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Motown’s Smokey Robinson, Berry Gordy celebrated at pre-Grammy gala



Motown's Smokey Robinson, Berry Gordy celebrated at pre-Grammy gala

Smokey Robinson and Berry Gordy, the visionary creative duo behind the revolutionary Motown genre, saw their legacy play out onstage Friday at a pre-Grammy gala honoring their life’s work.

From Robinson’s “The Tracks of My Tears” to “My Girl” songs, Motown defined the 1960s and influenced scores of artists that followed.

Gordy’s now iconic Motown Records, which the 93-year-old founded in Detroit in 1959, also played a pivotal role in uniting Black and white music fans in a decade convulsed by racial divisions.

Robinson was only 17 years old when he was recruited to join the label, where the balladeer became a prolific songwriter and seminal figure of the early days of R&B and soul.


“There had never been anything like Motown before Motown,” the now 82-year-old artist told AFP on the red carpet. “There will never be anything like Motown again.”

The star-studded gala that this year included Motown prodigy Stevie Wonder is an annual pre-Grammy tradition from MusiCares, the charitable wing of the Recording Academy that raises money to help musicians in need.

Friday marked the first time the show honored two artists, a decision MusiCares said was necessary to fete the two musical legends “of equal and parallel esteem.”

“Both loom so large in music, and their stories are so intertwined, that picking just one as the MusiCares Person Of The Year — an honor previously bestowed on Joni Mitchell, Quincy Jones, Aerosmith, and other luminaries — would be a half-measure,” the institution said.

‘Motown family’

Industry darlings turned out in full Motown swing with performers including the Four Tops, the Isley Brothers, Dionne Warwick, John Legend and Brandi Carlile.


The Temptations opened the show with a rollicking rendition of their smash hit “The Way You Do The Things You Do” and later crooned “My Girl” as Gordy and Robinson flashed megawatt smiles and bopped along.

Sheryl Crow belted out Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back” in a feathered, sparkling minidress, and Jimmie Allen performed “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” with Valerie Simpson, who co-wrote that hit, which Marvin Gaye and later Diana Ross made famous.

A trio of Best New Artist Grammy nominees — DOMi and JD Beck, Samara Joy, and Molly Tuttle — did a genre-bending medley of Motown classics.

“How in the world did I get to be in the Motown family? How in the world did I get a chance to have a catalog and be sitting here in front of my two amazing mentors?” said Lionel Richie in a heartfelt tribute.

“You guys mean the world to me,” he said before singing “Easy,” the beloved track he made famous with the Commodores in a performance that bought the room to its feet.


Wonder had the room standing once again as he delivered a reggae-tinged version of “Tears of a Clown.”

“I wouldn’t be here” without Robinson and Gordy, said Wonder — the virtuoso and music luminary who auditioned for Motown at just 11 years old.

“I can never repay you,” he said. “Thank you, I love you, thank you, I love you.”

“We should write a song like that!”



Shelley Duvall, star of ‘The Shining’ and ‘Nashville,’ dies at 75

Shelley Duvall, star of ‘The Shining’ and ‘Nashville,’ dies at 75




Shelley Duvall, star of 'The Shining' and 'Nashville,' dies at 75

Shelley Duvall, the intrepid, Texas-born movie star whose wide-eyed, winsome presence was a mainstay in the films of Robert Altman and who co-starred in Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining,” has died. She was 75.

Duvall died Thursday in her sleep at home in Blanco, Texas, her longtime partner, Dan Gilroy, announced. The cause was complications from diabetes, said her friend, the publicist Gary Springer.

“My dear, sweet, wonderful life, partner, and friend left us last night,” Gilroy said in a statement. “Too much suffering lately, now she’s free. Fly away beautiful Shelley.”

Duvall was attending junior college in Texas when Altman’s crew members, preparing to film “Brewster McCloud,” encountered her at a Houston party in 1970. They introduced the 20-year-old to the director, who cast her in “Brewster McCloud” and made her his protege.


