Celebrity news & gossip from the world’s showbiz and glamour magazines (OK!, Hello, National Enquirer and more). We read them so you don’t have to, picking the best bits from the showbiz world’s maw and spitting it back at them. Expect lots of sarcasm.
Morgan Freeman – The Voice of God – narrates Grandma Sandy’s home experiment:
The Daily Mail is hot on news and more news on the Coronavirus. It’s worried about the wellbeing of the aged (its readers). So the front page carries sage advice: “We CAN show mums out love this Sunday by self-isolating Susanna Reid.” Tough on her. But hard to argue with.
‘All in with Christopher Lloyd at Michael J. Fox Poker Night!’ To help the Michael J. Fox Foundation in its quest to find a cure for Parkinson’s disease, Michael J. Fox met his Back To The Future co-star Christopher Lloyd for a night of charity poker.
Two lawyers think if every piece of 12-note musical melody can be created by an algorithm then all music is publicly owners and nobody gets sued for copyright theft. So lawyers Damien Riehl and Noah Rubin came up with a way to record all melodies because, as they see it, only a finite number of melodies can exist.
Riehl explained more in a Tedx Talk. The crux is that music becomes copyrighted the moment it’s recorded and anyone can be sued for “subconscious infringement”. You can be an unwitting thief if a melody in your song sounds like a melody in one of thousands of songs that formed your musical appreciation. The other argument is that hasn’t Riehl just infringed the copyright of thousands of songs?
You can test the theory flicking through one of the 68 billion melodies created at allthemusic.info.
You can read for free the 23,000-word essay for Rolling Stone that Hunter S. Thompson turned into Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Thompson’s tale begins with the death of Ruben Salazar (March 3, 1928 – August 29, 1970) at an anti-Vietnam War protest. During the rally, Salazar was struck by a tear-gas projectile fired by a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputy. The story of Salazar’s killing became Thompson’s story Strange Rumblings in Aztlan.
Thompson strayed off subject. Waylaid by a jaunt to Las Vegas for the Mint 400 desert race for Sports Illustrated, the story fanned out. The eventual 23,000-word piece appeared in the November 1971 issue of Rolling Stone as ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream.‘
Time to rewrite the latest Mission: Impossible film. Filming in Italy for the seventh outing for Tom Cruise and Can Do gang has been stopped because it’s impossible to take on the coronavirus and win. Not so much Mission: Impossible, as Mission: Likely to Succeed Pending A Risk Assessment.
“Out of an abundance of caution for the safety and well-being of our cast and crew, and efforts of the local Venetian government to halt public gatherings in response to the threat of coronavirus, we are altering the production plan for our three-week shoot in Venice,” say Paramount in a statement.
“During this hiatus we want to be mindful of the concerns of the crew and are allowing them to return home until production starts. We will continue to monitor this situation, and work alongside health and government officials as it evolves.”
Plans for the film series’ diminutive lead actor Tom Cruise to take on a coroanvirus is hand-to-hand combat are said to be premature.
The Guardian says Harvey Weinstein “face jail after being convicted of rape”. You might have thought he’d face a holiday in the Bahamas, but the Guardian has the scoop.
In other newspapers facts on the trial of a fallen Hollywood mogul, the British press are equally on form. How long is Weinstein going to prison for?
The Times: 29 YEARS!
The Mail: 25 YEARS!
Such are the facts…
Harvey Weinstein will never w**k in Hollywood again. The onetime movie producer has been found guilty of third-degree rape and a criminal sexual act in the first degree. He was acquitted of of predatory sexual assault. He had denied all charges. And there’s to be a sequel. Weinstein still faces charges of rape and sexual assault of two women in 2013.
To a thrift store in Belgium thrift store, where a lost album of phots is on sale. Inside are photographs of a woman with A-listers: Bruce Willis, Johnny Depp, Harrison Ford and others. We know their names. But we didn’t know the who the woman was until some detective work. It’s Maria Snoeys-Lagler, a former member of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) who got to choose winners at the Golden Globes Awards.
Maria Snoeys-Lagler died in 2016 at the age of 87, which possibly explains how this particular photo-album ended up in a thrift store.
