MONKEE Peter tork dead at 77

LOS ANGELES — Musician Peter Tork, best known from his years on the 1960’s cult television classic “The Monkees” has died. He was 77.

Tork’s death was announced on his official Facebook page Thursday, shocking and saddening fans around the world.

“It is with beyond-heavy and broken hearts that we share the devastating news that our friend, mentor, teacher, and amazing soul, Peter Tork, has passed from this world,” the statement read. “As we have mentioned in the past, the PTFB team is made up of Peter’s friends, family and colleagues — we ask for your kindness and understanding in allowing us to grieve this huge loss privately.”

“We want to thank each and every one of you for your love, dedication and support of our ‘boss.’ Having you in our world has meant so very much to all of us,” the statement continued. “Please know that Peter was extremely appreciative of you, his Torkees, and one of his deepest joys was to be out in front of you, playing his music, and seeing you enjoy what he had to share. We send blessings and thoughts of comfort to you all, with much gratitude.”

Tork’s cause of death has been attributed to a 10 year battle with adenoid cystic carcinoma, a rare cancer of the salivary glands.

“I don’t count myself as being afraid to die,” Tork told the Washington Post about his diagnosis in 2009, “but the news hit me like a fist to the chest.”

Tork’s longtime bandmate, Micky Dolenz, shared his grief over the news via a statement released to his official Twitter account.

“There are no words right now…heartbroken over the loss of my Monkee brother, Peter Tork,” Dolenz wrote.

Tork was preceded in death by another of his bandmates, Davy Jones, who died in 2012.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

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BYE BYE BANDIT: Hollywood icon Burt Reynolds dead at 82

JUPITER, Fla. — Film actor Burt Reynolds has died, his agent Todd Eisner has confirmed. He was 82.

Reynolds, who rose to fame in the 1972 thriller “Deliverance”, was an A-list leading man instantly recognizable for his mustache and constant smirk.

Best known for comedies such as “Smoky and the Bandit” and “Stroker Ace”, Reynolds also took on several dramatic roles in films such as “Driven” and “The Last Movie Star”.

Although Reynold’s career saw its own highs and lows, he claimed he never regretted his professional decisions.

“I took the part that was the most fun… I didn’t take the part that would be the most challenging,” Reynolds said in an interview with CNN.

It is not yet known what caused the actor’s death, but he reportedly underwent heart surgery in 2010.

Reynolds is survived by his only child, Quinton, a son he adopted with ex-wife Lonnie Anderson.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

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THEY’RE BAAAAACK: Barack and Michelle Obama sign multi-million dollar TV deal with Netflix

Washington, D.C. (Business Insider) — Former President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama have signed a multiyear deal with Netflix to produce original shows and movies, Netflix announced on Monday.

The deal could include “scripted series, unscripted series, docu-series, documentaries, and features,” the company said in a tweet.

The New York Times reported on Monday that the Obamas’ Netflix original content was unlikely to be a vehicle for partisan rhetoric, adding that Barack Obama “has told associates that he does not intend to use the new platform to wage a public campaign against his successor in the Oval Office, or to fight against conservative media outlets like Fox News.”

“One of the simple joys of our time in public service was getting to meet so many fascinating people from all walks of life, and to help them share their experiences with a wider audience,” Barack Obama said in a statement on Monday. “That’s why Michelle and I are so excited to partner with Netflix — we hope to cultivate and curate the talented, inspiring, creative voices who are able to promote greater empathy and understanding between peoples, and help them share their stories with the entire world.”

Michelle Obama added: “Barack and I have always believed in the power of storytelling to inspire us, to make us think differently about the world around us, and to help us open our minds and hearts to others. Netflix’s unparalleled service is a natural fit for the kinds of stories we want to share, and we look forward to starting this exciting new partnership.”

While financial terms of the Obamas’ Netflix deal have not been disclosed, it follows a record-setting $65 million deal they signed with Penguin Random House in February 2017 to write one memoir each.

The Times first reported in March that Barack and Michelle Obama were in negotiations with Netflix.

Netflix’s chief content officer, Ted Sarandos, said of the deal on Monday: “Barack and Michelle Obama are among the world’s most respected and highly recognized public figures and are uniquely positioned to discover and highlight stories of people who make a difference in their communities and strive to change the world for the better. We are incredibly proud they have chosen to make Netflix the home for their formidable storytelling abilities.”

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PC GONE WILD? ‘Gone With The Wind’ banned due to ‘racially insensitive’ content

MEMPHIS, TN — 1930’s film classic “Gone With the Wind” has been banned from screening due to what activists have deemed “racially insensitive” content.

