Entertainment

Legendary talk show host Larry King dies at age 87

Jordan Strauss/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Legendary talk show host Larry King, whose career took him from local to syndicated radio to global TV stardom, has died at age 87.

A statement from King's production company, Ora Media, posted on King's official Twitter announced his death "with profound sadness," saying King "passed away this morning at age 87 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles."  A spokesperson for King's family also confirmed his death to ABC News.

On January 2, King was hospitalized for COVID-19 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, a source close to the King family told ABC News then.

King overcame several health challenges over the years, including a heart attack that led to bypass surgery and ultimately encouraged King to quit smoking. King also survived lung cancer and underwent surgery at Cedars-Sinai in 2017, and was treated for prostate cancer in 1999.

In 2019, King suffered a stroke that left him unable to walk on his left foot, and he was sometimes seen using a wheelchair afterward." I never thought I'd be 86," King told Page Six at the time. “My father died when he was 43, 44. I thought I would die too.”  "I have no complaints. Everything that’s happened to me, I’m grateful for," he added. "Maybe that sounds cliché, but I'm really, really grateful."

The award-winning newsman, whose lengthy career earned him the nickname "The Iron Horse of Broadcasting," was known for his gravelly baritone, signature suspenders and straightforward questions, a style honed over the course of tens of thousands of interviews on the radio and television.

Born Lawrence Harvey Zeiger, the Brooklyn native wanted to be on the radio from a young age. After graduating high school, he got his first radio job in Florida in the 1950s. He got his first break on-air in Miami, where he became known by the moniker Larry King, which he ultimately made his legal name.

In 1978, King began hosting the nationally-syndicated The Larry King Show on the Mutual Broadcasting System, which he hosted for 16 years before stepping down in 1994.  During that time, he also made the move to TV, and hosted the CNN program Larry King Live from 1985 to 2010. Oprah Winfrey notably endorsed Barack Obama on the show during the 2008 presidential campaign.

In recent years, King hosted Larry King Now on Hulu, RT American and Ora TV, the latter a production company King co-founded with Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim in 2012. King was also hosting the show Politicking with Larry King on the channels until his death.

King didn't escape controversy over his decades-long career. Most recently, in 2019, he unknowingly filmed a Chinese propaganda infomercial in a fake interview with a Russian journalist, as reported by ProPublica. "I never should have done it, obviously," King told the publication then.

King was recognized with two Peabody Awards and one Emmy Award, among other honors. He was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 1989 and the Broadcasting Hall of Fame in 1992.

King has also authored several books, did voice work in TV shows and movies, including Shrek 2 and Bee Movie, and made cameos in TV shows and films, including Ghostbusters.

In 1988, a year after he survived a heart attack, the newsman founded the Larry King Cardiac Foundation to help those with heart disease pay for their medical treatment. 

A lifelong Dodgers fan, from Brooklyn to Los Angeles, King was often seen behind home plate at Dodgers Stadium.

King was married eight times to seven women and had five children. In August, 2020, he revealed that two of his children had died within weeks of each other. Andy, 65, died of a heart attack on July 28, 2020, and Chaia, 51, passed away on August 20 shortly after a lung cancer diagnosis.

King is survived by his sons, Larry, Chance and Cannon, as well as nine grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

By Meredith Deliso
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


John Krasinski, Dan Levy, Regina King are the first 'SNL' hosts of 2021

Krasinski directing "A Quiet Place Part II"/Paramount Pictures(NEW YORK) -- On the show's Twitter feedSaturday Night Live just announced the hosts and musical guests for the first three shows of the 2021 season. 

John Krasinski will host the January 30th installment, with Machine Gun Kelly as the musical guest; Schitt's Creek Emmy winner Dan Levy headlines the February 6 show, which features Phoebe Bridgers playing Studio 8H; and on February 13, Oscar and Emmy winner Regina King toplines the show, with Nathaniel Rateliff as the musical guest. 

Krasinski's appearance is a do-over. He was in New York City and supposed to guest host last spring, before the release of his sequel A Quiet Place Part II, however the film's debut -- and indeed Saturday Night Live -- became early victims of the COVID-19 shutdowns.

On his Twitter, the Office star-turned director just noted, "Aaaaaand cue the pinching myself."

