Legendary American songwriter Ervin Drake has died at the age of 95. Born Ervin Maurice Druckman in New York, he had his first track published at the age of 12 and scored his big break in 1942, when he came up with the English lyrics for Brazilian instrumental Tico-Tico.
He also put words to Juan Tizol's composition Perdido and went on to write American Songbook standards such as I Believe and It Was a Very Good Year, which was originally written for Kingston Trio folk star Bob Shane and famously covered by Frank Sinatra.
His other well-known tunes include Quando Quando Quando, Father of the Girls, Castle Rock, A Room Without Windows and jazz standard Good Morning, Heartache, which has been recorded by the likes of Billie Holiday and Diana Ross.
Drake served as the president of the American Guild of Authors and Composers from 1973 to 1982 and was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1983.
Sharing the news of his passing with Twitter.com followers on Thursday (15Jan15), his friend, veteran singer/actor Robert Davi, writes, "one of the Great American Songwriters and my friend Ervin Drake has died... join me in paying tribute to a Great Artist."
Actress Leslie Uggams also paid tribute to Drake online, tweeting, "So very sad to hear of the passing of Ervin Drake. He was a great friend and songwriter. My condolences to his family", and musician Michael Feinstein adds, "So sad to hear about the passing of Ervin Drake".
Further details about Drake's death had yet to be released as WENN went to press.
Revered British director Mike Leigh will direct his first ever opera in London next year (15). The Vera Drake filmmaker, who has also written and directed a number of theatre plays, will branch out into the world of opera when he helms Pirates of Penzance.
Bosses at the English National Opera (ENO) announced his debut, adding that he joins a list of British filmmakers who have tackled opera including Terry Gilliam and the late Anthony Minghella.
ENO's artistic director, John Berry, says, "I contacted Mike Leigh in the same way I contacted Terry Gilliam. I sort of lured him into an idea that he fell in love with. The great thing about the Mike Leighs of this world, the late Anthony Minghella, Terry Gilliam is they are really interested in doing different things. We have challenges here, one of them is not the challenge of attracting great artists."
Pirates of Penzance will debut at the Coliseum opera house next year (15).
Rapper Drake helped to convince British soccer star Jermain Defoe to leave the English Premier League and join Major League Soccer's Toronto Football Club after sharing his favourite things about the Canadian city. The Started From the Bottom hitmaker serves as a global ambassador for the Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment group, which owns Toronto F.C., and he was recently rumoured to have played a part in recruiting his pal Defoe from London's Tottenham Hotspur F.C. for his hometown team.
Drake has now opened up about his involvement in the transfer deal, insisting he simply shared some advice about the North American city.
The musician tells the Toronto Sun, "I don't know if I had an influence on him coming here (to Canada). I think that all I did was give him the necessary information about a city he didn't know much about. I told him how great it's been to me, and how great I assumed it would be to him. We had a great conversation. We built up a personal relationship.
"I'm excited to see him begin his career here. I just do what I can. (Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment president Tim Leiweke) is the boss. It's all Tim, really. I was just a piece of the puzzle, I guess."
England striker Defoe was officially unveiled as a Toronto F.C. player during a press conference on Monday morning (13Jan14). His four-year deal with the club will kick off at the end of February (14).
Defoe, 31, isn't the first big name soccer star to leave a top European team for the MLS - David Beckham famously helped to raise the profile of the MLS during his five years at the Los Angeles Galaxy, while Frenchman Thierry Henry left Spanish side Barcelona in 2010 to join the New York Red Bulls.
Meanwhile, Drake's new role landed him the honour of introducing the starting line-up for the Toronto Raptors basketball team, another brand owned by the Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment company, on Saturday (11Jan14), as they took on New York's Brooklyn Nets at home. The event was dubbed Drake Night and his presence appeared to be good luck for the Raptors - they went on to win the showdown 96 to 80.
Lions Gate via Everett Collection
When we last left our heroes, they had conquered all opponents in the 74th Annual Hunger Games, returned home to their newly refurbished living quarters in District 12, and fallen haplessly to the cannibalism of PTSD. And now we're back! Hitching our wagons once again to laconic Katniss Everdeen and her sweet-natured, just-for-the-camera boyfriend Peeta Mellark as they gear up for a second go at the Capitol's killing fields.
