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Michael Clarke Duncan dead at age 54

Actor Michael Clarke Duncan has passed away at the age of 54, from complications suffered from a heart attack he had in July.

Known for his big build and deep voice, Duncan was in the prime of his life. His first movie role was in 1995's Friday, and he had several small parts playing bouncers and muscle men. It wasn't until 1997's Armageddon that he had a meatier role with more lines, playing one of the rough-and-tumble drilling crew drafted into blowing up an approaching asteroid.

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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Spider-Man producer Laura Ziskin passes away

During the first decade of the 2000s, Laura Ziskin was the power producer behind Sony's mega-successful Spider-Man movie franchise. While she was creatively and financially building a trilogy of superhero movies that would go on to net the studio $2.5 billion dollars, Ziskin was also fighting a battle with breast cancer after first being diagnosed with the disease in 2004.

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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Jackie Cooper: 1922 - 2011

I used to think Jackie Cooper and Jackie Coogan were the same person. I would tell people the kid from Chaplin's The Kid grew up to be Clark Kent's boss. I learned at some point that they were two different people, and that the kid from Chaplin's The Kid grew up to play Fester Addams. I decided Coogan had been the child star, and that Cooper must have been grabbed off the street for his interesting face and made to try out for Perry White after multiple casting calls had turned up no one suited to the role. He was perfect, of course, and was hired on the spot.

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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Doctor Who's Elizabeth Sladen passes away

In her role as journalist Sarah Jane Smith, Elizabeth Sladen the best-known and most fondly remembered of all the companions appearing throughout Doctor Who. Today she passed away at the age of 63, the cause cancer. The news has shocked the Who community, especially people of my time who remember seeing her in those classic 1970s episodes of the program.

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Monday, March 7, 2011

Charlie Sheen fired from Two and a Half Men

You may have known that it was coming, but yesterday Warner Bros. made it official and terminated (their words) Charlie Sheen from Two and a Half Men, CBS' top rated sitcom. No word yet if Sheen is arming his F-18 and will deploy his ordnance upon series co-creator Chuck Lorre and CBS management.

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Monday, February 28, 2011

Jane Russell brought glam to the party

It may have been her curvaceous looks that brought Jane Russell to the attention of audiences but it was her devilish charm that kept her in their minds. A siren of the screen in the 1940s and 50s, the dark brunette Russell captivated mens' minds and commanded their eyes as she pushed the envelope for what was considered going too far with on-screen sexuality. And while her curves and come-hither eyes certainly helped play a substantial part in presenting that temptress image, it was also in the way that Russell chose to use her good looks in her acting that made her a lasting presence on the screen.

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Thursday, February 10, 2011

He's back: Arnold Schwarzenegger announces he's looking for movie work

After seven years playing the part of The Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger is returning to his former career as a movie star. "Exciting news. My friends at CAA have been asking me for 7 years when they can take offers seriously. Gave them the green light today," said Schwarzenegger via his Twitter account yesterday.

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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Composer John Barry: 1933 - 2011

In 1962 the producers of a spy movie needed help. The man who they had hired to write the score for their movie was struggling in finding the music for it. Reaching out for assistance, they were turned to a career musician who was employed conducting the orchestras for the background music heard on singers under the EMI recording label. That man was John Barry, and the movie that went on to score became the first James Bond movie, Dr. No. And so began the history of one of modern day cinema's greatest composers of film scores.

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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Doctor Who's David Tennant to marry another Doctor Who's daughter

If you're a sci-fi fan in Britain you can forget about that royal wedding talk you've been hearing. For people that know what a TARDIS is, the big social event of the coming year happens to be the marriage between David Tennant, the actor who played the tenth incarnation of The Doctor on Doctor Who, and Georgia Moffett, the real-life daughter of Peter Davison, the actor who played the fifth incarnation of The Doctor.

Put a different way: imagine if Mark Hamill from Star Wars had a daughter and she was marrying Hayden Christensen, the kid that played Hamill's father in the Star Wars prequels. Is your mind boggled yet?

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Sunday, January 9, 2011

Peter Yates, a director of distinction, passes away

Late Sunday evening the news broke on Nikki Finke's Deadline that director Peter Yates had passed away. He was 82 and suffering from what the site only refers to as a "long illness."

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Monday, January 3, 2011

Pete Postlethwaite: 1946 - 2011

After a long fight with cancer, British screen actor Pete Postlethwaite succumbed to the disease yesterday at the age of 64. His was a face and a presence that you felt in the movies he starred in, and he brought a gravitas to the supporting roles he portrayed.

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Thursday, December 16, 2010

The great life of Blake Edwards

Today director/screenwriter Blake Edwards died at the age of 88. To those born in the 1980s and upward Edwards is likely a name that won't resonate with their generation, but for the older ones that came of age in the 1960s to the beginnings of the '80s, his movies are remembered. 10 with Bo Derek and Dudley Moore. Victor/Victoria with Julie Andrews and which was nominated for a Best Screenplay Oscar. The creator of The Pink Panther and its hapless hero, Inspector Clouseau. The director of Breakfast at Tiffany's, which gave us the iconic image of a black-gloved Audrey Hepburn holding her fashionably long cigarette holder.

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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Charlie Sheen cameoing in The Walking Dead?

Is this really a legit news story? Maybe, maybe not, but it's certainly spreading faster than a zombie at a Weight Watchers meeting. According to a report first published on a website called Socyberty, Two and a Half Men star Charlie Sheen will get made up as a walker for a cameo appearance sometime during next season's run of The Walking Dead.

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Monday, November 29, 2010

Irvin Kershner, director of The Empire Strikes Back, passes away

When he was hired to direct the sequel to Star Wars, no one in fandom knew the name Irvin Kershner. By the time Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back had rolled out in theaters in the summer of 1980, director Irvin Kershner had been assured of his slice of immortality.

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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Leslie Nielsen: Two careers in one lifetime

As the celebrity columnists, entertainment reporters and bloggers of media write their obituaries of actor Leslie Nielsen, there are two roles being mentioned in nearly all of their pieces: his turn as the Captain of the Earth starship that ventured to the Forbidden Planet in 1956, and his play as a straight, no-nonsense doctor delivering double-meaning lines in 1980's Airplane! And here I am, writing my own piece about the death of Nielsen and agreeing with the others in my chosen profession: these were the two most important roles in Leslie Nielsen's life. Depending upon which side of the generational gulf that you were born into, your own mental picture of who Leslie Nielsen was as a leading man can be about as widely different as it can get.

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Olivia Wilde thought her Tron character was too sexy

If Olivia Wilde had her way when she was making Tron Legacy, her video game character Quorra wouldn't have come across as feminine as she does in the movie.

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