Mary Tyler Moore, the sparkling TV comedienne who revolutionized the medium with her classic Emmy-winning The Mary Tyler Moore Show after first rising to fame as housewife Laura Petrie on The Dick Van Dyke Show, died on the morning of Jan. 25 in the company of friends and her longtime husband, cardiologist Robert Levine, after a long battle with diabetes. She was 80. One of the most beloved television actresses of the 20th century who first rose to fame, Ms. Moore was born on Dec. 29, 1936 in Brooklyn, N.Y. A leggy brunette dancer, her first TV job came after graduation from high school in 1955, when she played Happy Hotpoint, a dancing elf in an appliance commercial. That same year, the 18-year-old aspiring actress married 27-year-old cranberry-products salesman Dick Meeker as a ticket out of an uhappy household with a devoutly Catholic father and alcoholic mother, and the couple had a son named Richie a year later. After that show ended in 1966, a year later Ms. Moore played Julie Andrews' pal in the 1920s musical Thoroughly Modern Millie, but even bigger fame was waiting when CBS premiered The Mary Tyler Moore Show in Sept. 1970. Enjoying a seven-year run and earning multiple Emmy awards, the show's cast included Ms. Moore as WJM-TV producer Mary Richards and her newsroom friends, gruff news director Lou Grant (Ed Asner), unflappable newswriter Murray Slaughter (Gavin MacLeod), blowhard anchorman Ted Baxter (Ted Knight), and flirty "Happy Homemaker" Sue Ann Nivens (Betty White). Neighbors in Richards' apartment building were Rhoda Morgenstern (Valerie Harper) and Phyllis Lindstrom (Cloris Leachman). The final episode made history as it brought closure to the characters when they were all fired (except for Ted) and participated in a big group hug before Mary turned out the lights for the last time. The Mary Tyler Moore Show earned 29 Emmys by the time it signed off the air in 1977, a record wouldn't be broken until 2002, when Frasier won its 30th trophy. Ms. Moore's famous "hat toss" pose in the opening credits even earned its own statue on display at the Minneapolis Visitor Information center, the city where the series was set. Though the show spawned several spinoffs including Rhoda, Phyllis, and Lou Grant, further TV success eluded Ms. Moore (a variety show featuring David Letterman and Billy Crystal lasted briefly). But her next success came in a very different role as a cold mother coping with an unhappy family in the 1980 Robert Redford-directed bigscreen drama, Ordinary People. Ms. Moore earned rave reviews, as well as an Oscar nomination, for her performance that showed what Redford called "the dark side of Mary Tyler Moore." Ms. Moore then made several TV movies, including Heartsounds (1984), Finnegan Begin Again (1985), Gore Vidal's Lincoln, (1988) and Stolen Babies, a 1993 project for which she won another Emmy. Further attempts at sitcom glory in the mid-1980s, Mary in 1985 and Annie McGuire in 1988, were unsuccessful. In real life, Ms. Moore's story was more soap opera than sitcom, and after her first marriage to Meeker ended in 1961, she married NBC programmer Grant Tinker, and the two founded the successful MTM Enterprises in 1969. With that company, Tinker produced many memorable TV series through the years, including The Bob Newhart Show, WKRP in Cincinnati, Hill Street Blues, and St. Elsewhere. The two seemed to be a happy Hollywood couple before announcing they were spitting in 1981 (MTM was sold in 1990), and Ms. Moore later said that Tinker was more a father figure than a husband. In 1983, she married Robert Levine, a cardiologist 18 years her junior, and a year later entered the Betty Ford clinic for what she called "a social drinking habit." She was also diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at age 33, and she was a longtime vegetarian and animal rights activist. Ms. Moore also coped with much tragedy in her personal life: the death of only son Richie at 24, in 1980 of a self-inflicted gunshot, and the death of her 21-year-old sister in 1978 from an overdose of drugs and alcohol. Through the years, Ms. Moore used her fame to help the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, and, as a devoted animal lover, she served on the boards of several animal welfare organizations, including the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. "Mary Tyler Moore must be counted, along with Lucille Ball and Carol Burnett, as one of the great comediennes of American television," TV historian Tim Brooks once said. In a 1990s interview, Ms. Moore recalled how she would sometimes watch old episodes of The Dick Van Dyke Show or The Mary Tyler Moore Show when she had trouble sleeping. "Without any trouble at all, I'll lose myself in the episodes," she said. "It's been so long I can hardly remember what the plots were, so it's almost fresh to me. They're always so wise. They have a lesson, small ones and happy ones. They give you hope that there's a better future." - USA Today, 1/25/17.
