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SHOWBIZ Lee Daniels, 'Walking Dead' star, Sylvester, Richard Simmons
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

This article shared 4252 times since Tue Jun 23, 2020
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Openly gay producer/director Lee Daniels ( TV's Empire; producer of the movie Monster's Ball ) said he was the original director of the Oscar-winning film Brokeback Mountain, but couldn't get the film made as "nobody wanted to see the movie," Insider reported. The project then passed on to Ang Lee, who went on to win his first best director Oscar for the now-classic movie starring Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal as two cowboys who form an intense and secret relationship spanning years. Daniels also said he couldn't watch the movie for 15 years, as he "couldn't imagine any other filmmaker doing it justice."

The Walking Dead star Khary Payton ( known for his role as King Ezekiel ) introduced fans and followers to his older child, son Karter, noted. "This my kid. One of the most happy, well-adjusted individuals I've ever known. My son, Karter. Karter with a K because it reminded him of my name. He chose it," Payton captioned the image on Instagram. "You see, he was born female but has always identified as a boy. He thought it would be cool if I announced it on social media."

Craft Recordings has reissued Sylvester's 1978 album Step II, with newly remastered audio, a Chummy Press media release noted. This classic disco album features Sylvester's enduring anthem, "You Make Me Feel ( Mighty Real )," plus his very first Top 40 hit, "Dance ( Disco Heat )." Step II was certified Gold by the RIAA, broke the Billboard R&B Top 10 and peaked at number 28 on the Billboard 200 chart. The remastered album is available digitally across all platforms, including high-resolution for the first time.

In Touch Weekly said it hired a PI to photograph Richard Simmons leaving a hospital—but a California appeals court found that purported newsgathering doesn't give the outlet First Amendment protection for a suit over a tracking device that was installed on his caretaker's vehicle, The Hollywood Reporter noted. In July 2018, Simmons sued Bauer Media Group, claiming a private detective hired by its magazine In Touch Weekly attached an electronic tracking device to caretaker Teresa Reveles' car. The fitness personality also sued the PI, Scott Brian Mathews and his detective agency, LA Intelligence. ( Mathews was charged with two counts of unlawfully using an electronic tracking device and eventually pleaded no contest to two amended counts of vehicle tampering and was given three years' probation. )

After a 12-year hiatus, Noah, Alex, Ricky and Chance will reunite in Noah's Arc: The 'Rona Chronicles, according to a GLAAD press release. The new scripted episode brings back the original cast of the Black/Latino LGBTQ show Noah's Arc to see what the characters are during COVID-19 and the current #BlackLivesMatter protests. The reunion special will air Sunday, July 5, on Patrik-Ian Polk entertainment's Facebook and YouTube pages. After the episode, Karamo Brown will lead a Q&A with the actors. For more information, visit the event page ( ); the charity fundraiser that the event will support is at

Church Boy—a new stand-up comedy concert film from award-winning, veteran Black LGBTQ comedian/writer Sampson McCormick—is available to the public on several streaming outlets, a press release noted. The new comedy specia—taped during a run of sold-out shows that he headlined at the DC Comedy Loft in Washington, D.C., the week before the COVID-19 shutdown—tackles issues ranging from the challenges that Black gay men face in social institutions like barber shops and the Black church, the rising costs of living, gentrification, mental health, dating and classic Black films. See .

Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga—a movie starring Will Ferrell, Rachel McAdams, Pierce Brosnan, Dan Stevens and Demi Lovato— will be released on Netflix on Friday, June 26, a press release noted. The synopsis as follows: When aspiring Icelandic musicians Lars ( Ferrell ) and Sigrit ( McAdams ) are given the opportunity of a lifetime to represent their country at the world's biggest song competition, they finally have a chance to prove that any dream worth having is a dream worth fighting for.

James Ross—the former drag queen who went by Tyra Sanchez and took home the crown on RuPaul's Drag Race season two—is leaving drag for good and told fans to "forget me," Queerty noted. Ross has had a contentious relationship with Drag Race fans, at one point telling fans to kill themselves and threatening to attack DragCon, an action that got him banned from the event. In a recent Twitter thread, Ross said, "You act as tho this comes from no where. Every morning I wake to your racist hate and I say nothing. I block you and keep moving. Today I have time. I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired of white people leaving comments on my page, inboxing me hate every single damn day."

