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SHOWBIZ Transgender Talent, celebrity deaths, film festival, Whitney Houston
by Windy City Times staff
2021-09-26

This article shared 898 times since Sun Sep 26, 2021
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Transgender Talent—the trans-owned and operated management and production company—is looking to help Hollywood get better at portraying transgender and non-binary characters on screen with the launch of a new consulting arm, Deadline reported. Run by Ann Thomas—an activist and second-generation transgender person who has worked on the HLN series Transgender in America—the division is an expansion of its medical education division which educates and advises UCLA medical students on transgender patient care.

Richard Buckley, a renowned fashion editor and husband to designer Tom Ford, died "of natural causes after a long illness" at age 72, USA Today noted. A statement from their family provided by Alexandra Nourafchan, a representative for Ford, read, "Richard passed away peacefully at their home in Los Angeles Sunday night [Sept. 19] with Tom and their son, Jack, by his side." Ford, 60, and Buckley met in an elevator at a fashion show and fell in love at first sight, the designer told People and Entertainment Weekly in 2016.

Sarah Dash—the singer and co-founder of the all-female singing group Labelle, best known for the 1974 hit "Lady Marmalade"—died at age 76, according to NPR. Dash's bandmate, Patti LaBelle, announced her longtime friend's death on social media. Nona Hendryx—who completed the Labelle trio—shared on Instagram of the passing of her former bandmate: "Words are inadequate so I will use few. We spoke a musical language, music says it best. Singing brought us together…"

Willie Garson—a fan favorite on Sex and the City (in which he played gay character Stanford Blatch) and co-star of White Collar—died after a battle with cancer at age 57, Deadline reported. Garson's son, Nathen Garson, and actor Titus Welliver were among the first to announce Garson's death on social media. Stanford and Sarah Jessica Parker's Carrie Bradshaw were reunited for the HBO Max limited series And Just Like That… alongside Mario Cantone, who played his husband, Anthony. "So deeply, deeply sad we have lost @Willie.Garson," queer Sex and the City lead Cynthia Nixon wrote on Instagram, while out actor Matt Bomer—who co-starred with Garson on White Collar—stated, "Willie. I don't understand. And it's not fair," according to out.com .

Actor Michael K. Williams—best known for his role as gay gun-toting dealer Omar on the TV show The Wire—died from "acute intoxication by the combined effects of fentanyl, p-fluorofentanyl, heroin and cocaine," the New York City Medical Examiner's Officer determined, according to CNN.com . His death was deemed to be accidental in nature, a spokesperson for the office said in a statement. Williams most recently appeared in HBO's Lovecraft Country (for which he received an Emmy nomination) and the series F Is for Family.

In its final year, QFest, Houston's International LGBTQ Film Festival, will aptly show the movie Swan Song, which stars Udo Kier, Jennifer Coolidge, Michael Urie and Linda Evans, a press release noted. QFest opened with in-person screenings observing COVID safety protocols on Friday, Sept. 24, at the Aurora Picture Show; and Sunday, Sept. 26 at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. The festival will then return for one final weekend, with virtual platform partner Cinenso presenting the 2021 competition slate and special feature presentations beginning Thursday, Sept. 30 through Monday Oct. 4. See www.q-fest.com .

RCA Records released the Whitney Houston x Clean Bandit dance version of the dance-floor classic "How Will I Know," according to a press release. This November marks the 36th anniversary of the release of "How Will I Know" from the late musical icon's 1985 RIAA-certified Diamond, self-titled debut album on Arista Records. The platinum-selling single became Houston's second #1 on the Billboard 100 chart in 1986 and the accompanying video earned Houston her first MTV VMA award for Best Female Video that same year.

And speaking of Houston, Oscar-nominated actor Stanley Tucci has been tapped to play Grammy-winning producer Clive Davis in the biopic I Wanna Dance With Somebody, the upcoming feature about Houston, Deadline noted. Naomi Ackie will play Houston in the musical biopic, which is based on the life and music of the iconic singer. Kasi Lemmons is directing, with Academy Award nominee Anthony McCarten penning the script.

