Stars including J.K. Rowling, Geri Halliwell, Laurence Fox, and Richard E. Grant are celebrating after Scotland voted to reject independence from the U.K.
Scots went to the polls on Thursday (18Sep14) for a ballot on whether to break away from the rest of Britain to become a self-governing nation. More than 55 per cent of voters chose to stay in the union, defeating the independence bid, and celebrities who had previously voiced their support for a 'No' vote took to Twitter.com on Friday (19Sep14) to share their delight after the result was announced.
Harry Potter author Rowling writes, "Been up all night watching Scotland make history. A huge turnout, a peaceful democratic process: we should be proud", Gosford Park star Fox writes, "Morning Scotland. Love you very much", and singer/songwriter Billy Bragg adds, "Referendum result: a new constitutional settlement for U.K. Big thank you to people of Scotland for putting devo (devolution) for England on the agenda."
Former Spice Girls star Halliwell writes, "Thank you Scotland - together we are Great Britain. X", actor Grant tweets, "Huge relief that we continue to be the United Kingdom", and True Blood star Robert Kazinsky adds, "Thank you Scotland, would be sad if one of (my) favorite places on earth was no longer part of my home. Back to the highlands I can go!"
Many of those who supported the 'Yes' campaign are trying to take some positives from the result - actor Alan Cumming writes, "Yes still means something. Please try to remember that. My YES friends", and Simon Pegg adds, "Feel sad for those who campaigned hard for a yes vote. Hopefully some meaningful change will come of this. It was by no means a landslide."
Other stars tweeting their surprise at how the campaign galvanised Scots into voting include Duran Duran singer Simon Le Bon, Muse frontman Matt Bellamy, and Harry Potter actor Matthew Lewis. However, one celebrity was left red-faced by the election result - Fast & Furious actress Michelle Rodriguez thought the country had voted for independence, tweeting, "And the Scot's vote... Was a Yes!!!"
Kc & The Sunshine Band frontman Harry Wayne Casey has paid tribute to disco and R&B mogul Henry Stone, following his death on Thursday (07Aug14). The TK Records co-founder passed away from natural causes at the age of 93 at a Florida hospital.
Stone played an instrumental part in the careers of Ray Charles, James Brown and KC & The Sunshine Band after launching his own recording studio and label in 1948.
Charles became his first big artist, recording his early song St. Pete Florida Blues, also known as I Found My Baby There, at the studio.
Stone also helped to sign soul legend Brown and his band The Famous Flames, and scored a big hit with Please, Please, Please in 1956.
Casey, aka KC, worked part time at TK Records and ended up landing his group a deal at the label, where they experienced huge success with songs including Get Down Tonight, Shake, Shake, Shake (Shake Your Booty), That's the Way (I Like It), and I'm Your Boogie Man.
He also co-wrote George McRae's hit Rock Your Body in the mid-1970s with his bandmate Richard Finch.
Calling Stone his "mentor", Casey adds, "Henry believed in me when no one else did."
Meanwhile, Finch tells the Miami Herald, "The world of music has lost a trailblazer - a legend - but personally, I've lost the only father I've ever known.
"He was my friend and mentor... He gave life to the studio concept that Harry and I created together at TK, resulting in the birth of our band, KC & the Sunshine Band. Our success, the success of so many other TK artists, all props and thanks lie solely at the feet of Henry Stone."
Cabaret performer and songwriter Michael Brown has died at the age of 93. The musician lost his battle with lymphoma at his New York home on 11 June (14).
Brown began his entertainment career in the late 1940s after landing a gig at legendary Big Apple cabaret mogul Julius Monk's Le Ruban Bleu venue and penned songs for all of the guru's revues, including Four Below in 1956, Dressed to the Nines in 1960 and Dime a Dozen in 1962.
He also worked on Broadway, writing tunes like Lizzie Borden for Leonard Sillman's New Faces of 1952, which was later adapted into a film directed by Harry Horner, and Indoor Girl, which was performed by singer/actress Pearl Bailey in a 1954 production of Harold Arlen and Truman Capote's House of Flowers.
Lizzie Borden was later recorded by the Chad Mitchell Trio vocal group, which also popularised another of Brown's songs, The John Birch Society.
Brown's success allowed him and his wife, Joy Williams Brown, to support author pal Harper Lee financially for a whole year while she completed work on her literary classic To Kill a Mockingbird in 1956. They broke the news to the writer with a Christmas note which read: "You have one year off from your job to write whatever you please. Merry Christmas."
To Kill a Mockingbird, Lee's only published book, was released in 1960 and earned her the Pulitzer Prize.
Harry Potter star Emma Watson has officially graduated from Brown University in Rhode Island with a degree in English literature. The British actress donned the traditional cap and gown to pick up her diploma on Sunday (25May14).
The 24 year old then posted a graduation day 'selfie' on Twitter.com.
Watson spent five years studying for her diploma - she took a break in 2011 to promote the final Harry Potter movie, The Deathly Hallows: Part 2.
Actress Emma Watson is set to graduate from Brown University later this month (May14). The Harry Potter star will receive a degree in English literature in Providence, Rhode Island on 25 May (14).
