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Matt Damon and gay rumors; Madonna comes out on top
Entertainment news: Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2012-12-18

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Matt Damon in Contagion. Photo by Claudette Barius


Matt Damon recently told Playboy why he never denied those gay rumors when he and Ben Affleck first rose to stardom in the late 1990s, according to the Daily Mail. Damon said, "I never denied those rumors because I was offended and didn't want to offend my friends who were gay—as if being gay were some kind of f**ing disease. It put me in a weird position, in that sense. The whole thing was just gross." The pair, who wrote and starred in the Oscar-winning 1997 drama Good Will Hunting, have ever since been avoiding rumors that they are secret gay lovers.

Despite causing plenty of controversy (or possibly because of it), Madonna's MDNA tour was the top-grossing tour in 2012, Rolling Stone reported. The singer sold out each of her 72 tour dates since November 2011, and pulled in a total of $228.4 million. Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band came in second, selling out 54 of 72 shows and earning $199.37 million; however, Springsteen had 500,000 more people attended his shows than Madonna's.

Awards season has kicked into high gear with the announcement of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) nominations. In the movie sector, Lincoln and Silver Linings Playbook got four nominations each. Among the film actors receiving nods were Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln), Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook), Anne Hathaway (Les Miserables), Hugh Jackman (Les Miserables) and Helen Mirren (Hitchcock). In the television categories, Modern Family was the most nominated show with four, followed by 30 Rock, which scored three nods in its final season. Homeland, Downton Abbey and the HBO movie Game Change also received three nominations each. The SAG Awards will take place Jan. 27.

Ravi Shankar, the sitar master who influenced The Beatles and introduced classical Indian music to Western audiences, died at age 92, ABC News reported. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also confirmed Shankar's death and called him a "national treasure." Shankar, who won three Grammys, also was the father of jazz singer Norah Jones.

The late disco queen Donna Summer will be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame next year, according to the New York Daily News. It was the sixth try for the "Bad Girls" singer. Among the others who will also be inducted are satirist Randy Newman, rap group Public Enemy, rock band Heart and Canadian act Rush. Those nominees who didn't make the cut this time include lesbian rocker Joan Jett, electronic pioneers Kraftwerk, West Coast gangsta-rap pioneers N.W.A., Motown's Marvelettes and dance-soul act Chic ("Le Freak"), who's been nominated eight times.

Sarah Jessica Parker's recent flight to New York City was delayed after her assistant, who was traveling with her, was reportedly accused of shoplifting, according to GossipCop.com . The actress had been in Norway for the Nobel Peace Prize Concert, but ran into trouble at the airport before she could make her trip home. The assistant was accused to stealing expensive sunglasses from one of the terminal's stores—and Parker couldn't leave until the assistant paid a $1,400 fine.

Lindsay Lohan's probation has been revoked, and the troubled actress will learn Jan. 15 if she's headed back to jail, GossipCop.com reported. The actress did not appear for the Dec. 12 arraignment in Los Angeles on charges stemming from an incident last June, when Lohan crashed her Porsche on the Pacific Coast Highway and then allegedly lied to police. Across the country, Lohan still faces possible legal action for allegedly punching a woman in the face at Avenue nightclub in New York City last month.

Justin Bieber was reportedly the target of a murder plot hatched by a man currently in prison for two life sentences, according to GossipCop.com . Investigators say convicted killer Dana Martin, who is described as "obsessed" with Bieber, recruited a former inmate named Mark Staake and his nephew Tanner Ruane to carry out four murders, including a hit on the pop star and his bodyguard. According to the plan, Staake and Ruane were to strangle their would-be victims with paisley ties and castrate them.

Eliza Dushku—who garnered tons of lesbian followers as Faith on the TV show Buffy the Vampire Slayer—will star as the leading lady in a reboot of the 1960s Roger Moore TV show, The Saint, SheWired.com reported. Dushku (who also starred in the series Dollhouse and Tru Calling) will play Patricia Holm, the on-again-off-again romantic interest for lead hero Simon Templar, to be played by Adam Rayner.

British singer Morrissey is blaming Kate Middleton and the royal family for the death of nurse Jacintha Saldanha, whom Australian DJs Mel Greig and Michael Christian tricked into helping reveal details about the pregnant Duchess of Cambridge, US Magazine reported. The musician believes Middleton was in the hospital "for absolutely no reason" and said "she feels no shame about the death of this woman. ... The arrogance of the British royals is absolutely staggering." The royal couple has issued a statement regarding Saldanha's passing.

The second season of TNT's Dallas, which premieres next month, will air a funeral for the late Larry Hagman's iconic character J.R. Ewing, who was in the reboot, US Magazine noted. Ewing will be laid to rest on the eighth episode of the new season, slated to air March 11. Best known for his roles on the original Dallas (1978-1991) and its TV-movie spinoffs, Hagman filmed six episodes for the remake's second season before his death.

