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Jazz and Pop Singer Keely Smith, Frequent Louis Prima Collaborator, Dies at 89

Jazz and Pop Singer Keely Smith, Frequent Louis Prima Collaborator, Dies at 89
Keely Smith, a pop and jazz singer known for her solo recordings of jazz standards as well as her musical partnership with Louis Prima, has died of apparent heart failure in Palm Springs, Calif. She was 89.

According to a news release from her publicist Bob Merlis, Smith was under a physician’s care when she died Saturday.

Smith was born Dorothy Jacqueline Keely in Norfolk, Va., on March 9, 1928, and was still a teenager when she began singing with Louis Prima's band.

She and Prima married in 1953, and together, they won a Grammy in 1959 for their hit "That Old Black...
See full article at The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News »

Christopher Walken Talks Career and That 'More Cowbell' Sketch

Christopher Walken Talks Career and That 'More Cowbell' Sketch
For a while, Christopher Walken felt like "troubled guys" were the only types of roles he was being offered, and he knows when it began. "In Annie Hall, I played a suicidal guy who drives his car into traffic," he says in his matter-of-fact, stilted, utterly Walkenesque way. "Then in The Deer Hunter, which came immediately afterward, I shot myself in the head. I was playing these disturbed people. That might have been when that started." When asked if that bothered him, he plainly says, "Listen, I'm lucky."

It's a bright spring day in Manhattan,
See full article at Rolling Stone »

'Louis & Keely 'Live' at the Sahara': Theater Review

'Louis & Keely 'Live' at the Sahara': Theater Review
The story of how Louis & Keely ‘Live’ at The Sahara reached its current incarnation is almost as compelling as the turbulent couple of the title. In 2008, when the two-person show was selling out at Los Angeles equity-waiver venue Sacred Fools, director Taylor Hackford caught a performance and approached co-author and star Vanessa Claire Stewart (who plays Keely Smith) about beefing up the storyline. A year later, they opened at the Geffen in a run that was extended multiple times. Critics raved, though not about Hackford’s changes. The team parted company when the show closed, but

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See full article at The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News »

Stan Irwin, Las Vegas Producer, Personal Manager for Johnny Carson, Dies at 94

Stan Irwin, Las Vegas Producer, Personal Manager for Johnny Carson, Dies at 94
Stan Irwin, producer and the personal manager for many celebrities, especially Johnny Carson, died Wednesday, January 21. He was 94.

Irwin was entertainment director and VP-general manager for the entire Del-Webb Gambling/Entertainment Corporation, which included the Fremont and other downtown casinos, during its heyday, bringing in the likes of Judy Garland, Ray Bolger, Frank Sinatra and many other top names of the 1950s and 1960s. Irwin was responsible for bringing Johnny Carson to the Sahara in Las Vegas, where he broke all the records in the Congo Showroom. Others he brought to Sahara for their first Vegas stints included Bolger, Sugar Ray Robinson, Jeannette MacDonald, Nelson Eddy, Marlene Dietrich, Dan Dailey, George Burns, Paul Anka, Bobby Darin, Eleanor Powell, Eydie Gorme/Steve Lawrence, Connie Francis, Brenda Lee, Eve Arden, Bob Newhart, Maury Wills and Shari Lewis.

Irwin guilded the careers of Don Rickles, Buddy Hackett, Buddy Rich, Keely Smith and Louis Prima.
See full article at Variety - TV News »

Embraceable Them

When 39-year-old Louis Prima met 16-year-old Keely Smith in 1949 in a Las Vegas nightclub, it led to a passionate but ill-fated marriage and a long-lasting singing partnership. Their work influenced the evolution of pop musical styles -- jazz, swing, big band -- of the 1950s and beyond. Some say their collaboration marked the birth of the lounge-act craze.Flash forward to 2006 and another nightspot where another prodigious partnership emerged from a chance meeting. Actor-writer Vanessa Claire Smith, a member of L.A.'s Sacred Fools Theater Company, was preparing to move back to her home state of Louisiana following career disappointments. Shortly before her departure, she was waitressing at M Bar in Hollywood when actor Jake Broder performed his solo show Lord Buckley in Los Angeles. Smith had all but given up on her dream of playing Keely Smith in her long-planned bio-musical about the duo, but that night she
See full article at Backstage »

Elf

Elf
Opens

Friday, Nov. 7


Having successfully demonstrated his big-screen comic chops with "Old School", Will Ferrell again proves there is indeed life after "SNL", playing an elf-reared naif who sets off from the North Pole for New York to seek out the biological dad he never met.

