Sam Shepard, playwright and Oscar-nominated actor passes away at age 73

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Famed playwright, actor and director Sam Shepard, passed away on Thursday at the age of 73.

A spokesperson for his family stated that Shepard died at his home in Kentucky from complications of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Shepard won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for Buried Child in 1979 and he was nominated for Best Supporting Actor in 1984 for his role of Chuck Yeager in The Right Stuff.

He has made numerous appearances in other films including Baby Boom, Steel Magnolias, The Pelican Brief, Black Hawk Down and The Notebook.

RIP

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MTV’s TRL set to make a return in October

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MTV’s Total Request Live is making a comeback! According to MTV president Chris McCarthy, TRL will be revived this October.

The music video countdown show, which was once a prime staple for the network, ran from 1998 to 2008. Along with music videos, TRL featured appearances by musicians, actors and other celebrities to promote their latest works. It will once again be broadcast live (of course) from Times Square.

Original host Carson Daly, who left in 2003, will not return for the revival. Instead, the show will feature five new hosts in rotation, including rapper/comedian DC Young Fly and radio host Erik Zachary.

Titanic Reunion with Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet and Billy Zane at Charity Auction Gala!

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Jack Dawson, Rose DeWitt Bukater and Cal Hockley are back together again 20 years later!

Titanic stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet and Billy Zane reunited at the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation (LDF) charity auction gala in St. Tropez Wednesday night.

On Instagram, Zane posted a picture with his Titanic costars. “Gangs back together. Now we’re saving icebergs. Go figure.. @katewinseltofficial @leonardodicaprio @leonardodicapriofdn.”

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This year marks the 20th anniversary of the epic blockbuster which continues to make our hearts go on with the love story of Jack (DiCaprio) and Rose (Winslet), and the villain we love to hate, Cal (Zane).

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DiCaprio and Winslet, who also costarred in Revolutionary Road, auctioned off a chance to have dinner with them to support Leo’s foundation and a GoFundMe campaign that Winslet has been active with. The private dinner will be at a restaurant of their choosing in NYC this October or November.

DiCaprio and his environmental foundation hosted the annual event to raise money to protect Earth’s health and all inhabitants, which focuses on six major areas: Wildlands Conservation, Oceans Conservation, Climate Change, Indigenous Rights, Transforming California, and Innovative Solutions.

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The gala featured appearances by Tobey Maguire, Tom Hanks, Sean Penn, Cate Blanchet, Jared Leto and Prince Albert II of Monaco. Lenny Kravitz and surprise guest Madonna were the musical performers of the evening.

‘Dunkirk’ and ‘Girls Trip’ No. 1 and No. 2 at box office

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Christopher Nolan’s latest film Dunkirk opened at number one in the weekend box office, which grossed about $50.5 million in North America and gained another $55.4 million overseas.

The World War II drama stars Fion Whitehead, Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Mark Rylance, Kenneth Branagh and Harry Styles, in his acting debut. It depicts the true story of the Dunkirk evacuation in France in May 1940.

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The R-rated comedy Girls Trip, starring Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Regina Hall and Tiffany Haddish, opened in second at the box office. It earned an estimated $30.8 million.

War for the Planet of the Apes, Spider-Man: Homecoming and Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, which also made its debut this past weekend, rounded out the top five.

 

 

Stan Lee honored with hand and footprints at Chinese Theatre

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Stan Lee’s hands and feet have been immortalized in Hollywood.

The 94-year-old Marvel comics legend was honored on Tuesday during the hand and footprint ceremony at the TCL Chinese Theatre.

“I can’t tell you what this means to me. I’m thrilled,” said Lee.

Among the guests to participate in the celebration were Marvel president Kevin Feige, Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman, Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D’s Clark Gregg, filmmaker Kevin Smith, Star Trek’s Nichelle Nichols and comic book artist Todd McFarlane.

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Like the speakers before him, Lee, paid tribute to his wife Joan, who passed away on July 6.

