Sad News: 37-year-old actor Guillaume Depardieu (son of Gerard) has died from complications linked to a sudden case of pneumonia. The younger Depardieu was a French movie star in his own right (though he may be best-known to U.S. audiences for his unsimulated sex scenes in the controversial import Pola X); he snagged the Cesar award for "most promising young actor" in 1996. Condolences all around. [AP]
Uh-oh—don't let that crying kid on YouTube see this, lest we prepare for a tsunami of waterworks that could very well short-out the entire internet: None of the surviving Golden Girls showed up to Estelle Getty's funeral. Not even her own daughter. Inside Edition tracked down two of the three to find out where they were:
We'll admit to not having yet fully absorbed yesterday's news that Estelle Getty had shuffled off this mortal coil to the 1912-Sicily-in-the-sky. Stalled as we are in the early, "Why couldn't it have been someone from Empty Nest?!"-stages of the Kübler-Ross model, we hand you over now to YouTube video diarist fromthe60s. His lachrymal remembrance of "one of the funniest people I ever got to see on TV" is surely the most moving—if not the moistest—user-generated-video testimonial since Leave Britney Alone Guy beseeched us to leave Britney alone. We swear, without the courageousness of Young Gays Who Feel Too Much, there'd be literally nothing to do all day at the office besides work.
Estelle Getty, best known for playing The Golden Girls's stroke-disinhibited Shady Pines-escapee Sophia Petrillo, has passed away at 5:30 a.m. after a long bout with Lewy body dementia. She was 84. Her son told reporters earlier today, "She was loved throughout the world in six continents, and if they loved sitcoms in Antarctica she would have been loved on seven continents. She was one of the most talented comedic actresses who ever lived." That sounds about right. We leave you now with this Sophia anecdote, and encourage you to leave your own in the comments:
Carlin was a social commentator, an aggravator, and an etymologist, but first and foremost, he was funny. The routine to which he'll be forever associated was "Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television," (full text here), which wasn't necessarily his best, but would wind up getting him arrested in Milwaukee in 1972 on obscenity charges, instantly elevating the bit to the pantheon of Sacred Dangerous Comic Texts. The routine's airing on New York radio would later be cited by the U.S. Supreme Court in a 1978 ruling on FCC broadcast fines. No reactionary comic could ever have asked for more.
A rumor circulating today that Paul Newman has died (gah!) is debunked by Hollywood's Original Blogger™ Army Archerd: "NEWS FLASH: After hearing reports of Paul Newman's death from Associated Press and CNN, I found out that acting legend Paul Newman is doing just fine, according to Joanne Woodward. In fact, he's racing around cars in Texas!" Got it? That reads "Texas," not "Heaven." [armyarcherd.com]
Die-hard Will Ferrell fans who endured Semi-Pro will recall a set-piece in which Will's farm-league basketball team owner Jackie Moon wrestles a bear as a ploy to fill seats. That bear, a 700-lb grizzly named Rocky, fatally attacked a trainer at an exotic animal training facility in Big Bear yesterday. From the LAT:
More grim news from the week's obituary pages: Producer Bill Hayward, one of the unheralded principals who got Easy Rider on the road to cult immortality (and about $40 million in box office on a $400,000 budget), reportedly committed suicide March 9 in "a trailer where he lived" in Los Angeles County. A coroner's account reveals the cause of death to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the heart. Hayward, 66, is the latest of a snakebitten Hollywood family to meet an untimely demise; drug overdoses previously claimed both his mother, actress Maureen Sullavan, and his sister in 1960. [AP]
Sad news from London notes the death of Paul Scofield, the British stage and screen legend who won the Best Actor Oscar in 1966 for his performance as Sir Thomas More in A Man For All Seasons. He was 86. Having first earned acclaim for his transcendent theater work in the '50s and '60s, Scofield won a Tony Award for Seasons in 1961 before following up with his film triumph five years later. He appeared in relatively few movies afterward, however, sticking primarily to stage and TV in his native England. (He was rumored to have declined a knighthood as well.) Scofield drew a second Oscar nod in 1994 for his supporting performance in Quiz Show, his next-to-last film role. He had suffered from leukemia in recent years and passed Wednesday at a hospital in Southern England. [AP]
· "Fabian is my music," Marlee Matlin said, just moments after playing grab-ass with her mambo-champion Dancing with the Stars partner. This suggests to us that her gaydar is about as finely tuned as her hearing. [DWTS]
· Set your alarms, everyone: Your first glimpse of J.Lo's twins comes at 7 a.m. sharp! [People]
· Ivan Dixon, aka Hogan's Heroes Kinchloe, dead at 76. [AP]
· Hey—it's that immortal dude from New Amsterdam's junk! (NSFW) [OMG BLOG]
· Bring this coupon Saturday, get $100,000 off your Silver Lake loft—and free sangria. [Curbed LA]
One of the last things Heath Ledger left us with is a video for Nick Drake's "Black Eyed Dog." An admitted obsession of the actor, Drake was a British folk music prodigy in the '70s who suffered from debilitating depression, eventually O.D.ing on an antidepressant at age 26. Until now, the video managed to avoid getting leaked on the web, and was screened only twice: "Labor Day weekend at the Bumbershoot festival in Seattle and a second time in October at 'A Place to Be,' an event honoring Drake held in L.A." Last night, Australian A Current Affair broadcast parts of the video.
