Entertainment News

James Michael Tyler, "Gunther" on 'Friends,' dead at 59

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Actor James Michael Tyler, who played Gunther on Friends, has lost his battle with prostate cancer. He was 59.

Friends producer Kevin Bright tweeted the news on Sunday, writing, "James Michael Tyler Our Gunther passed away last night. He was an incredible person who spent his final days helping others. God bless you James, Gunther lives forever."

The official Friends Twitter account also posted a tribute, writing, "Warner Bros. Television mourns the loss of James Michael Tyler, a beloved actor and integral part of our FRIENDS family. Our thoughts are with his family, friends, colleagues and fans."

Earlier this year, Tyler revealed to NBC's Today show that his fight against the illness left his lower body paralyzed, keeping him from participating in the recent HBO Max Friends reunion in person. He did appear via a video greeting. 

The actor told Today the cancer was at stage 4, and had spread to his bones. "So eventually, you know, it's gonna probably get me," he said.

He also explained his cancer worsened during the pandemic last year.

"I missed going in for a test, which was not a good thing," he explained. "So the cancer decided to mutate at the time of the pandemic, and so it's progressed."

Some time ago, Tyler told ABC Audio he was "grateful" his character left such an impression on the sitcom.

"I got there, started with one word, and really no storyline whatsoever. You got to say 'Yeah,'" he recalled.

"I believe the whole like 'Gunther's unrequited love for Rachel' was only supposed to be about one or two episodes, but they kept that story arc for 10 years, which I'm very grateful for."

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Lennie James still doesn't believe he's survived in 'The Walking Dead' universe

L-R, Domingo, James -- AMC

Lennie James has played Morgan Jones in The Walking Dead universe starting from the show's pilot in 2010, and reappeared many times before transitioning to the spin-off show Fear The Walking Dead

Nobody's more surprised by that than Lennie, he tells ABC Audio. "I started out just doing one episode and I'm not sure people believe me when I tell them that it genuinely was just one episode."

James explains he was surprised when producer Gale Ann Hurd wanted him to be a permanent part of the series, but as a busy character actor, he wasn't always available.

In Fear The Walking Dead, his character is now pitted against Colman Domingo's Strand, who has morphed from reluctant hero to formidable, megalomaniacal opponent.

"If someone had told me at the beginning that this is where it was going to go, I would have said I don't believe it," James noted. "It's kind of snuck up on me and taken me by surprise."

The journey of James' character has taken Morgan from a mourning husband bent on revenge to a Zenned-out-seeming samurai-like figure, to something quite different nowadays.

"At each point there has been a new challenge, each point there's been something that has been worth taking on and worth seeing what it was like with this guy," he explains. "And he's he's never really kind of stopped challenging me, stopped surprising me and stopped interesting me, which is why I'm still here. I suppose doing it."  

Fear The Walking Dead airs Sunday nights on AMC, and streams anytime on the AMC app.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Halyna Hutchins, cinematographer killed on the 'Rust' set, was a "rising star" in the film world

Fred Hayes/Getty Images for SAGindie

Halyna Hutchins, a well-admired cinematographer who was blazing a new path for women in her field, was killed Thursday in a tragic accident on the set of the film Rust in New Mexico.

Alec Baldwin fired the shot from the prop gun that left Hutchins dead and the film's director, Joel Souza, injured. A source tells ABC News that Hutchins' husband, Matthew Hutchins, spoke with Baldwin, who has been very supportive.  Meanwhile, colleagues rushed to social media to mourn the 42-year-old artist. 

"I think she was going to be a very famous, very successful DP," director Adam Egypt Mortimer, who worked with Hutchins on the 2020 film, Archenemy, told the Los Angeles Times. "She was showing people what she could do."

Hutchins was remembered by colleagues for breaking barriers for women in Hollywood's male-dominated cinematography sector. Fellow cinematographer Elle Schneider paid tribute to Hutchins on Twitter Friday, remembering her as a "friend and rockstar cinematographer."

"Women cinematographers have historically been kept from genre film, and it seems especially cruel that one of the rising stars who was able to break through had her life cut short on the kind of project we've been fighting for," Schneider wrote.

Joe Manganiello, who also worked with Hutchins on Archenemy, called the DP "an absolutely incredible talent and a great person."

"...She was the kind of cinematographer that you wanted to see succeed because you wanted to see what she could pull off next," he recalled.

