Clayton Moore, who reigned as the star of TV's "Lone Ranger" for nearly a decade and continued to wear his character's trademark getup for years after, died today of a heart attack in a Los Angeles hospital. He was a reported 85.
Widely hailed as a hero to American youngsters, Moore's masked man shouted the famous line, "Hi-Yo, Silver!" while facing down bad guys with sidekick Tonto (played by the late Jay Silverheels).
Moore originally held down the title role in "The Lone Ranger" from 1949-1952. His run ended when he was fired in a salary dispute. Briefly replaced by actor John Hart, Moore made films (more Westerns) until he was hired back in 1953 -- at a higher salary. He stayed on as the Lone Ranger until the syndicated series ended in 1957, after 169 episodes.
But even as the show ended, Moore endured as the Old West crime fighter. His persona played out first on the big screen with "The Lone Ranger" (1956) and "The Lone Ranger and the Lost City of Gold" (1958). Moore went on to make numerous personal appearances and TV commercials as the Ranger for the next three decades. In the late 1970s, he became embroiled in a lawsuit when the copyright owners of the character, prepping what turned out to be the ill-fated "The Legend of the Lone Ranger" (1981), sought to bar the actor from appearing as the masked cowboy. Moore won back the right to wear the mask in 1985.
Born Jack Moore in Chicago on Sept. 14, 1914, he spent his youth as a circus acrobat. After a brief modeling stint, he embarked on a career as a stuntman and an extra in Hollywood. Moore went on to win small roles in films such as "Kit Carson" (1940) and "The Son of Monte Crisco" (1940). In 1949, he co-starred with singing cowboy Gene Autry and future sidekick Silverheels in "The Cowboys and the Indians."
CLAYTON MOORE FACTOIDS:
References alternately list his birth year as 1908, 1914, 1916 and 1920. Most biographies cite 1914. Starred on "The Lone Ranger" from 1949-52, 1953-57. Voiced "The Lone Ranger" cartoon series in 1966. Inducted into the Stuntman's Hall of Fame (1982). Author of the 1996 memoir "I Was That Masked Man." Worked as a pitchman (often as a masked pitchman) for everything from cars to snack-sized pizzas.
Brolin and Driver to wed
Jews are angry
Smile, Mrs. Dirty Harry
Moore birthday bash
Pryor turns street
Beastie Boys are back
Brando takes ill
Brolin and Driver to wed
Actor Josh Brolin (Hollowman, The Mod Squad) and actress Minnie Driver (Return To Me, Good Will Hunting) are engaged to be wed, People magazine reports.
This is the third wedding for Brolin, who was married previously to Deborah Adair. Brolin's first wife, Jane, died in 1995. Brolin has two children, Trevor, 12, and Eden, 8.
This will be the first trip down the aisle for Driver, who previously dated Matt Damon and John Cusack.
Brolin -- son of famed actor James Brolin and stepson of Barbra Streisand -- and Driver became romantically involved when they costarred in Slow Burn.
"It's obvious they are very much in love," Danny McKeever, Brolin's auto-racing instructor, told reporters.
No wedding date has been set yet, People reported.
Comic strip "BC" defames Jews, says Jewish group
The Simon Weisenthal Center, a nonprofit Jewish civil rights organization, is asking newspapers that carry the syndicated comic strip BC not to run Sunday's cartoon.
The strip portrays a Menorah, a Jewish symbol, in the first panel, under a quote by Jesus: "Father, forgive them: for they know not what they do." Succeeding panels then show the Menorah morphing into a cross, with more of Jesus' last words atop each panel. The final panel's quote, "Do this in remembrance of me," frames a picture of a cave, presumably Jesus' final resting place.
The founder and director of the Weisenthal Center, Rabbi Marvin Heir, said that newspapers have a duty not to run the strip, as it describes Judaism being "subsumed" or encompassed by Christianity, Reuters reported. The strip "will promote hatred rather than tolerance and diversity," Heir said.
A statement released by Johnny Hart, creator of BC, defends his work, saying that during a week that is holy for both Christians and Jews this year, he was trying to honor both.
The Simon Weisenthal Center, located in Los Angeles, is named in memory of Nazi hunter Simon Weisenthal.
Dirty Harry's wife on "Camera"
Smile, you're on Candid Camera.
