September 06, 2012
By FRAZIER MOORE
The only worry on Michael Strahan’s mind when he made his entrance Tuesday September 4 as the new co-host of “Live!”: “Don’t trip,” he summed up after the show.
When Kelly Ripa introduced him, the gap-toothed former football player jogged onto the morning show set and gathered her up in a bear hug, lifting her off her feet.
“When I was hugging Kelly, that’s when I was calming down,” Strahan explained.
The rest of the hour was clearly a snap for him and for Ripa, who was getting a permanent partner nine months after Regis Philbin retired from the show and after having welcomed Strahan and 58 other guests in the chair beside her.
Taking his seat on Tuesday, the former New York Giant joked that it felt “comfy, like it was molded for my body.”
Strahan was relaxed, amiable and playful, and drew “ahhhs” from women in the studio audience when he presented Ripa with a dozen red roses.
“It’s so nice to have a co-host literally sweep you off your feet,” Ripa told viewers, “and I know that he can bench press me if he wanted to.”
Maybe his arrival was fulfilling a prophecy. Ripa played a clip of Strahan's first appearance on the show in 2008, shortly after the Giants had won the Super Bowl. Philbin asked Strahan what he would want to do after retiring from football, and Strahan said that Philbin’s job looked pretty good.
“I was joking,” Strahan said, “and I’m glad the joke came true.”
Strahan’s hiring has been an open secret for the past two weeks. His selection was made official a couple of minutes into what, since November, had gone by the stripped-down title “Live! With Kelly” and now rechristened “Live! With Kelly and Michael.”
Or rather, “live! with kelly and michael.” Eyeing the brand-new all-lowercase logo during a commercial break, the co-hosts pondered whether the first letters of their names would look better capitalized.
During their breezy first “host chat,” Strahan amusedly shared from a list of obnoxious pet names for women (“babe” and “sweet cheeks” among them). The pair discussed parenting policies, in particular how much money the Tooth Fairy should award for a lost tooth.
“Homeland” star Claire Danes was the first guest, followed by singer Phillip Phillips.
Then Olympic gold-medal gymnasts Aly Raisman and Jordyn Wieber each teamed with one of the co-hosts in a challenge on balance beams. Strahan was totally game for the stunt, which called for carrying eggs balanced on a spoon. (The two teams tied with 13 eggs apiece.)
After the broadcast, Strahan downplayed any suggestion the show would be changing much.
“I think you have two people who can laugh at themselves, who can laugh at each other, who have a good time, who get along — and make sure that anyone who watches the show enjoys it,” Strahan said. “I think it’s the same formula.”
The formula was cooked up by Philbin, the original host, nearly 30 years ago. Ripa joined him in 2001.
Executive producer Michael Gelman, who oversaw that transition from Kathie Lee Gifford to Ripa, was asked how Strahan emerged as the favorite in the current competition.
“Chemistry isn’t something you can really put your finger on,” he said. “But there was something special individually with Michael, and the chemistry was there.”
Ripa, declaring that she had had “a little bit of a say” in Strahan’s selection, said, “I wear my heart on my sleeve, so it’s pretty obvious that I love him. So I was definitely on board.”
“It seems like we’ve been doing it all along,” she added.
In return, Strahan said Ripa has “done a great job for 11 or 12 years, and hopefully we’ll do it for the next 11 or 12 years.”
In the meantime, he will continue as a host of “Fox NFL Sunday,” which originates from Los Angeles, where he lives. He will commute to New York to do “Live!”
How will he handle that routine?
“Get on a plane,” he cracked. “Coming here during the week and doing this show, it’s fun. I don’t look at it as if it’s a chore.”
Before bringing Strahan out, Ripa joked about the lengthy search, advising people to stop sending her resumes.
“I have enjoyed every single solitary person — except for one,” she said. “The staff is laughing because they know that’s true.”
Asked afterward who that one spoilsport had been, she stated with a laugh, “I would never reveal the co-host I did not enjoy being with.”
“But I will!” Strahan jumped in.
“He figured it out,” said Ripa, offering yet more evidence of their rapport. “He watches the show and he knows my body language.”
