Doctor Who star Colin Baker has paid tribute to British actor Ray Lonnen following his death at the age of 74. Lonnen, best known for his role in 1982 movie Harry's Game, passed away on Friday (11Jul14) after a battle with cancer.
He made a number of appearances in cult British sci-fi show Doctor Who, and the series' former star Baker is among those who have offered tributes, calling Lonnen "a really nice bloke and a good actor too".
Lonnen also appeared in U.K. TV series Z-Cars and The Sandbaggers in the 1970s, and worked on both the Indiana Jones and James Bond movie franchises, standing in for the lead actors to screen test leading ladies including Kim Basinger, who wrote him a letter of thanks following her audition for 1983 007 film Never Say Never Again.
Columbia Pictures via Everett Collection
A host of stars including Lena Dunham, Mel Brooks and Sandra Bernhard have spoken out to pay their respects to director Paul Mazursky following his death on Monday (30Jun14).
The five-times Oscar nominated director passed away after suffering a pulmonary cardiac arrest. He was 84. Following his death, famous fans and friends took to Twitter.com to share their respect for the Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice filmmaker.
Girls creator Dunham heaped praise on Mazursky for his attitude to women in his films, writing, "Paul Mazursky created the most complex female characters and the most human cinematic moments. He will be missed, he will be emulated."
Blazing Saddles director Brooks shared his fond memories of his peer, adding, "Paul Mazursky- one of the most talented writer/dir.'s to ever make movies- died today. He was our American (Italian director Federico) Fellini. I will miss him dearly."
Comic Bernhard wrote, "The great director #paulmazursky sent me this note "your smart beautiful & talented, what more can a girl ask for. a role in a #paulmazursky film? we'll miss him."
Guardians of the Galaxy screenwriter James Gunn mused, "RIP Paul Mazursky. Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice is one of my top 10 favorite films. An amazing underrated talent."
It wasn't just Hollywood insiders who mourned Mazursky's passing - record producer Quincy Jones, who penned the score to Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, tweeted, "Rest In Peace to a great director and writer, my friend and collaborator Paul Mazursky. My thoughts and prayers are with his family. Love."
Mark Ronson wrote, "Paul Mazursky & I once had a nice exchange right here on Twitter. He also directed Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, one of my favourite films ever."
Mazursky's other films include An Unmarried Woman, Blume in Love, and Harry and Tonto.
Veteran rocker Sting took to the stage to sing with the cast on the opening night of his new musical The Last Ship in Chicago, Illinois. The Police star's show opened at the city's Bank of America Theatre on Wednesday (25Jun14) ahead of its planned Broadway debut in October (14), and the rocker was in the audience with his wife Trudie Styler.
At the end of the performance, Sting took to the stage for the curtain call and led the cast in a song, according to New York Post gossip column Page Six.
Other stars who turned out for the musical's opening included Paul Simon, James Taylor, Styx singer Dennis DeYoung and AC/DC's Brian Johnson.
The show received mixed reviews from critics, who questioned whether the production, set in a doomed shipyard in Sting's hometown in the north of England, could draw in audiences on Broadway.
Steven Oxman of variety writes, "Do you want to live for two-and-a-half hours in a beautifully sad song?... The show currently works as a collection of songs in search of a complete story, or perhaps as a concept album - filled with mood and emotion and character and sensibility, but swaying as it takes on specifics. What seems to be missing is a driving conflict."
The Chicago Tribune's Chris Jones adds, "(Many) scenes... still have the air of a semi-staged concept album... The Last Ship already is a worthy and earnest musical, but we know how Broadway loves to take those down. Just look at last season."
Lewis Lazare of the Chicago Business Journal concludes, "Most of the theatre crowds in the early going at least will probably have come to hear Sting's music for the show. Fans of his work may find that much of it sounds familiar and pleasant to hear performed in a theatrical setting. But hardcore theatre buffs will soon realise Sting's style of music - for the most part - simply doesn't sit comfortably in a big Broadway musical context."
