Former Disney Star Lee Thompson Young Dies at 29

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Lee Thompson Young, star of The Famous Jett Jackson, passed away today in Los Angeles,. The actor died from a gunshot wound, which appeared to be self-inflicted, reports TMZ. Young’s colleagues on Rizzoli & Isles, of which he is a current cast member, became concerned when he didn’t show up for work on Monday morning and called his landlord. The landlord then discovered Young’s body in his apartment.

Originally from Columbia, South Carolina, Young was best known for his title role on The Famous Jett Jackson, which aired from 1998 to 2001. He acted in a number of other television shows including South BeachSmallville and The Guardian. His film work included roles in Akeelah and the Bee, the acclaimed 2004 film Friday Night Lights and a part opposite Jamie Foxx in Redemption: The Stan Tookie Williams Story.

Young is a graduate of University of Southern California’s prestigious School of Cinematic Arts.

Our thoughts go out to his family.

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Rihanna is still on vacation in Barbados & posting a ton of bikini pics

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Rihanna has been firing up her Instagram app even more regularly than usual lately now that she has been spending some time in her native Barbados and basically living in a bikini. Because you know, RiRi can’t put on a bikini and simultaneously resist sharing it with the entire universe. Also, she’s still showing off her cute new hair (which probably won’t last long since she loves weaves on a Beyonce level) and that tacky AK-47 grillwhile generally having a grand old time on various beaches. Note: I have left out some of the more gratuitous photos of Rihanna showing off close-ups of her tush (including a strategically sand-jammed crack photo), but you can go to the source for those gems.

While Rihanna unwinds, a new story in this week’s issue of Star would have us believe that her employees are enjoying some time off as well because she’s reportedly a nightmare of a boss:

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Talentededgy, and stylish are all words associated with pop prince Rihanna. But so are ridiculousdemeaning, and nightmare, according to one long-suffering member or her entourage. “Rihanna hs never been easy to work for, but since she and Chris Brown broke up, she’s been beyond horrible,” admits the exhausted staffer. “She’s in a bad mood 24/7 and takes it out on everyone who works for her.”

Among her appalling antics? Sending an assistant on a fool’s errand for Mexican food — in Sweden! “Rihanna wouldn’t go onstage until she got carne asada, but by the time he returned — from an hour away — the food was cold. Rihanna threw a fit, like it was his fault!” fumes the source, adding that obscure meals are just the beginning. “We’re always sent on some errand to the middle of nowhere just to find something trivial, like the ‘right’ ice bucket or color notepad.”

Rihanna’s party habits aren’t helping matters either. “She’s so rude, always snapping at people, and she’s a nightmare to be around when she’s hung over,” the source coninues. “I can’t even remember the last time she said ‘please’ or thank you.’”

[From Star, print edition, August 19, 2013]

Honestly? This sounds like typical entitled-pop-star behavior. Not that it’s any excuse for that behavior, mind you, but I have no trouble believing that Rihanna would get a kick out of making her employees sweat. At the very least, she should be more careful with those who handle her food though, or else they’re liable to seek a little bit of revenge. Never mess with anyone who touches your food.

In related news, Rihanna is reportedly upset about her bum, which she has decided is far too “dainty.” As such, she has decided to load up on Bajan specialties including fried plantain and dumplings in an effort to gain a few pounds after her “grueling” world tour. I’m actually not terribly surprised at this news because Rihanna complained last year about her slimline, size-0 figure and said “I want my old butt back!” Of course, that booty is the same as it was then, and truth be told, it looks enviably fantastic no matter what RiRi has weighed over the years.

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Kris Jenner responds to Pres. Obama’s shade, claims he’s ‘picking on’ Kimye

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Ugh, let’s do this. Have you watched Kris Jenner’s talk show? I haven’t. I’ve only seen about three clips, and they were the same three stunt-queen clips that everybody saw because Kris Jenner is a stunt queen and she’ll do anything to get her ratings up and stay on the air, even if it’s hijacking a baby and pretending that it’s North Kardashian. So, Kris Jenner’s latest move is to try to publicly slam Pres. Obama for some rather innocuous statements he made about the American Dream, materialism and the middle class. Here’s what he said:

David Blum: Part of the American dream — even if you’re poor, or lower-middle class — involves yearning for tangible things you can’t afford. Were there things, when you were growing up, that you yearned for that you couldn’t afford?

Obama: “I don’t think people went around saying to themselves, ‘I need to have a 10,000-square-foot house.’ I think there has also been a shift in culture… There was not that window into the lifestyles of the rich and famous… Kids weren’t monitoring every day what Kim Kardashian was wearing, or where Kanye West was going on vacation, and thinking that somehow that was the mark of success.”

