Former Saturday Night Live star Jan Hooks has died, aged 57. A representative for the actress confirmed that Hooks passed away on Thursday (09Oct14). While the official cause of death has yet to be revealed, sources tell TMZ.com that she had been battling a serious illness.
Hooks spent four seasons as a regular cast member on the long-running sketch comedy programme in the late 1980s, and made multiple cameo appearances until 1994.
She shared the stage with iconic SNL stars such as Chris Farley, Mike Myers, Phil Hartman and Dana Carvey, and was famous for her role as one half of the Sweeney Sisters with castmate Nora Dunn.
Following SNL, Hooks had a recurring role on sitcoms Designing Women and 3rd Rock From the Sun. Her last TV appearance was in 2010 on fellow SNL alum Tina Fey's hit comedy, 30 Rock.
Gwyneth Paltrow's star-studded Stand Up To Cancer telethon on Friday (05Sep14) raised a whopping $109 million (£64 million) for charity. The actress, who served as show producer, gathered celebrity pals including Jennifer Aniston, Jessica Alba, Halle Berry, Reese Witherspoon, Rob Lowe, Sofia Vergara, Will Ferrell, Robert Downey, Jr., Kerry Washington, Mike Myers, Jon Hamm and Pierce Brosnan, among many others, to help her appeal to the public for donations and man the social media outlets in Los Angeles to boost funds for the organisation, which supports research into groundbreaking new cancer treatments.
Charity totals for the fourth biennial event, which was broadcast live across the U.S. and Canada, have since been tallied and the amount raised this year (14) exceeded 2012's fundraiser by $28 million (£16.5 million).
The hour-long broadcast also featured performances from the Dave Matthews Band, The Who, Ariana Grande and Jennifer Hudson and rappers Common and Lupe Fiasco.
The Stand Up to Cancer (SU2C) telethon has now raised more than $369 million (£217 million) since its launch in 2008.
Gwyneth Paltrow, Halle Berry, Jennifer Aniston, Rob Lowe and Reese Witherspoon joined forces on Friday night (05Sep14) to raise money and awareness for the Stand Up To Cancer charity at a star-studded telethon. The fourth biennial event, broadcast live in the U.S. and Canada from Los Angeles' Dolby Theatre, featured a slew of famous faces, including Kerry Washington, Jon Hamm and Mike Myers, calling on viewers to give generously to the organisation in order to continue supporting research into groundbreaking new cancer treatments.
Modern Family star Jesse Tyler Ferguson boosted awareness online by engaging with fans on Twitter.com as Fast & Furious' Jordana Brewster participated in a Facebook question and answer session, during which two male fans proposed to the married actress.
Angie Harmon, comedian Dane Cook, Magic Mike hunk Joe Manganiello and Scandal star Tony Goldwyn were among the celebrities who helped man the phones and accept live donations, while Robert Downey, Jr. sent in a video message and Matthew McConaughey, Zooey Deschanel, Bradley Cooper and funnyman Danny McBride all took part in a humorous, pre-recorded cancer awareness public service announcement (PSA).
However, one of the most touching celebrity appearances of the night came from former James Bond star Pierce Brosnan, who recalled losing his first wife, Australian actress Cassandra Harris, to the disease in 1991, followed by his stepdaughter Charlotte last year (13).
Addressing the audience, he said, "To watch someone you love have his or her life eaten away, bit by bit, by this insidious disease, that kind of sorrow becomes an indelible part of your psyche.
"I held the generous, strong, beautiful hand of my first wife, Cassie, as ovarian cancer took her life much too soon. And just last year, I held the hand of my funny, wonderful daughter Charlotte before she too died from this wretched, inherent disease."
Thyroid cancer survivor Sofia Vergara also gave a moving speech towards the end of the hour-long show, urging audience members to shine a light for loved ones battling the disease as she and Kevin Bacon introduced the event's closing performance from rappers Lupe Fiasco and Common and singer Jennifer Hudson, belting out their new cancer survivors' anthem, Remission.