The Oscar winning film starring Vivien Leigh and Clarke Gable, has been removed from a historic Memphis, Tennessee theater that had showcased “Gone With the Wind” screenings for more than 34 years.

In a statement, the president of the Orpheum Theatre confirmed the decision to ban the film on the basis of its “insensitive” content.

“The Orpheum appreciates feedback on its programming from all members of the mid-south community,” Orpheum president Bret Batterson said. “As an organization whose stated mission is to ‘entertain, educate and enlighten the communities it serves,’ the Orpheum cannot show a film that is insensitive to a large segment of its local population.”

“This is something that’s been questioned every year,” Batterson’s statement continued, “but the social media storm this year really brought it home.”

Film lovers were quick to voice their outrage over the decision, with many taking to Orpheum’s Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/events/1690854501220051/permalink/1743908129248021/?action_history=null) to vent their frustration.

“This is the stupidest thing I have heard lately and believe me there have been some really stupid things done lately in the name of ‘racism’ – How ignorant are you people – Never will I go to this theater or any other one that promotes this BS,” one commenter wrote.

“A full boycott of the Orpheum should commence immediately, and not cease until this abominable decision is rescinded. Period,” wrote another.

According to the film fact website IMDB, Hattie McDaniel, who played “Mammy” in the 1939 film, was the first African-American actress to be nominated for an Academy Award.

Based on the 1936 novel by Atlanta’s Margaret Mitchell, “Gone With the Wind” was set in the South during the Civil War and included scenes involving slavery. The movie won eight Oscars, including picture of the year.

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FUNNY MAN JAY THOMAS DEAD AT 69

Los Angeles, CA — Comedian actor Jay Thomas has died after a long battle with cancer, his spokesperson confirmed on Thursday. He was 69.

Thomas, best known for his starring roles in “Murphy Brown”, “Cheers” and “Ray Donovan” caught his first big break after landing the role of Remo DaVinci on “Mork & Mindy” from 1979-1981.

“Jay was one of a kind, never at a loss for words and filled with so much fun and wonderfully wacky thoughts and behavior,” his agent, Don Buchwald, said.

In addition to his acting roles, Thomas hosted a popular radio show on popular radio show on SiriusXM.

He leaves behind a wife, Sally, and three sons.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

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COMEDY LEGEND JERRY LEWIS DEAD AT 91

LAS VEGAS, NV — Entertainment icon Jerry Lewis has died, the famous comedian’s spokesperson has confirmed.

“He passed away at 9:30 this morning at home, peacefully with family and close friends by his side after a brief illness. They are devastated,” Candi Cazau said in a statement.

He was 91.

Lewis, best known for his quintessential roles in comedies such as “The Bellboy” (1960) and “The Nutty Professor” (1963), is also know for the millions of dollars he raised millions for charities and as chairman of the Muscular Dystrophy Association. The “King of Comedy” hosted a live Labor Day broadcast of the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon for 44 years.

Lewis “had a heart of gold,” said Cazau. “He still had things he wanted to do. We had performance dates set up for him in the future. He was always like the energizer bunny.”

“He had a great life. He was a huge inspiration to so many people. It’s a huge loss,” she added.

Lewis first gained fame for his one of a kind comedy-and-music act with singer Dean Martin. When the pair parted ways in the mid-1950s, Lewis went solo where he went on to legendary status in the industry.

News of Lewis’ passing spread like wild fire on social media and celebrities and fans alike were quick to share their shock and grief.

“Jerry Lewis! Oy! Another comic legend gone. What an amazing talent and philanthropist. A long, well lived life!#RIPJerryLewis,” tweeted SNL alumni John Lovitz.

“Jerry Lewis loved his country & helped it enormously. I occasionally spoke with him about policy-he was on it, very engaged despite his age,” tweeted conservative news personality Bill O’Reilly.

“Jerry Lewis was an angel to me. Loved him & will never forget what he did for me during one of the worst times in my life. RIP, Love Roe,” tweeted fellow Hollywood icon Rose Marie.

“I believe, in my own way, that I say something on film. I’m getting to those who probably don’t have the mentality to understand what … ‘A Man for All Seasons’ is all about, plus many who did understand it,” Lewis wrote in his 1971 memoir, “The Total Film-Maker”. “I am not ashamed or embarrassed at how seemingly trite or saccharine something in my films will sound. I really do make films for my great-great-grandchildren and not for my fellows at the Screen Directors Guild or for the critics.”

Married twice, Lewis leaves behind a wife, SanDee Pitnick, and 6 children, including musician Gary Lewis. His son Joseph died in 2009.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

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COUNTRY MUSIC ICON GLEN CAMPBELL DEAD AT 81

NASHVILLE, TN — Country music pioneer Glen Campbell has died, the singer’s family has confirmed. He was 81.

