Getty Images/Slaven Vlasic
Comedian Tracy Morgan has spoken out for the first time after he was seriously injured in a multi-car pile up in New Jersey to assure fans he is feeling "strong".
The 30 Rock star was hospitalised in a critical condition on 7 June (14) when a Wal-Mart truck slammed into the back of a limousine he was travelling in, killing his mentor and colleague James 'Jimmy Mack' McNair. Morgan, 45, was released from a rehabilitation centre last week (ends11Jul14) and has since returned to his New Jersey home, where he will continue his recovery for injuries including a broken leg, a broken nose and several broken ribs.
On Monday (14Jul14), he was pictured back on his feet with the help of a walker as he was helped into a waiting car outside his house. Asked how he was feeling, he told photographers, "I'm OK. I feel strong. Love you. Thank you very much. I appreciate it."
Wal-Mart driver Kevin Roper stands accused causing the multi-vehicle accident after allegedly falling asleep at the wheel of his truck. Morgan, his assistant Jeffrey Millea and comedian Ardie Fuqua, who were also injured in the crash, filed suit against bosses at the U.S. superstore on Thursday (10Jul14), accusing them of negligence, alleging company executives should have known Roper had been awake for more than 24 hours and that his drive from his home in Georgia to work in Delaware was "unreasonable". Roper denies charges of vehicular homicide and assault by auto.
Actor Tracy Morgan has left a rehabilitation centre following the horrific traffic accident last month (Jun14) that left him in intensive care. The 30 Rock star was seriously injured when a Walmart truck slammed into the back of the limousine he was travelling in in New Jersey, killing his colleague James 'Jimmy Mack' McNair and hospitalising several others along with Morgan.
He was moved to a physical rehabilitation centre after his condition was upgraded from critical to fair, and editors at TMZ.com now report the TV star has been discharged from the facility and will continue his recovery at home.
A representative for Morgan tells the website, "He (Tracy) asked me to pass along his sincerest gratitude to everyone who has helped him get to this point."
Driver Kevin Roper stands accused of falling asleep at the wheel and causing the multi-vehicle accident, and Morgan has filed a lawsuit against Walmart for negligence, alleging company bosses should have known Roper had been awake for more than 24 hours and that his drive from his home in Georgia to work in Delaware was "unreasonable".
Roper denies charges of vehicular homicide and assault by auto.
TV funnyman Tracy Morgan is suing U.S. retail giant Walmart following the car crash last month (Jun14) that left him in intensive care. Walmart truck driver Kevin Roper is accused of falling asleep at the wheel and causing a multi-vehicle accident when he slammed into the back of Morgan's limousine in New Jersey, killing Morgan's colleague James 'Jimmy Mack' McNair and hospitalising several others.
The lawsuit, filed in New Jersey on Thursday (10Jul14), alleges the company should have known Roper had been awake for more than 24 hours and that his drive from Georgia, where he lives, to work in Delaware was "unreasonable".
The suit reads, "Wal-Mart was careless and negligent in the ownership and operation of its motor vehicle, which caused Mr. Morgan to suffer severe personal injuries. As a direct and proximate result of said collision, Mr. Morgan was caused to sustain severe painful bodily injuries, including but not limited to multiple fractures which required multiple surgeries, extensive medical treatment and will require significant physical rehabilitation."
The plaintiffs, which also include Morgan's assistant Jeffrey Millea and comedian Ardie Fuqua, who were also injured in the crash, are seeking damages, legal fees, and pre- and post-judgment interest.
The 30 Rock star was moved to a rehabilitation facility last month (Jun14) after his condition was upgraded from critical to fair.
Roper has pleaded not guilty to charges of vehicular homicide and assault by auto.
More than a hundred well-wishers gathered in New Jersey on Monday night (07Jul14) to hold a prayer vigil for a comedian injured in a car crash with Tracy Morgan last month (Jun14). Ardie Fuqua was among those hurt in the 7 June (14) traffic accident which killed comic writer James 'Jimmy Mack' McNair and left fellow funnyman Morgan fighting for his life after the limousine they were travelling in collided with a truck.
The 30 Rock star was recently transferred from hospital to a rehabilitation facility, while his pal Fuqua, 43, who sustained a brain injury, is also facing a long recovery in rehab.
Fuqua was the focus of a prayer meeting and candlelit vigil held on the street where he lives in Jersey City on Monday, a month after the horrific crash. His friends, family members and neighbours were among those who turned out holding candles, and the street was adorned with green and black ribbons.
