Tag Archive | Celebrity Deaths

Eight Favorite Acting Roles by Philip Seymour Hoffman

Philip Seymour Hoffman as Lester Bangs
Philip Seymour Hoffman as Lester Bangs in Almost Famous (with Patrick Fugit)

By now, everyone with an Internet connection knows that American Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman died early this morning, February 2nd, 2014 of an apparent Heroin Overdose in his NYC apartment. He was just 46 years old. I am currently inconsolable over this tragic news. Hoffman was certainly among my favorite actors and I don’t think I ever saw film he was in where he didn’t blow me away with his ability to transform into his character. He was comparable to a male version of Meryl Streep when it came to his versatility. What a huge loss.

Here are a few of my favorite film roles Hoffman played over the years.

Almost Famous: Hoffman played the late Rock Critic Lester Bangs, who mentors a young William Miller (a character played by Patrick Fugit, and based on director Cameron Crowe) as he takes on a feature assignment for Rolling Stone Magazine.

Boogie Nights: Hoffman was totally believable as Scotty J., a shy, socially awkward, gay film assistant who has a hopeless crush on Porn Star Dirk Diggler (Mark Wahlberg).

Magnolia: In Paul Thomas Anderson’s ensemble drama, Hoffman had the role of Phil Parma, a private nurse who attempts to bring about a reconciliation between his terminally ill patient (played by Jason Robards) and that patient’s misogynistic son (Tom Cruise).

Red Dragon: Hoffman was so good at playing slimeball Reporter Freddy Lounds, you almost hated to see him get brutally tortured and killed. Almost.

Capote: Hoffman won the Academy Award for Best Actor in 2005 for his flawless portrayal of the flamboyant author, Truman Capote.

Synecdoche, New York: Hoffman plays ailing theater director Caden Cotard, who sets out to stage a theatrical production of his life story that takes on a life of its own. If you’ve ever wanted to feel like you are on LSD without actually taking any drugs, watch this movie.

Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead: Hoffman plays Andy Hanson, one of two brothers (his costar is Ethan Hawke) who plan to execute a “perfect crime” that goes horribly, tragically wrong. The final film directed by Sidney Lumet; highly recommended.

The Master: Playing the part of a charismatic cult leader not-so-loosely-based on L. Ron Hubbard of Scientology fame, Hoffman earned a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for his role as Lancaster Dodd.

RIP and Godspeed.

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TMZ Tour NYC!

TMZ Bus Exterior Detail 2
All Photos By Gail

I’m going to go ahead and own the fact that on weeknights when I am at home, and also coherent, I’ll turn on TMZ and watch their low rent “news” on celebrity has-beens and wannabes that I’ve either never heard of before, or wish I hadn’t. I’m probably the least Star Struck blogger on the planet, but I consider TMZ to be my primary source of worthless celebrity pandering so that I can stay in the loop about what is “popular” – you know, for the kids. TMZ is also completely hilarious and boasts the least self-aware staff of any celebrity news program, so in that way it seems very down to earth and makes you feel like you’re hearing these crazy stories from people you know pretty well. That’s probably why the show is so popular.

TMZ Bus Exterior Detail

Fans of the show will be excited to find out that TMZ, in association with On Location Tours, now has a daily, two-hour bus tour you can sign up for that will take you all around the city from midtown to the tip of the island and back again, and point out dozens of places where celebrities hangout, pass out, get wasted, film their shows, actually live, used to live, got beat up, or were deeply embarrassed about something or other. It’s pretty fun!

You’ll board your luxury, air conditioned coach at the corner of 51st St. and Broadway, across the street from this diner:

Ellen's Stardust Diner

Our awesome tour guide was Matt Chadwick, an extremely friendly and equally hilarious and knowledgeable young man who cracked jokes incessantly but also revealed fascinating information such as:

  • Jim Carrey has an art Studio on Perry Street
  • Ed Burns is married to Christie Turlington
  • Macy’s not only has the oldest working escalators in the country (I’ve seen them!) but also the largest collection of shoes under one roof
  • Chris Brown beat up Drake at some club near the Holland Tunnel that I already forgot the name of, because I could care less about those two. Seriously who cares?
  • Columbus Circle is the spot from which all distances to NYC are measured

Matt Chadwick Tour Guide
Matt: Our Tour Guide and Former Australian Idol Finalist

What I enjoyed most about the tour was getting to see neighborhoods in Manhattan that I honestly never go to and driving down streets that I’ve never seen before in my life. And I’ve lived in Manhattan over 20 years! But, while I was on the TMZ Tour, I felt like I was visiting a foreign land, and it made me want to go to these neighborhoods on my own, and explore.

