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  WINDY CITY TIMES

SHOWBIZ Tian Richards, August Wilson, $88M celebrity home, sports items
by Windy City Times staff
2021-02-07

This article shared 699 times since Sun Feb 7, 2021
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Tian Richards has been cast in the title role of the Nancy Drew spinoff, Tom Swift, at The CW, Variety reported. Richards will make his first appearance as the character in an upcoming episode of Nancy Drew; then, should the Tom Swift standalone series get greenlit at the network, he would star. The standalone series would follow the titular Black, gay billionaire inventor who is thrust into a world of sci-fi conspiracy and unexplained phenomena after the disappearance of his father.

The U.S. Postal Service's 44th Black Heritage stamp is now available—and it honors legendary playwright August Wilson (1945-2005), ABC7NY.com noted. Wilson is remembered as a pioneer for bringing African American drama to American theater in his "American Century Cycle" of 10 iconic plays. One of Wilson's plays—Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, the only one not set in Pittsburgh—was adapted into a film and released on Netflix last month; it stars Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman (in his final role).

On the market since 2017, and priced at $180 million (reduced to $115 million), the historic celebrity-magnet Owlwood mansion—the crown jewel of L.A.'s Holmby Hills—has sold for $88 million, TopTenRealEstateDeals.com noted. Icon Marilyn Monroe stayed in the guest house when she was only 21 (and when 20th Century Fox co-founder Joseph Schenck owned it); later, actor Tony Curtis as well as then-couple Sonny Bono and Cher were among the owners. The main residence includes stately public rooms, multiple fireplaces and chandeliers, nine bedrooms and 10 baths; grounds contain two guard houses, a pool, pool house, fountains, fruit trees and restored formal gardens.

The first WNBA player to come out as trans has gotten top surgery—and the league came together to celebrate, according to out.com . Layshia Clarendon—who uses he, she and they pronouns—came out as gender nonconforming in 2020, and four years earlier had described themself as "non-cisgender." Clarendon posted a series of pictures on Instagram showing off the results from their recent top surgery, captioning, "On January 13th at 10am I hugged my wife in front of my surgery building, walked in and took a deep breath… The day was finally here. The day I got to have Top Surgery!!!!!" The league's union, the WNBPA, and Clarendon's team, the New York Liberty, posted messages of support.

Former WWE superstar Gabbi Alon Tuft has come out as a transgender woman, Queerty noted. "The ball dropped early today as this is now worldwide news," Tuft wrote on Instagram. "This is me. Unashamed, unabashedly me. This is the side of me that has hidden in the shadows, afraid and fearful of what the world would think; afraid of what my family, friends, and followers would say or do." Tuft also thanked her wife and family for their support, and assured fans that she's the same person she was when she entered the wrestling ring in 2010.

Dance Moms and TikTok star JoJo Siwa has come out as part of the LGBTQ community—and has now also said she has a girlfriend and is working on a movie musical, out.com noted. While Siwa didn't reveal the identity of her girlfriend when she appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, she did say they talk nonstop on FaceTime as the relationship is long-distance. Siwa is in Canada about to work on a musical about her life with Nickelodeon that's titled The J Team.

T.J. Osborne—half of dynamic country duo Brothers Osborne—came out as gay in an interview published by Time magazine, according to USA Today. He's the lone openly gay man signed to a major label country record deal, according to the article. "I'm very comfortable being gay," he told the publication. "I find myself being guarded for not wanting to talk about something that I personally don't have a problem with. That feels so strange."

HBO Latino acquired the LGBTQ immigrant film Lupe, co-directed by Andre Phillips, a press release noted. The film will premiere Friday, Feb. 26, on HBO Latino, and it will be available to stream on HBO Max. Viewers will be introduced to the complex world of Rafael (played by Rafael Albarran)—a Cuban immigrant and boxer struggling with their transgender identity while searching for their missing sister, Isabel (Lucerys Medina), in New York City's underground sex industry.

