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  WINDY CITY TIMES

SHOWBIZ 'Tales' star dies, 'Wonder Woman 1984,' holiday songs, 'Drag Race'
by Windy City Times staff
2021-01-05

This article shared 1696 times since Tue Jan 5, 2021
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Marcus D'Amico—the original Michael "Mouse" Tolliver from the miniseries Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City—died at age 55, Queerty noted. In 1992, he also originated the role of Louis in the National Theatre's London run of the stage play Angels in America, for which he was nominated for an Olivier Award for Best Actor. News of D'Amico's death was posted online by his sister, Melissa D'Amico, on Dec. 23 to her Twitter account and the Instagram account of the youth acting agency she runs, APA Talent. In an email to Queerty, Melissa confirmed that her brother died of pneumonia in Oxfordshire, England, on Dec. 16.

Warner Bros. Pictures announced that it will fast-track development on the third installment of the Wonder Woman franchise to be written by Patty Jenkins, who is attached to direct, and starring Gal Gadot, an HBO Max press release announced. Wonder Woman 1984 easily conquered the holiday weekend, exceeding box-office projections as the top post-pandemic domestic opening weekend for any feature film this year, with $16.7 million in box office.

In a related matter, Wonder Woman 1984 is now the lowest-rated DCEU movie since the franchise kicked off with Man of Steel in 2013, according to Movieweb. (The distinction was previously held by 2016's Suicide Squad.) According to IMDB, Wonder Woman 1984 held a 5.7 rating as of Dec. 30, below Suicide Squad's rating of 6. On Rotten Tomatoes, the first Wonder Woman film holds a 93-percent critical approval rating to go with an 84 percent audience score; Wonder Woman 1984, meanwhile, held a 65 percent critical rating and a 74 percent audience score.

A record 39 holiday songs recently dominated last week's Billboard Hot 100 chart, including nine holiday tunes in the Top 10, USA Today noted. Mariah Carey's hit "All I Want for Christmas Is You" led the pack at number one, marking the tune's fifth time at the top spot. Brenda Lee's "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" was number two on the Hot 100 chart, followed by Bobby Helms' "Jingle Bell Rock," Burl Ives' "A Holly Jolly Christmas" and Andy Williams' "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year." Carey's original holiday classic, released in 1994, reached the top spot last year—25 years after its release.

VH1 announced this season's roster of RuPaul's Drag Race guest judges as well as appearances from A-list superfans and queens of seasons past, Deadline noted. Among the guest judges will be Cynthia Erivo, Nicole Byer, Loni Love, TS Madison and Jamal Sims. In addition, RuPaul's Drag Race superfans Anne Hathaway and Scarlett Johansson will surprise queens later this season with interactive video masterclasses, while past Miss Congeniality winners Nina West, Valentina and Heidi N Closet will also make guest appearances.

Ben & Jerry's is partnering with Netflix's comedy brand Netflix Is a Joke to promote the ice-cream flavor Punch Line, VermontBiz.com noted. Comedians such as Wanda Sykes, Fortune Feimster and Aparna Nancherla tell jokes when people call 1-866-PUNCHLINE. The new flavor consists of brown butter bourbon and almond ice creams with roasted almonds and cherries.

Queer Eye star Jonathan Van Ness wrapped up 2020 on Instagram—and divulged that he got married at some point during the year, according to Page Six. "Thank you universe for allowing me to be here & thanks to everyone who has supported me," Van Ness began, before recapping accomplishments. After a few of them, he wrote, "I got married to my best friend & have a loving partner to continue building my life with." Also, there was a picture of Van Ness with said best friend/partner, identified as London-born Mark Peacock, according to People. According to Cosmopolitan, Ness split with his last known beau—South African rugby player Wilco Froneman—in December 2018.

Actress Busy Philipps (Dawson's Creek; Cougar Town) revealed her eldest child, 12-year-old Birdie Leigh, is part of the LGBTQ community, Page Six reported. Philipps provided insight into Birdie's journey on the Dec. 31 episode of her Busy Philipps Is Doing Her Best podcast and shared that 12-year-old Birdie prefers they/them pronouns.

The Ratatouille musical that began as a trend on TikTok took to a virtual Broadway stage over the weekend, raising more than $1 million for the Actors Fund benefiting out of work entertainers, according to Inside Edition. "It makes me so emotional watching you watch me perform your song," actor Wayne Brady, who performed on the star-studded cast, told TikToker Gabbi Bolt. During the hour-long musical, which was entirely performed and enjoyed virtually, Brady performed along other stars like singer Adam Lambert.

Andy Cohen rang in the New Year on CNN with some harsh words to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Page Six noted. "Do something with this city! "Honestly, get it together!" Cohen roared into the camera shortly after CNN aired some footage of de Blasio dancing in Times Square with wife Chirlane McCray. A spokesperson for de Blasio brushed off the insult when talking with Fox News. "Not the first time I've heard a drunk person complain about someone's dance moves," a rep told the outlet.