[From The Business Insider]

Obama could have name-checked any conspicuous-consuming celebrity and it still would have had the same point: the American dream should not be confused with the aspirational wealth and materialism of celebrities. The American dream used to be“work hard, get an education, get a good job and raise your healthy children.” His argument is about the shrinking middle class, the fragmented safety net and yes, about the culture of celebrity and celebutainment. But that nuance was lost on Kris Jenner. She went on her talk show and said this:

“I wasn’t aware that you could only set the bar so high and that you could only dream so big. I was taught dream big, work hard and you could have whatever you wanted. I bet the President has some friends with 10,000 square foot houses and that he wouldn’t mind going over there… when [he was] asking them to have a party for [him] while [he was] campaigning for dollars to run for president. I find it so odd that he’s picking on Kim Kardashian and Kanye West. Well, Kanye West, first of all, doesn’t go on vacation ever… and Kim Kardashian is the hardest working young lady in the world. She never sleeps, she never stops, she never slows down and works so hard for what she’s got. Her job affords her to live in a 10,000 square foot house and I think, if I’m not mistaken, that Mr. President’s job affords him to live in a 55,000 square foot house.”

[Transcribed by Michael K at Dlisted]

If she had simply made the argument that all of us can dream big and that there are no bounds for what you can achieve… I might have been with her. Truly. But then she turns it into a shill for how Kim is the “hardest working young lady in the world.” Bitch, you lie. Most people DO aspire to great wealth and a nice home, but let’s not pretend that it’s somehow good for our country or our culture when little girls say “I want to make a p0rn and have my mom sell it so I can be famous and live in a big house.”

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Damien Lewis, Claire Danes kind of hate each other on the set of ‘Homeland’ now

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Did you know there are some Homeland fans who believe that Damian Lewis (married!) and Claire Danes (married!) were having some kind of torrid affair as they worked on the show? If they weren’t both married to other people, I might think it was happening, just because they really do have so much chemistry together. Although, I have to give a lot of credit for that chemistry to Damian – he’s had chemistry with all of his leading ladies, from what I’ve seen. (Sigh… I was a shipper for Damian and Sarah Shahi when they did Life together!)

As for Damian and Claire’s on-and-off screen chemistry, Damian even joked about it at the Emmys last year, just after both he and Claire had won their respective lead actor trophies. Damian jokingly told reporters backstage that he and Claire were “going to go away to a romantic island together, just for the weekend. When that baby is a ginger, you guys are going to have a field day.” I really do take it as a joke – I mean, come on! Would Claire really get pregnant with Damian’s baby?! WOULD SHE?! But the Enquirer says that now that Claire has gotten that baby out of her, she and Damian no longer have their explosive (double-entendre!) chemistry. BEWARE – there might be some minor spoilers in this story:

Claire Danes and Damian Lewis play star-crossed lovers on “Homeland” but the real-life chemistry between them seems to have fizzled out completely. The tension between Claire and Damian is evident as the series shoots its third season on location in North Carolina.

“Claire and Damian really got along for most of the first two seasons, but lately they seem to get on each other’s nerves – and then some,” a source confided.

The new season opens during a global manhunt for Brody, who swears he had nothing to do with the terror attack. Lewis has already hinted that this will probably be the last season for his character. Behind the scenes, a lot has changed for Claire in recent months. She and Hugh Dancy welcomed their first child, son Cyrus, in December, and she’s not trying to juggle work with motherhood.

“As a first-time mom, she’s understandably stressed out,” noted a friend. “She basically just wants to get her scenes done and get back to little Cyrus. But Damian is very light-hearted, always joking around with the film crew and getting his picture taken with the locals when they’re on location. And that’s caused a lot of friction between him and Claire.”

Producers are hoping the bad blood doesn’t cause a distraction on the set, and they’re relieved the third season’s story lines will keep their characters far apart.

“It’s ironic- a lot of people fell in love with ‘Homeland’ because of the amazing chemistry Claire and Damian have on-camera. Maybe it’s good they aren’t working together much this season, because that chemistry is in short supply now.”

[From The Enquirer, print edition]

I think if you just look at this report at face value – that Claire is more interested in being a mom right now – it makes sense. It’s less about whatever chemistry she and Damian have and more about her trying to juggle motherhood and this physically and emotionally demanding Homeland role.

