JEREMY BULLOCH, “STAR WARS” ACTOR, DIES
LOS ANGELES (AP) – He wasn’t as well known as Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher or others who were in the original “Star Wars” trilogy. But to fans of the franchise, Jeremy Bulloch holds a place of honor because he played Boba (BOH’-bah) Fett in those first three movies. Bulloch has died. His agents say he lost his fight against health complications caused by Parkinson’s disease. He was 75. The English-born actor played Fett, a gung-ho Mandalorian bounty hunter. Co-star Billy Dee Williams laments on Twitter that the world has “lost the best bounty hunter in the galaxy.”
MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM DEBUTS
LOS ANGELES (AP) – “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” would have been a big deal when it was released anyway – because it’s a much-anticipated adaptation of the August Wilson play about the famed blues legend. But the movie is getting even more attention now because it’s being released months after the death of Chadwick Boseman – and is his final movie performance. Oscar-winner Viola Davis turns in a powerful performance of her own as Ma Rainey. Branford Marsalis does the musical score accompanying the movie, which debuts today on Netflix.
RHONJ-CONNECTED PLEA ENTERED
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) – This time, the drama in “Real Housewives of New Jersey” was played out in court, not on the tube. A reputed mobster has admitted assaulting the husband of a former cast member of the show – to get a steep discount on an upscale wedding reception. Alleged mobster John Perna has pleaded guilty to a federal charge of committing a violent crime in aid of racketeering. Prosecutors say the ex-husband of former cast member Dina Manzo hired Perna for the 2015 assault. Sentencing is set for April 28, with Perna facing up to 20 years in prison – and a quarter-million-dollar fine.
BETTY WHITE ANIMAL SERIES RE-EMERGES ON DIGITAL
NEW YORK (AP) – A lot of people weren’t around to see it the first time around 50 years ago. But now people of all generations will be able to watch a TV series hosted by Betty White. The series, “Betty White’s Pet Set,” features her welcoming fellow celebrities, along with their dogs, cats, birds and horses. The show also has appearances by less-domesticated animals like tigers, bears, wolves, gorillas, kangaroos, zebras and eagles. The series will be released on digital platforms and on DVD Feb. 23. White says Pet Set is one of her favorite shows – and that she is “thrilled” that it will be seen again after all these decades.