Die Hard actor James Shigeta has died at the age of 81. The Asian-American actor passed away on Monday (28Jul14), but the cause of his death has yet to be revealed.
The Honolulu-born star studied acting at New York University before joining the United States Marines and serving during the Korean War.
His career initially started in Japan as a recording artist, but had his big break in 1959 noir film The Crimson Kimono. The following year, he won the 1960 Golden Globe for Most Promising Newcomer along with George Hamilton, Troy Donahue and Barry Coe.
He went on to become the top Asian-American actor in the 1960s, starring in such films as Walk Like a Dragon, Cry for Happy, Bridge to the Sun, and Paradise, Hawaiian Style with Elvis Presley.
Another one of Shigeta's memorable roles came in 1961, in the feature adaptation of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Broadway hit musical Flower Drum Song.
Later in his career, he went on to appear in hit movies such as Lost Horizon, Midway, Cage, Disney's Mulan, and Die Hard, in which he played ill-fated executive Joseph Takagi.
Shigeta also had roles on the small screen, including drama Medical Center, Little House on the Prairie, Fantasy Island, T.J. Hooker, The Love Boat, Magnum, P.I., Simon & Simon and Murder, She Wrote.
United Artists via Everett Collection
The Beatles approached director Stanley Kubrick to make a film adaptation of The Lord Of The Rings novels back in their heyday, according to moviemaker Peter Jackson.
The Fab Four starred in five movies during their career, including A Hard Day's Night and Help! in the 1960s, and when they were considering their third film, the musicians went to Kubrick to discuss adapting J.R.R. Tolkien's books into a movie version but the author had not yet sold the rights.
Tolkien eventually released the book for film adaptation and Jackson brought the franchise to cinemas from 2001.
The director tells Deadline.com, "The Beatles once approached Stanley Kubrick to do The Lord Of The Rings. This was before Tolkien sold the rights. They approached him and he said no. I actually spoke about this with Paul McCartney. He confirmed it. I'd heard rumours that it was going to be their next film after Help. John Lennon was going to play Gollum. Paul was going to play Frodo. George Harrison was going to play Gandalf, and Ringo Starr was going to play Sam. And a lot of other people were going to play other roles."
"Paul was very gracious; he said, 'It was a good job we never made ours because then you wouldn't have made yours and it was great to see yours.' I said, 'It's the songs I feel badly about; you guys would have banged out a few good tunes for this. You were The Beatles, after all. It's a shame we missed out.'"
Star Trek star George Takei can sympathise with the Honduras youngsters experiencing life in America from border patrol prisons, because he and his family were marched into an internment camp during World War Two. More than 57,000 people have attempted to gain access to America this year and many of them are children under the age of 12 attempting to escape the gang violence back home.
The majority have been caught at the border by customs officials, and Takei can appreciate what they are going through.
He says, "They come from a terrifying place already. I mean Honduras has the highest homicide rate in the world - kids being killed by gangsters. They are not immigrants, they are asylum seekers for their lives. They can't be treated like immigrants."
And hearing many of them are entering the U.S. behind bars reminds him of his own time in prison camps when he was five.
He recalls, "We were ordered out of our two-bedroom home here in Los Angeles... We were in the living room looking out the front window and I saw two American soldiers with bayoneted rifles come marching up our driveway; they stomped up the front porch and banged on the front door.
"My father answered it and literally at gunpoint they ordered us out."
Japanese Americans were interned in 'War Relocation Camps' throughout the United States in 1942, shortly after Japanese forces attacked Pearl Harbor.
He adds, "(It's a) dark chapter of American history... (We) were summarily rounded up with no charges, no trial, no due process... and put in barbed wire prison camps, just because we happened to look like the people who bombed Pearl Harbor.
"We were behind those barbed wire fences for the duration of the war. There were 10 camps altogether, all in the most desolate places, hellish places. There were two on the blistering desert of Arizona... and we were sent to the swamps of Arkansas."
George Pimentel/Getty Images
Actress Zoe Saldana is expecting her first child.
The Avatar star, 36, is set to become a mother for the first time with her Italian artist husband Marco Perego, the actress' publicist has confirmed.
A source tells Us Weekly magazine, "Zoe is about three months pregnant." Another insider adds, "Zoe has always wanted a big family... and Marco's on board too!"
Saldana and Perego married in secret last year (13).
The pregnancy news is a double celebration for the Saldana family as the actress' sister Mariel is also expecting.
Movie producer Jeffrey Katzenberg is set to become the first film executive to receive a National Arts Medal from the U.S. National Endowment for the Arts. The DreamWorks Animation executive, producer of franchises such as Shrek and Disney hits The Little Mermaid and Aladdin, is among the recipients for the National Medal of Arts for 2013.
Katzenberg becomes the only studio boss who is not a filmmaker to receive the honour, which Star Wars director George Lucas won last year (13).
Along with Katzenberg, other National Arts Medal recipients include musician Linda Ronstadt, documentary filmmaker Albert Maysles and choreographer Bill T. Jones.
The honourees will be given their medals during a ceremony at the White House on 28 July (14).
Rock icon Billy Joel is set to be honoured with America's prestigious Gershwin Prize for Popular Song.
The Piano Man star has been selected as the 2014 recipient of the Library of Congress award, which is named after iconic composer George Gershwin and celebrates the lifetime achievements of a living musical artist.
Librarian of Congress James H. Billington says, "Billy Joel is a storyteller of the highest order. There is an intimacy to his songwriting that bridges the gap between the listener and the worlds he shares through music. When you listen to a Billy Joel song, you know about the people and the place and what happened there. And while there may be pain, despair and loss, there is ultimately a resilience to it that makes you want to go to these places again and again."
"Importantly, as with any good storyteller, the recognition experienced in a Billy Joel song is not simply because these are songs we have heard so many times, but because we see something of ourselves in them."
A flattered Joel adds, "The great composer, George Gershwin, has been a personal inspiration to me throughout my career and the Library's decision to include me among those songwriters who have been past recipients is a milestone for me."
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member will be presented with the accolade at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. in November (14).
Previous recipients include Paul Simon, Sir Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder and Carole King, who made history last year (13) as the first woman to ever claim the Gershwin Prize.
Actress/singer Whoopi Goldberg delighted U.S. TV viewers on Wednesday (16Jul14) by joining comedian Jimmy Fallon to perform an hilarious cover of George Michael and Aretha Franklin's duet I Knew You Were Waiting for Me during a talk show segment called Lip Flip. The sketch, which aired on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, featured graphic trickery to allow the pair to switch mouths and pretend to speak as the other person.
Broadway's Tupac Shakur musical Holler If Ya Hear Me is to close early due to disappointing ticket sales.
The stage show, based on the music of the late rapper, officially opened at New York City's Palace Theatre on 19 June (14) and less than two months after its debut, the curtain will come down for the last time on Sunday (20Jul14).
Producer Eric L. Gold made the announcement on Monday night (14Jul14), attributing declining sales to the show's ultimate demise. He says, "We are so proud to be a part of this ground breaking production... My hope is that a production of this calibre, powerful in its story telling, filled with great performances and exciting contemporary dance and music will eventually receive the recognition it deserves."
"It saddens me that due to the financial burdens of Broadway, I was unable to sustain this production longer in order to give it time to bloom on Broadway. Tupac's urgent socially important insights and the audiences' nightly rousing standing ovations deserve to be experienced by the world."
The production reportedly cost $8 million (£4.7 million) to stage, and, after receiving mixed reviews from critics, box office figures have been declining ever since the show began previews on 2 June (14).
Touchstone Pictures via Everett Collection
Summer: it's a time to relax, soak up the sun, eat mountains of ice cream and tackle the massive pile of books you've been meaning to read. Whether you need to make your way through hundreds of pages of classic literature before school starts up again or you've just been putting off the heavier tomes on your shelf until you have some more free time, reading the classics can sometimes be a slog in the summer. But it's a task well worth undertaking, and not just because it's good to broaden your literary horizons. Many of your favorite films are actually twists on well-worn tales. Sure, they're enjoyable on their own, but the only way to really pick up on the humor of Jane Austen or the references to Shakespeare in a suburban high school rom com is to read the books first. We've rounded up the best movies that become even better, funnier and more charming after you've read the works their based on. Consider it a well-earned reward for a book well read.
10 Things I Hate About YouBased On: The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare.Most Drastic Change: Aside from the high school setting, he plot was simplified to reduce the amount of characters and false identities. For example, Joey Donner was originally two characters, Gremio and Hortensio. Best Reference to the Source: After Kat almost hits Michael with a car, he calls her a “shrew”; Michael also quotes Shakespearean sonnets several times throughout the film, and Cameron quotes the play itself (“I burn; I pine; I perish”). And there's that one girl who is oddly in love with "William."You’d Only Notice This if You Read the Book: Almost every name in the film is a reference to something else. Padua High School refers to Padua being the location of the play, and Patrick’s last name, Verona, is where Petruchio is originally from. Kat and Bianca’s last name – Stratford – is a reference to Shakespeare’s hometown.
Clueless Based On: Emma by Jane Austen Most Drastic Change: Updating the film to be about ‘90s Valley girls; none of the character’s names are similar to Austen’s characters.Best Reference to the Source: The wedding fake-out at the end of the film. Since Austen wrote a great deal about the marriage plot, all of her novels end with the heroine getting married. You’d Only Notice This if You Read the Book: While most of the characters have Austenian equivalents, Dionne is an original character, although it could be argued that she represents Ms. Weston. Also, Amy Heckerling cut out the character of Jane Fairfax completely. She is the main obstacle to Emma and Frank Churchill’s relationship; his Clueless doppelganger, Christian, is gay instead.
Bridget Jones’ Diary Based On: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen Most Drastic Change: Instead of the large family that Elizabeth Bennet has in the book, Bridget is an only child, and has a large group of friends to give her advice, all of whom vaguely resemble her sisters. Best Reference to the Source: Casting Colin Firth as Mark Darcy. Author Helen Fielding has said that she based the character (both in name and looks) on his portrayal of Mr. Darcy in the 1995 BBC miniseries. You’d Only Notice This if You Read the Book: Instead of Darcy making two proposals, he only makes one; Bridget’s speech when she finds out that he is moving is a reflection of his second confession of love.
