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Dolly on Whitney's funeral; Downton Abbey revelations
Entertainment news: Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy CIty Times..
2012-04-11

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During a segment on CBS This Morning: Saturday, Dolly Parton said she cried when "I Will Always Love You"—a song she wrote and originally sang—was played at Whitney Houston's funeral in February, according to Advocate.com . "When they lifted her coffin up at that funeral and they went into that song, I mean, I just busted out in tears," Parton said. "It was just like somebody just stuck me in the heart with a knife. It was just so overwhelming knowing that was my song, my words."

Spoiler alert: Viewers were already stunned when two characters met their ends during the second season of Downton Abbey—but another will die during the third, the Daily Mail reported. Executive producer Rebecca Eaton told the Orlando Sentinel that a major member of the household will die when the series resumes in September. Eaton also admitted that Dame Maggie Smith, who plays the Dowager Countess, can be "difficult" during filming but that the actress "delivers when the time comes."

Betty White has adopted a crocodile to honor the 65th birthday of Sir Elton John, according to Advocate.com . White and the Lifeline Program, a life-settlement company that helps seniors discover a new financial option for retirement, adopted a Malayan gharial crocodile. "Elton has been a wonderful advocate for animals and wildlife issues, so we decided to honor him by adopting a crocodile on his behalf at The Los Angeles Zoo," White said in a statement.

Maroon 5 lead singer and The Voice judge Adam Levine has confirmed that he will be in the second season of Ryan Murphy's show American Horror Story, according to Yahoo! News. On Ryan Seacrest's radio show, Levine said, "I mean, it's pretty much happening. I think it's happening. I don't know how much I can divulge, because Ryan [ Murphy ] is very under wraps." Maroon 5's upcoming album is titled Overexposed—possibly a reference to Levine's ever-increasing presence on the small screen.

Sundance Institute has announced the eight projects—chosen from nearly 900 submissions—to participate in the 2012 Theatre Lab, July 9-29 at the Sundance Resort, and two of them address LGBT themes, SheWired.com reported. One is Fun House, Jeanine Tesori and Lisa Kron's musical adaptation of the graphic novel by lesbian writer/cartoonist Alison Bechdel. Hands, by Ken Greller, is set in Baltimore and looks at the friendship between Alex and Ray over 22 years; however, as Alex begins the process of gender transition, Ray has a potentially misguided spiritual revelation.

Olympic skater Johnny Weir, 27, called himself "an old married man" while he and husband Victor Voronov discussed their relationship on the red carpet at the recent GLAAD Media Awards, On Top Magazine reported. "We are opposites in many superficial ways but in general we value the same things," Weir said. "We value a very happy household." However, he added, "We aren't into the clubs. ... I'm youngish, but I'm an old married man now."

A Burger King commercial with Mary J. Blige singing about chicken has been yanked, Yahoo! News reported. However, the fast-food chain said music-licensing issues are behind the decision to pull the ad, not criticism of the ad. Some in the Black community had criticized the commercial, with the African-American website Madame Noire labeling it as "buffoonery."

Ryan Seacrest appeared on Today to announce that he will help host this summer's London Olympics for NBC, according to Deadline.com . As for rumors that Seacrest might replace Lauer on the morning show, Seacrest told Lauer, "I don't know. I see you doing this for as long as you want to." In addition to his work with NBC, E! and Idol, Seacrest hosts a daily morning radio show for Clear Channel.

Neil Patrick Harris will host the Tony Awards for the third time in four years when the 66th annual event airs live from New York's Beacon Theater Sunday, June 10, on CBS, Deadline.com reported. "I'm thrilled to be a part of this year's Tony Awards," said Harris in a statement. "Not only will I be shining a spotlight on the best that Broadway has to offer, but hopefully I'll score some free house seats to a show—or five!" Harris currently stars as Barney Stinson on the hit CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother, and has appeared in movies ranging from Starship Troopers to The Smurfs.

Actor Ryan Gosling is being hailed as a hero after apparently saving a British woman from being hit by a taxi in New York City, accoridng to HLNtv.com . "I literally, literally just got saved from a car by Ryan Gosling," Laurie Penny tweeted. "That actually just happened." She added that Gosling "grabbed [ her ] away from a taxi" because she wasn't "looking the right way because [ she's ] from London."

