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Posts tagged ‘celebrity’

RIP Leslie Nielsen

They say that somewhere between birth and death, if you can make people smile you’ve done a good thing. If that’s true, then Leslie Nielsen did a very good thing, and he’s now come to the end of his journey.

Nielsen came from his native Canada to Hollywood in the fifties, and was cast as your typical leading man – check out his performance as the heroic lead in the classic sci-fi flick “Forbidden Planet”. By any measure, he was very successful, with dozens of films and hundreds of television episodes on his resume’. But it was his turn as the straight-laced doctor on a doomed flight in the comedic disaster sendup “Airplane” that introduced a different Neilsen to a new generation.

Dr. Rumack (Nielsen): Can you fly this plane, and land it?
Ted Striker: Surely you can’t be serious.
Rumack: I am serious… and don’t call me Shirley.

“Airplane” was followed by the short-lived series “Police Squad,” where Nielsen’s Rumack was reborn as Detective Frank Drebbin. The series may have tanked after 6 episodes, but it begat three “Naked Gun” movies, and a whole new comedic career for Nielsen.

Leslie Nielsen died of complications from pneumonia in Fort Lauderdale, FL. He was 84.

Ain’t Never Gonna Learn …

I’ve got a question for you – what do you think it’s gonna take before the celebutards of Tinseltown figure out that the rules of society apply to them too? Does one of them have to die before they get it?

Britney … Lindsey … Snooki … Tara … Paris … the list of the young and dumb of Hollywood is long and – thanks to reality TV – getting longer all the time. And quite frankly, some of them aren’t all that young any more – but they don’t seem to be getting any smarter with age. This week, however, real reality jumped up and bitch-slapped a pair of paparazzi favs right upside the head.

Remember when we saw a tearful Paris Hilton taken away in cuffs to serve what turned out to be a couple of weeks in the slammer back in 2007? Remember her interview with Larry King shortly after release, telling the world how this would be a “new beginning” as she began her new life of charity work?


Hilton was back in court on Monday, this time to plead guilty to cocain possession in Las Vegas. She avoided jail, but was saddled with probabion, community service and a fine. It’s worth noting that she was initially stopped by the Vegas police after they detected cannibis smoke rolling out the window of her vehicle – not a month after being stopped in Italy for cannibis possession.

Those who watched the vapid blonde in court noted that she moved through the court as if on the catwalk, and that she didn’t seem to be impressed by the seriousness of the situation. Yesterday, however, she may have gotten a taste of the predicament she has gotten herself into.

Hilton and her sister Nicky flew to Japan to promote their fashion and fragrance lines when Paris was stopped by Japanese Customs agents. Apparently, they don’t take lightly to convicted felons in Japan – and that’s exactly what Hilton is now. After grilling her for several hours and forcing her to wait overnight at an airport hotel for a decision, she was denied entrance and forced to return home.

And then there’s Lindsay Lohan.

Lohan has been in and out of court more times than most judges in the last few years. Beginning in 2007, she’s had a string of instances where drugs and booze and cars have mixed in bad ways, resulting in several arrests and one memorable 84-minute jail term. Much like Paris, however, she’s learning that your past does indeed follow you. When she failed a couple of drug tests recently she was ordered to appear in front of the judge from her most recent conviction, who is expected to revoke her parole and toss her in the slammer – this time for real.

I’m not going to try to say either of these girls had a real “career” to worry about, but both are feeling the effects – and limitations – on their lives by the results of their actions. So far, it’s all been relatively harmless and somewhat laughable, but at what point do we stop laughing? What will it take for these two – and the others acting just as stupidily irresponsible without quite so much spotlight – to grow up and act normal? Does someone have to die? Oh, that’s right – someone already did.

Not so long ago, Brittany Murphy was another out of control party girl, part of the same Tinseltown posse as Paris. in fact, MadTV did a hilarious spoof of the Powerpuff Girls in which Brittany, Paris and Tara Reid starred as the “Powerslut Girls” who saved the day by wringing the alcohol out of one girl and lighting it by rubbing together the stick-like legs of another. All funny stuff – until Brittany was found dead last year from what included an “accidental overdose of prescription medications“. Call it what you want, but it was the past catching up with her.

While the passionate speeches of Paris Hilton after her jail-time were obviously faked, there is some indication that Lohan may actually appreciate the dangerous position she finds herself in, and may be sincere in her desire to get the help she obviously needs. We can only hope so …

Lindsay Lohan Goes Down!

