celebrities

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.

Tânia Rêgo/ABr / Creative Commons

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.

Dominick D / Creative Commons

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:

 

Garrison Keillor, creator and longtime host of "A Prairie Home Companion," says the next season of the popular radio show will be his last as host.

The New York Times reports that Bill Cosby, in a sworn deposition made a decade ago, acknowledged that he used drugs and traded on his fame and connections to get women to have sex with him, and then paid money to keep the affairs secret from his wife.

On Monday, a decade-old deposition became the talk of the nation.

As we reported, in it comedian Bill Cosby admits that he gave sedatives to at least one woman whom he wanted to have sex with.

Updated at 10 a.m. ET

Christopher Lee, the actor best known for defining the role of Dracula on the big screen, died on Sunday at the age of 93.

An official for the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in London confirmed the death.

For a younger generation, Lee is best known for his role as Saruman, the white-maned villain in the Lord of the Rings franchise. Lee also played Count Dooku, another villain with superhuman powers, in the Star Wars series.

EWILS PHOTO / Creative Commons

Hartford has seen a dramatic rise in homicides this year. Twelve people have been killed so far since the start of 2015 -- more than twice as many as this time last year.

On Saturday, the Reverend Al Sharpton joined a march and rally in Hartford, calling for peace in the wake of this violence.

Public Domain

Veteran character actress Betsy Palmer has died.  

Palmer  achieved lasting, though not necessarily sought-after, fame as the murderous camp cook in the cheesy 1980 horror film "Friday the 13th."

Chris Boland / Creative Commons

It's been more than 40 years since Graham Nash first sung with David Crosby and Stephen Stills.

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Looking every inch a silver-maned patriarch of Biblical grandeur, Sonny Rollins, the 84-year-old genius of the jazz tenor saxophone, was especially elated last weekend to receive an honorary doctor of music degree from the University of Hartford at graduation ceremonies on its West Hartford campus.

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