Dina Ruiz Eastwood, wife of Hollywood legend Clint Eastwood, will be saying that more often, having joined Candid Camera's team as the show's co-host.
Starting with the new fall season, Eastwood will co-anchor the show with Peter Funt, The Associated Press reports. Eastwood will take over for Suzanne Sommers, former star of Three's Company.
The Eastwoods, who appeared together in True Crime, have been married since 1996. Prior to taking her new gig as Camera's co-host, Eastwood was a news anchor for KSBW-TV (NBC) in Salinas, Calif. Prior to taking the gig as Camera's co-host, Eastwood was a news anchor for KSBW-TV (NBC) in Salinas, Calif.
Candid Camera airs Sunday evenings on Pax TV.
Former "Survivor" contestant gives deposition
America hasn't heard the last from the first season's cast members of the TV hit Survivor.
As part of ex-cast member Stacy Stillman's $70,000 lawsuit against CBS, fellow South Pacific islander Dirk Been delivered a videotaped deposition -- six hours in length -- to lawyers, according to a report by People magazine. Been's deposition will remain under wraps due to confidentiality agreements that each cast member signs before taping begins.
Stillman contends that the TV series rigged the vote that kicked her off the island. Stillman reportedly asked the questions during Been's deposition.
"We're very pleased with what Dirk said today," Donald Yates, Stillman's lawyer, told the New York Post.
For its part, CBS filed a counter-suit against Stillman, claiming she broke her nondisclosure agreement when she brought her suit against Survivor last February.
Moore to celebrate birthday with TV bash
To celebrate Dudley Moore's 66th birthday, his family and friends are throwing him a small party -- at Carnegie Hall.
Michael Caine and Julie Andrews will chair the televised event, An All-Star Tribute To Dudley Moore, People magazine reports. Mary Tyler Moore, Barbara Walters, Amy Irving, Lauren Bacall, Eric Idle, Chevy Chase, Jimmy Fallon and Bo Derek are scheduled to give praise in person, while Robin Williams and John Cleese have taped video messages for Moore.
Dudley Moore, star of such films as 10, Arthur, and the original Bedazzled, suffers from a rare brain disorder called Progressive Supranuclear Palsy, a relative of Parkinson's disease. The ailment has severely limited Moore's ability to work as Moore is confined to his wheelchair. Moore has curtailed his public appearances.
Net proceeds from the evening go to two of Moore's pet charities, Music for All Seasons and the Dudley Moore Research Fund for PSP. The tribute will take place on Monday.
Pryor's name to headline street sign in Illinois
Peoria, Ill., will try for the second time to honor hometown hero, comedian Richard Pryor, USA Today reports.
Peoria City Council members rejected on March 27 the renaming of South Sheridan Street in honor of Pryor, but that apparently did not sit well with certain council members. The proposal has reappeared on the docket, and the council will once again vote on the matter in two weeks.
Councilman Eric Turner said that the city has received a black eye for failing to honor Pryor. According to Turner, he and Pryor were childhood friends while growing up on the south side of Peoria.
Pryor is a controversial choice for such an honor, given his past penchant for profanity-filled routines and his well-documented battles with drugs. In 1980, Pryor nearly killed himself accidentally in a fire related to his freebasing cocaine.
Pryor, currently living in California, suffers from Multiple Sclerosis.
Beastie Boys' Grand Royal reappears
Out of print since 1997, the Beastie Boys' cult magazine Grand Royal has been licensed by Harper Collins to reappear in the guise of a coffee-table book. The book would comprise the best of the old magazines and incorporate fresh new articles, according to a story filed by online portal Yahoo!
The Beastie Boys produced just six editions of Grand Royal, from 1993 to 1997, which were all instant hits. The magazine, which linked skateboarding and politics and music and pop culture, sold out three of the six print runs. The magazine featured articles with then-obscure musicians, such as a Kid Rock interview in the fourth edition.
According to the report, Josh Behar, a senior editor at Harper Collins, said that the Beastie Boys "really love this project. Their dedication is amazing." Beastie Boy Mike D is working closely with Behar to finish the book. The book is scheduled to appear in bookstores in April 2002.
Actor Steve Buscemi reportedly knifed in fight
Actor Steve Buscemi has flown from the North Carolina set of Domestic Disturbance to his home in New York to recover from knife wounds, according to The Associated Press.
