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Entertainment News

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  • Hank Azaria says he has no plans to continue voicing the character of Apu on “The Simpsons,” according to an industry blog. But that isn't to say the Indian immigrant convenience store owner Azaria brought alive for 30 years won't live on. Producers and Fox Broadcasting Co. wouldn't confirm to The Associated Press Azaria's exit or an end to Apu, a recurring character that has drawn criticism for reinforcing racial stereotypes. There was no immediate reply Saturday from Azaria’s publicist. The actor, who is white, indicated Friday to slashfilm.com that there was no resistance to phasing out his voice. 'We all made the decision together,” Azaria said. “We all agreed on it. We all feel like it’s the right thing and (feel) good about it.” Apu Nahasapeemapetilon runs the Kwik-E-Mart, a popular convenience store in the animated sitcom's Springfield. Apu is known for his catchphrase, “Thank you, come again.” Azaria's first turn as Apu came in the first season's episode “The Telltale Head” in 1990. Azaria speculated that among options going forward is transitioning Apu's voice to an Indian actor. In 2017, comedian Hari Kondabolu put out a documentary, “The Problem with Apu,” that examined the character's cultural impact. Asked in the film's aftermath if he had watched the documentary, Azaria said: “Thank you for asking me. Yes, of course, I did see it, and let me see if I can tell you how I feel about that. The idea that anybody, young or old, past or present, was bullied or teased or worse based on the character of Apu on ‘The Simpsons,’ the voice or any other tropes of the character is distressing,” he said. 'And especially in post-9/11 America, the idea that anybody was marginalized based on it or had a hard time was very upsetting to me personally and professionally.”
  • Having thrown her life open for years, it's hard to believe there isn't much the public doesn't know about Paris Hilton. But wait, there is. The 38-year-old socialite often described as famous for being famous reveals a private side of herself in “This is Paris,” a YouTube Originals documentary premiering in May. “It's very emotional this movie, it's very raw, it's very authentic,” an unusually somber and admittedly nervous Hilton told a TV critics meeting on Saturday. “It's basically my entire life.” In the documentary, she speaks publicly for the first time about incidents from her past and pivotal moments in her life. Emmy-winning director Alexandra Dean ('Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story') initially turned down the project, having gotten her fill of seeing Hilton on countless magazine covers while living in Europe. Dean changed her mind after hearing a particular story described as “heartbreaking trauma” involving Hilton that is revealed in the film. Hilton herself was reluctant to take a meeting about the project “because I wasn't ready to show myself.” Eventually, she agreed and the film crew followed her around the world for a year. “I talk about things that are very hard to talk about,” Hilton said. “It was an amazing experience, but also very scary. Watching the film for the first time, I was like, ‘Can we cut that out?’ I was freaking out but they have total control over the whole film.” The documentary addresses the time a teen-aged Hilton spent at a residential treatment center for emotionally and behaviorally troubled youth in Utah. Hilton's only sister, Nicky Rothschild, rarely gives interviews but agreed to participate. Their mother, Kathy Hilton, also appears. “There's so many `yes' people around and Nicky always tells me the truth,” Hilton said. “She's my best friend and my other half.” At times, Hilton comes off as lonely in private even as her public image portrays her as the life of every party and club she works as a DJ. She also describes herself as shy “which most people won't believe either,” she said. “Growing up in Hollywood, it's very hard to trust people because you don't know what their intentions are,” she said. “I've definitely been betrayed many times in my life. Going through so much, it's made me the strong person I am today. I don't know that I'll fully trust, but I'm really lucky in my life that I now have people in my circle that I really do.” Hilton still feels the effects of the dumb blonde persona she employed in “The Simple Life,” the reality show that shot her and Nicole Richie to fame starting in 2003. “I was in on the joke. People thought that's who I really was,” Hilton said. “I've been judged on a character that I created at the beginning of my career and now I feel like it's really time that people see who the real Paris is.”
  • Will moviegoers finally find out what’s on Page 47? That’s a possibility as reports of a “National Treasure 3” movie are beginning to circulate. Chris Bremner, who was tapped to write a “Bad Boys 4” movie, told The Hollywood Reporter he would be writing the screenplay for “National Treasure 3.” “National Treasure,” released in 2004, starred Nicolas Cage an amateur cryptologist Benjamin Franklin Gates. The movie pulled in $247 million worldwide for Disney, Variety reported. The cast, including Cage, Diane Kruger, Justin Bartha, Jon Voight, Harvey Keitel and Armando Riesc, returned for the 2007 sequel, “National Treasure: Book of Secrets.' That film made $457 worldwide, Variety reported. The sequel ended with the characters looking at 'Page 47” of a secret book owned by the president of the United States, but no explanation was given. Jerry Bruckheimer is reportedly producing the upcoming film, People reported. Jon Turtletaub directed the first two films. A Disney spokesman did not respond to the magazine’s request for comment.