Following a deluge of accusations of unfair treatment at Conde Nast's food publication Bon Appetit, yet another personality associated with the brand is condemning the company's "toxic" culture, Insider noted. Andy Baraghani, a senior food editor at Bon Appetit, took to social media to apologize for his role in the work environment and to voice his intentions to "move forward" toward a more inclusive workplace. "I am a person of color, and I am gay, but I have benefitted in ways that my that my non-white counterparts have not," he wrote. "I've been wondering, how could I have amplified the voices of my BIPOC colleagues more? And how will I advocate for them better as we move forward?"

Pride Plays announced an all-star cast for its upcoming live stream of Mart Crowley's The Men From the Boys, the 2002 sequel to The Boys in the Band, which won the 2019 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play, Playbill noted. The play revisits a handful of characters from Boys in the Band approximately 30 years later, with a few new additions. Some members of the cast include Mario Cantone, Denis O'Hare, Kevyn Morrow, Charlie Carver and Telly Leung. Produced by Aaron Glick, the presentation is part of the 2020 Pride Plays festival, produced by Michael Urie and Doug Nevin, with festival direction by Nick Mayo. The stream airs 6 p.m. CT on Friday, June 26, at

Black Women on Broadway will present Black Women in Theatre Appreciation Day on Monday, June 29, beginning at noon ET, according to Playbill. The all-day virtual conference, featuring workshops and panels, will celebrate the legacy of Black women in the industry and empower the next generation; all events will be featured on YouTube and/or Zoom. Tony nominee Danielle Brooks ( The Color Purple; TV's Orange Is the New Black ) will moderate the free event; among those slated to appear are Audra McDonald, Lillias White and Alia Jones-Harvey, as well as others.

Lifetime will air an encore presentation of the critically acclaimed 2009 original movie Prayers for Bobby on Monday, June 29, at 7 p.m. CT., according to a press release. Three-time Academy Award nominee Sigourney Weaver stars as Mary Griffith, a profoundly religious wife and mother who began to question her faith after the suicide of her gay son Bobby ( Ryan Kelley ). Prayers For Bobby won the GLAAD Media Award and received a Dorian Award from The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics; Weaver also received the Ally Award from Human Rights Campaign and The Trevor Life Award from the Trevor Project, which also honored Lifetime for the movie.

The Dolly Parton x Nina West "Kindness is Queen" set is now out, noted. The capsule consists of a T-shirt, an enamel pin and a tote bag. The three items will be sold for a limited amount of time, and proceeds from the collection will go to Dolly's Imagination Library and the Nina West Foundation, which supports LGBTQ youth and families. See

Platinum-selling songwriter and pop/jazz singer Ann Hampton Callaway released her new single "Carry On," and it's meant "to offer inspiration, healing and hope during this difficult time as we face racial injustice and a global pandemic," according to a press release. "Carry On" was arranged and engineered by Emmy-nominated arranger-composer-performer Irwin Fisch ( who's worked with Bette Midler, James Taylor, Aretha Franklin and Barbra Streisand, among others ). A portion of the proceeds from the sales of the single will benefit Direct Relief and Southern Poverty Law Center.

Rapper/actor/activist Common spoke out on the injustice of all Black lives, including people in the LGBTQ+ community—but then deleted it and replaced "BLACK TRANS LIVES MATTER" with "ALL. BLACK. LIVES. MATTER," after the initial post got mixed feedback, The Jasmine Brand noted. Also, actor/LGBTQ+-rights activist Billy Porter made headlines when he compared the treatment of Black people of the LGBTQ+ community by the black community to White supremacists.

Singer Camila Cabello is fighting to protect members of the LGBTQ+ community, according to . Taking to Instagram, Cabello wrote, "I have so much admiration and respect for the LGBTQ+ community, this community includes some of the bravest, kindest, strongest people I know. [You] teach me by example what it means to be true to yourself and your heart, what it means to be brave, what it means to be fierce and kind every step of the way and living YOUR truth no matter how hard and scary that may be, loving whoever you want to love. happy pride month." The "Havana" musician followed with a message condemning violence against transgender individuals, especially Black trans people.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced that the 93rd Oscars will no longer take place on Feb. 28, 2021, as planned, but has been pushed to April 25—the first time in 40 years the ceremony has been rescheduled, noted. ( The change is because of the coronavirus pandemic. ) For the 2021 Oscars, the new eligibility window for films will be extended until Feb. 28, 2021.