Adam McKay's new Netflix movie already has an A-list ensemble and just added another star to its cast, as Chris Evans is joining the cast of Don't Look Up, Deadline noted. He joins a cast that already includes Jennifer Lawrence, Leonardo DiCaprio, Meryl Streep, Rob Morgan, Cate Blanchett, Jonah Hill, Himesh Patel, Timothee Chalamet, Ariana Grande, Kid Cudi, Matthew Perry and Tomer Sisley. The film follows two low-level astronomers who embark on a media tour to warn mankind of an approaching asteroid that will destroy Earth.

The Boston Red Sox organization is slated to hire Bianca Smith as a minor-league coach, according to a CBS Sports item that cited the Boston Globe. The move is significant because Smith will be the first Black woman to hold a coaching job in any professional baseball organization affiliated with Major League Baseball. The Red Sox are expected to officially announce the hire some time this month.

Married couple Megan Rapinoe and Sue Bird said goodbye to 2020 with a photo on Bird's Instagram Story account, people.com noted. The Seattle Storm basketball player shared a photograph on her Instagram Story of herself posing beside Rapinoe as she wrote "Byeeeeeee 2020" in the bottom left-hand corner of the snapshot.

Taking to Instagram, model Chrissy Teigen revealed how Holly Whitaker's book—Quit Like a Woman: The Radical Choice to Not Drink in a Culture Obsessed with Alcohol—contributed to her own decision to get sober, Page Six noted. "I was done with making an ass of myself in front of people (I'm still embarrassed), tired of day drinking and feeling like s—t by 6, not being able to sleep," she said, in part. "I have been sober ever since and even if you can't see yourself doing it or just plain don't want to, it is still an incredible read." In 2017, Teigen told Cosmopolitan she had been "drinking too much."

Selena Gomez recently urged Facebook to crack down on misinformation being spread about COVID-19 and vaccines on its platform, people.com noted. Gomez shared a video on Twitter of Center for Countering Digital Hate CEO Imi Ahmed saying during a BBC News interview that the public is being "gaslit" by social media companies, including Facebook, who claim "they're doing their utmost" to stop the spread of misinformation when "in reality, they're doing absolutely nothing." Alongside the video, she tweeted, "Scientific disinformation has and will cost lives." Facebook has long faced criticism for showing all types of political ads, even those that have contained lies and misinformation—as well as for ignoring warnings about threats made on the platform.

In a new interview with TMRW, singer The Weeknd opened up about his rise to stardom over the past decade and what fans can expect from his next album, Billboard noted. In part, the Canadian singer said, "I have been more inspired and creative during the pandemic than I might normally be while on the road. … The pandemic, the Black Lives Matter movement and the tensions of the election have mostly created a sense of gratitude for what I have and closeness with the people near me."

YouTuber/makeup influencer James Charles, 21, had a very special surprise for his parents this holiday season, as he paid off the mortgage on their home, according to Queerty. Charles grew up in Bethlehem, New York, but is now based in Los Angeles, where he earlier this year bought a $7-million mansion for himself. Charles came out to his parents at the age of 12 and says they were very supportive, both about his sexuality and his wanting to start beauty vlogging at 15.

Embattled Oscar-winning actor Kevin Spacey released his third consecutive Christmas video, according to NBC News. Uploaded to his YouTube channel and titled "1-800 XMAS," Spacey directly addresses the camera and offers support to people who are struggling or considering suicide this holiday season. In his first two videos, Spacey portrayed his House of Cards character, Frank Underwood, a villainous politician with a Southern drawl. Spacey was first publicly accused of sexual misconduct in 2017 by actor Anthony Rapp; he has since faced other allegations of sexual misconduct, prompting investigations in London and Los Angeles.

Dawn Wells—best known for playing the girl-next-door castaway Mary Ann on the iconic CBS comedy series Gilligan's Island—died in Los Angeles of complications due to COVID-19, Deadline reported. Wells, who was Miss Nevada in the 1959 Miss America pageant, beat out 350 actresses for the role of Mary Ann Summers. The actress, 82, also appeared in more 150 series and several movies during her career as well as on Broadway.

Disney Television Studios joined other major TV studios in pushing the post-holidays start of production for Los Angeles-based shows amid an unprecedented surge in coronavirus infections and COVID-19 deaths in Los Angeles County, Deadline reported. Sixteen scripted series produced by Disney TV Studios' ABC Signature and 20th Television divisions will remain on holiday hiatus until Jan. 18, when production will resume. Some of the shows include Grey's Anatomy;This Is Us; American Crime Story: Impeachment; Love, Victor; Black-ish and Mixed-ish.

Singer Jessie J said she was diagnosed with Meniere's disease after the ailment left her temporarily deaf in one ear and unable to walk properly, NME.com noted. The disease is a condition that affects the inner ear; it can cause vertigo, hearing loss and nausea. After her health scare made headlines, the UK native clarified that she "never said" she was hospitalized in her initial announcement and that "anyone who has suffered from Meniere's" would have a better understanding of the scary—but temporary—symptoms she described, according to Us Magazine.

