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In Defense of the Offense of Remakes

In Defense of the Offense of Remakes
You won’t metaphorically hear a louder collective groan on the Internet these days than when news comes of another film or television remake.

Whether it’s “Carrie” on the film side or such TV projects as “Murder, She Wrote” — or the remake-that-isn’t-a-remake-but-might-as-well-be, “How I Met Your Dad,” these projects justifiably inspire cynicism about their motives and skepticism about their value.

Yes, it often seems like the primary inspiration for every reboot is money — welcome to the entertainment business. No, it doesn’t seem likely that they will improve upon the original, or even come close. Most craven at all is when the projects take the title but almost nothing else, thus sullying the memory of the original without any seeming creative justification.

But amid all the pillorying, which I myself have joined in on, let me just make a few points in support of the remake impulse.

Remakes
See full article at Variety - Film News »

James MacArthur: 1937-2010

  • IMDb News
James MacArthur: 1937-2010
James MacArthur, best known to American television audiences as "Danno" in the classic TV series "Hawaii Five-O," died of natural causes today in Florida. He was 72 years old.

As youthful Detective Danny "Danno" Williams, MacArthur became as recognizable as Jack Lord, who played the team's leader Steve McGarrett. However, it was Lord who uttered what would become the series' signature catchphrase: "Book 'em, Danno." The original "Hawaii Five-O" aired from 1968 until 1980; CBS recently premiered a modern reboot of the crime drama with Scott Caan playing Danny Williams. MacArthur, the last living member from the original series main cast, had agreed to appear in an upcoming episode, according to a statement on his personal website.

Born James Gordon MacArthur on December 8, 1937, in Los Angeles, California, MacArthur is the adopted son of playwright Charles MacArthur and his wife Helen Hayes, who was considered to be the First Lady of the American stage. He grew up in Nyack, New York, with his parents' biological daughter Mary, and was educated at Allen Stevenson School in New York, and later at Solebury School in New Hope, Pennsylvania. MacArthur would later attend Harvard but, after working in several Walt Disney films over his summer breaks, left to pursue an acting career full-time.

MacArthur also won acclaim onstage, making his Broadway debut in 1960 playing opposite Jane Fonda in "Invitation to a March." But his clean-cut looks and athletic build won him roles in the late 1950s and 60s in several Disney films, including The Light in the Forest, Third Man on the Mountain, and the classics Kidnapped and Swiss Family Robinson. He also played a pivotal role in the 1965 film classic Battle of the Bulge. During that period MacArthur also guest starred on a number of television series including "Gunsmoke," "Bonanza," "Wagon Train," "The Untouchables" and "12 O'Clock High." He even co-starred with Hayes in a 1968 episode of "Tarzan."

Reportedly it was his appearance in the legendary Clint Eastwood Western Hang 'Em High that would eventually lead to MacArthur winning the role on "Hawaii Five-O."

After "Hawaii Five-O" came to an end, MacArthur returned to the stage, making guest appearances on series such as "Fantasy Island," "The Love Boat," "Vega$,"and "Murder, She Wrote." He also reprised the role of Dan Williams in a 1997 attempt to resurrect "Hawaii Five-O" but the pilot, in which Williams had been made Hawaii's Governor, was never picked up. His final small-screen appearance was in the 1998 TV movie "Storm Chasers: Revenge of the Twister."

According to a family statement reported by People.com, MacArthur spent his time off-camera enjoying sports and played flamenco guitar. He was formerly married to actress Joyce Bulifant from 1958 to 1967, and to actress Melody Patterson from 1970 to 1975. Both unions ended in divorce.

MacArthur is survived by his wife, Helen Beth Duntz, four children and seven grandchildren.

Gloria Stuart: 1910 - 2010

  • IMDb News
Gloria Stuart: 1910 - 2010
Gloria Stuart, the elegant actress who found fame late in her seven decade Hollywood career when she earned an Oscar nomination for her role as the elderly Rose in 1997's Titanic, passed away on Sunday in her West Los Angeles home. She was 100 years old.

Born Gloria Frances Stewart on July 4, 1910 in Santa Monica, California, she grew up in southern California and attended Santa Monica High School and the University of California at Berkeley, where she first became interested in acting. After dropping out of college and marrying Blair Gordon Newell in 1930, she continued to explore acting in productions at the Pasadena Playhouse. Hollywood studios began to take notice of the petite blonde actress, and she soon signed a contract with Universal Studios, but not before changing her surname from "Stewart" to "Stuart" as she believed it would look better on a theater marquee.

