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Monday
Jun192017

Stephen Furst, "Flounder" from "Animal House," dead at 63

Getty Images/Chris Polk(LOS ANGELES) -- Stephen Furst, the actor who achieved comedy immortality playing Kent "Flounder" Dorfman in 1978's Animal House, has died.  He was 63.  Furst's sons Nathan and Griffith, announced their father's death on Facebook writing that Furst died Friday, June 16, due to complications from diabetes.

"To truly honor him, do not cry for the loss of Stephen Furst. But rather, enjoy memories of all the times he made you snicker, laugh, or even snort to your own embarrassment. He intensely believed that laugher is the best therapy, and he would want us to practice that now," they wrote on Saturday

Though Furst is best remembered for his portrayal of the portly social outcast in Animal House, he also co-starred as Dr. Elliot Axelrod on the 1980s medical drama St. Elsewhere, appeared as a recurring character on the sci-fi series Babylon 5 in the 1990s, and did a lot of voice work in a variety of animated projects.

Furst's Animal House co-star Tim Matheson remembered Furst on Facebook with a quote from Animal House, "Ah, Flounder! You f***** up. You trusted us! But we loved ya, Pal. Rest In Peace."

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Monday
Jun192017

"Cars 3" races to a first place finish at the box office

Disney/Pixar 2017(LOS ANGELES) -- Cars 3 blew by Wonder Woman to take the top spot at the weekend box office. The latest installment of the Disney/Pixar animated franchise -- featuring the voices of Owen Wilson, Armie Hammer and Cristela Alonzo -- pulled in an estimated $53.5 million dollars. ABC News is owned by Disney.

Wonder Woman finished in second place with an estimated $40.7 million, bringing its domestic total to just below $275 million. Overseas, the film added another $39.5 million, bringing its worldwide total to $571.8 million.

In third place was All Eyez On Me, the Tupac Shakur biopic starring Demetrius Shipp Jr. It surpassed expectations, earning an estimated $27 million. The Mummy took fourth place with $13.9 million haul. It tacked on another $53 million internationally, bringing its worldwide figure to nearly $300 million.

Rounding out the top five was the thriller, 47 Meters Down, starring This Is Us' Mandy Moore and The Originals' Claire Holt. It raked in an estimated $11.5 million in its debut.

Another of this week's new releases, Rough Night had an even rougher weekend. The R-rated comedy starring Scarlett Johansson, Jillian Bell, Zoë Kravitz, Ilana Glazer and Kate McKinnon disappointed in its debut, earning just $8 million for a seventh place finish.

Here are the top 10 movies from Friday through Sunday, with estimated weekend gross ticket sales:

1. Cars 3, $53.5 million
2. Wonder Woman, $40.7 million
3. All Eyez On Me, $27 million
4. The Mummy, $13.9 million
5. 47 Meters Down, $11.5 million
6. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, $8.5 million
7. Rough Night, $8 million
8. Captain Underpants, $7.35 million
9. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, $4.98 million
10. It Comes at Night, $2.6 million

 

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Saturday
Jun172017

Cosby accuser Andrea Constand thanks jury, asks for privacy 

iStock/Thinkstock

(NORRISTOWN, PA) -- Following the news that Bill Cosby's sexual assault trial has ended in a mistrial, Andrea Constand, who accused the legendary comedian of assaulting her, has issued a statement via her lawyers.

In addition to thanking the jury for their "tireless efforts" -- they deliberated for six days -- Constand also thanked the D.A.'s office, including the judge who authorized the prosecution.   She also asked for privacy for her and her family.

The statement goes on to say, in part, "We are confident that these proceedings have given a voice to the many victims who felt powerless and silenced. We commend those prosecutors who raised awareness that one of the hallmarks of drug-related sexual assaults is the effect the drug has on the victim's memory and ability to recall and were nonetheless willing to present this evidence to the jury."