Hutchins was born in Ukraine and grew up on a "Soviet military base in the Arctic Circle surrounded by reindeer and nuclear submarines," according to a biography on her website, which also says she began her career as an investigative journalist on documentary productions before moving to Los Angeles.

 


David Boreanaz on looking back at 9/11 on Sunday night's 'SEAL Team'

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Sunday night's episode of CBS' SEAL Team, "Nine Ten," takes a look back at the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, through the eyes of David Boreanaz's Jason Hayes and his fellow team members. 

The episode takes place both in the present day, and via flashbacks showing where they all were before that terrible day 20 years ago. The cast assembled at the 9/11 Memorial for part of the episode.

"One of the things that hit me hard at the site, we were the first show to shoot down there at Ground Zero, was talking to a few officers that were present during that time," Boreanaz tells ABC Audio. 

"And the stories, some of the stories that they were telling were not only hard to hear, but hard to understand and comprehend that that energy," Boreanaz continues. [W]here they were that day, and what was happening around them. The sounds, the sights. Very disturbing. Words are hard to put into place with this one."

He adds, "Being there and shooting this show really was about remembering the lives that were lost that day, right, 20 years ago. Sure, we're a show that it can examine that where were these characters 20 years ago, why they got into the fight on terror, which is great storytelling. But being there and remembering and honoring that was something else. And man...It was very impactful."

One of the challenges was finding actors who could play Borenanz's character and others at that point in their lives. "Trying to find Jason Hayes was difficult, but the kid who played him was great and it was fun to talk to him and kind of see where he was coming from," Boreanaz says.

He calls "Nine Ten" a "very special episode."  

 

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Kandi Burruss recalls the shock of losing one of her twin embryos

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As Kandi Burruss prepares for the second birthday of her daughter Blaze next month, she's looking back at the trauma of Blaze's birth via a surrogate.

Blaze was one of twin embryos, and the Real Housewives of Atlanta star remembers the emotional moment when she found out one of the twins didn't make it after the embryo transfer to their surrogate.

"We were super happy, obviously, that she was pregnant. Then, you know, they did the scan and we were super, super excited 'cause both embryos took initially," Burruss said this week on People's Me Becoming Mom podcast. "Then, a few weeks later one of them, I don't know what they call it, but it went away. So we lost one of them."

After the joy of the pregnancy, it was a painful time for Burruss.

"I was super sad because, once again, we're thinking that we might have twins, and then they tell us, 'Yes, both of them are there.' Then we're all happy, excited," the 45-year-old entertainer explains. "The numbers were going up, and then they stopped going up. Then you're sitting there praying, hoping that something is going to change. And it didn't change."

The Xscape member and her husband, Todd Tucker, also have a son, Ace Wells, 5, plus Kandi has a daughter, Riley, 17, from a previous relationship.

Blaze is her first child via a surrogate, and she says the process has not affected her ability to have a special relationship with her.

"I guess [the] initial thinking is, like, just because somebody doesn't physically have their baby that they won't be able to have that same bond as a mother who physically pushed the baby out," she says. "If you ever had a doubt in your mind -- that is not true."

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Brandon Lee's sister Shannon weighs in on Alec Baldwin fatal firearm accident

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Shannon Lee, the sister of Brandon Lee, late son of legendary martial artist Bruce Lee, has weighed in on the fatal firearm accident Thursday that took the life of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins

The camerawoman was fatally injured on the set when Alec Baldwin pulled the trigger on a prop firearm on the set of the Western Rust. The film's director, Joel Souza, was also injured.

Brandon Lee was mortally wounded by a prop revolver in 1993, on the set of The Crow.

"Our hearts go out to the family of Halyna Hutchins and to Joel Souza and all involved in the incident on 'Rust'" reads the post on Lee's account, which is managed by his sister.

"No one should ever be killed by a gun on a film set. Period," the post concludes, with a broken heart emoji. 

An investigation is underway as to what went wrong on Rust's New Mexico set. 

The New Mexico Film Office released a statement Friday, reading, "We along with the entire film community in New Mexico are saddened by the tragedy that happened on the set of Rust, yesterday. We send our deepest condolences to the family of Ms. Halyna Hutchins and are keeping positive thoughts for a complete recovery for Mr. Joel Souza. The safety and well-being of all cast, crew, and filmmakers in New Mexico is a top priority at all times."


