24 February 2006
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Actor Darren McGavin Dies at 83
, the amazingly prolific actor whose best-known roles included reporter Carl Kolchak in the cult TV hit The Night Stalker
and the irasicble father in A Christmas Story
, died Saturday in Los Angeles of natural causes; he was 83. An actor who received his training at the Neighborhood Playhouse and the Actors Studio in New York, he first came to prominence with a number of supporting parts in the 50s, most notably The Man With the Golden Arm
, The Court Martial of Billy Mitchell
, and Summertime
, all released in 1955. Previously, he had undertaken a number of TV roles, and his familiarity with the medium, along with his tough guy persona, landed him the starring role in the Mike Hammer
TV series, based on Mickey Spillane
's rough=hewn detective. Though he also appeared in films and onstage throughout his career, McGavin was a constant presence in television, most often as a guest star on shows such as Dr. Kildare
, Mission: Impossible
and a veritable ton of others; the IMDb credits him with parts in over 170 individual films and TV shows. In 1974, McGavin landed the role of investigative reporter Carl Kolchak, who in The Night Stalker
went up against a number of strange, supernatural creatures. Though the show lasted only one season, it became an instant cult hit, and a major influence for the "X-Files" school of spookiness and mystery (in fact, McGavin later made a two-episode appearance on The X-Files
). In the 80s, McGavin played the profanity-spouting, lamp-obsessed "Old Man" in the modern-day holiday classic A Christmas Story
, a gambler/bookie in an uncredited part in The Natural
, and the father of Candice Bergen
's Murphy Brown
, which earned him an Emmy nomination. Those roles are just the tip of the iceberg, as McGavin worked non-stop up through the late 90s. Appropriately, his last credited role is for a part in the updated version of The Night Stalker
, which lasted only one season. McGavin is survived by four children -- York, Megan, Bridget and Bogart -- from his first marriage to Melanie York McGavin. --Prepared by IMDb staff
Lohan Lashes Out at Teen Queen Label
Singer/actress Lindsay Lohan
is furious at the media's insistence on labeling her a "teen queen," insisting she also has a devoted adult following. The 19-year-old Mean Girls
star is keen to adopt a more sophisticated image, because the fast pace of Hollywood life has matured her beyond her years. She explains, "I hate it when people call me a teen queen. The past year has felt like five lifetimes because I've grown up a lot. I know better what to do and what not to do. I lost sight of the people and things that are most important to me."
Tamahori Escapes Prostitution Charge
Prostitution charges against former James Bond director Lee Tamahori
have been dropped after the movie-maker pleaded no contest to criminal trespass charges. The Die Another Day
director was arrested in Hollywood last month after he approached an undercover vice cop and offered to perform a sex act for money. Tamahori was dressed in drag at the time. In court Thursday morning, Tamahori, who was not in attendance, was placed on three years probation and ordered to attend an AIDS education course. He must also perform 15 days community service.
Barkin "Receives $20 Million in Divorce"
Hollywood actress Ellen Barkin
reportedly received $20 million in her quickie divorce from billionaire Ron Perelman. The Revlon boss, 62, and the Sea Of Love
star, 51, reportedly ended their marriage on February 14, only a month after Perelman served Barkin divorce papers, according to the New York Daily News. Perelman's lawyer Adria Hillman asked for an order to seal the case earlier this month, which was granted by Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Laura Drager. Barkin and Perelman signed a pre-nuptial agreement before their June 2000 wedding. The newspaper claims Perelman has lost $118 million in settlements with his first three wives, Faith Golding, Claudia Cohen
and Patricia Duff
. Barkin has two children, Romey and Jack, from her previous marriage to actor Gabriel Byrne
Renfro Pleads Guilty to Heroin Possession
Actor Brad Renfro
returned to a Los Angeles courtroom yesterday, where he pleaded guilty to attempted drug possession. Renfro was first in court last month, when he initially pleaded not guilty to attempted possession of heroin. The 23-year-old actor was arrested in December during a sting operation conducted by the Los Angeles Police Department in downtown Los Angeles. The Jacket
star was given three years probation and must continue a drug rehabilitation program. Renfro was also arrested in 1998 for possessing cocaine and cannabis, but made a plea deal which kept him out of prison.