Reverend Dorothy Patterson, of Fuqua's family church, led the service and told the Jersey Journal newspaper, "We wanted to just gather as a community, as a family, just to let (the Fuqua family) know that there are people all over praying for them... It's a very close community. Ardie was born and raised on this block, so they all know him," while the funnyman's father, Ardie Fuqua Sr., adds "(It) lets me know that the people care. It lets me know that the people see me when I don't think they see me."
Kevin Roper, 35, from Georgia, has pleaded guilty to a number of charges stemming from the deadly crash. He was driving a truck for U.S. superstore Walmart and is accused of falling asleep at the wheel.
The truck driver charged in the deadly car crash which left comedian Tracy Morgan fighting for his life had not slept in more than 24 hours at the time of Saturday's (07Jun14) horrific accident, according to prosecutors. Kevin Roper, a 35-year-old driver for U.S. superstore Wal-Mart, has been charged with one count of death by auto and four of assault by auto after allegedly rear-ending the limo bus Morgan had been travelling in.
Four other cars were also caught up in the New Jersey pile-up, which killed Morgan's comedy writer friend James 'Jimmy Mack' McNair. The 30 Rock star was left in a critical condition after suffering injuries including a broken leg, a broken nose and several broken ribs, while his assistant Jeff Millea and fellow funnyman Ardie Fuqua were also hospitalised.
Authorities have since revealed Georgia resident Roper had been driving "without having slept for a period in excess of 24 hours".
A criminal complaint obtained by People.com reveals Roper had apparently failed to slow for traffic as he drove down the New Jersey Turnpike, and had to swerve at the last-minute to avoid a crash. Instead, his truck collided into the back of Morgan's limo bus.
Roper, who is currently free on $50,000 (£31,250) bail, is due in court to face the charges on Wednesday (11Jun14).
Meanwhile, Wal-Mart president and CEO Bill Simon has vowed to take full responsibility for the crash, calling road safety "our absolute highest priority."
In a statement issued on Saturday (07Jun14), he added, "This is a tragedy and we are profoundly sorry that one of our trucks was involved. We are working quickly to understand what happened and are cooperating fully with law enforcement to aid their investigation."
Morgan remains in intensive care after undergoing surgery on his broken leg on Sunday (08Jun14), when his representative described his condition as being "more responsive".
Justin Timberlake, Imagine Dragons Robin Thicke and Jennifer Lopez were among the big winners at the 2014 Billboard Music Awards on Sunday (18May14), each taking home top honours. The SexyBack hitmaker, who is currently on his world tour, emerged victorious in a total of seven categories, including Top Artist, Top Male Artist and Top Radio Songs Artist, while he also claimed the title for Top Billboard 200 Album for The 20/20 Experience.
Imagine Dragons and Robin Thicke were also multiple winners on the night, while Lorde had double the reason to celebrate as she was named Top New Artist and her hit Royals earned her the Top Rock Song prize. It was also a big night for Jennifer Lopez, who opened the Las Vegas ceremony by joining Pitbull and Claudia Leitte to perform their official 2014 FIFA World Cup soccer anthem, We Are One (Ole Ola).
She returned to the stage almost three hours later to close the show with her new song First Love as she was feted with the Icon Award by pal Ricky Martin and rapper Iggy Azalea, while video tributes from the likes of Taylor Swift, Keith Urban, Cameron Diaz, Britney Spears, Rihanna and Mary J. Blige were shown on a big screen. She grew emotional as she gave thanks to her friends, family and key colleagues and she wrapped up her acceptance speech by addressing all the youngsters watching the awards on TV, telling them, "Have faith, think big, dream big and know that anything is possible. You never know where you might end up. Thank you, I love you."
Other show highlights included Ricky Martin's energetic Vida and Lorde's first TV rendition of her new single Tennis Court. There was also a pre-taped Birthday surprise from Katy Perry, who recorded a segment from her recent gig in Newcastle, England, where she plucked a real birthday girl from the audience and serenaded her onstage, for the awards show, while footage from Miley Cyrus' concert in Manchester, England last week (14May14), when she sang a cover of the Beatles' Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds with the Flaming Lips' Wayne Coyne and Steven Drozd, also aired.
