week ago, aged just 17 months, after showing no previous signs of illness.
 
The tot's father Ricky Anderson – who is Kanye's cousin on his late mother Donda's side – revealed the devastating news on social media.
 
Uploading a black and white photo to Instagram, he wrote alongside it: "Today was the worst day of my life!! I lost my lil man and gained an angel! Rest in Paradise!!!! I love you man."
 
Music executive Anderson has since shared a series of clips with similarly heart-breaking captions.
 
After saying goodbye to his son for the last time, he posted a video showing the curly haired lad sitting with a dog and looking happy.
 
He captioned it: "I love you Ave!! You are on my heart everyday!! Thank you all who celebrated his life today!"
 
Avery's mother Erica Paige also paid an emotional tribute online to her boy who had only turned one in October.
 
She wrote: "This life in so unfair. I love you with everything inside me and it is with incredible, unbearable pain that I will have to try to find the strength to do a single thing without you.
 
"I am so grateful for being able to spend almost 17 months with you. You brought me so much happiness and I'm so proud of how hard you fought.
 
"Thank you for all the laughs, cuddles, hugs and kisses, you took care of me in a way no one else could. My heart is forever broken. I love you so much, mommy is with you."
 
While neither Kim or Kanye – who are parents to three-year-old daughter North and one-year-old son Saint – have made mention of Avery's passing online, both looked sombre as they attended the service with friends and family in Los Angeles.
 
Kim, 36, opted for an ankle-length black dress, a fur overcoat, and a pair of oversized black sunglasses with her long black hair loose down her back.
 
Kanye, 39, wore an all-black suit and large amber shades for the funeral on Friday (March 24).

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Security, Parking, Garbage Irk Ivanka Trump's D.C. Neighbors


WASHINGTON (AP) -- Residents of a posh Washington neighborhood say Ivanka Trump and her family don't make for very good neighbors, taking up much of the parking on an already crowded street and leaving trash bags at the curb for days. A big part of the complaint: a huge security presence, with even a trip to the playground requiring three vans. 
 
Neighbors of Trump, her husband Jared Kushner and their three children have groused that sidewalks have been closed, public parking overrun and that the family and their staff haven't learned the trash pickup schedule outside their $5.5-million home.
 
"It has been a three-ring circus from the day that they've moved in," Marietta Robinson, who lives across the street, told the Associated Press.
 
The house in the Kalorama neighborhood was bought in December by a company with ties to a Chilean billionaire. The company is renting it to Kushner and Trump, who moved in just after the inauguration of her father, President Donald Trump. Both work in the White House as advisers to the president.
 
Residents of the enclave of four- and five-story townhomes and elegant single-family properties about 2 miles north of the White House are accustomed to VIP neighbors. Former President Barack Obama and his family have lived there since he left office, and the Secret Service closed off their entire block to traffic. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos bought a home there, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also moved in recently.
 
Yet no one has raised the ire of the community like the Trumps. At a recent neighborhood commission meeting, Fox News anchor Chris Wallace was among those who showed up to complain about parking problems.
 
Some in the neighborhood have also complained about the family's rental arrangement. The company that owns the house didn't obtain a rental license for two months, securing one just this week after it was warned by city regulators. 
 
"Maybe some of the upset has to do with politics a little. I couldn't say for sure, but I know that people don't seem to be upset about Tillerson's situation. It's much less intrusive," said Ellen Goldstein, an elected neighborhood commissioner.
 
The Secret Service has sole responsibility under law for protecting the family, but neighbors have noticed what they describe as an unusually large and aggressive security presence. Ivanka Trump arrives and departs in a four-vehicle motorcade, Robinson said.
 
"There are more of them than I have ever seen," Robinson wrote in a letter to Democratic Mayor Muriel Bowser and other city officials. "Frequently several of them are milling outside of the house at all hours having conversations and staring meanly at anyone in view."
 
The letter — which also complained about parking, trash and noise — spurred the city government into action. On Friday morning, District transportation crews were outside the house, removing "No Parking" signs.
 
The department said no permits had been sought for parking exemptions or sidewalk closures on the street since Trump moved in. Yet vehicles associated with the Trump-Kushner house have been seen parking in the restricted areas for hours at a time, and barriers have been erected on the sidewalk in front of the house, forcing pedestrians to cross the street, next-door neighbor Rhona Wolfe Friedman said. 
 
Even without extra restrictions, street parking for non-residents is limited to two hours.
 
"The parking patrol on Tracy Place has always been ultra-vigilant," Robinson wrote to the mayor. "Suddenly, the parking enforcement has disappeared."
 
A Secret Service spokeswoman, Nicole Mainor, said agency officials met with neighbors and city officials on Friday morning and addressed their concerns about parking and other disruptions. She declined to answer specific questions about the level of protection the family receives, citing agency policy.
 
It's not clear whether Ivanka Trump is aware of any complaints, saying in a statement emailed Friday afternoon by an aide: "We love the neighborhood and our family has received an incredibly gracious welcome from our neighbors."
 
Christopher Chapin, president of the neighborhood council — who doesn't live as close as the neighbors who've complained — said all the attention is good for Kalorama.
 
"We are delighted to have political figures like the Obamas, the Kushners and the Tillersons living in our neighborhood," he said.

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Beyonce FaceTimes teen who is battling cancer


Ebony Banks could very well be Beyonce's biggest fan.
 
