Thursday, June 25, 2009

Farrah Fawcett Dead

Farrah Fawcett dead at 62 after long battle with anal cancer

by Vicki Hyman/The Star-Ledger
Thursday June 25, 2009, 12:45 PM

Farrah Fawcett and Ryan O'Neal at the 1989 premiere of 'Chances Are.' Fawcett died after a 3-year battle with anal cancer today.

Farrah Fawcett, the 1970s jiggle icon known equally for "Charlie's Angels," her feathered hair, that skimpy red swimsuit, and her stormy love life, died this morning after a long struggle with anal cancer, Entertainment Tonight reports. She was 62.

Longtime love Ryan O'Neal, who recently promised to marry Fawcett, and her friend Alana Stewart, who filmed a documentary about her cancer battle, were by her side when she died at 9:28 a.m. PST at a Los Angeles hospital. Her only child, Redmond O'Neal, is in jail on drug charges, but did receive permission for a final visit with his mother a few weeks ago.

The Star-Ledger's Alan Sepinwall looks back at Fawcett's career.

Fawcett in the front row at New York Fashion Week in 2004.

Fawcett was diagnosed with anal cancer in 2006, and though it went into remission, it reappeared last year. She wanted to keep her struggle private, but the National Enquirer published stories about her health, apparently gleaned from hospital employees who illegally pried in her records. Fawcett even cooperated with a sting operation to flush out the prying employees.

As of a few months ago, Fawcett still had hope that she would beat cancer. Her doctor said in April that Fawcett "remains in good spirits with her usual sense of humor. She's been in great shape her whole life and has an incredible resolve and an incredible resilience."

Not long after, O'Neal confirmed that Fawcett hadstopped treatment, was bed-ridden and has lost most of her famed locks.

Barbara Walters said on "Good Morning America" this morning that Fawcett had received last rites, and that she had been too weak to marry O'Neal, as he had promised. Fawcett and O'Neal dated through most of the 1980s and 1990s, then reunited after O'Neal's own cancer scare a few years ago. Fawcett was previously married to "Six Million Dollar Man" star Lee Majors in the 1970s.

Farrah Fawcett, right, Kate Jackson, left, and Jacyln Smith were the original 'Charlie's Angels.' Fawcett only spent a season on the show, but she's inextricably linked with it.
Jackson, Fawcett, and Smith were reunited at the 58th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards in August 2006.

Michael Jackson Dead

Michael Jackson is dead [Updated]

2:06 PM | June 25, 2009

Latest news: Pop star Michael Jackson dead at 50

Pop star Michael Jackson was pronounced dead today after paramedics found him in a coma at his Bel-Air mansion, city and law enforcement sources told The Times.

Los Angeles Fire Department Capt. Steve Ruda told The Times that paramedics responded to a 911 call from the home. When they arrived, Jackson was not breathing.

The paramedics performed CPR and took Jackson to UCLA Medical Center, Ruda said. Hundreds of reporters gathered at the hospital awaiting word on his condition. The sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said family members rushed to Jackson’s bedside, where he was in a deep coma.

The circumstances of Jackson’s death remain unclear. Law enforcement sources said that Los Angeles Police Department robbery-homicide detectives have opened an investigation into the death, though they stressed that there is no evidence of criminal wrongdoing.

The detectives plan to interview relatives, friends and Jackson’s doctors to try to figure out what happened. The L.A. County coroner’s office will determine a cause of death. A Los Angeles Fire Department source told The Times that Jackson was in full cardiac arrest when rescue units arrived.

A doctor was in the house performing CPR on Jackson, said the source who asked not to be identified because he was not authorized to speak to the media. Paramedics were called to a home in the 100 block of Carolwood Drive off Sunset Boulevard.