Emmy-winning 'Bosom Buddies', 'Newhart' actor Peter Scolari dead at 66

Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

Actor Peter Scolari, who played Tom Hanks' roommate in Bosom Buddies and also starred in the sitcom Newhart,and the acclaimed HBO show Girls, has died after a battle with cancer. 

Ellen Lubin Sanitsky at Wright Entertainment confirmed the news to ABC Audio. Scolari was 66. 

The veteran of stage and screen played Henry Desmond opposite Hanks' Kip Wilson in Bosom Buddies, a show whose conceit was that the friends could only find an affordable apartment in a woman's dormitory, leading them to take on the personas of the female characters Hildegarde and Buffy, respectively. The ABC show ran from 1980 to 1982.

Scolari then landed a role on Bob Newhart's series Newhart, which ran from 1982 to 1990, playing an uptight TV producer, and earning three Emmy nominations in the process. 

In 2016, the actor took home an Emmy for his guest turn in HBO's Girls as the father of show star and creator Lena Dunham's character.

Over the years, Scolari remained close with Hanks, who cast him in his 2006 directorial debut, That Thing You Do!, and the pair also reunited on the stage in the 2013 Nora Ephron play Lucky Guy.

Scolari also appeared on a host of other TV shows, most recently in a recurring role as Bishop Thomas Marx in the supernatural CBS series Evil

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Alec Baldwin posts about his "shock and sadness" after firearms mishap that left cinematographer dead

Mark Sagliocco/Getty Images for National Geographic

Alec Baldwin has posted to social media about the deadly firearms mishap Thursday that killed a cinematographer who was shooting Baldwin's movie, Rust, in New Mexico. 

"There are no words to convey my shock and sadness regarding the tragic accident that took the life of Halyna Hutchins, a wife, mother and deeply admired colleague of ours," Baldwin tweeted. 

"I'm fully cooperating with the police investigation to address how this tragedy occurred and I am in touch with her husband, offering my support to him and his family. My heart is broken for her husband, their son, and all who knew and loved Halyna," Baldwin concluded.

Officials are still investigating what went wrong on the New Mexico set in the incident, which also left the movie's director, Joel Souza, injured.  The incident occurred when Baldwin discharged a pistol on the set under circumstances that haven't been publicly specified.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Looking out for 001: 'Squid Game''s oldest star grappling with newfound fame

Netflix/Noh Juhan

Squid Game has become a pop culture phenomenon, with huge -- and unexpected -- ratings for Netflix, and even a spoof last week on SNL. Its surprise success has also led to surprise stardom for its oldest cast member. 

Seventy-seven-year-old Oh Young Soo plays Player 001 in the series, and his affecting performance as the terminally ill, dementia-addled man has his phone ringing off the hook with new acting offers. 

According to the pop culture site Soompi, the actor told the Korean show How Do You Play, "So many people have been contacting me, and because I don't have a manager to help me, it's hard for me to handle the volume of calls and messages I've been receiving. So my daughter has been helping me."

"I feel like I’m floating on air," the actor admitted. "It makes me think, 'I need to calm down, organize my thoughts, and hold myself back right now.'"

The actor, who was interviewed by the show's host Yoo Jae Suk and Mijoo from the K-Pop group Lovelyz, explained, "Things have changed quite a bit. Even when I go out to a cafe or somewhere like that, I now have to be aware of [how I appear to others]. It's made me think, 'Being famous is tough, too.'"

Young Soo reflected, "I don't have any grand ambitions," adding, "Big or small, I've received a lot of things while living my life. Now, I want to leave behind those things that I've received."

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


'Dune' cast shares why the new film cannot be "compared" to the 1984 original

Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures

Cast members of Warner Bros. highly anticipated remake of Dune are weighing in on the original 1984 film and why the two should not be compared. 

For Dune star Dave Bautista, who plays Baron Harkonnen's nephew Glossu Rabban, the first Dune had a special appeal.

"I was a fan," Bautista says of the David Lynch-directed adaptation. "It's so odd, because it's become one of those cult classics and it's so different from the novel...It's so different from what we've done. The performances are so over the top, so big, but there's just something... great about the movie.'"

Sharon Duncan-Brewster, who portrays Imperial ecologist Dr. Liet-Kynes, has a different take on the original film, explaining that the 1984 version was hard to watch.