No, it’s not what you think it is, nor is it an offhand plug of Lohan’s rumored appearance in an upcoming Linda Lovelace biopic – an appearance that is suddenly much less likely to occur.

The former teen actress, “singer”, “entrepreneur” and whatever else she thinks might make her a buck, has been on probation for a number of run-ins with the law – drugs, DUI, assault – for a couple of years now. She’s under instructions to stay away from alcohol and attend AA classes, but like so many of her “Young Hollywood” cronies she plays it fast and loose with rules, convince that they somehow don’t apply to her. Until now, she’s gotten away with it.

Until now.

Having run out of excuses and judicial patience, on July 6th Lohan was sentenced to 90 days in jail and another 90 in a rehab facility; yesterday, she turned herself in and was let off in handcuffs. This is not her first experience with incarceration; recall that in 2007 she served 84 minutes of a 1-day sentence for cocaine and alcohol violations. It was violations of the probation resulting from this earlier conviction that caught up with her this time.

There are those who will claim 90 days is too harsh for what might be seen as minor traffic and narcotic offenses, and they might be right, if this was still about those offenses – but it’s not. This is about respect for the law. The minute the judge told Lohan what she needed to do to stay out of jail and Lohan agreed to those conditions, that’s all that mattered. She made an agreement with the judge, she violated that agreement, and now she pays the price.

Truth be told, she’ll probably spend less than a month of her sentence in the Century Regional Detention Facility in Lynwood – you know how Sheriff Lee Baca loves to release prisoners then cry about his budget, particularly when there are cameras available. Hopefully it’ll be long enough for her – and her Hollywood Brat Pack cronies – to get the message: The law applies to everyone.

But I doubt it …

RIP Rory Markas

Let me be clear – I’m a baseball fan, which is why I’m not an Angels fan. To me, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim represent pretty much everything that’s wrong with America’s pastime all wrapped up in one pathetic package. An out of town owner trying (in this case, successfully) a championship, a complete lack of respect for the home town (Anaheim should have evicted the bastards for the whole “LA of A” thing … ), a long string of ugly uniforms and, of course, the designated hitter. All in all, not much to recommend them.

If there’s been one saving grace over the years, it’s been their announcers. Homers, to be sure, but at least entertaining – none so much as Rory Markas. Yeah, he coined the schmaltzy “just another halo victory” line, but you could hear in his voice that there was a genuine passion and a childlike love of the game, and that made it all worthwhile.

Shocking, Rory Markas has died of a heart attack at the frighteningly young age of 53. Everyone is doing their own tributes, but none have been as touching and obvously heartfelt as the one by former colleague Keith Olbermann on his “Countdown” show:

Ironically, the Angels had recently announced a cutback in their on-air staff, with Steve Physioc and Rex Hudler leaving the staff. Rory was scheduled to handle the play-by-play duties on radio, but now will regrettably require a replacement.

Apparently, Stupid Really Is As It Does …

It’s been awhile since I’ve beaten up any of the pop twits that dominate the gossip blogs these days … too long, it would appear, as they seem to be on the rise.

It’s winter time, and other than a roaring fire, there’s nothing more most men would like to see than hot chicks in bikinis. Hence, most of the more salacious blogs are running paparazzi shots of various starlets as they frolic away their winter in Cabo or Cairns or the Caribbean. There’s one spread, however, that’s getting press for more than just what the subject is wearing.

That'll look sweet around the trailer park pool ...

That'll look sweet around the trailer park pool ...

Once upon a time, Miley Cyrus was the princess of the Disney empire. Her “Hannah Montana” gig was at the top of the ratings, and her concert tour – in blonde-wigged character – was sold out. But for the last year or so, Cyrus has struggled under the Mouse thumb, and continues to push the limits. Her latest “decision” is illustrated at left, just below that bump below her iPhone – yup, it’s a tattoo. Specifically, it’s the words, “Just Breathe” inked below her left breast. Lovely – and quite a statement for all her little fans.

I personally think tattoos are silly, but if you want one, by all means get one – once you legally can. In this state, you have to be 18 to get inked, which means that Miley – who just recently turned 17 – had the blessing and permission of her parents. What the hell, Billy Ray! I understand that she’s the money machine in the family, but last time I checked, you’re still her father – how about a little parenting, big guy?