Cosby was accused of drugging and sexually violating Andrea Constand at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004.  Constand, who was then an employee of Temple University, Cosby's alma mater, claims the comic gave her drugs that incapacitated her to the degree that she could not stop him from assaulting her. 

Sixty women, including Constand, have accused Cosby of drugging and/or sexually assaulting them, or attempting to do so.  Cosby has denied all of the charges, and has only been criminally charged in the Constand case.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Saturday
Jun172017

Bill Cosby: what will his legacy be now?

Matt Rourke-Pool/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- After six days of deliberations, the jury in the Bill Cosby sexual assault trial in Norristown, PA, was unable to reach a unanimous decision on Cosby's guilt, prompting the judge to declare a mistrial.  The district attorney has already said they will re-try the case.

As we await what happens next, the question now is: can the world still appreciate Bill Cosby, the trailblazing entertainer once fondly known as "America's Dad?"

"His empire has been forever tarnished and tainted...as is his legacy," says ABC News Senior Legal Correspondent Sunny Hostin. "[T]his is a man who’s 79 years old, who admitted to giving women Quaaludes as a practice prior to having sexual contact, even though he was married.  I just don’t think he can then go back as 'America’s Dad' or go back to America as a moral authority."

Cosby has also been accused by at least 59 other women of drugging and/or sexually assaulting them.  He's denied all the accusations and, other than in the Constand case, hasn't been criminally charged.

Following his eight-year tenure on TV's The Cosby Show, which earned him the "America's Dad" moniker, Cosby was seen even more as a moral authority following a 2004 speech at an NAACP event commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education decision, which desegregated public schools.  Cosby criticized some African-Americans for what he said was a failure to take responsibility for their own lives, instead blaming their plight on institutionalized discrimination and racism.

"In our own neighborhood, we have men in prison," Cosby said. "No longer is a person embarrassed because they’re pregnant without a husband. No longer is a boy considered an embarrassment if he tries to run away from being the father of the unmarried child...In the neighborhood that most of us grew up in, parenting is not going on."

Cosby also was seen as a father figure to many at his alma mater, Temple University.  The comedian stepped down from the Philadelphia university's board of trustees in 2014 as accusations of sexual assault continued, but the school still has a $3,000 scholarship in his name, given to rising juniors majoring in the natural sciences, according to the school's website.

Cosby's legacy in the years to come will somehow have to balance his decades of groundbreaking entertainment achievements, his considerable philanthropic work and his cultivated image of the benevolent moral authority, with the dozens of accusations of reprehensible personal behavior over those same decades -- accusations that remain unresolved and may be far from over.

Will fans still remember Cosby as the comic who made generations laugh, or has that legacy been irreparably damaged?

"The statues come down, I think. The names come off the buildings. I think the first line of the obituary changes," says longtime entertainment journalist and ESPN correspondent Chris Connelly. "I think everything changes. I think to some degree a lot of that has already happened."

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Saturday
Jun172017

Bill Cosby sexual assault trial ends in mistrial

iStock/Thinkstock(NORRISTOWN, Penn.) -- After six days of deliberations, a Norristown, PA, jury Saturday failed to reach a verdict in Bill Cosby's sexual assault trial, prompting Judge Steven O'Neill to declare a mistrial.

Montgomery County, PA District Attorney Kevin Steele has already declared Cosby will be re-tried.

Early Thursday the jury in the Norristown, Pennsylvania courtroom informed the court that they were unable to reach a unanimous agreement on any of the three charges the comedian faces.  But the judge sent the jury back to continue deliberating.

Each jury deadlock announcement was met with a defense motion for a mistrial. The judge denied Thursday morning’s motion.

Wednesday, the jury asked to hear portions of accuser Andrea Constand’s testimony from last week and read-backs of police testimony about Cosby's 2005 interview with police at his attorney's New York law office.

Constand testified for more than seven hours over two days last week, resulting in more than 300 pages of trial transcript. The jury requested that a portion of Constand's comments about the night of the alleged attack be read back to them.