By Stephen Iervolino
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Disney moves 'The King's Man', 'Bob's Burgers' film, as COVID-19 shut-downs continue

"The King's Man" - 20th Century Films(LOS ANGELES) -- Disney has followed Sony's suit, and on Friday steered a slew of big releases away from theaters, many of which are still shut down because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The titles, from Disney's acquisition of 20th Century Fox and Fox Searchlight, include the thrice-bumped Kingsman prequel The King's Man; that film, due out last year and delayed to try to avoid the pandemic, will now move from March 12 to August 20, Variety notes. 

A big-screen bow of Fox's hit animated show Bob's Burgers was to open April 9, but now has been removed entirely from the 2021 schedule. 

Other titles include the animated Ron's Gone Wrong, which went from April 23 to October 22, the thriller Antlers, and the Jessica Chastain-led biopic The Eyes of Tammy Faye; the former title will now open October 29, while the latter is set for September 24. 

The elephant in the room, however wasn't mentioned: Marvel's Black Widow. The standalone adventure of Scarlett Johansson's titular Avenger and super-spy was to open May 1, 2020, before it was bumped to November of last year, and then into 2021; so far, its latest release date is still slated for May 7, 2021.

Other big Disney releases that haven't yet changed include other 2020 refugees like Free Guy with Ryan Reynolds on May 21; Cruella with Emma Stone on May 28; Marvel’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings on July 9, and Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt's Jungle Cruise on July 30.

Disney is the parent company of ABC News.

By Stephen Iervolino
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


"If" Chris Evans returns as Captain America, "I'd be very happy with that" says Anthony Mackie

Marvel Studios(LOS ANGELES) -- It had been recently reported that Chris Evans had agreed to return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe years after he capped his Captain America career with Avengers: Endgame

However, even as that report was met with a Tesseract-size grain of salt, with Evans himself responding on Twitter "News to me," and a shrugging emoji, his former partner seems to be OK with the possibility. 

Anthony Mackie, who played Sam Wilson/Falcon in the Marvel films -- to whom a time-traveled Steve Rogers passed his Captain America shield and mantle at the end of Endgame -- was asked about the possibility on the podcast Happy Sad Confused.

"You know, I've heard that," the affable actor says about the Evans story. "Look, Chris is my boy, so if they're getting the band back together, I'll be very happy with that." 

For now, Mackie can be seen in the sci-fi thriller Outside The Wire on Netflix.

He'll next play Wilson, as the newly-crowned Cap, in Falcon and the Winter Soldier, which debuts March 19 on Disney .

Disney is the parent company of ABC News.

By Stephen Iervolino
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Neil Patrick Harris doesn't see an issue with straight actors playing gay characters

John Parra/Getty Images for Goldbelly(LOS ANGELES) -- Neil Patrick Harris broke his silence on the debate over straight actors playing gay characters.  The A Series of Unfortunate Events star, who came out as gay in 2006, says he doesn't see an issue.

In a Thursday interview with The Sunday Times, Harris weighed in on the comments made by screenwriter Russel T. Davies, who said he is against straight actors playing gay roles.

"I’m not one to jump onto labeling. As an actor, you certainly hope you can be a visible option for all kinds of different roles," the 47-year-old Emmy nominee expressed, using the character he played on How I Met Your Mother -- serial womanizer Barney Stinson -- to illustrate his point.

"I played a character for nine years that was nothing like me," said Harris before referencing Davies' series Queer as Folk, which starred three straight actors as gay men.

"It was one of the real true turning points for me as examples of sexy guys behaving as leads in something of import, not as comic sidekicks," the father of two elaborated. "There’s something something sexy about casting a straight actor to play a gay role, if they’re willing to invest in it."

Harris also added that mentality may force actors and actresses in uncomfortable situations and also limit their opportunities, explaining, "In our world that we live in, you can’t really as a director demand that... Who’s to determine how gay someone is?"

Davies, in a previous interview, expressed, "You wouldn’t cast someone able-bodied and put them in a wheelchair. You wouldn’t Black someone up. Authenticity is leading us to joyous places."

When asked about Davies' comments directly, Harris understood where the Welsh television producer was coming from, saying he was "speaking more about the joyfulness of being able to be authentic."