But hold your horses — there's a good hour and a half before we step back into the arena. However, the time spent with Katniss and Peeta before the announcement that they'll be competing again for the ceremonial Quarter Quell does not drag. In fact, it's got some of the film franchise's most interesting commentary about celebrity, reality television, and the media so far, well outweighing the merit of The Hunger Games' satire on the subject matter by having Katniss struggle with her responsibilities as Panem's idol. Does she abide by the command of status quo, delighting in the public's applause for her and keeping them complacently saturated with her smiles and curtsies? Or does Katniss hold three fingers high in opposition to the machine into which she has been thrown? It's a quarrel that the real Jennifer Lawrence would handle with a castigation of the media and a joke about sandwiches, or something... but her stakes are, admittedly, much lower. Harvey Weinstein isn't threatening to kill her secret boyfriend.
Through this chapter, Katniss also grapples with a more personal warfare: her devotion to Gale (despite her inability to commit to the idea of love) and her family, her complicated, moralistic affection for Peeta, her remorse over losing Rue, and her agonizing desire to flee the eye of the public and the Capitol. Oftentimes, Katniss' depression and guilty conscience transcends the bounds of sappy. Her soap opera scenes with a soot-covered Gale really push the limits, saved if only by the undeniable grace and charisma of star Lawrence at every step along the way of this film. So it's sappy, but never too sappy.
In fact, Catching Fire is a masterpiece of pushing limits as far as they'll extend before the point of diminishing returns. Director Francis Lawrence maintains an ambiance that lends to emotional investment but never imposes too much realism as to drip into territories of grit. All of Catching Fire lives in a dreamlike state, a stark contrast to Hunger Games' guttural, grimacing quality that robbed it of the life force Suzanne Collins pumped into her first novel.
Once we get to the thunderdome, our engines are effectively revved for the "fun part." Katniss, Peeta, and their array of allies and enemies traverse a nightmare course that seems perfectly suited for a videogame spin-off. At this point, we've spent just enough time with the secondary characters to grow a bit fond of them — deliberately obnoxious Finnick, jarringly provocative Johanna, offbeat geeks Beedee and Wiress — but not quite enough to dissolve the mystery surrounding any of them or their true intentions (which become more and more enigmatic as the film progresses). We only need adhere to Katniss and Peeta once tossed in the pit of doom that is the 75th Hunger Games arena, but finding real characters in the other tributes makes for a far more fun round of extreme manhunt.
But Catching Fire doesn't vie for anything particularly grand. It entertains and engages, having fun with and anchoring weight to its characters and circumstances, but stays within the expected confines of what a Hunger Games movie can be. It's a good one, but without shooting for succinctly interesting or surprising work with Katniss and her relationships or taking a stab at anything but the obvious in terms of sending up the militant tyrannical autocracy, it never even closes in on the possibility of being a great one.
Follow @Michael Arbeiter
| Follow @Hollywood_com
Summer may be winding down, but when it comes to entertainment, the year has just begun. Much like the film business, the music industry releases its big guns in the second half of the year, with some of the most anticipated albums of the year slated to be dropped in the fall. The influx of new indie and DIY artists has kept the music scene interesting, but for all you old schoolers yearning for some new music from familiar names, fall will definitely be your season.
Wu-Tang Clan: A Better Tomorrow (TBA)Although there’s no official release date as of yet, Wu-Tang Clan’s sixth studio album, A Better Tomorrow, is tentatively scheduled to be released in November. The album is a milestone, marking the group’s 20th anniversary, and will feature the late, great ODB’s vocals on a few tracks.
The Roots & Elvis Costello: Wise Up Ghost (September 17)What do you get when you put one of the greatest hip hop acts with one of the greatest rockers? Pure awesomeness, of course. The Roots’ ?uestlove first hinted to a collaborative album in January in an interview with Billboard magazine, and a release date followed soon after. As if Roots + Costello wasn’t enough, the record will also feature a guest appearance from La Marisoul, lead singer of La Santa Cecilla.
Elton John: Diving Board (September 13)In between performing at Caesar’s in Vegas, having kids, and hanging with Lady Gaga, Elton John managed to squeak out new music that will make up his 30th solo album, NBD. The album is John’s second studio album without his band members since 1979’s Victim Of Love and will feature twelve new songs and three piano interludes.