Personally, I’m a little curious just what’s the meaning behind the message. Her publicist put out some puke about it being a tribute to a fan with cystic fibrosis – insulting both to any CF patients as well as those of us with half a brain. To me, tattoos are statements – something you want others to see and interpret. Some are obvious, such as tributes to parents or children, or pledges of allegiance to country or military service. And, of course, girls with tramp stamps are simply providing a little visual entertainment for whoever next mounts them from behind. But I’m not sure what this all about – gonna assume she’s conquered the whole breathing thing already, and it’s not like she can even read it where it is.

Of course, we should look on the bright side – at least it’s not misspelled … ūüėČ

RIP Soupy Sales

Another icon of the early days of television has been lost with the death yesterday of comedian Soupy Sales.

Born Milton Supman in 1926, Sales became famous for his children’s show in the ’50s and ’60s, “Lunch with Soupy Sales”. Two things set his show apart from all the other kids shows of the time. While it was made by adults for kids, they never talked down to the audience – many of the jokes were as funny to the adults, and as a result many famous people wanted to guest star on the show. And then there the pies. Soupy Sales made the comedic gag of a pie to the face into an art form. By his own estimation, he was hit by 25,000 pies over the years.

After the end of his show, Sales was a familiar sight as a game show participant, where he never failed to bring certain cool to the set. Sales died in New York at the age of 83.

Somewhere, White Fang is crying.

RIP John Hughes

If you came of age in the ’80s, then you owe a debt of gratitude to John Hughes. The way you think about life, love, relationships and all the complicated issues associated with making the transition to adulthood were the topics of a series of successful movies written, directed or produced by Hughes, and many of them have become classics. Unfortunately, there will be no more, as John Hughes died yesterday in New York City.

The list is huge: Sixteen Candles … Pretty in Pink … Ferris Buehler’s Day Off … The Breakfast Club … Planes, Trains and Automobiles … Home Alone. My personal fave was “Some Kind of Wonderful,” starring much younger versions of Eric Stoltz, Lea Thompson and Mary Stuart Masterson. They were wonderful, touching and often iconic films.

Because Hughes was so successful so young, he was able to pull back from the industry in later years, devoting his efforts to running a farm and supporting the arts. He was out for a morning walk when he was struck down by a fatal heart attack. John Hughes was only 59.

One last time for John … all together now:

Buehler? … Buehler? … Buehler? …


Another Celebrity Lost

It’s been a difficult summer for celebrities, as a long string of familiar faces have taken their final curtain calls and headed into the Great Beyond. From Ed McMahon and Farrah Fawcett, to Michael Jackson and Walter Cronkite, we’ve lost many who are known to us. And now, I’m sad to report, another has left us. I refer, of course, to Gidget, the “Yo Quiero Taco Bell” Dog.

“She made so many people happy,” says Gidget’s trainer, Sue Chipperton. PEOPLE met both Gidget and Sue at a Hollywood animals photo shoot in February, where the pup was a consummate pro and delighted the crew with her playful nature.

“When she’s on a set, she comes alive,” Chipperton said at the time. But when the mostly retired canine actor wasn’t joining her trainer on shoots, the 15-year-old was happy to just kick back. “She goes on hikes with me and she loves the sun,” said Chipperton, who added that Gidget was happy to sleep “for 23 hours and 45 minutes a day. She’ll lay outside when it’s 105 degrees! I like to joke that it’s like looking after a plant.”

Gidget was 15 when she died of a stroke Tuesday. ¬†If there’s a doggie Heaven, I’m sure she’s chasing little toy cars as we speak.

Here’s an interesting side note to this story. ¬†Apparently, there was a bit of a dust-up between Taco Bell, their advertising firm, and the creative team that came up with Gidget’s dream gig. ¬†Back in January, a judge ruled in favor of the creative team – to the tune of $42 million! ¬†That’ll buy you a hell of a lot of kibble … :-)

It’s The Gloved One’s World … We Just Live In It

As I sat down to write this, I intended to blast all the hoopla (or “whoopla,” as Dame Elizabeth put it) surrounding the death and celebrity resurrection of one-time “King of Pop” Michael Jackson, who died recently at the age of 50. ¬†But as I watch the preparations for today’s memorial services, and the … sincerity … of the emotion of the fans, I just can’t take shots at them … more on that in a moment. ¬†That doesn’t mean there’s not a lot to be disgusted or angry with, though …

There’s no denying that at one time, Michael Jackson ruled the music world. ¬†His breakthrough album, “Thriller,” still holds the record as the best selling album of all time, with more than 100 million copies sold – including one to me. ¬†He was a cultural icon who broke through racial barriers that had long prevented many black artists from achieving the fame that their talent should have allowed.