She’s the Man Based On: Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare Most Drastic Change: In the play, Viola just pretends to be a man, and calls herself Cesario, rather than specifically impersonating her brother Sebastian. Best Reference to the Source: The character of Malcolm, who is based on the character of Malvolio, has a pet tarantula named Malvolio. You’d Only Notice This if You Read the Books: Like 10 Things I Hate About You, all of the names are either adapted from those of the characters - Duke Orsino is the modern-day equivalent of Orsino, who is a duke, and the restaurant they frequent is called Cesario – or the locations – the school’s name Illyria, is where the play takes place.
Screen Gems via Everett Collection
Easy A Based On: The Scarlett Letter by Nathanial Hawthorne Most Drastic Change: In the book, Hester is ostracized for cheating on her husband with a priest; she got pregnant during the affair. In the film, Olive only pretends to sleep with people. Best Reference to the Source: The foreign film that Olive goes to see, courtesy of one of her fake hookups, is called Der Scharlachrote Buchstabe, which translates to The Scarlett Letter.You’d Only Notice This if You Read the Book: The film is up-front about many of its similarities to Hawthorne’s book, as Olive is studying it in class. Though Olive doesn’t have an affair with anyone, Hester and Arthur Dimmsdale’s relationship is paralleled in the affair that Mrs. Griffith has with Micah.
ScroogedBased On: A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens Most Drastic Change: At the end of the film, Frank reunites with his love, Claire. However, in the book, too much time has passed for him to reconcile with Belle, and so he is instead content with becoming part of the Cratchitt family. Best Reference to the Original: In addition to Frank Cross joking about “scaring the Dickens out of people,” one of the TV shows he produces is called “Scrooge,” which was an alternate title that Dickens published the story under. You’d Only Notice This if You Read the Book: The Bob Cratchitt part is played by two different characters: Frank’s overworked assistant Grace Cooley and the much-abused yes-man Eliot Loudermilk.
O Brother, Where Art Thou? Based On: Homer’s The Odyssey Most Drastic Change: Instead of journeying home after a great war, Ulysses has escaped from a prison chain gang. Best Reference to the Source: The film is filled with references to the epic, but the cleverest is the repeated use of the song “Man of Constant Sorrow,” as the name Odysseus (the Greek equivalent of Ulysses) means “man who is in constant pain and sorrow.” You’d Only Notice This if You Read the Book: In order to win Penelope’s hand in marriage, all the suitors must string Odysseus’ bow and shoot an arrow through a dozen axe heads, but only Odysseus is strong enough to string the bow. In the film, Ulysseus also strings a bow in order to prove that he is who he says he is, and not an imposter.
Ruby Sparks Based On: Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw.Most Drastic Change: In the play, Higgins “makes” Eliza by transforming her from a flower girl into a lady, but in the film, Calvin physically creates Ruby, as she is a product of his imagination.Best Reference to the Source: At the end, Ruby becomes her own person, and leaves Calvin behind to do what she wants and become who she wants, which reflects the controversial ending of the play, in which Eliza leaves Henry behind in order to marry Freddy, even though Henry disapproves. The ending of Shaw's play was very controversial when it was first performed, but it was important to him that Eliza doesn't marry Henry. You’d Only Notice This if You Read the Book: Calvin’s brother, Harry, repeatedly warns him to be careful with what he’s doing, and not to disregard Ruby’s emotions, just like how Henry’s friend, Colonel Pickering, constantly warns Henry to be kind to Eliza and to treat her like a real person, rather than an experiment.
Country legend Dolly Parton stole the show at Britain's Glastonbury Festival on Sunday (29Jun14) as she fulfilled her "lifetime" dream by performing at the event to an audience of more than 100,000 fans.
The field in front of the main stage was packed to capacity for the veteran singer's hotly-anticipated late afternoon set, and she walked on to the stage as the huge crowd chanted her name. Wearing a sparkly silver and white top with matching trousers, Parton ran through a volley of classics including Jolene, 9 to 5, Coat of Many Colors, I Will Always Love You, Islands in the Stream, and a medley of hits including Old Flames Can't Hold a Candle to You and Real Love.
She was joined onstage by rocker Richie Sambora for her version of Lay Your Hands On Me, and she even performed a rendition of late British funnyman Benny Hill's TV show theme tune and a bizarre new track inspired by the festival's famous mud. Parton also thrilled the crowd by recalling several amusing anecdotes from her career, and told them it was her ultimate ambition to perform at the iconic festival, saying, "It is such an honour and such a thrill to be here at Glastonbury Festival. I've been waiting a lifetime for this... This is a real thrill and a real treat."
The country icon's set took place shortly after she was presented with a special plaque by Glastonbury founder Michael Eavis to celebrate surpassing 100 million album sales worldwide. During the presentation, she said, "I've been so busy making records for the past several decades, I didn't realise I had racked up so many sales. What a great honour to know that I have so many fans that have supported me through the years... I feel very honoured and proud."
British rockers Kasabian are due to close the festival on Sunday night.