Michael Douglas, Cate Blanchett and Sir Michael Caine are among the celebrities who have signed a petition urging the Italian Prime Minister to ban cruise ships from passing near Venice. The actors are among 63 film stars, royals and artists joining the ongoing debate over whether large cruise liners should be allowed to travel in a shallow lagoon near the historical water-filled city.
The petition, also signed by Jane Fonda, Don Johnson and British actress Julie Christie, has been sent to Italy's Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and heritage minister Dario Franceschini urging them to do more to protect Venice.
It reads, "For more than 13 centuries Venice has survived flooding, disease and war... But now, in a period of peace, the Queen of the Adriatic (nickname for Venice)... risks being overwhelmed by these enormous cruise ships, which enter the lagoon on a daily basis, indifferent to the dangers that they bring."
The debate has raged for many years and in 2013, a proposed ban of giant vessels was overturned at a regional tribunal because the threats posed by the ships had not been sufficiently proved.
MGM via Everett Collection
John Travolta's former pilot has won a bid to challenge the validity of a confidentiality agreement he signed when he left the movie's star's aircraft company Alto in 1987.
A judge in California has given Douglas Gotterba permission to argue in a lawsuit that he holds no confidentiality duties to the actor, despite claims to contrary by the Pulp Fiction star's lawyer Marty Singer, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Gotterba, who worked for Travolta for six years, upset the star when he revealed plans to write a book about his time with the actor as part of a National Enquirer interview - and Singer sent out cease-and-desist missives, accusing the former employee of breaching a confidentiality agreement.
Gotterba has since sued Travolta and Alto bosses, seeking a judicial declaration about which agreement was valid and whether confidentiality was really enforceable.
American soprano Renee Fleming has swapped opera for acting to make her debut in a play at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in Massachusetts. The opera veteran is no stranger to the stage, but for the first time in her three-decade long career, she has stepped into the spotlight without a musical score to accompany her.
In Living on Love, Fleming plays a beloved American opera diva married to a fiery composer, and it co-stars Douglas Sills as her onstage husband, as well as Veep actress Anna Chlumsky and actor Justin Long.
Fleming managed to prove herself onstage, with critics giving her mostly positive reviews.
Alexis Soloski of the New York Daily News writes, "Like all the characters, (Fleming's character) Raquel is an assemblage of tics and quirks rather than a flesh-and-blood human. Ms. Fleming's take on the role is eight-lane-highway broad, and she has the costumes to match. But when she ascends into an aria, letting her heavens-grazing voice stand in for Raquel's, she seems entirely in tune."
Steve Barnes of New York's Times Union newspaper calls her performance both funny and "captivating", adding, "Fleming commands the theatre with an expected amount of regal presence, especially on the few occasions when she sings."
Living on Love ends its run on Saturday (26Jul14).
The former child star who played Mel Gibson's daughter in The Patriot has died at the age of 21. Skye McCole Bartusiak died at her home in Texas on Friday (18Jul14).
Bartusiak also appeared alongside Charlize Theron and Tobey Maguire in The Cider House Rules and in Don’t Say a Word, opposite Michael Douglas. She also featured in hit TV shows House and Lost.
She becomes the second member of Gibson's The Patriot family to die young - her movie brother Heath ledger passed away following a prescription drug overdose in 2008.
David Beckham and his sons Romeo and Cruz were covered in golden slime at the inaugural Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Sports Awards in Los Angeles on Thursday night (17Jul14). The retired soccer star was the recipient of the first Legend Award at the prizegiving, and after a video montage of his greatest goals and finest moments, Beckham's youngest boys presented their dad with his award.
Seconds later, golden goo was blasted up from the stage floor, making father and sons look like living Oscar statues.
The show, which honoured U.S. sports stars such as Russell Wilson, Carmelo Anthony and Gabby Douglas, featured performances by Florida Georgia Line and Pharrell Williams.
