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Oprah's role; Gaga's lawsuit; Neil Patrick's successor
Entertainment news: Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2014-06-18

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Oscar-nominated actress Oprah Winfrey has joined the cast of Ava DuVernay's Selma, the civil-rights drama that the media mogul is also producing, The Wrap reported. The drama follows Martin Luther King Jr.'s landmark 1965 voting rights campaign, regarded as the peak of the civil-rights movement. The film stars, among others, David Oyelowo as King; Carmen Ejogo as Coretta Scott King; Tom Wilkinson as President Lyndon B. Johnson; Common as James Bevel; and Nigel Thatch as Malcolm X. Winfrey will play Annie Lee Cooper, an elderly woman who tried to register to vote and was unfairly denied by Sheriff Clark; she eventually becomes a civil-rights leader.

Lady Gaga has won a courtroom battle with a Chicago musician who claimed the pop star ripped her off and stole material for her 2011 hit "Judas," The Chicago Tribune reported. U.S. District Judge Marvin Aspen threw out the case, finding that there were no substantial similarities between Rebecca Francescatti's 1999 song "Juda" and the song from Gaga's Born This Way album. Both Francescatti and Gaga worked with recording engineer Brian Gaynor, who helped pitch ideas to Gaga and was also sued.

Andrew Rannells—who received a Tony nomination for his performance in The Book of Mormon—will star in Hedwig and the Angry Inch after Tony winner Neil Patrick Harris exits the show Aug. 17, according to Playbill. Rannells will begin performances Aug. 20 and is contracted to star in the show for eight weeks. His stage credits also include Jersey Boys and Hairspray, and he starred on the hit TV show Girls. The Broadway premiere of the cult rock musical began previews March 29 at the Belasco, prior to an official opening April 22.

On June 16, The Trevor Project presented "TrevorLIVE" New York, which Wanda Sykes hosted at the Marriott Marquis, according to a press release. Along with a show Adam Shankman directed, awards were presented. Arianna Huffington received the Trevor Hero Award from Neil Patrick Harris; Goldman Sachs accepted the Trevor 20/20 Visionary Award; and The Trevor Youth Innovator Award was given to YouTube sensation Tyler Oakley.

Kanye West revealed his official wedding photo with Kim Kardashian took four days to produce after top photographer Annie Leibovitz pulled out of their wedding one day before the big event, Page Six reported. West blasted Leibovitz—who shot him and Kim for the cover of Vogue—for ditching their nuptials with just one day to go, saying, "She was afraid of celebrity."

While promoting Disney hit Maleficent in Shanghai, Angelina Jolie upset some Chinese people by naming her favorite Chinese director as Ang Lee, who was born in Taiwan, according to the UK Guardian. "I am not sure if you consider Ang Lee Chinese—he's Taiwanese—but he does many Chinese-language films with many Chinese artists and actors," Jolie said. By suggesting that Taiwan and China are totally separate countries, Jolie has angered Chinese communists who feel that Taiwan is a rogue state that belongs to the People's Republic of China; instead, the Republic of China governs Taiwan.

Speaking of Jolie, Queen Elizabeth II has made the actress an honorary dame in the annual British Honors, which mark the Queen's official birthday, The Wrap noted. The "dame" name is one of Britain's highest honors, and Jolie was declared worthy of the honorary title for her efforts in raising global awareness about violence against women as the co-founder of the Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative. However, because Jolie is not a British citizen, she cannot be addressed as "dame."

True Blood's Anna Paquin recently tweeted "Proud to be a happily married bisexual mother. Marriage is about love not gender," according to People.com . She then linked to the Twitter accounts of Equality California, the NOH8 Campaign and the "It Gets Better" initiative, all of which fight for LGBT rights. Paquin came out as bisexual in 2010, just months before marrying co-star Stephen Moyer.

Bravo has been able to secure the entire cast of Real Housewives of Atlanta for another season, according to The Wrap. Individuals with knowledge of the situation told TheWrap that Cynthia Bailey, Kandi Burruss, NeNe Leakes, Phaedra Parks, Porsha Stewart and Kenya Moore are all in the final stages of contract negotiations. There was some speculation that a cast shakeup was inevitable following a rambunctious reunion taping during which Stewart attacked Moore.