Dave Matthews, Ariana Grande and The Who, via satellite from London, also performed during the telethon.
But the night didn't go quite as smoothly as planned - a live link-up with Ben Stiller from Toronto, Canada had to be axed at the last minute due to a technical problem, prompting presenter Mike Myers to quip, "Evidently, lightening has struck something in Toronto, because I am doomed never to have a live telecast without controversy. I think it's Hurricane Kanye has hit Toronto... (sic)".
The Austin Powers star was famously left dumbstruck back in 2005, when he stood by as rapper Kanye West notoriously lashed out at then-U.S. President George W. Bush in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, declaring, "George Bush doesn't care about black people" during a live TV fundraiser to help the victims of the New Orleans, Louisiana natural disaster.
"He has a weird accent. I'm from Toronto - I have a Canadian accent - and my wife's from Boston, but we live in New York City. He has this weird accent." Mike Myers is baffled by his three-year-old son Spike's odd twang.
"Me and my wife Kelly hate Sundays - I'm not even kidding - and we wanted to turn it around and make it a good thing." Comedian Mike Myers explains the inspiration behind his newborn daughter Sunday's weekend name.
Hollywood comedian Mike Myers became an honorary member of Monty Python on Sunday night (20Jul14) as the veteran funnymen closed their reunion shows in London. The comedy troupe bowed out at the city's O2 Arena after a run of 10 comeback shows, and Austin Powers star Myers made a surprise appearance onstage during the last performance, which was broadcast live on TV and in cinemas.
Myers joined in a sketch with Michael Palin, while British funnyman Eddie Izzard also made a guest appearance.
Other stars in attendance at the final show included Martin Freeman, Harry Shearer and David Walliams.
Mike Myers has voiced his support for the campaign against Scottish independence. The comedy actor was born in Canada to English parents but has Scottish heritage, and famously adopted the accent for his animated ogre character Shrek.
He has now voiced his hope that Scotland's residents will vote to keep the country part of the United Kingdom in a referendum on the issue in September (14).
He tells BBC Radio 4's Today programme, "I love Scotland. I hope they remain part of Britain - and if they don't, I still love them," adding of his film character, "Shrek wants what the will of the Scottish people want."
Myers joins a number of other celebrities backing the 'No' campaign including rocker David Bowie and Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, who donated $1.7 million (£1 million) to the effort to keep Scotland part of U.K. last month (Jun14).
Casey Kasem's children plan to hold a private memorial service for their late father on Saturday (21Jun14). The beloved DJ, who suffered from Parkinson's disease, died of complications from dementia on Sunday (15Jun14).
Kasem's daughter Kerri publicly battled with his wife Jean over his care in the final days of his life, and following his death, she agreed to let her father's widow arrange the funeral.
Kerri and her siblings Mick and Julie, from Kasem's first marriage to Linda Myers, have now confirmed they will hold a separate memorial service to honour the broadcaster.
A spokesman for the siblings says, "Kerri, Mike and Julie Kasem will hold a private memorial service for family and friends on Saturday. We will not give out the location to make sure the ceremony is kept private."
Jean has not yet announced her plans for a funeral or public service. She married Kasem in 1980 and they have a daughter named Liberty.
Beloved U.S. radio and TV personality Casey Kasem has died at the age of 82. The entertainer, who suffered from Parkinson's disease, passed away on Sunday morning (15Jun14).
Confirming the sad news on her Facebook.com page, the broadcaster's daughter Kerri writes, "Early this Father’s Day morning, our dad Casey Kasem passed away surrounded by family and friends. Even though we know he is in a better place and no longer suffering, we are heartbroken. Thank you for all your love, support and prayers. The world will miss Casey Kasem, an incredible talent and humanitarian; we will miss our Dad."
Born Kemal Amin Kasem, the Detroit, Michigan native began his radio career in the mid-1950s, when he was drafted into the U.S. Army and sent to serve in the Korean War.
He ended up landing a job on the Armed Forces Radio Korea Network and decided to pursue a career in broadcasting after the war, heading to San Francisco, California, where he honed his skills as a DJ and became known for his rock 'n' roll trivia.