Banks, who is battling a rare form of cancer and is receiving treatment at Houston's MD Anderson Hospital, got to FaceTime with the superstar after she and her fellow high school color guard members started a social media campaign, #EbobMeetsBeyonce. Ebob is Banks' nickname.
 
View image on Twitter
 Follow
 :) @likeyaelin
My sweet baby.. Please help make her dream come true!!! ✨#EbobMeetsBeyonce @Beyonce
 
After the call on Wednesday, friends and fans took to Twitter to celebrate and post pictures of the big moment.
 
Beyoncé facetiming with Ebony, a fan with a rare cancer disease whose last wish was to see Beyoncé. ❤️️💙
 
In the clip, Banks tells Beyonce that she loves her, and the singer replies, "I love you."
 
Banks and her family declined to comment about the call. A rep for Beyonce did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment.
 
Paul Brodt, the director of bands at Alief Hastings High School in Houston, where Banks was a student, told ABC News that the campaign to get Beyonce and Banks to meet was launched last week when the teen graduated early in a special ceremony at the hospital. About 100 people — including her 23 color guard teammates, school faculty members, school administrators and hospital staffers — attended the event.
 
"Our kids love her to death and would do anything for her," Brodt said about Banks, who has been a member of the color guard since ninth grade.
 
He said that despite receiving a cancer diagnosis last summer and starting chemotherapy in September, Banks made every effort to attend school as well as color guard practice and competitions. She showed up at a competition just two weeks ago, before her health took a turn for the worse.
 
Knowing how much Banks loves Beyonce — "She's either listening to her or talking about her. She knows everything about her music and her life," Brodt said — some of Banks' color guard teammates discussed with her the idea of reaching out to the pop star.
 
Thus the hashtag #EbobMeetsBeyonce was born. After enlisting the help of the entire high school, he said, "they lit a fire on the internet."
 
When Banks got the call from Bey on Wednesday, her family was there with her, Brodt said.
 
"I imagine it's a dream come true," he said. "Ebony is such a great kid, all the pleasure should be on Beyonce's side."
 
Banks, he added, is the real inspiration.
 
"Ebony has been a part of every success we have had," Brodt said. "Never at any time has she let her sickness slow her down. Whatever inabilities you think you have, you can overcome if you put your mind to it. She's inspired everybody — me along with all of our kids."
 
Meanwhile, Banks' friends posted on social media to celebrate the call.
 
"We made it happen! This is why I love alief," one user wrote.

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Netflix/Marvel's 'Iron Fist' epic fail, say viewers, critics


If your web connection seems sluggish while you're watching "Iron Fist," don't blame your internet provider. The problem is the listless pace of this new Netflix series.
 
But such languor isn't the only failing of this latest offering from the Marvel factory, judging from critical pans and fan unrest since the 13-episode season was unveiled last week.
 
Any Marvel project (and this is Netflix's fourth, following "Daredevil," ''Jessica Jones" and "Luke Cage") is breathlessly awaited by fans. "Iron Fist" was no different. But even before anybody saw it, it was already drawing accusations of "whitewashing."
 
The series centers on Danny Rand, the scion of a corporate titan who returns to New York 15 years after he and his parents died in a plane crash over the Himalayas.
 
Well, actually, Danny didn't die. He was rescued by a mysterious order of monks. And in this intervening period, he trained in martial arts and gained the mystical power of the Iron Fist. Now he returns to New York to reclaim the corporate empire that was hijacked by brother-and-sister baddies (and his childhood friends) Ward and Joy Meachum. He is also, of course, on a quest to "get answers."
 
"Iron Fist" stars Finn Jones, who is best known for playing Loras Tyrell on "Game of Thrones." But casting him as Danny was a missed opportunity, according to disgruntled fans who argue that an Asian-American actor should have been chosen.
 
Maybe, maybe not. But that would seem to be the least of the ills plaguing "Iron Fist." For instance, the Polygon website wielded iron fists of its own in declaring that the series' "problems with delivering exposition, crafting consistent characters, and even basic dialogue writing run right alongside ... problems with its portrayal of Asian cultures and Asian-Americans."
 
"Not one element of this plodding piece works," railed Variety, adding that the story line "is about as exciting as a slice of Velveeta cheese left out in the sun too long."
 
The New York Times complained about "the dawdling featureless" of the early episodes. And how many viewers could be expected to stick with the series beyond those first installments? Calling it "the first complete misfire of Netflix's Marvel shows," the Uproxx website posed the question: "Why would anyone but the most devout, masochistic Marvel completist want to watch?"
 
The Twitterverse has been no kinder, with one typical post calling it "a great show if you're looking to sit back, relax and stare at your phone as it plays in the background." Another tweet likened the series' fight scenes to "an awkward junior high school dance."
 
Even a forgiving Marvel neophyte who samples "Iron Fist" is likely to be put off. The conspicuous lack of action and of visual effects, at least in its early episodes, serves as a stark reminder of how lavish production values, unrelenting action and eye-popping visual effects are taken for granted by today's audience — and jarring when they're absent.
 
Granted, the epic failure of "Iron Fist," now installed for eternity on the Netflix site, will register as just a blip on the Netflix/Marvel landscape. And since Netflix never discloses audience figures, no one will ever know how many viewers choose to avoid or abandon the series who might have watched a better "Iron Fist" faithfully.
 
But every potential viewer is advised to note an exchange between two characters in an early episode:
 
"We need to know more before we can decide how we should proceed."
 
"So we just wait?"
 
"Yeah. And watch."
 
Such patience by "Iron Fist" viewers is doomed to go unrewarded.

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