Roy Clark, former 'Hee Haw' host, dead at 85

Roy Clark, foreground, with Buck Owens on "Hee Haw"; CBS via Getty Images(TULSA, Okla.) -- Roy Clark, the Grammy-winning Country Music Hall of Fame member and celebrated picker who's best-known by most as co-host of TV's Hee Haw, has died at age 85.

Clark's publicist confirmed he died Thursday morning at his Tulsa, Oklahoma home of complications from pneumonia.

Just two years ago, Clark revived his classic “I’m a pickin’ and I’m a grinnin’” Hee Haw bit for the landmark 50th Annual CMA Awards, with fellow country picker Brad Paisley stepping in for his late Hee Haw co-host, Buck Owens.  

Hee Haw -- a rural variety show that mixed homespun comedy with current country stars -- premiered on CBS in 1969. When it was cancelled by the network, it moved to syndication, where it ran until 1992.

Though his musical prowess was somewhat overshadowed by his comedy success on Hee Haw, Clark was an accomplished multi-instrumentalist, admired for his abilities on both guitar and banjo. At the peak of his career, he was well-known enough to guest-host The Tonight Show for Johnny Carson. 

Of the dozens of singles Clark released over nearly four decades, his biggest hit was the 1969 cover of "Yesterday When I Was Young," which reached #9 on the Billboard Country Singles chart and #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart. 

Roy Clark was a Grand Ole Opry member who was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2009. He’s survived by his wife of 61 years, Barbara. A memorial will be held in Tulsa in the coming days.

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Gordon Ramsey cooking your bird? 'EW' presents the Thanksgiving Pop Culture Index

ABC/Randy Holmes(NEW YORK) -- What are you going to be doing this Thanksgiving holiday?  Other than stuffing your face, watching football and drifting off into a drooling food coma on the sofa?  Entertainment Weekly has a snapshot in their just-released November/Thanksgiving Pop Culture Index.

Let's start with which TV chef you'd prefer to cook your Thanksgiving bird.  Barefoot Contessa star Ina Garten's the first choice, at least among those who say Thanksgiving's their favorite holiday.  Overall, 20% picked foul-mouthed Hell's Kitchen host Gordon Ramsey.

If you could share your Thanksgiving feast with a TV family or group of friends, it's no surprise the friends from Friends top the list, followed by Lorelai and Rory from Gilmore Girls.  Others on the list include the Johnsons from black-ish and even the Starks from Game of Thrones -- the Starks who're still alive, at least.  By the way, 40% of those surveyed say they expect some Thanksgiving drama around the table, especially from family members.

Favorite Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade float?  Charlie Brown's the clear favorite at 25%, followed by Garfield, Mickey Mouse, Big Bird and Spider-Man.  Fifty-four percent of those surveyed say they'll definitely watch the parade.

Planning to binge-watch some TV after the meal?  The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina on Neflix tops the list, followed by The Haunting of Hill House, Amazon's The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and NBC's This Is Us.

And because no holiday's complete without tunes, 25% chose Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas Is You" as the holiday song they'll play the most.  "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," "Baby, It's Cold Outside," "White Christmas" and "The Christmas Song" also are near the top of the list.

The Entertainment Weekly Pop Culture Index is compiled by surveying what EW describes as a "large proprietary panel of self-selected EW consumers age 18+."

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'The Bachelor's' Arie Luyendyk Jr. & Lauren Burnham expecting their first child

Lorenzo Bevilaqua/ABC via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Former The Bachelor stars Arie Luyendyk Jr. and his fiancée, Lauren Burnham, have announced they're expecting. Burnham is due in June.

Luyendyk posted a photo on Instagram to announce the couple’s happy news.

"Nothing compares, absolutely nothing compares to the moment you find out you’re going to be a dad!” he wrote alongside a photo of the couple. “We cried, we laughed and it really was such a special moment for us, we’re so freakin’ happy!"

Burnham posted an image on her account as well, with the caption, "Our greatest adventure begins June 2019!"

Burnham told Us Weekly about when the couple found out. 

"I kind of had a feeling that I might be pregnant. So my friend insisted on bringing a pregnancy test over," Burnham told the magazine. She said she wanted Luyendyk to read the test results.

"Arie came out with the test in his hand and tears in his eyes. He was like, 'You’re pregnant!'" she recalled.

The couple, who currently live together in Phoenix, Arizona, are set to wed in January.