While the words "instant holiday classic" might be pushing it, "Elf" is at the very least a breezily entertaining, perfectly cast family treat. Actor-director Jon Favreau, working from a colorful script by David Berenbaum, has delivered just the right combination of naughty and nice, or, as the MPAA calls it, "mild rude humor and language."

That crowd-pleasing blend and Ferrell's irresistible performance will not only ensure that the halls of New Line will be decked out in plenty of green (as if the upcoming final "Lord of the Rings" installment hasn't already all but guaranteed that), but it's also likely to give a certain cat in a certain hat a run for his money this holiday season.

What it basically comes down to is this: How bad can a movie be that begins with a sullen-looking Bob Newhart clad in full elf regalia?

Newhart's Papa Elf provides the narration for this pleasantly fractured fairy tale about a little baby in an orphanage, who happened to find his way into Santa's sack of toys one Christmas Eve. The stowaway wasn't discovered until after the man in the red suit (played by gruff old Lou Grant himself, Ed Asner) returned to the North Pole and was subsequently raised by Papa Elf as his own son.

It soon became quite apparent that the child he named Buddy (Ferrell) was going to have trouble fitting in, given that he was growing at a rate that was roughly three times that of his workshop colleagues.

Ultimately Buddy is told the truth about his being an elf-made man and that his real biological father is alive and well and living in Manhattan.

A Scrooge-like workaholic children's book publisher, papa Walter Hobbs (James Caan) also happens to be a permanent fixture on Santa's naughty list. But that doesn't thwart Buddy, who travels to New York to introduce himself to Dad.

As babe-in-the-woods Buddy -- a vision in green, yellow tights and pointy shoes -- soon discovers, not only does Hobbs not exactly welcome his long-lost son with open arms, but Manhattan is in serious need of an injection of Christmas spirit.

It's jingling formula all the way, but Favreau (who makes good on "Made", his 2001 directorial debut) and screenwriter Berenbaum (who also penned the Walt Disney Co.'s upcoming "The Haunted Mansion"), lend the story plenty of comic smarts. There's sweetness, but it's seldom cloying.

There's also the terrific supporting cast, which includes Mary Steenburgen as Caan's resilient wife and Zooey Deschanel as the jaded Jovie, who works with Buddy at the thoughtfully resurrected Gimbel's department store

But there would be no "Elf" without Ferrell, and whether he's trying to hopscotch his way across Broadway or attempting to navigate his first escalator, he always manages to work a rousing subversive element into his character's core innocence.

Visually, the picture celebrates the best of the genre. The North Pole sequences incorporate animated elements that pay direct tribute to those vintage Rankin-Bass specials, while cinematographer Greg Gardiner and production designer Rusty Smith favor old-fashioned, forced perspective techniques over CGI to create those size disparities between Buddy and the elves.

Aurally, John Debney's appropriately festive score has been supplemented with a generous selection of swingin' Yuletide tunes by Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles and Leon Redbone, while Deschanel, who joins Ferrell in an impromptu rendition of "Baby, It's Cold Outside", reveals a singing voice that's a study in Keely Smith cool.

Elf

New Line Cinema

Guy Walks Into a Bar Prods.

Credits:

Director: Jon Favreau

Screenwriter: David Berenbaum

Producers: Jon Berg

Todd Komarnicki, Shauna Robertson

Executive producers: Jimmy Miller

Julie Wixson Darmody

Toby Emmerich

Kent Alterman

Cale Boyter

Director of photography: Greg Gardiner

Production designer: Rusty Smith

Editor: Dan Lebental

Costume designer: Laura Jean Shannon

Music: John Debney

Visual effects supervisor: Joe Bauer

Casting: Susie Farris

Cast:

Buddy: Will Ferrell

Walter: James Caan

Jovie: Zooey Deschanel

Emily: Mary Steenburgen

Santa Claus: Edward Asner

Papa Elf: Bob Newhart

Michael: Daniel Tay

Manager: Faizon Love

Running time -- 90 minutes

MPAA rating: PG

Elf

Elf
Opens

Friday, Nov. 7


Having successfully demonstrated his big-screen comic chops with "Old School", Will Ferrell again proves there is indeed life after "SNL", playing an elf-reared naif who sets off from the North Pole for New York to seek out the biological dad he never met.