TMZ Bus Interior
Bus Interior with Video Monitors

The entire time that the bus is cruising around and your tour guide, who will be Matt if you’re very lucky, is pointing out places where Lady Gaga used to do burlesque, the loft where Beyoncé and Jay Z live, the apartment above the now closed Daffy’s (RIP) where Heath Ledger overdosed, and most recently, the park on lower 6th Ave. where Jonah Hill was recently spotted taking a photograph of a placenta (don’t ask), you will be entertained by hilarious and clever TMZ-produced video clips, that will further the action with additional graphics, interviews and explanations of what you’re seeing. It seems like the whole TMZ staff gets involved, so you will get to see all of your favorites, including Harvey.

During our tour, Matt hosted few rounds of fun trivia guessing games such as “Celebrity or Homeless Person?” and “The Finger or a Wave?” where the correct answer was awarded with a rare TMZ T-Shirt. So, Free Stuff! Matt really kept things rolling, and our driver was exceptionally skilled at taking very tight corners, and not killing anyone – because you know that pedestrians in New York City don’t stop crossing the street for anyone! The TMZ Tour is a fun way to spend two hours for locals who just want to get out of the house and also a good thing to take your out-of-town friends to. Despite the fact that we saw no celebrities, I had a great time!

Details
Where: 51st St & Broadway (exact location given upon purchase)
When: Weekdays & Sundays at 10:00 AM & 1:00 PM, Saturdays at 1:00 PM & 4:00 PM.
Cost: $49 + $3 ticket fee (Adult), $39 + $3 ticket fee (Children 11 & under)
Duration: Approximately 2 hours
Advance Ticket Purchase is Required so buy tickets at This Link!

TMZ Disclaimer

RIP Legendary Music Producer Phil Ramone

Phil Ramone
Image Source

Fourteen time Grammy winning record producer Phil Ramone passed away in New York today, March 30th, 2013. The cause of death has not yet been disclosed. Ramone was 72 years old (though I have seen two sources cite his age as 79, not sure where that is coming from as his year of birth is given as 1941). A brief list of artists Ramone worked with includes Burt Bacharach, Bono, Ray Charles, Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin, Quincy Jones, Madonna, Paul McCartney, Paul Simon, Frank Sinatra and Stevie Wonder. CNN has more information and celebrity remembrances in a nice obit at This Link. RIP, Phil!

Davy Jones: Dead at 66

Davy Jones of The Monkees

British singer and actor Davy Jones, best known as vocalist for The Monkees, passed away suddenly today, February 29, 2012. Jones reportedly suffered a heart attack Wednesday morning. This is so crazy and unexpected, as I literally just saw Jones and his very excellent band perform at BB Kings night club here in NYC on Saturday, February 18th and he looked and sang great. Davy Jones was 66 years old. RIP Davy.

Director Ken Russell Dies at Age 84


Roger Daltrey as the composer Franz Liszt in Ken Russell’s 1975 film Lisztomania

British film Director Ken Russell – who directed two of my favorite films starring Roger Daltrey (Tommy and Lisztomania) has passed away in a hospital on Sunday (11/27/11) following a series of strokes. He was 84. BillBoard has a nice obit and recap of Russell’s career at This Link.

RIP Steve Jobs

Oh man, what a blow. Steve Jobs has passed away today, October 5, 2011, due to an as yet unspecified causes (read: Cancer), though he was known to be in poor health (Jobs struggled with pancreatic cancer for over a decade and underwent a liver transplant in 2009). He was 56 years old — way too young to go. Steve can at least rest in peace knowing he created the best personal computer in the universe.  The Worley Gig was created on an iMac and the Mac is the only brand of computer I will ever own. Apple Mac Forever! You can read the LA Times Obit on Steve Jobs at This Link.