The longtime manager of acclaimed hip-hop group The Roots has died. Rumours surfaced on Wednesday (16Jul14) suggesting Richard Nichols had died following a long illness, but his musician pal Jon Pinder cleared up the reports on Thursday morning (17Jul14), revealing he was still alive but was nearing the end.
In a post on Facebook.com, he wrote, "Rich Nichols... is fading and it's just a matter of time before he leaves us".
However, Nichols lost his battle with leukaemia hours later.
His death has been confirmed on The Roots' Okayplayer website, with the band calling him "the guiding spirit behind the group".
A number of stars have taken to Twitter.com to pay tribute to the music manager, with hip-hop veteran Talib Kweli writing, "Rest in peace to one of the greatest men I've ever met, Rich Nichols".
R&B singer Jill Scott added, "Enduring respect for a brilliant, extraordinary MAN... Peace is yours", while rapper Phonte tweeted, "RIP to my man Rich Nichols. The lessons he taught me both in and out of the studio were priceless. Rest easy, good brother", and producer 9th Wonder posted, "Rest In Peace, and Power".
The Roots, fronted by drummer Questlove, also expressed their thanks to fans for their messages of support on Thursday, writing, "Much respect and gratitude to all who have expressed your condolences and shared memories of #RichNichols. We thank you."
Nichols began his music career as a jazz radio DJ before signing on as The Roots' manager in 1991. He executive produced all of the band's albums, including its latest release, ...and then you shoot your cousin.
He also worked as a producer for the likes of Scott, Musiq Soulchild, Al Green, Erykah Badu, Common and Sly and the Family Stone.
Singer/songwriter Richard Marx has opened up about his split from his actress wife Cynthia Rhodes, describing their breakup as painful. The Hazard singer announced in April (14) that he had separated from the Dirty Dancing star after a 25-year marriage, and at the time of the news he insisted he was "just having fun" as being single was "all brand new" to him.
However, the musician has now confessed he is hurting from the split but is adamant his new album, Beautiful Goodbye, is not about his doomed union.
Marx tells People.com, "There were people who thought that, especially with the name of the album, that it was going to be a record about splitting up. And it's not that at all. It's really a celebration of romance and seduction...
"It has been a painful time. But I don't necessarily want to bury myself in songs about it, frankly, out of respect. I have nothing but love and respect for my ex-wife and I don't really want to delve into that in songwriting so much. Not to say that I never will, but I didn't feel like that's where I wanted to write from. I wanted to write from a more positive, inspired, hopeful place... I wouldn't discuss (the reasons for the split) with even some of my close friends. It's really nobody's business."
Irish singer Sinead O'Connor has been tapped to replace late soul legend Bobby Womack as the headliner of Britain's Womad musical festival. The If You Think You're Lonely Now hitmaker passed away last month (Jun14) at the age of 70, and on Thursday (10Jul14), festival organisers announced O'Connor would step in for him at the festival in Charlton Park, Wiltshire later this month (Jul14).
A spokesperson says, "Just when you thought that no more remarkable names could be squeezed on to this year's cracking line-up, another one comes along... the compulsive and uncompromising performer Sinead O'Connor."
O'Connor joins the likes of Youssou N'Dour, Richard Thompson and Manu Dibango on the Womad bill.
Latin superstar Gloria Estefan has donated $500,000 (£294,118) to restore and re-open the Miami Marine Stadium in Florida. The Rhythm Is Gonna Get You hitmaker reveals she has fond memories of her manager husband Emilio Estefan performing at the once-popular venue with his band Miami Sound Machine in the mid-1980s, when their song Dr. Beat became a big hit, so she would love to see the graffiti-covered building cleaned up and revamped for a new generation of fans.
Estefan, who is a boardmember for non-profit organisation the National Trust for Historic Preservation, also notes the stadium was designed in 1962 by fellow Cuban-American Hilario Candela.
She tells the Miami Herald, "It's almost a symbol of our community and how much we're a part of Miami."
The singer hopes her generous gift will inspire others to donate to the fundraising group Friends of Miami Marine Stadium, which aims to hit its target of $30 million (£17.65 million) by January, 2015.
The venue used to be a hub for cultural and political events - Sammy Davis, Jr. famously hugged U.S. President Richard Nixon there in 1972 and Jimmy Buffett performed an iconic concert there in 1985.
It fell into disrepair and was closed down after suffering severe damage from Hurricane Andrew in 1992.
Singer-turned-actress Billie Piper won over theatre reviewers with her turn in topical new play Great Britain on Monday (30Jun14), with critics describing the phone hacking satire as "blessedly funny" and "bluntly entertaining". The comedy drama, by playwright Richard Bean, is based on real life British scandals including the phone-hacking trial and the controversy surrounding politicians' expenses, and it was rehearsed in secret before its opening at London's National Theatre.
The opening night came a week after the phone-hacking trial verdicts caused a sensation in the U.K., and the topical subject matter was a hit with the critics.
Reviewers were also full of praise for Piper's performance as loathsome social-climbing news editor Paige Britain, with Dominic Cavendish, of U.K. newspaper The Daily Telegraph, calling her turn "convincingly shallow and ruthless" and adding of the play, "(It is) a vitriolic, bluntly entertaining comedy that initially has the audience tickled pink with its levity, then finally blushing red with national shame."
Michael Billington, in a four-out-of-five star review in Britain's The Guardian, also compliments Piper on doing "an excellent job" and hails Great Britain as "blessedly funny", writing, "It has the bracing quality of topicality and is written with real verve... I mean it as a compliment when I say his play has a tabloid energy and bravura."