The main list of winners at the 2014 Billboard Music Awards, presented by rapper Ludacris, is as follows:
Top Artist - Justin Timberlake
Top New Artist - Lorde
Top Male Artist - Justin Timberlake
Top Female Artist - Katy Perry
Top Duo/Group - Imagine Dragons
Top Touring Artist - Bon Jovi
Top Billboard 200 Artist - Justin Timberlake
Top Billboard 200 Album - Justin Timberlake, The 20/20 Experience
Top Hot 100 Artist - Imagine Dragons
Top Hot 100 Song - Robin Thicke featuring T.I. and Pharrell Williams, Blurred Lines
Top Radio Songs Artist - Justin Timberlake
Top Radio Song - Robin Thicke featuring T.I. and Pharrell Williams, Blurred Lines
Top Digital Songs Artist - Katy Perry
Top Digital Song - Robin Thicke featuring T.I. and Pharrell Williams, Blurred Lines
Top Social Artist - Justin Bieber
Top Streaming Artist - Miley Cyrus
Top Streaming Song (Audio) - Imagine Dragons, Radioactive
Top Streaming Song (Video) - Miley Cyrus, Wrecking Ball
Top Christian Artist - Chris Tomlin
Top Christian Song - Matthew West, Hello, My Name Is
Top Christian Album - Alan Jackson, Precious Memories Volume II
Top Country Artist - Luke Bryan
Top Country Song - Florida Georgia Line featuring Nelly, Cruise
Top Country Album - Luke Bryan, Crash My Party
Top Dance/Electronic Album - Daft Punk, Random Access Memories
Top Latin Artist - Marc Anthony
Top Latin Song - Marc Anthony, Vivir Mi Vida
Top Latin Album - Marc Anthony, 3.0
Top R&B Artist - Justin Timberlake
Top R&B Song - Robin Thicke featuring T.I. and Pharrell Williams, Blurred Lines
Top R&B Album - Justin Timberlake, The 20/20 Experience
Top Rap Artist - Eminem
Top Rap Song - Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Ray Dalton, Can't Hold Us
Top Rap Album - Eminem, The Marshall Mathers LP 2
Top Rock Artist - Imagine Dragons
Top Rock Song - Lorde, Royals
Top Rock Album - Imagine Dragons,
Night Visions Milestone Award - Carrie Underwood
Icon Award - Jennifer Lopez.
Lorde and Imagine Dragons look set to dominate the 2014 Billboard Music Awards after landing 12 nominations each. The Royals hitmaker will compete for the title of Top Female Artist alongside Beyonce, Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry and Rihanna, and she is also aiming to take home trophies for Top Rock Artist and Top Radio Songs Artist.
Imagine Dragons will fight it out with Florida Georgia Line, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, One Direction and OneRepublic for Top Duo/Group, and they also landed nods for Top Rock Album and Top Hot 100 Song.
Justin Timberlake follows with 11 nominations including Top Male Artist, Top R&B Artist and Top Artist.
In addition, Luke Bryan, Drake, Eminem, Bruno Mars and Timberlake will compete for Top Male Artist, and Bastille, Capital Cities, Ariana Grande, Lorde and Passenger will vie for Top New Artist.
Top Artist nominees include Miley Cyrus, Bruno Mars, Katy Perry, Justin Timberlake and Imagine Dragons, while John Legend, Luke Bryan, OneRepublic, Ellie Goulding, Carrie Underwood and Imagine Dragons are the six Milestone Award finalists.
The winners will be announced during a ceremony in Las Vegas on 18 May (14).
Mick Jagger and actress Ellen Barkin were among the mourners at tragic designer and stylist L'Wren Scott's Hollywood funeral on Tuesday (25Mar14). Jagger, the fashion icon's longtime boyfriend, helped plan the send off with members of Scott's family.
The private funeral was held at the Hollywood Forever Funeral Home in Los Angeles.
Jagger and Scott's brother Randall Bambrough were among those who shared their memories of the 49-year-old designer, who took her own life in her New York City apartment on 17 March (14), at the service.
The rock star's daughters Karis and Jade read a poem and Psalm 139, respectively, while his other kids Elizabeth, Georgia, James and Gabriel were also in attendance.
Scott's niece Hannah Bambrough read a Shakespeare sonnet and longtime Rolling Stones backing singer Bernard Fowler performed Will the Circle Be Unbroken, accompanied by Dave Stewart.
Southern rock guitarist Buren Fowler has died, aged 54. His former band Drivin' N Cryin' broke the sad news on their Facebook.com page over the weekend (08-09Mar14), and announced plans for a memorial service at the 40 Watt Club in Athens, Georgia on 5 April (14).