Several theater favorites were nominated for the 2021 L.A. Stage Alliance Ovation Awards, Playbill noted. Among the nominees were George Salazar and Mj Rodriguez, for Pasadena Playhouse's production of Little Shop of Horrors; and Tony winner Idina Menzel for Geffen Playhouse's staging of Skintight. Just a few of the other nods went to productions Fun Home and What the Constitution Means to Me; and thespians Alfred Molina, Rex Smith, Tovah Feldshuh and Jully Lee. The eligibility period ran from Sep. 1, 2019 through March 31, 2020. For updates, see OvationAwards.com .

Dancer, choreographer, producer, songwriter and director Debbie Allen is one of five 43rd annual Kennedy Center Honorees, a celebration of the "contributions and careers of artists who have left an indelible mark on our shared American culture and character," The Houston Chronicle noted. Allen will be joined by country musician Garth Brooks, singer Joan Baez, violinist Midori and actor Dick Van Dyke at this year's gala. The Kennedy Center Honors Gala—postponed from December 2020 because of COVID-19—will air on CBS June 6. (An honoree medallion ceremony for the Honorees and a limited audience will be hosted by the Kennedy Center during this week in May, the center's website noted.)

Luke Evans has been tapped to play the villainous character of The Coachman in an upcoming live-action retelling of the classic children's tale Pinocchio, according to an out.com item that cited Deadline. Robert Zemeckis will direct and Tom Hanks will play Geppetto in the Disney project that will bypass theaters and go straight to the streaming service Disney+. This is Evans's second movie with Disney, having previously appeared as Gaston in the 2017 remake of Beauty and the Beast.

Stanley Tucci revealed his stance on whether straight actors should pursue LGBTQ characters in Hollywood, according to Yahoo! News. When asked about "criticism from some quarters saying gay roles should be played by gay actors," Tucci (who's married to Emily Blunt's sister, Felicity) said on CBS Sunday Morning, "I think that acting is all about not being yourself. If we were to use that as a template, then we would only ever play ourselves. I think what we need to do, we need to give more gay actors opportunities." Tucci is in the new indie-drama film with Colin Firth, Supernova—which centers on a middle-aged gay couple who travel across England in an old RV after Tucci's character is diagnosed with young onset dementia.

On Feb. 2, Stars in the House—the daily live streamed concert series created by Playbill correspondent/SiriusXM Broadway host Seth Rudetsky and producer James Wesley—celebrated the legacy of Tony and Emmy winner Cicely Tyson, Playbill noted. NaTasha Yvette Williams hosted the stream with guests Angela Robinson, Rhonda Ross, Dr. Traci Gardner, Linda Twine, Jordin Sparks, Olivia Grace Manning and Diamond White. In honor of Black History Month, Stars in the House is dedicating all Tuesday episodes to Black Theatre United.

Country-music icon Dolly Parton revealed she declined two offers to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom by former President Donald Trump in the past four years—telling NBC's Today Show that the decision to turn down the honor was not motivated by politics, Forbes noted. "I couldn't accept it because my husband was ill, and then they asked me again about it and I wouldn't travel because of the COVID," Parton explained. The Biden administration has also approached her about the award, Parton said, but she is unsure about whether to accept it out of fear of being seen to be "doing politics."

Mama Gloria—Luchina Fisher's documentary about trans icon Gloria Allen—is among the films being shown at The Athena Film Festival (AFF) at Barnard College, a press release noted. The 11th annual festival—a joint partnership between Barnard's Athena Center for Leadership and the initiative Women and Hollywood—will take place virtually March 1-31. AFF will open with Beans, which stars up-and-coming actor Kiawentiio as the title character—a 12-year-old Mohawk girl torn between innocent childhood and reckless adolescence as she grapples with her experiences of community, activism and racism during the Indigenous uprising of 1990 known as The Oka Crisis.

Trans actress/writer Jen Richards is joining the CBS drama Clarice—about FBI agent Clarice Starling's (played by Rebecca Breeds) career after the events of Silence of the Lambs—in a role that will address the legacy that Buffalo Bill has left on trans people, out.com noted. Richards said her character comes into Clarice's storyline "in a way that her transness isn't central," but that "her identity as a trans woman prompts her to discuss with Clarice the complicated legacy of Buffalo Bill."

Marilyn Manson's record label, Loma Vista Recordings, dropped the musician after several women, including actress Evan Rachel Wood (Westworld), accused him of abuse, Rolling Stone reported, citing Variety. Manson began working with Loma Vista for his 2015 record, The Pale Emperor, inking a deal that allowed the musician to retain the rights to his music while Loma Vista would distribute it. Manson (real name: Brian Warner) responded on Instagram: "Obviously, my art and life have long been magnets for controversy, but these recent claims about me are horrible distortions of reality." Later, Deadline noted that CAA dropped Manson as well.

On a related note, former Manson collaborator Trent Reznor has spoken out against him, Page Six noted. Reznor, who has previously rebuked the goth rocker, again vehemently denied a claim in Manson's 1998 autobiography, The Long Hard Road Out of Hell, that Manson and Reznor allegedly physically and sexually assaulted an inebriated woman in the 1990s. In 2009, the Nine Inch Nails frontman also described Manson as a "dopey clown" in an interview with Mojo.

The Best Picture Essentials 10-Movie Collection will arrive on Blu-ray on March 23, from Paramount Home Entertainment, a press release noted. Along with access to a digital copy of each film, the Blu-ray collection includes the following in high definition: Wings (1927), My Fair Lady (1964), The Godfather (1972), Terms of Endearment (1983), Forrest Gump (1994), The English Patient (1996), Titanic (1997), American Beauty (1999), Gladiator (2000) and No Country For Old Men (2007).

The Walt Disney Company has extended its relationship with Black Panther director/co-writer Ryan Coogler, Deadline reported. Coogler, who is working on the Black Panther feature sequel he will direct this year, will develop new television series for the studio. The first one is a drama based in the Kingdom of Wakanda for Disney+. Disney has made a five-year overall exclusive television deal with Coogler's Proximity Media, which he runs with principals Zinzi Coogler, Sev Ohanian, Ludwig Goransson, Archie Davis and Peter Nicks.

Jamie Tarses—who broke the glass ceiling for female TV executives as the first woman to run a network entertainment division—passed away at age 56 from complications stemming from a cardiac event she suffered in early fall, Deadline reported. Tarses was instrumental in developing such iconic shows as NBC's Friends and Frasier and reached the pinnacle of the network programming executive ladder by age 32, becoming president of ABC Entertainment. Tarses followed this with a successful second career as a TV producer of such popular shows as ABC's Happy Endings, TBS' My Boys, TNT's Franklin & Bash and Amazon Prime Video's The Wilds.

Ulta Beauty, the suburban Chicago-based cosmetics retailer, is planning to invest more than $25 million this year to promote diversity in its products and stores—and actress Tracee Ellis Ross (founder/CEO of Pattern Beauty, a textured hair-care brand carried by Ulta) will become the retailer's diversity and inclusion advisor, The Chicago Tribune noted. Her new role does not include being an on-air spokeswoman for Ulta's diversity efforts.

Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence was injured on the set of the Netflix movie Don't Look Up—which is in production in and around Boston—after a planned explosion went awry, sending glass flying and cutting Lawrence near her eye, Deadline noted. The cast of the comedy includes Leonardo DiCaprio, Cate Blanchett, Rob Morgan, Jonah Hill, Himesh Patel, Timothee Chalamet, Ariana Grande, Kid Cudi, Matthew Perry and Tomer Sisley. It's unclear whether any of them were on the set at the time of the incident.

Co-stars reacted to Saved by the Bell actor Dustin Diamond's death at age 44, according to Deadline. Mario Lopez, who was in touch with Diamond recently, wrote on Instagram, "Dustin, you will be missed my man. The fragility of this life is something never to be taken for granted. Prayers for your family will continue on…" Other co-stars—such as Tiffani Theissen, Lark Voorhees, Elizabeth Berkley and Mark-Paul Gosselaar—also posted.

The Frasier revival may soon be a reality on the forthcoming Paramount+ platform, The New York Post noted. TVLine confirmed that a new take on the classic show is on the table at ViacomCBS, with plans to release the show via their "all-access" streaming app, which will become known as Paramount Plus on March 4. The 37-time Emmy-winning show ran for 11 seasons on NBC, beginning in 1993 as a spinoff of the legendary sitcom Cheers.

NBC has set a premiere date for its high-profile new Dick Wolf series Law & Order: Organized Crime, which features the return of Christopher Meloni as Elliot Stabler, the NYPD detective he played for years in Law & Order: SVU, Deadline noted. And he will be reunited with Olivia Benson as the series debuts April 1 as part of a two-hour crossover with SVU. (However, production on "Organized Crime" has been temporarily halted because of a positive COVID result.)

Jeopardy! announced more upcoming guest hosts to take over the podium for the late Alex Trebek, including Anderson Cooper, Dr. Mehmet Oz, Today Show co-host Savannah Guthrie and Dr. Sanjay Gupta, The New York Post noted. The four hosts will take the podium after Jeopardy! champ Ken Jennings and other guest hosts, such as Katie Couric, Aaron Rodgers, Bill Whitaker and Mayim Bialik. Trebek (who passed away Nov. 8, 2020) hosted the show for more than 8,200 episodes since 1984.

The supernatural Western series Wynonna Earp will conclude its run at the end of the current fourth season, Deadline reported. The remaining six episodes are set to return Friday, March 5, culminating with the series finale on Friday, April 9. The series established itself as one that celebrates feminism and female empowerment. The news followed the announcement that the upcoming fifth season of another long-running Syfy drama, Van Helsing, also will be its last.

Transformers star Josh Duhamel is officially boarding the Lionsgate Jennifer Lopez movie Shotgun Wedding after Armie Hammer exited, Deadline noted. Jennifer Coolidge and Sonia Braga are also joining to, respectively, play the mothers of Duhamel's and Lopez's characters. Hammer exited the project after a social-media controversy involving some sexual messages he allegedly sent.

And speaking of Hammer, agency WME has dropped him, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Hammer losing his agency is the latest development of a career in freefall and comes amid controversy over graphic messages he allegedly sent several women over social media. Also, Hammer exited The Offer, a Paramount+ series about the making of The Godfather. Reportedly, Hammer's personal publicist has also stepped away.

The Pretenders frontwoman Chrissie Hynde has launched her own signature Fender guitar, NME.com noted. The collaboration and guitar pay homage to the Ice Blue Metallic Telecaster she purchased in New York City nearly 40 years ago. Since the release of the band's self-titled debut album, Hynde has played the guitar on many subsequent studio records and live tours.

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is the 2020 MVP of the NFL—and, in accepting the award, mentioned that he's getting married, people.com noted. He said, "It's an honor to win this award for the third time. 2020 was definitely a crazy year filled with lots of change and growth, some amazing memorable moments," before adding, "I got engaged." Just days before the NFL Honors event, multiple sources confirmed that Rodgers has been dating Big Little Lies actress Shailene Woodley.

Salt-N-Pepa responded to recent criticism from former third member DJ Spinderella, who claimed she was "wrongfully excluded" from the hip-hop act's recent Lifetime biopic, Salt-N-Pepa, according to people.com . During an episode of The Real, Cheryl "Salt" James (who appeared with Sandra "Pepa" Denton) said, "I reached out to Spinderella; I feel like this is very unfortunate. We've come to a crossroads where we have decided to agree to disagree. I definitely am open and Pepa's open. We've talked about it and our hearts are open, have always been open to Spinderella."