As for the SPOILERS… is Brody/Damian Lewis really leaving after this season? I think I’ve heard that rumor before, and while I think it might make sense within the story to kill off Brody at some point, it seems like the wrong thing to do for the longevity and structure of the show. Although I’m still waiting to see how they explain all of the shenanigans last season. I do believe the conspiracy theory that Abu Nazir always meant to be caught, that he entrusted his organization to Brody and that Brody was just play-acting his angst and crisis for Carrie so she would protect him. I will say this though – I’m pretty much “over” Brody’s whole family at this point. I don’t care that much about Dana anymore, and if WhatsHerFace wants to get with Brody’s BFF, so be it, just let them go away together with the kids. Just leave me Brody, Saul, Carrie and OMG, I really, really hope that Rupert Friend is coming back. I LOVE HIM.

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Star: Taye Diggs was grinding up on some club girl, cheating on his wife Idina

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Taye Diggs and Idina Menzel have been together more than a decade. They have a kid together (3-year-old son Walker) and for the longest time, I thought they were a down-to-earth, low-key couple and I truly believed that they had a traditional, monogamous marriage. Then a few years ago, I wrote that in a post and everyone yelled at me and informed me that there are tons of rumors that they maybe have an open marriage or that he just fools around a lot (either/or). And since that day, my innocence has been lost! Now I can’t look at Taye and Idina without thinking about how he’s allegedly fooling around all the time. Ugh. Anyway, I bring that up because – surprise! – Star Mag spoke to a woman (and they gave her a polygraph too!) who claims she witnessed Taye all up on some Not Idina Lady at a club. Apparently, Taye and this lady were pretty much dry-humping behind a pillar. Damn it, Taye.

Taye Diggs may be cheating on his wife of 10 years, Idina Menzel! Taye was spotted getting frisky with a sexy brunette while partying at Emerson nightclub in Hollywood on June 19.

“Taye was hanging all over the woman at a private table,” dishes a fellow clubgoer, who passed a polygraph test at Star’s request. “At 1 am, he led her upstairs to the back of the club, and they began making out behind a pillar. They were basically dry humping.”

Most recently, the same source say Taye, 42, flirting up a storm at a Sunday night Summer Sessions event at The Colony Night Club in Hollywood.

“He was acting like a bachelor,” spills the mole.

Taye’s racy behavior will undoubtedly come as a shock to his family. This past December, he appeared on Access Hollywood and gushed over the love he has for Idina and their 3-year-old son Walker. “We’ve got a kid… it make me more attracted to her every day.”

But despite the pair’s public persona, this isn’t the actor’s first brush with infidelity. Another source confirmed Taye’s scandalous ways after she witnessed him flirting with women in May 2011 at Voyeur club: “He was on a mission to get a bunch of hot girls.”

Taye’s publicist, Marla Farrell from WKT Public Relations, tells Star that the story is “not true”.

[From Star Magazine, print edition]

Did you notice that it’s the same “source” (the one taking the polygraph!) who claims she witnessed Taye fooling around TWICE. On two separate nights? Is this chick Taye Diggs’ stalker? Or is she employed by Idina? God knows. Anyway, I guess I might believe this. I’m still disappointed though. He a dog. It ain’t right.

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Beyonce ‘laughs at these low life people’ who talk about her pillowy pregnancies

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Beyonce does not want you to see these photos. They do not come from her Tumblr! They come from some kind of professional paparazzo in Milan, which is where Beyonce performed at the Mediolanum Forum Saturday night. Does Beyonce look pregnant in these photos? Eh. The current theory – with new sources popping up each day – is that she’s “pregnant” (“again”). I do think she looks like she’s gained a little weight – her face looks more filled out and maybe her abdomen looks slightly bigger. But it could just be water retention or a series of unflattering photos too.

Soon after E! News reported on Friday that Beyonce is definitely maybe pregnant,Beyonce posted this message on her Instagram“I can’t stop the rumors from starting, and I can’t really change peoples minds who believe them, all I can do is sit back and laugh at these low life people who have nothing better to do than talk about me.” See below:

Gurl, please. No one cares about your thoughts on the “low life people who have nothing better to do than talk about me.” And you know why, Beyonce? Because you LOVE when people talk about you. You love when everything is all about The Beyonce Show. You started selling your personal life around the same time you strapped on a pillow. When you’re a person who keeps a 24-hour, 7-days-a-week, multi-year archiveof your daily activities, you have no right to shade the peasantry for showing a passing interest in the state of your womb. Besides, if you wanted people to stop talking about your womb, you would just give People Magazine a straight denial.

Anyway, she deleted that Instagram shortly after she posted it. Because even she realized how dumb it sounded. So is she going to have another pillowy pregnancy? I don’t know. Maybe. We’ll see.

Photos courtesy of WENN.