Watson began her studies at the university in 2009 but decided to take "a semester or two" off before transferring to Worcester College in Oxford for the 2011-2012 school year, and then subsequently returning to Brown.
A spokesperson for Watson confirms she will attend the commencement ceremony.
Actress Emma Watson has become a certified yoga instructor. The Harry Potter star, who graduates from Brown University with a degree in English in May (14), is hoping to get back to some of her favourite hobbies this summer, and that might find her taking charge of fans' yoga sessions.
Talking about life after university in the new issue of Wonderland magazine, the 23 year old says, "I feel like I have so much more to accomplish as an actress. I'd love to try theatre and that's a whole other thing.
"When I finish my degree, I will have a lot more time to pursue other passions, and I want to figure out what those will be.
"I love having something completely unrelated to the film industry. I want to find something that will let me use my brain in another way. I love painting, so maybe I (will) hone in on that and do more art classes? Or maybe something different. I'm a board two certified qualified yoga instructor."
"I guess everyone in their Freshman year is kind of nervous and figuring it all out. I think people kind of took pity on me. Like, 'She's English, she doesn't really know where she's going'... Brown kids were actually weirdly protective of me, in situations around Providence (Rhode Island). They kind of saw it as their role to help me have that experience somehow. They kind of got it." Harry Potter star Emma Watson on her fellow classmates at Brown University in America. The actress graduates in May (14).
British royal Prince Harry, U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron and actor Richard E. Grant were among those who turned out to remember Nelson Mandela at a memorial service in London on Monday (03Mar14). The civil rights icon died in December (13) aged 95, and he was remembered at a service at London's Westminster Abbey on Monday.
More than 2,000 mourners turned out, including actor Grant, Prince Harry, who represented his grandmother Queen Elizabeth II at the service, and the U.K.'s current leader Cameron, as well as former Prime Ministers Sir John Major and Gordon Brown.
Other attendees included Mandela's daughter Zenani and South African activist Desmond Tutu, who spoke during the service.
The memorial ended with a rendition of South Africa's national anthem. A special stone will be laid in Mandela's honour at Westminster Abbey.
This week's SNL kicked off with a spoof of NBC's live broadcast of The Sound of Music. This cold open was what the show does best. Featuring a reprisal of Kristen Wiig's creepy character Dooneese, it was enjoyably self-indulgent and cameo crazy (Fred Armisen even stopped by). Cast favorites Kate McKinnon and Taran Killam capitalized on their chemistry as Maria and Captain Von Trapp. Opening with a piece this strong is a no-brainer. This sketch gets two tiny thumbs up.
When actor Paul Rudd was slated to host with musical guest One Direction, it raised two questions: Will One Direction play a comedic role on SNL? And how will the upcoming release of Anchorman 2 influence the show? These questions were immediately answered with One Direction already on stage with Rudd for his opening monologue. Having a history of being upstaged by SNL's musical guests, Rudd wasn't going to let a boy band keep him down. Instead he unveils his man band, composed of Anchorman 2 costars Will Ferrell, David Koechner, and Steve Carell. This builds to Rudd, his man band and One Direction all killing it with a heavily harmonized rendition of the classic "Afternoon Delight." Are we crying tears of joy yet?
The first 10 minutes of SNL featured appearances from five comedic giants, not including the host. This felt like the start of the best episode yet, that is, until it wasn't. Such an exciting start created a gap between the opener/monologue and subsequent sketches that could not compete. Instead of setting the tone for a great show, SNL shot their wad. Rudd is amusing to watch do almost anything, but instead of capitalizing on this they relied on it to carry weaker sketches like one where Rudd plays a soon to be divorcee who can't escape his song. The sketch was one of the few to not be released online (you can find it on the full episode), but it had a lot of angry chair-dancing as the only joke. Rudd's charm was more effective in the sketches "Michelangelo Unveils David," and the movie trailer parody "White Christmas," the most well-written pieces of the night.
Weekend Update would have been a stronger point if it wasn't for the character "Jacob the Bar Mitzvah Boy" amounting to almost no comedic gain. The short segment affected the momentum but did not totally derail the Update desk. Jebediah Atkinson (Taran Killam) returned, a hilarious critic character from the 1800s who debuted three weeks ago, to rip apart seasonal Christmas classics ("Charlie Brown, there's a pube on your forehead!"). This character is so enjoyable it makes sense to bring him back, even when the original appearance had more topical context (a retraction from that week from a Penn. newspaper).
This week's SNL ultimately amounted to an above average episode that could've been amazing. With Wiig, Armisen, Ferrell, Koechner, and Carell, along with Rudd and an already excellent cast, this episode had so much to work with that was not fully realized. Even when the Anchorman gang returned for the "Bill Brasky" sketch, the piece only landed because the people performing are so inarguably hilarious. Without that there wasn't much beyond four to five for the same character performing side by side. Comedy is the most impressive when a lot is accomplished with very little, but unfortunately the week's SNL did the opposite. Still, the cameos and high points alone make this episode worth watching.