By Megan Stone
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


'Babylon 5', 'Lost' actress Mira Furlan dead at 65

Furlan in "Lost" - Mario Perez/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Mira Furlan, the Yugoslavian actress who appeared as the alien Delenn on the sci-fi series Babylon 5 and Danielle Rousseau on Lost, has died at 65.

Although no cause of death was given, it apparently was not a surprise, as the actress left a message to fans that was posted after her passing. "I look at the stars. It's a clear night and the milky way seemed so near," the message reads. "That's where I'll be going soon. 'We're all star stuff,' I suddenly remembered Delenn's line from Joe's script. Not a bad prospect. I am not afraid."

The actress was memorialized by Babylon 5 writer and executive producer, J. Michael Straczynski as "fearless." He recalled her telling him when they first met that she was part of a theater group that put on productions even as her native Yugoslavia was being torn apart by a civil war, and both sides targeted the performers with death threats.

Straczynski remembered her in a lengthy post about her life and declining health, tweeting with "great sadness," that, "our friend and comrade had gone down the road where we cannot reach her."

He added, "But as with all things, we will catch up with her in time, and I believe she will have many stories to tell us, and many new roles to share with the universe."

By Stephen Iervolino
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


"I was just trying to keep warm!" Bernie Sanders laughs on 'Late Night' about his meme-ready picture

NBCUniversal(NEW YORK) -- Yes, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is well aware of that viral photo of himself bundled up during Joe Biden's inauguration. At least, he is now.

Nearly immediately after the picture went public -- with a grumpy looking Sanders, arms folded, legs crossed, his hands stuffed into comically giant crocheted mittens -- it was being Photoshopped into everything from kids soccer games, to Baby Yoda's floating pram in The Mandalorian. Not that the former presidential candidate was aware of it initially.

"Not at all," the 79-year-old Democrat declared on Thursday's Late Night with Seth Meyers, when asked if he knew his picture basically broke the Internet.  Sen. Sanders insisted of his meme-ready outfit, "I was just sitting there trying to keep warm."

Sanders also explained that the now sought-after mittens were a gift "from a woman who lives in Essex Junction, Vermont, she is a school teacher and a very very nice person. And she's been somewhat overwhelmed by the kind of attention that is being shown to her mittens," Sanders said.

In fact, she's apparently been inundated with orders for those looking to steal Bernie's look, but she apparently refused, saying, "I'm not going to quit my day job, and I'm a mom."

By Stephen Iervolino
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


'Game of Thrones' prequel, 'Tales of Dunk and Egg', in the works at HBO

HBO/Helen Sloane(LOS ANGELES) -- Another Game of Thrones prequel, Tales of Dunk and Egg, is in early development at HBO, according to Variety.

The potential show, would be based on George R. R. Martin's series of fantasy novellas, which follow the adventures of Duncan the Tall -- a.k.a. Dunk, and a young Aegon V Targaryen -- a.k.a. Egg, 90 years prior to the events of A Song of Ice and Fire.

While Variety reports the project is a high priority for the cabler, neither a writer nor talent are attached as of yet.

That's not all though.

Entertainment Weekly reports HBO has also been meeting with several top writers -- Rome creator Bruno Heller among them -- pitching other ideas based on Martin's works. They include a prequel series based on Robert's Rebellion -- the war for the Iron Throne that upended Westeros a couple of decades before the events in Thrones.

HBO had previously given a series order to another GoT prequel project, House of the Dragon. This one is set 300 years before the events in GoT and explores the beginning of the end for House Targaryen.

For book fans, the series, from Martin and original GoT producer Ryan Condal, is reportedly largely based off of Martin's Fire & Blood novel, which came out in 2018.

By George Costantino
Copyright © 2021, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


COVID-19 delays strike again: 'No Time to Die', 'Morbius', and 'Ghostbusters: Afterlife' all bumped again

Nicola Dove © 2020 DANJAQ, LLC AND MGM. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.(LOS ANGELES) -- James Bond, the Marvel Comics vampire anti-hero Morbius, and the Ghostbusters have faced many enemies, but they can't best COVID-19. 

No Time to Die, Daniel Craig's last mission as 007, was originally supposed to come out last April. It was first pushed to November in an attempt to outrun the virus, before being bumped to this April 2. It will now be pushed to October 8 of this year, MGM notes. 