Her first appearance at Universal was in 1932's Street of Women, the same year in which she was named one of WAMPAS Baby Stars (young women the industry believed had the most potential for movie stardom.) She appeared in varied roles assigned to her by the studio, but it was her new friendship with director James Whale that led to her most memorable roles from this era, in the horror/thrillers The Old Dark House, Kiss Before the Mirror and The Invisible Man. Underutilized at Universal, she moved on to Warner Brothers, where she would work regularly through the end of the decade, with notable movies including Gold Diggers of 1935 and Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm.

In 1934, she divorced Blair Gordon Newell, and in the same year married screenwriter Arthur Sheekman, who wrote movies for the Marx Brothers. It was at dinner one evening with Harpo and Groucho Marx that Ms. Stuart learned about a new group that they and other actors were forming - the Screen Actors Guild. She believed actors needed protection from working too many long hours and joined their cause, becoming one of SAG's founding members. In 1935, Gloria and Arthur welcomed a daughter, Sylvia, and in 1939 the family left on a tour around the world, only returning home to California when World War II began. It was during this time in Europe that Ms. Stuart became interested in art, and in the years that her acting career waned she focused instead on creating furniture, decoupage, painting and eventually fine art printing.

Ms. Stuart retired from acting in 1946, and remained so until 1975, when she resumed her career with a role in the TV movie The Legend of Lizzie Borden. After the death of her husband Arthur in 1978, she appeared in a variety of roles through the remained of the 1970s and 1980s, including "Murder, She Wrote", "The Waltons", My Favorite Year, Mass Appeal, and Wildcats.

It was her role in James Cameron's 1997 epic Titanic, however, that gained her massive stardom, with her portrayal of the 101-year-old Rose DeWitt Bukater remembering the final hours of the Titanic as intertwined with meeting her first love, captured the public's imagination and affection. Her performance earned her an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. At the age of 87, the nomination - her first - made her the oldest person ever nominated for an Oscar. She received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2000, and detailed her more than 70 years in the film industry in her biography "I Just Kept Hoping". Her work in Titanic was followed by a steady stream of roles in TV and film, most notably two films with director Wim Wenders: The Million Dollar Hotel in 2000, and Land of Plenty in 2004.

Lansbury Set To Tie Tony Awards Record

Lansbury Set To Tie Tony Awards Record
Murder, She Wrote star Angela Lansbury will make Tony Awards history if she lands a Best Featured Actress prize - she'll tie with Julie Harris for the most acting awards.

Lansbury, who has hosted the U.S. theatre awards more than anyone else, is nominated as a Best Featured Actress in A Play for her role in Noel Coward's Blithe Spirit.

Awards news website GoldDerby.com notes Lansbury has already won four Best Lead Actress in A Musical honours - for Mame, Dear World, Gypsy and Sweeney Todd - and a fifth win would tie Harris' feat.

The Tonys will be handed out on 7 June at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. The nominations were announced early on Tuesday.

'ER' concludes on powerful ratings note

'ER' concludes on powerful ratings note
NBC received a towering rating for its two-hour series finale of "ER."

The last episode of the veteran medical drama was seen by 16.3 million viewers and drew a 6.0 preliminary adults 18-49 rating Thursday night. The performance is the most-watched drama series finale since CBS' "Murder She Wrote" ended in 1996 and the highest-rated among the adult demo since Fox's "The X-Files" concluded in 2002.

For an episode of "ER," last night's performance stands as its biggest rating in three years, easily surpassing a March episode featuring the return of early cast members such as George Clooney (4.0). Even a one-hour "ER" retrospective (10.6 million, 3.5) at 8 p.m. performed strong, barely placing second to CBS' "Survivor" (11.2 million, 3.6), which hit a low.
See full article at The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News »

Edie Adams Dies

  • WENN
Edie Adams Dies
Actress/singer Edie Adams has died of pneumonia and cancer, according to her son Josh Mills.

Adams passed away on Wednesday in Los Angeles, aged 81.

She is best-known as the face of Muriel cigars - starring in a series of commercials that ran over 19 years - although her career spanned across the stage, nightclubs, movie screens and television.

A graduate of New York's prestigious Juilliard school, Adams got her start in entertainment in 1950 as the winner of the Miss U.S. Television beauty pageant, which shot her to TV-stardom with an appearance on comedian Milton Berle's television show.

Her TV roles, including a 1963 appearance with Sammy Davis Jr., received five Emmy nominations.

She also sang on classic comedy series The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour in 1960, marking the show's final episode with a rendition of That's All.

Adams later became a Broadway star with roles in 1953 musical Wonderful Town, and 1956s Li'l Abner.

In the 1960s, she took to the silver screen, appearing in films including It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, The Apartment, Under the Yum Yum Tree and Lover Come Back - opposite Doris Day and Rock Hudson.

Adams later returned to TV in the 1970s and 80s with roles in The Love Boat, Murder, She Wrote, and Designing Women.

She is survived by her son Mills.

