Goodfellas star Frank Sivero is suing the creators of The Simpsons over allegations they ripped off his onscreen persona. Sivero, who played ill-fated mobster Frankie Carbone in Martin Scorsese's classic 1990 gangster movie, has filed a $250 million (£156 million) lawsuit against Fox Television Studios over The Simpsons' wiseguy character Louie.
He claims the mob henchman, who has appeared in 16 episodes over the years, is based on his portrayal of Carbone, and suggests a group of writers on The Simpsons got the idea while they were living next door to him in California in 1989 while he was preparing for the role.
The legal papers, obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, state, "They knew he was developing the character he was to play in the movie Goodfellas. In fact, they were aware the entire character of Frankie Carbone was created and developed by Sivero, who based this character on his own personality... Louie's appearance and mannerisms are strongly evocative of character actor Frank Sivero."
Sivero, who also appeared in The Godfather and The Godfather: Part II, is demanding $250 million in damages as well as legal fees. Earlier this year (14), the actor sued a deli in California for using the character's name on a sandwich.
In Goodfellas, Frankie Carbone is killed off by fellow gangsters and his body is hidden in a frozen meat locker.
Acclaimed musician George M. Roberts has died aged 86. Roberts passed away on Saturday (27Sep14) in Fallbrook, California after suffering complications from pneumonia. He had also been battling multiple sclerosis.
Roberts was known as 'Mr. Bass Trombone' in the music industry, having played on more than 6,000 recordings over his 50-year career.
He was an in-demand session player in Los Angeles from the 1950s through until the 1980s, and he worked with music greats including Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Nat King Cole and Ella Fitzgerald.
Roberts also recorded two solo albums, the second of which, movie composer John Williams served as the arranger and pianist.
Williams went on to hire Roberts to play on many of his film scores, including Jaws and Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
Roberts also appeared in the orchestras which recorded themes for U.S. variety programmes including The Rosemary Clooney Show and The Dinah Shore Show, as well as the Academy Awards and President John F. Kennedy's inauguration ceremony in 1961.
Songwriter and instrumentalist Johnny Rotella has died, aged 93. The musician's son, John Rotella, confirmed his father passed away peacefully in his sleep in Van Nuys, California on 11 September (14), just days before his 94th birthday.
A statement from Kathy Spanberger, head of music publishing company Peermusic, reads, "He was not only a gifted songwriter but also a renowned musician and raconteur. I will miss the lunches... I had with Johnny because we got to sit back and listen to the wonderful stories of the days he worked with the greats in our business, including Sinatra, Goodman and Glenn Miller."
While growing up in New Jersey, Rotella played clarinet and saxophone in an array of bands throughout his teens, and after military service in World War Two, he relocated to California, began work as a studio woodwind player and became established on the music scene.
Rotella wrote the anthem Nothing But the Best for Frank Sinatra and recorded with Neil Diamond, Frank Zappa and Steely Dan.
He was a sought after session musician, a band regular on The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour variety show in the 1970s, and he wrote more than 200 songs, performed by the likes of Tony Bennett, Dean Martin and Doris Day.
Dustin Lance Black has paid tribute to Harvey Milk's speech writer Frank M. Robinson following his death at the age of 87. Robinson passed away on Monday (30Jun14) in San Francisco, California. No further details about his death have been released.
A noted sci-fi novelist and journalist, Robinson is best remembered for penning rousing speeches for Harvey Milk, the first openly gay candidate to be elected into office in the U.S.
The politician's story was told in 2008's Oscar-winning film Milk, starring by Sean Penn, and the movie's screenwriter Black has remembered the man who helped the gay activist speak to the masses.
In a post on his Facebook.com page, he writes, "This morning Frank M. Robinson left this world. He was Milk's speech writer, an acclaimed sci-fi author and was like a father to me. To say the earth feels made of quicksand lately makes it sound too solid. Frank, I'll miss your thunderous laughter, your protective love and your razor sharp writer's mind."
His death comes just weeks after Black lost his mother.