“I’ve been the luckiest man in the world because I’ve had friends and to have the right friends is everything. I’ve been lucky to have a wonderful wife,” he said emotionally.

“All I can say is I thank you from the bottom of my heart, and I’ve always wondered about that expression – why is the bottom of your heart more important than the top of your heart? So I thank you with all of my heart, how’s that? I wish you all best.”

Lee ended his speech with catchphrase “Excelsior!” which is in reference to the ending of his comic book comics, which has since become his trademark motto.

The handprints, footprints and signature in cement of Marvel Comics co-creator Stan Lee during a ceremony in the forecourt of the TCL Chinese theatre in Los Angeles

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Vin Diesel turns 50!

 

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Vin Diesel is celebrating a birthday milestone today. The Fast and the Furious star turns 50 years old.

Diesel, whose real name is Mark Sinclair, was born on July 18, 1967 in Alameda County, California.

He was raised in New York City, with his twin brother Paul, where he caught the acting bug, beginning in theater, where he appeared in the children’s play Dinosaur Door at the age of seven. He attended Hunter College, studying creative writing.

Diesel’s film debut was a brief role in the 1990 drama Awakenings. He has made appearances and starred  in movies including Strays, Saving Private Ryan and Pitch Black (and its sequels), xXx, The Pacifier and The Last Witch Hunter. He has also done voice acting, as the title character The Iron Giant and Groot/Baby Groot in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1 & 2.

His big break and most notable role came in 2001, starring in the street racing action film The Fast and the Furious, playing Dominic “Dom” Toretto. He reprised the role in installments four through eight of the franchise, Fast & Furious (2009), Fast Five (2011), Fast & Furious 6 (2013), Furious 7 (2015) and The Fate of the Furious (2017).

What is your favorite Vin Diesel film? Leave your answers in the comment section.

Happy Birthday Vin Diesel!

Aaliyah red album released 16 years ago

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Monday marked 16 years since the release of R&B singer Aaliyah’s self-titled album.

It had been five years prior since her sophomore album One In A Million.  After working on other music projects and beginning an acting career, Aaliyah decided the time had come to release a new studio album.

Also known as “The Red Album” by her fans, Aaliyah, hit store shelves on July 17, 2001 and debuted at number two on the Billboard 200 album charts.

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Aaliyah spawned three singles, “We Need A Resolution,” “Rock The Boat” and “More Than A Woman,” in which the latter two would go on to be nominated for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance at the 44th and 45th Grammy Awards, respectively.

This was the album that Aaliyah had put her heart and soul into with the help of her production team (including Timbaland, Jeffrey “J. Dub” Walker, Stephen “Bud’da” Anderson and Static Major), creating a fresh new sound. This was the album that showed the world that Aaliyah had transitioned from a “street but sweet” tomboy to a beautiful and confident woman. This was the album that came at the right moment in Aaliyah’s life, she was in her prime, and it was going to take her to new heights in her career — a career that was tragically cut way too soon.

Below are some of the tracks from Aaliyah’s third and final album. Enjoy!

 

Remembering JFK Jr.

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Sunday marked 18 years since the tragic loss of John F. Kennedy, Jr. at the age of 38.

On July 16, 1999, Kennedy, along with his wife Carolyn Bessette and sister-in-law Lauren Bessette, went missing in a slane which he was flying to Martha’s Vineyard. They were found five days later.

The nation mourned the death of another Kennedy, taken way too soon.

People often wondered if JFK Jr. would have become senator of New York, or perhaps followed in his father’s footsteps and ran for president.

JFK Jr. might always be remembered as America’s prince, the little boy who saluted his father’s coffin on November 25, 1963, but he was so much more than that. He was his own person, and he was going to show us just who John F. Kennedy, Jr. was.

At the memorial service in July 1999, the late Senator Edward Kennedy, said of his nephew, “He had only just begun. There was in him a great promise of things to come.”

RIP Carolyn and Lauren Bessette.

RIP John F. Kennedy, Jr. We salute you.