2 MILLION IN TIMES SQUARE FOR NEW YEAR’S? EXPERTS SAY NO WAY
NEW YORK (AP) – Officials frequently say that as many as 2 million people will pack New York City’s Times Square for New Year’s Eve. But is it possible? Crowd-size experts say no way. Crowd science professor G. Keith Still says the real Times Square ball drop crowd likely has fewer than 100,000 people. Nevertheless, city officials and event organizers continue to float mammoth crowd estimates. The Times Square Alliance, which runs the ball drop, says the estimates come from the New York City Police Department. New York University professor Charles Seife says the city has an interest in promoting a bigger number. He says it “helps cement the image of New York City as the center of the universe.”
REPORT: ACTOR FRANK ADONIS, KNOWN FOR ‘GOODFELLAS,’ HAS DIED
LAS VEGAS (AP) – Frank Adonis, an actor best known for his roles in Martin Scorsese films including “Goodfellas,” ”Raging Bull” and “Casino,” has died. He was 83. His wife, Denise, told TMZ and Fox News that he died Wednesday in Las Vegas after several years of illness, mostly from kidney problems. She said he’d been on dialysis and was on a ventilator for nine days but they waited until after Christmas to take him off it. Adonis, who was born in Brooklyn, also appeared in numerous other movies including “Wall Street,” ”True Romance” and “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective.” He had some 40 credits to his name, and his most recent role was in 2017 in “Proximity to Power.” He’s survived by his wife and their two children, and another daughter from an earlier marriage.
LONGTIME BRITISH COMEDY STAR JUNE WHITFIELD DIES AT 93
LONDON (AP) – British actress and comedic star June Whitfield, whose long career included memorable roles in TV series “Absolutely Fabulous” and “Terry and June,” has died. She was 93. Her agent said that she died Friday night. Whitfield enjoyed a long career appearing on some of Britain’s most popular TV shows and earned generations of fans. She was prominent in the “Carry On” series and the sitcom “Terry and June” in the ’80s before playing a vital role in “Absolutely Fabulous.” Whitfield started her career in radio comedy in the 1950s. She received dozens of honors, including being made a “Dame,” the female equivalent of a knighthood. Her husband Tim Aitchison died in 2001. She is survived by their daughter Suzy Aitchison.
KEVIN SPACEY ASKS TO SKIP MASSACHUSETTS COURT APPEARANCE
BOSTON (AP) – Lawyers for Kevin Spacey are asking a judge to allow the actor to skip his arraignment on sexual assault charges in a Massachusetts courthouse next month. The Boston Globe reports that Spacey’s attorneys have filed a motion asking to excuse his presence at a Jan. 7 hearing in Nantucket District Court. The reason wasn’t disclosed. Prosecutors asked the judge to deny the motion. The judge did not immediately rule. Cape and Islands Assistant District Attorney Michael Giardino wrote that Spacey’s appearance is required under state rules for criminal case procedure. The 59-year-old Oscar winner is charged with felony indecent assault and battery. Prosecutors say he groped an 18-year-old man in a Nantucket restaurant in 2016. Spacey’s attorneys have not spoken publicly about the case but in a court hearing questioned the evidence.
FOREST WHITAKER FILES FOR DIVORCE FROM KEISHA NASH-WHITAKER
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Forest Whitaker has filed for divorce from his wife of 22 years, Keisha Nash-Whitaker. The 57-year-old “Black Panther” actor cites irreconcilable differences in the divorce filing Thursday in Los Angeles County Superior Court. The brief document says the exact value of the couple’s assets and debts are unclear and will be determined later. The couple has two daughters together, and each has a child from a previous relationship. All four are adults. Whitaker’s other credits include “Lee Daniels’ The Butler,” ”The Crying Game” and “The Last King of Scotland,” for which he won an Academy Award for best actor in 2007. The 46-year-old Nash-Whitaker has had a few minor credits as an actress and producer. The two met on the set of the 1994 film “Blown Away,” and they married in 1996.