Duvall would go on to appear in Altman films including “Thieves Like Us,” “Nashville,” “Popeye,” “Three Women” and “McCabe & Mrs. Miller.”

“He offers me damn good roles,” Duvall told The New York Times in 1977. “None of them have been alike. He has a great confidence in me, and a trust and respect for me, and he doesn’t put any restrictions on me or intimidate me, and I love him. I remember the first advice he ever gave me: ‘Don’t take yourself seriously.’”

Duvall, gaunt and gawky, was no conventional Hollywood starlet. But she had a beguilingly frank manner and exuded a singular naturalism. The film critic Pauline Kael called her the “female Buster Keaton.”

At her peak, Duvall was a regular star in some of the defining movies of the 1970s. In “The Shining” (1980), she played Wendy Torrance, who watches in horror as her husband, Jack (Jack Nicholson), goes crazy while their family is isolated in the Overlook Hotel. It was Duvall’s screaming face that made up half of the film’s most iconic image, along with Jack’s axe coming through the door.

Kubrick, a famous perfectionist, was notoriously hard on Duvall in making “The Shining.” His methods of pushing her through countless takes in the most anguished scenes took a toll on the actor. One scene was reportedly performed in 127 takes. The entire shoot took 13 months. Duvall, in a 1981 interview with People magazine, said she was crying “12 hours a day for weeks on end” during the film’s production.


“I will never give that much again,” said Duvall. “If you want to get into pain and call it art, go ahead, but not with me.”

Duvall disappeared from movies almost as quickly as she arrived in them. By the 1990s, she began retiring from acting and retreated from public life.

“How would you feel if people were really nice, and then, suddenly, on a dime, they turn on you?” Duvall told the Times earlier this year. “You would never believe it unless it happens to you. That’s why you get hurt, because you can’t really believe it’s true.”

Duvall, the oldest of four, was born in Fort Worth, Texas, on July 7, 1949. Her father, Robert, was a cattle auctioneer before working in law and her mother, Bobbie, was a real estate agent.
Duvall married the artist Bernard Sampson in 1970. They divorced four years later. Duvall was in a long-term relationship with the musician Paul Simon in the late ’70s after meeting during the making of Woody Allen’s “Annie Hall.” (Duvall played the rock critic who keeps declaring things “transplendent.”) She also dated Ringo Starr. During the making of the 1990 Disney Channel movie “Mother Goose Rock ‘n’ Roll,” Duvall met the musician Dan Gilroy, of the group Breakfast Club, with whom she remained until her death.

Duvall’s run in the 1970s was remarkably versatile. In the rugged Western “ McCabe & Mrs. Miller” (1971), she played the mail-order bride Ida. She was a groupie in “Nashville” (1975) and Olive Oyl, opposite Robin Williams, in “Popeye” (1980). In “3 Women,” co-starring Sissy Spacek and Janice Rule, Duvall played Millie Lammoreaux, a Palm Springs health spa worker, and won best actress at the Cannes Film Festival.


In the 1980s, Duvall produced and hosted a number of children’s TV series, among them “Faerie Tale Theatre,” “Tall Tales & Legends” and “Shelley Duvall’s Bedtime Stories.”

Duvall moved back to Texas in the mid-1990s. Around 2002, after making the comedy “Manna from Heaven,” she retreated from Hollywood completely. Her whereabouts became a favorite topic of internet sleuths. A favorite but incorrect theory was that it was residual trauma from the grueling shoot for “The Shining.” Another was that the damage to her home after the 1994 Northridge earthquake was the last straw.

To those living in Texas Hill Country, where Duvall lived for some 30 years, she was neither in “hiding” nor a recluse. But her circumstances were a mystery to both the media and many of her old Hollywood friends. That changed in 2016, when producers for the “Dr. Phil” show tracked her down and aired a controversial hourlong interview with her in which she spoke about her mental health issues. “I’m very sick. I need help,” Duvall said on the program, which was widely criticized for being exploitative.
“I found out the kind of person he is the hard way,” Duvall told The Hollywood Reporter in 2021.