Eminem: The Marshall Mathers LP 2 (November 5)Eminem’s new album is the definition of “anticipated,” since the first single (the Beastie Boys-inspired “Berserk”) has already been crowned one of the hottest singles of the year and the album is a sequel to 2000’s brilliant Marshall Mathers LP. The album is produced by Dr. Dre and Rick Rubin, and is expected to debut sky-high on the charts.
Mariah Carey: The Art Of Letting Go (TBA)Speaking of Eminem, Mariah Carey’s got a new record set to drop sometime this year, as well. The album’s release has had more dates than most people have in a week, but what’s (semi)certain is that Carey’s fourteenth studio album will be released in the next few months. The last release date was July 2013, which Carey pushed back because she didn’t want to “exclude meaningful songs.” All this waiting is making for some serious expectations.
Drake: Nothing Was The Same (September 24)Drake’s third album has everyone holding onto their hats, thanks to the star-studded line-up he’s already confirmed will be making an appearance on his album. The Canadian rapper will be joined by Jay Z, Future, Lil Wayne, J. Cole, TLC, Justin Timberlake, Aiko, Big Sean, and more.
Arctic Monkeys: AM (September 10)British rockers Arctic Monkeys have made a solid career for themselves, going from the English equivalent of a bunch of frat boys to a respectable band made up of 4 talented musicians. Their fifth studio album, AM, finds the band getting some hip hop inspiration and also features an appearance from Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme.
Kings of Leon: Mechanical Bull (September 24)Mechanical Bull has Kings of Leon taking on a bunch of new directions at once, with lead singer Caleb Followill telling Rolling Stone that the album is influenced by everyone from Queens of the Stone Age to Sly and the Family Stone. It'll definitely be interesting to see how the new tunes from the Nashville rockers turn out.
Arcade Fire: Reflektor (October 29)After their wildly successful 2011 album, The Suburbs, Arcade Fire are finally back with their fourth studio album. The album has been getting hyped since The Suburbs was still going strong, since everyone wanted to see what the band had up their sleeve next. Arcade Fire released some teasers for the record, including a 40-second video montage of the band in the studio that dropped on September 9.
M.I.A.: Matangi (November 5)By now, just about everyone in the world knows not to mess around with M.I.A. The outspoken artist has never been one to shy away controversy, and the situation surrounding the release of her new album has been no different. After a number of delays of release dates courtesy of Interscope Records, M.I.A. threatened to leak the album herself if the label didn’t commit to a date. Interscope finally bowed down and M.I.A.’s fourth studio album will be making its way into headlines everywhere come early November.
Lady Gaga: ARTPOP (November 11)Lady Gaga’s third album is already drumming up a lot of hype, thanks to the early release of the first single of the album, “Applause,” which was mysteriously leaked immediately after Katy Perry’s new single was mysteriously leaked. Gaga’s new album is anticipated strictly for the “What the hell will she do next?” factor, not to mention that it will be interesting to see how she fares against her fellow other pop tarts.
Miley Cyrus: Bangerz (October 4)Oh, Miley. What’s not to anticipate here? From her brand new image as a twerking ambassador to her Miami Vice-inspired album cover, everything about Cyrus’ new album screams “Look at me!”, and, judging by how long it took for her VMAs performance to die down, look at her we shall. Bangerz will make or break Miley’s venture into her new image, so it’ll be interesting to see how it all pans out.
Justin Timberlake: The 20/20 Experience 2 of 2 (September 27)Because 1 record isn’t enough for a grandiose comeback, Justin Timberlake will be releasing the second half of The 20/20 Experience at the end of September. Timberlake is at his best when he’s making music, and The 20/20 Experience provided a bevy of hits - hopefully the sequel will do the same.
Pearl Jam: Lightning Bolt (October 14)After 2009’s Backspacer, Pearl Jam fans are anxious to hear what the legendary band has to offer next. Produced by longtime Pearl Jam ally Brendan O’Brien, Lightning Bolt will be the band’s 10th record and will draw on everything from punk rock to Pink Floyd influences.
Sting: The Last Ship (September 24)Already a singer, songwriter, musician, and producer, Sting is looking to add playwright to his resume, what with his working on a musical set to debut on Broadway sometime in 2014. The Last Ship is Sting’s eleventh studio album and is inspired from his play, which looks at the 1980s decline of the shipbuilding industry in Newcastle, England. His first album since 2003’s Sacred Love, the record will feature appearances from Brian Johnson of AC/DC, Kathryn Tickell, The Unthanks, and more.