Cosby, 79, thanked his supporters as he departed the courtroom Friday night.

"I just want to wish all of the fathers a Happy Father's Day," said Cosby, who also tweeted videos of his remarks. "And I want to thank the jury for their long days. Their honest work, individually. I also want to thank the supporters who have been here. And, please, to the supporters, stay calm. Do not argue with people. Just keep up the great support. Thank you."

 

 

Cosby also tweeted a video of supporters outside the courthouse chanting, "Let Bill go."

 

 

In a written statement following the judge’s decision, Cosby’s wife of 53 years, 73-year-old Camille Cosby, thanked the jury and her husband’s legal team, but had harsh words for others. 

She called District Attorney Kevin Steele “Heinously and exploitively [sic] ambitious,” Judge Steven O’Neill “Overtly and arrogantly collaborating with the District Attorney,” Constand’s legal counsel “totally unethical,” and described “many, but not all general media” as “Blatantly vicious entities that continually disseminated intentional omissions of truths for the primary purpose of greedily selling sensationalism at the expense of a human life.”

Mrs. Cosby went on, in part: “I am grateful to any of the jurors who tenaciously fought to review the evidence; which is the rightful way to make a sound decision....ultimately, that is a manifestation of justice, based on facts, not lies. As a very special friend once stated, "truth can be subdued, but not destroyed."

Speaking to the media following the mistrial, DA Steele called Cosby accuser Andrea Constand “courageous, positive and prepared to continue with a retrial," which he said could happen soon.

"The judge has made some indications in court that he is looking to put this on track within 120 days," Steele said. "Legally we have 365 days to try the case."

Concerning Cosby, Steele said, “Nobody is above the law."

Cosby was accused of drugging and sexually violating Andrea Constand at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004.  Constand, who was then an employee of Temple University, Cosby's alma mater, claims the comic gave her drugs that incapacitated her to the degree that she could not stop him from assaulting her. 

After a brief criminal investigation that was ended due to lack of evidence, Constand sued Cosby in 2005; the case was settled the following year for an undisclosed sum.  Cosby testified under oath in the suit, but that testimony was sealed as part of a mutual nondisclosure agreement until July 2015, when Constand petitioned the court to unseal the testimony.  She claimed Cosby's then-recent responses to similar drugging and/or assault allegations by other women broke the nondisclosure agreement.  A federal court unsealed the testimony.

Cosby's 2005 testimony included his admission that he had drugged and had sexual contact with Constand, but he claimed the sex was consensual and the drug he gave her was Benadryl.  Cosby also admitted that in the past, he'd obtained Quaaludes, a sedative, for the purpose of giving them to women in order to have sex with them.

Citing the unsealed deposition's contents as new evidence, the Montgomery County, PA, district attorney's office re-opened its criminal investigation into Constand's accusations in 2015, just months before the statue of limitations for criminal charges was due to expire in January, 2016. Cosby was charged in December, 2015, with a judge deciding in May, 2016 that there was sufficient cause to proceed to trial. 

Testimony began June 5, 2017 and ended June 12, the same day the jury got the case.  Constand testified and was grilled by Cosby's defense over alleged inconsistencies in her story over the years.  Also testifying was Kelly Johnson, who accused Cosby of drugging and sexually assaulting her in 1996, which the prosecution hoped would show a pattern of behavior by Cosby.  Cosby did not testify during the trial, though the prosecution made his 2005 deposition testimony central to their case.

Cosby was charged with three felony counts related to the Constand case, each of which carries a sentence of from five to ten years in prison.  However, Pennsylvania law allows the judge to order the sentences to be served concurrently, meaning Cosby could serve from five to ten years in prison.

Sixty women, including Constand, have accused Cosby of drugging and/or sexually assaulting them, or attempting to do so.  Cosby has denied all of the charges, and has only been criminally charged in the Constand case.