At a moment when Hollywood is listening more than ever to suggestions on how to make this industry more inclusive, a group of more than 125 indie producers of color wrote an open letter with some suggestions meant to guide change, Deadline noted. Among the suggestions were banishing the thought that their ideas are "too small," empowering Black and Brown independent producers, expanding vision and asking actors and reps to become more demanding about the teams behind the camera.

Dave Chappelle, in a new Netflix stand-up special, took a swipe at CNN anchor Don Lemon—pushing back on Lemon's call for Black celebrities to speak up on racial justice, Variety noted. At one point, said Chappelle, "Why would anyone care what their favorite comedian thinks after they saw a police officer kneel on a man's neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds?," referring to the May 25 killing of Minneapolis man George Floyd while in police custody. "I actually agree with Dave Chappelle," Lemon later responded, but added it's "not a moment for modesty. I think it's a moment that we should all be using our platform[s] to do whatever we can … at least to show those young people and the people out there that we support them."

Singer Anita Baker ( best known for the '80s song "Sweet Love" ) recently shared her experiences with the police when she called them for assistance years ago, Madame Noire noted. On Twitter, Baker shared her experience with two white men who stalked her all summer long. She posted, "Suburban police took him away said they couldn't charge him. I went 2 State police 2 bring charges & get A CWP. In retaliation 4 "Going Over their Head?" Local Police ticketed me so much? I simply quit driving."

Beyonce surprised fans by dropping a new song, "Black Parade," at the tail end of the Juneteenth holiday, Variety noted. Written by Beyonce and co-produced by Derek Dixie, "Black Parade" also features her husband, Jay-Z, as co-writer along with Dixie ( the Emmy-nominated music director of "HOMECOMING: A Film by Beyonce Knowles" ), among others. The track about empowerment and resilience centers on the recent Black Lives Matter protests in the wake of the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer. "Rubber bullets bouncin' off me / Made a picket sign off your picket fence / Take it as a warning," Beyonce sings.

In other Beyonce-related news, she and Jay-Z are being accused of not giving a Jamaican artist credit for her contribution to their single "Black Effect," noted. Lenora Antoinette Stines filed Tuesday in the United States District Court Central District of California to be compensated for copyright infringement, right of publicity and unjust enrichment. The suit is centered around the song "Black Effect," from the couple's joint 2018 album, Everything Is Love.

Actress Jennifer Lawrence finally went public on her own verified Twitter platform—and is using it for a cause, noted. Lawrence is using her new account, @JLawrence_RepUs, to speak out against racial injustice, actively supporting the organization Represent Us. Lawrence has a position on the board of Represent Us; other famous board members include actor Ed Helms and The Big Short writer and director Adam McKay. The organization is dedicated to "pursuing federal reform" in relation to elections.

Raven-Symone Christina Pearman ( The Cosby Show; That's So Raven; The View ) announced via Instagram that she had married her girlfriend, Miranda Maday, LGBTQ Nation noted. The two married in an outdoor ceremony and the famous actor posted images of the event online for her 2 million Instagram followers to enjoy. The actress came out Aug. 2, 2013, in a statement expressing her joys over the expansion of same-sex marriage in certain U.S. states.

North American LGBTQ film festivals Frameline ( San Francisco ), Inside Out ( Toronto ), NewFest ( NYC ) and Outfest ( Los Angeles ) announced their commitment to supporting LGBTQ film and filmmakers across their markets through the formation of NAQFA: the North American Queer Festival Alliance, a press release noted. This alliance will work collaboratively to produce, present and expand initiatives and programming while offering support to the LGBTQ film festival sector in the US and Canada. The announcement was made by the executive director of each festival: James Woolley, of Frameline; Andria Wilson, of Inside Out; David Hatkoff, of NewFest; and Damien S. Navarro, of Outfest.

Westworld and Creed star Tessa Thompson is to star with Marwan Kenzari ( Aladdin ) in the psychological thriller Balestra, Deadline noted. Thompson will also executive-produce the film, which will be directed by Nicole Dorsey ( Black Conflux ). Balestra follows disgraced competitive fencer Joanna Bathory ( Thompson ), who is desperately hoping for an Olympic comeback.

Pablo Larrain is set to direct and out actress Kristen Stewart to play Princess Diana in Spencer, a drama that shapes up to be a hot package for the virtual Cannes market, Deadline noted. The Steven Knight-scripted film covers a critical weekend in the early '90s, when Diana decided her marriage to Prince Charles wasn't working, and that she needed to veer from a path that put her in line to one day be queen. Production is expected to begin in early 2021.

CBS' The Bold and the Beautiful is the first U.S. broadcast series—and possibly the first scripted series on this country's soil—returned to production on stage, Deadline noted. The daytime drama resumed filming its current season June 17 at Television City in Los Angeles. The show's filming is following COVID-19 safety protocols set by LA County, the City of Los Angeles and Television City's owner Hackman Capital Partners, and its resumption only became possible after the producers reached agreements with the Hollywood guilds.

Bully. Coward. Victim. The Story Of Roy Cohn debuted June 19 on HBO, a press release noted. The film looks at the life and death of infamous attorney Roy Cohn, who first gained prominence by prosecuting Julius and Ethel Rosenberg in what came to be known as the "atomic spies" case. Cohn died in 1986 from AIDS-related complications. This film is also available to stream on HBO GO, HBO NOW, and on HBO via HBO Max and other partners' platforms.

The country group formerly known as Lady Antebellum will keep its new name, Lady A after connecting with blues singer Anita White, who has been using that same name for more than 20 years, USA Today noted. ( Both parties intend to continue using the name. ) Lady Antebellum announced recently that it would change its name to Lady A in an effort to distance themselves from a term with ties to slavery, a move that initially didn't sit well with Seattle-based singer White, who goes by the stage name "Lady A."

The Talk's Sharon Osbourne, Sheryl Underwood, Eve, Carrie Ann Inaba and Marie Osmond will host the 47th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards, Deadline noted. The awards will be presented virtually on Friday, June 26 on CBS, with leading category recipients and special guests appearing from their homes due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Additional categories will be announced simultaneously on Twitter, with others presented in a separate ceremony in July.

The Peggy Lee estate is celebrating Peggy Lee 100, a centennial commemoration honoring the jazz/pop icon, a press release stated. Throughout 2020, the 100th anniversary of Peggy Lee's birth—May 26, 1920—will be honored around the globe with music releases, notable exhibitions, special events and programming. Kicking off The Peggy Lee 100 celebration was the release of Ultimate Peggy Lee, a new 22-track collection from Universal Music Enterprises ( UMe ) available now digitally and physically.

Joel Schumacher—the openly gay director of films, including Batman Forever, Batman & Robin, St. Elmo's Fire, The Phantom of the Opera, Flatliners, The Client, Flawless, A Time to Kill and Falling Down—died of cancer at 80, Deadlline reported. Most recently, he helmed two 2013 episodes of Netflix's House of Cards.

Steve Bing—the film financier and philanthropist who backed hit movies from Robert Zemeckis' The Polar Express and Beowulf to the Rolling Stones concert movie Shine a Light—reportedly died at age 55 after jumping off a building, Deadline reported. Bing, also an influential political donor who was a close friend of Bill Clinton, was a real estate tycoon from a family with a rich history. In 2012, he pledged a $30 million legacy gift to the Motion Picture & Television Fund.

TidalWave Productions is releasing the biography comic book Infamous: Tiger King, inspired by the popular Netflix documentary series Tiger King, a press release noted. The 24-page comic book flip-book biography was written by Michael Frizell and drawn by Joe Paradise. Print copies of the books are available for preorder on Amazon and various comic book retailers; digital versions will be available from iTunes, Kindle, Nook, ComiXology, Kobo and wherever e-books are sold.

Believe it or not, Steven Spielberg's 1993 movie Jurassic Park was number one for the fourth time in its release history this past weekend, Deadline noted. While 2020 fare like Universal/Dreamworks Animation's Trolls World Tour had been leading at a still distressed box office for nine weekends ( with the exception two weekends ago, when The Invisible Man returned to the top of the chart ), catalog titles dominated, with Universal's Jurassic Park earning $517,600 at 230 sites and the studio's Jaws taking $516,300 at 187 locations.

Will & Grace alum Debra Messing is set to star in East Wing, a half-hour comedy series on Starz, Deadline noted. East Wing draws from the experiences of Ali Wentworth's mother, who was social secretary in the White House during Ronald Reagan's presidency in the 1980s. It tells the story of Hollis Carlisle ( Messing ), a hostess who juggles her threatened husband, rebellious children, Nancy Reagan's chief of staff and a crippling social-anxiety disorder.

More people have come forward about former Glee star Lea Michele, Queerty noted. After former co-stars Samantha Ware, Amber Riley and Alex Newell accused her of bullying, several other colleagues, understudies and extras who worked with Michele over the years came forward to accuse her of being "subhuman," "terrifying," "manipulative" and a "nightmare." Now, Page Six reported that beauty business insiders also said Michele has a reputation for being "toxic" within their industry as well.

Lance Bass spoke out about friend/business partner Jax Taylor being accused of racially insensitive behavior as Bravo fired four other Vanderpump Rules stars, according to . On an episode of Bass' The Daily Popcast, the *NYSYNC singer said that he's tried to have conversations with Taylor about his past actions. A few years back, Taylor commented on a photo of 90 Day Fiance star Ashley Smith and her husband Jay, who is Black, saying, "Wow. Your boyfriend's nose is as big as his head," The Blast reported. On his podcast, Bass also predicted that Taylor's time on Bravo will soon come to an end.

Former America's Next Top Model winner Eva Marcille is leaving The Real Housewives of Atlanta after two seasons as a main cast member, noted. Marcille, who moved to Atlanta from Los Angeles to marry attorney Michael Sterling three years ago, broke the news on the radio program The Rickey Smiley Morning Show.

Kid Rock's Nashville bar had its beer permit temporarily yanked for breaking a city coronavirus health order, Page Six noted. Kid Rock's Big Honky Tonk and Steakhouse was issued a five-day suspension by the Metropolitan Beer Permit Board after the downtown establishment was caught serving customers at its bar. It was one of four Nashville bars to receive a five-day beer permit suspension.

Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey announced that actor Daniel Masterson ( That '70s Show ) has been charged with forcibly raping three women in separate incidents occurring between 2001 and 2003, Deadline reported. Arraignment is scheduled for Friday, Sept. 18, in Department 30 of the Foltz Criminal Justice Center. If convicted as charged, the defendant faces a possible maximum sentence of 45 years to life in state prison.

Whitney Cummings responded to allegations that comedian/actor Chris D'Elia harassed underage girls on social media, saying she's "devastated and enraged by what I've read and learned," Deadline reported. Cummings played the girlfriend of D'Elia on NBC's 2011 series Whitney, a role Cummings had said she wrote for him. Earlier, D'Elia issued a statement defending himself against allegations he solicited attention from underage girls.

Justin Bieber denied allegations that he sexually assaulted a woman in 2014, USA Today noted. The woman, who posted from an anonymous Twitter account Saturday evening using the name Danielle, alleged she and her friends were invited to Bieber's room at the Four Seasons in Austin, Texas, after an event, where she was "sexually assaulted without consent." Bieber later posted, "I want to be clear. There is no truth to this story," adding, "I don't normally address things as I have dealt with random accusations my entire career but after talking with my wife and team I have decided to speak up on an issue."

Riverdale actress Lili Reinhart, who recently came out as bisexual, denied sexual-assault allegations brought against her and her Riverdale co-stars, including ex-boyfriend Cole Sprouse, by anonymous people on social media, Page Six noted. Reinhart, 23, retweeted one of Sprouse's tweets stating the cast and their teams were investigating the source of the false claims and added, "I have always taken sexual assault allegations seriously. But it was proven that this account was created specifically to create false stories about me and my cast. I can't think of something more twisted than lying about sexual assault." On June 21, a female fan claimed on Twitter that the actress groped her while taking a photo with her—but that account has since been deactivated.

Ansel Elgort—star of the upcoming HBO Max drama series Tokyo Vice and Steven Spielberg's West Side Story remake—issued a statement after he was accused by a woman of sexually assaulting her when she was 17, Deadline noted. The woman, who identified herself only as Gabby, released a lengthy statement on Twitter Friday with the caption "My story with Ansel Elgort," detailing the alleged 2014 assault. In an Instagram post Saturday, Elgort said that in 2014, "Gabby and I had a brief, legal and entirely consensual relationship."

The Soundflowers, featuring Paris Jackson ( Michael Jackson's daughter ) and Gabriel Glenn, unveiled their self-titled debut EP, The Soundflowers, out now via Imperial, a press release noted. The Soundflowers EP's lead single, "Your Look ( Glorious )," is accompanied by a lyric video that features scenes shot, directed and produced by Prince Jackson via his production house, King's Son Productions.

The Young and the Restless is poised to become the second U.S. daytime drama to return to the set, with producers eying a July 6 restart goal, Deadline noted. The producers of Young and the Restless have been in contact with the team behind fellow CBS daytime drama The Bold and the Beautiful, which returned to production June 17 for one day before taking a break to work on testing protocols. Their experience is being used by Young and the Restless producers as they are honing in on their own safety guidelines.

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