When Caroline Flack was found dead in her home, the vulture business went to work. On Twitter, many decided that with the news still fresh and facts about the TV presenter’s death largely unknown, it was the ideal moment to pass judgement.
The story leads the tabloids. Each has a hot take on why Caroline Flack died, not least of all the Mail, which calls her “troubled”, the Sunday Mirror which shrouds the awful news in the shocker ‘Death By Valentine’ and the Express which considers the location and style of home her home newsworthy (Flack dies in “London flat”).
On Twitter, a heated debated was triggered over who was behind Caroline Flack’s death:
Sun journalist Dan Wootton:
Such are the facts.
Kurt Vonnegut (November 11, 1922 – April 11, 2007) survived the allied bombing of Dresden during World War II. It inspired his novel Slaughterhouse Five.
The Allied onslaught on the German’s industrial and transportation hub was brutal. On 13 February 1945, British aircraft began the attack on the eastern German city of Dresden. In less than half an hour, warplanes dropped 1,800 tons of bombs. More then 25,000 people died in the firestorm. “Dresden was one big flame. The one flame ate everything organic, everything that would burn,” Vonnegut wrote. The city became “like the moon now, nothing but minerals. The stones were hot. Everybody else in the neighbourhood was dead.”
In 1983, Vonnegut recalled his time in an underground meat locker as a prisoner of war in Dresden for the BBC – ‘And So It Goes’:
In January, Prince Harry (not HRH) sat down for talks with Saad-Eddine El Othmani, prime minister of Morocco, Peter Mutharika, president of Malawi and Filipe Nyusi, president of Mozambique at the UK-Africa investment conference. It was one of his last jobs as a working royal. The Mail says that after the formal chats: “The VIPs then rushed to a private room at the Intercontinental Hotel for an informal ‘catch-up’ chat – but unusually they insisted no No 10 or Palace aides were present to ensure the talks were kept private.”
What could they have to talk about they don’t want the commoners to know? Private Eye reports that Mr Nyusi might not be everyone’s cup of fair-trade, organic tea. His election last year was, we’re told, marred by “violence and a climate of fear”. Votes in Gaza province “exceeded the number of dual inhabitant by 300,000”.
Observers noted several incidents across the country where people were found trying to enter polling stations with extra ballots marked for Frelimo.
On Friday, the US embassy expressed “significant concerns regarding problems and irregularities” during the voting and counting which “raise questions about the integrity of these procedures and their vulnerability to possible fraudulent acts.”
The European Union’s election observation mission said “an unlevel playing field was evident throughout the campaign. The ruling party dominated the campaign in all provinces and benefitted from the advantages of incumbency.”
The Eye quips: “Just the sort of ‘progressive’ type a modern real wants to rub shoulders with.” But, of course, Harry did it out of duty. It was a State-run function.
Another Harry appointment, one attended in a private capacity with his wife Meghan, was hosted by JP Morgan in Miami. A “source” told the New York Post’s Page Six, the couple “headlined” the bank’s Alternative Investment Summit. “It was all very hush-hush, with a lot of security,” we’re told. The Mirror says Harry and Meghan could have been paid £400,000 for supporting the event.
In November 2013, JPMorgan Chase, the nation’s largest bank, agreed to pay a then-record $13 billion fine to federal and state authorities in order to settle claims that it had misled investors in the years leading up to the financial crisis.
Trying to earn enough money to maintain your lifestyle might not be all that easy for post-royal Harry and Meghan, a couple so ethically right that he says buying fruit in plastic is “a dirty habit”. Spin the wheel, and hold your nose. Or retain as nurses.
Larry David has yet to appear in a Bernie Sanders sketch. But he’s in one written for Twitter by Donald Trump.
In this skit, David is seen driving a small, foreign-made car. The liberal New Yorker, star of fly-on-the-wall documentary Curb your Enthusiasm, is wending his way along a sun-dappled road in California when his bad navigation skills and disregard for his fellow Americans causes him to drift and cut up a law-abiding biker.
The biker pulls up alongside.
David, sensing the error of his ways, is converted. In a moment of real epiphany he pulls on a ‘MAGA’ hat and vows to help the biker ‘Make American Great Again’. The buyer nods in brotherhood, politely advises David to “be more careful next time” and drives on.