Denzel Fights Back at Broken Marriage Reports
star Denzel Washington
has fired back at reports his marriage is in trouble due to his womanizing ways. The Oscar-winner is still puzzled by the rumors of infidelity and Love children, and he's breaks his silence in the upcoming Hollywood issue of Essence magazine. He says, "I've heard (the rumors). Having babies, I've left home and all this... I'm a big boy. I can take it. But what bothers me about all of that stuff is the effect on the family." The actor tells the publication that he and his wife of 22 years, Pauletta, are standing firm together to fight the crazy reports.
Body of Witherspoon Paparazzo Identified
The body of a paparazzo facing battery charges in an incident involving actress Reese Witherspoon
has been positively identified by the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office. Coroners have confirmed the decomposed body they found in Brentwood, California, earlier this month was that of snapper Todd Kevin Wallace. The cause of death will be announced following toxicology tests. An issue for the 44-year-old photographer's arrest was issued in December after he failed to show up for a bail hearing, relating to charges in the Witherspoon incident. The photographer allegedly became angry when Witherspoon and her friends declined to be photographed last September at a children's amusement park. Prosecutors in the case claim Wallace became aggressive, striking a five-year-old girl with his camera, and shoving two park employees out of the way. Authorities had been searching for Wallace for two months and feared he had fled the country.
Pesci Escapes Charges Over Alleged Assault
Academy Award-winning actor Joe Pesci
will not be charged over an alleged violent altercation with a fan last month, according to police. The Goodfellas
star was accused of punching 24-year-old student Juan Carlos Montenegro in the face after being photographed in a shopping centre car park in Boca Raton, Florida. But prosecutors say that with no witnesses there is too little evidence to bring a case against the star. Assistant state attorney Jill Estey Richstone says, "The investigating officer was unable to determine who the primary aggressor was and there are no independent witnesses to the incident."
Jackson Signs Without Reading Script
star Samuel L. Jackson
was so amused by the title of new movie Snakes On A Plane
, he signed up without reading the script. The movie features an assassin who intends to kill a passenger on a flight by releasing a batch of deadly snakes. Jackson explains, "I didn't even read the script - I just saw the title, 'Snakes on a Plane' and said 'Ok, good. I'm there.' You have got to love that. That's exactly what it is - 500 poisonous snakes released on a flight from Hawaii to Los Angeles. They are (set free) on a time release half-way there, so we can't go back, we've got to keep going. It's fun!"
Houston and Brown Rocked By New Claims
's husband Bobby Brown
has been branded a shameless lothario by actress Tamala Jones
- who claims the singer/actor recently tried to seduce her. The 37-year-old Being Bobby Brown
star, who has been married to Houston for 14-years, reportedly met Jones twice, and tried to get her into bed on both occasions. Jones who acted alongside Brown in 2001 movie, Two Can Play That Game
, tells America's Smooth magazine, "He came over and said, 'What's up?' He picks me up and he's like, 'I heard you been in Atlanta, girl. Why you don't come and see me? Don't you know I always wanted to f**k you?' I'm like, 'Boy you better put me down! I am dating somebody that's in the business, and he's from Atlanta. You know my dude and I know your wife.' He said he wasn't even with Whitney anymore." Last month Houston and Brown denied rumors they are headed for the divorce courts.
Austin To Show Off Her New Look at Governor's Ball
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Slimmed-down jazz legend Patti Austin
will be showing off her new look at the post-Oscars Governor's Ball. The singer, who recently shed half her 300 pound bulk - thanks to stomach stapling surgery, will celebrate her new trim image by performing for Hollywood's elite on March 5. Austin admits she had to do something drastic about her weight after being told it would kill her. The final straw came when medics refused to operate on a torn tendon in her knee in 2004 because she was "morbidly obese." She says, "I was devastated. Then I saw a doctor at Cedar-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles, who said I'd need a wheelchair if I didn't have my stomach stapled." Austin underwent the $30,000 surgery in September, 2004 and now feels better than ever: "I even sing better because I can access my diaphragm and sustain notes with a fuller tone."