Australian actress Rose Byrne is set to join James Earl Jones for her Broadway debut in a revival of classic comedy You Can't Take It With You. The Bridesmaids star and Tony Award nominee Annaleigh Ashford will play sisters in the Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman play, about a family of eccentric New Yorkers who clash with another clan over a real estate dispute.
Star Wars icon Jones was previously announced as Grandpa Vanderhof, while Kristine Nielsen and Mark Linn-Baker were also unveiled as part of the cast.
You Can't Take It With You, directed by Scott Ellis, will open for previews in August (14) at the Longacre Theatre.
British stuntman Terry Richards, who famously fought Indiana Jones on the big screen, has died, aged 81. Richards passed away on 14 June (14). His cause of death had not been revealed as WENN went to press.
His son, Terry Richards, Jr., tells the BBC, "He was still in good health but he was more ill than he thought... He'd been dragged behind cars, fallen off buildings, shot, punched. He always used to get up, but this time sadly he wasn't getting up."
His most famous role was in 1981 blockbuster Raiders of the Lost Ark as a swordsman in Egypt who attempts to coax Harrison Ford's Indiana Jones into a fight. In the iconic scene, Richards' sword display is cut off by a single gun shot from the title character.
During his 50-year career, he worked on more than 100 films including nine James Bond movies, Star Wars, The Dirty Dozen and The Princess Bride and doubled for Donald Sutherland, Tom Selleck and Sir Christopher Lee.
His last film appearance was in 1997 Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies before he retired in 1999.
Denzel Washington's A Raisin In The Sun has joined plays featuring James Franco and Bryan Cranston among the most financially successful Broadway projects this season after recouping the $4.25 million (2.7 million) it cost to stage. The show, which scooped the Best Revival award at Sunday's (08Jun14) Tonys, recouped the cash just days before the end of its run on Sunday (15Jun14).
The revival of Lorraine Hansberry’s 1959 play has grossed over $1 million (GBP625,000)-a-week throughout its 14-week limited engagement at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre.
A Raisin in the Sun also features LaTanya Richardson Jackson, Anika Noni Rose and Sophie Okonedo, who also picked up a Tony for Best Featured Actress in a Play.
Other plays that have recouped their investment on Broadway this season include Franco's Of Mice and Men; Cranston's All the Way, which was named Best Play at the Tonys; The Glass Menagerie, with Cherry Jones and Zachary Quinto; Betrayal, with Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz; the Shakespeare’s Globe's Twelfth Night and Richard III double bill, and Billy Crystal’s 700 Sundays.
Actress Lee Chamberlin has lost her fight with cancer at the age of 76. The star, who had been living in Paris, France, passed away on 25 May (14) in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, while visiting her son Matthew.
Born Alverta La Pallo, Chamberlin rose to fame in 1971 as an original cast member of educational children's show The Electric Company, on which she co-starred with Bill Cosby, Rita Moreno and a young Morgan Freeman.
Chamberlin went on to work on the stage, appearing in a 1973 production of Shakespeare's King Lear in New York's Central Park, opposite James Earl Jones as the title character, and she also carved out a career in film, with credits in Sidney Poitier's 1970s movies Uptown Saturday Night and Let's Do It Again.
Her other roles included parts on TV comedy series Diff'rent Strokes, police drama Paris and U.S. soap opera All My Children, in which she played Pat Baxter from 1983 to 1995.
Fox Searchlight via Everett Collection
Ever since the rumors started swirling several months ago, the Internet has been waiting impatiently for a Star Wars VII casting announcement that included Oscar winner and instant style icon Lupita Nyong'o. They finally got that wish on Monday morning, when StarWars.com revealed that she would be joining the cast along with Game of Thrones star Gwendoline Christie. The pair join an impressive cast for the latest installment of the franchise, with acclaimed actors like Oscar Isaac, Max Von Sydow and John Boyega all playing significant roles. However, when it comes to buzz, they all pale in comparison to Nyong'o, who has won over both critics and fans since her breakout performance last year in 12 Years a Slave.
