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Record Producer Ken Barnes Dies


Bing Crosby Fred Astaire

Barnes passed away on 4 August (15), but further details about his death were not released as WENN went to press.

He produced Bing Crosby's final six albums, and worked with Fred Astaire, Peggy Lee and Johnny Mercer during his 50-year career.

Barnes also wrote music books including Sinatra and the Great Song Stylists in 1974, The Crosby Years in 1980 and 1974's 20 Years of Pop.

Continue reading: Record Producer Ken Barnes Dies

Director Marty Pasetta Killed By Car


Fred Astaire Alfred Hitchcock

Pasetta died in La Quinta, California on Thursday (21May15) after he was hit by an unattended car that had apparently been left running.

The car's owner has since been arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, reports the Associated Press.

Pasetta, 82, was best known for directing the Academy Awards telecast from 1972 to 1988.

Continue reading: Director Marty Pasetta Killed By Car

Movie Reviews A Thousand Words


Eddie Murphy Fred Astaire Michael Phillips Roger Ebert

Except for the fact that his latest movie will almost certainly turn out to be a flop, Eddie Murphy emerges virtually unscathed from the scathing reviews that A Thousand Words is receiving. Michael Phillips in the Chicago Tribune calls him "a first-rate talent stuck in yet another third-rate piece of blech." The title of the movie has something to do with the fact that the principal character is the victim of a kind of curse that allows him to speak only a thousand words. Speak one word more than a thousand and he dies. Thus, the poster of Murphy showing him with his mouth taped over. "As a promotional idea," writes Roger Ebert in the Chicago Sun-Times , that "ranks right up there with Fred Astaire in leg irons." (Of course, Ebert himself lost the ability to speak as a result of cancer operation in 2006. The movie shows the Murphy character engaged in all manner of physical contortions to communicate. "I think what I'd try is writing notes," he advises.) Likewise, Liam Lacey in the Toronto Globe and Mail observes, "The idea of taking one of Hollywood's best-known motor-mouths and reducing him to mugging and charades is definitely novel -- and utterly misguided." But Mark Jenkins in the Washington Post suggests that all that critical vitriol may be unjustified. The movie, he says, may merely be "more bland than actively bad."

Continue reading: Movie Reviews A Thousand Words

Whitney Houston Owned Ginger Rogers' Dancing Shoes


Whitney Houston Anthony Perkins Aretha Franklin Bette Davis Bobbi Kristina Bobby Brown Clive Davis David Gest Fred Astaire Ginger Rogers Judy Garland Leslie Caron Mad World Michael Jackson Rhys Darby Sidney Poitier Disneyland

Whitney Houston's estate contains a pair of Ginger Rogers' dancing shoes personally signed by the screen icon.

The late singer was a huge fan of classic Hollywood movies and like her godmother Aretha Franklin - who collects Bette Davis and Judy Garland memorabilia, among other things - she was an avid buyer of memorabilia from her favourite film stars.

Among Whitney's vast collection is a pair of shoes Ginger wore when she danced with Fred Astaire in one the 10 films they starred in together.

Continue reading: Whitney Houston Owned Ginger Rogers' Dancing Shoes

Dirty Dancing Remake Confirmed


Kenny Ortega Dirty Dancing Fred Astaire Gene Kelly Jennifer Grey Michael Jackson Patrick Swayze

Kenny Ortega is to direct a 'Dirty Dancing' remake.

The 'Michael Jackson's This Is It ' filmmaker - who choreographed the original 1987 production, which starred Jennifer Grey and the late Patrick Swayze - is "excited" about tackling the production for Lionsgate and has pledged to introduce new talent to the world.

Kenny said in a statement: "The opportunity to direct 'Dirty Dancing' is like returning home for me. Growing up in the 60's on the dance floor helped define me as a person and as an artist.

Continue reading: Dirty Dancing Remake Confirmed

Astaire Stunned By Jackson's Moonwalk


Fred Astaire Michael Jackson

Late dancing icon Fred Astaire was so stunned by Michael Jackson's famous `moonwalk' at the Motown 25 concert in 1983 he called the pop superstar to congratulate him - and then stole one of his moves.
The Thriller singer tells Ebony magazine he choreographed the dance sequence and insisted on taking charge of all the camerawork and stage lighting when his performance was filmed - to make sure his moonwalk amazed.
And it did just that to Astaire.
Jackson says, "Fred Astaire calls and said, `I watched it last night, and I taped it, and I watched it again this morning. You're a helluva mover.'
"So, later, when I saw Fred Astaire, he did this (moonwalk move) with his fingers."

Beyonce Teams Up With Usher


Beyonce Knowles Usher Jay Z Sean Paul Fred Astaire Spice Girls

Beyonce Knowles is set for another blockbuster video duet with R+B's smoothest superstar Usher.

After teaming up with boyfriend Jay-Z and reggae star Sean Paul in previous promos, Beyonce will "dance and flirt" with Usher in her new release NAUGHTY GIRL.

She says, "I'm excited. I feel like Usher's the Fred Astaire of our times."

Continue reading: Beyonce Teams Up With Usher

Nicholson: Astaire Got Me Into Sunglasses


Jack Nicholson Fred Astaire Top Hat Academy Of Motion Pictures And Sciences

Movie legend Jack Nicholson credits the late Fred Astaire with helping him cultivate his 'sunglasses with everything' look.

The ABOUT SCHMIDT star was chatting with the Top Hat actor at a 1970s Academy Awards ceremony when Astaire convinced him that donning shades indoors looked super-cool.

He says, "I was sitting next to Fred Astaire at the 1976 Oscars and we were having a few laughs. They announced his category and he didn't win and that minute he put on his sunglasses. I don't even think I had a thought, I just reached for the glasses.

Continue reading: Nicholson: Astaire Got Me Into Sunglasses

Richard Chamberlain: 'The Night I Saved Princess Margaret'


Richard Chamberlain Queen Elizabeth II Elizabeth Taylor Fred Astaire Laurence Harvey

THORN BIRDS star Richard Chamberlain deems the night he whisked the late British royal PRINCESS MARGARET away from a drunk actor as the best moment in his long career.

The 69-year-old screen star dined with the sister of Queen Elizabeth II in 1964 at a society event in Hollywood, which also featured the likes of FRANK SINATRA, DAME Elizabeth Taylor and Fred Astaire.

Richard reminisces, "Socially and hierarchically that night was the high point of my life."

Continue reading: Richard Chamberlain: 'The Night I Saved Princess Margaret'

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