Michael Douglas' young children have caught the acting bug - his son Dylan, 13, and daughter Carys, 11, auditioned for roles in his new film And So It Goes. Neither Dylan, who is dyslexic had a difficult time reading the script in the tryout, nor his sister landed a spot in the new comedy, but their proud father insists they took it well, saying, "They were fine. I told them they better get used to it if you're serious about it. Rejection's the first order of business."
Country hitmakers John Anderson, Paul Craft, Tom Douglas and Gretchen Peters are set to be inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. The four musicians will be feted by officials at the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) at the Music City Center in the Tennessee capital in October (14).
Pat Alger, Chairman of the NSAI Board of Directors, says, "Here in Nashville where the music industry has always been built on a foundation of great songs written by legendary songwriters, each year only a few are elected to the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.
"This year we are very pleased to welcome the class of 2014: Tom Douglas and Gretchen Peters in the songwriter category; Paul Craft in the veteran songwriter category and John Anderson as our songwriter/artist."
Douglas is known for penning songs for Martina McBride, Lady Antebellum, Tim McGraw and Miranda Lambert, who scored huge success with The House That Built Me, while Peters wrote McBride's Independence Day and The Chill Of An Early Fall for George Strait.
Craft famously created Ray Stevens' novelty smash It's Me Again, Margaret and singer/songwriter Anderson is famed for tracks like Swingin, Seminole Wind and Shuttin' Detroit Down, which he co-wrote for John Rich.
Last year's (13) honourees included Alabama star Randy Owen and singer Jeffrey Steele.
Michael Douglas was surprised to find art imitating life when he was cast as a father whose drug-addicted son is sent to prison in new movie And So It Goes.
The Hollywood actor's grown-up son Cameron is behind bars serving out a sentence for his role in a heroin ring, and Douglas' new film appears to mirror his real life troubles.
Douglas plays a man who ends up caring for his granddaughter after his son is jailed on drug charges, and the Oscar winner admits he saw the similarities, telling the New York Post, "You read a script and you smile in those pieces... that come close to your story. I guess at this point in my life, at my age, you've gone through so many things that nothing really surprises you."
Director Rob Reiner reveals Douglas was given the chance to change the parts of the script that were similar to his real life issues, but turned the offer down. Reiner adds, "He said just leave it the way it is. It obviously must have been tough for him."
It is not the first time Douglas has played the parent of a junkie onscreen - in Oscar-winning 2000 movie Traffic he portrayed a U.S. drugs tsar whose daughter was hooked on heroin.
Actress/singer Brandi Burkhardt is a married woman after exchanging vows with her fiancee in Maryland. The Hart of Dixie star wed jeweller Douglas Kazanjian at a ceremony in Annapolis, Maryland on Sunday (29Jun14) in front of family, friends and a number of Burkhardt's TV castmates.
Burkhardt walked down the aisle in a tiara worn by Madonna during her wedding to director Guy Ritchie in 2001.
After the ceremony, the star shared a picture of a boat docked by the reception venue, and added in a post on Twitter.com, "Annapolis, thanks for the great memories! #wedding... #bkazanjian."
Psychic to the stars Kenny Kingston has died at the age of 87 after a long battle with a cardiovascular disease. The beloved seer, who boasted Marilyn Monroe, Greta Garbo, Lucille Ball, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor and John Wayne among his celebrity clients, passed away on Monday (30Jun14).
He was the first psychic to appear on primetime television in the U.S., on programmes such as The Flip Wilson Show, and he was a regular on variety hits hosted by Mike Douglas, Merv Griffin and Steve Allen.
Kingston went on to front his own online radio show, which ran until 2011, and he also found success with the Kenny Kingston Psychic Hotline, which fans looking for career and romantic advice would seek out.
He also penned five books on the spiritual world and was often approached by media outlets for insights from dead stars, like Monroe, who became one of his spirit companions from beyond the grave.
Kingston is survived by his partner of 35 years, Valerie Porter.