Robinson, who made a cameo appearance in the movie, will also be remembered for his books The Power, which was transformed for the big screen in 1968, and The Glass Inferno, which was combined with Richard Martin Stern's The Tower and adapted into 1974's The Towering Inferno starring Steve McQueen and Paul Newman.
Judges at the U.S. Supreme Court have granted late screenwriter Frank Petrella's daughter permission to proceed with her copyright infringement lawsuit over classic Martin Scorsese movie Raging Bull. Paula Petrella has been locked in a legal dispute with executives at MGM Holdings Inc. since the late 1990s, amid claims they illegally based the 1980 Robert De Niro picture on a copyrighted script her dad had written in 1963, but she didn't file suit until 2009, demanding royalties from the continued commercial use of the film.
Her case was twice dismissed in court in San Francisco, California, citing her long delay in taking legal action.
She refused to give up the fight and took her case to the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., where a panel of judges overturned the previous ruling, allowing Petrella to renew her lawsuit and pursue her claims.
Frank Petrella died in 1981 - the same year that Raging Bull, starring De Niro as real-life boxer Jake LaMotta, won two Oscars.
One of Martin Scorsese's nephews has been arrested on suspicion of dealing heroin. Frank Scorsese, whose father is the Hollywood director's brother, stands accused of selling the drug to an undercover police officer on three separate occasions, according to the New York Post.
The 39 year old, was arrested and charged after the third sale and is now facing counts for criminal possession and sale of a controlled substance.
John and Lori Santillo, who own the mechanics shop where Scorsese works, have also been taken into custody on drugs and weapons charges following a police raid on the couple's Staten Island, New York on Wednesday morning (30Apr14), when cops discovered heroin, five shotguns, two pistols and a rifle.
British rocker Chris Martin has spoken candidly about his split from Hollywood superstar Gwyneth Paltrow, describing the delicate personal issues which drove the couple apart.
The celebrity couple confirmed they had separated in March (14), with Paltrow branding the split "conscious uncoupling", and the Coldplay star has now revealed he struggled to "let love in" and "wasn't completely vulnerable", which "caused some problems".
In a frank interview with Radio 1 DJ Zane Lowe, Martin was asked about the breakdown of his marriage, and he replied, "I wouldn't use the word breakdown, this was more a realisation about trying to grow up, basically... If you can't open yourself up, you can't appreciate the wonder inside. So you can be with someone very wonderful, but because of your own issues you cannot let that be celebrated in the right way...
"What changed for me was - I don't want to go through life being scared of it, being scared of love, being scared of rejection, being scared of failure... Up to a certain point in my life I wasn't completely vulnerable and it caused some problems. If you don't let love really in then you can't really give it back."
Martin also reveals he has been struggling both personally and professionally over the last few years: "About two years ago I was a mess really because I can't enjoy the thing that we are good at (the band) and I can't enjoy the great things around me because I'm burdened by this. I've got to not blame anyone else and make some changes."
However, the singer insists the band's new album, Ghost Stories, allowed him to be honest about his personal issues using music as an outlet, adding, "What Ghost Story means to me is like you've got to open yourself up to love and if you really do, of course it will be painful at times, but then it will be great at some point... I think in life everyone needs to be broken in some way. I think everyone in their life goes through challenges, whether it's love or money, kids, or illness. You have to really not run away from that stuff. Life throws these colourful challenges at you; what we decided to do on Ghost Stories was to really be honest about it and say, this is what's been happening."
The full interview airs on BBC Radio 1 on Monday evening (28Apr14).
Elvis Presley's grand piano, pool table and soda fountain from his Holmby Hills estate in Los Angeles is set to hit the auction block next month (May14) as actress Debbie Reynolds continues to sell off her memorabilia collection. The three Elvis items have just been added to the upcoming Profiles in History Debbie Reynolds Auction, which is set for 17 and 18 May (14) at the Debbie Reynolds Dance Studio in North Hollywood, California.