Regardless of the trial outcome, the accusations and trial marked a spectacular fall from grace for the 79-year-old comic, entertainer and philanthropist, who was beloved by millions for his role as the wise patriarch of the Huxtable family on the classic 1980-1990s sitcom The Cosby Show, which earned him the fond title of "TV's Favorite Dad." 

Cosby also starred as the erudite, accomplished Alexander Scott in the 1960s action-comedy TV series I Spy, making him the first black actor to play a lead role on an American TV drama.  Both roles helped dismantle stereotypes and break down barriers for African-Americans in entertainment.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Jun162017

Former "C.S.I." series star Hill Harper reveals he adopted a son

Getty Images/Leon Bennett(NEW YORK) -- Just in time for Father's Day, actor and bestselling author Hill Harper has revealed he adopted a son named Pierce 18 months ago, calling the decision "the biggest blessing of my life."

In an interview with ABC Radio on Friday, the former C.S.I.: New York star opened up about what life is like as a single father.

"I always thought I was going to get married, have my own kids and I was going to adopt," Harper, 51, explained.

"I had talked about adopting and I had talked about wanting to be a dad, and [a friend] said, 'You’re going to be a great dad but I think you're waiting too long. You may get to a point where you’ll decide you’re not going to do it. Even though you’re not married, why can’t you just be a dad now?'"

Although only about three percent of single dads adopt, Hill felt a calling to take the plunge -- and he hopes others do, too.

"I was so afraid. I was so scared. And if you have the intuition that you want to adopt or be a foster parent, or anything like that, do it," he tells ABC Radio. "I can tell you from the bottom of my heart -- you know, it's Father's Day weekend. Make that choice."

"He's been the most amazing blessing to me," said the actor, who witnessed his son's birth. "It's like I'm so fortunate that he chose me. His name is Pierce Hill Harper, and he's changed my life in so many ways."

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Jun162017

Armie Hammer says "Cars 3" gig was "a lot of fun"

Disney/Pixar - 2017(NEW YORK) -- Owen Wilson is back as Lightning McQueen, who's out to prove he's still the top race car, in Cars 3, which is now in theaters. In this latest chapter in the Disney/Pixar franchise, Lightning faces some stiff competition from a whole new breed of car: the Next Gen Racer, led by the Armie Hammer-voiced Jackson Storm.

"They're faster, they're smarter, they're able to make calculations about corners," Hammer explained to ABC Radio. "But they young, and he's brash, and he sort of takes the soul out of racing...He shows up, and no one can really touch him."

While the action on screen is breakneck, Hammer said the job couldn't have been more relaxed. "It's a lot easier than doing a live-action movie," he laughs.

"You know, the first few sessions you go up to Pixar up in Northern California and go to their campus and see all their buildings -- and the army of people they have working there. It's really incredible. And then they'll call you, you know like a couple weeks later, and go, "Can you run to a recording booth, like somewhere near your house, just couple hours all we need," and you do it again. They'll call you maybe a couple weeks later: "We got some more stuff. You wanna you try this, we changed that, bah, bah, bah." I mean, it's a hell of a job. It's a lot of fun." 

Scandal's Kerry Washington is a new entry to the series, voicing statistician Natalie Certain, while Larry the Cable Guy reprises his role as McQueen's trusty, rusty old friend, Mater.

Disney is the parent company of ABC News.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Jun162017

Benny Boom on John Singleton's "All Eyez on Me" criticism: "He had every opportunity" to make his own Tupac biopic

Demetrius Shipp Jr. as Tupac Shakur/Photo: Quantrell Colbert(NEW YORK) -- Director Benny Boom is standing up for his official Tupac biopic, All Eyez on Me, and speaking out against what he calls the "rhetoric" from the film's previous director, John Singleton. According to Boom, Singleton needs to move on from the "damaging" commentary and focus on making his own movie.