“It is with the heaviest of hearts that we announce the passing of our beloved husband, father, grandfather, and legendary singer and guitarist, Glen Travis Campbell, at the age of 81, following his long and courageous battle with Alzheimer’s disease,” the family announced in a released statement on Tuesday.

Campbell, best known for his hits “Southern Nights” and “Rhinestone Cowboy”, won five Grammys, sold more than 45 million records, had 12 gold albums and recorded 75 chart topping hits over the course of his career.

News of the country star’s passing resulted in an outpouring of heartbreak on social media from celebrities who considered Campbell a legend in the country music industry.

“Thank you Glen Campbell for sharing your talent with us for so many years
May you rest in peace my friend. You will never be forgotten,” Charlie Daniels wrote on Twitter.

“Very sad day as one of the world’s greatest voices has fallen silent this side of heaven. Thank you Glen Campbell for the gift you gave us,” tweeted Steven Curtis Chapman.

“Glen Campbell was one of the greatest voices of all time. I will always love you, Glen!” Dolly Parton said in a video uploaded to her Twitter and Facebook page.

In an interview in April, Campbell’s wife Kim spoke of his faith, which he had developed after years of battling drugs and alcohol. “Faith has always been the central part of our relationship. I’m so pleased that as Glen has entered the later stages of this illness, it’s evident that he has retained his awareness of God. That really comforts me to know that he has that sense of God’s presence in his life, that he’s not alone,” she said.

Campell is survived by his wife, Kim, and their three children, Cal, Shannon and Ashley; his children from previous marriages, Debby, Kelli, Travis, Kane, and Dillon; 10 grandchildren, great and great-great-grandchildren; sisters Barbara, Sandra, and Jane; and brothers John Wallace “Shorty” and Gerald.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

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WILL ‘THE JUICE’ BE SET LOOSE? OJ SIMPSON PAROLE HEARING SET FOR JULY

LOVELOCK, NV — A parole hearing to determine whether or not O.J. Simpson will soon again become a free man has been scheduled for July.

According to a spokesperson for the Nevada Department of Corrections, Simpson, who is serving a nine-to-33-year sentence for kidnapping, armed robbery and assault with a deadly weapon, will face a parole board on July 20.

Simpson was convicted of the multiple felonies after prosecutors say he tried to steal pieces of his own sports memorabilia from a collector at gunpoint. During his 2008 sentencing hearing, Simpson claimed he was trying to take back family heirlooms and other personal items that had been stolen from him and that he did not know the associates who accompanied him during the heist were armed.

Aside from his history as a former football star and B-list movie actor, Simpson is best known for being accused of viciously murdering his ex-wife, Nicole Brown- Simpson and her friend, Ronald Goldman outside Brown-Simpson’s Los Angeles condo on June 12, 1994.

The subsequent trial, dubbed at the time as “the trial of the century” turned into what many legal analysts referred to as a “media circus” as Simpson’s defense team worked to distract jurors from what prosecutors claimed was a “mountain of evidence” by focusing on race relations within the city that were still simmering after the L.A. riots.

The parole board is expected to consider several factors in deciding whether to release Simpson, Nevada defense attorney Dan Hill told CNN.

“Simpson’s age, the fact that he was given parole on the first sentencing batch, weigh in his favor,” Hill said. “So does the fact that he was by all accounts a model prisoner, as does any acceptance of responsibility for his actions.”

Simpson, who will turn 70 in July, was acquitted in the double murders of Brown and Goldman, but was later found responsible for the killings by a civil jury. He is currently being held at Lovelock Correctional Facility, a medium-security prison in the Nevada desert.

If granted parole, the former Heisman trophy winner will be released in October. If denied, commissioners will decide Simpson’s fate at the next parole board meeting, which could be as many as five years away.

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DEATH BY DRUGS: AUTOPSY REVEALS CARRIE FISHER HAD COCAINE, HEROIN IN SYSTEM AT TIME OF DEATH

LOS ANGELES, CA — Recently released autopsy results say that ‘Star Wars’ icon Carry Fisher had a slew of illegal drugs in her system at the time of her death.

The report (https://www.scribd.com/document/351717158/Carrie-Fisher-Autopsy-Report?irgwc=1&content=10079&campaign=Skimbit%2C%20Ltd.&ad_group=87443X1540253Xacfd87aa21f70b2e68db0239b2f63dd4&keyword=ft750noi&source=impactradius&medium=affiliate#from_embed), released on Monday, states Fisher likely took cocaine within a week of her death. The actress’ blood work also tested positive for heroin and MDMA, better known as Ecstasy, although it could not be determined when Fisher had ingested the later two.