While the words "instant holiday classic" might be pushing it, "Elf" is at the very least a breezily entertaining, perfectly cast family treat. Actor-director Jon Favreau, working from a colorful script by David Berenbaum, has delivered just the right combination of naughty and nice, or, as the MPAA calls it, "mild rude humor and language."

That crowd-pleasing blend and Ferrell's irresistible performance will not only ensure that the halls of New Line will be decked out in plenty of green (as if the upcoming final "Lord of the Rings" installment hasn't already all but guaranteed that), but it's also likely to give a certain cat in a certain hat a run for his money this holiday season.

What it basically comes down to is this: How bad can a movie be that begins with a sullen-looking Bob Newhart clad in full elf regalia?

Newhart's Papa Elf provides the narration for this pleasantly fractured fairy tale about a little baby in an orphanage, who happened to find his way into Santa's sack of toys one Christmas Eve. The stowaway wasn't discovered until after the man in the red suit (played by gruff old Lou Grant himself, Ed Asner) returned to the North Pole and was subsequently raised by Papa Elf as his own son.

It soon became quite apparent that the child he named Buddy (Ferrell) was going to have trouble fitting in, given that he was growing at a rate that was roughly three times that of his workshop colleagues.

Ultimately Buddy is told the truth about his being an elf-made man and that his real biological father is alive and well and living in Manhattan.

A Scrooge-like workaholic children's book publisher, papa Walter Hobbs (James Caan) also happens to be a permanent fixture on Santa's naughty list. But that doesn't thwart Buddy, who travels to New York to introduce himself to Dad.

As babe-in-the-woods Buddy -- a vision in green, yellow tights and pointy shoes -- soon discovers, not only does Hobbs not exactly welcome his long-lost son with open arms, but Manhattan is in serious need of an injection of Christmas spirit.

It's jingling formula all the way, but Favreau (who makes good on "Made", his 2001 directorial debut) and screenwriter Berenbaum (who also penned the Walt Disney Co.'s upcoming "The Haunted Mansion"), lend the story plenty of comic smarts. There's sweetness, but it's seldom cloying.

There's also the terrific supporting cast, which includes Mary Steenburgen as Caan's resilient wife and Zooey Deschanel as the jaded Jovie, who works with Buddy at the thoughtfully resurrected Gimbel's department store

But there would be no "Elf" without Ferrell, and whether he's trying to hopscotch his way across Broadway or attempting to navigate his first escalator, he always manages to work a rousing subversive element into his character's core innocence.

Visually, the picture celebrates the best of the genre. The North Pole sequences incorporate animated elements that pay direct tribute to those vintage Rankin-Bass specials, while cinematographer Greg Gardiner and production designer Rusty Smith favor old-fashioned, forced perspective techniques over CGI to create those size disparities between Buddy and the elves.

Aurally, John Debney's appropriately festive score has been supplemented with a generous selection of swingin' Yuletide tunes by Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles and Leon Redbone, while Deschanel, who joins Ferrell in an impromptu rendition of "Baby, It's Cold Outside", reveals a singing voice that's a study in Keely Smith cool.

Elf

New Line Cinema

Guy Walks Into a Bar Prods.

Credits:

Director: Jon Favreau

Screenwriter: David Berenbaum

Producers: Jon Berg

Todd Komarnicki, Shauna Robertson

Executive producers: Jimmy Miller

Julie Wixson Darmody

Toby Emmerich

Kent Alterman

Cale Boyter

Director of photography: Greg Gardiner

Production designer: Rusty Smith

Editor: Dan Lebental

Costume designer: Laura Jean Shannon

Music: John Debney

Visual effects supervisor: Joe Bauer

Casting: Susie Farris

Cast:

Buddy: Will Ferrell

Walter: James Caan

Jovie: Zooey Deschanel

Emily: Mary Steenburgen

Santa Claus: Edward Asner

Papa Elf: Bob Newhart

Michael: Daniel Tay

Manager: Faizon Love

Running time -- 90 minutes

MPAA rating: PG

See also

Credited With | External Sites