The fourth and final season of TNT series Claws will premiere Sunday, Dec. 26, a press release announced. Additionally, an early sneak peek of the final season's first episode will air Dec. 17 during TBS' weekly talk show series Friday Night Vibes, co-hosted by Tiffany Haddish and Deon Cole. The series follows LGBT actress Niecy Nash-Betts' Desna Simms, who—alongside her crew of manicurists from the Nail Artisans of Manatee County salon—rises to power in the crime world to claim her share of cash and respect. The series co-stars Carrie Preston, Judy Reyes, Karrueche Tran, Jenn Lyon, Harold Perrineau and Dean Norris.

Hallmark Channel announced that a sequel to The Christmas House—the network's first original Christmas movie featuring a same-sex couple—will be coming out this holiday season, out.com noted. The sequel, tentatively titled The Christmas House 2: Deck Those Halls, brings back the original cast, including Jonathan Bennett and Brad Harder, who played the couple in the first film. Other cast members returning include Robert Buckley, Ana Ayora, Treat Williams and Sharon Lawrence.

Billy Eichner's upcoming, gay AF romantic-comedy film Bros—the first romantic comedy from a major studio (Universal Pictures) about two gay men falling in love—has an all-LGBTQ+ cast, according to out.com . Besides the leads, portrayed by Eichner and Luke Macfarlane (Brothers and Sisters; Killjoys), cast members include TS Madison, RuPaul's Drag Race Season 13 winner Symone, Miss Lawrence (Star; The United States vs. Billie Holiday), Guillermo Diaz (Scandal) and writer Guy Branum. Bros is set to hit theaters Aug. 22, 2022.

Theo Germaine will star in John Logan's untitled feature directorial debut, a new horror film for Blumhouse formerly known as Whistler Camp, Deadline noted. The movie is an LGBTQIA+ empowerment story set at a gay conversion camp. Germaine is best known for playing James Sullivan in Ryan Murphy's The Politician as well as in Abby McEnany's Work in Progress.

After the success of its Celebration of Black Cinema events for the past three years, the Critics Choice Association said it is expanding the series with the inaugural Celebration of Latino Cinema, which will honor icons Rita Moreno, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Demian Bichir, among others, Deadline noted. The new Celebration, to be presented virtually, is set for Thursday, Dec. 9, and aims to put a spotlight on the contributions of Oscar-winning and -nominated artists like that initial trio, but also on Latino filmmaking in general.

Regarding the Emmys, the event was widely condemned for its lack of diversity after presenting all major acting awards to white actors, according to PinkNews. Despite boasting one of the most diverse set of nominations in history—with a record 49 people of color recognized in the acting and reality-competition categories—not a single one of them received an award. Among those overlooked were Billy Porter and Mj Rodriguez (Pose), Kenan Thompson and Bowen Yang (Saturday Night Live), and the late Michael K. Williams (Lovecraft Country). The hashtag #EmmysSoWhite began trending.

Hulu's The Handmaid's Tale went into the Primetime Emmy Awards with 21 nominations, coming in third behind The Crown, which had 24 noms and WandaVision's 23. But after the Creative Arts Emmys and the most recent ceremony, the 15-time Emmy winner came out zero for 21, setting a record for most Emmy losses in a single year, according to Deadline. The Handmaid's Tale bested AMC's Mad Men, which earned 17 Emmy nominations in 2012 and won none.

A movie revival of the MTV series Teen Wolf is in the works at Paramount Plus as part of a new overall deal series creator Jeff Davis has signed with MTV Entertainment Studios, Variety reported. The news came on the four-year anniversary of the original Teen Wolf finale on MTV. According to out.com, lead actor Tyler Posey posted about the news on his Twitter, sharing a video of fans begging for more Teen Wolf. "We've heard your howls—and we're howling back," the video says.

In the book Yours Cruelly, Elvira: Memoirs of the Mistress of the Dark, Cassandra Peterson, details her trick-or-treat life in a candid memoir, revealing her 19-year romantic relationship with a woman—whom she only identifies as "T," Page Six noted. She also, among other things, mentions meeting the late basketball star Wilt Chamberlain, whom she claims forced oral sex on her.

Transgender Polyvinyl Record Co. and Emmy-nominated artist, author, activist and musician Laura Jane Grace (Against Me!, The Devouring Mothers) announced the release of At War with the Silverfish, a new seven-song EP, a press release stated. Recorded at Grace's TinyQuietStudio in Chicago and at Electric Eel in St. Louis, "Silverfish" is the follow-up to her critically acclaimed solo album Stay Alive. Additionally, Grace will be performing solo this fall and winter supporting At War With The Silverfish, making Midwest and East Coast appearances and supporting Thursday in December.