Casting an Academy Award winner is a big deal for a major blockbuster like Episode VII, but Nyong'o is far from the first winner to journey to a galaxy far, far away. Since the first film was released in 1977, the Star Wars franchise has featured several Oscar winners and nominees on both sides of the camera, and seen several of its alum take home the award later on. In honor of Nyong'o's casting, we've rounded up all of the actors, writers, directors and editors who fall in the middle of the Venn Diagram of "Oscar winners and nominees" and "involved in the Star Wars universe."
Academy Award Wins
PRE-STAR WARS: -Nyong'o, who won Best Supporting Actress for her performance in 12 Years a Slave at this year's awards, is the third actor who has taken home an Oscar before starring in one of the Star Wars films, and the fifth team member to hold the distinction. -Alec Guinness won Best Actor in 1957 for his work in The Bridge on the River Kwai, before he played everyone's favorite Jedi Master and mentor, Obi Wan Kenobi. He later earned an Oscar nomination for the part. -Composer John Williams, who has been nominated for a total of 49 Oscars, won his first for Best Scoring Adaptation and Original Score Song in 1971 for Fiddler on the Roof. Since then, he's won four more, including Best Original Score in 1977 for Star Wars. -Ben Burtt had established himself as a talented editor with two Best Sound Editing Oscars in 1982 and 1989 before he edited The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith.
POST-STAR WARS: -James Earl Jones, who provided the iconic voice of Darth Vader in the Star Wars films received an Honorary Oscar in 2011.-Natalie Portman won Best Actress for playing Nina Sayers in Black Swan in 2010, five years after her final installment of the trilogy was released. -Director Sofia Coppola played one of Queen Amidala's handmaidens in The Phantom Menace, and then went on to win Best Original Screenplay in 2003 for her film Lost in Translation. She was also nominated for Best Director and Best Picture that year.
20th Century Fox Film via Everett Collection
Academy Award Nominations
PRE-STAR WARS: -Before he created the franchise that eventually became Star Wars, George Lucas made American Graffitti, and was nominated for Best Director and Best original Screenplay in 1972 for his hard work. Five years later, he was nominated in those same categories for the first installment in the series. -Terence Stamp was nominated for Best Supporting Actor in 1962 for his work in the film Billy Budd, 30 years before he played Supreme Chancellor Valorum in The Phantom Menace. -His co-star in that film, Samuel L. Jackson, was nominated for Best Supporting Actor in 1994 for his performances as Jules Winnfield in Pulp Fiction, a first of many iconic characters. -Marcia Lucas received an Oscar nomination in 1974 for Best Editing alongside Verna Fields for American Graffiti, before winning the same award three years later for Star Wars, with Richard Chew and Paul Hirsch. -Liam Neeson was nominated for Best Actor in 1993 for his heartbreaking performance in Schindler's List before stepping into the role of Obi Wan's mentor, Qui Gon Jinn in 1999.
POST-STAR WARS: -After he played Han Solo, Harrison Ford was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar for his performance in the 1985 film Witness. -Keira Knightley, who played one of Amidala's handmaidens in one of her first film roles, was nominated for Best Actress in 2005 for her turn as Elizabeth Bennet in Joe Wright's Pride and Prejudice. -Lawrence Kasdan, who wrote Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi with Lucas, was nominated for Best Original Screenplay in 1984 and 1992 for The Big Chill and Grand Canyon, respectively, and Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Picture in 1989 for The Accidental Tourist.
Other Awards Of Note
-Three of the key supporting characters in Attack of the Clones were played by actors who were nominated or have won AFI and AACTA awards, the Australian equivalent of the Oscars and the BAFTAs. They are: Rose Byrne, Joel Edgerton, and Jack Thompson. -Ford has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and C3PO, R2D2, and Darth Vader have their "footprints" outside of the TCL Chinese Theater. -Christopher Lee, who played Count Dooku in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith has never been nominated for an Oscar, but he has been knighted, made a Commander of Order of the British Empire and a Commander of the Venerable Order of Saint John, been awarded both the BAFTA and BFI Fellowships, and is a French Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters. He was also a war hero, serving as part of the RAF Intelligence and Special Forces during World War II, and was attached to the SAS for a time during his service. He also once climbed Mt. Vesuvius right before it erupted and fronts several heavy metal bands, because he's cooler than the rest of us could ever hope to be.
Hit shows Fargo, Masters Of Sex and The Big Bang Theory and TV movie The Normal Heart will be the projects to beat at the 2014 Critics' Choice Television Awards after scoring five nominations apiece.
Fargo, which is based on the cult Coen Brothers film of the same name, will compete for Best Mini-Series against shows like American Horror Story: Coven, Luther and Dancing on the Edge, while the dark drama's stars Martin Freeman and Billy Bob Thornton will go head-to-head for Best Actor in a Movie or Mini-Series, alongside Mark Ruffalo (The Normal Heart), Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock: His Last Vow), David Bradley (An Adventure in Space and Time), and Chiwetel Ejiofor (Dancing on the Edge). Colin Hanks and Allison Tolman have also earned nods as supporting actors for their roles as local law enforcement officers investigating a spate of grisly murders in Fargo.
Masters of Sex and The Good Wife, which landed four nominations, dominate the drama categories - both shows are up for Best Drama Series, while stars Lizzy Caplan and Julianna Margulies are shortlisted for Best Actress and Caplan's co-star Michael Sheen is up for Best Actor.
The Big Bang Theory looks set to dominate the comedy categories with nods for Best Comedy Series and acting mentions for Jim Parsons, Kaley Cuoco, Mayim Bialik and guest star James Earl Jones.
Meanwhile, the TV adaptation of Larry Kramer's play The Normal Heart, which debuted in America on Sunday night (25May14), was also a big hit with members of the Broadcast Television Journalists Association, scoring recognition for Best TV Movie and acting accolades for Ruffalo, Julia Roberts, Matt Bomer and Joe Mantello. There were also a handful of nominations for True Detective, Orange Is the New Black, Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones and The Americans.
The winners of the fourth annual Critics' Choice Television Awards will be unveiled at a ceremony in Beverly Hills, California on 19 June (14).
Celebrated writer/poet Maya Angelou has died at the age of 86. The beloved star passed away on Wednesday morning (28May14), just days after cancelling an appearance at an upcoming tribute event due to health troubles. Angelou was due to be honoured by officials at the Major League Baseball organisation at the MLB Beacon Awards Luncheon on Friday (30May14), but she was too ill to attend the event in Texas.
Reports suggest she died in Winston-Salem, North Carolina on Wednesday. Angelou started her career as an entertainer, touring Europe in a production of George Gershwin's Porgy and Bess, and recording an album called Calypso Lady in 1957. She also appeared opposite James Earl Jones in an off-Broadway production of racially-charged drama The Blacks in 1961.
However, Angelou became well known for her writing work and as a vocal civil rights activist. She published seven autobiographies, including the acclaimed 1969 book I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, about her early life and the troubles in America's Deep South, as well as essays and poetry. She also racked up a list of writing credits on TV shows and movies, blazing a trail for black female writers/directors by penning the screenplay for 1972's Georgia, Georgia, and directing 1996 film Down in the Delta starring Alfre Woodard and Wesley Snipes. Her acting career included a turn in well-known TV mini-series Roots and an appearance in Tyler Perry's 2006 comedy Madea's Family Reunion.
Angelou worked with Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X during America's Civil Rights movement, and was honoured for her contribution to society with more than 30 honorary doctorates from universities across the U.S. She was also feted with a Pulitzer Prize nomination for her poetry book Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water 'fore I Diiie, a Tony Award nod for her role in 1973 play Look Away, and three Grammy Awards for spoken word albums.
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton presented her with the National Medal of Arts in 2000 and current President Barack Obama handed her the country's highest civilian honour, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, in 2011.