Jackson rented the Bel-Air home -- described as a French chateau built in 2002 with seven bedrooms, 13 bathrooms, 12 fireplaces and a theater -- for $100,000 a month. The home is about a six-minute drive from UCLA Medical Center. Jackson has three children -- sons Prince Michael 7, and Michael Joseph Jackson Jr., 12, and daughter Paris Michael Katherine, 11.

Jackson, 50, died as he was attempting a comeback after years of tabloid headlines, most notably his trial and acquittal on child molestation charges.

In May, The Times reported that Jackson had rented the Bel-Air residence and was rehearsing for a series of 50 sold-out shows in London's O2 Arena. Jackson had won the backing of two billionaires to get the so-called "King of Pop" back on stage.

His backers envisioned the shows at AEG's O2 as an audition for a career rebirth that could have ultimately encompassed a three-year world tour, a new album, movies, a Graceland-like museum, musical revues in Las Vegas and Macau, and even a "Thriller" casino. Such a rebound could have wiped out Jackson's massive debt.

[Updated post]

-- Andrew Blankstein and Phil Willon

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Ed McMahon Dead

'Tonight Show' personality Ed McMahon dead at 86

Updated Tuesday, June 23rd 2009, 4:10 PM


Ed McMahon became the most famous sidekick in television history working alongside Johnny Carson on 'The Tonight Show.'

He was 86.

McMahon reportedly had been battling bone cancer and, in recent weeks, pneumonia.

He remained active until early this year, filming a "Cash4Gold" commercial that poked fun at his own financial troubles and aired during the Super Bowl.

Riding what he called a "whisky baritone" voice, McMahon became known as "the king of second bananas." During his 30 years on "The Tonight Show" he often seemed more like Carson's appreciative audience than his announcer.

He started his career as a salesman, pitching vegetable slicers on the Atlantic City Boardwalk to pay his college tuition, and he viewed his television jobs as better-paid continuations of his mission to sellthings.

But he remains best remembered for simply saying "Heeeeeeere's Johnny," the phrase that brought Carson on stage.

"Ed's introduction of Johnny was a classic broadcasting ritual - reassuring and exciting," David Letterman said Tuesday. "Ed was a true broadcaster and an integral part of Johnny Carson's 'Tonight Show.' We will miss him."

The new "Tonight Show" host, Conan O'Brien, paid tribute to McMahon during his monologue.

"For 30 years Ed played his part perfectly, he played it with effortless joy, and sitting alongside Johnny, Ed was an indelible part of what I think is the most iconic two-shot in broadcasting history. There will never be anything like that again," said O'Brien.

Joan Rivers called McMahon "a terrific man. There wasn't a mean bone in his body. It is always a loss when a decent person dies."

Television viewers also saw him as a solid, ordinary citizen, and that made him a natural to hawk products from Breck shampoo to Budweiser beer.

He is less fondly remembered for the notorious Family Publishing House sweepstakes promotions that flooded millions of mailboxes in the 1990s.

Still, they underscored the fact that this second banana ultimately became almost as well known as his boss.

Jack Nicholson's famous "Heere's Johnny!" line from "The Shining" suggested how far McMahon's persona had spread, and over the years he made hundreds of cameo appearances playing himself on shows from "Hee Haw" to "The Simpsons."

Born in Detroit and raised in New England, McMahon flew military combat missions in World War II and Korea. In between hegraduated from Catholic University with a degree in speech and drama.

After a few minutes in radio he moved to Philadelphia television in the early 1950s, and in 1957 he began co-hosting "Who Do You Trust?" with Carson.

When Carson moved to "Tonight" in 1962, McMahon went along and stayed until Carson retired in 1992. On his own, he hosted "Star Search" from 1983 to 1995.

In later years, McMahon had health and financial problems. He won a $7 million insurance settlement in 2003 over mold that infested his Beverly Hills home, but last year he was served with a foreclosure notice for falling $644,000 behind on mortgage payments.

He was married three times and is survived by five children. In television lore, he will be remembered as a man who understood the enduring value of playing his position.