The findings were based on toxicology screenings done on samples taken when the “Star Wars” actress arrived at a Los Angeles hospital shortly after falling ill during a flight four days prior to her death.

The coroner’s report states that although Fisher, who had been vocal about her struggles with substance abuse, had used drugs in the days prior to her death, it is not known what impact her recent drug use had on her cause of death.

The test results “suggests there was an exposure to heroin, but that the dose and time of exposure cannot be pinpointed.” Therefore we cannot establish the significance of heroin regarding the cause of death in this case” the report states.

In addition to sleep apnea, the report documents a series of other underlying medical conditions which the coroner says may have contributed to the 60-year-old’s death, among them, atherosclerotic heart disease.

“How Injury Occurred: Multiple drug intake, significance not ascertained,” the report concludes.

In a statement to People Magazine, Fisher’s daughter, Billie Lord, said revelations of her mother’s drug use were no surprise to those who knew her.

“My mom battled drug addiction and mental illness her entire life. She ultimately died of it. She was purposefully open in all of her work about the social stigmas surrounding these diseases,” said Lord.

Fisher’s brother, Todd Fisher, echoed his niece’s remarks, saying his sister’s battle with drugs and bipolar disorder “slowly but surely put her health in jeopardy over many, many years.”

“I honestly hoped we would grow old together, but after her death, nobody was shocked,” he added.

The daughter of Hollywood stars Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher, Carrie Fisher was born into the entertainment business.

She documented her struggles with chemical abuse in the book, “Postcards From the Edge,” a novel about an actress battling drug addiction. In it, she also documented the pressure of growing up the daughter of Hollywood royalty.

Reynolds suffered a stroke upon hearing about her daughter’s death and died one day later on Dec. 28. The two, who had been inseparable throughout most of their lives, were buried together in a private ceremony.

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KELLY BOMBS: ‘SUNDAY NIGHT’ A RATINGS NIGHTMARE DESPITE HYPE OVER ALEX JONES

NEW YORK, N.Y. — Despite weeks of controversy leading up to Megyn Kelly’s showdown with Alex Jones, the former Fox News host’s show, “Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly” was a bust with network viewers who seem to have lost interest in the one time ratings queen.

According to Sunday night’s Nielsen ratings (http://www.latimes.com/topic/entertainment/megyn-kelly-PECLB0000009270-topic.html), “Sunday Night With Megyn Kelly” averaged just 3.53 million viewers during its Sunday 7 p.m. time slot, the lowest figure yet since the program debuted on NBC on June 4. Ratings were so dismal, as a matter of fact, that Kelly’s program was easily beat by a rerun of “60 Minutes” on CBS, which averaged 5.3 million viewers in that same hour.

NBC tried hard to promote the program, which featured what turned out to be a heavily edited interview with alternative news host Alex Jones, but in the end, network viewers just didn’t seem to care.

Kelly sparked a great deal of controversy over the interview with Jones, who has been vocal in his questioning of the government’s official story surrounding the events of 9/11 and the shooting at Sandy Hook.

For his part, Jones, who went public last week with claims that Kelly had manipulated the interview to create a “hit piece” on him, released his own audio recording of the interview in its entirety in an effort to expose what he claimed was Kelly’s promoting of “fake news” (http://thehill.com/homenews/media/338097-alex-jones-releases-more-secret-taped-megyn-kelly-audio-nbc-responds).

In the audio, which was recorded without Kelly’s knowledge, Kelly can allegedly be heard telling Jones that her goal was to show Jones’ softer side because, as she put it, she believed that he had been misrepresented in the media.

“The reason you are interesting to me is because I followed your custody case, and I think you had a very good point about how the media was covering it and for some reason treated you and your family and what was going on as fair game when they never would have done that if you were a mainstream media figure,” Kelly can be heard telling Jones. “I saw a different side of you in that whole thing and, you know, you just became very fascinating to me.”

Jones, upon seeing a promo piece released by Kelly to promote the interview, was quick to respond with allegations that the interview had been over edited and that he had been lied to.

“I’ve never done this in 22 years, I’ve never recorded another journalist,” Jones said on his daily radio show, “Infowars”. “I’ve never done this, but I knew that it was a fraud, that it was a lie.”

Kelly’s program is slated to run through the summer, but insiders say that based on poor performance, “Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly” is unlikely to finish a full season.

Kelly joined NBC News in January after 13 years at Fox News for a reported $17 million per year. The former “Kelly File” host left Fox for NBC after controversy erupted surrounding what supporters of then presidential candidate Donald Trump called poor treatment of the Republican candidate during a series of debates, which Kelly had been tapped to moderate.

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