Kathryn Hahn is attached to play Joan Rivers in The Comeback Girl, a limited series in development at Showtime, according to Variety. The Comeback Girl is primarily set in the aftermath of the cancellation of Rivers' The Late Show, which coincided with her husband (and Late Show producer) Edgar Rosenberg's death by suicide. Hahn was nominated for an Emmy for WandaVision, and will soon be seen in Apple TV's The Shrink Next Door. Rivers died at age 81 on Sept. 4, 2014—several days after she'd stopped breathing during a routine endoscopy on her throat.

While Lil Nas X's debut full-length album, Montero, featured collaborations with several singers—including Elton John, Miley Cyrus, Doja Cat, Megan Thee Stallion and Jack Harlow—the "Industry Baby" artist revealed that he tried to get two more big names on the record: Lady Gaga and Nicki Minaj, iHeart.com noted. Taking to Twitter to answer fan questions about his recent release, Lil Nas X responded to one fan who asked "Would you ever do a song with Lady Gaga" by replying, "yes I actually wanted a song with her on the album but I never finished writing to it and sending it to her."

On The View, the Sept. 24 show had some drama, as co-hosts Sunny Hostin and Ana Navarro exited the stage just as Vice President Kamala Harris was waiting to come on, Deadline noted. "Sunny and Ana apparently tested positive for COVID. No matter how hard we try these things happen. They probably have a breakthrough case. They will be OK, I am sure, because they are both vaccinated," said co-host Joy Behar. Harris was eventually interviewed remotely from another, isolated spot in the studio; to fill the time for the adjustment, Behar and Sara Haines took questions from the audience. E! News noted that Hostin and Navarro were given follow-up rapid tests after leaving the table, and those results came back negative.

Rapper/business mogul Birdman put the sometimes homophobic rumors to rest about kissing fellow rapper Lil Wayne on the lips in a photo from more than two decades ago, USA Today noted. On REVOLT TV's Big Facts podcast, the Cash Money Records CEO said, "First of all, my own son, I would kiss him. I always looked at Wayne as my son and I always looked at it like, 'cause I was in the streets, and I thought this might be the last time he ever see me. I was his father when he didn't have a father since he was 9 years old. And I love him like my own and I'd give my life for him."

Independent professional wrestler Rolando Perez—better known to his fans across the Deep South as Miami Ice—came out on social media as bisexual, out.com noted. "F*ck it…," Perez tweeted. "I'm bisexual." Perez wrestles in events that Alabama-based New South Pro Wrestling promotes. New South Pro's Top Shelf and Action Clashes events are staged in smaller venues across the state, and events are live-streamed on Independent Wrestling TV.

Mixed martial-arts rising star "Suga" Sean O'Malley commented critically on transgender fighter Alana McLaughlin's victories over female fighters, Yahoo! News noted. "I don't think that's OK," O'Malley said of McLaughlin's victory during an episode of his podcast. "I just don't think that's OK ... In just competing in sports, I mean, especially mixed. It's like she had testosterone for, who knows, 20 to 30 years of her life and now I'm a girl." McLaughlin defeated Celine Provost—a cis female fighter who has approved of trans inclusion in the MMA—earlier this month.

LGBT sprinter Sha'Carri Richardson responded to retired Jamaican track-and-field legend Usain Bolt's comments about her, according to Yahoo! News. Bolt said Richardson should "train harder" and "not say too much." In an Instagram story screenshot by The Shade Room, Richardson shared a social media post that read, "Everybody [wants] to give advice in the media but none of them actually take the time to speak to her outside the media. So I feel her. Stop speaking on me when you don't even speak to me."

JoJo Siwa made history on TV's Dancing With the Stars on Sept. 20 as the first contestant to compete with a partner of the same sex (after 30 seasons)—and notched the highest score of the first night of competition, today.com noted. The "J Team" star, 18, danced a lively quickstep with pro partner Jenna Johnson, 27, during the season premiere, performing the upbeat routine to "Are You Gonna Be My Girl," by Jet. Siwa came out as part of the LGBTQ community earlier this year and revealed she has a girlfriend, Kylie Prew.