A belated notice of passing: Ben Chapman, a 6'5" former Marine best known for playing the title character in The Creature From the Black Lagoon, died Thursday of congestive heart failure in a Honolulu hospital. "The Creature suit was a one-piece outfit that zipped down the back with dorsal fins, hands that were gloves, feet that were like boots," he once told the Honolulu Observer, offering an uncannily similar description to the remains Janice Dickinson leaves behind after every skin-shedding. [LAT via WOW Report]
We were so preoccupied looking for Charles Nelson Reilly in the In Memoriam segment (who never materialized, by the by), that we completely missed the fact that Brad Renfro was absent from the montage. Usmagazine.com asked the Academy what happened, and a rep offered, "It was really an editing decision because we can't fit everyone in. There was no specific reason." Ignoring for a moment the fact that they really blew it on this one, this statement suddenly had us wondering what the whole whittling process entails. Is it just a morbid casting session, where they get a stack of headshots and go through them by committee? ("Sure, Roscoe Lee Browne has the look, but his last project bombed! OK, fine, we'll put him in the Maybe pile.") [Usmagazine.com]
Roy Scheider, the square-jawed, broken-nosed guy's guy in whose capable hands Amity Island residents and vacationers entrusted their lives, passed away yesterday in Little Rock at age 75, after a three-year fight with blood cancer. While he will forever be associated with Chief Brody, a man with a good sense for shark-hunting seafaring-vessel sizes, it was his tour-de-force song-and-dance turn in All That Jazz, playing a loose version of director Bob Fosse, that was his most accomplished and most personally favored role. If it weren't for that movie's bleak showstopper finale (above), we might never have even associated something as fleeting as mortality with someone as ruggedly substantial as Scheider. But, hey—if you gotta go, at least give 'em the old razzle dazzle on your way out.
On February 8, 2007, a devastated Defamer was glued to CNN, following Dr. Sanjay Gupta and the rest of AnnaDeath 360° team as they offered breathless updates on the not-entirely-shocking (yet still pretty traumatic) loss of Anna Nicole Smith. And yet here we are, a full year later, and Hollywood seems doomed to repeat its trainwreck-glamorizing mistakes. Meanwhile, Smith's legacy carries on via the creepy gentleman-callers who dotted the love polygon that defined much of her life. Larry Birkhead, we well know through a series of soul-deadening The Insider exclusives, has been adjusting to life with his money-pooping paternity jackpot, most recently having plopped the toddler on a patch of grass he assured us was Anna Nicole's resting place, and successfully baby-wrangled his daughter into saying the word "mama" for their cameras.
Heath Ledger's family has issued a statement in reaction to the autopsy findings: "While no medications were taken in excess, we learned today the combination of doctor-prescribed drugs proved lethal for our boy. Heath's accidental death serves as a caution to the hidden dangers of combining prescription medication, even at low dosage." Read the rest by clicking on the link. [CNN.com]
In a shocking development in the Heath Ledger tragedy, the NY Post is reporting that an unidentified con man has been making calls pretending to be Heath's father. Not only did he convince the Manhattan funeral home that held Ledger's body to book him multiple rooms at the Carlysle hotel for him and his "family," he also took advantage of grieving A-list movie stars Tom Cruise and John Travolta. From their report:
And so, with two days to let the devastating news sink in, Variety now asks the inevitable question of what's to be done with Heath Ledger's final projects—the wrapped The Dark Knight, and Terry Gilliam's The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. Morbidly running through the history of productions faced with surprise cast deaths during shooting (apparently CGI has now taken over for stunt doubles and very low lighting as the re-animating technique of choice), the report then addresses the issue of how such misfortune might cast marketing campaigns in an unpleasant new light. As we pointed out on Tuesday, The Dark Knight's focuses squarely and gruesomely on Ledger's chillingly effective performance as The Joker, providing an unwelcome creative predicament for WB's marketing czar: