Tag Archives: Las Vegas
Before Joan Rivers, Roseanne Barr and Ellen DeGeneres, Phyllis Diller crashed the mostly male comedy circuit party to become an icon in the stand-up field.
The raucous comedian, known for her wild wigs and cackling laugh, died at her home in L.A. at the age of 95. “She died peacefully in her sleep with a smile on her face,” longtime manager Milt Suchin told the Associated Press.
Born Phyllis Ada Driver in Lima, Ohio, Diller studied at Chicago’s Sherwood Music Conservatory for three years before eloping with Sherwood Anderson Diller in 1939.
She didn’t begin her career in stand-up comedy until she was 37, but the homemaker and mother soon made her mark, beginning in 1955 at San Francisco’s Purple Onion nightclub, becoming a mainstay for decades on TV and in nightclubs. By 1961, she had appeared more than 30 times on The Jack Paar Show, the late-night precursor of today’s Tonight Show.
Diller’s comedy career was timed almost as perfectly as one of her jokes. In the heyday of comedy and variety shows, Diller was a guest with all the big names, from Jack Benny and Dean Martin to Red Skelton and Ed Sullivan. But her 1966 ABC situation comedy, The Pruitts of Southhampton, later renamed The Phyllis Diller Show, lasted only one season.
In addition to blazing a trail as a woman in the male-dominated field of comedy, Diller spouted seemingly autobiographical one-liners and anecdotes that paved the way for Rivers’ and Barr’s riffs on similar themes; Diller told of domestic and marital strife with her long-suffering husband, “Fang,” and, of course, self-deprecating jokes about her often-outlandish appearance, which was part of her act.
She also joked about a mother-in-law called “Moby Dick” and a sister-in-law called “Captain Bligh.” All were fictional, she said, drawing a contrast between her stage persona and her real personality: She pointed out that though she carried a cigarette holder in her act, she didn’t smoke.
In real life, Diller didn’t shy from plastic surgery. In a 1992 profile, the Orlando Sentinel described her “plastic surgery résumé, which is printed on rainbow-colored paper and, after 22 years of work and 17 procedures done by nine surgeons, is threatening to spill onto a second page. There was 1985, a particularly busy year: She had a brow lift, nose job (the second), under-eye lift, cheek implants, eye-liner tattoo and she had her teeth bonded.”
Her devotion to makeovers even resulted in a special award from the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery.
But despite the surgeries, Diller insisted, “I like myself. I knew I was kidding.”
Diller branched out with varying degrees of success to the stage and big screen. She appeared in three movies with her comedy idol, Bob Hope, who also included her on his trips overseas during the Vietnam War to perform for the troops. She appeared in 23 of his TV specials. Throughout her career, she also took on guest-starring roles on TV shows, including The Love Boat; CHiPs; Blossom; 227; Love, American Style; and, more recently, Boston Legal.
From 1971 to 1981, Diller performed as a piano soloist with 100 symphony orchestras, as the comic character Dame Illya Dillya. But her musical prowess was no joke. The San Francisco Examiner said, “As demonstrated in Beethoven’s piano concerto and several selections by Bach, Miss Diller is also a fine concert pianist with a firm touch.”
Diller retired from nightclubs and touring in 2002 at age 84 because of ill health. Her final stand-up performance at the Suncoast Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas was chronicled in a 2004 documentary, Goodnight, We Love You.
In recent years, she lent her voice to animated characters in films and TV shows, such as A Bug’s Life, King of the Hill, Animaniacs, Scooby-Doo, The Wild Thornberries and Family Guy. In 2005, she published a memoir, Like a Lampshade in a Whorehouse.
And in July 2007, she fractured her back, an injury that caused her to cancel an appearance on NBC’s Tonight Show With Jay Leno to celebrate her 90th birthday. But she did appear as part of a “Queens of Comedy” panel with Anderson Cooper on CNN in early 2011. “You’re so white,” she told Cooper. “You look like somebody put too much bleach on you.”
Five-time world boxing champion Johnny Tapia was found dead in his Albuquerque, New Mexico, home at the age of 45, officials said on Monday.
Tapia, who was as renowned for his cocaine use and traumatic childhood as he was for his boxing talent, was found dead late Sunday night, police said. The cause of death was not yet known.
Albuquerque police were called to Tapia’s house late Sunday, where they found the boxer unconscious, said Albuquerque Police spokesman Robert Gibbs. He later died.
Brandishing a tattoo of his alias – Mi Vida Loca, or “My Crazy Life” – Tapia rose to prominence in the late 80s, and eventually won five world boxing championships in three weight classes: super flyweight, bantamweight, and featherweight.
His final professional boxing record was 59 wins, five losses, and two draws. Thirty of his wins were knock-outs.
In 2007 he planned a comeback bout against Ilido Julio dubbed “The Final Fury.” A month later he was found unconscious of a cocaine overdose and was eventually taken into custody for violating his parole stemming from a prior cocaine offense.
Tapia was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. His father was murdered when his mother was pregnant with him, and his mother was later brutally murdered when he was 8 years old.
According to the police detective who spent three years investigating the murder of Biggie Smalls, the man pictured above—Wardell Fouse a.k.a Darnell Bolton a.k.a. “Poochie”—was the triggerman who killed Biggie fifteen years ago today. His fee for murdering the greatest rapper of all time? $13,000.
On March 9, 1997, Christopher Wallace, a.k.a. The Notorious B.I.G., was shot to death while sitting in a Chevy Suburban outside of a hip-hop industry party in Los Angeles. Biggie’s drive-by shooting occurred just six months after his friend turned foe, 25-year-old Tupac Shakur, suffered a similar fate after a boxing match in Las Vegas. These killings remain the worst tragedies in hip-hop history.
Seeing the two greatest rappers of a generation cut down in their prime was bad enough. The death of two young men who were so beloved by their family, friends, and fans was worse still. Adding insult to injury, Big and Pac were both murdered on busy city streets, in view of numerous witnesses. Yet there has never been an arrest in either case and both murders remain officially unsolved to this day.
Although the police investigations in Los Angeles and Las Vegas have failed to bring the truth to light, there is no shortage of websites, documentaries, and books detailing various theories and counter-theories—ranging from rap beef and gang violence to crooked cops and government conspiracies. But the latest book to be published, Murder Rap: The Untold Story of the Biggie Smalls & Tupac Shakur Murder Investigations. by Greg Kading (second photo), is different from the rest.
Kading is neither a journalist nor a conspiracy theorist. A retired L.A.P.D. detective, he was in charge of the special task force that investigated Christopher Wallace’s murder between 2006 and 2009. After Biggie’s mother Voletta Wallace filed suit against the City of Los Angeles and the L.A.P.D.—seeking hundreds of millions of dollars in damages—the department was highly motivated to solve the case. That’s when Kading got the assignment.
After his efforts led to two sworn confessions from people who said they played a part in the killings of Wallace and Shakur, Kading was suddenly pulled off the case. At the time, he was under investigation by L.A.P.D. Internal Affairs for allegedly making false statements on an affidavit in a separate case. However, in the end, Internal Affairs cleared Kading of any wrongdoing. Around the same time, the Wallace family’s lawsuit was dismissed.
When the 22-year veteran saw the case he built being shelved, he became so frustrated that he quit the force—but not before making copies of his evidence so that he could put all his findings into a book. His conclusions are controversial to be sure, but they are so thoroughly researched that they’re hard to ignore.
For the full story and interview click here
Rachel Uchitel posted pictures late Tuesday on the social networking site, showing her with new husband Matt Hahn, an insurance broker, touching her bump. She wrote “checking out my baby bump at 5 months…” and “expecting big things for 2012… Five down, Four months to go…”
The couple had a small wedding in Las Vegas in October and an insider told Life & Style at the time that Uchitel was pregnant and the pair planned to have a bigger wedding after the baby arrives.
This is the first time Uchitel herself has confirmed the news.