The Hollywood Reporter's Stephen Dalton agrees, writing, "(The play) puts an agreeably lurid and highly amusing slant on current events," but the Daily Mail's Quentin Letts notes in a three-out-of-five critique, "The heaviness of the humour obscures much of the seriousness... The play is a bit of a mess in places."
Britain's phone-hacking trial ended last week (ends29Jun14) with former News of the World boss Rebekah Brooks acquitted on all charges. Andy Coulson, another ex-editor of the now-defunct tabloid, was found guilty on a charge of conspiracy to intercept communications and is due to face a retrial on corruption charges alongside the publication's former royal editor Clive Goodman.
Great Britain runs at the National Theatre until 23 August (14).
Veteran singer Sir Cliff Richard is devastated his hotly-anticipated concert with Morrissey in New York has been cancelled. The Devil Woman hitmaker was due to perform for fans at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on 21 June (14) as a support act for the former The Smiths frontman.
However, Morrissey cancelled all remaining dates on his U.S. tour on Tuesday (10Jun14) due to an ongoing illness, and Richard is saddened to hear he will not get to perform in New York as planned.
A statement from his representatives reads, "Cliff and the CRO (Cliff Richard Organisation) are very disappointed to confirm that Morrissey has just cancelled the remaining dates on his tour, including the Barclay Center (sic), Brooklyn, NYC on 21st June 2014 where Cliff was to perform as Morrissey's Special Guest... The CRO apologies for the inconvenience to fans and wishes Morrissey a full and speedy recovery."
Veteran singer Sir Cliff Richard has paid tribute to beloved British funnyman Rik Mayall and thanked the comedian for boosting his profile with his hit sitcom The Young Ones. Mayall co-wrote the comedy, named after the pop star's famous 1962 hit, and played a Richard-loving anarchist student who often quoted the singer's lyrics.
The pair even teamed up in 1986 with the rest of The Young Ones cast to record a cover of Richard's song Living Doll for charity, topping the U.K. singles chart and raking in a fortune for Comic Relief.
Mayall died suddenly at his home in London on Monday (09Jun14) at the age of 56, and Richard has now spoken out to pay tribute and recall how the funnyman's 1980s sitcom boosted his profile.
He tells the U.K.'s ITV network, "I became a fan of his when he was in The Young Ones show and was always thrilled when he used my name during his series. I am so sad at his parting."
Entertainment lawyer Louis C. Blau, who represented the likes of Stanley Kubrick and Berry Gordy, has died at the age of 99. Blau, a former World War II veteran, passed away on Friday (30May14).
Throughout his lengthy legal career, he boasted a client roster that read like a who's who of the entertainment industry, including filmmakers Kubrick and Francois Truffaut and actors Lana Turner, Walter Matthau, Arlene Dahl and Richard Widmark, while he also took on cases for Motown Records founder Gordy, singer/actor Donald O’Connor and author Danielle Steel.
He served as a senior partner at Loeb & Loeb for decades until retiring in the late 1990s.
A lawyer representing Gregg Allman has criticised the decision to include the veteran musician in a wrongful death lawsuit filed against the producers of The Allman Brothers biopic Midnight Rider. The parents of tragic camera assistant Sarah Jones have sued the moviemakers over her death in February (14). The 27 year old died after she was struck by a train on location in Georgia, and her relatives have now targeted the film's producers, as well as Allman himself, whose memoirs form the basis for the movie.
Richard and Elizabeth Jones claim the filmmakers selected "an unreasonably dangerous site for the filming location" and failed to get the proper permission to shoot there.
Allman's attorney David W. Long-Daniels has now moved to distance the star from the legal wrangling, insisting the singer should not have been named as a defendant in the lawsuit.
He tells The Hollywood Reporter, "Mr. Allman and his representative did not have any knowledge that 'live people (would be) on a live train track.' My clients were not at the location when this tragedy occurred nor have they ever been to that location. In fact, they had no role in securing any location for the making of the movie or the actual physical production of the film. They provided creative input on the script and the rights about Mr. Allman's life, and consulted about casting and music. We are confident that the legal process will result in the ultimate dismissal of claims against Mr. Allman and his representative. It is unfortunate that plaintiffs' counsel has taken a shotgun approach to this very tragic event."
Allman recently sued the film's director Randall Miller and his production company in an effort to win back the movie rights to his life story after insisting the project should no longer go ahead. The rocker dropped the lawsuit earlier this month (May14) after reaching an undisclosed agreement with Miller.
Danity Kane's pop comeback has been dealt a blow after singer Aundrea Fimbres announced she is leaving the group as she is pregnant and engaged to wed. Fimbres reunited with Dawn Richard, Shannon Bex and Aubrey O'Day last summer (13) to plan a new assault on the charts, four years after they split, and they kicked off their No Filter tour in San Francisco, California on Friday night (16May14), hours after unveiling their new single, Lemonade.
However, fans of the Damaged hitmakers were in for a surprise during the show when Fimbres revealed she was stepping down from the line-up.
Growing emotional, the 30 year old told the crowd, "I do have to say one thing if you guys don't know. I just recently got engaged.
"Two dreams of mine have been to be a singer and be on stage like this and to have a family. In a couple of months, that's all about to come true. I'm going to get married...
"I've gotten to do some amazing things with Danity Kane, but it's time for me to start the next chapter in my life. So I thank you guys from the bottom of my heart... I love you so much. And I just wanted you guys to know from me."
Rumours of Fimbres' departure began swirling following the release of Lemonade on Friday, after fans noticed the cover art for the track only featured three young girls, appearing to depict O'Day, Richard and Bex, running a lemonade stand.
Danity Kane, which was formed by Sean 'Diddy' Combs on 2005 reality show Making the Band 3, will continue as a trio and is expected to release its first album in six years later this year (14).
Original member D. Woods is not part of the reunion.