US

Jul 212013
 
Mick Jagger's 70th Birthday

Photo of Mick Jagger arriving at his 70th birthday bash courtesy of Daily Mail UK

It’s hard to believe that the symbol of rock’s young rebellion is turning 70! (on July 26th)
Mick’s early birthday bash at the Loulou private members’ club in Mayfair brought together the Rolling Stones (except of Keith Richards who by all appearances wasn’t feeling well); celebrities, friends and Jagger’s children. The birthday boy spent the evening in the company of his current lady love, designer L’Wren Scott.

Mick Jagger was born Michael Phillip Jagger on July 26, 1943, in Dartford, England, to a family of a school teacher and a stay-at-home mom.
Well-liked and a good student, Jagger was accepted into the London School of Economics. In his spare time, he enjoyed American blues and R&B. About this time, he bumped into Keith Richards, a childhood friend he’s known since the age of four. Together they embarked on an exploration of London’s emerging blues scene where they’ve seen Alexis Korner’s Blues Incorporated perform. It was there that Mick Jagger appeared as a vocalist for the first time and where Jagger and Richards met the guitarist, Brian Jones.

Soon after Jagger, Richards, Taylor and Jones began forming Rolling Stones. Over time there were several changes in the group. Among past members were Brian Jones (who died in 1969), Ian Stewart, Bill Wyman, Mick Taylor, Dick Taylor and Tony Chapman. (Today’s Rolling Stones’ members are Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood.)

From the very inception of Rolling Stones, the group was promoted as outrageous. Mick Jagger’s sex appeal, relentless energy and on-stage charisma sealed the group’s image.
As a group, the Rolling Stones have arrived at the music scene in 1964. Their first album – aptly named Rolling Stones – was released the same year. By 1965, they’ve had their first #1 hit in the UK: “The Last Time”, and shortly after, another: “(I can’t get no) Satisfaction”. Their second album “Sticky Fingers” released in 1971 cemented their position as UK’s rock stars, with “Brown Sugar” and “Wild Horses” gaining worldwide popularity. By 1989, the Rolling Stones were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Along the way there were tensions, competition and creative differences between the band members (most notably between Mick Jagger and Keith Richards) which caused the group’s several separations and eventually, reunions which produced new, successful collaborations such as Steel Wheels (1989). More recently, 1994’s Voodoo Lounge received critical acclaim as well as a Grammy Award for Best Rock Album.

Even though a post celebrating Mick Jagger has to emphasize his role and contributions to the Rolling Stones, Mick Jagger’s individual work is notable as well. Mick achieved recognition for his solo career as a songwriter and artist and as a film producer. His many successes earned him the title of a knight bestowed upon him by the Queen Elizabeth II in 2003.

Mick Jagger’s life included plenty of sex, drugs and rock-n-roll. There were tensions between the Rolling Stones’ members. There were Mick’s more successful (1985’s She’s the Boss) and less successful (1987’s Primitive Cool)  attempts at a solo career which led to renewed coming together with the band. There were loves: many, many loves….. There were marriages (to Bianca Perez Moreno de Macias and Jerry Hall) and seven children…

There were a few sharp quotes, like: “All dancing is a replacement for sex.” or “As long as my face is on page one, I don’t care what they say about me on page seventeen.”

The passage of time and wrinkles not withstanding, Mick Jagger is a legendary artist who’s ageless and still rocks! Happy 70th Birthday Mick Jagger!

Jun 022013
 

Actress Jean Stapleton, known as Edith Bunker on 'All in the Family,' dies

Actress Jean Stapleton, Beloved as Edith Bunker on ‘All in the Family,’ Died /
US Celebrity Blog

Jean Stapleton is best known for her role as Edith Bunker – Archie Bunker’s wife – in the TV hit series All in the Family (1971–79) for which she won unprecedented THREE Emmy Awards! In the role of Edith Bunker, Jean Stapleton portrayed the quintessential, American wife and mother of the time: subservient to her husband, she nevertheless outshone him; projected warmth and wisdom in spite her alleged “naivete”.

Jean Stapleton was born on January 19, 1923, in New York City. She made her TV debut in Robert Montgomery Presents (1952). Stapleton appeared in the original Broadway casts of musicals Damn Yankees, Bells Are Ringing and Funny Girl. After the 8-year run of “All In The Family”, Jean returned to theater and continued acting on TV and in film.

