BOBBY RYDELL, SINGER WHO WAS IN MOVIE “BYE BYE BIRDIE,” DIES
UNDATED (AP) – Bobby Rydell will be remembered as a singer, one of several pompadoured teen idols of the early rock ‘n’ roll era. But his voice, looks and charm also earned him a place in TV and movies. Rydell has died at age 79. A rep says he had complications from pneumonia. Rydell joined fellow South Philadelphia natives like James Darren, Fabian and Frankie Avalon as music heroes after Elvis Presley hit it big and before the Beatles showed up. Between 1959 and 1964, Rydell had nearly three dozen Top 40 singles including “Wild One” and “Volare.” He had regular roles on TV programs like “The Red Skelton Show.” And the 1963 movie “Bye Bye Birdie” was rewritten to make Rydell the boyfriend of Ann-Margret. It was his only major movie role, since he didn’t want to move to Hollywood. But the high school in the 1970s musical “Grease” was named for him.
GRAMMY RATINGS BARELY MOVE
NEW YORK (AP) – This year’s Grammys telecast had everything you’d want in an awards show: lots of star power, performances and good vibes. The only thing producers can gripe about is that it didn’t draw many TV viewers. Nielsen reports Sunday’s audience was just under 9.6 million, a 4% increase over last year. The bump-up was expected, given that last year’s show was during the pandemic. But when the Oscars aired last month after its pandemic-stricken broadcast last year, viewership increased by nearly 60%.
ALEC BALDWIN FILES RESPONSE TO DEFAMATION LAWSUIT
UNDATED (AP) – Can you defame a person by repeating a person’s own words? It’s a question Alec Baldwin is asking. And if the question is no, he may be off the hook in a defamation lawsuit. Earlier this year, a Wyoming woman sued Baldwin after the actor called her out for taking part in the Jan 6. protest at the U.S. Capitol. But in his response to the suit, Baldwin says he just re-posted the woman’s words to his 2.4 million Instagram followers. The woman, Roice McCollum, says she was the target of online abuse after Baldwin did that. Another part of Baldwin’s challenge to the suit is that he can’t be sued in Wyoming, because he doesn’t live in the state.
DISNEY SAYS COSTUMED CHARACTERS CAN GET CLOSE TO GUESTS AGAIN SOON
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) – Mickey Mouse will soon be able to hug and sign autographs again. Disney says after two years of keeping its costumed stars from close contact with visitors because of the pandemic, those rules are being eased. The company says its U.S. parks can resume the kind of character encounters that fans have delighted in, like taking selfies with Mickey and his crew. Disney says the revised rules will be phased in later this month at its parks in Anaheim, California, Orlando, Florida – and on Disney cruises.
TWITTER WORKING ON “EDIT” BUTTON
UNDATED (AP) – Is Twitter about to do something that Kim Kardashian has been begging it to do – and former President Donald Trump might have wished he had when he was on the site? The company is planning to add an “edit” button to the service. Kardashian, Katy Perry and officials at McDonald’s have been clamoring for Twitter to provide a way to fix tweets after they’ve been sent. Tesla founder Elon Musk is a backer of the edit button and is now on Twitter’s board. But Twitter officials say the edit function was being worked on before Musk came aboard.