Stephenie Lowe, wife of TV presenter and father of her two children Phillip Schofield – he just came out as gay – tells the Sun she loves him “as much today as I ever have”. One day earlier, Schofield had told the Sun: “I was confused by what it was. I thought maybe I was bisexual. But over time I realised and started coming to terms with it.” Stephanie had “known for a while” that he was gay.
And that’s pretty much it. It’s a private matter. Only a fool would wish either of them ill. And to be clear, consensual gay sex is love. It’s easy to grasp if you’re capable of acknowledging the stretches and reaches of human desire. We can empathise with the awkwardness of dawning self-realisation, the confusion of growing up gay in a world where we just want to fit in, just as we can comprehend the thrill of holding secret desires and the excitement deceivers find in illicit sex.
But that’s not to say some of the rush to praise a private matter in the public forum doesn’t warrant comment. Schofield’s been called “brave” by various celebs, one going as far as to say Schofield is possessed with the “the heart of a lion”. What kind of lion was left unspecified – the one on the road to Oz, the one in the C. S. Lewis wardrobe or how about the one on the telly ripping into a zebra below David Attenborough’s Voice of God?
And is anyone wondering what reaction would be like if Holly Willoughby (married to a man; mother-of-three), Schofield’s This Morning co-host, came out as gay? If she did, would the liberal, celebrity love for “brave” Phil be countered? TV Phil can continue to do the ice dancing show and the cake making but should we put Holly on DIY and politics? Which of them fronts The Morning’s parenting segment? The one question to take them this story and the ensuring narrative is: would you treat a gay TV presenter any differently than a heterosexual one?
Some matters never get closure. The story of Madeleine McCann is one. Another is the death of Stuart Lubbock, who died at just 31 on March 31 2001. His name hit the headlines because his body was found in the pool at TV entertainer Michael Barrymore’s Essex home. Lubbock had “suffered serious sexual injuries”, says the BBC. An inquest in 2002 delivered an open verdict. So much for the facts.
Police recently renewed this efforts at finding out what happened. Det Ch Insp Stephen Jennings says: “I believe that [Stuart] was raped and murdered that night. One or more of those party-goers are responsible for that serious sexual assault on Stuart Lubbock.”
What a police office believes is not worth much. Police officers are in the business of gathering evidence. And first time out the police believed Stuart Lubbock’s death had been an accident.
The Sun says police “say they have new information in connection with his ‘rape and murder'”.
An Essex Police spokesman goes on the record: “Following our renewed appeal for information about the rape and murder of Stuart Lubbock we have received a number of calls with information. We will follow up all lines of inquiry.”
So it was rape and murder? And the renewed hunt is a success?
The BBC adds: “In 2007 Barrymore was arrested in connection with the death but was later released without charge and his arrest found to be unlawful.”
The Sun notes:
The entertainer has continuously denied any wrongdoing but police insist Stuart was raped and murdered.
What an odd sentence, no? Barrymore is not being accused of wrongdoing. However, that “but” seems to make a link between Barrymore’s innocence and what they believe. Why is it all in one mushed into one sentence? Barrymore says he is “100% innocent”. He is. Facts are what are needed – not belief.
Newspapers are full of news that daytime TV presenter Phillip Schofield is gay. “I’m gay, I’m proud, and I love my incredible wife” says the Sun, reflecting how Schofield broke the news to viewers of ITV’s This Morning, the show he presents. As the show broadcast other segments – Bear Can’t Find Toilet In Woods – Is Austerity to Blame?; Kate Price: Why I Sleep On My Back; When Will Ruby Union Come Out? – we read of other celebrities rooting for Schofield. Ant and Dec sent their “huge respect and admiration”. David Walliams dreams of living in a world where people can “just be who they are”. Dermot O’Leary says Schofield has “the heart of a lion”.
What of Mrs Schofield, you wonder, good old Phil’s wife of over 20 years? In the Telegraph, Sara Wilson notes: “It may be a weight off his shoulders but it will go straight on to the shoulders of his wife.” “You doubt everything you’ve ever believed in your life,” says one woman to the BBC. She found out her husband was gay six years ago.
Said no-one: Maybe one day other TV presenters will be brave enough to come out as straight.
