Actor Barrymore dies
John Drew Barrymore, the reclusive and eccentric son of acting legend John Barrymore and father of Hollywood star Drew Barrymore, died on Monday, Drew‘s spokesman told Reuters. He was 72. There were no immediate details on how he died, Reuters reports. “He was a cool cat. Please smile when you think of him,” Drew Barrymore said in a statement issued through her spokesman. Known more for his rebellious ways than for his sporadic film career, which included films such as The Big Night (1951) and While the City Sleeps (1956), John was arrested several times for drug use, alcohol and spousal abuse. He had a long estrangement from his children, Drew and a son, John, and at various times was reported to be living like a hermit, a derelict or a vagabond. In a 1999 interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Drew said, “I think in every family, everyone probably sits in their head and just goes a little crazy every once in a while. My dad just happens to do it all of the time. Sometimes I have a sense of humor about it. Sometimes I don’t.”
Godzilla stomps all over Walk of Fame
Because he simply deserves it, the famed Japanese monster Godzilla received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame Monday, The Associated Press reports. Producer Shogo Tomiyama, whose latest film Godzilla: Final Wars, was premiering at Los Angeles’ Grauman’s Chinese Theater, accepting the honor on behalf of the giant lizard. “I’m here representing Godzilla. Unfortunately, he cannot speak English,” he said. “We’re very excited he is being honored in America.”
Clooney’s back injury takes him out of commission
Suffering from a ruptured disk, actor George Clooney had to bow out of promoting his upcoming film Ocean’s Twelve this week, AP reports. Clooney had been scheduled to travel to New York Sunday for appearances on shows including Good Morning America, The Daily Show and Charlie Rose, his spokesman, Stan Rosenfield, told AP, but Clooney had to cancel due because his condition had worsened and he would be unable to travel. Rosenfield said he didn’t have information on how or when the injury occurred.
Jackson’s accuser will not get a psychiatric test
Santa Barbara Superior Court Judge Rodney Melville rejected the defense’s request to have the teenage boy who is accusing Michael Jackson of molesting him to be examined by a psychiatrist of their choosing, Reuters reports. Defense attorneys had said in court papers that they needed to conduct their own mental evaluations of Jackson’s accuser–as well as the boy’s brother and mother–in order to effectively cross-examine a psychiatrist who interviewed them before the charges were brought. But Melville said in the pretrial hearing that he would hear no argument on the issue.
Glover criticizes U.S. on land mine treaty
Lethal Weapon star Danny Glover told reporters Monday at the United Nations’ Geneva offices he regrets the U.S. government has not yet signed a 144-nation treaty to eliminate the use of land mines. Glover, who represented the U.N. children’s agency on a three-day visit to heavily mined areas near Ethiopia’s border with Eritrea, also criticized the United States for failing to send a delegate to the upcoming Nairobi Summit on land mines. “The U.S. is one of the major manufacturers of land mines,” Glover said. “It doesn’t say a great deal about the world’s sole superpower and the role of leadership it should play.” The U.S. State Department told Reuters Friday it is not sending a delegation to Nairobi because of the cost of participation and disagreement with crucial elements of the pact.
Sundance names documentary entries
The Sundance Film Festival yesterday named entries for the World Cinema Documentary Competition at its 2005 festival, Reuters reports. The docs include Enron: Rise and Fall, about the fall of the energy giant; The Fall of Fujimori, about Peru’s fugitive president, Alberto Fujimori; and The Liberace of Baghdad, about an Iraqi pianist holed up in a hotel while waiting for a visa. Sundance has championed documentaries despite the fact few of them succeed at box offices, and documentary makers say the festival deserves credit for transforming the documentary genre into a commercially viable art form. Other films selected include Werner Herzog’s Grizzly Man, and the Finnish film The 3 Rooms of Melancholia, about the war in Chechnya. Backed by Robert Redford, Sundance runs from Jan. 20 to 30 in Park City, Utah, east of Salt Lake City.
Tavis Smiley leaving NPR
Radio talk show host Tavis Smiley has opted not to renew his contract with National Public Radio for his daily one-hour show, AP reports. Smiley, whose show has aired on NPR for nearly three years, said Monday his last day on the air will be Dec. 16. In announcing his decision, Smiley criticized the station for what he described as its failure to “meaningfully reach out to a broad spectrum of Americans who would benefit from public radio but simply don’t know it exists or what it offers … In the most multicultural, multi-ethnic and multiracial America ever, I believe that NPR can and must do better in the future.” The Tavis Smiley Show was designed in part for NPR and its member stations to reach out to minority listeners.
Guylaine Cadorette contributed to this report.