Luyendyk famously dumped his former fiancée and subsequent The Bachelorette star Becca Kufrin on television in an episode that aired in March 2018.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved. 


Simone Missick tackles Islamophobia in her new drama, 'Jinn'

Monica Schipper/WireImage(NEW YORK) -- With her new coming-of-age drama Jinn, Luke Cage alum Simone Missick is taking on a different type of role.

In the film, Missick plays Jade Jennings, a popular meteorologist and new convert to Islam, who's conflicted when her teenage daughter questions her beliefs. Missick tells ABC Radio that she felt a strong duty to the role, which is inspired by the life of director Nijla [Nih-JAH-la] Mu'min [Moo-MEEN].

"I felt a responsibility to portray this woman and her story honestly," Missick tells ABC Radio. "And Nijla and I did have a chance to talk extensively before we started filming because this was partly her story, and because she was sharing something that was so intimate. And so she gave me a lot of background information on how she created this character and what it was that she was trying to get to come across on screen."

While the film mostly revolves around Jade's daughter Summer and her struggle to come to grips with her mother's new religion, Missick says the film also serves an important purpose: to help debunk myths about Islam.

"The fact is, we are living in a climate of Islamophobia, especially in our country, she says. "And to label an entire religion that is practiced by millions and millions of people all over the world as one that comes out of hatred is just false and it's wrong."

She continues, "It's something that continues to divide us in this country and globally more and more every day. And so Nijla really wanted to share with people the beauty, and the love, and the community that she grew up in." 

Jinn, also starring Simone's husband Dorian Missick and Zoe Renee, is now in theaters and arrives on VOD and Digital HD November 16.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


'Little House on the Prairie' actress Katherine MacGregor dies at 93

Photo by NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Katherine MacGregor, who portrayed Harriet Oleson on all nine seasons of the NBC drama Little House on the Prairie, died Tuesday at the Motion Picture and Television Fund's retirement home in Woodland Hills, according to The Hollywood Reporter. She was 93.

Between 1974 and 1983, MacGregor appeared as Harriet, the nosy wife of Mercantile general store owner Nels Oleson, and mother of nasty Nellie Oleson on 153 episodes of the series.

Melissa Gilbert, who starred in Little House as Laura Ingalls Wilder, paid tribute to MacGregor on Twitter, writing, "She was outspoken and hilariously funny. A truly gifted actress as she was able to play a despicable character but with so much heart. Her Harriet Oleson was the woman our fans loved to hate. A perfect antagonist."

After Little House, MacGregor guest-starred on television shows including East Side/West Side, Mannix, Emergency!, All in the Family and Ironside.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Fans scoff at $1,000 Idris Elba doll that looks nothing like the British hunk 

Samir Hussein/Samir Hussein/WireImage(LONDON) -- Idris Elba fans are revolting against a new doll that is said to be inspired by People's sexiest man alive.

According to Metro UK, Emperis toy company created an action figure -- with the hefty price tag of roughly $1,000-- that's said to have been modeled to look like British star. However, upon a closer look, many fans are wondering if the UK toy company has ever even seen the actor.

"Is that Jafar or Voldemort? Certainly not Idris," tweeted one fan.

"That's not Idris Elba," wrote another. "That's Montel Williams."

The doll, which went on sale on November 5, has a bald head, a narrow jawline and a slim goatee. Considering Elba has never really sported a shaven head, many people have also likened the doll to A Million Little Things actor Romany Malco.

Emperis has responded to the backlash telling the Metro UK that the doll is their "interpretation" of Elba.

"Idris Elba is a British actor we have always admired," they said. "Our doll was inspired by him leading to our artistic interpretation."

So far, Elba hasn't publicly responded to Emperis' "inspired" image.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Armie Hammer faces backlash for calling out celebrity selfies with the late Stan Lee 

ABC/Lorenzo Bevilaqua(LOS ANGELES) -- Armie Hammer took to Twitter to criticize celebrities for posting selfies in tribute to late Marvel Comics visionary Stan Lee, but now he’s the one facing backlash.

It all started when he posted a now-deleted tweet on Monday reading, “So touched by all of the celebrities posting pictures of themselves with Stan Lee… no better way to commemorate an absolute legend than putting up a picture of yourself.”

He added, “If Stan impacted your life (ie. All of our lives) with his work, post his work that touched you the most. Posting a selfie makes his death about you and how cool you felt taking a picture with him.”

Some Twitter users were quick to disagree with Hammer. One wrote, “They…worked with him…?”

