Author Walter Dean Myers has died at the age of 76. The celebrated writer of children's books and young adult fiction passed away after a brief illness on Tuesday (01Jul14) at the Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City.
Penning more than 100 books, Myers' most famous works included Monster, Lockdown and Fallen Angels, which caused controversy in the school system because of its strong language and realistic depiction of the Vietnam war.
Myers won five Coretta Scott King awards for African-American fiction and served as the National Ambassador for Young People's Literature between 2012 and 2013.
His last book, On a Clear Day, will be published by HarperCollins in September (14).
Paying tribute to the author on Wednesday (02Jul14), The Fault in Our Stars writer John Green tweeted, "Myers inspired generations of readers, including a 12-year-old me when I read Fallen Angels, and then a 22-year-old me when I read Monster. It's hard to imagine YA literature without him."
Former Take That star Robbie Williams has been honoured in his native Stoke-on-Trent, England with the Freedom of the City. The Angels singer, his pregnant wife Ayda and their toddler Teddy attended a special ceremony hosted by local dignitaries on Tuesday (01Jul14).
He kept the event low-key so as to surprise his parents, who joined him at the Town Hall.
Williams told fans, "It's been a special day for Ayda and I and I am very grateful to those involved, especially to the Lord Mayor, for this honour.
"There is a saying that it takes a village to raise a child. This particular village moulded me into the man I am today. I wear where I am from as a badge of honour. So to have that honour returned to me is very special.
"I'm proud of our six towns. I'm proud to come from Stoke-on-Trent. I'm extremely honoured and grateful that you think it's fitting to give me this recognition. God bless you all."
He was presented with an honorary scroll by Mayor Majid Khan.
Michael Jackson's friends, family and fans joined together on Wednesday (25Jun14) to mark five years since the King of Pop's death. The Thriller hitmaker passed away on 25 June, 2009 after suffering an overdose of anaesthetic administered by his doctor, Conrad Murray, who served two years in jail on an involuntary manslaughter charge for his role in the tragedy.
The fifth anniversary of Jackson's death prompted a flood of tributes on social networking websites, with fans across the world sharing their memories of the pop superstar and making #MichaelJackson a trending topic on Twitter.com.
A number of stars also took to the website to mourn the loss of the singer five years on. British supermodel Naomi Campbell shared a picture of herself posing with Jackson with her hands on his face, adding, "I miss you #MJ #RIP with #angels #kingofpop #loyalfriend #legend# #Icon #MichealJackson in our hearts... (sic)."
Rapper/actor Ludacris adds, "R.I.P. The King Of POP M.J."
Jackson's pop star nephews, Taj, Taryll and TJ Jackson, of 3T, were stranded in Europe on the day of the anniversary due to a strike by French air traffic controllers, but they managed to add tributes to their late uncle before boarding a plane back to California to be with their family. Taryll writes, "To my idol, teacher, uncle and best friend... 'I love you more'. #alwaysinmyheart #love #foreverMJJ #bestofalltime (sic)," while his brother TJ, adds, "Not a day goes by where I don't think about him. And today even more so... His smile, his laughter, his walk, everything. Love you, Doo Doo."
The co-executors of Jackson's estate, John Branca and John McClain, also released a statement to mark the fifth anniversary of the singer's passing. The message, posted on Jackson's official website, reads, "Our thoughts and prayers are with Michael's loved ones today as we remember the kind, gentle and giving spirit who generously shared his amazing artistic gifts with the world along with a limitless empathy for those in need. Time has shown that with each passing year the world's appreciation deepens not just for Michael's talent but also for his lifelong passion to spread peace, unity, love and hope across every culture and society. Michael's friendship, kindness, humour and joyful warmth will always be missed. The world is a far better place for having known him."
A number of memorial events are planned around the world on Wednesday - American fans are set to come together for a candlelight vigil around his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles, while other gatherings are planned in countries including Spain, Holland and the U.K. Fans are also expected to visit Jackson's childhood home in Gary, Indiana.
Miramax via Everett Collection
Meryl Streep will portray legendary opera singer Maria Callas in a new TV biopic. The actress will take on the role of the iconic star in a film adaptation of the play Master Class for the HBO TV network, according to the New York Post's gossip column Page Six.
The Tony Award-winning play was written by Terrence McNally and opened on Broadway in 1995. In the show, Callas reminisces about her life while teaching a class at the famous Juilliard School of performing arts in New York City.
The Graduate director Mike Nichols will helm the production, which will begin filming in January (15). Nichols and Streep have previously worked together on movies Heartburn, Silkwood and Postcards from the Edge as well as HBO mini-series Angels in America, which aired in 2003.
Another biopic about Callas, who died in 1977, was announced at Cannes Film Festival in France in May (14). Whale Rider moviemaker Niki Caro will write and direct that cinematic version.
Omar Epps, Talib Kweli, Questlove and Alyssa Milano have added to the tributes pouring in for actress Ruby Dee, who died on Wednesday (11Jun14) at the age of 91. The film and TV star, who was best known for her roles in American Gangster, A Raisin in the Sun and Do the Right Thing passed away of natural causes in New Rochelle, New York on Wednesday night and many stars are now expressing their condolences on social media.
Taking to Twitter.com to pay tribute to Dee, Omar Epps writes, "R.I.P. Ruby Dee! A true legend!"
Rapper Talib Kweli adds, "Ruby Dee has joined (late husband) Ossie Davis. Tonight we shall celebrate all she has given us. RIP".
Questlove of The Roots, writes, "man. such a powerful magnetic human being. goodbye Ruby Dee", while actress Alyssa Milano adds, "Rest with the angels and in peace, Ruby Dee."