Dolly Parton, Reba McEntire, Little Big Town, Chris Stapleton, Lionel Richie, Idina Menzel and many others were among the superstars paying tribute to Kenny Rogers during the Sept. 23 concert special "Kenny Rogers: All In for the Gambler," a press release noted. McEntire toured Australia for the first time when she opened for Rogers. She enjoyed spending time with him and said, "Kenny was funny, told the best stories, the best jokes, and I just loved being in his presence."

A Tiger King sequel is coming to Netflix this year as part of a new true-crime lineup of documentaries to be released, Deadline reported. Although the streamer announced the project, it is unknown what the angle for Tiger King 2 will be. The first installment profiled wild-cat owners, with a focus on Joe Exotic (aka Joseph Allen Maldonado-Passage)—the former owner of the G.W. Exotic Animal Park in Oklahoma who now is serving a lengthy prison sentence for crimes against his animals and his role in a murder-for-hire plot against Carole Baskin.

A Pitch Perfect spinoff series has been ordered at Peacock, and Adam Devine will reprise his role from the film franchise, Page Six noted. The Pitch Perfect franchise first launched in 2012. Featuring the vocal talents of Anna Kendrick, Brittany Snow and Anna Camp, the film centered on an all-girl collegiate a cappella group called the Barden Bellas. Devine played Bumper Allen, the leader of the all-male rival a cappella group the Treblemakers.

The Wire creator David Simon took to social media to announce and reiterate he will not film an upcoming Lone Star-set HBO project in Texas due to the state's abortion-ban law, according to Deadline. He tweeted, "If an employer, this is beyond politics. I'm turning in scripts next month on an HBO non-fiction miniseries based on events in Texas, but I can't and won't ask female cast/crew to forgo civil liberties to film there. What else looks like Dallas/Ft. Worth?"

Illumination and Nintendo put together a powerhouse voiceover cast for their Super Mario Bros. animated movie that will hit cinemas Dec. 21, 2022, Deadline noted. Playing the fraternal plumbers are Chris Pratt, as Mario; and Charlie Day, as Luigi. As Princess Peach, it's Queen's Gambit and recent Emmy nominee Anya Taylor-Joy. Playing bad guy Bowser is Jack Black; Keegan-Michael Key is Toad; Seth Rogen is Donkey Kong, Fred Armisen is Cranky Kong; Kevin Michael Richardson is Kamek; and stand-up comedian Sebastian Maniscalco will be Spike.

Former supermodel Linda Evangelista revealed that she filed a lawsuit against a cosmetic surgery company after allegedly being left "brutally disfigured" and deeply depressed, Page Six noted. "To my followers who have wondered why I have not been working while my peers' careers have been thriving, the reason is that I was brutally disfigured by Zeltiq's CoolSculpting procedure which did the opposite of what it promised," she posted to Instagram. Evangelista claimed the treatment "increased, not decreased" her fat cells and left her "permanently deformed" even after undergoing two "painful, unsuccessful, corrective surgeries."

Wendy Williams' brother, Tommy, said she is currently in "stable" condition but still "fighting" to get better in a New York hospital, Radar Online noted. "It's not an easy fight. It's one that individuals always win. Sadly, come November, we are on the anniversary of my mother's passing," he said in a video on social media. Earlier, it was announced that Wendy had a breakthrough case of COVID-19; in March, she had told Dr. Oz she wouldn't get the vaccine. TMZ reported that Williams had been struggling with "mental health issues for some time," and HotNewHipHop.com stated that the talk-show host is allegedly struggling with alcoholism and is "in need of serious help."

Gospel/R&B singer Kelly Price was reported as missing in Georgia—and it happened shortly after she was released from the hospital after battling COVID, according to TMZ. According to officials in Cobb County, Price has been listed as a missing person following a welfare check conducted at her home. However, Price's rep, Monica Ewing, denied Price was missing, telling TMZ that she was safe and was recovering from COVID-19 at an undisclosed location, Page Six stated.

Page Six revealed that Vicki Gunvalson made her staunch aversion to the COVID-19 vaccine very apparent while filming season two of The Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip. The Real Housewives of Orange County alum shocked her castmates by constantly fighting with them about the jab—and allegedly got into particularly heated arguments with former Real Housewives of New York City star Dorinda Medley, a noted vaccine advocate.


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