The pair met in November 2010 and lived together in New York for several months before moving to San Francisco shortly before the wedding.
Uchitel, 36, became a household name after she became the first of Woods’ alleged mistresses to expose his infidelity, leading to a string of revelations in 2009, which eventually forced him to take a break from competitive golf and caused his divorce from wife Elin Nordegren in August 2010.
Uchitel later appeared on VH1′s “Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew” where she sought help for a “love addiction.”
She first rose to fame in the days after Sept. 11, 2001, when the New York Post published a front-page picture of her crying as she searched in vain for her fiance, investment banker James Andrew O’Grady, in the rubble of the World Trade Center.
Just last week, at the Las Vegas premiere of Cirque Du Soliel’s “Michael Jackson The Immortal World Tour,” Paris Jackson told Access Hollywood she planned to follow in her father’s footsteps and enter the entertainment world — as an actress. And now, Access has confirmed the 13-year-old has lined up her first feature film role.
Paris will star as an as yet undisclosed human character in a live action feature film, based on a children’s book series by Dennis H. Christen.
According to the book’s description on Amazon, the story surrounds “the war between the land and the sea.”
“Ancient sea-magic turns a dolphin into a human, an evil spell changes a teenage boy into a dragonfly and a once good and loving jellyfish queen becomes an evil fairy godmother. This modern day adventure forces an unsuspecting family to become the weapon to fight the war which rages on the land and under the sea,” the description reads.
Paris is also featured on the book cover.
The film will also feature the voices of Larry King as King Pom, his wife, Shawn King as Queen Dalina,and Joey Fatone as Paco, a sea horse.
The project is currently in production and no release date is currently available.
Following her performance at the iHeartRadio music festival, Lopez headed to Pure Nightclub with an entourage of more than a dozen people, including her backup dancers. Dressed in a short cream dress with pink stripes, Lopez hung out in the club’s elevated VIP area, sipping Dom Perignon Rose as her music videos played on two oversized screens at each end of the club.
By all accounts, Lopez has bounced back from her split with husband Marc Anthony and is into having a good time. About an hour after arriving at Pure, “one of her dancers took his shirt and gave her a lap dance,” a source tells PEOPLE. “She was laughing and loving it.”
Surrounded by her crew and security guards, Lopez was at times barely visible at her VIP table but came to the front when DJ Irie played “On the Floor.” She sang along to her song and shook hands with fans clamoring for a glimpse of the returning American Idol judge.
Later, Lopez danced on the couch in her private area when the deejay played songs by Rihanna and the Black Eyes Peas before leaving the club at 3:30 a.m.
“It’s kind of like (former New York Knicks guard) John Starks. He was bagging groceries (before playing college ball), and all of a sudden goes to the Knicks and becomes an amazing player,” said Jeong, who is reprising his role as flamboyant Las Vegas gangster Leslie Chow as “The Hangover Part II” opens nationwide Thursday.
“Pat Riley believed in him, and (producer/director) Judd Apatow was kind of like my Pat Riley. Definitely. He brought me in, auditioned me and gave me my big break. Because of that, I think it allowed other directors to say, ‘OK, if he’s good enough for Judd, then we’ll consider working with him.’ Judd gave me credibility, like Riley did Starks.”
Jeong, 41, who got his medical degree at the University of North Carolina, was working at Kaiser Permanente Woodland Hills Medical Center in Southern California when he decided to prescribe himself a new career.
He had moved to Los Angeles after winning the 1997 Big Easy Laff Off in New Orleans, a competition judged by late television executive Brandon Tartikoff and Budd Friedman, founder of the Improv comedy club.
He continued to perform comedy at night after performing emergency room miracles during the day.
But the acting bug never left him, and he got his big movie break when Apatow cast him as Dr. Kuni, an OB/GYN handling Katherine Heigl’s pregnancy. Jeong’s performance led to parts in “Pineapple Express,” “Role Models,” “All About Steve,” “The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard,” “Couples Retreat” and “The Hangover” in 2009.