  • An investigative documentary about Jeffrey Epstein and how the millionaire sex offender avoided scrutiny is coming to Lifetime. The four-hour film, “Surviving Jeffrey Epstein,” will air this summer, the cable channel said Saturday. Epstein, 66, killed himself in his New York City prison cell in August after he was arrested on sex trafficking charges. The financier had pleaded not guilty to sexually abusing girls as young as 14 and young women in New York and Florida in the early 2000s. In lawsuits, women say the abuse spanned decades. In announcing the documentary at a TV critics meeting, Lifetime said it was building on the success of influential projects including “Surviving R. Kelly.” The R&B superstar, who had been followed by allegations of sexual abuse against minors for years, drew new attention from authorities after Lifetime’s six-part series aired in January 2019. It included testimonials by alleged victims. Kelly is facing charges on a variety of crimes in three states, and has pleaded not guilty to federal charges in Chicago and New York of a racketeering scheme to sexually abuse girls, and not guilty to a Minnesota charge of offering a teenager money to take off her clothes and dance.
  • Goodbye, your royal highnesses. Hello, life as — almost — ordinary civilians. Prince Harry and wife Meghan will no longer use the titles 'royal highness' or receive public funds for their work under a deal that lets the couple step aside as working royals, Buckingham Palace announced Saturday. Releasing details of the dramatic split triggered by the couple's unhappiness with life under media scrutiny, the palace said Harry and Meghan will cease to be working members of the royal family when the new arrangements take effect in the “spring of 2020.” The radical break is more complete than the type of arrangement anticipated 10 days ago when the royal couple stunned Britain with an abrupt announcement that they wanted to step down. They said they planed to combine some royal duties with private work in a “progressive” plan, but that is no longer on the table. Harry and Meghan will no longer use the titles His Royal Highness and Her Royal Highness but will retain them, leaving the possibility that the couple might change their minds and return sometime in the future. Harry's late mother, Diana, was stripped of the Her Royal Highness title when she and Prince Charles divorced. They will be known as Harry, Duke of Sussex, and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex. Harry will remain a prince and sixth in line to the British throne. The agreement also calls for Meghan and Harry to repay 2.4 million pounds ($3.1 million) in taxpayers' money spent renovating a house for them near Windsor Castle, Frogmore Cottage. The use of public funds to transform the house's five separate apartments into a spacious single family home for them had raised ire in the British press. They will continue to use Frogmore Cottage as their base in England. The deal came after days of talks among royals sparked by Meghan and Harry's announcement last week that they wanted to step down as senior royals and live part-time in Canada. The couple's departure is a wrench for the royal family, and Queen Elizabeth II did say earlier this week that she wished the couple had wanted to remain full-time royals, but she had warm words for them in a statement Saturday. The 93-year-old queen said she was pleased that “together we have found a constructive and supportive way forward for my grandson and his family. Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family.” 'I recognize the challenges they have experienced as a result of intense scrutiny over the last two years and support their wish for a more independent life,' Elizabeth said. 'It is my whole family's hope that today's agreement allows them to start building a happy and peaceful new life,' she added. Despite the queen's kind words, the new arrangement will represent an almost complete break from life as working royals, especially for Harry. As a devoted Army veteran and servant to the crown, the prince carried out dozens of royal engagements each year, Royal expert and author Penny Junor said the new setup will benefit both sides of the family. 'There are no blurred lines. They are starting afresh and they are going with the queen's blessing, I think it is the best of all worlds,' she said. It is not yet clear whether Harry and Meghan will continue to receive financial support from Harry's father, Prince Charles, who used revenue from the Duchy of Cornwall to help fund his activities and those of his wife and sons. The duchy, chartered in 1337, produced more than 20 million pounds ($26 million) in revenue last year. It is widely regarded as private money, not public funds, so Charles may opt to keep details of its disbursal private. Much of the royals' wealth comes from private holdings. Though Harry and Meghan will no longer represent the queen, the palace said they would 'continue to uphold the values of Her Majesty' while carrying out their private charitable work. The withdrawal of Harry from royal engagements will increase the demands on his brother, Prince William, and William's wife, Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge. Buckingham Palace did not disclose who will pay for the couple's security going forward. It currently is taxpayer-funded and carried out primarily by a special unit of the Metropolitan Police, also known as Scotland Yard. 