Broadway icon Elaine Stritch was convinced her stomach cancer was in remission after undergoing surgery just two months before her death on Thursday (17Jul14), according to her agent. The Two's Company star, who relocated from New York to her native Michigan last year (13), passed away at the age of 89 and it has since been revealed she was quietly battling cancer at the time of her death.
Now her agent and longtime friend Joel Dean has remembered Stritch as "a great lady" and revealed she was in high spirits just weeks ago after her last operation, before the disease came back.
Dean, who believes her health struggles were complicated by her diabetes, tells People.com, "They (doctors) took out a good part of her stomach, that was maybe two months ago. She said, 'They got it all, they got it all'. But it came back quite aggressively."
Meanwhile, 30 Rock creator and star Tina Fey has added her tribute to Stritch, who was cast as Alec Baldwin's sharp-tongued mother Colleen Donaghy in the hit sitcom.
She says, "Elaine was a 'tough old bird,' but I suspect she may have been a 'tough old bird' since birth. I loved her voice, her timing, her stories and her natural elegance."
Fey will also remember the acting veteran for her generous nature, adding, "One day she was wearing a beautiful butterfly cocktail ring, and when I admired it, she gave it to me on the spot - like an Arab sheik in black pantyhose. I feel very lucky to have worked with her as much as I did."
20th Century Fox Film via Everett Collection
Over the course of her career, Cameron Diaz has played everything from an ogre princess to a crime-fighting angel to the most irresponsible teacher of all time. But though she's best known for starring in goofy, raunchy comedies, Diaz's resume is filled with varied compelling roles that don't get talked about nearly as much as her underwear dance in Charlie's Angels. In fact, we'd go so far as to say that over the course of her career, Diaz has steadily delivered surprising, awards-worthy performances that often get overlooked by both the press and the public. In honor of her latest film, Sex Tape, arriving in theaters Friday, we've taken a look back at Diaz's life and career to pinpoint every single performance that shocked, moved, and impressed us... and, in a just world, would have impressed the Academy as well.
The CounselorLet’s get this out of the way: yes, Diaz’s character does have sex with a car. It’s a shame, though, that the hubbub surrounding that scene overshadowed everything else about her performance, which is insane in the best possible way. As Malkina, the calculating girlfriend/partner in crime to Javier Bardem’s Reiner, Diaz turned everything up to 11 to give an over-the-top, off-the-wall performance that is more entertaining than attempting to figure out what’s happening with Bardem’s hair. Despite a star-studded cast and a script by Cormac McCarthy, Diaz was easily the most memorable thing about The Counselor, as well as the most compelling.
ShrekOkay, so the Oscars don’t honor voice over work. That doesn’t mean that Diaz’s work as Princess Fiona isn’t worthy of praise. With anyone else voicing her, Fiona would probably turn out to be another cookie-cutter animated princess – kooky, sure but not downright weird, and probably not willing to convince a bird to sing itself to death or having a burping contest with an ogre. Diaz gives Fiona an absurd amount of personality, depth and fun, making her feel as alive as she would if it actually ere Diaz up on that screen.
My Best Friend’s Wedding Julia Roberts get all of the attention, but her Julianne Potter would be nothing without Diaz’s sweet, warm-hearted Kimmy Wallace. A character like Kimmy could have easily been one-dimensional: an unrealistic perfect girl meant to make the protagonist jealous. But Diaz’s Kimmy is a fully realized person; she’s not just sweet, she’s also naïve and awkward and genuinely open-hearted. And her ability to turn what would otherwise be a painfully embarrassing karaoke scene into an endearingly goofy moment deserves much more credit than Roberts letting Dermot Mulroney go.
USA Films via Everett Collection
Being John Malkovich And you thought The Counselor was a strange movie. In Being John Malkvoich, Diaz plays Lotte, the unhappy, pet-obsessed wife of John Cusack’s Craig, who enters into a relationship with Craig’s work crush Maxine (Catherine Keener) while inside the head of John Malkovich. It would be easy to let the craziness of the plot outshine the characters, but Diaz, wearing a horrendously frizzy wig and a series of unflattering outfits, uses the opportunity to give a weird, intense, complex performance that is, unfortunately, often forgotten in favor of her comedic ventures.
There’s Something About Mary The Mask may have put her on the map, but it was the Farrelly Brothers’ comedy that really made Diaz a star. The entire movie hinges on her being the most irresistible woman in the universe, so she needs to win over the audience in addition to the characters. Diaz does exactly that. Her performance is bright, charming and effortlessly funny, and it’s not hard to see why everyone fell in love with her hilarious and heartwarming character.
In Her Shoes In Her Shoes is a much better movie than it appears in its trailer, and much of that is due to Diaz’s performance as Maggie, the free-spirited wild child sister of Toni Collette’s Rose. It would be easy to turn Maggie into a flighty, one-dimensional character, but Diaz manages to turn a somewhat trite reveal – Maggie is dyslexic and has trouble reading and doing basic math – into an opportunity to showcase the insecurity, doubt, and hurt that has turned Maggie into the frivolous party girl that she is. It’s a surprisingly layered performance for a light-hearted movie about the relationship between sisters, and Diaz easily holds her own opposite Collette and Shirley MacLaine, both of whom received more attention.