"I remembered watching the original and thinking, 'This is weird,'" she laughs. "But still, there was something within it that kept pulling me in the saying, 'Actually, you want to watch this from the beginning. Don't watch it halfway through.' [But, when] I found out I was about to play the role of Kynes, I started to then go back and watch it in its entirety."

Meanwhile, Stellan Skarsgård, who takes on the role of villainous Baron Vladimir Harkonnen, says its best not to compare the two projects.

"When [a film is] made out of a book, it has to be...filtered through the filmmaker's psyche and his personality," he explains. "And David Lynch makes one thing out of it. And then Denis Villeneuve does something totally different, because it's a Denis Villeneuve film. It's like...20 different kinds of Hamlet performances and they're all different because they're filtered through different personalities. So I don't even compare them."

Dune, also starring Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya, is now available in theaters and on HBO Max.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Frances Fisher tweets that 'Rust' director is "out of the hospital" following fatal firearm mishap

Mark Sagliocco/Getty Images for National Geographic

Hollywood is shaken after the death Thursday of Halyna Hutchins, a cinematographer who was working on the Western Rust when a firearm was discharged on the set by star Alec Baldwin, with an unknown projectile striking and killing Hutchins.

It had been reported the film's writer and director, Joel Souza, was critically wounded in the incident, but actress and co-star Frances Fisher says that's not the case. 

In a tweet early Friday morning ET, Fisher said Souza is "out of the hospital," and that quotes regarding Baldwin that ran in the Daily Beast "are incorrect." The publication claimed the actor fired a prop gun believing it was loaded with blanks, and "did not know the prop contained live rounds." 

The Daily Beast also reported: "Although there were early reports that the gun contained live ammunition, the movie’s production company later said it contained blank rounds."

An investigation into the incident is underway, and neither Baldwin nor anyone else involved has been criminally charged with any wrongdoing.

A firearm loaded with blank ammunition is still potentially deadly. One of the most notorious mishaps involving a weapon loaded with blanks happened on March 31, 1993, on the set of the film The Crow, where a rushed production led to the death of star Brandon Lee.  A revolver was being used for a close-up, so prop bullets were needed to be seen in the pistol's cylinder. One had broken off and stayed there, and when the pistol was chambered with a blank round, that force ejected the dummy slug, causing a mortal wound to Lee's abdomen.

In 1984, actor Jon-Erik Hexum fatally shot himself on the set of the CBS series Cover Up when he playfully put a gun loaded with blanks to his own head and fired. The blank's wadding -- material that helps seal a charge inside of a round -- ejected with enough force to penetrate Hexum's skull.

In 2008, a Utah teen named Tucker Thayer fatally shot himself with a .38 loaded with blanks for a high school production.

For safety and budgetary reasons, many filmmakers have now switched to digital muzzle flashes, which are added in post-production.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Taraji P. Henson opens up about leaving an abusive relationship to protect her son

ABC/Troy Harvey

(NOTE NATURE) Taraji P. Henson is ready to talk about one of the hardest moments of her life -- gathering the courage to leave an abusive relationship.

Ahead of her new installment of Peace of Mind with Taraji, which airs on Facebook Watch, the Hidden Figures star shared a clip of the difficult conversation with Growing Up Hip Hop star Angela Simmons.

The two opened up about their troubled exes, with Taraji admitting she was physically abused by her partner when she was younger.

"Sometimes, as women, what we do is we fall in love and we go, 'You know what? I'll fix it later,'" the 51-year-old actress explained and revealed when she knew what she had was broken beyond repair. "For me it was when blood was drawn."

"It started with the bruises and grabbing, things like that. And then once the fist came, once the balled hand came and the fists -- and I'm missing a piece of my lip to this day -- that's when I knew I had to go," Henson  explained.

Taraji reveals that she "grew up around [abuse,]" and knew she had to break the cycle in order to protect her son, Marcell Johnson, who is now 27. "I was like, 'I don't want my son around this.'"

Peace of Mind with Taraji airs Mondays at 9 a.m. ET on Facebook Watch.

For anyone affected by abuse and needing support, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, or if you're unable to speak safely, you can log onto thehotline.org or text LOVEIS to 1-866-331-9474.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Common reveals Tiffany Haddish's special quality: "It's that child-like spirit that you love"

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Common and Tiffany Haddish made their relationship public in August 2020, and now, 14 months later, their special bond is growing stronger.