The date change, and continued pandemic uncertainty have caused a release date logjam for the studio, Variety reports. 

October 8 was slated for 007 co-producer Sony Pictures to debut its Morbius, starring Oscar winner and 30 Seconds to Mars front man Jared Leto, but it will now open January 21, 2022. The superhero film was supposed to come out March 19, after being bumped from July of 2020.

Sony Pictures' Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway was supposed to come out April 2, but it's been bumped to June 11 -- the already-rescheduled release date for Ghostbusters: Afterlife. That film, another 2020 release date refugee, will reportedly now open November 11.

The studio's Cinderella, with singer Camilla Cabello, has also been bumped again, from February 5 to July 16. That, in turn, ran into the release window for Uncharted, the video game adaptation starring Tom Holland and Mark Wahlberg -- that action adventure will now come out February 11, 2022. 

By Stephen Iervolino
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Jane Krakowski loves 'Dickinson''s spin on the poet

Apple TV (NEW YORK) -- As it does every Friday, Apple TV has dropped the latest episode of the Peabody Award-winning show Dickinson.

Hailee Steinfeld produces and stars as the acclaimed poet, in a series that uses modern music and sensibilities to deliberately tweak what you may have thought you have known about her life.

"What a great change for Emily Dickinson to be introduced to a younger audience this way versus the way I think we might have been taught about her in our early school years, where it almost seemed like medicine to learn about her poetry," co-star Jane Krakowski laughs to ABC Audio.

The Tony winning and Emmy nominated actress plays Emily's homemaker mom. She says Dickinson "was [always] depicted to people in such a sort of spinstery solemn way," and the series, "really shakes that image away, and gives her a whole other persona, which I think the Dickinson scholars believe was more like what she was like."

She adds with a laugh of the real-life poet, "she was much more of a fun person to be around and not as spinstery as we thought."

Krakowski played a spoiled actress in 30 Rock, and a socialite former trophy wife in The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, so to see her character in Dickinson declare to her husband, "I belong in the kitchen!" is quite the change.

"Totally," the actress agrees, "which was one of the reasons I really wanted to be a part of it...because I felt it was very different than...other parts that I had played."

She adds of the series, "It lives sort of in a hybrid...some of it is very comedic and then some of it isn't. And so that's really fun for me to get to have that mix in there." 

By Stephen Iervolino
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Olivia Jade returns to YouTube after over a year, "I can't change the past"

Michael Kovac/Getty Images for WCRF(LOS ANGELES) -- After over a year-long hiatus, Olivia Jade Giannulli has returned to YouTube. 

The 21-year-old beauty influencer returned to the platform on Thursday to share a vlog chronicling a day in her life. Before jumping into that though, she addressed her recent appearance on Facebook Watch's Red Table Talk where she apologized for her family's involvement in the college admissions scandal. 

Jade's parents, Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giannulli, were both sentenced to prison last year after pleading guilty to the charges related to the scandal. Loughlin, 56, served two months and was released in December and Mossimo, 57, is currently serving his five-month sentence. 

"I am really excited because obviously I haven't filmed in a really long time and I'm just grateful to be back on YouTube," Olivia began. "I wanted to film this little intro part just because I didn't want to just start the vlog and me not address anything."  

After directing viewers who may have any questions regarding the college admissions scandal and why she returned to YouTube, Olivia clarified in an "editor's note," "I don't mean to say that in a dismissive way or a pretentious way."

"I think what I was trying to get across was I felt like the thing I wanted to do the most was apologize for so long and I felt like I got to do that at Red Table," she explained.

Oliva added that she's looking forward to putting the past behind her and moving forward. 

"...Although I can't change the past, I can change how I act and what I do going forward," she said. "I don't want to keep rehashing things. I just want to move on and do better and move forward and come back and do what I love, which is YouTube." 

By Danielle Long
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Report: Dustin Diamond undergoes first round of chemo, diagnosed with stage 4 small cell carcinoma

Noel Vasquez/Getty Images(FLORIDA) -- Saved by the Bell alum Dustin Diamond underwent his first round of chemotherapy, reports TMZ, who says the actor has been diagnosed with stage 4 small cell carcinoma.