Actor Sir Anthony Hopkins celebrated 45 years of sobriety with a New Year's video message posted for his fans online, Movieweb noted. Hopkins, 82, took to Instagram to mark the occasion, looking back at his road to recovery nearly five decades later. In the hope that his story may help inspire others who've struggled with addiction, Hopkins explained in the video how he came to stop drinking and how he found a new lease on life.

Justice League actor Ray Fisher has continued to criticize Warner Bros.—in particular, DC Films President Walter Hamada, according to Deadline. Fisher tweeted, "Walter Hamada is the most dangerous kind of enabler. He lies, and WB PR's failed Sept. 4th hit-piece, sought to undermine the very real issues of the Justice League investigation. I will not participate in any production associated with him. A>E." On Dec. 11, WarnerMedia released a vague statement that their investigation connected to Justice League was "has concluded and remedial action has been taken." No other details were revealed.

Jeopardy! all-star Ken Jennings—who's set to guest host the quiz show beginning Jan. 11—apologized after tweets with ableist messaging resurfaced earlier this year, Variety reported. "I just wanted to own up to the fact that over the years on Twitter, I've definitely tweeted some unartful and insensitive things," he wrote in the first of five tweets. Twitter users, including actress Yvette Nicole Brown, voiced their discontent with the decision to have Jennings succeed late host Alex Trebek because of Jennings' past comments about disabilities. One tweet from 2014 read, "Nothing sadder than a hot person in a wheelchair."

Blake Shelton faced backlash for debuting a song titled "Minimum Wage" while people continue to struggle amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to Page Six. The artist's new song has to do with his love for the "Hollaback Girl" singer and contains a lyric in the chorus that upset many people who saw him debut the tune on NBC's New Year's Eve television special: "Girl, your love can make a man feel rich on minimum wage." People were quick to take to Twitter to lambaste the singer for releasing a song they believed was "tone-deaf," given the current climate.

Betty White's show The Pet Set, which briefly aired in the early 1970s, will be available for the first time on digital platforms and DVD on Feb. 23, 2021, in honor of its 50th anniversary, US Magazine noted. The set includes 39 half-hour episodes with celebrity guests such as Carol Burnett, Mary Tyler Moore and Burt Reynolds as well as a wide range of animals like tigers, elephants and gorillas. (White is well-known for her love of animals.) The Golden Girls alum last made a public appearance in September 2018, at the 70th Primetime Emmy Awards.

Dolly Parton and Bee Gees singer Barry Gibb have teamed up for a remake of the Bee Gees' classic song "Words," CNN.com noted. The single was released Jan. 1 and will be included on Gibb's upcoming album Greenfields: The Gibb Brothers Songbook, Vol. 1, which will be released Jan. 8. Parton and Gibb unveiled their duet through a short teaser video posted on both of their Twitter accounts. The Bee Gees originally released "Words" in 1968.

Actor/talk-show host James Corden said he is "homesick" for his native England—so much so that he may head back there when his contract expires in August 2022, The New York Post noted. He told The Sun, "It will be about people at home who we miss very, very much, who we are homesick for. I also feel like my wife and I have three young children, and they are three young grandchildren that we've taken away from people."

USA Gymnastics transformed its annual men's artistic Future Stars Championships to a virtual, non-competitive format in 2020 in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, USAGym.org noted. Throughout October and November, participants (separated into 10-, 11- and 12-year-old divisions) could submit video footage of performances across all six Olympic apparatus as well as flexibility and parallel bar strength. Submissions were then reviewed by a judging panel that provided athletes and coaches constructive feedback and a score range.

Walking Dead actor Daniel Newman now has an OnlyFans account, out.com noted. OnlyFans is essentially social media that people pay for; it is a platform that allows creators to charge followers on a monthly fee—or even per post at times—to consume whatever content they are posting. That content is often adult material, the proliferation of which has seemed to increase during the pandemic. "I just joined OnlyFans!" Newman tweeted. "Let's have some fun!! It will all be PG to maybe R-rated tho just warning NO X. Merry Christmas (& Definitely all photoshopped!!)."

Actor Kirk Cameron (TV's Growing Pains) hosted a large gathering on a California beach on New Year's Eve to pray "for our nation," defying the state's stay-at-home orders and marking the third time in several weeks he's hosted or attended such an event amid a surge in coronavirus cases, people.com noted. Photos the Growing Pains star shared to his Instagram Story showed little to no social distancing among attendees, and no masks; however, Cameron said in a clip shared to his Instagram Story, "If you want to wear masks, we welcome masks. If you want to spread out with your family, there's plenty of room here. Remember, you're in charge of your healthcare. Use wisdom, common sense and good judgment with that."

Another public figure who has taken a controversial stance on mask-wearing is U.S. pro tennis player John Isner, according to tennis365.com . Isner caused a stir on social media after suggesting the rule requiring coaching staff in the NFL to wear a facemask was little more than "cosmetic theater." In addition, when a Twitter user posted, "Everyone should wear a mask. Period!!," Isner replied with "Brainwashed."


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