Presley's Baldwin piano is expected to be one of the sale's highlights, and should fetch up to $15,000 (£9,375), according to the experts. His vintage carved wood pool table has a pre-sale estimate of $6,000 (£3,750) to $8,000 (£5,000), and bidding on the Anderson & Wagner, Inc. soda fountain will begin at $2,000 (£1,250).
The sale will also feature Charlie Chaplin's signature bowler hat, a The Rat Pack tuxedo ensemble, featuring stage outfits worn by Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Joey Bishop and Peter Lawford, Vivien Leigh's Scarlett O'Hara bonnet from Gone With the Wind, and Grace Kelly's safari outfit from the 1953 movie Mogambo.
Actor/singer Cheyenne Jackson and Glee star Jane Lynch are set to take on classic standards for a Mad Men-themed concert at Los Angeles' famed Walt Disney Concert Hall. The seventh and final season of the Emmy-winning drama starring Jon Hamm kicked off in America on Sunday (13Apr14), and on 26 April (14), fans can enjoy a night of music inspired by the hit show.
Jackson, Lynch and X-Men beauty Rebecca Romijn will all make their Walt Disney Concert Hall debuts in a show titled Music of the Mad Men Era, a one-night-only performance.
The trio will be backed by the L.A. Philharmonic orchestra as they sing classic tunes from the 1950s and '60s, including tracks by artists Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra.
Screen Gems via Everett Collection
Justin Timberlake has become one of the most accomplished musical artists of his time. Since his boy band days leading *NSYNC through a string of solo hits, JT has shown that he can rock the iTunes chart with the best of them. The one-time Disney Mousketeer has also been acting for just as long as he has been singing, but without the same level of success. Sure, he's drawn raves for his work on Saturday Night Live and goofing around with his buddy Jimmy Fallon, but his movie career has been middling at best. But that's too bad, because Timberlake has shown flashes that he can be that rare talent that can conquer any medium that he takes on, making him the closest thing to an heir apparent to the Rat Pack days of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. as we have.
At his best in movies, Timberlake uses his natural charm to do most of the work. In last the Coen brothers' Inside Llewyn Davis, his turn as a completely earnest folk singer in early-'60s Greenwich Village was small, but gave the movie exactly what it needed: a counter to Oscar Isaac's self-destructive title character. The look on Timberlake's face when Isaac derisively asks who wrote the novelty song "Please Mr. Kennedy" that they're recording (Timberlake's character did), was played as well as it possibly could've been.
In a larger role, Timberlake was impressive in Clint Eastwood's Trouble with the Curve. The film itself may have plodded along, but JT shined as the former big league baseball prospect trying to find a new role in the game as a scout. He was warm and natural — and cocky in the way that both athletes and artists can be — in playing off of Eastwood and Amy Adams. As with Inside Llewyn Davis, he played the character as a variation of himself and didn't try too hard. When his character actually wins over Adams' prickly lawyer, it feels like a satisfying conclusion. Timberlake did equally well with small parts in The Social Network and Black Snake Moan.
Where Timberlake has not done as well is when he seems to be trying to "act." In Runner, Runner, besides just the fact that the movie wasn't particularly well made, JT seemed to be trying to dial up Shia LaBeouf-style facial intensity as a poker player forced by the feds to help with a sting operation. (Timberlake was hardly the lone flaw of Runner, Ben Affleck as a Russian mob boss was high up on the unintentional humor scale.) He ran into the same situation with the sci-fi thriller In Time.
Oddly, Timberlake has also had trouble in comedies. Thanks to his work with Fallon and the SNL crew, we know that Timberlake can be funny, but largely, he hasn't made that translate on the big screen yet. Of course, the biggest issue with that could just be his choice of projects. Between Friends with Benefits, Bad Teacher, and The Love Guru there wasn't enough material combined for a halfway decent short film.
There's nothing wrong with an actor playing to his or her strengths. Plenty of actors find success playing a continuous variation of similar roles. Timberlake is likable, charming and funny. If he chooses roles wisely — taking on characters that he can relate with on some level and letting his natural gifts work to his advantage — there's no reason that he can't be a bankable movie star. There are roles out there that are right for JT and we'd like to see them take on more of them.