More:5 Boy Bands That Never Made ItRappers In Action (Movies)Ministry of Sound's Spotify Lawsuit Makes No Sense
From Our Partners:40 Most Revealing See-Through Red Carpet Looks (Vh1)15 Stars Share Secrets of their Sex Lives (Celebuzz)
Amanda Bynes has cracked — at least according to TMZ. Law enforcement sources tell the gossip site that Bynes was taken into police custody and involuntarily hospitalized on Monday night after she was found trespassing and lighting a stranger's driveway on fire.
TMZ reports that the fire department was called to a home in Thousand Oaks, Calif. after residents noticed a small blaze in the driveway. The sheriff's department joined the scene as well and after questioning Bynes decided to place her on a 5150 hold. According to TMZ, this is "an involuntary hospitalization for mental evaluation" that lasts for 72 hours.
TMZ also spoke with the elderly woman whose property Bynes vandalized, who claims police officers asked her, "Do you know anyone by the name of Amanda Bynes, or why she would have some vendetta against you?" She did not know of anyone by that name. (But we sure do!)
Bynes' increasingly erratic behavior, which includes a drug-related arrest, a bizarre makeover, and abysmal Twitter etiquette, has been well documented during the past year. Could Bynes have finally reached her breaking point?
Hollywood.com's inquiries with the Thousand Oaks Police Department had not been returned at the time of publication.
Follow Hollywood.Com On Twitter @Hollywood_Com
More:Amanda Bynes Calls the Obamas "Ugly" Is the Amanda Bynes Crazy Schtick All a Ruse? What Would 'Amanda Show' Characters Think of Amanda Bynes Now?
From Our PartnersBattle of the Bikini Bodies (Celebuzz)Complete Guide to Strippers in Movies and TV (Vh1)
It's hardly news for Amanda Bynes to call someone "ugly" on Twitter. From Drake to Miley Cyrus to Zac Efron, Bynes is seemingly not a fan of many of Hollywood's most famous faces. And with America losing interest in her antics, it was only a matter of time before Bynes started picking on bigger names to garner more attention. So who's bigger than Hollywood? The First Family, of course! On Monday, Bynes tweeted, "Barack Obama and Michelle Obama are ugly!"
Barack Obama and Michelle Obama are ugly!
— Amanda Bynes (@AmandaBynes) July 8, 2013
But really, the most upsetting thing about this isn't the insult — which we don't have to tell you is obviously ludicrous, like all the others — but the fact that Bynes is subtweeting her venom (tweeting about someone without the courtesy of an @mention). Again. The words themselves lose their credibility with each erroneous tweet, but Bynes should at least use proper Twitter ettiquette while hurling them.
While debates have been waged over whether tweeting a name without the Twitter handle (rather than a passive aggressive response) is really subtweeting, it's clear that Bynes is committing a sneaky mom faux pas by not tweeting her insult directly @BarackObama or @FLOTUS. And, come to think of it, she never tweets at her on-again, off-again crush @Drake either. Which is really just rude.
If you're going to talk badly about people, have the decency to do it to their faces. Or to their accounts, or whatever.
Follow Abbey On Twitter @Abbeystone | Follow Hollywood.Com On Twitter @Hollywood_Com
More:Is the Amanda Bynes Crazy Schtick All a Ruse? What Would 'Amanda Show' Characters Think of Amanda Bynes Now? Could Amanda Bynes Be the Next Big Rap Star?
From Our PartnersStars Pose Naked for 'Allure' (Celebuzz)20 Grisliest TV Deaths of 2012-2013 (Vulture)
Game of Thrones has got a killer soundtrack — what with "The Rains of Castamere," "The Bear and the Maiden Fair," and that incredible opening titles theme. But we can't help but feel like there has been something missing when it comes to the show's musical component: rap. Westeros could use a healthy dose of hip-hop.
Thanks to Official Comedy, our prayers have been answered. Jon Snow meets Drake in this hilarious parody video, "Started as a Bastard."