Early Career

Stage and television actress Jean Stapleton attended Hunter College and worked as a secretary before studying acting. In 1949, she got her acting break, appearing in the national tour of the play Harvey. She worked as an actress Off Broadway, in stock and regional theater and then stepped into a starring role on Broadway in the 1953 production of In the Summer House.

Stapleton continued to perform in the theater, receiving attention for her role as Sister in the 1955 Broadway production of Damn Yankees, for which she sang the classic show tune “You Gotta Have Heart.” Other notable Broadway roles include playing Ella Peterson’s cousin Sue in the 1956 production of The Bells Are Ringing and Mrs. Strakosh in Funny Girl, the 1964 Broadway musical that launched Barbra Streisand’s career. She also appeared in the 1961 play The Rhinoceros and reprised her stage roles in the film versions of Damn Yankees and The Bells Are Ringing.

All in the Family

Stapleton broke into television, making guest appearances in Dr. Kildare and The Defenders. But it was her nasal-voiced performance in Damn Yankees that attracted the attention of television producer Norman Lear, who asked her to audition for what would become her most recognizable role, Archie Bunker’s wife Edith in All in the Family. She won the role in 1971.

Stapleton’s portrayal of bigoted Archie’s charming “ding-bat” wife earned her 8 Emmy nominations and three wins during her eight years on the show. The groundbreaking TV show confronted social and political issues including Edith’s breast cancer, menopause and death when Stapleton left the show in 1979.

Intelligent, liberal and outspoken off-screen, Stapleton strived to break away from being stereotyped as “Edith” after All in the Family ended. “My identity as an actress is in jeopardy if I invest my entire career in Edith Bunker,” Stapleton said in an interview with the AP in 1979.

Later Career

After leaving All in the Family, Stapleton took on many TV, film and stage roles. She made guest appearances on TV shows including Murphy Brown, Touched By An Angel and Everybody Loves Raymond and in movies including Michael in 1996 and You’ve Got Mail in 1998, both directed by Nora Ephron.

She also returned to her first love, the theater, starring in Eleanor, a one-woman show about Eleanor Roosevelt.

(She had also played Mrs. Roosevelt in a 1982 TV movie Eleanor, First Lady of the World, which earned her an Emmy nomination.) And she performed at the Totem Pole Playhouse in Pennsylvania, which was run by her husband of 25 years, director William Putch. In 1983, Putch died of a heart attack while he and Stapleton were touring in a play he had directed.

Death

Jean Stapleton, the veteran stage, film and TV actress died at the age of 90 of natural causes at her home in New York City on June 1st 2013. Norman Lear – the creator of “All In The Family” paid a tribute to the beloved actress: “No one gave more profound ‘How to Be Human’ lessons than Jean Stapleton.” US Celebrity Blog couldn’t agree more.

Respectfully excerpted from Biography.com (© 2013 A+E Networks)

May 242012
 

Her death was caused by drowning (likely due to heart disease and drug use). But did she HAVE TO die?

Heavenly talented, spectacularly beautiful, in her prime, much loved by her family, her daughter, friends and legions of fans and… dead. Why?!

The official autopsy results are in. The Los Angeles County Coroner’s office issued Whitney Houston’s official cause of death, ruling it an accidental drowning. The drowning has been attributed to atherosclerotic heart disease and cocaine use. Even though no cocaine was present in Whitney’s bathroom, it was found in her system. There are some speculations suggesting that the scene of Whitney Houston’s death has been “cleaned up” before an ambulance was summoned.

Years of drug abuse have seriously damaged her heart, not just her powerful, crystal-clear voice. Worse, she didn’t clean up her act as so many believed. She continued using cocaine up to the end which undoubtedly sped up her death.
To me personally – especially in the video of Whitney’s rendition of the national anthem – she’s the symbol of life. Her joy, energy, the sparkle in her eyes, her smile that could brighten a stadium are as memorable as her voice. To accept that all that succumbed to a drug addiction is next to impossible.

The mystery of Whitney Houston’s passing might be solved; many questions however continue to linger.

