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Robin Williams: How Heart Surgery Changed My Life

Robin Williams

Why is Robin Williams planning to return to the stand-up circuit just seven months after having heart surgery?

“I realized I was running out of merchandising money from Bicentennial Man,” he joked at the Television Critics’ Association panel in Pasadena, Calif. Thursday.

Williams, 58, says his 20-date tour, Weapons of Mass Destruction, which kicks off in September and which will air on HBO, uses material drawing from “a relapse, three years of heavy drinking, going to rehab in wine country to keep my options open, coming out of that, divorce, and open heart surgery.”

The characteristically light-hearted comic admitted that he worried about touring. “After having open heart surgery, it’s going to be interesting,” he says. “I haven’t done the long program [yet]. I started a little bit; I went on stage two months ago and I was on a couple minutes and then I said, ‘I’m not ready yet, thank you.’ ”

Despite the career setbacks, Williams says surviving surgery has had positive effects in his personal life. “You literally are opened up, and you really do appreciate the simplest things like breath, and friends,” he says. “I’ve been calling up all of my friends and saying, ‘Thanks for being there.’ You say, take it a little slower. That’s been amazing.”

Source, Bauer-Griffin

Posted Friday, July 31st, 2009 at 3:15pm
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Macy’s heir sues Jay Leno over a one of a kind car

Jay Leno

Didja hear the one about the elderly car enthusiast who took it on the chin from Jay Leno?

The family of Macy’s heir John Straus is suing the “Tonight Show” host and the owners of an East Side garage who allegedly duped the octogenarian out of his beloved – and one-of-a-kind – 1931 Duesenberg Model J.

The car’s estimated value is $1.2 million, but Leno bought it from the garage after a “sham” auction for a mere $180,000, Straus’ family charges in a Manhattan Supreme Court lawsuit.

The garage had also “auctioned” off another of Straus’ cars – a 1930 Rolls Royce Phantom convertible – to a corporate alter-ego for a whopping $0. The car, which is actually worth $500,000, now belongs to an executive of the Windsor Garage, Dennis Ricca.

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“The whole thing was a sham,” said one of the Straus family’s lawyers, Nathan Goldberg.

Reps for Leno and the garage didn’t immediately return calls for comment.

The suit says Straus had rebuffed car-collecting comic Leno’s offers to buy the car for years, but it ended it up in Leno’s lap after the garage pulled some funny business in 2005.

That’s when, the suit says, the garage warned Straus it would auction off his cars unless he paid his parking bill, which he’d been paying in periodic installments at the E. 76th St. garage for decades.

Straus, who was in his 80s and beginning to suffer from dementia, sent in a check for the $22,000 bill, but the garage sent it back to him, saying he now owed $36,000 and gave him a different account number, the suit says.

Straus did so, thinking that secured his cars – but the different account number on the check was actually for spaces for two significantly less valuable cars he had at another garage owned by the same owners.

The garage then auctioned off both cars to its alter-ego for no money, and sold the Deusenberg to Leno for $180,000.

Straus, who was the grandson of Macy’s co-founders and Titanic victims Isador and Ida Straus, died this past may at age 88, and his adult daughters found out what had happened soon after.

“These were precious family heirlooms, and the family wants them back,” said another Straus lawyer, Andrew Solomon.

The suit falls short of accusing Leno of conspiring with the garage, but the lawyers said the comedian and his lawyers should have known something was funny after seeing the car’s auction price.

“Leno was far less concerned with the bona fides of the underlying purported auction and sale, then with achieving his long awaited purchase of this one of a kind Model J,” the suit says.

Leno has reportedly admitted going to great lengths to get the car. In a 2007 book, he said he made up a story about the car to keep other collectors away.

Goldberg said in addition to using trickery to auction off the cars, the garage – which collected hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees from Straus over the decades – didn’t follow the legal steps it was supposed to in carrying out.

Had the cars been auctioned off legally, he said, the garage could have kept up to the amount of money Straus owed, and anything over the amount would then have to go to Straus.

Source, WENN

Posted Thursday, October 16th, 2008 at 2:14pm
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Drew Lachey to host Broadway season kickoff

Drew Lachey

Drew Lachey will play host to some 50,000 fans expected flock into Times Square on Sept. 14 to kick off the new Broadway season that will find Katie Holmes, Daniel Radcliffe and Haley Joel Osment coming to the Great White Way.

The second-season Dancing with the Stars champ, currently appearing in the Tony-winning musical spoof Monty Python’s Spamalot, will be joined by other stars for the free Broadway on Broadway 2008 concert, according to the event’s organizers, the Broadway League and the Times Square Alliance, and its presenter, Continental Airlines.

“I am delighted to be a part of the Broadway community and I love this great city,” Lachey, who previously costarred in the New York production of Rent, said in a statement. “I look forward to showing the Broadway fans from New York and around the world just what we have to offer.”

Besides numbers from his own show, Lachey will introduce performances from the upcoming productions A Tale of Two Cities, Elton John’s Billy Elliott and 13, about a New York teen forced to move to Indiana when his parents divorce.

Cast members from such established shows as Avenue Q, Grease, Gypsy, Hairspray, Jersey Boys, Legally Blonde, Mamma Mia! and Wicked will also strut their stuff – all in anticipation of the gala’s grand finale: a “shower” of confetti, stretching from 43rd to 47th Streets, which will be closed to traffic.

“It is an honor to be hosting this year’s “Broadway on Broadway”],” says Lachey.



Posted Friday, August 29th, 2008 at 9:09am
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Camila Alves at Nobu in Malibu

Camila Alves



Posted Monday, August 25th, 2008 at 7:07am
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Tom Arnold’s divorce is final

Tom Arnold

ET has obtained the documents finalizing the divorce of actor-comedian Tom Arnold from Shelby Roos, his political consultant wife.

Arnold first filed for a legal separation from Roos in August 2006, but six months later, the ‘True Lies’ star asked the courts to withdraw the request because the couple reconciled. He then filed for divorce again in May 2007. They two originally married in 2002.

Arnold was married twice before, first to Roseanne Barr from 1990 to 1994, and later to Julie Champnella from 1995 to 1999.



Posted Thursday, August 21st, 2008 at 8:08am
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