celebrities

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The Academy is supposed to nominate the best actors, directors and writers for Hollywood's most prestigious Oscar awards; instead, they see only whites worthy of these lofty levels of achievement this year.

Piano Piano! on Flickr.com / Creative Commons

I was literally jotting down a few thoughts about Pierre Boulez – the modernist French composer/conductor/musical tastemaker, who died last week at 90 – when the news arrived about David Bowie.

British actor Alan Rickman, a veteran of dozens of films, has died at age 69. Recently, Rickman was most well-known for portraying the complicated villain Severus Snape in the films based on J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter books.

"Rickman had been suffering from cancer," The Guardian reports.

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Life changed dramatically for Illeana Douglas in 1969 when her parents fell in love with the two Harley-riding hippies in the Dennis Hopper - Peter Fonda classic, "Easy Rider." They decided to trade in their middle-class life for a wild ride filled with free spirits, free love and Hollywood.

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In "A Knight's Tale," Heath Ledger is invited to a dance among the nobles. He is a peasant, impersonating a noble and is anxious because he doesn't really know how to dance. His rival sneeringly asks him to show everybody a dance from Heath's homeland. What happens next is a breath-taking dance sequence in which pre-Renaissance music morphs into Golden Years by David Bowie .

Legendary rock musician David Bowie, who influenced generations of musicians and fans, died on Sunday, two days after his 69th birthday.

Right after Mexican authorities announced the third capture of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, we heard the real shocker: Just months before, Sean Penn had ventured into the Mexican jungle and secretly met with the kingpin.

Rock Icon David Bowie Dies At 69

Jan 11, 2016

Iconic rock musician David Bowie has died of cancer at age 69. The news was announced in a statement on Bowie's social media sites:

"David Bowie died peacefully today surrounded by his family after a courageous 18-month battle with cancer," it read.

Bowie's death was confirmed by his son, Duncan Jones, who tweeted, "Very sorry and sad to say it's true. I'll be offline for a while. Love to all."

The Mexican government shocked the world Friday, revealing that it had caught drug kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzmán nearly six months after his second escape from prison. On Saturday night, it was Sean Penn's turn to deliver a shock: In Rolling Stone, the actor revealed that he had spoken with the longtime head of the Sinaloa drug cartel during his time as a fugitive.

Narrowly beating a statute of limitations deadline to file charges, prosecutors in Pennsylvania announced felony sexual assault charges against comedian Bill Cosby on Wednesday. A former Temple University employee says Cosby drugged and assaulted her in January 2004.

Montgomery County, Pa., prosecutors have charged Cosby with three counts of aggravated indecent assault. The charges against him are second-degree felonies, each carrying a minimum of five and a maximum of 10 years in prison.

Mike Grauer Jr, Creative Commons

Vin Baker was an Olympic basketball player and four-time NBA All Star. The journey from University of Hartford to professional basketball got him rich quick, but it was a lifestyle he couldn't keep up with.

Baker's struggle with alcoholism is well-documented, as is the fact he blew through $100 million. He lost his home and restaurant.

Former NBA Player Vin Baker: From Big Bucks to Starbucks

Dec 17, 2015
Lipofsky Basketballphoto.com

Vin Baker, who grew up in Old Saybrook, was a four-time NBA All-Star player. He attended the University of Hartford and eventually became an Olympian. He went from relative obscurity to the big time in a flash. 

Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred announced Monday he would not lift the ban on Pete Rose, meaning the legendary hitter also will not be eligible for the Hall of Fame, according to current rules.

This essay first appeared in the 2010 book This Is NPR: The First Forty Years, a collection of writing by NPR staff and contributors.


I should have cared more, but I didn't. I should have cried, but I didn't.

He meant so much to me.

But the day John Lennon died, my life and his music were never more distant.

Stephanie Riefe / WNPR

Actor Kevin Bacon, who's currently performing in “Rear Window” at Hartford Stage, took time on Wednesday to bring awareness to a culinary job training program in Hartford's community.

Gloria Steinem is 81 — a fact that the iconic women's movement leader describes as "quite bizarre."

"Eighty-one is an age that I think is someone else's age," Steinem tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "I stop people on the street and tell them how old I am, because I'm trying to make myself believe it."

But Steinem isn't unhappy about aging. The co-founder of Ms. magazine says that as she approached 60, she felt like she entered a new phase in life, free of the "demands of gender" that she faced from adolescence onward.

Mark Garten / United Nations photo

Cellist Yo-Yo Ma turned 60 the other day.

That’s as good a reason as any to reflect for a moment on a life and career that seems about as well executed as that of any classical performing artist in our time, maybe ever.

Tracy Morgan made his return to comedy official Saturday as he returned to host Saturday Night Live, some 16 months after being seriously injured in a deadly car crash.

A Vermont judge has ordered actor Randy Quaid held on $500,000 bail on charges that he and his wife skipped out of the country five years ago after being charged with vandalism in California.

When Pope Francis addressed Congress on Thursday, he faced a body that is more Christian than the U.S. public as a whole — and also more Catholic.

First the numbers: Whereas nearly a quarter of the U.S. population says they have no religious affiliation, it's less than 1 percent in Congress.

Congress is "disproportionately religiously affiliated," said Alan Cooperman, director of religion research at the Pew Research Center. "That is, the share of members of Congress who say they have a religion is considerably higher than the share of all American adults."

The White House

Pope Francis is visiting Washington, D.C. this week. His first visit to the U.S. began formally on Wednesday with an arrival ceremony at the White House and a personal meeting with President Barack Obama. 

dtstuff9 flickr.com/photos/dtstuff9 / Creative Commons

Ben Vereen was plucked from the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn to go to the prestigious Performing Arts High School because somebody thought he had talent. Influenced by song and dance men like Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis, Jr., Ben Vereen garnered accolades for groundbreaking roles in "Pippin," "Jesus Christ Superstar" and "Roots," in which he challenged us to think about race, religion and who can make art.

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New York officials have joined Cardinal Timothy Dolan in condemning the scalping of tickets to see Pope Francis's motorcade during his upcoming visit to New York City.

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Joyce Carol Oates has been writing since before she could read, making "books" by drawing and coloring characters in her tablet. She preferred upright chickens and cats in confrontational poses and tried hard to make her books look like the ones read by adults.  

She's wanted to be a writer since inspired by Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. Those books changed her life and by extension, ours. 

  B-52s founding member Kate Pierson has been having a very busy 2015. Earlier this year, she released her very first solo album, Guitars and Microphones. Produced by Tim Anderson, the record features writing from “Chandelier” singer, Sia — who also served as its executive producer — and guitar-work from the Strokes’ Nick Valensi.

If that wasn’t enough excitement - earlier this month, Kate married her long-time partner Monica Coleman in Hawaii. They co-own Kate's Lazy Meadow in Mount Tremper, NY. 

She has also been touring with the new album and will be doing a benefit for the Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild Ceramics Expansion Project next Friday night.

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Two funny men. Two funny books. 

I Must Say: My Life as a Humble Comedy Legend follows the life of Martin Short, a funny man who spent his childhood staging elaborate one-man variety shows  in his attic bedroom before bringing us enduring and endearing characters like Ed Grimley, Irving Cohen and Jimmy Glick.  

Bobbi Kristina Brown, the daughter of the late pop icon Whitney Houston, died on Sunday.

Brown, who grew up in the shadow of fame and dysfunction, had spent months at a Georgia hospital after being found unresponsive in a bathtub at her home.

The Associated Press reports:

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