Shortly after returning to the small screen as one of the most iconic characters of TV drama, actor Larry Hagman died at age 81 on Friday in Dallas, with his longtime co-stars Linda Gray and Patrick Duffy at his side, the Dallas Morning Newsreported. He succumbed to complications of cancer after a year-long battle with the disease. TNT’s reboot of Dallas had just been announced the actor was diagnosed with stage 2 cancer, but he promised that he wouldn’t let it hinder him from donning J.R. Ewing’s signature 10-gallon hat.
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“I will be receiving treatment while working on the new Dallas series,” Hagman said in a statement at the time, per TV Guide. I could not think of a better place to be than working on a show I love, with people I love. Besides, as we all know, you can’t keep J.R. down!”
TV fans will also remember Hagman as lucky astronaut Tony Nelson, who released a genie from her bottle in the 1965-1970 series I Dream of Jeannie, but it will be hard to remember him as anything other than the Texas oil baron. In case you’re too young to have experienced J.R.’s cold, hard stare, here’s a fan-made compilation of his great moments during the original show’s run, from 1978-1991.
The actor had shot the first six episodes of Dallas‘ second season before his death. It’s unclear how the cable series will address his death.
We struggled with how to celebrate Gabrielle Union’s 40th birthday today at the same time as the actress and the rest of the world mourns the loss of her Bring It On co-star and member of the R&B group BlaqueNatina Reed. Tragically, it would have also been Natina’s 33rd birthday yesterday, the day after she was struck and killed by a car while walking in Atlanta, E! reports. Union was among many fans and friends who marked her loss on Twitter over the weekend.
But now we want to celebrate Natina the only way we know how — by revisiting the Clovers’ awesome routines. Here’s what we gathered on the Web.
We’ve lost another ’80s sitcom legend. Alex Karras, 1960s football legend-turned-Webster-star, died at age 77 of kidney failure this morning in his Los Angeles home. The former Detroit Lions defensive tackle was one of the first big (literally) football players to parlay his size and charisma into a successful acting career. While still playing for the Lions, he played himself in the 1968 movie Paper Lions, and after being retired from the team, he ventured into TV, working for Monday Night Football from 1974-76. That’s when he also found a new set of fans for playing Mongo in Mel Brooks‘ Blazing Saddles.
Actor Michael Clarke Duncan died suddenly on Monday at age 54, after never fully recovering from the myocardial infarction he suffered on July 13. A rep told TMZ that fiancee Omarosa Manigault had briefly left his hospital room, where he’d been staying since he fell ill in July, and when she returned he had died. As news quickly spread of his passing, it became clear that the Oscar nominee will be missed not just by his fans, friends and family, but very deeply by his fellow actors.
“I am devastated,” Apprentice alum Omarosa told Radar of her loss. “He was the love of my life.”
”When something happens, we always say it happens for a reason” ~ Michael Clarke Duncan 12/10/57 – 9/3/12 I’ll miss you my brother,” wroteDwayne Johnson of his co-star in The Scorpion King.
“RIP Michael Clarke Duncan. Thank you for being so kind to me & for sharing your talent with the world. You will be truly missed,” Jordin Sparkstweeted of the Green Mile star. Read more…
The world just got a little less funny today, as legendary comedian Phyllis Diller died today at the age of 95. According to TMZ, her health had been in decline following a recent fall and she was in hospice care in her Los Angeles home when she passed away, surrounded by her family.
Now many of us are a little too young to have been first-hand fans of Diller, who was a housewife before entering the stand-up world in the 1950s and appearing on shows such as Ed Sullivan and You Bet Your Life, as well as her own short-lived sitcom and variety shows. But her self-deprecating humor, wacky costumes and biting remarks have clearly influenced everyone from Roseanne to Lady Gaga. Here we’ve gathered a sampling of classic Phyllis Diller appearances, so you can see what we mean, and so you’ll think of that signature laugh for the rest of the day.
Sad news from the world of reality TV today: Joey Kovar, who appeared on MTV’s Real World: Hollywood in 2008 and on VH1’s Celebrity Rehab in 2010, was found dead in a friend’s home in Chicago, TMZ reports. He was 29 years old. The site says family members believe drugs are to blame.
