Actress Michelle Dockery is convinced Americans love Downton Abbey because they see it as a window to the lives of the British royal family. The actress, who plays Lady Mary in the series, insists fans in the U.S. are fascinated with the period show because the fictional Crawley dynasty resembles the U.K.'s ruling Windsor family.
She also sees some remarkable parallels between plotlines in the drama series and real-life events, including the royal wedding of Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge in 2011, Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee last year (12), and the birth of Prince George in July (13).
Dockery tells Radio Times, "They don't have an aristocracy so they've got this endless fascination with ours... They see a link with Kate and Will's wedding, the Queen's Jubilee and the royal birth. All these events happened around the same time Downtown Abbey was being broadcast in the U.S. and the audiences there see it as a window on to how the Royal family lives."
Actress Valerie Harper hopes taking part in U.S. TV show Dancing With The Stars will help her fight against cancer. The 74 year old was told she only has three to six months to live after she was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer earlier this year (13).
The Mary Tyler Moore Show star was given a standing ovation during her appearance at the dance show's launch night on Monday (16Sep13) and she is hoping her gutsy decision to take part will inspire other cancer patients.
Harper tells In Touch magazine, "I think the show will play a major part in my recovery... At first I didn't really want to do it. I really love the show, but I was afraid... I prefer to live as though this is all we have, because we could drop dead at any given moment. When life asks you to dance, you just have to dance."
The new season of the hit TV contest show was launched with a star-studded audience as Jennifer Lopez arrived at the studio with her boyfriend Casper Smart to support best friend Leah Remini, while Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne cheered for their son Jack.
A host of British acting greats have come together to recreate a modern version of Leonardo Da Vinci's biblical painting The Last Supper. Robert Powell, who played Jesus Christ in 1970s mini-series Jesus of Nazareth, takes centre stage in the picture, with Colin Firth on his right and Julie Walters, the only woman in the it, at his left, taking the place of Mary Magdalene.
Other stars recreating the roles of Jesus' apostles are Sir Michael Gambon, Simon Callow, Tom Conti, Peter Eyre, Anthony Andrews, Steven Berkoff, Tim Pigott-Smith, John Alderton and Sir Antony Sher.
Photographer Alistair Morrison, who recreated the 15th Century masterpiece, says, "My first two choices were Robert Powell who had to be Jesus, recreating the famous role played in Franco Zeffirelli's Jesus of Nazareth, and Julie Walters, who was asked to play Mary Magdalene and they both readily agreed. Their enthusiasm and influence helped to bring together this outstanding group of actors."
Prints of the piece, dubbed Actors' Last Supper, will go on sale at the National Portrait Gallery in London, with a percentage of profits going towards new collections.
Rocker John Fogerty made a surprise appearance at the Gentlemen of the Road festival in St. Augustine, Florida on Saturday night (14Sep13) after he was called in as a last-minute replacement for fun. The former Credence Clearwater Revival frontman hopped on a midnight flight from Los Angeles on Friday (13Sep13) to fill in for the Some Nights hitmakers, who were forced to scrap their set to allow singer Nate Reuss time to rest his voice following an illness.
Fogerty called on The Vaccines and his son Shane to back him up on classics like Suzie Q, Down on the Corner and Fortunate Son, and he teamed up with headliners Mumford & Sons for songs including Bad Moon Rising, Born on the Bayou and Proud Mary.
Following his cross-country trek, the rock star told WENN, "Travel thousands of miles, get a couple hours' sleep, rehearse with two killer bands and play for 20,000 awesome fans with one of my personal favourites Mumford & Sons. Rock and roll... worth the trip!"
Fogerty is making it a habit of performing with other bands - earlier this month (07Sep13), he played a solo set with Widespread Panic at Virginia's Lockn' Festival and he guested at a Labor Day weekend gig as part of Harley-Davidson's 110th anniversary party in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he performed alongside Kid Rock. Meanwhile, on 22 August (13), he was a surprise guest at Brad Paisley's show at Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View, California, where he and Paisley performed Hot Rod Heart, a collaboration they recorded for Fogerty's new duets album, Wrote a Song for Everyone.
Halle Berry and Alicia Keys' publicist Patti Webster has died at the age of 49. The Hollywood PR guru passed away at her home in New Jersey on Friday (13Sep13) after a battle with a "prolonged illness", according to her representatives.
Webster founded W&W Public Relations in 1991 and boasted clients such as Steve Harvey, Holly Robinson Peete, Janet Jackson, Patti LaBelle, Ludacris, Mary Mary, Kelly Rowland, Usher and BeBe and CeCe Winans.
She was also a member of the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences.
Rock veterans Bad Religion are giving traditional Christmas carols a punk makeover for a holiday album. The bandmates have long joked about giving hardcore fans a shock with a Christmas project and now they have decided it's time to have a little festive fun.
Christmas Songs will be released in late October (13) and will feature eight seasonal standards, including White Christmas and Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, while they will also add a remix of their sinister single American Jesus to the nine-song tracklist.
Bad Religion are the latest stars to unwrap plans for a holiday album - Trace Adkins, Mary J. Blige, Jewel, Kelly Clarkson and Erasure are also aiming high in the Christmas charts this winter (13).
Actress Cameron Diaz has signed on to produce an upcoming TV adaptation of her hit comedy Bad Teacher. The There's Something About Mary star played the lead role in the 2011 film, alongside Jason Segel and Justin Timberlake, about a lazy teacher who is forced to work after being dumped by her wealthy fiance.
The concept of the movie has since inspired a new TV series, and now Diaz has agreed to serve as a producer, according to Deadline.com.
The new show stars Ari Graynor posing as a teacher to find another rich man after her husband leaves her broke.
Actress-turned-designer Ashley Olsen has found love in the fashion world - she's dating the boss of top eyewear brand Oliver Peoples. The former Full House star has kept her personal life out of the spotlight in recent years, but she is now being romantically linked to Oliver Peoples CEO David Schulte.
A source tells Us Weekly, "Ashley is dating David. It's pretty new."
The 27 year old was with The Hangover star Justin Bartha from 2008 to 2011, while her twin sister Mary-Kate has been seeing 43-year-old multimillionaire Olivier Sarkozy since last year (12).
"Cubby Broccoli called me into his office and asked me if I wanted to be Bond." Mary Poppins star Dick Van Dyke reveals he was considered for the role of 007 when producers were looking for Sean Connery's replacement.
Pop duo Erasure have joined the stars hoping for a Christmas hit this year after revealing details of their new holiday album. Snow Globe, which will be released in November (13), will feature original festive tunes and seasonal classics like Steeleye Span's folk hit Gaudete.
Singer Andy Bell can understand why fans think the tune is an odd choice - but he insists it works perfectly.
He says, "I just love the song."
Bandmate Vince Clarke insists the album will help Bell show off the full range of his vocal talents and the openly gay frontman adds, "I found my inner choirboy again. I thought I’d lost him but he was there all along."
The duo will have to compete with Trace Adkins, Mary J. Blige, Jewel, Susan Boyle and Kelly Clarkson, among others, for the Christmas chart top spot this December (13).