“Me…too…?” Hammer replied.  The actor voiced a character in Stan Lee's Mighty 7, an animated 2014 TV movie.

Another person asked, “what else u supposed to do when someone dies armie.”

“If your answer is ‘post a selfie’ then I think we need a cultural revamp across the board,” he answered.

Actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan also called Hammer out on Twitter.  In a post that’s since been deleted, he wrote, “Looks like you found a way to use others' ways of mourning and their memories to draw some attention to yourself. You sound like a real a**hat.”

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Oh, New Zealand: Kiwis confuse Spike Lee for the late Stan Lee 

L-R: Stan Lee (Frazer Harrison/Getty Images); Spike Lee;(Paul Zimmerman/WireImage)(NEW YORK) -- A New Zealand newspaper clearly didn't do the right thing when they wrote their obit for the late, great Marvel comics legend Stan Lee, who died Monday at the age of 95.

On the front page of the Gisborne Herald, the paper confused the comic book creator for BlacKkKlansman director Spike Lee.

After the mix-up went viral, Lee took to Instagram to reassure fans he was alive and well.

“God bless Stan Lee. Me? Not yet," Lee wrote, captioning the image of the front-page error. "And dat’s da ‘I’m still A Live, And Strivin’ Truth, Ruth. YA-DIG? SHO-NUFF.”

No doubt Stan Lee would've found the error more than a little amusing -- as a young man, he worked briefly as a part-time obituary writer.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Steve McQueen says he's not focused on Oscar buzz with his new thriller, 'Widows'

L-R: Viola Davis, Elizabeth Debicki, writer/director Steve McQueen, Cynthia Erivo, Michelle Rodriguez; Kristina Bumphrey/Starpix(NEW YORK) -- Oscar-winner Steve McQueen says he did not have award show season on his mind when he went to work on his latest film Widows.

The film, which is an adaptation of the popular 1980s British series of the same name, follows the widows of three crime bosses who are murdered during a robbery attempt. After enlisting the all-star cast, which includes Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Cynthia Erivo and Elizabeth Debicki, McQueen says his next priority was to make sure his thriller was worth seeing.

"I do this for the audience," McQueen says. "First and foremost. I mean, my first protocol is the audience. I never finished this film until I showed it to the audience. And that's what I'm here for."

McQueen's heist film is the director's first official feature since winning the Best Picture Oscar for his 2013 film 12 Years a Slave. Still, McQueen is not worried about making a comeback.

"There's no point of me making a picture about people and those people don't come and see it," he continues. "It's about the audience. It's about about we. Not me." 

Widows, also starring Brian Tyree Henry, Liam Neeson, Colin Farrell, Robert Duvall and Daniel Kaluuya, hits theaters on November 16.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Hugh Jackman says he never questioned abandoning longtime friends Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner

L-R: Deborra-Lee Furness, Hugh Jackman and Ivanka Trump in 2010; Jamie McCarthy/WireImage(NEW YORK) -- Hugh Jackman defended his longtime friendship with Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner on The View Tuesday.

The couple, whom Jackman said he’s known for 15 years, made headlines when they recently attended the actor’s 50th birthday party.

“They’ve always been so kind and generous,” said Jackman, recalling Ivanka’s “kindness” when she wrote his late mother-in-law, Fay Duncan, a handwritten letter when she won the Order of Australia medal for her charity work.

“People question, ‘Really?’ And I’m kinda like, 'OK, let’s say your friends of 15 years’ father became president. Whether you agree with the politics or not, do you just dump your friends?” Jackman said. “I’m like, 'no, no you don’t.' I don’t understand that.”

Jackman stars in the film The Front Runner, based on the story of Senator Gary Hart, who withdrew from the presidential race in 1988 in the wake of a rumored affair that made media headlines in ways such stories seldom had before in America.  Jason Reitman, who wrote and directed the film, said the story parallels today’s political environment.

“We’re all trying to figure out how the hell we got here and I can’t help but look at the story and see the kind of seeds, the threads that you pull on to get us here,” Reitman said.

“It’s so hard to have that conversation in 2018,” Reitman added.  “The volume is at a 12 -- you go onto Twitter, you say one wrong thing… you’re gonna get your head ripped off!”

“What’s nice about a story from 1987 is that we can kinda bring the volume down a little and actually have a conversation about gender politics, about the line between a public and a private life, the relationship between politicians and journalists," Reitman said.  "All these things we’re trying to talk about.”

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