More:'Game of Thrones' Star Maisie Williams is a Vine Champ Robb Stark Actor Richard Madden is Sad Book-Lover's Spoiler-Filled Guide to 'GoT' Season 3
From Our Partners:Zoe Saldana Strips Down For Magazine (Celebuzz)33 Child Stars: Where Are They Now? (Celebuzz)
After eight weeks of belly flops, ruptured eardrums, concussions, and bruised kidneys, Splash — the "most electrifying diving competition on Earth" as host Joey Lawrence dubbed it — has come to a close. On Tuesday night's finale, it came down to Nickelodeon star Drake Bell, former Baywatch babe Nicole Eggert, and extreme skier Rory Bushfield.
After impressive dives by each of the finalists, the studio audience was left to choose the winner. Even while coping with his ruptured eardrum from the previous week's competition, Bushfield was able to pull out the win. And it's a good thing, too, because, as Bushfield said, "I don't think any skier would be impressed if I got beat by a couple of actors, so I gotta step up my game."
The finale began with each of the final three contestants performing a dive for the judges to score. Only the top two would continue on to the final round, where the audience would choose the winner.
For their first dives of the night, each of the contestants chose variations on dives that had given trouble in the past. Eggert triumphed with the same handstand dive she scarily botched early in the competition, Bushfield opted for a dive full of complicated twists and turns (which must have wreaked havoc on his torn abdomen), and Bell takes a second stab at the dive that gave him a concussion during last week's rehearsal. All were impressive — and none were anything I'd like to try — but only Eggert and Bushfield advance to the next round.
With her final dive, Eggert upped the show's suspense factor. After a double back flip, she hit the water hard on her back and surfaced saying, "I need help." As the audience waited with bated breath — and we see a shot of Eggert's daughter crying in the stands — Splash cut to commercial. After the break, everyone is relieved to see a triumphant Eggert raise her arms and yell, "I'm okay!"
For his final dive, Bushfield decides to do the one thing he has avoided all season — enter the water head first. So, with his the last jump off the platform, Bushfield finally does a real dive for the first time. And he nails it. It's a double front flip from which he enters the water perfectly vertical. While the result is out of their hands, the judges both say that — as much as they admire Eggert's courage and charisma — they would have chosen Bushfield as the winner. These guys are Olympians, of course they'll pick the diver with the best technical form. But will the audience agree, or go with their heart? Duh, they go with Bushfield (I already told you that).
And so, the all-time best-show-to-watch-while-on-the-elliptical has come to a close. Will we see a second season, or will the the myriad injuries (and potential lawsuits that come with them) prevent ABC from letting it continue?
Follow Abbey On Twitter @AbbeyStone
More:'Splash' Will Attempt to Make Waves, Unlike 'Stars in Danger' ABC's 'Splash' A Surprising Ratings Hit'Splash' On ABC Looks a Bit Different from the 'Splash' I Remember
From Our Partners:Watch Justin Bieber Attacked in Dubai (Celebuzz)33 Child Stars: Where Are They Now? (Celebuzz)
When Amanda Bynes is not tweeting alarming comments about her weight she is apparently conducting revealing interviews with the tabloids she claims to revile. The most recent being with In Touch.
While the interview is littered with such gems as "Every time I’ve heard [that I'm insane] it came from an ugly person’s mouth, so I don’t care," and "I only have hot friends" the most revealing part is when Bynes comments on the inspiration for her new look. "I wanted to look like [exotic dancer] Blac Chyna," she says.
I don't know about you, but I had no idea who Blac Chyna is. So, to Google! Turns out, if Blac Chyna is the model for Bynes' makeover, Bynes did a bang-up job. The two look about as similar as two people of different races can.
Furthermore, it looks like Bynes has been emulating Blac Chyna's selfie poses as well as her fashion choices. The similarities between the two women's social media habits are striking.
Check it these near-identical selfies:
The Gym Glamour Shot
The Gratuitous Lingerie in the Bathroom
The "Too Much Flash"
So, riddle me this, friends. Is Bynes truly enamored with Blac Chyna, or is this just the next step in her plan to Borat us all?
Follow Abbey On Twitter @AbbeyStone
More: Is the Amanda Bynes Crazy Schtick a Ruse?Is Amanda Bynes Poised for a Britney Spears Meltdown? The Lindsay Lohan-ization of Amanda Bynes
From Our Partners:Beyonce Flaunts Bikini Bod for H&M (Celebuzz)33 Child Stars: Where Are They Now? (Celebuzz)