Police arrested a local man and will charge him for assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill after allegedly stabbed Buscemi in the head, throat, and arms, AP said. Buscemi was released from a local hospital and flew home to recuperate.
The fight happened early Thursday at the Firebelly Lounge, a local bar, in Wilmington, N.C.
Domestic Disturbance costar Vince Vaughn also was arrested for his alleged involvement in the fight. AP said Vaughn was trying to come to the aid of Buscemi.
Buscemi's agents, the William Morris Agency, said they had no information at this time. Domestic Disturbance's studio, Paramount Pictures, refused to comment.
John Travolta and Teri Polo also star in the film.
Marlon Brando hospitalized
Screen legend Marlon Brando, 77, has reportedly been hospitalized for pneumonia, days before he was due to shoot the opening scene for the upcoming comedy Scary Movie 2 this week.
The actor is said to be undergoing treatment at a Los Angeles-area hospital. Neither Brando's agent, Dimension Films nor Scary Movie 2 producer Brillstein-Grey Entertainment have commented on details about his illness, or how long he is expected to be in the hospital.
The filmmakers still want Brandon to be in the film and, even though production wraps this month, his scenes could still be filmed after he recovers, according to Variety.
Scary Movie 2 is the sequel to last year's summer blockbuster directed by Keenen Ivory Wayans. It costars Chris Elliot, Tim Curry, Tori Spelling and Andy Richter.
The sequel, also directed by Wayans, is due in theaters for the July 4 holiday weekend.
Brando's next project is working alongside Robert DeNiro and Edward Norton in the crime drama The Score.
This past weekend saw the nation's top box-office spots filled by "The Whole Nine Yards" and "Hanging Up" -- two films starring two, yes, "Friends." ("Yards," with Matthew Perry, took in a strong $15.9 million; "Hanging Up," with Lisa Kudrow, $15.7 million.)
For a time, box-office analysts found themselves pondering if the six primary cast members of the popular sitcom might not have some type of hideous spell cast upon them, at least when it came to their big-screen forays. Alone, Courteney Cox, Matthew Perry, Matt LeBlanc, David Schwimmer and Jennifer Aniston headlined such notable (or perhaps not-so notable) flops as "Commandments" (Cox's $488,000 box-office dud), "Three to Tango" (Perry's $10.5 million dud), "Ed" (Le Blanc's $6.2 million underperformer) and "Kissing a Fooll" (Schwimmer's $4 million loser). (Remaining friend Kudrow has mainly -- and smartly? -- stuck to supporting roles in high-stakes studio films and lead roles in low-pressure indie films.)
But now with Perry and Kudrow's twin successes, can we finally call the "curse" off? Maybe, maybe not. After all, Kudrow's accomplishment came in an ensemble piece, didn't it? (In "Hanging Up," she takes third billing after Meg Ryan and Diane Keaton.) And wasn't Bruce Willis the real star of "Whole Nine Yards," not Perry?
"I think if you look at any of [the successful films starring 'Friends' members], the ones that have done well have been ensemble pieces," says Paul Dergarabedian, of the box-office tracking firm Exhibitor Relations. "However, if you look at 'The Whole Nine Yards' -- which isn't an ensemble -- a lot of women followed Matt from 'Friends' to the theater. Women cannot be underestimated in terms of their box-office draw."
Dergarabedian believes the "Friends" friends' historic lack of B.O. power -- the Cox-equipped "Scream" franchise, aside -- has more to do with choices and options, or lack thereof, than curses.
"I don't think [the poor box office performances] are necessarily their fault," Dergarabedian explains. "In the past, they didn't really have the clout to elicit a good script. They were basically using 'Friends' to get into theatrical films. Their choices are getting better and the material they are getting is better than it was."
Indeed, Kudrow scored last year in the A-list (Robert De Niro, Billy Crystal) comedy "Analyze This," which grossed a very friendly $106 million.
And while David ("The Pallbearer") Schwimmer and Matt ("Ed") LeBlanc are still searching for that elusive mega-hit, a noted expert offers some promising news. Hollywood-based professional psychic Madame Hart scoffs at the notion that our dear "Friends" were ever cursed at all.
"That doesn't really sound like a curse," Hart says. "It just sounds like they were in bad movies. If they were really cursed, then they would have experienced some serious problems, like loss of their careers, loss of property, their relationships could be destroyed, even death."
Apparently dying at the box office does not count.