– who supplied the drugs?
– who knew that she’s still addicted?
– why no action was taken to help her deal with addiction?
– who were the secret enablers? (They’re always there and always immune from prosecution!)

Finally, a drug-related death of a celebrity makes a regular person wonder what are the chances of combating drug addiction without the money, fame and support celebrities have. If so many of the rich and famous succumb to drugs, unable to ever beat the habit, can a “regular mortal” succeed?

Whitney Houston is gone. The mystery of her death has been solved. The disbelief, if not outrage over her untimely passing will have us perplexed us for a long time.

Read Thinking of Whitney Houston

May 232012
 

Martina Navratilova A True Champion No Matter What, Dancing with the Star not withstanding.

The spotlight is once again, on Martina Navratilova as she competed on Dancing with the Stars. Her initial appearance took everyone by surprise: she is radiantly beautiful! But did we really have a right to be surprised? She’s proven her beauty and integrity throughout her life.

Martina achieved fame, fortune and recognition for her unparalleled achievements on the tennis court. To quote from her Website: “She won 59 grand slam titles, including a record 9 Wimbledon singles championships.” According to other sources Navratilova won more professional Singles titles (167) than any other woman or man in the history of tennis!

Even this is not the full description of Martina Navratilova. She faces life with the same integrity she demonstrated throughout her long and illustrious career on the tennis court. Openly lesbian, she was confronted with many roadblocks along her way and faced them with courage. She’s always been supportive of LGBT causes and is one of the founders of The Rainbow Endowment. Martina is a recognized author, vegetarian, splits her time between her homes in Florida and Colorado…. and at 56 had the courage to start dancing!

So, Martina Navratilova didn’t win this time. But she competed with the best of them, true to her motto: “Just go out there and do what you have to do.” It was a privilege to see yet another dimension of Martina Navratilova, Champion on and off the tennis court.

Learn more about Martina Navratilova on her Website.

May 232012
 

Kim Kardashian got flour-bombed; Kim to support charity for women, more.

Kim Kardashian helps women improve their lives

Except of Kim Kardashian’s brief marriage on which we didn’t comment (after all, not only celebrities mess up their personal lives!) we kept up with some of the turbulent events in the Kardashians’ lives.

We’re not fans of the family or their reality show. But even we couldn’t help but notice that the shrewd sisters are not only spectacularly successful in business but gradually becoming – if not respectable – than likeable!
It seems that they begun noticing the world around them, took interest and – lo and behold – action to make things better!

Khloe Kardashian hosted a toy drive for the Children’s Hospital of Dallas last year. Kim Kardashian was pitching in for Los Angeles Mission and other causes in the past. This time Kim pledged her support for Dress for Success Worldwide. (To quote from Dress for Success Website: “The mission of Dress for Success is to promote the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support and the career development tools to help women thrive in work and in life.”) She’s even planning to donate some of the profits from the sales of fragrance (True Reflection) to the charity.

We may not admire careers built on a flash in the pan, but we acknowledge charitable affords: way to go Kardashian sisters!
Perhaps the troubled siblings are beginning to grow up. If their hearts match their exteriors we may all become fans, eventually.

Kim Kardashian Flour-Bombed

We’ve heard it; we’ve seen it: a member of the public, allegedly offended by Kim wearing real fur, “attacked” her with a bag of flour ruining Kim’s perfect hair and makeup, not to mention her outfit. Kim didn’t press charges; dusted herself off – literally! – and completed the event.

Altogether, not a world-shattering event; just a bit of disorderly conduct, responded to in a surprisingly classy way by Kim. The larger questions behind the otherwise minor incident are:
1/ the issue of personal safety of celebrities
2/ the definition of a socially-acceptable, civil behavior

As for Kim Kardashian’s security; it failed to protect her from a relatively harmless attack. (It would have failed also if the attack wasn’t harmless.)
As for the alleged animal rights’ activist – and let’s be clear: I don’t condone wearing animal skin as a garment – it seems to be a case of a confused fame-seeker. A young woman who decided to snatch some attention for herself at a public event, at the expense of another.

I have expressed my feelings about the Kardashians on US Celebrity Blog in the past and I’m not a fan. Still, in this case I find Kim’s conduct praiseworthy. I also believe that the behavior of the thrill-seeker should be punished, at the very least by a citation. Having differing convictions doesn’t justify ANY form of physical assault with flour or otherwise. The flour-bombing was inappropriate, there are safer, smarter and more effective venues for expressing one’s views.