The Golden Globe Award nominations were announced Dec. 13—and, true to form, there were surprises. The little-seen movie Salmon Fishing in the Yemen scored multiple nominations; also, Jack Black received a best actor in a comedy nod for his role in Bernie, which co-stars Shirley Maclaine. Others getting nods included films such as Lincoln, Zero Dark Thirty, Argo and Life of Pi, and actors such as Hugh Jackman (Les Miserables), Helen Mirren (Hitchcock) and Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln). In the TV sector, Smash, Girls and Episodes were the newcomers to the best comedy/musical category, which also includes The Big Bang Theory (starring out actor Jim Parsons) and Modern Family. The Globes telecast will air Friday, Jan. 13, on NB, with Amy Poehler and Tina Fey co-hosting.

Les Miserables star Hugh Jackman received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame Dec. 13, according to E! Online. Co-stars Anne Hathaway and Amanda Seyfried were on hand to witness his honor, and Jay Leno introduced him. Jackman also received Screen Actors Guild and Golden Globe nominations the same week.

Actor Sean Penn—who counts Madonna (1985-89) and Robin Wright Penn (1996-2010) as his ex-wives—recently said he's never felt loved while married, according to People.com . "There is no shame in my saying that we all want to be loved by someone. As I look back over my life in romance, I don't feel I've ever had that," the Oscar winner told Esquire.

Kelly Clarkson announced Dec. 15 that she is engaged to Brandon Blackstock, according to Gossipcop.com . The singer tweeted, "I'M ENGAGED!!!!! I wanted y'all to know!! Happiest night of my life last night! I am so lucky and am with the greatest man ever :)" She and Blackstock, a music talent manager, began dating about a year ago.

X Factor judge L.A. Reid is leaving the show, Deadline.com reported. The Epic Records Chairman is "going back to the music business full time; it's his decision," a source said. Reid was the only judge besides Simon Cowell to return for the show's second season, as Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger were let go after the first season.

The Dec. 14 elementary-school tragedy in Newtown, Conn., led to the postponement or cancellation of shows and movies, according to Gossipcop.com . An episode of the Syfy series Haven that deals with school violence has been pulled; new episodes of American Dad and Family Guy were also yanked. In addition, the premieres of the Tom Cruise movie Jack Reacher and the Bette Midler/Billy Crystal film Parental Guidance were postponed because of the tragedy.

Troubled actress Amanda Bynes has entered into a civil settlement in her hit-and-run case, and the related misdemeanor criminal charges against the actress have been dismissed, Gossipcop.com reported. Bynes had been facing legal action over incidents from last April and August in which she allegedly left the scene following vehicular accidents. However, she still has to account for a DUI case and driving with a suspended license.

On Jan. 1, Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins goes from the hit group TLC to the network TLC to show how she plans to reinvent her career as a solo artist by moving to Los Angeles with family and friends, according to EW.com . The series, called Totally T-Boz, will also feature Chilli from TLC as the two discuss plans for the future.

Two-time Tony winner Bernadette Peters will be featured in a concert tour next year, Playbill.com reported. Initial sites include Fort Worth, Texas; New Orleans; San Francisco; and Tallahassee, Fla., but more dates and venues are expected. Peters will also debut a brand-new Marc Shaiman-Scott Wittman song on the second season of NBC's Smash.

Sally Struthers pled not guilty to driving drunk in Maine, where she was performing in a musical, EW.com noted. Struthers, 65—best known for playing Gloria in the '70s sitcom All in the Family—did not appear in York District Court, and entered the plea through her attorney. She is slated to appear in court Feb. 13 for a bench trial.

Shia LaBeouf will star alongside Alec Baldwin in the Broadway bow of Lyle Kessler's Orphans, according to Playbill.com . Directed by Daniel Sullivan, the production will begin previews March 19, 2013, at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre; the opening is April 7. LaBeouf will play the oldest of two orphaned brothers who are living in a decrepit row house and kidnap a rich older man—Harold (Baldwin), who turns out to be a mobster.

NFL player Arian Foster, who is a running back for the Houston Texans, said it won't be long before there is an openly gay player in the league—and that he's fine with it, according to Outsports.com . While guesting on the show Jim Rome on Showtime, Foster was asked, "How long before an active NFL player comes out?" Foster responded, "I'm not sure, but in today's world it's getting [less] taboo. It used to be very taboo for homosexuality, but I think nowadays it's getting to be more and more open."

Rosie O'Donnell will cameo on the NBC show Smash, according to Digital Spy. O'Donnell joins a list of actors, including Liza Minnelli and Jennifer Hudson, who will be appearing on the second season of the drama. The show's second season will start Feb. 5.

Cameron Douglas—the 34-year-old son of actor Michael Douglas (Wall Street; Liberace)— suffered a broken leg and finger behind bars after a crime-family head put a $100 bounty on him for being a "rat," the New York Post reported. In 2010, a psychiatrist inadvertently exposed Cameron, who is serving a nearly 10-year term for dealing crystal meth and smuggling in drugs for himself while incarcerated.