Prior to Boom helming All Eyez on Me, the film had Straight Outta Compton's F. Gary Gray, Antoine Fuqua, and Singleton as potential directors. When the film landed in Boom's lap, the Philly filmmaker said he felt he needed to clear the air between him and Singleton.

"Afterwards we spoke because of the rhetoric that was being talked -- and I didn't appreciate it," Boom tells ABC Radio. "I'm not a guy to shy away from conversation or confrontation, so I called him. And I told him how much I didn't appreciate it. We know each other -- we're not friends, but we know each other. And I said it's not cool." 

Boom continued: "It's a small community. What you're doing is damaging for your self more than it is for me -- because people look upon you in a certain way. And to hear you talk down a project -- first of all you've never seen it... I said, "You know it's maybe more important that you just take a step back."

The director explains that Singleton's issues were more with the film's "producers," than him.  But Boom feels that still didn't excuse the Singleton's behavior, since he had plenty of time to make his own film.

"If he wanted to make a movie about Tupac, he had every opportunity and chance to do it. He didn't. He has a huge name in Hollywood, he has Oscar nominations... make your movie."

All Eyez on Me, which also stars Hill Harper, hits theaters today.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Jun162017

"Rough Night" stars want an invite to your bachelorette party

ABC Radio/(L-R) Ilana Glazer, ABC Radio's Lynda Lopez(NEW YORK) -- The stars of Rough Night really want to come to your bachelorette party.

The film comedy stars Scarlett Johansson, Kate McKinnon, Jillian Bell, Ilana Glazer and Zoe Kravitz as a group of friends from college who reunite for a bachelorette weekend that goes hilariously awry. But in real life, none of the actresses have experienced that booze-filled bridal rite of passage.

“It’s so weird because we’ve gotten all these bachelorette questions and it turns out that we’ve been to about half a bachelorette party between all of us, which is so disappointing,” Johansson tells ABC Radio.

Bell chimes in, “Please invite us! We’d like to come.”

Johansson says that even though she’d never been to a bachelorette party, the script drew her in with how funny it was.

“It was such a streamlined, easy read and it made me laugh out loud so much and I was like I have to meet the crazy people that wrote this,” she says. “It was really like a very perfect read. That’s a rare thing.” 

Rough Night, written by Broad City's Lucia Aniello and Paul W. Downs, makes its debauched debut in theaters today.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Jun162017

"Cars 3" and "Rough Night" top this week's new releases

Disney/Pixar 2017Here's a look at the new movies opening nationwide Friday:

Cars 3 -- Owen Wilson is back as Lightning McQueen, who is out to prove he's still the top race car in this latest chapter in the Disney/Pixar franchise. Additional voices include Armie Hammer, Kerry Washington and Larry the Cable Guy. Rated G. ABC Radio is owned by Disney.

Rough Night -- Scarlett Johansson, Jillian Bell, Zoë Kravitz, Ilana Glazer and Kate McKinnon play college friends who reunite for a wild weekend that goes terribly wrong after they accidentally kill a male stripper. Rated R. 

All Eyez on Me -- Newcomer Demetrius Shipp Jr. plays Tupac Shakur in this true story about the prolific rapper, actor, poet and activist. Rate R.

47 Meters Down -- While vacationing in Mexico, two sisters -- played by Mandy Moore and Claire Holt -- are trapped in a shark cage at the bottom of the ocean and fight to survive with less than an hour of oxygen left and surrounded by great white sharks. Rated PG-13.

Opening Friday in limited release:

The Book of Henry -- After discovering a plan to rescue a young girl from her abusive stepfather in her son's book, a single mother -- played by Naomi Watts -- attempts to put the plan into action. Jacob Tremblay also stars. Rated PG-13.

Maudie -- Sally Hawkins plays Maud Lewis, an artist who falls in love with a fishmonger -- played by Ethan Hawke -- while working as his live-in housekeeper. Rated PG-13.

 




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