Esquire: Brad Pitt & Angelina make out all the time, he calls her ‘the best person’

 

Brad Pitt covers the June/July issue of Esquire to promote World War Z. The interview was released last night and I’ll be covering it later today. The interview was done by Tom Junod around the beginning of April, when Angelina was in the midst of her multiple mastectomy and reconstruction surgeries. Brad didn’t give Junod any clue into what was going on. And so after Angelina’s announcement (one week ago today), Junod published an addendum (consider it a “reimagining”) to his yet-to-released Esquirecover story. It’s just his basic thoughts on Brad and Angelina’s relationship and Brad talking about how much he loves his girl. It’s really nice:

Tom Junod’s profile of Brad Pitt will appear in the June/July issue, which is on newsstands at the end of the month.

When I met Brad Pitt the day after Easter, he was so tired that he was perhaps more reflective than usual. He had just finished a week of spring break with his family. He had camped out with them the night before on his property north of Santa Barbara, and he had woken up, he said, too early, as well as too wet. They had slept in tents, four of his six children, along with two of their friends, and then he had gotten all of them in a van and driven them down to LA.

“Angie too?” I asked.

“Yeah,” he said. “Angie too.”

I told him that I’d met her a few years before, when I profiled her for Esquire. She was making a movie about the wife of the murdered journalist Daniel Pearl, and the thesis of my story was that while 9/11 was supposed to make us all better — a better country and a better people — it only worked for Angelina Jolie. The story has won a kind of immortality as “The Worst Celebrity Profile Ever Written,” and when I told that to Angelina Jolie’s partner, he at first laughed and said that he hoped Esquire would use that as the title of the profile I was writing about him. Then he got serious. “But you were right,” he said. “You were right, you were right. Angie is….the best person…..”

I remembered meeting Angelina Jolie — how thin she was, how much steak she ate and wine she drank, and above all her utter self-possession. She answered every question I asked, but she was the kind of person who responded without ever simply reacting. Brad Pitt was different. He was, like a lot of men, stuck between family and work, and the day he came back to LA from spring break was the day he began the push to finish his summer zombie movie, World War Z. And so, although he was Brad Pitt, he was also a big guy, dressed in black, stained around the eyes by stress and exhaustion, who spoke leaning forward, bent at the waist, with his hands folded between his legs, and was in the habit of repeating himself between long pauses. “I’m a crap interview,” he’d warned me, but when he began talking about his family, he said twice, “I haven’t known life to be any happier,” and he said it in such a way that I never once thought to doubt him.

This was April 1. I didn’t know then what I know now — that a month earlier, his partner, Angelina Jolie, commenced the series of surgeries that would end, a month later, with her pre-emptive double mastectomy. Over the next few weeks, I talked to several of Pitt’s close friends. They must have known what the couple was enduring, but of course they never told me. One of them, however, called me back after our first interview. His name was Frank Pollaro, and he’d spoken about the furniture business he’d started with Brad Pitt, and about Pitt’s excellent eye. But he wanted to say something else, so he called Brad, and asked if he was at liberty to speak about Brad’s relationship with Angelina. He was, and so when he called back, he told me what he’d seen at Brad’s house — “once I walked in and Angie was standing there and Zahara walked up and said, ‘Daddy, you’re not going to start making out with Mommy again, are you?’ And it’s like that. This is a guy who has tried not to do any sexy scenes with other women since he’s met Angelinia. He’s crazy about her, and she’s the same way about him. No matter how hard he’s working, if one of those kids runs by the window he’ll get out of his chair and give them a kiss. And I don’t think I’ve ever seen Angie without one of those children in her arms.”

It’s the nature of marriage — or, in the case Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, a committed relationship — to both invite and repel scrutiny. We have no idea how any two people make a life together, much less two people as professionally exhibitionistic and privately enigmatic as the two combined in the public mind as “Brangelina.” But I will say this: a long time ago, Brad Pitt left college in Missouri to come to LA and act in movies. He insists that he wasn’t looking for stardom, only a sense of life and possibility larger than what he left behind. He insists that he was searching the chimera of Hollywood for something real. This morning, the mother of his children revealed in the New York Times that he was “at the Pink Lotus Breast Center, where I was treated, for every minute of the surgeries.”

You do not have to be a celebrity, only a father and a man in love with a woman, to know that life doesn’t get any more real than that.

[From Esquire]

Does Junod sound like a fan-boy? Sure. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy this piece immensely. Junod infamously profiled Angelina several years ago – he references that in this piece, and you can read the old story here. It’s not a particularly revealing interview for Angelina, but again, it sounds like it was written by a fan-boy. And why not? Why can’t a celebrity journalist admit that he or she believes that Brad and Angelina are in love and in it for the long haul? That despite all of the glitz and bulls—t that comes with their jobs, they actually managed to make something real and lasting together? *adjusts Brangeloonie tin foil hat*

Photos courtesy of WENN.