Small cell carcinoma, a form of lung cancer, mostly affects heavy smokers, reports Mayo Clinic. Lung cancer is the deadliest form of cancer, responsible for the most global cancer-related deaths as it doesn't present symptoms until the disease has advanced.

Diamond's team told TMZ more about the diagnosis, explaining that the cancer metastasized in his lungs after developing in another part of his body.

His team adds that, in addition to chemotherapy, the 44-year-old actor will start physical therapy.

Diamond, who was hospitalized last week, is reportedly in good spirits.  His team claims he is currently teaching himself how to play songs by Tool and Foo Fighters on the bass guitar, as well as spending time with his loved ones.

Diamond played Screech for close to 13 years, from the flagship Saved by the Bell series, through its final incarnation, Saved by the Bell: The New Class.

By Megan Stone
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Dave Chappelle tests positive for COVID-19

Photo: Mathieu Bitton(TEXAS) -- Stand-up comedian Dave Chappelle has tested positive for COVID-19, one day after performing a live show in Austin, Texas.

A representative of Chappelle's confirmed the diagnosis to ABC News, adding that the 47-year-old Emmy nominee is now in quarantine, and those who were backstage with him have been tested. Chappelle has since canceled his four remaining shows set to take place in the Lone Star state.   

He previously had sets planned for Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Stubb's Ampitheater in Austin, with new Texas transplant Joe Rogan slated to join him for two. Those who held tickets for the four remaining dates will receive a refund.

A representative for Chappelle confirmed he is not experiencing any symptoms of the virus.

The Chappelle's Show star had been performing socially-distanced comedy shows in his native Ohio since the summer that offered rapid tests to all audience members before being seated. Those shows moved to Texas for the winter.

Chappelle and his crew would also be tested before every performance.

By Megan Stone
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Christina Ricci granted restraining order against estranged husband

John Shearer/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Christina Ricci's divorce just got a little messier, as the actress has been granted a domestic violence restraining order from her estranged husband James Heerdegen.

The restraining order, obtained by Entertainment Tonight requires Heerdegen to stay 100 yards away from Ricci at all times. Additionally, he's been denied visitation rights with the couple's six-year-old son, Freddie, and must stay away from the family dog.

The order claims Heerdegen physically abused the 40-year-old actress multiple times. The docs state that Ricci told Heerdegen she wanted a divorce early last year, but "found herself trapped in a house with a violent abuser" during the COVID-19 pandemic, when the country shut down due to COVID-19.

Ricci filed for divorce from the cinematographer back in July, citing irreconcilable differences. The actress was reportedly granted an emergency protective order by cops at the time after claiming an altercation took place and that Heerdegen allegedly spit on her, according to ET.

By George Costantino
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

'The Boys' is tackling one of the comic's raunchiest storylines

Urban as Billy Butcher - Courtesy Amazon Studios(NEW YORK) -- (NOTE LANGUAGE, CONTENT) The Boys, Amazon's skewed superhero show, is about to go where only the Garth Ennis' original graphic novel dared -- a storyline called "Herogasm."

To put it as delicately as possible, the storyline has Homelander telling the public that he and the world's other super-powered people have to leave earth for a mission in space, when in reality, they head to a deserted tropical island for a supes-only, super-hedonistic getaway. Typical Homelander.

The series' executive producer and head writer Eric Kripke confessed on a Reddit AMA he'd been "dared" to do that particular episode from the start, but struggled with how to bring it to TV "...so it's not just an hour of hardcore porn."

However, he recently tweeted a picture of an upcoming 3rd season script of that very show.

Kripke and co-producers Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg are expert at pushing the show's limits just far enough, says Karl Urban, who plays Homelander's nemesis Billy Butcher.

"The graphic novel for The Boys is... a lot more graphic and a lot more dark," he tells ABC Audio. "And I think that [they]...did a wonderful job of taking the very essence of [the material] and done so in a way to make sure it didn't lose its original impact, but yet was more digestible."

Antony Starr, who plays Homelander, agreed. "Even as an adult...I was still a little shocked at the content in the comics," he laughed to ABC Audio.

"It was: 'Whoa' - that's quite full on!' I mean...if you just shot what was in the comics, nobody could air it..."

"...[W]hat the show has done is take the structure and the spirit of the comics, but maybe trim some of the excesses and made it possible to screen."

By Stephen Iervolino
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


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