THR journalist Seth Abramovitch wrote at the time that he went on a pilgrimage to find her because “it didn’t feel right for McGraw’s insensitive sideshow to be the final word on her legacy.”
Duvall attempted to restart her career, dipping her toe in with the indie horror “The Forest Hills” that filmed in 2022 and premiered quietly in early 2023.

“Acting again — it’s so much fun,” Duvall told People at the time. “It enriches your life.”


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Alec Baldwin weeps in court as judge announces involuntary manslaughter case is dismissed midtrial

Alec Baldwin weeps in court as judge announces involuntary manslaughter case is dismissed midtrial




Alec Baldwin weeps in court as judge announces involuntary manslaughter case is dismissed midtrial

 A New Mexico judge on Friday brought a sudden and stunning end to the involuntary manslaughter case against Alec Baldwin, dismissing it in the middle of the actor’s trial and saying it cannot be filed again.

Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer dismissed the case based on misconduct of police and prosecutors over the withholding of evidence from the defense in the 2021 shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of the film “Rust.”

Baldwin cried, hugged his two attorneys, gestured to the front of the court, then turned to hug his crying wife, Hilaria, the mother of seven of his eight children, holding the embrace for 12 seconds. He climbed into an SUV outside the Santa Fe County courthouse without speaking to the media.

“The late discovery of this evidence during trial has impeded the effective use of evidence in such a way that it has impacted the fundamental fairness of the proceedings,” Marlowe Sommer said. “If this conduct does not rise to the level of bad faith it certainly comes so near to bad faith to show signs of scorching.”


The case-ending evidence, revealed during testimony Thursday, was ammunition that was brought into the sheriff’s office in March by a man who said it could be related to Hutchins’ killing. Prosecutors said they deemed the ammo unrelated and unimportant, while Baldwin’s lawyers alleged they “buried” it and filed a motion to dismiss the case.

The judge’s decision ends the criminal culpability of the 66-year-old Baldwin after a nearly three-year saga that began when a revolver he was pointing at Hutchins during a rehearsal went off, killing her and wounding director Joel Souza.

“Our goal from the beginning was to seek justice for Halyna Hutchins,” District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies said in a statement. “We are disappointed that the case did not get to the jury.”

The career of the “Hunt for Red October” and “30 Rock” star and frequent “Saturday Night Live” host — who has been a household name for more than three decades — had been put into doubt, and he could have gotten 18 months in prison if convicted. It’s not clear what opportunities will await him now, but he and his wife signed an agreement for a reality show on their large family in June.

Baldwin and other producers still face civil lawsuits from Hutchins’ parents and sister, and from crew members. Hutchins’ widower and young son had agreed to settle their own lawsuit about a year after the shooting, with the widower becoming an executive producer on the then-unfinished film.


But that settlement was reportedly in jeopardy before the trial, and the lawyer who filed it, Brian Panish, now said in a statement that “we look forward to presenting all the evidence to a jury and holding Mr. Baldwin accountable for his actions in the senseless death of Halyna Hutchins.”

“Rust,” an independent Western, was completed in Montana. It has not found a distributor or been seen by the public.

Prosecutors did get one conviction for Hutchins’ death: Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the film’s armorer, was sentenced to 18 months in prison on an involuntary manslaughter conviction.

She is appealing, and her attorney Jason Bowles said he would file a motion to dismiss his client’s case on the same basis as Baldwin’s.

Marlowe Sommer put a pause on the trial earlier Friday and sent the jury home so she could hear testimony and arguments on the dismissal motion.


Troy Teske, a retired police officer and a close friend of Gutierrez-Reed’s father Thell Reed, who is a gun coach and armorer on movies, was the person who appeared with the ammunition on the same day the guilty verdict in her case was read.