ViacomCBS is making use of its growing Pluto TV streaming service to amplify awareness of soon-to-debut CBS dramas The Equalizer and Clarice, Deadline noted. The free, ad-supported platform will stream a two-week sampling of the premiere episodes of each show after their broadcast premieres. The streams will be across multiple channels on Pluto, which offers hundreds of linear-style channels.

Singer/actress Olivia Newton-John told Australia's Herald Sun newspaper she has no plans yet to get the COVID-19 vaccine—despite being eligible in her home state of California, where they're being offered to older adults, Page Six noted. Newton-John didn't elaborate on her decision, but her daughter, Chloe Lattanzi, told The Independent,"I'm not an anti-vaxxer. I'm anti putting mercury and pesticides in my body, which are in a lot of vaccines." (Lattanzi has no medical qualifications and provided no evidence to support her reasoning, Page Six noted.)

The SoulCycle instructor-to-the-stars who justified her receiving a coronavirus vaccine by characterizing herself as an "educator" apologized on Instagram, The New York Post noted. Stacey Griffith offered the apology after taking flak from Instagram users—as well as Mayor Bill de Blasio. Griffith got her shot despite widespread scarcity that has seen New York postpone appointments and shutter sites as supplies dwindled.

Country-music star Morgan Wallen apologized after a video surfaced showed him shouting a racial slur, Yahoo! reported. The video, first published by TMZ, showed him outside a home in Nashville yelling profanities. (CMT announced that it's removing Wallen from all its platforms, and his record company suspended his contract, Deadline noted.) Wallen's success has come despite a number of mistakes and stumbles that he has also apologized for. Wallen was arrested for public intoxication and disorderly conduct in May 2020 after getting kicked out of a downtown Nashville bar. In October, Saturday Night Live dropped him from a scheduled performance on their show after he violated COVID-19 protocols when videos appeared on social media of him partying with fans in Alabama.

According to a recent episode of the Million Dollaz Worth of Game podcast, veteran Hot 97 radio personality Funkmaster Flex explained he was influenced to by a few top-tier artists, including LL COOL J, Kanye West and Drake—although he couldn't 100 percent confirm they'd all had lipo, HipHopDX.com noted. "I went public with it just because I thought everyone did — now, I can't say I seen, but I can say, you know, I did, to my knowledge, Drake and Kanye and LL [COOL J] and people like that, that's what they were doing," he said. "When I called and I got in touch with the guy who did it for me, I was recommended because current football players and current boxers go to him."

Jason Alexander (not the actor)—who once married Britney Spears for 55 hours in 2004—was arrested in Nashville last month, Page Six noted. Sheriff's officers booked Alexander, 39, on Jan. 26 on three misdemeanor charges: driving under the influence, unlawful use of drug paraphernalia, and possession or casual exchange of a controlled substance. Alexander also violated Tennessee's implied consent law, meaning he declined to participate in a blood alcohol content test. Alexander, who has been released on bond, has a court appearance slated for April 30.

Real Housewives of New York's Ramona Singer attended a maskless yacht party with guests who included U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, Page Six noted. The bash, held in Palm Beach, was for Dr. Gina Gentry Loudon's birthday; Loudon was a member of the Trump campaign's media advisory board and the co-chair of Women for Trump 2020. Bravo has begged the "Real Housewives" cast to stay home while waiting out a production shutdown caused by a COVID case on set.

A tweet calling for the cancellation of the Bravo series Real Housewives of Orange County caught the attention of both Meghan McCain and Cohen—in different ways, Page Six noted. "It's time to cancel RHOC," Evan Ross Katz tweeted, to which McCain replied, "Yes." Cohen, however, responded, "I think you mean reBOOT." RHOC fans have scrutinized this past season for a variety of reasons, including disdain for cast member Braunwyn Windham-Burke and Kelly Dodd's social-media remarks; Dodd recently claimed numerous times that she is Black, has come out as an anti-masker and came under fire for wearing a "Drunk Wives Matter" hat, which many felt mocked the Black Lives Matter movement.


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