"She keeps me laughing. It's that child-like spirit that you love," the rapper/actor tells Essence about the Night School star. "She also possesses an authenticity that I love. I'm gonna know what's on her mind. I'm gonna know what she's feeling about me or somebody else or something. I like the way she communicates -- that's important to me. "

The 49-year-old entertainer adds, "Along with that, the way she treats her family and loved ones is real cool. I'm attracted to that. Tiffany is a good-hearted human being, and I love that about her."

Common also feels that the pandemic has brought the two stars even closer as they have spent more time together.

"It makes you reflect on, 'If things was ending now, who do I want to be around?'" he says. "Naturally, Tiffany and I just spent a lot of time together, just really enjoying life and being grateful for life and not putting too much pressure on our relationship, just really being present with each other and supportive and having fun."

The Oscar and Grammy winner was previously in high profile relationships with Serena Williams and Erykah Badu, and he says Black women have always motivated him.

"Some of the Black women that I've dated, been in relationships with, are crazy talented people, so that's inspiring in itself," Common says. "You see the work that they put in, and then how they can still go out and be good family people. That's been very influential on my personal life, but it also comes through in my art."

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


'The Story of Marvel Studios: The Making of the Marvel Cinematic Universe' book includes "personal stories," authors say

Marvel Studios

Got Marvel? The first fully authorized, all access history of Marvel Studios is in bookstores now.

The Story of Marvel Studios: The Making of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is a two-volume hardcover collection that details the rise of the studio into an cinematic force, chronicling all 23 films that make up the beloved “Infinity Saga,” featuring talks with the actors, producers and creatives -- including Marvel Studio head Kevin Feige.

Feige, who started as an associate producer on X-Men, tells ABC Audio that one of the invaluable lessons he learned during his early days was decision-making, and recalled some of the "risks" X-Men took, "like casting a six-foot-three Hugh Jackman to play the five-foot-two Wolverine and ultimately saying...embodying the spirit of the character that is more important than getting your ruler out and matching it perfectly to the comics."

Feige also learned the importance of having the right filmmaker for the job, despite experience level, because "they have a story to tell and a vision of how to tell it in a unique and different way."

The Story Of Marvel Studios was a years-long effort by co-authors Tara Bennet and Paul Terry -- but don't think this is merely a book chronicling the exploits of on-screen superheroes. "There’s so many personal stories," Terry said. "We see the spectacle of the movies but these are human beings with ideas! And those ideas evolve and become the MCU that we love.”

Speaking of Marvel, Bennet pointed out that what makes Marvel Studios different is their ability to retain and grow talent. 

"This is a place where people have stayed," she said, noting how people who "started out from getting people coffee... [to] now being an EP on Endgame."

Marvel is owned by Disney, parent company of ABC News.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Cinematographer dies, director injured in accident with prop gun fired by Alec Baldwin

Roy Rochlin/FilmMagic

A cinematographer working on the film Rust is dead and the director is hospitalized after an accident during filming involving star Alec Baldwin and a misfiring prop gun, authorities said Thursday.

The Western, starring Baldwin and Jensen Ackles of Supernatural, began filming this month at Bonanza Creek Movie Ranch, a film location in Sante Fe, New Mexico.

Deputies with the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office responded to the film set after a 911 caller "reported a shooting on the set," the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.

Two people were shot after a prop firearm was discharged during filming, authorities said. Baldwin fired the prop gun, striking the film's director, Joel Souza, and director of photography, Halyna Hutchins, the sheriff’s office said in a follow-up statement Thursday night.

Detectives are still determining "how and what type of projectile was discharged," the sheriff's office said earlier.

No charges have been filed in the shooting, authorities said. The Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office is investigating the incident.

Hutchins, 42, was transported via helicopter to University of New Mexico Hospital, the state's only Level 1 trauma center, "in critical condition," according to sheriff's deputies and the hospital. She later succumbed to her injuries, the sheriff's office said.

Souza, 48, was brought in an ambulance to Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center and is receiving emergency care, authorities said.

The film halted production following the accident, a producer said.

Baldwin shared a photo from the set of Rust earlier on Thursday in costume.

"Back to in person at the office," he captioned the post. "Blimey…it’s exhausting."

The actor is co-producing the film under his company, El Dorado Pictures, with Souza writing and directing.

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