GONE TOO SOON: ‘90210’ star Luke Perry dead at 52

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Luke Perry, who gained instant heartthrob status as wealthy rebel Dylan McKay on “Beverly Hills, 90210,” died Monday after suffering a massive stroke, his publicist said. He was 52.

Perry was surrounded by family and friends when he died, publicist Arnold Robinson said. The actor had been hospitalized since last Wednesday, after a 911 call summoned medical help to his home in the Sherman Oaks section of Los Angeles.

“The family appreciates the outpouring of support and prayers that have been extended to Luke from around the world, and respectfully request privacy in this time of great mourning,” Robinson said in a statement. Those at Perry’s bedside included his children, Jake and Sophie; fiancée Wendy Madison Bauer; former wife, Minnie Sharp, and mother Ann Bennett.

Although Perry was best-known for his role as McKay, he enjoyed a prolific film and television career. Most recently, he played construction company owner Fred Andrews, father of main character Archie Andrews, for three seasons on “Riverdale,” the CW series that gives a dark take on “Archie” comics. A fourth season has been slated.

The actor’s next big screen role will be in Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time In Hollywood,” which is slated for release in July.

“90210” co-star Ian Ziering paid tribute to his co-star on Twitter , where fans and celebrities shared their memories of Perry and mourned him . “I will forever bask in the loving memories we’ve shared over the last thirty years,” Ziering said. “May your journey forward be enriched by the magnificent souls who have passed before you, just like you have done here, for those you leave behind.”

Born and raised in rural Fredericktown, Ohio, Perry gained fame on “Beverly Hills, 90210,” which ran from 1990 to 2000. In a 2006 interview with The Associated Press, he recounted being partly inspired to pursue acting by a photo of Paul Newman his mother kept on her mirror.

He played out the memory of hearing his mother say, “He’s the most beautiful man in the world, honey … he’s a movie star.”

“I thought, ‘OK, that’s cool.’ I watched him and, ‘Yeah, man, who didn’t want to be Paul Newman!’”

But Perry expanded his interests far beyond acting, identifying history as a passion and family a priority.

“When you are younger you can have only work, and I did for a long time,” he told the AP in 2006. “But it doesn’t command my attention that way anymore. A lot of the mysteries and the questions I had about it I’ve figured out, but life offers up mysteries every day.”

He had roles in a handful of films, including “The Fifth Element,” ″Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” ″8 Seconds” and “American Strays,” appeared in HBO’s prison drama “Oz” as a televangelist convicted of fraud, and voiced cartoons including “The Incredible Hulk” and “Mortal Kombat.”

He made his Broadway musical debut as Brad in the “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” and starred on London’s West End in another stage adaptation of a film, “When Harry Met Sally.” In recent years he starred in the series “Ties That Bind” and “Body of Proof.”

The same day he was hospitalized, Fox TV announced that it would be running a six-episode return of “90210” featuring most of the original cast, but Perry was not among those announced.

On the original series, Perry’s character went from loner to part of a close-knit circle that included twins Brenda and Brandon Walsh (Shannen Doherty, Jason Priestley), but also endured a string of romantic, family and other setbacks, including drug addiction. Perry left the series in 1995 to pursue other roles, returning in 1998 for the rest of the show’s run as a guest star.

In a 2011 interview with the AP, Perry said he and his male co-stars were a “really good strong core group” while the show aired and maintained close ties. The friendship and trust he shared with Priestley created a sort of “shorthand” when it came to filming, Perry said.


 

Lynn Elber of The Associated Press contributed to the contents of this report.

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‘WHAT ABOUT MAGA?’ Trump slams Jussie Smollett over staging of alleged hoax

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Thursday lashed out at Jussie Smollett amid news that the actor had been arrested for staging a bogus hate crime.

Smollett, who turned himself in to Chicago police Thursday, had garnered national headlines over the last few weeks after claiming he was the victim of a politically driven, racist and homophobic attack.

“What about MAGA and the tens of millions of people you insulted with your racist and dangerous comments!? #MAGA” Trump tweeted, referencing his 2016 presidential campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.”

Smollett, who is African-American and openly gay, told police several weeks ago that he was attacked during the early hours of Jan. 29 as he was returning to his Chicago apartment after visiting a Subway restaurant. Smollett claimed that two men who were wearing masks shouted racist and homophobic slurs at him, poured a bleach-like substance on him, threw a noose around his neck and shouted, “This is MAGA country!”

The actor’s story began to unravel, however, after police identified and questioned two “persons of interest” who were captured on surveillance video near the scene of the alleged attack. The men, later identified as brothers Ola and Abel Osundairo, told police that Smollett had given them $3,500 to help him stage the stage the attack.