Lansbury Returns To Broadway

  • WENN
Lansbury Returns To Broadway
British actress Angela Lansbury is set to return to the New York stage in an upcoming Broadway revival of Noel Coward's comedy play Blithe Spirit.

Lansbury, 82, will star as eccentric psychic Madame Arcati opposite fellow British actor Rupert Everett in the show.

The Murder, She Wrote star took to the stage last year in the New York production of Deuce, marking her return to Broadway after a near 25-year hiatus.

Blithe Spirit is scheduled to hit the stage in February.

Emmy Winner Nettleton Dead at 80

  • WENN
Emmy Winner Nettleton Dead at 80
Two-time Emmy-winning actress Lois Nettleton has died after losing a battle with lung cancer. The 80-year-old was a veteran of the Broadway stage, films and television; she received Emmys for her roles in The American Woman: Profiles In Courage and Insight in 1977 and 1983 respectively. Born in Illinois, Nettleton was a former Miss Chicago and Miss Illinois before she became an actress in the late 1940s. She made her Broadway debut in Darkness At Noon in 1949 and quickly became connected to the works of playwright Tennessee Williams after starring in a string of his plays. She made her film debut in the movie adaptation of Williams' Period Of Adjustment in 1962. Other film roles included Valley Of Mystery, The Man In The Glass Booth and The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas. She was also known for regular roles on sci-fi TV series The Twilight Zone, and she also had recurring roles on beloved shows Murder She Wrote, Full House and The Golden Girls. Nettleton died last week.

Comedian Joey Bishop Dies at 89

  • WENN
Comedian Joey Bishop, the last surviving male member of Frank Sinatra's legendary "Rat Pack" who appeared in such films as Ocean's Eleven and Sergeant's 3, died Wednesday night of multiple causes at his home in Newport Beach, CA; he was 89. The Bronx-born Bishop pursued a career in stand-up comedy both before and after World War II, and caught the attention of Sinatra during a Manhattan gig in 1952. Soon after, Bishop was opening for Sinatra's concerts nationwide, and also began appearing in films and on numerous talk shows. He also became a famed member of Sinatra's Rat Pack, which also consisted of Sammy Davis, Jr., Peter Lawford and Dean Martin (Shirley MacLaine is also considered something of an honorary member). The male quintet appeared in the 1960 crime caper Ocean's Eleven, and performed nightly at the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas during filming; the next year, Bishop was asked to be the emcee for President John F. Kennedy's inaugural ball (produced by Sinatra). Away from the Rat Pack, Bishop starred for four years in the sitcom The Joey Bishop Show, which ran from 1961-65. He was also a frequent guest, and guest host, for such TV talk show kings as Jack Paar and Johnny Carson, and briefly had his own talk show in the late 60s. Bishop made fewer and fewer appearances throughout the 70s, occasionally popping up on a variety of television shows ranging from Match Game to Murder, She Wrote, and in a few films, the last two being Betsy's Wedding (1990) and Mad Dog Time (1996). Bishop is survived by his son, Larry.

Hallmark gets 'Murder' case

Hallmark Channel has acquired off-net rights to the long-running series Murder, She Wrote from NBC Universal Domestic Television Distribution.

Starting next week, Murder will air at 7 and 8 p.m. ET on Sundays and as a strip from 8-10 a.m. and 11 p.m.-1 a.m. ET.

The CBS series aired a total of 264 episodes from 1984-1996 along with five TV movies, including the pilot. It starred Angela Lansbury as Jessica Fletcher, a retired English teacher and best-selling author of mystery novels who becomes an amateur detective. The actress earned 12 Emmy nominations for her role, helping to make her the most nominated lead actress of all time.

"You don't make 264 episodes without becoming attached to a character, and I got into a groove playing her," Lansbury said. "It's comforting to know that the old gal's not going anywhere!"

Broadway and TV Actor McDonald Dies

  • WENN
Tony Award-nominee and TV actor Daniel McDonald died of brain cancer on Thursday in New York City. He was 46. McDonald received a 1997 Tony Award-nomination for his performance in Steel Pier and also appeared on Broadway in Mamma Mia! as Sam Carmichael and High Society as CK Dexter Haven. He was also seen in the US tour of Contact, the music and dance show, in 2002. McDonald often worked in television, appearing in such popular series as Sex And The City, Law & Order, CSI: Miami, Law & Order SVU: Special Victims Unit and Murder, She Wrote. He also appeared in the feature films The Ice Storm and What's Love Got To Do With It.

Lansbury Commits To First Broadway Run in 23 Years

  • WENN
Nanny McPhee actress Angela Lansbury will return to Broadway after 23 years away from the New York stage when she stars in the new Terrence McNally play Deuce next year. Co-starring with Mona Lisa Smile star Marian Seldes, Lansbury will appear in the first Broadway show since completing her Tony Award winning leading role in Mame in 1984. However, the Murder, She Wrote actress, will be trying out her stage shoes when she participates in a one-off benefit for the York Company in This Is On Me: An Evening Of Dorothy Parker next month. The Michael Blakemore-directed Deuce is scheduled for a May opening at the Music Box Theater.