Teske and the ammunition had been known to authorities since a few weeks after the shooting, but they determined it was not relevant.

The evidence was collected but crucially was not put into the same file as the rest of the “Rust” case, and it was not presented to Baldwin’s team when they examined ballistics evidence in April.

The issue came up during defense questioning of crime scene technician Marissa Poppell, who acknowledged receiving the ammunition, a moment that the judge watched on a police supervisor’s body camera Friday.

Morrissey argued that the emergence of the evidence was part of an attempt by Reed to shift blame away from his daughter.


“This is a wild goose chase that has no evidentiary value whatsoever,” Morrissey said. “This is just a man trying to protect his daughter.”

The evidence might not have mattered in Baldwin’s case were it included. The charges against him did not allege that he was responsible for the deadly rounds being on set. But the defense’s lack of access to it was deemed egregious enough for a dismissal.

The trial’s other special prosecutor, Erlinda Ocampo Johnson, who delivered the state’s opening statement just two days ago, resigned from the case Friday, a move that would have been stunning in itself were it not followed moments later by the dismissal. Baldwin attorney Alex Spiro asked Morrissey whether Johnson quit based on the evidence issues, and Morrissey said she believed it was over the holding of the public hearing itself.

Morrissey said she respects the judge’s decision but that there was no reason to believe the undisclosed evidence was related to the movie set.

The trial was over after it had barely begun. Prosecutors had only started to make their case, and none of the eyewitnesses from the set had testified yet.


Baldwin’s younger brother Stephen Baldwin and older sister Elizabeth Keuchler, both actors themselves, sat behind him in the gallery next to his wife each day of the trial, which was streamed live by AP and Court TV. Reporters from both coasts filled the small courtroom and patio outside.

The judge dealt a serious blow to the prosecution’s case when on the eve of the trial on Monday when she ruled that Baldwin’s role as a producer on the film was not relevant and had to be left out.

Still, prosecutors forged ahead, painting Baldwin in their openings as a reckless performer who “played make-believe” while flouting basic gun safety rules.

Spiro, the defense lawyer, argued that his client did only what actors always do on the “Rust” set and that the necessary safety steps must be taken before a gun reaches a performer’s hand.

Baldwin was first charged with involuntary manslaughter along with Gutierrez-Reed in January 2023. The charges were dismissed a few months later, but a new team of special prosecutors got a grand jury indictment against the actor this year.


The 16 jurors, including alternates, went home Friday thinking they would return Monday for one of the most high-profile trials in state history. They were instead informed by the court that their service had ended.

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Late-night comics have long been relentless in skewering Donald Trump. Now it’s Joe Biden’s turn

Late-night comics have long been relentless in skewering Donald Trump. Now it’s Joe Biden’s turn




Late-night comics have long been relentless in skewering Donald Trump. Now it's Joe Biden's turn

 Stephen Colbert took a slug from his drink glass before his first monologue after President Joe Biden’s disastrous performance during his debate with Donald Trump. This was going to be hard.

But then the CBS “Late Show” host dove right into jokes that were impossible for any political satirist to resist.

“I think that Biden debates as well as Abraham Lincoln — if you dug him up right now,” Colbert said this week.

He had company. Jon Stewart, Seth Meyers and Jimmy Fallon have all found fodder in Biden’s stumbling, slack-jawed performance and in the Democrats’ internal debate over whether the president should drop his campaign for a second term.


Late-night comics have skewered Biden’s Republican opponent, Donald Trump, for years. Some have made no secret that their feelings were not just professional: Colbert moderated a panel discussion between Biden and former presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton at a Manhattan fundraiser in March, and ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel held court at a Biden Hollywood event last month.
Yet to think they would have ignored Biden’s troubles was naive, says Robert Thompson, a scholar of TV and its history.