MTV has ordered a 10-episode second season of the scripted comedy series Faking It, according to Deadline. Faking It is the highest-rated new series launch on MTV so far this year, averaging a 1.5 rating among the network's target demographic of persons 12-34. The show is a romantic comedy about two best friends, Karma ( Katie Stevens ) and Amy ( Rita Volk ), who are mistakenly outed as lesbians—making them instantly popular. ( However, one of the girls is not sure if she is actually faking her feelings for the other. )

Singer Morrissey has cancelled the remainder of his North American tour because of health complications, according to Stereogum.com . Interestingly, his official website has the singer blaming his illness and the subsequent tour cancellation on his longtime opener Kristeen Young, who "confessed to 'a horrendous cold'" in Miami and was asked to sit out some dates; Young has said that it was just allergies. Morrissey's new album, World Peace Is None of Your Business, will be out July 15.

In September, Paula Deen will launch The Paula Deen Network, a subscriber-based Internet network that will broadcast a variety of exclusive videos featuring Deen and guests cooking in front of an audience from a production studio near her home in Savannah, Georgia, accoridng to the Wall Street Journal. The digital network, which her company Paula Deen Ventures owns—using www.PaulaDeen.com as a portal—is backed by a $100 million private-equity investment from Phoenix-based Najafi Cos.

Two years ago musician Don Henley threatened to sue out singer Frank Ocean for performing "American Wedding," the altered version of "Hotel California" that Ocean included on his star-making Nostalgia, Ultra mixtape—and Henley is still apparently bitter, Stereogum.com noted. Henley told The Daily Telegraph, "Mr. Ocean doesn't seem to understand US copyright law. ... [He] was quite arrogant about it. ... So finally we threatened to bring legal action against him. He was clearly in the wrong." When the controversy initially erupted, Ocean posted on Tumblr, "Ain't this guy rich as fuck? Why sue the new guy? I didn't make a dime off that song. I released it for free. If anything I'm paying homage."

Ruby Dee, the award-winning actress whose seven-decade career included triumphs on stage and screen, has died at age 91. Dee was in such films as A Raisin in the Sun ( opposite Sidney Poitier ) and 2007's American Gangster ( with Denzel Washington ). Also, Dee ( who was married to the late Ossie Davis ) was noted civil-rights figure; she was friends with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, and received the Frederick Douglass Award in 1970 from the New York Urban League.

A man is reportedly completely obsessed with talk-show host Wendy Williams, repeatedly showing up at her Chelsea TV studio and once even slipping inside, according to Page Six. The unwanted admirer has shown up at the West 26th Street set numerous times asking to see the star. Williams' employees finally got fed up and reported the stalker to police.

The American premiere of Nick Payne's new play Constellations will open on Broadway in 2015 at Manhattan Theatre Club's Samuel J. Friedman Theatre and will star Academy Award nominee Jake Gyllenhaal in his Broadway debut, according to Playbill. Presented by MTC, Constellations will begin previews Dec. 16, prior to an official opening Jan. 13, 2015; Michael Longhurst will direct. Gyllenhaal will also be joined on Broadway this fall by his sister, Maggie, starring in the Roundabout Theatre Company production of Tom Stoppard's The Real Thing.

At age 72, "The Queen of Soul" is busier than ever as Aretha Franklin finishes an album and has launched a tour that opened at New York's Radio City Music Hall, according to USA Today. The CD—produced by Babyface and Andre 3000—has covers of Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive," Adele's "Rolling in the Deep" and Gladys Knight's "Midnight Train to Georgia." She's considering a Barbra Streisand classic and may do a remake of "Bootylicious," the 2001 Destiny's Child hit.

Actress Sarah Paulson has revealed that her character on the upcoming season of American Horror Story: Freak Show will be a "double-header" of sorts—as in a woman with two heads, according to The Wrap. "So excited to be playing Bette AND Dot this season," Paulson tweeted. "Two heads are better than one!" In addition to Paulson's double-duty, "Freak Show" has added The Shield alum Michael Chiklis to the cast.