In 2001, Kirk Douglas (December 9, 1916 – February 5, 2020) told Esquire what he’d learned in life. The actor summed up: “In order to achieve anything, you must be brave enough to fail.”
I tell my sons they didn’t have my advantages growing up. I came from abject poverty. There was nowhere to go but up.
Give your children lots of rope. Allow them to make their own mistakes. Don’t give them too much advice. Each child is different; you have to respect that. It’s a crapshoot: You roll the dice, and you see what happens.
Noting that “making movies is a form of narcissism” , he harks back to the movie that got away:
One big disappointment in my life was One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. I bought the rights to the book, but no one wanted to make it into a movie. So I paid to have it made into a Broadway play. There was one line in there that was so beautiful. McMurphy is trying to help all these people on the ward. There was a sink, and he tried to lift it out of the wall, but he couldn’t. He tried really hard, but it wouldn’t budge. As he was leaving the room, with all the guys watching, he turned around and said, “But I tried, goddammit, I tried!” Sometimes I think I should have that as my epitaph.
Lead image: 10th May 1969: Ken Kesey (1935 – 2001), American author of ‘One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest’ and ‘Sometime’s A Great Notion’ – Photo by Roy Jones
In 1988, Central TV hired former England footballer Jimmy Greaves to front a chatshow. The intro was interesting:
Jimmy featured “surprise guests” and a weekly progress report from Frank Bruno’s training camp. In February 1989, Bruno challenged Mike Tyson for the undisputed world heavyweight title. Bruno lost in three rounds. Jimmy lasted not much longer.
There’s to be a street in Paris named in honour of David Bowie. “There will soon be a Rue David Bowie in the 13th arrondissement of Paris,” says district Paris mayor Jerome Coumet. Although “the naming must be approved by the Paris council in February”.
We know Bowie, a Londoner, moved to Switzerland, West Berlin and New York City, but why Paris? He was familiar with Jacques Brel and Marcel Marceau, sure, and did smoke Gitanes for a while when living in LA, but for the major to say Bowie “had a strong link with the city of lights” is a bit of a push – like saying Lou Reed is synonymous with the London Underground, no?
Ant McPartlin “gives” his ex-wife Lisa Armstrong £31m, says the Sun. The paper claims the settlement was reached out of court. An unnamed source arrives to tell us: “Ant made a very generous settlement that works out to be more than half of everything that he has.”
Isn’t this about what ‘they’ had amassed during their long relationship and marriage? Didn’t she merely get what she was entitled to?
Why she walked away more than half we can only guess at, but no court date might mean less revelations that could damage his future earnings and that all-important image.
Royals are lining up to replace The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who have announced they will step back as “senior” royals and work to become financially independent. It’s the moment the Yorks have been waiting for, surely.
Princess Eugenie cost us a few million in security when she married last year in a televised event. But Eugenie never gelled with the public. Prince Andrew honourably tried to promote his girls and keep the York torch burning by appearing on the BBC in a one-on-one interview. It had worked for Diana when she sat down to chat with Martin Bashir. But whereas Diana came across as likeable, abused and isolated, he came across as an entailed prig who’d been mates with a prolific paedophile.
Diana perished in a car crash. Andrew created a car crash of his own and tried to creep away unscathed.
Maybe Meghan Markle’s abdication from guest editing Vogue as a Royal to guest editing Vogue as a celebrity, becoming the kind of Hollywood star Liz Hurley pretends to be as Harry demures and self-deprecates at her side, can provide the distraction Andrew needs to get away and push his kids and brand to the fore?
The Mail has 17 pages on Harry and Meghan’s decision to do what those in the know call “not the done thing”. People who know what done things are include: anyone who says “gels”; anyone who can recognise a horse from a pony; anyone who knows which spoon is proper to scoop out a serving wench’s foetus. The rest of us wonder why any one of these minted toffs are on the public payroll and if the Sussex’s pile we paid a couple of million quid to do up will now provide shelter for the homeless?
Meanwhile, what of Princess Beatrice, the other Yorkie, notable until now for having once worn a hat modelled on a vampire quid’s entrails, eating a pizza and, well, anyone got anything else? But worry not because Beatrice’s story is to swell. She is to marry a property developer. Neither the BBC nor ITV plan to broadcast the wedding live. But in this busy media landscape they’re not all, and any one of Netflix, Amazon or Dave could step in and fill the void between reruns of Cash in the Attic.