Vanilla Sky Whether you loved Vanilla Sky or found it impossible to get past Tom Cruise’s melted face, there’s no denying that Diaz’s performance was the standout of the film. As Julie, the suicidal, jealous ex-girlfriend of Cruise’s David Aames, Diaz is simultaneously terrifying and heartbreaking, showcasing all of the hurt, anger, and instability that drive her to extreme measures. More than just the femme fatale or the vindictive ex, Diaz’s Julie is a tour de force performance that unfortunately got overshadowed by some terrible prosthetics.
A huge sculpture depicting Monty Python's iconic dead parrot has been erected in central London. The comedy quartet's famous sketch, in which John Cleese attempts to return a deceased bird to a pet store, has inspired an artwork which was unveiled on the banks of the Thames River close to Tower Bridge on Monday (14Jul14).
The 50-foot (15-metre) long dead parrot, which is made from fibreglass, was suspended from a crane before it was laid to rest on its back at Potters Fields.
The parrot was created as a tribute to the comedy troupe and to celebrate the current reunion run at London's O2 Arena, which will be broadcast on TV in the U.K. on Sunday (20Jul14).
British rocker Noddy Holder has been selected to receive the Freedom of his hometown by local officials. The former Slade frontman returns to his native Walsall, England on Tuesday (24Jun14) to receive the special civic honour at the town's council headquarters.
Holder says of the accolade, "It's a great honour. I only wish my mum and dad were alive to be there. They both lived in Walsall all of their lives.
"Hopefully it can give Walsall a bigger profile around the country."
Walsall Council leader Mike Bird adds, "We're absolutely delighted and very proud that Noddy Holder has accepted this honour."
The musician made his singing debut at the Walsall Labour Working Men's Club aged seven.
Actor Jonah Hill is convinced he is destined to die at the hands of wild animals after experiencing several scary run-ins with them. The Wolf of Wall Street star has been attacked by birds and chased by rats, and he cannot understand what he has done to upset the animal kingdom.
He says, "It's not like I don't like (animals), I think they don't like me... One time I was in New York... and I was coming home late at night and a pack of rats chased me down the street... They formed a V and were running after me and I ran down the street as fast as I could. "Then I'm scared of birds... and when I was about 20 I had my first serious girlfriend and I was all excited and I had lunch for her brother's high school graduation and we're all sitting there on the beach. They're all, like, tough, alpha male dudes, and... I see a bird flying at me and I scream and fall out my chair. I never recovered from that. I never won their respect back. "And then a bird attacked me during (filming on) 22 Jump Street; it's in the movie. These things have it out for me."
"It was so much fun. Everyone was freaked out because I'm nude, but in real life, when I have sex, I'm naked. I don't have a bra on, and I don't usually have panties on. So let's make a real movie! Let's bring truth to the scene! I didn't want to be exploited, but this girl (her character) - like most girls when they first have sex - doesn't know what she's doing." Actress Shailene Woodley had no problem getting naked for sex scenes in her upcoming movie White Bird in a Blizzard.
Oprah Winfrey and U.S. President Barack Obama have joined stars including Bette Midler, Tony Bennett, Rihanna and Pharrell Williams to pay tribute to celebrated writer/poet Maya Angelou following her death on Wednesday (28May14). The influential author passed away at her home in North Carolina, just days after ill health prompted her to cancel an appearance at a prizegiving this Friday (30May14), and celebrities took to their Twitter.com blogs to celebrate her life within minutes of the tragic announcement.
Veteran entertainer Midler became one of the first stars to comment on the 86 year old's passing, writing, "The beautiful Maya Angelou died this morning. A big and radiant soul, at rest at last", while crooner Bennett posted, "Maya Angelou was an exceptional writer and human being and her inspiration will continue to enrich us all."
Rihanna praised Angelou as an "angel" and revealed, "The first book I read as a teenager, 'I know why the caged bird sings'. Felt like we knew her", and singer and superproducer Williams mused, "Her light will be sorely missed".
TV titan Winfrey paid a touching tribute to her longtime "mentor, mother/sister, and friend", adding, "She was there for me always, guiding me through some of the most important years of my life. The world knows her as a poet but at the heart of her, she was a teacher. 'When you learn, teach. When you get, give,' is one of my best lessons from her... "She moved through the world with unshakeable calm, confidence and a fierce grace. I loved her and I know she loved me. I will profoundly miss her. She will always be the rainbow in my clouds."
President Obama, who awarded Angelou the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011, also issued a statement about Angelou's passing, writing in part, "(Wife) Michelle and I join millions around the world in remembering one of the brightest lights of our time: a brilliant writer, a fierce friend and a truly phenomenal woman."
A slew of other tributes have also been posted online from the likes of Olivia Wilde, Kerry Washington, Beyonce, William Shatner, Kelly Rowland, Lena Dunham, Olivia Munn, Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, rapper Nas, and revered U.S. broadcaster Larry King.
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.
All My Children star Matthew Cowles has died, aged 69. The actor, who was married to The Good Wife star Christine Baranski for 30 years, died at his home on Thursday (22May14). Cowles' manager Tsu Tsu Stanton confirmed his death in a post on Twitter.com, writing, "He was a very gifted and kind man who loved life and everyone."
Cowles' career spanned both stage and screen, with Broadway roles in productions including The Time of Your Life and Sweet Bird of Youth, and he appeared in Hollywood films including Shutter Island and American Loser. He also wrote several plays. As well as his role in All My Children, playing villainous Billy Clyde Tuggle, his TV credits include The Bold and Beautiful, Oz and Life on Mars.