Jeong played the criminal boss Chow, who stole the show when he popped naked out of the trunk of a car and beat star Bradley Cooper with a tire iron before finally running away into the Vegas desert. “The Hangover” grossed $467 million worldwide after costing only $35 million to film. Jeong was nominated for two MTV Movie Awards, winning the “WTF Moment” for the tire-iron scene. And it solidified his decision to set medicine aside to follow his dream.
Even though he still maintains his California medical license and works a few emergency room shifts here and there, Jeong now focuses on his comedic acting career. That now includes “The Hangover Part II,” which stars Cooper, Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis as the goofy “Wolfpack.”
That cracking sound you heard on Sunday night? It was millions of devoted Justin Bieber fans simultaneously suffering a broken heart as he kissed girlfriend Selena Gomez on live TV at the Billboard Music Awards.
And while the ceremony was set in Las Vegas, the wholesome honeys kept things tasteful as they shared a quick lip-lock and equally decorous hug when Justin was named Top New Artist.
Of course, their restraint might have had something to do with the fact that Bieber’s mom, Pattie Mallette, was seated next to Gomez, who was sheathed in a cut-out Dolce & Gabbana gown.
But their G-rated puckering still earned plenty of cheers from the crowd.
“I’m 17 and I want to thank God because he has blessed me so much,” said the gold lamé-bedecked Justin, who collected five other awards at the ceremony.
Fight fans in Las Vegas last weekend were drawn to the WBO welterweight title fight between Manny Pacquiao and Sugar Shane Mosley at the famous MGM Grand Garden Arena. However, it was another fight that same day — an impromptu match on the Vegas Strip involving a masked caped crusader — that has gone viral.
The video posted on YouTube earlier this week by Marcus DeWayne Pace of Huntsville, Texas, shows a single-round brawl between an unidentified male in a white shirt and a street performer dressed as Batman.
“I was standing on Tropicana [Avenue] with my sister and we saw an argument going on between the two,” Pace told AOL Weird News. “I was like yeah, it’s fixing to go down, so I grabbed my video camera.”
And down it went. Supposedly nobody wanted to file charges after the incident, and to be honest, it was kind of disheartening to watch the Dark Knight get it handed to him.
Last spring, all eyes were on the set of Bad Teacher — which reunited former flames Justin Timberlake and Cameron Diaz. (Timberlake, 30, was still involved with Jessica Biel at the time; they split last month.)
According to Diaz, it was anything but awkward or tense working with her ex on the dark comedy.
“No, it’s great. Justin and I have always had a good laugh together, and to make a movie where we get to have a laugh together, and there really was no one else who was more perfect for this part,” Diaz, 38, told UsMagazine.com at the Coliseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas Wednesday, where she was on hand to accept the CinemaCon Female Star of the Year Award.
She gushed that her ex (they parted ways in late 2006 after over 3 years together) is “a genius comedian. . . he’s clearly talented. We went for the best person for the job, and it just so happened that it was him. And he delivers.”
The “SexyBack” singer brings something to cinema that nobody else does, she enthused. “He’s frickin’ weird in movies. He’s so bizarre and hilarious. I say that with great respect to his character and what he’s done!”
Diaz, who is now hot and heavy with Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez, continued to insist “there was nothing to make” of working with her ex. “[Just] two people who were working together, who just so happened to have gone out with one another at another time in our lives,” said the star.
“It really wasn’t a big deal, we had a great time and did the job, and we do what all actors do afterward: We all go our separate ways. We’ll all come back together for the premiere.”
Another hot topic: The baseball player’s girlfriend’s amazing body. How does she do it? “Leg weights and weights and lifts, leg lifts — anything you can do on the floor. It’s my horizontal workout,” she explained.
As for food? “I need to eat every couple hours, so I’m just eating constantly, just to keep healthy,” she explained. “I try to eat really clean. I eat a lot of protein, whether it’s fish, chicken, or beef, or egg whites, and then brown rice or quinoa, and oatmeal and a whole grain like that, and lots of greens.”