The pair also told police that a threatening letter with the word “MAGA” written on it, addressed to Smollett and sent to the actor’s production company was written by Smollett himself.

During a press conference on the matter Thursday afternoon, Chicago police Superintendent Eddie Johnson called Smollett’s actions “unconscionable.”

“Jussie Smollett took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career,” Johnson said. “I’m left hanging my head and asking why. Why would anyone, especially an African American man, use the symbolism of a noose to make false accusations? How could someone look at the hatred and suffering associated with that symbol and see an opportunity to manipulate that symbol to further his own public profile? How can an individual who’s been embraced by the city of Chicago turn around and slap everyone in this city in the face by making these false claims?”

“Absolute justice would be an apology to this city that he smeared, admitting what he did,” Johnson continued. “I’m offended by what’s happened and I’m also angry.”

President Trump’s son, Donald Trump, Jr., also took to Twitter to address the Smollett matter, pondering how long it would take Hollywood to blame his father’s administration for the actor’s behavior.

“Has anyone set the over-under on how long it will take Jussie Smollett and his Hollywood/Media enablers to find a way to blame ‘America’’ and ‘society’ for his disreputable actions?” Trump Jr. tweeted Wednesday. “We all know it’s only a matter of time.”

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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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REPUBLICANS NOT WELCOME: Actor James Woods says agent dropped him due to his conservative views

LOS ANGELES, CA (AP) — James Woods, one of Hollywood’s most outspoken conservatives, says his agent dropped him as a client on the Fourth of July, citing patriotism.

Woods on Thursday shared on Twitter an email from his agent, Ken Kaplan. In the excerpted email, dated Wednesday, Kaplan said he was “feeling patriotic” and no longer wanted to represent Woods.

“It’s the 4th of July and I’m feeling patriotic,” wrote Kaplan in the posted email. “I don’t want to represent you anymore. I mean I could go on a rant but you know what I’d say.”

Woods is passionate supporter of President Donald Trump on social media. On Wednesday, his tweets included the allegation that immigration protesters were only Democrats seeking “illegal votes” and a reference to former President Barack Obama as a “stain” on America.

Kaplan, who represents a number of high-profile Hollywood actors at the Gersh Agency, didn’t immediately respond to emails Thursday.

Woods, who called his agent a “political liberal,” said he replied to Kaplan that “if you’re feeling patriotic, you would appreciate free speech and one’s right to think as an individual.”

The most recent credit for the 71-year-old Woods is a voiceover for the animated series “Justice League Action.” In September, actress Amber Tamblyn wrote an open letter to Woods accusing him of hitting on her when she was 16. Woods called Tamblyn’s story “a lie.”

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FARRAKHAN UNLEASHED: Nation of Islam leader under fire after anti-semitic tirade over ‘Jewish power’

New York, N.Y. — Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan is under fire after a speech in which he ranted about anal sex and “Jewish power”.

“Do you know that many of us who go to Hollywood seeking a chance have to submit to anal sex and all kind of debauchery and they give you a little part? It’s called the casting couch. See that’s Jewish power,” Farrakhan said while referencing embattled Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.

Farrakhan has a long history of espousing anti-white and anti-Semitic views, made the comments during a three-hour sermon in which he frequently denounced people of Jewish heritage.

“Think about what they’re gonna say when they have been so thoroughly and completely unmasked,” Farrakhan said of the Jewish people, whom he called the “Satanic Jew” and the “Synagogue of Satan”.

”Whenever you read that God has told the Jews to hear and obey, and they say, I hear and I disobey, that’s Satan,” he said.

The sermon, which Farrakhan uploaded to his official Twitter account, led to a barrage of complaints and his account losing his blue checkmark verified status.

When reached for comment, a spokesperson for Twitter said the company was “unable to comment on individual accounts, for privacy and security reasons.”

Calls for comment to a Farrakhan spokesperson have not been returned.

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HOLLYWOOD BOMBSHELL: Actor Robert Wagner now named ‘person of interest’ in death of wife, Natalie Wood

LOS ANGELES, CA — Robert Wagner on Thursday was officially named a “person of interest” in the mysterious death of his late wife Natalie Wood.

Wood’s 1981 death has long been the subject of rumors and innuendo. The beauty, best known for her starring roles in films such as “West Side Story”, “Rebel Without a Cause” and “Splendor in the Grass” was found dead in the Pacific Ocean not far from the houseboat she shared with Wagner. Although witnesses claim to have heard loud arguing coming from the couple’s boat just prior to the 43-year-old’s death, investigators closed the case into Wood’s death, declaring it the result of an accidental drowning.