Celebrities responded to the Dec. 14 shooting in Newtown, Conn., according to Digital Spy. Oprah Winfrey tweeted, "Dear Lord.. Help us to understand as we Stand with these families. Heal our broken hearts. #PrayForNewton." Anderson Cooper posted, "All our words seem so small, so meaningless in the face of such horror," while Glee's Lea Michele tweeted, "There are no words to express the sadness of this unthinkable tragedy. Sending my prayers to the families in Newton CT."

Adele has been named the top Billboard artist of 2012, according to a Digital Spy item. She also claimed the publication's top-album award for 21, which has sold more than 10 million copies in the United States. Adele has received both awards two years in a row, becoming the first artist to achieve that honor. Rihanna was ranked second in 2012's top artist category, while Taylor Swift came in third. One Direction were named top new artist and Maroon 5 were top group.

Singer Gotye has said that out singer Frank Ocean and Taylor Swift are among his favorite modern artists, Digital Spy reported. The Belgian-Australian singer—whose own "Somebody That I Used To Know" topped 26 singles charts across the globe—told MTV News, "I really love Frank Ocean's work. I think his mixtape and his album are fantastic, he's got an incredible voice and he's a really interesting songwriter." Gotye also praised Swift's song "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together," describing it a "killer."

Speaking of Ocean, a photo he posted to his Instagram feed shows the hip-hop star embraced from behind by another man with long, brown hair, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The man has been identified as French male model Willy Cartier, rumored to be Ocean's boyfriend. However, the image seems to be taken from a movie screen, leading some fans to think Cartier is in Ocean's next music video.

Out actor Zachary Quinto is speaking about reprising his role as Spock in the sci-fi movie sequel Star Trek Into Darkness, according to Digital Spy. The actor revealed during a recent press conference that the sequel required a far more physical performance from him than 2009's Star Trek, saying, "This film was a lot more physically demanding for me personally, so there was a lot of eating and running around, lifting things that are heavier than I'm used to." Quinto recently denied rumors that he would leave his role in the franchise following Star Trek Into Darkness, which will be released May 14, 2013.

The personal effects of the late Hollywood actress Greta Garbo were sold at auction, Digital Spy noted. The items took in $1.6 million—about triple what was expected. Garbo's sunglasses, furs and Ferragamo shoes were among the items sold. The actress died at 84 in April 1990.

"VH1 Divas" 2012 aired live from the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles Dec. 16, celebrating some of music's biggest voices and paying special tribute to the late Whitney Houston and Donna Summer, according to Gossipcop.com . Adam Lambert hosted the event, and Miley Cyrus, Ciara, Demi Lovato, Keri Hilson, Jordin Sparks, Kelly Clarkson and Kelly Rowland performed. Among those on the red carpet were NeNe Leakes, Kelly Osbourne and Brandy.

Florida resident Christopher Chaney, 35, was sentenced to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to hacking the email accounts of actress Scarlett Johansson and dozens of other celebrities, according to Wired.com . Chaney had taken nude photos of Johansson; singer Christina Aguilera and actress Mila Kunis were among his other victims.

Songwriter Earl Shuman (whose hit "Lonely Boy" was recorded by Eddie Holman as "Hey There Lonely Girl") filed a copyright-infringement suit against singer Alicia Keys and her hit "Girl on Fire," according to the Hollywood Reporter. One of the people who noted a supposed similarity between the two songs was Roger Friedman at Showbiz411, who wrote that Keys sings a couple lines from "Lonely Girl" in her song.

Hasbro says it will begin selling gender-neutral Easy-Bake ovens after meeting with 13-year-old New Jersey resident McKenna Pope, who had campaigned for them, according to USA Today. Pope got more than 40,000 signatures on her online petition at Change.org; celebrity chefs such as Bobby Flay also backed her. The oven had only been available in purple or pink; when executives met with Pope, they unveiled Easy-Bake units in black, silver and blue.

Officials have said that the inquest into the death of singer Amy Winehouse was overseen by a coroner who didn't have the proper qualifications—and that it must be heard again next month, according to the Associated Press. Assistant deputy coroner Suzanne Greenaway, who handled the inquest, resigned in November 2011 after her qualifications were questioned; a new hearing has been scheduled for Jan. 8. Winehouse was found dead in her London home in July 2011 at age 27.

Out actor/singer Cheyenne Jackson is making a sexy attempt to take the pop-music world by storm, according to the Huffington Post. In the video for the song "Don't Wanna Know," Jackson pines over a long-lost love and hangs around with hunky construction workers. "Don't Wanna Know" is the third single from the "Glee" and "30 Rock" veteran's forthcoming album Drive, slated to be released next spring.

Advocate.com has reported that Bret Easton Ellis, the gay writer behind American Psycho, has apologized to Oscar-winning director Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker, Zero Dark Thirty) for a series of tweets he sent earlier this month that said the director was overrated because she is "a very hot woman." In a Daily Beast column, Ellis said that while he prefers being fun and provocative, his comments about her were neither.

Gay-porn star Josh Weston has died from HIV-related complications at age 39, according to Gay.net . Weston—who was featured in numerous films from Falcon Studios, Hot House, Colt and C1R—got his start as a dancer in San Francisco at the Nob Hill Theatre, where Chi Chi LaRue discovered him.


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