Kovar was a personal trainer who’d never left the state of Illinois before joining the cast of The Real World. He had experienced problems with drugs and alcohol prior to his reality-TV debut but believed he had beat his addiction. Unfortunately, he relapsed while shooting the show and left halfway through the season to enter rehab. Read more…
It’s a sad day for TV fans: Andy Griffith died in his home in North Carolina this morning at age 86, a close friend of the actor told WITN News. The cause of his death is still unknown, but EMTs were called to his house at around 7 a.m.
Griffith, of course, was most well known for playing Andy Taylor, the sheriff of sleepy NC town Mayberry on The Andy Griffith Show from 1960-1968. If you somehow managed to miss the ubiquitous reruns of the beloved show during your childhood, TV Land’s got full episodes and clips ready for your nostalgic streaming pleasure. Not content to rest on his laurels as America’s favorite sheriff, Griffith went on to have a successful career in TV movies before starring as the titular defense lawyer in Matlock, which ran from 1986-1995.
“His love of creating, the joy he took in it whether it was drama or comedy or his music, was inspiring to grow up around,” Andy Griffith’s youngest star, Ron Howard, told Deadline today. “The spirit he created on the set of The Andy Griffith Show was joyful and professional all at once. It was an amazing environment. And I think it was a reflection of the way he felt about having the opportunity to create something that people could enjoy. … His passing is sad. But he lived and a great rich life.”
In addition to singing on several of his movies and TV shows, Griffith was also gospel recording artist with more than a dozen albums under his belt. He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005.
Here are photos from a few of his career highlights:
Sad news to start our Friday: Comedian and actress Yvette Wilson, who played Andell Wilkerson on Moesha and its spin-off The Parkers, lost her battle with cervical cancer last night. Her Moesha co-star Shar Jackson posted the news to Twitter late on Thursday, “I wanna thank all my tweeties for their prayers but god has chosen to take my sister Yvette home.”
A site set up to raise money for her treatment described Wilson’s condition earlier this month, “Yvette has experienced kidney failure, kidney transplants and cervical cancer, among other things. Her cancer has come back after an extended retreat, and doctors are saying it’s very aggressive this time out.” After hearing of Yvette’s passing Nicki Minaj tweeted her frustrations about healthcare directly to President Obama. “I just don’t understand why people have to worry about their “medical bills” while they’re on their DEATH BEDS Mr. President,” Nicki tweeted. “I wouldn’t mind the millions they took if it were going to health care. Why should a poor person struggle to pay for MEDS sir?”
But now we’d like to focus on the happier memories. Here is a clip of Yvette (who also appeared in Friday and House Party 2 and 3) doing a hilarious, not-quite-safe-for-work standup bit on Def Comedy Jam. Read more…
It’s a sad day for everyone who ever put on a wolf costume, got sent to bed without dinner and/or dreamed of being fierce rulers of our own private island. Maurice Sendak, author of Where the Wild Things Are, died early this morning at age 83 of complications from a stroke, according to the New York Times.
In 1963, when he first published the story of rebellious Max and his adventures as the king of a tribe of monsters, it was a huge departure from the safe Dick and Jane world of children’s literature. Now generations of us will recall identifying with Max’s anger, fear, euphoria and melancholy — for some of us, it’s the blueprint for the way we’ve wanted to feel about every fictional character that follows.
Sendak himself had a curmudgeonly, Max-ish reputation, which probably initially grew from growing up an underprivileged, gay Jew in Brooklyn. It also made for a hilarious interview with Stephen Colbert in January, as he railed against ebooks, mice, celebrity children’s books authors and Newt Gingrich.
“I didn’t set out to make children happy!” he said. Sorry, Maurice, you did.
In the last few years of his too-short life, you were as likely to find Adam Yauch, a.k.a. MCA of the Beastie Boys, on the red carpet of a film festival as in the studio or onstage. As happens with many artists who find success at an early age, Yauch found new outlets for his talents, and they amounted to much more than mere hobbies. Sure, we’re blasting Beastie tunes nonstop in the hours after we learned of his death at age 47 today, but we’re also looking back at his non-musical accomplishments too.
Nathaniel Hornblower, The Director
As his alter ego Hornblower, a Swiss goat herder, Yauch directed a number of Beastie Boys videos, and quite memorably stormed the stage in costume at the 1994 MTV Video Music Awards to protest Spike Jones’ not getting the Moonman for “Sabotage.” He was also rather outspoken in other outlets, such as the letter to the New York Times posted on his bio on Oscilloscope.net.