Iconic jazz musician and producer George Duke has died at the age of 67. He passed away on Monday night (05Aug13) at St. John's Hospital in Los Angeles, where he had been receiving treatment for chronic lymphocytic leukaemia, his publicist has revealed.
Duke's son, Rashid, has thanked fans for their support following the news of his dad's death in a statement which reads: "The outpouring of love and support that we have received from my father's friends, fans and the entire music community has been overwhelming. Thank you all for your concern, prayers and support."
Duke, who learned to play the piano at the tender age of four, began working in the industry as a session musician in the late 1960s, working with violinist Jean-Luc Ponty and performing with the Don Ellis Orchestra. It was during that time that he met eccentric trailblazer Frank Zappa, who recruited Duke to appear on a number of his albums in the 1970s, including Chunga's Revenge, 200 Motels and The Grand Wazoo.
Famed for his ability to fuse jazz, soul, R&B and funk, he became known for playing with jazz bassist Stanley Clarke and drummer Billy Cobham and joined Cannonball Adderley's band, with which he experienced chart success with their song Sweet Baby.
He stepped out on his own in 1976 and went on to release more than 30 solo albums throughout a career spanning more than four decades. His last release, DreamWeaver, was released in July (13) and featured a touching tribute to his late wife, Corine, who died from cancer last year (12).
As a producer, Duke worked with legendary stars including Miles Davis, Smokey Robinson, Gladys Knight and Dionne Warwick, while he contributed to movie soundtracks for The Five Heartbeats and Karate Kid III.
He also famously played keyboard on Michael Jackson's classic 1979 album, Off the Wall.
Duke's compositions have continued to inspire modern musicians and he has been sampled by the likes of Daft Punk, Kanye West and Ice Cube.
Some familiar names and faces to the NBC family will be popping back up in the upcoming 2013-2014 TV season. Both Sean Hayes (Will & Grace) and Dermot Mulroney (Friends) have new shows slated for the network's lineup, as well as the latest from drama dreamweaver Jason Katims (Friday Night Lights, Parenthood) and bona fide hitmaker J.J. Abrams (Revolution).
In fact, familiarity seems to be the name of the game for NBC, as the network is also bringing the small screen adaptation of the Oscar nominated big screen adaptation of About a Boy.
Before the NBC upfronts get underway next week, here's what's on the network's upcoming lineup so far:
About a Boy: Remember the movie based on Nick Hornby's novel of the same name? Well, this is the same thing, just brought to you by Jason Katims and replace Hugh Grant with David Walton and Toni Collette with Minnie Driver. Voila!
Believe: From executive producer J.J. Abrams, this drama starring Jake McLaughlin, Kyle MacLachlan, Delroy Lindo, and Jamie Chung follows a young girl with powers and the former prisoner who protects her from evil forces trying to steal said powers.
Crisis: This vehicle for Dermot Mulroney (pictured) and Gillian Anderson is a drama centered around political intrigue, conspiracies, and threats.
The Family Guide: Comedy veterans Parker Posey and J.K. Simmons star as a quirky couple in the process of divorce, and the effect said divorce has on their children. Posey's Joyce Fisher becomes a little too close to her daughter due to her desperate need to be young again, while Simmons' Mel Fisher, who is blind, leans on his son to be his eyes and ears.
Sean Saves the World: Or, at least, NBC is hoping Sean saves NBC with this new comedy starring the Emmy-winning actor as a dad trying to balance raising his teenager and his career.
These five new shows will join renewed favorites such as Grimm, Law & Order: SVU, Parenthood, Chicago Fire and Revolution. Stay tuned to Hollywood.com all week for all the breaking TV news regarding the upcoming seasons from all the networks.
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Since, at their core, Hollywood and Washington D.C. have so much in common, it's none too surprising when the two worlds collide. But even before those over-the-top, dramatic attack ads for the bid for the Presidency has begun, some of the most powerful, outspoken names in Hollywood are staking their claims regarding their candidate of choice.
Last month President Barack Obama — whose 2008 campaign had major celebrity backing from the likes of Oprah Winfrey, George Clooney, and Jennifer Aniston — had both a breakfast with some of Hollywood's hottest young stars (including Jeremy Renner, Zachary Quinto, and Kal Penn, who worked for the Obama administration) and attended a fundraiser held at Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick's Manhattan home, which included supporters like Meryl Streep, Andy Cohen, and Anna Wintour. Parker, who made a PSA for the POTUS, praised the President and First Lady Michelle Obama at the fundraiser, stating that Mrs. Obama has done "amazingly important things these last four years."
Since then, there's been even more talk about the upcoming Presidential race from some of Hollywood's heavy-hitters. In Vulture's in-depth interview with Spike Lee, the director reveals that while he and his wife are still Obama supporters, the race will be a tight one. Lee, who also talks about a cordial meeting he had with Obama's Republican opponent Mitt Romney at an airport, says, " I think it is going to be very, very, very close."
Hollywood powerhouse producer Harvey Weinstein, on the other hand, sees no real competition. During an appearance on The Rachel Maddow Show, the Oscar dreamweaver compared Obama and Romney to two of his recent films: The King's Speech and Our Idiot Brother, respectively. Since both films had the same budget, Weinstein argues, only one walked away the clear champ as a box office hit and an Academy Award winner. "To me, Romney is Our Idiot Brother, and Obama is The King's Speech. You can spend all the money in the world. If you've got a bad product, it doesnt matter," he says. Never mind that comparing such polar opposite movies seems like kind of unfair to begin with, but on behalf of Obama-supporting fans who didn't really enjoy The King's Speech and actually enjoyed Our Idiot Brother more: "Aw, man, come on!"
While Obama certainly has more high-profile celebrity supporters, Romney has earned the support of some in the industry, including the likes of Kid Rock, Donald Trump, and to the surprise of absolutely no one, anywhere, ever: Ted Nugent. But, two of Romney's supporters have ties to a pair of the biggest A-listers in Hollywood: Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. Both Jolie's father Jon Voight and — in a widely publicized letter — Pitt's mother Jane Pitt, have expressed anti-Obama/pro-Romney sentiments. The mother of the Moneyball star (Brad is a well-known Obama and same-sex marriage supporter) wrote that the POTUS is "a man who sat in Jeremiah Wright’s church for years, did not hold a public ceremony to mark the National Day of Prayer, and is a liberal who supports the killing of unborn babies and same-sex marriage." Uh-oh, she broke the first rule of family get-together fight club: don't talk about politics and religion!
Remember, folks, we've still got nearly four more months of opinions from both sides to endure.
[Photo credit: WENN.com]
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