A photo of an overweight man with a white beard attending Elvis Presley's annual birthday tribute event at Graceland in Memphis, Tenn., on Jan. 8 is being put forth by some loyal Elvis fans as proof that the King of Rock & Roll is still alive. The photo, which is being shared on the "Elvis Presley Is Alive" Facebook page, also shows security personnel "guarding" the King to protect his anonymity, the fans claim. Since Presley died on Aug. 16, 1977, at age 42, some fans have always insisted that he faked his own death so that he could live a more low-key life. - New Musical Express, 1/17/17...... In other Elvis-related news, a federal civil rights lawsuit was filed against the city of Memphis and Elvis Presley Enterprises, the owner of Graceland, on Jan. 18 by five African-Americans who claim they were discriminated against at a protest by a coalition associated with the Black Lives Matter movement during the annual Presley death vigil last August. The protest by The Coalition of Concerned Citizens coincided with a candlelight vigil at Graceland, which has been held every year on the Aug. 16 anniversary of his death. Protesters, most of them black, gathered on the street leading to Graceland, yelling slogans such as "black lives matter," and their protest came at a time when racial tensions were heightened nationally following the killings of black men by police in Louisiana and Minnesota and the shootings of five Dallas police officers in retaliation. The lawsuit says officers blocked about 60 protesters from entering the permitted area where Presley's fans gathered on a public street, and officers allowed mostly white people who said they were going to the vigil to pass through. Elvis Presley Enterprises issued a statement the following day saying that their tourist attraction has a history of being inclusive. The plaintiffs are demanding a jury trial and unspecified damages. - AP, 1/19/17......In a new interview with London's Evening Standard paper, Stevie Nicks said she's reluctant to record and release new material because she feels "people aren't willing to pay for artists' work" in the Internet age. "I don't write as many songs anymore because with the Internet, the way that kids listen to music, all the streaming, and the fact that if they're very savvy, if they want to get it and not pay for it, they can," Nicks said, adding "It goes against the grain of our whole belief in, 'You write a song, you record it, and you put it out there and people should buy it'... We realise it's not our world anymore and the younger kids don't look at it like they're taking from us we don't have the impetus to write 20 songs because we know that unless you're under 20 you're not going to sell many records." Nicks' last solo album was 2011's In Your Dreams, while her band, Fleetwood Mac, last released an album in 2003. Nicks also said that Fleetwood Mac would prefer to tour rather than record new material: Would you rather spend a year in the studio or get back on the road? I think that the band would choose to tour." Meanwhile, Fleetwood Mac's Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie recently announced that they are working on a new album of duets to be released in May. - NME, 1/17/17...... Judas Priest will release a three-disc 30th anniversary set of their 1986 album Turbo on Feb. 3. The deluxe release features the original album remastered along with a Kansas City concert from May 22, 1986. Turbo reached No. 17 on the Billboard Hot 200 LP chart, which tied Screaming For Vengeance as Judas Priest's highest chart position at the time, and it launched the Mainstream Rock singles "Turbo Lover" and "Locked In." - Billboard, 1/19/17...... A breach of contract lawsuit by Thriller producer Quincy Jones against Sony Entertainment and MJJ Productions over posthumous Michael Jackson releases inched one step closer to trial on Jan. 18 after a judge denied a motion for summary judgment. The fight began in 2013 when Jones sued Sony Entertainment and MJJ Productions, a song company controlled by the King of Pop's estate, claiming master recordings he produced were wrongfully edited and remixed to deprive him of backend profit participation. The works at issue include the This Is It film and soundtrack album and the 25th anniversary edition of Bad. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael L. Stern denied a previous summary judgment motion from the defendants' attorneys in Feb. 2016, and the trial is currently set for Feb. 21. - The Hollywood Reporter, 1/19/17...... Currently on a tour of countries including Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Singapore, James Taylor emailed a clip to fans on his mailing list on Jan. 20 from French Polynesia bemoaning the end of Pres. Barack Obama's era and the new Donald Trump presidency. "Hi, it's James in French Polynesia on the last day of the Obama administration, and it feels like it's raining all over the world," says Taylor as he stands outside a grass hut in the rain. Taylor, a vocal critic of Trump, performed at Pres. Obama's first inauguration in 2009. Taylor's feelings about the new president are shared by Bruce Springsteen, who snubbed the controversial new president by delivering a 15-song acoustic concert at the White House on Jan. 19 as a final thank-you to Pres. Obama and his hard-working staff. Pres. Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and some 200-250 guests attended the concert at the East Room of the White House. The Boss was reportedly in a chatty mood as he talked politics between songs, and sang Obama's praises. As the show wrapped up, the president took the mic and thanked the performer. "He's been with us for some time now, performing his craft to show his support," Obama told his staff. Springsteen is so unimpressed with Donald Trump, even a Springsteen covers band has declined a request to play at an Inauguration night ceremony. The B Street Band withdrew from its scheduled Jan. 19 appearance at the Garden State Inaugural Ball in Washington, saying it decision is "based SOLELY on the respect and gratitude we have for Bruce and the E Street Band. - AP/Billboard, 1/20/17...... Meanwhile, Tony Orlando was among the entertainers performing at galas around Washington, D.C., on the night of Pres. Trump's inauguration on Jan. 20. The "Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree" singer performed at the Salute to Our Armed Services Ball, and invitation-only ball that is free for members and veterans of the armed services and their families. - AP, 1/17/17...... "Now the Time Has Come," a song featuring Ringo Starr that debuted in September 2016 for the annual International Day of Peace, is being made available as a free download for the first time. The song was created by Starr and producer Bruce Sugar and two versions are available to stream online: one by Ringo and friends Richard Page, Colin Hay and Billy Valentine, and another with Ringo and friends and Latin artist Fonseca. The song's lyrics include the line: "Now the time has come/Time has come for everyone/To lay down all your guns/And let the light of love shine on and on." Ringo has celebrated "peace and love" annually since 2008 on his July 7 birthday, and International Day of Peace ("Peace Day") is observed around the world each year on Sept. 21. It was established in 1981 by United Nations resolution 36/37 as a day devoted to "commemorating and strengthening the ideals of peace both within and among all nations and peoples." - Billboard, 1/19/17...... In other Beatles-related news, Paul McCartney filed suit in New York on Jan. 18 against Sony/ATV with the aim of getting a declaratory judgment that states he will soon regain his copyright ownership share of songs he created as a member of the Beatles. In what could become one of the most important legal battles in the music industry this decade, Sir Paul is looking to leverage the termination provisions of the Copyright Act, which was passed by Congress in 1976 and increased the period that works are under copyright protection, and in recognition of authors who had signed over their rights to publishers and studios without much bargaining power. The bill allowed such authors 35 years hence to reclaim rights in the latter stages of a copyright term, and artists such as Bob Dylan, Tom Petty and Prince have used the mere threat of termination to negotiate new deals and better compensation arrangements. The lawsuit notes that McCartney has been serving and recording termination notices for nearly a decade. Represented by attorneys at Morrison & Foerster, he now expects to recover copyright interests as soon as Oct. 5, 2018. Sony/ATV issued a statement saying they "are disappointed that they have filed this lawsuit which we believe is both unnecessary and premature" and that they have "collaborated closely with both Sir Paul and the late John Lennon's Estate for decades to protect, preserve and promote the catalog's long-term value." - Billboard, 1/18/17...... The estate of George Harrison announced on Jan. 17 that a box set of Harrison's vinyl albums will be released in Feb. 2017. George Harrison - The Vinyl Collection will feature the vinyl albums reproduced as they were originally released and in their original cover sleeves, and the albums were remastered from the original analog master tapes at Capitol Studios. The set will also include the two-LP set Live In Japan along with set exclusives of two 12" single picture discs of '80s hit singles "When We Was Fab" and "Got My Mind Set On You." The albums will also be available separately, though Harrison's 1970 triple-LP masterwork All Things Must Pass will be a limited-edition release, the estate said. - Billboard, 1/17/17...... Elsewhere on the Fab Four front, the drum kit used by the Beatles on "Love Me Do," their first No. 1 US single in 1964, will be auctioned by Nate D. Auctions on Jan. 26, with bidding beginning at $75,000 (£60,598). Ringo Starr did not play on that recording however, session musician Andy White filled in for Ringo in what was only Starr's second session with the band. The drum skin of the bass drum has White's name, the song title and The Beatles' logo on it, as well as drum maker Ludwig's name. - New Musical Express, 1/21/17...... The now-grown child actor who portrayed AntiChrist Damien Thorn in the 1976 horror flick The Omen received a suspended prison sentence on Jan. 13 for a road rage incident he was involved in last summer. Harvey Stephens, 46, was charged with two counts of actual bodily harm and one charge of criminal damage after being found guilty of attacking cyclists Mark Richardson and Alex Manley near Westerham, England. Stephens reportedly punched Richardson in the jaw during the roadside altercation, and manhandled Manley, knocking both off their bikes and hurling abuse at them. Stephens was sentenced to a total of 14 months in jail, suspended for two years. - WENN.com, 1/18/17...... Astronaut Eugene Cernan, commander of Apollo 17 and the last man to walk on the moon, died on Jan. 16 after an illness at age 82. Mr. Cernan, a Captain in the U.S. Navy, left his mark on the history of exploration by flying three times in space, twice to the moon. He also holds the distinction of being the second American to walk in space and the last human to leave his footprints on the lunar surface. - AP, 1/17/17...... Marilyn Petrone, a former executive with Dick Clark Productions and United Artists Music Group and who worked with such top acts as War, ELO, Shirley Bassey, Bobby Womack, Kenny Rogers, Paul Anka and Johnny Rivers, died at her Beverly Hills home on Jan. 18 from cancer. She was 82. Mrs. Petrone was married to the late Emiel Petrone, who was the senior vp of Phillips Corporate Alliance Group, which helped to launch the compact disc and DVD formats. - Billboard, 1/20/17...... Howard Kaufman, a veteran rock manager whose longtime management company H.K. Management worked with such top artists as Aerosmith, Stevie Nicks, Jimmy Buffett, Chicago, Lenny Kravitz and Def Leppard, died of as yet unnamed causes on Jan. 18. He was 79. In 1974, Kaufman teamed with Irving Azoff to form Front Line Management, which notably guided the careers of Buffett, the Eagles and Steely Dan, among others. The company disbanded in the early 1980s, around the time the Eagles began their long hiatus, but was resurrected by the pair in early 2005. The revamped Front Line experienced rapid growth and in 2008 was acquired by Ticketmaster, which named Azoff CEO. - Billboard, 1/19/17...... William Onyeabor, a highly influential funk musician who released eight acclaimed funk albums between 1977 and 1985 before embracing Christianity and distancing himself from his music, died at his home in Enugu, Nigeria, on Jan. 16. He was 70. Onyeabor's pioneering synth-funk tracks were rediscovered in recent years thanks to Luaka Bop's compilation album Who Is William Onyeabor? and Noisey's film about his career, Fantastic Man. - New Musical Express, 1/18/17.