However, under growing pressure to reexamine her death, the Los Angeles County Sheriff office re-opened the case in 2011 and changed Wood’s cause of death from “accidental drowning” to “drowning and other undetermined factors.”

Wagner, who has always denied any wrongdoing in the death of his then-wife, has now been named a “person of interest” in Wood’s death, says a sheriff’s department spokesperson.

“As we’ve investigated the case over the last six years, I think he’s (Wagner) more of a person of interest now,” John Corina, of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, told “48 Hours” in an exclusive interview (https://www.cbsnews.com/news/natalie-wood-death-robert-wagner-person-of-interest-says-investigator/). “I mean, we know now that he was the last person to be with Natalie before she disappeared.”

Wagner, who in a 2008 memoir titled “Pieces of My Heart” admitted to arguing with fellow actor Christopher Walken, also on board the boat the night of Wood’s death, said despite rumors that he flew into a jealous rage over an alleged affair between Woods and Walken, he has no idea what happened to his wife.

“Nobody knows. There are only two possibilities: either she was trying to get away from the argument, or she was trying to tie the dinghy. But the bottom line is that nobody knows exactly what happened,” Wagner wrote.

“Did I blame myself?” Wagner continued in his memoir. “If I had been there, I could have done something. But I wasn’t there. I didn’t see her. The door was closed; I thought she was below decks. I didn’t hear anything. But ultimately, a man is responsible for his loved one, and she was my loved one.”

Corina says after having changed his story several times in regard to what happened that fateful night, Wagner now refuses to speak to investigators about the events leading up to his wife’s death.

“I haven’t seen him (Wagner) tell the details that match all the other witnesses in this case,” Corina said. “I think he’s constantly changed his story a little bit. And his version of events just don’t add up.”

Referencing the official autopsy report issued by the Los Angeles County Coroner’s office, Ralph Hernandez, of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, told “48 Hours” he now suspects foul play.

“She looked like a victim of an assault,” Hernandez said, pointing out the report’s noting of fresh bruising on Wood’s body.

Calls for statement to Wagner’s spokesperson were met with “no comment”.

“Natalie Wood: Death in Dark Water” airs Saturday at 10 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.

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THE LIST GROWS: Gwyenth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie join list of accusers in Harvey Weinstein scandal

LOS ANGELES, CA — As allegations of sexual assault against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein continue to grow, even top celebrities are coming forward with claims of rape and sexual harassment.

Hollywood A-listers Gwyenth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie are the latest to claim that Weinstein, a film producer and former film studio executive, sexually harassed and assaulted them.

In an interview with The New York Times (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/10/us/gwyneth-paltrow-angelina-jolie-harvey-weinstein.html) Paltrow says Weinstein called her to his suite at the Peninsula Beverly Hills hotel shortly after casting her in the lead role for “Emma” and suggested they go to his bedroom for a massage.

“I was a kid, I was signed up, I was petrified,” Paltrow said. After refusing his advances, Paltrow claims she told fellow actor Brad Pitt, whom she was dating at the time, what occurred and that Pitt confronted the Hollywood powerhouse.

“I thought he was going to fire me,” she said of Weinstein, who she said later threatened her and told her to keep quiet.

Also speaking to The New York Times, Angelina Jolie said that she, too, has had run-ins with the powerful film producer.

“I had a bad experience with Harvey Weinstein in my youth,” said Jolie, who claims Weinstein made unwanted advances on her in a hotel room. “And as a result, chose never to work with him again and warn others when they did.”

“This behavior towards women in any field, any country is unacceptable,” the Academy Award-winning actress said.

Three other women went on record with Ronan Farrow of The New Yorker (https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/from-aggressive-overtures-to-sexual-assault-harvey-weinsteins-accusers-tell-their-stories) claiming that Weinstein raped them. Four others accused Weinstein of fondling them and still four more said Weinstein exposed himself in front of them and performed lewd acts in their presence.

In response to being fired from his own company in light of the allegations, Weinstein says he is, in fact, the victim.

In a statement issued to the New Yorker, Weinstein’s rep Sallie Hofmeister said, “Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein. Mr. Weinstein has further confirmed that there were never any acts of retaliation against any women for refusing his advances.”

“Mr. Weinstein obviously can’t speak to anonymous allegations, but with respect to any women who have made allegations on the record, Mr. Weinstein believes that all of these relationships were consensual,” the statement goes on. “Mr. Weinstein has begun counseling, has listened to the community and is pursuing a better path. Mr. Weinstein is hoping that, if he makes enough progress, he will be given a second chance.”

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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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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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