UK HONORS CAVE RESCUE DIVERS, TWIGGY, MONTY PYTHON’S PALIN
LONDON (AP) – British divers who rescued young soccer players trapped in a flooded cave in Thailand are among those being recognized in Britain’s New Year’s Honors List, along with 1960s model Twiggy and Monty Python star Michael Palin (PAY’-lihn). Twiggy, a model who shot to stardom during the Beatles era, will become a Dame – the female equivalent of a knight – while Palin, whose second career has seen him become an acclaimed travel documentary maker, receives a knighthood. Jim Carter, who played the acerbic Mr. Carson in “Downton Abbey” is also recognized, as is filmmaker Christopher Nolan, director of “Inception” and “Dunkirk,” and best-selling author Philip Pullman, creator of the Dark Materials trilogy. The list released Friday also names 43 people who responded to extremist attacks in Manchester and London in 2017.
ANGELINA JOLIE DOESN’T RULE OUT MOVE INTO POLITICS
LONDON (AP) – Angelina Jolie has not ruled out a move into politics – and has joked that she might be tough enough to take the rough and tumble that comes with it. The American actress and U.N. envoy told BBC radio she “can take a lot on the chin” – a possible reference to her bitter divorce from Brad Pitt. When asked if she is moving in the direction of politics, the 43-year-old Oscar winner said, “I honestly will do whatever I think can really make change.” Jolie is a special envoy for the U.N. refugee agency. She used her slot as a “guest editor” on the BBC to highlight refugee issues in the Middle East. She also included Chinese artist Ai Weiwei (eye way-way) and Nobel Peace Prize winner Denis Mukwege on the show.
PROFESSOR NAMES BEETLE SPECIES AFTER ‘GAME OF THRONES’
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) – A Nebraska entomologist has named three of his eight newest beetle discoveries after the dragons from the HBO series “Game of Thrones” and George R.R. Martin book series “A Song of Ice and Fire.” University of Nebraska-Lincoln professor Brett Ratcliffe named the new scarab beetle species drogoni, rhaegali and viserioni, The Omaha World-Herald reported. The names are Latinized versions of Drogon, Rhaegal and Viserion, three dragons owned by Daenerys Targaryen’s character in the fictional work. Radcliffe said he’s a fan of the series, but ultimately chose the names to draw attention to biodiversity and the amount of undiscovered species.
FABULOUS FASHION OF ‘MRS. MAISEL’ IS MORE THAN JUST ATTIRE
NEW YORK (AP) – Rachel Brosnahan says the fashion in the second season of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” features some exceptional clothes, but the outfits aren’t just eye candy. The series star says the clothes help drive the story, and get into the characters’ story arcs in some ways more deeply than the actors do. The meticulous costumes of the 1950s-era show are crafted by designer Donna Zakowska, who series creator Amy Sherman-Palladino affectionately calls a “mad scientist.” Zakowska matches characters’ clothes to their moods. One prominent example: the baby pink coat Brosnahan’s Maisel character wears in season one of the Amazon Prime series is ditched for darker clothing after her husband leaves her. The designer leads a crew of at least 25 people on set to dress the principal players and the extras.
‘BIRD BOX’ BUCKS HOLIDAY TREND
NEW YORK (AP) – Snow and Santa and horrible monsters? Released just days before Christmas on Netflix, the Sandra Bullock-led thriller “Bird Box” is about monstrous entities that compel any human who sees them to try to kill themselves. Even though Netflix declines to release viewership numbers, “Bird Box” seems to have struck a nerve, triggering the creation of memes and online chatter. In some ways, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that a film about monsters that attack people showed up on the online video streamer on Dec. 21. Alternate Christmas movies are all the rage these days from “Die Hard,” ”In Bruges,” ”Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” and “Lethal Weapon.”
“AQUAMAN” LEADS BOX OFFICE
LOS ANGELES (AP) – “Aquaman” is still leading the pack at the box office, but other films like “Mary Poppins Returns” and “The Mule” are enjoying post-Christmas bumps too. Warner Bros. on Sunday said “Aquaman” has added an estimated $51.6 million in North American ticket sales over the weekend to take first place again. Down just 24 percent from its domestic debut, the DC Comics pic has grossed nearly $748.8 million worldwide. Up 19 percent, “Mary Poppins Returns” took second place with $28 million, while “Bumblebee” settled in third with $20.5 million. “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” got fourth with $18.3 million. And “The Mule,” up 24 percent, took fifth with $11.8 million. The Dick Cheney movie “Vice” grossed $7.8 million from the weekend and $17.7 million since its Christmas opening.
<<CUT *044590 (12/30/18)>> 345:60 “I’m Julie Walker”