Farewell, then, Meghan and Harry. Your leaving is a new beginning for the Royal Family. And if you can take the rest of the hanger-ones and freeloaders with you, perhaps as part of a US trade deal with the post-Brexit UK, we’ll consider the chlorinated chicken a fair exchange for Princess Michael of Kent.
For the fifth time, the big Hollywood AGM for TV types was hosted by comedian Ricky Gervais. Like all telly, the Golden Globes sticks with the familiar until even the most slack-jawed viewers can stand no more. But Gervais did his best to wake up the telegenic, well-powdered audience by telling them to get a grip and stop harping on about woke stuff.
“You’re in no position to lecture the public about anything,” said Gervais from the podium. “You know nothing about the real world. Most of you spent less time in school than Greta Thunberg. If you win, come up, accept your little award, thank your agent, thank your god, and fuck off.”
Lots of praise all over the web about how great it is that a multi-millionaire entertainer told other multi-millionaire entertainers on a TV show that no-one gives a toss abut their views.
Ricky Gervais Does The Golden Globes Seasons 1-5 is not yet available as a box set.
Cass Elliot died choking on a ham sandwich; everybody knows that. Except that she didn’t. The myth began because the first doctor who examined her after her death, Dr Anthony Greenburg, in a late-night press conference, said, ‘She was lying in bed eating and drinking a Coca-Cola while watching television. She was half propped up by pillows and it seems that she choked on her sandwich and inhaled her own vomit.’ Dr Greenburg added, ‘She had been dead for some considerable time before her body was found.’
Dr Greenburg, Elliot’s own physician, had overlooked the relatively important fact that the ham sandwich was by the side of her bed and untouched, but by then it was too late. The press reported his initial comments and the doctor unwittingly gave rise to the sandwich myth. A few days later at the inquest Gavin Thurston, the Westminster coroner, recorded a verdict of death from natural causes. ‘There was left-sided heart failure,’ wrote pathologist Professor Keith Simpson. ‘She had a heart attack which developed rapidly.’ Cass Elliott had been going on crash diets for years which in the end fatally weakened her heart. She was just thirty- two when she died.
Cass Elliot eating a typically healthy meal interspersed with cigarettes at a party at Crockford’s casino in London, circa 1974. (Photo by Joe Bangay/Evening Standard/Getty Images)
Keith Moon (1946 – 1978), the drummer for The Who, with his girlfriend Annette Walter-Lax, circa 1975. (Photo by Terry O’Neill/Iconic Images/Getty Images)
Four years after the death of Cass Elliot at Harry Nilsson’s flat, Keith Moon, after fitting in enough partying and convivial nights in his short life for a small town, died of an overdose of Heminevrin tablets in the very same bed. Keith and his girlfriend, Annette Walter-Lax, had been to a party held by Paul McCartney at the trendy chrome and neon-lit cocktail-bar restaurant called Peppermint Park on St Martin’s Lane, Covent Garden. By many accounts Keith was unusually quiet and sober and shared a booth with the McCartneys, David Frost, John Hurt and, Kenny Jones – Moon’s eventual replacement, ironically. At midnight, everyone went to the Odeon, Leicester Square, for the late-night première of the Buddy Holly Story that starred Gary Busey. Before the end of the film Keith and Annette caught a taxi back to Curzon Place. Keith started watching the film The Abominable Dr Phibes but fell asleep after taking several Heminevrin sedatives that had been prescribed to aid alcohol withdrawal. At about 7.30 a.m. he ordered Annette to cook him steak for breakfast. She complained but Keith retorted with, ‘If you don’t like it, you can fuck off.’ They were to be his last words.
Caroll Edwin Spinney (December 26, 1933 – December 8, 2019) gave life to Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch on Sesame Street from its inception in 1969 until 2018.
On May 16, 1990, Muppet creator Jim Henson died. That following July, at a memorial service for the great entertainer held at St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, Spinney, dressed a Big Bird, sang Bein’ Green, the song Kermit the frog made famous. Stay tuned til the end. It’s heart-warming.