DAVID LANDER, ‘SQUIGGY’ ON ‘LAVERNE & SHIRLEY,’ DIES AT 73
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Actor David L. Lander, best known for playing Squiggy on the popular ABC comedy “Laverne & Shirley,” has died after a decades-long long battle with multiple sclerosis. His wife says Lander died Friday at the age of 73. He had suffered from the disease for 37 years. Lander had a longtime comedic partnership with Michael McKean, who paid tribute to him with a photo on Twitter. Together they created the characters of Lenny and Squiggy that they would play on “Laverne & Shirley.” The show ran from 1976 to 1983 and starred Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams as bottle-cappers in 1950s Wisconsin.
NETFLIX REJECTS CALLS TO ADD DISCLAIMER TO THE CROWN
LONDON (AP) – Netflix says it has “no plans” to add a disclaimer to “The Crown” stating that its lavish drama about Britain’s royal family is a work of fiction. Netflix said Saturday it has always presented the drama as just that. A drama. Netflix was urged last week by British Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden to add the disclaimer, in the wake of the broadcast of the drama’s fourth series. Charles Spencer, the late Princess Diana’s brother, was one who had called on Netflix to add a disclaimer.
A UNIQUE RECIPE FOR HEALING: BILL MURRAY AND A BIBLICAL TEXT
UNDATED (AP) – A group of acclaimed actors is staging an online reading of a religious text with remarkable relevance to the current moment: the Book of Job. The unique performance, taking place against the backdrop of a pandemic’s blight and wounds from an acrimonious election, is aimed at Republican-leaning Knox County, Ohio. It’s set to feature participation from locals who include people of faith, and designed to spark meaningful conversations across spiritual and political divides. Bill Murray may be the ostensible headliner, but its organizers are hoping that the format is the real star.
PANDEMIC CASTS INEVITABLE SHADOW ON FINAL ‘SHAMELESS’ SEASON
LOS ANGELES (AP) – The coronavirus outbreak that delayed taping of Showtime’s “Shameless” is woven into the 11th and final season of the Gallagher saga. It seems inevitable, given the outsized share of life’s hardships the family has met and, sometimes, conquered. The comedy-drama was days away from taping when COVID-19 slammed the door on movie and TV production in the spring. Series’ executive producer John Wells says already completed scripts were reworked to include the coronavirus’ fallout on the Gallaghers and their circle. The final season also will address the toll that addiction is taking on the family’s aging patriarch Frank, played by William H. Macy.
WITH RED CARPETS ROLLED UP, THE OSCAR RACE GOES VIRTUAL
NEW YORK (AP) – This year, Hollywood’s awards season is operating in a strange COVID-19 vacuum with only a whiff of the stuff it thrives on: buzz. Oscar season is pushing ahead, despite the pandemic and a year where most of the biggest releases were postponed. The timetable has shifted two months. The Academy Awards are to be held April 25. Awards season, such as it is, has gone virtual. The Oscar race will be Zoomed. The pandemic also has undoubtedly reshuffled the usual kinds of movies in the race. Many of the films that might have been among the favorites have been postponed. That’s left open positions for smaller films that might have had to fight harder for the spotlight.
SIX VICE PRESIDENTS TALK ABOUT JOB ONCE CONSIDERED INVISIBLE
NEW YORK (AP) – The CNN film, “President in Waiting,” talks to six living vice presidents – and four of their former bosses – about a job once considered invisible in American politics. For most of the nation’s history, presidents gave their No. 2 little to do. The documentary explains how veeps are given a much bigger role in modern administrations, tracing the change to Walter Mondale’s relationship with his president, Jimmy Carter. But a veep can just as easily disappear again; the duties are all on a president’s whim. Flimmaker Jeffrey Roth says he didn’t want to make the type of film that would put everyone to sleep.