Other tributes from Mia Farrow and Martha Plimpton have also appeared on social media sites.
Police are hunting for an obsessed fan who targeted Hollywood actress Diane Kruger and sparked a bomb scare by sending her a suspicious package. The Inglourious Basterds star has revealed the drama began earlier this year (13) when a strange parcel arrived at the home of her grandfather in Germany.
She tells Britain's The Times newspaper, "My grandfather misunderstood and thought it was a present from me. It was some chocolates and a locked metal box with a message saying, 'The key will arrive in Hollywood in March'. Grandpa was like, 'Can I at least eat the chocolates since you're not coming home?' and I was like, 'Do not eat the f**king chocolates!'"
The box was forwarded to her address in the U.S. and Kruger's boyfriend, actor Joshua Jackson, broke it open and discovered what he feared could have been a makeshift bomb. She adds, "A cellphone was wired to the lock and the minute it opened, it turned on. It was like a bad movie. Josh threw it away thinking a bomb was going to go off, but I think it was just some crazy, weird fan who was going to call me."
Kruger goes on to explain the story took an unexpected twist when security guards later apprehended a man at the Oscars ceremony in Los Angeles after he allegedly attempted to gain access to the event to hand the actress a key bearing her name and home address.
The incident sparked a police hunt, which turned up security footage of the same unknown man ringing the doorbell at the star's home. She adds, "Three detectives showed up at my house at three in the morning... They're still trying to find the man."
Singer Robbie Williams is moving back to his native England to ensure his children get the benefit of the country's education system. The Angels hitmaker has spent most of his time in Los Angeles since 2006, briefly returning to the U.K. in 2009 after buying a sprawling country estate in Wiltshire, England but offloading it again the following year.
However, the former Take That star is now bringing his family to the British capital after reportedly spending $4 million (£2.5 million) on a north London home so his 21-month-old daughter Teddy and unborn second child can be educated in his home nation.
He tells Britain's The Sun, "I love L.A. The people and the weather are great but it's not England. It can't offer the same. Things change when you're a dad - there are people to look after who are more important than yourself. I want Teddy and the new baby, whatever it may be, to be educated in England.
"Teddy is already surrounded by English people so she's bound to have an accent anyway. But that's not the point - we want to educate her in London. We've just bought a ruddy big house so we had better be coming back!"
Rocker Doc Neeson was laid to rest in a private ceremony in Sydney, Australia on Wednesday (11Jun14). The Irish-born frontman of The Angels, who emigrated to Australia as a teenager, lost his battle with brain cancer earlier this month (Jun14) aged 67.
The intimate ceremony in Sydney's Lane Cove was attended by the singer's family and musical peers including Peter Garrett and Angry Anderson.
A public memorial for the much-loved musician is planned but a date is yet to be set.
British singer Robbie Williams has offered under-fire One Direction stars Zayn Malik and Louis Tomlinson some words of advice in the wake of their 'dope' scandal, urging them to party in private. Singers Malik and Tomlinson faced a storm of controversy last month (May14) after a video leaked online showing them in Peru smoking a suspicious-looking cigarette and discussing illegal substances.
The Angels singer, who battled drink and drug demons after quitting British boyband Take That for a solo career, has now spoken out to warn the young stars to keep their partying away from fans.
He tells Britain's Sunday Mirror newspaper, "I think they should stop getting caught! Drop a shoulder, give them a dummy, but just don't get caught. I didn't get caught until I was at least 22 - maybe 23!"
Comedian Tracy Morgan is receiving "excellent care" from doctors at a New Jersey hospital, but remains in critical condition following a fatal car crash early on Saturday morning (07Jun14), according to the star's representative. The 30 Rock actor, 45, was a passenger in a limo bus which was involved in a six-vehicle pile-up in Cranbury as he made his way back to his New Jersey home following a stand-up gig in Dover, Delaware on Friday night (06Jun14).
Authorities have confirmed that Morgan's comedy writer, James McNair, a passenger onboard the luxury vehicle, died in the accident, while three others, including the actor and his assistant Jeff Millea, are in intensive care and one person is in fair condition.
A statement issued by his representative reads: "Tracy remains in critical condition at Robert Wood Johnson Hospital. He sustained these injuries in an accident that occurred early this morning as one of several passengers in a chauffeured SUV returning from a tour date in Delaware.
"His family is now with him and he is receiving excellent care. We don't anticipate much of a change in his condition today but will provide a further update once more information becomes available."
New Jersey State Police reveal two tractor trailers, two cars and one SUV (Sports Utility Vehicle) were involved in the horrific accident, although the cause of the crash is still under investigation.
Meanwhile, a host of celebrities have taken to Twitter.com to share their prayers for the actor.
His 30 Rock co-star Alec Baldwin retweeted one fan's message of condolence, and simply added the hashtag "PrayForTracyMorgan", while actress Sarah Michelle Gellar writes, "@RealTracyMorgan My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Please get well soon."
Funnywoman Roseanne Barr posts, "Tracy Morgan is a comic genius and I hope he will recover from the injuries received in a car crash! We love U Tracy (sic)!!", and his fellow Saturday Night Live alum Rachel Dratch tweets, "Shocked to wake up and read that @RealTracyMorgan is injured. Love to Tracy and wishing him strength."
Singer Mary J. Blige writes, "I send angels and prayers to Tracy Morgan. Pls (please) hang in there", and hip-hop star Questlove adds, "Strength & Speedy Recovery to @RealTracyMorgan who survived a massive car crash this morn (sic).".
Comedians Mike Epps and Eddie Griffin, director Jon Favreau, rapper Raekwon and actresses Alyssa Milano and Chloe Grace Moretz have also sent their well wishes to Morgan.