“The idea that late-night comedy has been another mouthpiece for the Democratic party is simply not true, because comedy cannot afford to do that,” said Thompson, director of Syracuse University’s Bleier Center for Television and Popular Culture. “The job is that you’ve got to make fun of the people in power.”

Although Stewart hosted a live version of “The Daily Show” on Comedy Central immediately following the June 27 debate, most of the comedic response has come this week because of vacation schedules.

In his first monologue back on Monday, Colbert made it clear that he believed Biden has been a great president. He referenced his appearance at the fundraiser, saying Biden seemed “ancient but cogent” that night. When Colbert showed a news report saying Biden had told fellow Democrats that he was fine, it was “just my brain,” the camera cut to a shot of the comic lying prone on the floor.

“Who am I to recommend” what Biden should do? Colbert asked rhetorically. “I don’t know what’s going on in Joe Biden’s brain — something I apparently have in common with Joe Biden.”
He dismissed the early explanation that Biden had a “bad episode” during the debate. “When ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ did a musical, that was a bad episode,” he said. ‘This took a year off my life.”


While Colbert hasn’t pulled punches, “it looked to me like he was in some pain having to do it,” said Bill Carter, author of “The Late Shift” and a writer for
The closest Colbert came to offering advice was when he said that Biden seemed caught between two virtues — perseverance and self-sacrifice.

“Self-sacrifice takes a particular kind of courage,” he said. “That is a courage that I believe Joe Biden is capable of. I believe he’s a good enough man. He’s a good enough president to put the needs of the country ahead of the needs of his ego. And however painful that might be, it is possible that handing leadership to a younger generation is the right thing for the greater goodest.”

A heartfelt statement — with a zinger at the end. The last word is a reference to a gaffe in Biden’s interview with George Stephanopoulos.

A change that probably buoys Donald Trump
Kimmel, who has been the subject of bitter attacks from Trump and has given them right back, is off this summer. He has not weighed in on Biden on his X account.

“I imagine he’s happy to be on vacation,” Carter said.
No doubt the change in tone is being relished by Trump, who has faced a “drumbeat of mockery” on late-night television, Carter said. His tiff with Kimmel and sour comments about “Saturday Night Live” are evidence of a thin skin. “SNL,” like Kimmel, is off for the summer.


Stewart has taken exception to the way some Biden supporters have groused that more attention should have been focused on things Trump said during the debate. He pointed out on “The Daily Show” that Trump has been criticized by comics “every night for 10 years.”

“We expected him to be f——- crazy,” Stewart said. “But Biden’s performance and inability to articulate at times was stunning. I couldn’t believe what I was watching.”

He said on his podcast, “The Weekly Show,” on Thursday that Biden’s team has been dishonest about the president’s condition. Earlier on “The Daily Show,” he called for a more open conversation.

“Do you understand the opportunity here?” Stewart said. “Do you have any idea how thirsty Americans are for any kind of inspiration or leadership and a release from this choice of a megalomaniac and a suffocating gerontocracy?”

On his NBC show, Meyers said that when he watched the debate, “I tried turning on the captions, but that just made it worse.” He also mocked Biden’s promise to get more rest.


“Your plan to calm fears about his age is an earlier bedtime?” Meyers said. “Are you hoping we’ll forget he’s 81 if you treat him like he’s 5½?”

Late-night comics may not have the television audience that they used to, but they arguably still have a disproportionate influence in the public discourse, Syracuse’s Thompson says. In the case of the Biden jokes, he says, they’re “influential because it’s the last place you might have expected to see them.”

Particularly for a younger generation, what the hosts say is often more likely to be experienced through video clips found online or shared on socials the next day. That was the case this week on “Morning Joe,” which replayed a routine by Jimmy Fallon on the “Tonight” show that referenced an interview with former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on “Morning Joe” the day before.

Fallon has kept his jokes mostly light, as he did Thursday night: “Biden,” he said, “hasn’t seen so many people jump ship since he vacationed on the Titanic.”

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