ANNE BEATTS, GROUNDBREAKING COMEDY WRITER, DEAD AT 74
NEW YORK (AP) – Anne Beatts (BEETS), a groundbreaking comedy writer who was on the original staff of “Saturday Night Live” and later created the cult sitcom “Square Pegs,” has died at age 74. Starting in 1975, Beatts was among a team of gifted writers that included Rosie Shuster, Alan Zweibel, Marilyn Suzanne Miller and such cast members as Dan Aykroyd and Chevy Chase who helped make “Saturday Night Live” a cultural phenomenon. In 1982, she developed her own series, what was then a rare sitcom centering on teen-age girls and starring Sarah Jessica Parker in her breakthrough role.
GLAAD MEDIA AWARDS
LOS ANGELES (AP) – “The Boys in the Band” and “Star Trek: Discovery” were among the winners at the 32nd GLAAD Media Awards. The honors were presented in a virtual ceremony Thursday hosted by Niecy Nash. Presenters included Sterling K. Brown and soccer’s Ashlyn Harris and Ali Krieger, who called for transgender students to be accepted in sports. The media advocacy group’s awards recognize what GLAAD calls “fair, accurate, and inclusive” depictions of LGBTQ people and issues. Other winners included “I May Destroy You? and Sam Smith, who was honored as outstanding music artist for the album “Love Goes.” The GLAAD Media Awards ceremony is available on Hulu through June.
JENNIFER GARNER BOWS OUT OF TRIP WITH FIRST LADY
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) – First lady Jill Biden is set to visit Alabama to promote her husband’s pandemic recovery plan. An announcement from the White House says Biden will land in Birmingham on Friday and visit an early learning center in the city. She’s also scheduled to visit a YMCA, where she will speak. While actor Jennifer Garner was supposed to accompany Biden, she isn’t making the trip because of the possibility of severe weather. The first lady is promoting the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 package as a way to address childhood poverty. President Joe Biden signed the legislation last month.
OJ SIMPSON-DEFAMATION LAWSUIT
LAS VEGAS (AP) – O.J. Simpson and a Las Vegas hotel-casino have settled a lawsuit alleging that unnamed employees defamed Simpson by telling a celebrity news site he had been banned from the property in November 2017 for being drunk and disruptive. Attorneys for the resort had argued the former football star couldn’t be defamed because his reputation was already tarnished by his trials in the deaths of his ex-wife and her friend in Los Angeles decades ago and his conviction and imprisonment in Nevada in a 2007 armed robbery case.
THE HISTORY OF SNOOPY, ACCORDING TO JEAN SCHULZ
SANTA ROSA, Calif. (AP) – The reason Snoopy was named Snoopy was because of Charles Schulz’s mother. His widow, Jean Schulz, says her husband said his mother promised if they got another dog, they’d name it Snoop after a Norwegian word. Jean Schulz says her husband based Snoopy after the dog named Spike he had as a teenager. Spike was hardly the lovable character that Snoopy is. Jean Schulz says Spike became a “super guard dog” whenever anyone came to the door. She says a friend of her husband’s still tells her how much he hated that dog. “The Snoopy Show” is now running on Apple TV Plus.
MISS AMERICA TO BE CROWNED IN LIVE EVENT AFTER VIRTUAL YEAR
UNCASVILLE, Conn. (AP) – The Miss America organization says it plans to crown its 100th winner in December before a live audience at the Mohegan Sun casino’s arena in Connecticut. The announcement Thursday was made after a year of virtual appearances and delayed competitions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Miss America and Mohegan Sun announced a three-year partnership to hold the finale and associated events at the southeastern Connecticut facility. The competition and broadcast are to be held sometime in December. COVID-19 forced organizers to postpone the 2020 competitions and extend the reign of 2019 Miss America, Camille Schrier, for a second year. Schrier represented Virginia.
JUNE DEBUT FOR DISNEYLAND AVENGERS CAMPUS
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) – Avengers, reassemble! Disneyland says its new Avengers Campus will debut on June 4, nearly a year after originally planned. The new section of the Anaheim park that brings Marvel heroes into the Magic Kingdom had been set to open last July, but was upended by the pandemic closure. The park itself is scheduled to reopen April 30 after a shutdown of more than a year. The Avengers Campus includes a Spider-Man attraction that allows riders to sling webs with their bare hands, and gives guests a chance to team up with Marvel heroes like Iron Man and Doctor Strange, Ant-Man and The Wasp.
HOWARD WEITZMAN, LAWYER FOR JACKSON, BIEBER, DELOREAN, DIES
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Howard Weitzman, an attorney whose clients included Michael Jackson, Justin Bieber, and auto maker John DeLorean, has died. Weitzman’s wife says he died Wednesday after a brief illness. He was 81. Weitzman came to national fame as defense attorney for DeLorean, who was accused of cocaine trafficking in 1982. Weitzman argued that the FBI had entrapped DeLorean and got a not guilty verdict. He defended Jackson both during his life and after, serving as the lead lawyer overseeing the pop superstar’s estate. And he defended Bieber in a 2011 paternity suit and several subsequent lawsuits.