Singer Rihanna said that she'd "love" to portray the late singer Whitney Houston in a biopic, if such a project happens, the Huffington Post reported. Rihanna was on the short list of contenders for the role, along with Jennifer Hudson, Vivica Fox and Houston's Sparkle co-star, Jordin Sparks; Brandy was also mentioned in some reports. Rihanna's first feature film, Battleship, will be released in May; she's in the movie with Liam Neeson, Taylor Kitsch and Alexander Skarsgard.

The Los Angeles County coroner's office has released a final 42-page toxicology report on the death of superstar singer Whitney Houston, according to ABC News. Among the details that were revealed were that "small spoon with a white crystal like substance in it and a rolled-up piece of white paper" were found in the Beverly Hilton bathroom where Houston died Feb. 11; that Houston was "acutely intoxicated from cocaine" at the time of her death and was a "repeated cocaine user;" and that there were "small scars" associated with breast-augmentation surgery, and she wore dental implants.

Actor Jeremy Renner ( The Hurt Locker; Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol ) revealed to The Hollywood Reporter that he once choked another man who called him a gay slur, Out.com noted. Renner, 41, said of the bar fight, "He called me a fag 'cause I was wearing a scarf! Then he shoved my sister and I got behind him and I choked him out—put him to sleep."

Out diver Matthew Mitcham scored perfect 10s during Australia's trials for the 2012 Summer Olympics, according to smh.com .au. Mitcham scored perfect 10s from seven judges on his fifth dive in the 10-meter platform final in Adelaide. Mitcham, 24, last scored 10s for a dive in April 2011—and then shredded a stomach muscle. The national diving team will be named May 29, and Mitcham ( the defending Olympic champion ) is heavily favored to be included.

Singer-DJ Boy George tweeted a photo of his black eye after being assaulted outside a British nightclub Amadeus, according to Advocate.com . George, 50, was reportedly involved in an altercation with a female fan who stole his hat. No charges have been filed.

The Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) has released a video ad featuring actress Cybill Shepherd for its Americans for Marriage Equality campaign, a press release stated. HRC President Joe Solmonese said, "Love and commitment are universal ideals that pertain to all people—not just straight people. Cybill Shepherd is a tremendous ally to the LGBT community and the fight for marriage equality nationwide." Shepherd, a former model, is known for shows such as Moonlighting, The L Word, Cybill and the new Lifetime series The Client List.

Actress Vanessa Williams ( Ugly Betty; Desperate Housewives ) has revealed that a female family friend molested her when she was 10, according to the New York Daily News. In her upcoming memoir, You Don't Know, Williams said that the 18-year-old daughter of her family's friends sneaked into her room and allegedly pulled down the bloomers of her pajamas. Despite the experience, Williams told People magazine that she's moved on.

Country singer Toby Keith is part of a growing list of conservatives expressing disapproval of North Carolina's Amendment One, which would ban same-sex marriage and civil unions, according to a Pam's House Blend item. In an ad, Keith says, "First of all, we're going to stop somebody from getting a marriage license because they're gay? You won't stop them from living together, so what have you accomplished? ... I never saw the reasoning behind getting in people's personal lives."

Madonna revealed aspects of herself when she talked with fans ( some famous ) via Twitter recently, according to MTV.com . Katy Perry asked Madonna what part of her career has been the most fulfilling, to which the Material Girl said, "Ray of Light. That was a good moment." Britney Spears also tweeted, saying she loved Madonna's new album, MDNA. Madonna replied, "Please come on stage and kiss me again. I miss you!!"

Speaking of Madonna, she is reportedly livid with daughter Lourdes after media published photos of the teen smoking with friends in New York, according to the Daily Mail. In addition, the "Like a Prayer" singer has allegedly told Lourdes that she should concentrate on going to college instead of joining her on tour.

At Logo's NewNowNext Awards, Perez Hilton stunned onlookers by revealing his now-seriously toned body, according to the Huffington Post. It's been reported that the blogger has lost approximately 70 to 80 pounds. Hilton refuted rumors that he had surgery to lose the weight, saying he's achieved his body through portion control and lots of time in the gym: "I worked for it! I'm STILL working for it! In fact, I'm working much harder on my fitness now than when I first started this journey."