Read more on the Obsession with The Kardashians

May 232012
 

Ashton Kutcher and other celebrities are planning a trip into space.

Money can buy just about ANYTHING: beauty, love, youth and immunity from the law; now we’re learning that space travel is open for bids as well…. Here is an update on Celebrity Space Travel.

Ashton Kutcher is the latest celebrity who shelled out $200,000 for a two and half hour roundtrip ticket into space, undoubtedly a thrill of a lifetime. He’s joined the waiting list of numerous celebrities eager to conquer the Universe. Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Tom Hanks and Katy Perry are the others. Not to be outdone, Stephen Hawking – recognized as the Einstein of our times – will travel as well but his ticket – based on what we know so far – will be free.

The space-travel venture SpaceShipTwo (owned and run by Sir Richard Branson) is scheduled to take flight later this year.

Upon the news of Kutcher’s booking the space flight, Branson said: “Ashton is joining a fast expanding group of true pioneers who are on their way to a life changing experience and a place in the history books. It’s great to have him on board.”

Space. the new frontier has just opened for fearless pioneers who have enough money to burn some…. And YOU believe that a trip to the movies is expensive…. Chill out, you can book a space trip too, only first you’ll need a job with a salary compatible with Ashton’s. Having replaced Charlie Sheen on “Two And Half Men” Kutcher has a $15.4 million contract which means that the trip costs him LESS than one week’s salary. Celebrity Space Travel? If you’ve got this kind of money, you’ll become a celebrity automatically. Got money, will fly….

Apr 112012
 

Welsh mezzo-soprano star is taking America by storm on Dancing with the Stars!

Beautiful, charming and quite a magical dancer, this blonde bombshell has many viewers of Dancing with Stars asking: who is Katherine Jenkins? Here s the answer!

She’s not just a dazzling dancer, but a spirited “brainiac” who studied Italian, German, French and Russian and graduated with honors
from the Royal Academy Of Music, University Of London.
Relatively little known in our neck of the woods, Katherine Jenkins is a major star in her native Wales (UK). She’s an award-winning mezzo-soprano who sings classical tunes, arias, hymns as well as pop songs and Britain’s all-time best-selling classical artist.
Her very first album (“Premiere”) was an instant hit and established Katherine as the only performer in music’s history to achieve and hold position #1, 2, 3, and 4 on classical albums’ charts at the same time! She’s also the first female artist to receive two consecutive Classical BRIT Awards.

Born in 1980 in Neath, Wales (UK), Katherine Jenkins lost her father to cancer when she was only 15. At 19 she successfully fought off a rapist. Following her stirring rendition of “We’ll Meet Again”, Katherine was declared “the new Forces’ Sweetheart”. The title inspired her to join in the tradition of entertaining British troops on the frontlines. On her first trip to Iraq (to Shanibah, the largest British base in Southern Iraq) on Christmas 2005, the helicopter carrying the singer was targeted by missiles. Luckily, the attack was deflected with anti-missile flares and the helicopter landed safely in Iraq. She went back to entertain troops stationed in Iraq several times since.

Among Katherine Jenkins’ career highlights are
o a 2004 six-album deal with Universal worth £1 million which was the highest amount paid for classical recording in UK’s history.
o a 2009 record-breaking $10 million (£5.8 million) recording contract with Warner Music
o in 2010 Katherine was a mentor and a judge on British ITV’s “Popstar to Operastar”.
o in 2012 Katherine Jenkins is taking America by storm as a contestant on “Dancing with the Stars”

Learn more about Katherine Jenkins on her Website.

UPDATE: Here’s a look at Katherine Jenkins in the aftermath of this season’s Dancing With The Stars, technically speaking Katherine didn’t win. Objectively speaking, she did because the three finalists (and I’d like to say even more that the last-standing three!) were all perfect. The final vote of the public wasn’t based on performance (all of the finalists were quite frankly amazing) but the popularity they’ve had in the US even before the show. Katherine Jenkins didn’t win the popularity contest but along with several other contestants she’s certainly distinguished herself as a magnificent dancer who will be remembered long after the show!