CAROL CHANNING DIES
NEW YORK (AP) – Carol Channing once told an interview she decided to become a performer when she was just 7. And she said when she told her dad that, he told her a person can dedicate their life to something when they are 7 or 97. Ironically, when Channing passed away after a life of entertaining people, she was 97 years old. And her dedication to her craft was admired by current performers, based on tributes that have poured in. Kristin Chenoweth wrote on Twitter that Channing “was one of the few who paved the path for so many women in theater and beyond.” And Bette Midler called Channing “a legend” who was also “a complete original.” Channing made only a few movies, but cemented her place in entertainment history for doing more than 5,000 shows as the title character in “Hello “Dolly!”
Her publicist says Channing died early yesterday morning in Rancho Mirage, California.
JIMMY FALLON – PUERTO RICO
UNDATED (AP) – Jimmy Fallon’s show based in Puerto Rico not only drew viewers – but also attracted donations to help the hurricane-ravaged U.S. island territory. During the show last night, Fallon mentioned some of the donations that have rolled in. He said American Express has donated $250,000 to the Hispanic Federation. Fallon says donations have also been flowing in to the World Central Kitchen. Fallon urged people to donate – and to help Puerto Rico get back on its feet by visiting as tourists. The NBC show featured appearances by Lin-Manuel Miranda, chef Jose Andres and a musical performance by Jose Feliciano and Ozuna.
KIM KARDASHIAN EXPECTING FOURTH CHILD WITH KANYE WEST
NEW YORK (AP) – It’s another baby on the way for Kim Kardashian and Kanye West. Kardashian confirmed this week that their surrogate will produce their fourth child. The announcement was made on Bravo’s “Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen.” Kardashian, who’s 38, says the new child, a boy, will arrive “sometime soon,” but provided no specifics. The reality TV star says she blurted out the news after she got drunk on Christmas Eve. The new arrival joins siblings North, 5, Saint, 3 and Chicago, who’s 1.
STEPHEN COLBERT TOLD SEN. GILLIBRAND WILL RUN FOR PRESIDENT
NEW YORK (AP) – If Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand ends up being elected president, she will be indebted to Stephen Colbert. She chose his CBS show to announce her candidacy. She says she’s launching an exploratory committee, which she calls “an important first step.” The New York Senator says there are a number of issues she’d like to tackle as president, including better health care for families, stronger public schools – and more accessible job training. Gillibrand is 52 – and is part of what’s expected to be a crowded primary field for the Democratic presidential nod. It’s expected at least a dozen candidates will declare their designs on the White House.
NETFLIX RAISING PRICES
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – It will cost you more to check out Netflix. The streaming site is raising its U.S. prices by 13 to 18 percent. That’s the biggest increase since Netflix launched its video streaming service 12 years ago. The biggest hike will be for the site’s most popular plan. Those who pay $11 a month for service will now pay $13, instead. The extra cash will help pay for Netflix’s huge investment in original programming. It must also finance the debt it assumed to ward off rivals like Amazon, Disney and AT&T.
SPORTS ILLUSTRATED SWIMSUIT ISSUE
NEW YORK (AP) – For decades, people have looked to the Sports Illustrated annual swimsuit issue to help lift the winter doldrums. But that’s changing – because the magazine is moving its swimsuit issue from February to May. Swimsuit issue editor M.J. Day says shifting the annual swimsuit edition makes sense – because it will have a bigger effect on its intended audience. As Day put it, “it’s always hard to think about buying a swimsuit when its 18 degrees out.” Oddly, there was no special reason February was chosen 55 years ago for the swimsuit edition. Back then, it was picked because it was traditionally a slow month for sports.
BILL MURRAY, SOFIA COPPOLA TO REUNITE FOR FILM
NEW YORK (AP) – Sofia Coppola and Bill Murray worked together on “Lost in Translation” 16 years ago. And now, they’re teaming up for another project. Coppola will develop “On the Rocks” with Murray as part of her studio’s first project under its joint deal with Apple. The teaming of Coppola and Murray has worked wonders in the past. “Lost in Transition” earned Coppola an Oscar for best screenplay – and generated several other nominations, including one for Murray for best actor.
GHOSTBUSTERS REBOOT IN THE WORKS
LOS ANGELES (AP) – It’s one thing to inherit a vehicle from your dad – but the reins of a movie? Ivan Reitman is passing on the “Ghostbusters” franchise to his son. Jason Reitman is to direct a new installment in the Ghostbusters series for Sony. It’s due out next summer. Ivan Reitman directed and produced the original Ghostbusters in 1984 – and its 1989 sequel. Jason, who has four Oscar nods to his credit – tweeted last night that he has “finally got the keys to the car.”
TEEN UNKNOWN TO PLAY MARIA IN “WEST SIDE STORY”
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Many unknown 17-year-old performers have taken on the role of Maria in “West Side Story” – but it’s usually in a high school production of the iconic musical. But in this case, an unknown 17-year-old has landed the role in a movie version of the show to be directed by none other than Steven Spielberg. The celebrated director has picked Rachel Zegler for the part, giving her the gig after auditioning more than 30,000 people. Zegler is a high school student from Clifton, New Jersey. She played Maria onstage a few summers ago – and never imagined she’d land the role in a movie. Filming is to begin this summer.
by Oscar Wells Gabriel II
Follow Oscar Wells Gabriel II on Twitter at https://twitter.com/OWGabriel2