Video-game producer Electronic Arts ( EA ) is responding to criticism from conservatives because the company has included LGBT content in recent games. EA's Vice President of Corporate Communications Jeff Brown called the criticism "political harassment." Same-sex content is in such games as Mass Effect 3 and Star Wars: The Old Republic; the latter caused the anti-gay Florida Family Association to say that maybe there should be a mock transgender version of Darth Vader.

Broadway star and Philadelphia native Hugh Panaro will receive the 2012 Edwin Forrest Award at Walnut Street Theatre's annual gala in Philadelphia, according to Playbill.com . Panaro, one of Broadway's leading tenors, is currently playing the title role in The Phantom of the Opera. He has also been in productions such as Lestat, Les Miserables and Show Boat.

Supermodel and Project Runway host Heidi Klum has officially filed for divorce from husband Seal, EW.com reported. The couple has four children, including Klum's daughter from a previous relationship. They had been married for more than six and a half years when they announced their separation in January. Klum is seeking sole physical custody of the children, with Seal getting visitation and joint legal custody.

Jersey Shore's Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino has checked out of rehab, the New York Post reported. "The Situation is home!!!" he wrote on Facebook. "I just want to thank everyone for their support and words of encouragement." He went to rehab "to get control of a prescription medicaiton problem I had due to exhaustion," he added.

Beyonce has joined the world of social media. On April 5, she became a member of Twitter, with her first post being, "Hey World, it's B! I'm so excited to invite you to my new beyonce.com—we've been working hard, and it's finally ready for you XO." The "Irreplaceable" singer's Tumblr contains many photos of private moments, including Halloween and vacation shots. Beyonce already has 3.5 million Twitter followers.

Britney Spears' father, Jamie, has asked a court to add her fiance, Jason Trawick, as co-conservator over her, People.com reported. Trawick will only have shared legal control over the "Toxic" singer's well-being, not her finances. Jamie Spears has held legal control over his daughter and her estate since February 2008, after the singer suffered a psychological breakdown.

Hunky Kit Harrington, who plays Jon Snow on the HBO hit Game of Thrones, admitted that the show is his first film experience, according to the Chicago Tribune. He also said that women ( and, presumably, gay men ) love Snow because the character "is kind of an adorable guy. You want to mother him, maybe. ... He's in this very cruel world and he's one of the good people in it. Maybe people relate to him."

Disney's The Lion King has surpassed The Phantom of the Opera as Broadway's all-time top grossing show, Deadline.com reported. The Lion King, which opened November 1997, has grossed more than $853 million over just more than 750 weeks. Only five shows have run longer than The Lion King: A Chorus Line, Cats, Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera and Chicago.

Dior is expected to name Raf Simons as its new creative director, replacing John Galliano, according to a New York Post item. Galliano was fired from the Parisian fashion house after being caught making anti-Semitic remarks in a Paris bar. Simons was creative director at Jil Sander for seven years until being let go in February.

Openly gay Glee creator Ryan Murphy talked about his own high school days on the show Inside the Actors Studio, according to the Village Voice. At one point, Murphy said, "I was an odd creature in high school because I was a target but also I was popular, and that's because on the sly, I was dating a lot of the football players." Murphy appeared on the show with several cast members, including Jane Lynch, Chris Colfer and Matthew Morrison.

Rosie O'Donnell is jumping from the Oprah Winfrey Network to TV Land—at least for one episode. According to SheWired.com, O'Donnell ( whose talk show Oprah recently terminated ) , will guest-star on pal Fran Drescher's gay-themed show, Happily Divorced. O'Donnell will portray Drescher's high school friend, Katie O'Grady, who "helps Fran learn a lesson about her relationship with her overbearing mother, Dori." The episode will air toward the end of May.

Singer Bonnie Raitt's new music video for the song "Right Down the Line" features same-sex couples in love, according to SheWired.com . The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, 62, is releasing a new album, Slipstream, and has been an environmental and equal-rights activist since the 1970s.


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