He went on to work at stations across the U.S., before launching his popular weekly chart show, the American Top 40, in 1970. He hosted the programme until 1988, and again from 1998 to 2004, and served as presenter on two spin-off series, the American Top 20 and the American Top 10.
On the radio countdown shows, he became famous for his signature send-off, "Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars."
He moved into voice acting in the 1960s, lending his vocals to Batman's sidekick Robin in the 1968 superhero cartoons, but Kasem was perhaps best known for providing the voice of Shaggy in the Scooby-Doo franchise, a job he retained from 1969 until 1995 and once again from 2002 to 2009.
His other TV credits included Battle of the Planets, Cliffjumper and the original Transformers cartoons, while he made acting cameos in the original Hawaii Five-O police drama, Saved by the Bell, Charlie's Angels, Columbo and the Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries and appeared in independent sci-fi/horror movie The Incredible 2-Headed Transplant, alongside Bruce Dern. He also made a cameo in 1984's Ghostbusters.
Kasem was honoured for his lengthy career with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on his 49th birthday in April, 1981 and was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 1992.
His final years were blighted by ill health following his retirement in 2009, and he became the subject of a bitter family rivalry as his three eldest children, Julie, Mike and Kerri, from his first marriage to Linda Myers, battled with his second wife Jean, the mother of his youngest child Liberty, over his care.
In May (14), he was admitted to a Washington hospital, where he was treated for dementia, sepsis and and Parkinson's disease.
His daughter Kerri Kasem was appointed his conservator last month (May14), and last week (ends13Jun14) was granted permission to withhold medication, food and water from her ailing father. On Friday (13Jun14), his wife Jean filed legal papers opposing that decision, insisting her husband was not close to death.
Among the first people to pay tribute to Kasem, PETA president Ingrid Newkirk honoured the broadcaster's animal rights efforts, telling WENN, "PETA joins in mourning the passing of former American Top 40 host Casey Kasem. From always touting the importance of going vegetarian to flying to Las Vegas at his own expense to speak out against an entertainer who beat orangutans backstage every night before his act, Kasem was proud to use his distinctive voice to support many social causes, including animal protection."
And a statement from Ken Howard, the president of the Screen Actors Guild, which Kasem joined in 1966, reads, "For many, the multitalented Casey Kasem was the voice of popular music, and his long-running countdown programme brought exposure for many of his fellow union members. My deepest sympathy to his family and friends, and may we all remember him best by ‘reaching for the stars'."
TriStar Pictures via Everett Collection
Comedian Mike Myers has been honoured with his own postage stamp in his native Canada. The Shrek star's face will grace the nation's 85 cent stamp, which will also feature Myers' three most famous film characters: Wayne Campbell from Wayne's World and Austin Powers/Dr. Evil from the Austin Powers movie franchise.
The stamp, which will debut this summer (14), is the first in a series celebrating Canadian comedians. Other honourees have yet to be announced. The proud actor says, "I can't believe it... It's unbelievably flattering. I just wanna thank whoever in the Canadian government decided to put this idiot on a stamp."
However, Myers reveals the news failed to impress his mother Alice, a native of Liverpool, England, and he was a little disappointed with her reaction. He explains, "My parents are from Liverpool... and if Liverpool had an unofficial motto, it'd be, 'Who do you think you are?'. "So I called and I said, 'Hey mum, the Canadian government is issuing a stamp with my face on it,' and she was like, 'Um, is anyone else getting a stamp?' I said, 'No...' and she said, 'What denomination is it?'. (I said), 'I don't know, 20 cents?'. (She replied), 'Twenty cents?' I go, 'Is that bad?'. "She literally said, 'Is it legal tender?'. I'm sure if you got enough Mike Myers stamps you could buy a car... (But) I'm on a stamp! She said, 'Do you not know anyone else who is on a stamp?' I go, 'Yeah, one other person - Her Majesty the Queen!'"
An image of the country's head of state, Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, typically features on all other stamps in Canada, a former British colony which is now part of the Commonwealth.