But it’s also true that it’s been twenty years since Jackson had any relevance in the music world. ¬†He may have been a pop phenomenon at one time, but that was long ago. Hell, you could argue that Billy Mays had a greater impact on popular culture in this decade than MJ did. ¬†Those two decades since kids imitated his moonwalk were not been kind to Jackson, either. ¬†While I’m not ready to label him a pedophile as other do, the whole deal with the kids was creepy at best, and they don’t haul you into court – repeatedly – for nothing. ¬† ¬†He surrounded himself with “offspring” that are obviously no more related to him genetically than I am to MLK. ¬†His physical transformation over the years – despite his protestations – was a freak show personified. ¬†He was a self-mutilator and a self-medicator, the latter of which likely lead to his demise. ¬†His fame from such an early age and the constant attention of flunkies ready and willing to attend to his every bizarre whim robbed him of any chance at a normal lifestyle. ¬†The Michael Jackson they celebrate today is a far cry from the Michael you’ll find inside that golden casket.

Jackson has always been a good draw, even today, as evidenced by the sales for his upcoming series of concerts in London.  The media clearly understands this, and the level of fawning that is going on is enough to make you gag.  Someone even had the balls to track down Bubbles the chimp and ask his trainer if he realized MJ was dead.  Obviously, the only thing deader than Jackson is the integrity of the media coverage.

But …

A memorial has never been about the person who is gone – it’s about bringing comfort to those left behind. ¬†And while I can scratch my head and wonder why, there are millions of people around the world who are grieving his loss. ¬†Just look at LA today – thousands of people are crammed into the Staples Center for the memorial ceremony, and several thousand more are across the street watching it on a screen at the Nokia Theater. ¬†Every local station, and several national cable outlets are broadcasting the event live, and internet watchers are expecting it to be one of the heaviest days of network usage as those who can’t get to a TV watch the streaming video. ¬† Facebook expects their largest day of usage ever, as millions of users log their comments. ¬†Clearly, these people are celebrating the Michael that was once, not the Michael who was last week, and that’s their right. ¬†That’s the way it is when someone dies suddenly, and before their time. ¬†Shock makes a wonderful filter, stripping away those things we don’t want to face while reminding us of better times, and so it is today.

Tomorrow will be the time to wonder about Jackson’s legacy – not to mention who’s picking up the tab for all of this. ¬†Today is for the fan, and the memories. ¬†Rest in peace, Michael – may you find the sense of normalcy in the next life that evaded you in this one.

OK, I’m Officially Freaked Out …

But wait ... there's no more!

But wait ... there's no more!

Damn Рis it a tough time to be a celebrity or what?  I know what they say about celebrity deaths coming in threes, but what happens when they start coming in six-packs?

OK, so Ed McMahon wasn’t much of a surprise, since he’d been battling age and illness for a while now. ¬†Farrah Fawcett and Fred Travalena were both fighting losing battles to cancer, so you knew it was just a matter of time. ¬†Even Michael Jackson can’t be considered a complete surprise, considering the way he’d abused chemicals and cosmetic surgery over the years.

But how do you explain Billy Mays? ¬†Like Jackson, Mays was only 50 when he was found dead yesterday morning by his family. ¬†The preliminary reports are blaming his death on heart disease, and he certainly wouldn’t be the first guy to go down that way … but you just thought it’d be mid-pitch for Mighty Putty or something. ¬†Making Billy’s death all the stranger, he’d been a passenger on a plane that blew out tires during a hard landing in Tampa a few hours earlier, and even mentioned to others that he’d been conked on the head by the contents of a overhead bin. ¬†They say that it’s not related to the death …

Now, while we do make part of our living here at the MB on the follies of celebrity, we don’t spend a lot of time mourning their passing. ¬†In this case, though, it hits unconfortably close to home. ¬†Michael and Billy were both 50 … later this week, I celebrate a birthday. ¬†Care to guess which one … yup …

I think I need to hit the bicycle …