'There are well established independent processes to determine the need for publicly funded security,' it said. Harry and Meghan have grown increasingly uncomfortable with constant media scrutiny since the birth in May of their son, Archie. They married in 2018 in a ceremony that drew a worldwide TV audience. Meghan joined the royal family after a successful acting career and spoke enthusiastically about the chance to travel throughout Britain and learn about her new home, but disillusionment set in fairly quickly. She launched legal action against a newspaper in October for publishing a letter she wrote to her father. Harry has complained bitterly of racist undertones in some media coverage of his wife, who is biracial. There has also been a breach in the longtime close relationship between Harry and William, a future king, over issues that have not been made public. The couple’s desire to separate from the rest of the family had been the subject of media speculation for months. But they angered senior royals by revealing their plans on Instagram and a new website without advance clearance from the queen or palace officials. Elizabeth summoned Harry, William and Charles, to an unusual crisis meeting at her rural retreat in eastern England in an effort to find common ground. The result was Saturday’s agreement, which is different from Harry and Meghan’s initial proposal that they planned to combine a new, financially independent life with a reduced set of royal duties. It is not known where in Canada the couple plan to locate. They are thought to be considering Vancouver Island, where they spent a long Christmas break, or Toronto, where Meghan filmed the TV series “Suits” for many years. It is not clear what Harry and Meghan's immigration and tax status will be in Canada, or whether Meghan will follow through on plans to obtain British nationality.

News

  • A Boston bartender might have gotten his biggest tip yet — for performing a lifesaving technique on a man choking. While behind the bar at Silvertone Bar & Grill on Bromfield Street, Oscar Simoza saw a customer suddenly start to choke Thursday night. “At one point, he’s grabbing his friend’s shoulder, and he has, like, a face like he’s laughing, and then I realize his face turns red,” Simoza told WFXT. Simoza ran out from behind the bar to the stool where the man was sitting, surveillance video of the incident shows. He immediately began performing the Heimlich maneuver to dislodge the blockage from the man’s throat. “Yeah, I moved,” Simoza told WFXT. “I was surprised. I haven’t played rugby in a while, so it’s pretty funny I can actually run this way still. We got there fast enough.” Simoza was able to dislodge a steak tip the man was choking on. “I was like: ‘I’m doing the Heimlich. I’ve never done this before,’” Simoza said. The man was OK, and customers gave Simoza a big round of applause. “(The choking patron) probably gave me the best tip,' Simoza told WFXT. “Like I say, the best tip ever given to me, ‘Thank you for saving my life.'” When asked how he learned the Heimlich, Simoza replied:, “I learned it from watching ’Baywatch.'”
  • The father of the Florida man accused of killing his wife, three children and family dog, also had a history of violence, according to court records dating back 40 years. Robert Todt was convicted by a jury in 1980 for a murder-to-hire plot. It bears an eerie parallel to this week, when his son, Anthony Todt, told Osceola County detectives that he killed his wife, three children and family dog at their Celebration home, WFTV reported. Alan Rubenstein is now a judge in the same Pennsylvania community where he was an assistant district attorney in 1980, and prosecuted Robert Todt’s case. He said the Todts appeared to have a picturesque life. Neighbors had great things to say about Robert Todt, who was a special education teacher and wrestling coach at a Pennsylvania high school. Then, he was arrested for hiring one of his students to kill his wife, Loretta Todt, on March 19, 1980, at their Bensalem home, People reported. The student, John Chairmonte, pleaded guilty to his involvement, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported in 1980. At the time, Chairmonte was characterized as a “burglar and a drug addict,” the newspaper reported in a Dec. 13, 1980, Inquirer story. “Who do you expect Bob Todt to hire to kill his wife, Donny Osmond?' Rubenstein told the newspaper. “A shot was fired right into her skull,” Rubenstein told WFTV on Friday. “It landed through her left eye and blinded her. She should’ve died, but, amazingly, she survived.” What originally seemed like a home invasion didn’t add up, Rubenstein said. “Then we did some background checking on (Robert) Todt,” Rubenstein told WFTV. “We found out about his being engaged to this woman while he was married, about his various girlfriends, the fact that he was having a relationship with one of his students.” When Robert Todt was convicted in 1981, “everybody was wailing, especially his family members and Loretta,” Rubenstein recalled. “The calmest person in the courtroom was Robert Todt.” Robert Todt served about 10 years in prison. Investigators said Anthony Todt was in the home when his mother was shot. A local newspaper reported he woke up to his mother’s screams. Many have described Anthony Todt as a loving father and husband, devoted physical therapist and soccer coach to neighborhood kids. Investigators said they found Anthony Todt’s family’s bodies Monday, but believe Todt killed them weeks earlier. The FBI is also investigating Todt for Medicaid fraud, and records show he was being evicted from their Celebration home.