By CHRISTY LEMIRE Associated Press
Michael Clarke Duncan was one big, irresistible jumble of contradictions.
His presence was formidable, even intimidating: The former bodyguard had a muscular, 6-foot-4 frame, but it was topped by the brightest of megawatt smiles.
His gravelly baritone was well-suited to everything from animated films to action spectacles, but no matter the role, a warmth and a sweetness was always evident underneath.
The prolific character actor, whose dozens of movies included an Oscar-nominated performance as a death row inmate in “The Green Mile” and box office hits including “Armageddon,” “Planet of the Apes” and “Kung Fu Panda,” died Monday at age 54. And although he only turned to acting in his 30s, it’s clear from the outpouring of prayers and remembrances he received across the Hollywood and sports worlds that his gentle-giant persona made him much-loved during that relatively brief time.
Duncan died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, where he was being treated for a heart attack, said his fiancée, reality TV personality Rev. Omarosa Manigault, in a statement released by publicist Joy Fehily.
Duncan “suffered a myocardial infarction on July 13 and never fully recovered,” the statement said. “Manigault is grateful for all of your prayers and asks for privacy at this time. Celebrations of his life, both private and public, will be announced at a later date.”
Tom Hanks, star of 1999’s “The Green Mile” — the film that earned a then-little-known Duncan a supporting-actor nomination at the Academy Awards — said he was “terribly saddened at the loss of Big Mike. He was the treasure we all discovered on the set of ‘The Green Mile.’ He was magic. He was a big love of man and his passing leaves us stunned.”
“I will miss my friend, Michael Clarke Duncan,” comedian and talk-show host Steve Harvey said on Twitter. “What an incredible soldier in God’s Plan.” Other sad and shocked reactions came from a diverse field that included Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, actresses Alexa Vega, Niecy Nash and Olivia Munn, and former boxing champion Lennox Lewis.
In the spring of 2012, Duncan had appeared in a video for PETA, the animal rights organization, in which he spoke of how much better he felt since becoming a vegetarian three years earlier.
“I cleared out my refrigerator, about $5,000 worth of meat,” he said. “I’m a lot healthier than I was when I was eating meat.”
Duncan had a handful of minor roles before “The Green Mile” brought him accolades and fame. The 1999 film, based on the Stephen King novel of the same name, starred Hanks as a corrections officer at a penitentiary in the 1930s. Duncan played John Coffey, a convicted murderer with a surprisingly gentle demeanor and extraordinary healing powers.
Duncan’s performance caught on with critics and moviegoers and he quickly became a favorite in Hollywood, appearing in several films a year. He owed some of his good fortune to Bruce Willis, who recommended Duncan for “The Green Mile” after the two appeared together in “Armageddon.” Duncan would work with Willis again in “Breakfast of Champions,” “The Whole Nine Yards” and “Sin City.”
His industrial-sized build was suited for everything from superhero films (“Daredevil”) to comedy (“Talladega Nights,” “School for Scoundrels”). He could have made a career out of his voice work alone, with appearances in several animated and family movies, including, “Kung Fu Panda,” “Racing Stripes” and “Brother Bear.” Among Duncan’s television credits were “The Apprentice,” “Two and a Half Men,” “The Suite Life of Zack and Cody” and a new series, “The Finder.”
Born in Chicago in 1957, Duncan was raised by a single mother whose resistance to his playing football led to his deciding he wanted to become an actor. But when his mother became ill, he dropped out of college, Alcorn State University, and worked as a ditch digger and bouncer to support her. By his mid-20s, he was in Los Angeles, where he looked for acting parts and became a bodyguard for Will Smith, Jamie Foxx and other stars. The murder of rapper Notorious B.I.G., for whom Duncan had been hired to protect before switching assignments, led him to quit his job and pursue acting full-time.
Early film and television credits, when he was usually cast as a bodyguard or bouncer, included "Bulworth," ''A Night at the Roxbury" and "The Players Club."
August 30, 2012
The man accused of breaking into LL Cool J’s home has pleaded not guilty to a felony burglary charge.
Jonathan E. Kirby appeared in a Los Angeles courtroom this week and entered the plea.