Kathy Griffin will host the 41st Annual Daytime Emmy awards, which take place June 22 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel., according to The Wrap. This year the ceremony, which has been broadcast on various networks in the past, will be livestreamed. In a statement, Griffin joked, "I can only hope that at the end of the evening, critics and fans alike will compare it to the experience they once had watching Neil Armstrong take man's first step on the moon." Griffin also apologized in advance for stealing the spotlight from the World Cup.

Openly gay player Michael Sam is one of 10 NFL draftees to be featured on an NFL souvenir coin being made by The Highland Mint, selling for $19.99, according to Outsports.com . The other players that are part of this line are Jadevon Clowney, Sammie Watkins, Blake Bortles, Mike Evans, Greg Robinson, Ha Ha Clinton Dix, Aaron Murray, Johnny Manziel and AJ McCarron.

For Gay Pride Month, the Bluewater graphic-novel label will team with LGBTQIA website LezGetReal.com to celebrate the lives of the icons and activists, performers and pundits who have made a difference in the LGBTQIA community, according to a press release. The Big Gay Comic Book will be out in two volumes ( more than 200 pages each ). Among the individuals who will be spotlighted are Anderson Cooper, Rosie O'Donnell, Lady Gaga, diver Tom Daley and the late artist Keith Haring.

Justine Sacco, the publicist who was fired after making an offensive AIDS joke on Twitter, has officially landed at the newly resurrected Hot or Not, according to The Wrap. Sacco formerly worked as the communications director of IAC—the parent company of Daily Beast, OKCupid and College Humor—before she was fired in December following the uproar of her tweet, "Going to Africa. Hope I don't get AIDS. Just Kidding. I'm white!"

Wrestling legend Pat Patterson, 73, came out during an emotional scene on the finale of the reality show Legends' House after hiding his sexuality for more than 50 years, according to Business Insider. He said, ""From where I come from, I had nothing, no family, no money, and I ended up [working] with Vince [McMahon] ... to me, that was the biggest achievement of my life. But there's more to that. Sitting here tonight, I'm going to say something I would never want to say. For once in my life I'm going to be me. I survived all this being gay." Patterson then added he had a secret partner for 40 years who recently died after a heart attack.

A third installment for the Father of the Bride series is reportedly on the way, although Steve Martin ( who starred in the first two films ) has denied any involvement at this stage, according to TheVerge.com . This time out, though, the focus will be on same-sex marriage, as the character George Banks will have to contend with his 29-year-old son Matty getting ready to marry the son of a U.S. Navy SEAL. Warner Bros., however, hasn't yet confirmed the movie is being made.

Fitness guru Jillian Michaels bares it all in Shape magazine's 2014 July/August issue, posing nude and revealing her toned bod, according to US Weekly. The Biggest Loser trainer revealed she feels better about herself now in her 40s than she did in her 20s. However, the mom to daughter Lukensia, 4, and son Phoenix, 2 ( with partner Heidi Rhoades ) added despite looking every inch of perfection to us, she still has some imperfections: "Do I want to have a better butt? Sure, but I'm healthy and can wear my skinny jeans—and that's good enough!"

Mike Sorrentino, also known as The Situation on MTV's Jersey Shore, had a brawl in a New Jersey tanning salon Tuesday that led to his arrest, The New York Daily News reported. The reality star was getting at Boca Tanning Salon in Middletown, New Jersey, when cops were reportedly alerted to a "fist fight" taking place. Interestingly enough, Sorrentino's throwdown was reportedly with his own brother Frank. Mike Sorrentino is returning to the small screen in The Sorrentinos, a reality show that premieres July 15 on the TV Guide Network.

Actress/Fox News commentator Stacey Dash ( Clueless ) said Republicans do support same-sex marriage, despite what many think, Page Six noted. "We are for equal marriage," Dash told TMZ. "We're not against that. We're not against that at all. We believe everyone should have the same rights." Late last month, Dash was named Fox News' newest contributor. She also publicly supported Mitt Romney's 2012 presidential campaign.


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