Movie Icon Sterling Dead at 88

Movie Icon Sterling Dead at 88
Forties TV and movie hunk Robert Sterling has lost his battle with shingles and died at his Brentwood, California home. He was 88. The ghostly star of TV's Topper was born William Hart in 1917 in Pennsylvania, the son of baseball star William S. Hart. After working briefly as a clothing salesman, Sterling made his mark as a movie star and changed his name, so as not to be confused with silent screen actor William S. Hart. He really hit his stride in 1941, when he starred in five of the year's top films, including Two-Faced Woman, in which he starred alongside Greta Garbo, and The Penalty. He wed actress Ann Sothern in 1943 and they had a daughter, Tisha - but the marriage wasn't destined to last and Sterling divorced his first wife in 1949. In 1951, he wed his second wife, actress Anne Jeffreys, who was with the actor when he died yesterday. Sterling and Jeffreys had three sons and teamed up to become a US TV institution in the mid 1950s as the stars of movie spinoff Topper, in which the couple played ghosts. Sterling retired from acting in the 1970s so he could concentrate his efforts as a computer businessman. He returned to the limelight briefly in the 1980s as a guest star in TV series Hotel and Murder, She Wrote.

Lansbury's Knee Surgery Is Today

Murder, She Wrote star Angela Lansbury is preparing to undergo knee replacement surgery today. The British actress, 79, tripped over an electrical cord on Friday night while joining celebrities onstage for Stephen Sondheim's 75th birthday concert at the Hollywood Bowl. But, according to Lansbury's daughter Deirdre Battarra, the slip has nothing to do with the actress' surgery plans. Battarra explains, "Her knee is so painful from years of dancing. She's pretty at ease about it all." Lansbury is expected to take one to two months to recover.

CBS' Moonves singing praises of Sunday sked

CBS' Moonves singing praises of Sunday sked
Leslie Moonves is learning to love Sundays this season. What to program after the durable newsmagazine 60 Minutes has long been a problem for the CBS chief. But not this year. With the freshman cop drama Cold Case giving a boost to the once-struggling made-for-TV movie franchise, the eye network has rocketed 34% in the key 18-49 demographic and 33% in total viewers on Sundays compared with last year, according to figures from Nielsen Media Research. "I hadn't had a hit on Sunday night at 8 o'clock since Touched by an Angel went off the air three years ago," Moonves said, adding that the time period has historically been of great importance to CBS. "That's where Murder, She Wrote was, that's where Touched by an Angel was, and that's where Cold Case now is. And those shows all helped the two-hour movie after it." Moonves added that CBS has presented a stronger roster of made-fors this year than last -- even if The Reagans, which Moonves dumped amid controversy on the eve of its November sweep airing, was not included on the list.

CBS' Moonves singing praises of Sunday sked

CBS' Moonves singing praises of Sunday sked
Leslie Moonves is learning to love Sundays this season. What to program after the durable newsmagazine 60 Minutes has long been a problem for the CBS chief. But not this year. With the freshman cop drama Cold Case giving a boost to the once-struggling made-for-TV movie franchise, the eye network has rocketed 34% in the key 18-49 demographic and 33% in total viewers on Sundays compared with last year, according to figures from Nielsen Media Research. "I hadn't had a hit on Sunday night at 8 o'clock since Touched by an Angel went off the air three years ago," Moonves said, adding that the time period has historically been of great importance to CBS. "That's where Murder, She Wrote was, that's where Touched by an Angel was, and that's where Cold Case now is. And those shows all helped the two-hour movie after it." Moonves added that CBS has presented a stronger roster of made-fors this year than last -- even if The Reagans, which Moonves dumped amid controversy on the eve of its November sweep airing, was not included on the list.

Lansbury Postpones Work On "Murder, She Wrote" Movie

  • WENN
Lansbury Postpones Work On
Actress Angela Lansbury has postponed work on her latest Murder, She Wrote television movie, following last month's terrorist attacks on America. British Landbury, who has spent most of her life in the United States, had planned to head out to Ireland this week, to scout locations for the follow-up to the popular series, but cancelled the trip in light of America's current situation. She says, "I don't fear flying, but I very much feel it is time for all the family to be in one place." Angela and husband Peter, who have a vacation home in County Cork, Ireland, where their children and grandchildren have often visited, notes that the Murder, She Wrote telepic they're planning is set in Ireland. She adds, "Hopefully, we'll shoot it there next spring ; if not, we'll shoot it in Hollywood."

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