Fowler joined Drivin' N Cryin' after the release of their 1988 major label debut, Whisper Tames the Lion. He recorded three albums with the group before leaving in 1993.
Fowler also served as R.E.M. star Peter Buck's guitar technician and collaborator.
Universal Pictures via Everett Collection
Endless Love has awakened something in me. Not a long dormant passion for an introverted high school classmate, or a sudden desire to break into the zoo after dark. A question about movies — more accurately, about movie criticism. The same question you would ask yourself if you fell drowsy in the middle of Citizen Kane, or welled up during the emotional climax of Just Friends. The question I ask myself now, as I recount the 103 straight minutes of asphyxiating laughter that I endured during a screening of Shana Feste’s would-be romantic drama: What makes a good movie?
We assign deference to some films, disgust to others — a lucky few of us make a living this way. But what, precisely, are we reviewing? A film’s mission or its execution? The product onscreen or the experience of watching it? All factors come into play when considering whether or not a movie “works.” But on rare occasions you’ll get a film that offers no common ground in its meeting of these standards. You’ll get Endless Love, which strives for dramatic sincerity, winds up with underwritten idiocy, and provokes in its viewers an unrestrained, absurdist revelry — the kind of joy you’d otherwise be forced to seek in a third viewing of The Lego Movie. Laughter at the ill-conceived antics and befuddling dialectical patterns of our central teen couple — a Mars native Gabrielle Wilde and her gaping mouthed beau Alex Pettyfer. Elated bemusement at the younger generation’s propensity for chaotic disrobing and didactically organized dance parties. Unprecedented ecstasy at the Mafia movie intimidation tactics of an overprotective dad (Bruce Greenwood) and the brain-dead disregard of a supportive one (Robert Patrick). As a comedy, Endless Love is unstoppable.
I can only hypothesize that it was not Feste’s intention to roll us in the aisles. I have no cold proof that her resolution in paving every nook in her Georgia-set remake with another farcical stone — Wilde’s instantaneous evolution from wordless ingénue to sexually aggressive spirit walker, Patrick’s loving caution-to-the-wind attitude regarding any situation that has to do with a girl, Rhys Wakefield’s “black sheep” character forming an odd amalgamation of Pauly Shore and Charlie St. Cloud — was not one of Wolf of Wall Street-like satire, or reappropriation in the vein of Spring Breakers. Here are two movies that earned scorn from viewers who read them literally, and in turn vehement defense from those who peered through the exaltation of cocaine and firearms into the filmmakers’ ironic intentions.
Universal Pictures via Everett Collection
To the latter community, one to which I subscribe, I ask: if we’re readily willing to dive deeper for Martin Scorsese and Harmony Korine, shouldn’t we grant Feste this benefit? If we’d defend the authenticity of the splendor we recognized in their movies, why am I inclined to write off the very same when present in this year’s Valentine’s Day cannonball? Why do I eagerly laud the merit in Leonardo DiCaprio directing Quaalude-charged tribal chants and relinquishing subhuman treatment upon anyone short a Y-chromosome, while instinctively shafting the invaluable merriment in Pettyfer’s goofily deliberate declaration that he likes to read into the category of happy accident?
But an even more precise question (one I was challenged to entertain by a friend and film critic far wiser than I am), and this time to the former community: does it matter? Did it matter to all those offended by gunplay and intrusive nudity that Korine set out to demonize youth culture and its omnipresent hedonism? Did considering his intentions make the endgame any less a visceral nightmare? If not, does it matter if Feste poured her soul into the machination of a timeless love story, only to produce a riotous cinematic episode that treads genre parody as expertly as anything from the golden age of the Zucker brothers? Does it matter that she didn’t intend for Wilde and Pettyfer’s sex scene to come off as super-hoke, for every mention of cancer to feel like soap opera send-up, or for Robert Patrick’s vindication of his son’s passion for menagerie trespassing to elicit the biggest laugh of a movie yet in 2014?
So long as I consider the power of cinema, I’ll never be sure if it matters. I’ll never be sure of the answers to any of these questions. But no matter where I find myself standing on this issue down the line, I had far too much fun at Endless Love — and entertained far too many questions on the nature of cinema and the way we react to it — to call it a movie that people shouldn’t see.
Follow @Michael Arbeiter| Follow @Hollywood_com