Kirby was arrested after the actor-rapper subdued him in his home early Aug. 22, breaking the 56-year-old’s jaw, nose and ribs in the process. He was later charged with felony residential burglary and faces 38 years to life in prison if convicted due to his lengthy criminal history.
LL Cool J, whose real name is James Todd Smith, and his family were unharmed during the break-in, and nothing was apparently taken from their home. He stars in the CBS series “NCIS: Los Angeles.”
A district attorney’s spokeswoman says Kirby’s bail was set at $1.1 million.
You’ve done a lot of things in life that no one has agreed with at the beginning. Finding agreement this week will be difficult, but it should not deter you from moving forward. Feeling sorry for your loneliness will discolor what you are doing. Be happy that you are alone. Soul Affirmation: I get joy from giving good things.
Eternal optimist, eternity is now. Get in touch with your hopefulness and be a beacon to others. Try not to be taken in by promises made by others or promises you’ve made to yourself. Concerning your own affairs, avoid contemplating lofty subjects and seeking long ranged solutions. Soul Affirmation: Time is the greatest peacemaker of them all.
Some say optimism is fantasy. Suppose the good thing you’re optimistic about never comes. This week you’ll know that the joy of anticipating it is joy enough. Just the certainty of coming goodness is present goodness. The joy of tomorrow is available this week. Soul Affirmation: This week is the week the Lord has made. I rejoice in it.
You might be looking into the buying or selling of a piece of property, and this week seems to be a favorable week for this type of negotiation. Be careful with the intricacies of the matter. Pay attention to details or it could cost you a great deal later. Soul Affirmation: I care deeply about the feelings of others.
What a blessed week this will be. Spend it meditating on all that God has given you. This week think hard about some form of worship. Curtis Mayfield wrote a song called “Who Do You Love?” Someone should write one called “How Do You Love?” For your love lesson, the second song would be the one you should sing. Soul Affirmation: New intuitions create new plans and a new cast of characters.
Your self-discipline helps you to do more this week. People will be watching as you zip around with style and grace! Broaden your cultural horizons by trying new foods and meeting new people. You’ll be pleasantly surprised! Soul Affirmation: I am patient with all that comes my way this week.
The urge to chase off on a tangent may be strong this week. Take a few minutes to study the big picture and make sure any whims serve the bigger purpose. It’s a good week to do what needs to be done. Soul Affirmation: Luck is my best friend this week.
You’ll be full of good ideas this week, so make sure you write down the ones you don’t have time to put into action. You’ll want to share your thoughts on a grand scale, and your mind will seem truly universal to you. Try to be patient with those who are staggered by your brilliance. Soul Affirmation: Light from my soul shines in many directions.
This week let your gentle spirit shine through. Your rough and tumble side is not appropriate for the relationships that you’ll encounter. Someone will need your understanding and sympathy. Give it with sensitivity. Soul Affirmation: My life itself is my greatest creation.
You’re faced with a formidable task but when you defeat it, you’ll take big steps toward a goal. Weigh in and give it your best. Your energy is high. The task looks larger before you start. Compromise with a partner. The immediate future promises love. Soul Affirmation: I enjoy the spirits of people whose spirits are akin to mine this week
Yield to the harmony that lies below the surface of any seeming disagreement. Serenity is more important than your sense of righteousness. Questioning the motives of others will make your mind too suspicious to benefit from the unclear way in which love will present itself this week. Soul Affirmation: Freedom of mind is the greatest gift for me this week.
Always remember that loved ones make the world a wonderful habitat. Otherwise it is an empty place and no amount of material gain can give it the excitement you want and deserve. Soul Affirmation: I let my luck work for me.
Investigators have determined that a fire at filmmaker Tyler Perry’s Atlanta studios was caused by careless smoking.
Capt. Marian McDaniel is with the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department. McDaniel said that no criminal charges were pending.
The fire broke out Monday morning on the roof of a building undergoing repairs. It took firefighters about an hour to get the fire under control. The structural integrity of the building was not compromised.
This was the second blaze in recent months at the filming complex. On May 1, more than 100 firefighters battled a blaze that ripped through a simulated streetscape at the studios, sending flames about six stories into the sky. The cause of that fire was not determined because the intensity of that fire consumed any evidence that could be used to determine its origin.
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