  • Will moviegoers finally find out what’s on Page 47? That’s a possibility as reports of a “National Treasure 3” movie are beginning to circulate. Chris Bremner, who was tapped to write a “Bad Boys 4” movie, told The Hollywood Reporter he would be writing the screenplay for “National Treasure 3.” “National Treasure,” released in 2004, starred Nicolas Cage an amateur cryptologist Benjamin Franklin Gates. The movie pulled in $247 million worldwide for Disney, Variety reported. The cast, including Cage, Diane Kruger, Justin Bartha, Jon Voight, Harvey Keitel and Armando Riesc, returned for the 2007 sequel, “National Treasure: Book of Secrets.' That film made $457 worldwide, Variety reported. The sequel ended with the characters looking at 'Page 47” of a secret book owned by the president of the United States, but no explanation was given. Jerry Bruckheimer is reportedly producing the upcoming film, People reported. Jon Turtletaub directed the first two films. A Disney spokesman did not respond to the magazine’s request for comment.
  • Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are no longer working members of the Royal Family, Queen Elizabeth II announced Saturday in a statement. The Queen said the Sussexes “will continue to maintain their private patronages and associations.” The couple also will no longer formally represent the Queen, the statement said. 'Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much-loved members of my family, the Queen wrote. “I recognize the challenges they have experienced as a result of intense scrutiny over the last two years and support their wish for a more independent life.” The couple will forgo state funding and repay millions of taxpayer dollars used to refurbish their official residence in Windsor, The New York Times reported. The agreement will go into effect later this spring and will be reviewed by the palace after a year, the newspaper reported. “The Sussexes will not use their HRH titles as they are no longer working members of the Royal Family,” according to the statement from Buckingham Palace. The agreement was made to end the crisis that began 10 days ago when the couple announced plans to step back from their royal duties and spend time in North America, the Times reported.
  • Odell Beckham Jr.'s legal problems might be behind him. The Superdome officer who was slapped on the rear by the Cleveland Browns wide receiver after LSU’s championship victory Monday has decided not to press charges, NOLA.com reported. A video of the encounter has gone viral. The website, citing several anonymous sources, said the 48-year-old officer had signed an affidavit saying he did not want to pursue legal action against Beckham, 27, who is from New Orleans and played for LSU. The New Orleans Police Department had obtained a warrant for Beckham’s arrest on a count of simple battery, WAFB reported. New Orleans police could rescind the warrant or continue to pursue it, NOLA.com reported. According to the website, the officer had ordered LSU players to put out celebratory cigars lit in the locker room. While talking with one player, the lieutenant said he was struck in the rear by a man who was identified as Beckham. The Browns issued a statement Thursday and said Beckham’s representatives “are cooperating with authorities to appropriately address the situation,” WAFB reported. Beckham has already come under scrutiny for reportedly throwing cash at players after the Tigers’ 42-25 victory against Clemson, potentially violating NCAA rules.
  • Professional wrestler-turned-actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson posted a loving tribute to his father, who died Wednesday. Rocky Johnson, who wrestled for 27 years and broke barriers for black wrestlers, died at age 75. Dwayne Johnson posted a long tribute on Instagram, along with a video. “I love you. You broke color barriers, became a ring legend and trail blazed your way thru this world,” Johnson wrote on Instagram. “I was the boy sitting in the seats, watching and adoring you, my hero from afar. The boy you raised to always be proud of our cultures and proud of who and what I am. The boy you raised with the toughest of love. The intense work. The hard hand. The adoring boy who wanted to know only your best qualities. Who then grew to become a man realizing you had other deep complex sides that needed to be held and understood. Son to father. Man to man. That’s when my adoration turned to respect. And my empathy turned to gratitude. Grateful that you gave me life. Grateful you gave me life’s invaluable lessons.” The elder Johnson was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2008, along with his former father-in-law -- and the Rock’s maternal grandfather -- Peter Maivia. Tony Atlas, who along with Rocky Johnson became the first black tag team champions in WWE history, also posted a tribute on Twitter. “We changed wrestling by paving a new path, knocking down doors while showing what movin’ n groovin’ is all about!” Atlas wrote.