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Showing posts from April, 2013

Annette Funicello dies

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Some truely sad news to report today. Former child star Annette Funicello has died at the age of 70.

The actress, who is best remembered for her time as a Mouseketeer on The Mickey Mouse Club from 1955 to 1957, died from complications related to multiple sclerosis, which she was diagnosed with more than 20 years ago.

Funicello first lost the ability to walk in 2004, and later lost the ability to speak in 2009. Family members say that they were by her side when she was taken off life support, after being in a MS coma for years.

The former actress was the original Disney star, getting her start as a Mouseketeer and staring in Disney films including, The Shaggy Dog and Babes in Toyland, before transitioning into a teen idol. In the early 1960s Funicello starred in a series of Beach Party movies co-starring Frankie Avalon, that included Beach Party, Muscle Beach Party, Pajama Beach Party, Beach Blanket Bing and How to Stuff a Wild Bikini.

Funicello was married to her first husband, Jack Gilar…

Disney and Pixar (finally!) announce Finding Nemo sequel

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The HuffPo reports that Dory is swimming her way back to the box office. Disney and Pixar announced today that Finding Nemo is getting a sequel with the upcoming release of Finding Dory.

In a statement, Ellen DeGeneres (who voices Dory) said: “I have waited for this day for a long, long, long, long, long, long time. I’m not mad it took this long. I know the people at Pixar were busy creating ‘Toy Story 16.’ But the time they took was worth it. The script is fantastic. And it has everything I loved about the first one: It’s got a lot of heart, it’s really funny, and the best part is—it’s got a lot more Dory.”

Finding Dory is reportedly set on the California coastline, one year after its predecessor. The animated flick will include many of the characters from the first film, including Marlin, the gang from the tank, and of course, Nemo.

Andrew Stanton will direct Finding Dory, with Albert Brooks, who voiced Marlin in the first film, returning as well.

Finding Nemo was a major success for …

Rare Tony Bennett concert recording to be released

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ArtsBeat reports: A Tony Bennett concert recording long presumed to be lost will be released on May 28th. The album, Bennett & Brubeck: The White House Sessions, Live 1962, documents a performance by Mr. Bennett and the pianist Dave Brubeck at the Sylvan Theater, on the grounds of the Washington Monument.

Organized by the Kennedy administration as a token of gratitude for the corps of college students who had taken summer internships in the capital, the concert took place on Aug. 28, 1962. It featured separate sets by Mr. Bennett, who had just landed a hit with “I Left My Heart in San Francisco,” and the Brubeck quartet, one of the most popular jazz groups in the country. As an impromptu finale Mr. Bennett joined members of the quartet for four songs. One of those, a bossa nova version of “That Old Black Magic,” has appeared on some compilation albums. But the full concert, which lasted roughly an hour, languished unheard in the Sony vaults until its discovery in December, not lon…

Muppets co-creator Jane Henson dies

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[Editor's note] Some sad news to report from the Muppet world. Jane Henson, who with her future husband and fellow puppeteer Jim Henson was instrumental in bringing the Muppets to life in the 1950s on a TV station in Washington, D.C., died today at her home in Greenwich, CO after a long battle with cancer. She was 78.

The Hollywood Reporter reports: Jane met Jim in a puppetry class in 1954 when she was a fine arts education major at the University of Maryland. While still an undergraduate, Jim was offered a job on NBC affiliate WRC-TV in Washington, and he asked Jane to join him as a co-performer and creator. 

Their television show, the five-minute Sam and Friends, aired before the national news program The Huntley-Brinkley Report and then again before The Tonight Show Starring Steve Allen on the D.C. station. Their characters were forerunners of the Muppets, and the show included a prototype of the Hensons' most famous puppet, Kermit the Frog.

The puppets' first nation…

Cher's family doc to air on Lifetime

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[Editor's note] My little Cher-loving heart be still. She really did it!

EW reports that Lifetime will premiere an hour-long documentary that pays tribute to Cher’s mom Georgia Holt on May 6th.

Dear Mom, Love Cher will focus on the singer’s family history and features interviews with Holt, her daughters Cher and Georganne LaPiere Bartylak, and grandchildren Chaz Bono and Elijah Blue Allman.

The documentary will begin with Holt’s childhood in rural Arkansas and chronicle her six “tumultuous” marriages while she helped Cher to pursue a career.

 The documentary also features a never-before-heard duet performance with Holt and Cher, along with the long-lost recordings Holt taped more than three decades ago that Cher has re-mastered for commercial release later this year.

 “This project started as a gift for my mom’s 86th birthday.  Like most things in my family, it was initiated by my sister Georganne, who asked me if I could update mom’s album,” said Cher in a statement. So I went big …