Burt Reynolds, the rugged leading man of such films as Deliverance, Smokey and the Bandit, The Longest Yard and Boogie Nights, died on Sept. 6 of cardiac arrest at his estate in Martin County, Fla., according to his agent Todd Eisner. He was 82. Mr. Reynolds ruled the box office in the 1970s and early 1980s with good 'ole boy movies like Smokey and the Bandit and Gator, later earning the critical praise he so badly desired with Starting Over and Boogie Nights. An iconic Hollywood sex symbol in front of the camera, his mustached handsome looks and easy-going charm made him Hollywood's No. 1 male movie star from 1978 to 1982, after launching his early career in 1972 with director John Boorman's 1972 film Deliverance. Mr. Reynolds called the action/adventure classic "by far" his best film, and said later that "I thought maybe this film is more important in a lot of ways than we've given it credit for." The movie's infamous rape scene may have helped the public -- especially men -- better understand the horrors of sexual attacks, he noted. Born in Lansing, Mich., on Feb. 11, 1936, Mr. Reynolds and his family moved to South Florida when he was 5. He played high school football at Palm Beach High and earned an athletic scholarship to Florida State University, but when injuries derailed a promising athletic career, he turned to acting. Mr. Reynolds scored small parts in the late 1950s before landing a role in the New York City Center revival of "Mister Roberts" in 1957, as well as a recurring spot in the TV series Gunsmoke. By 1974, he had hit it big and starred as an ex-football player who landed in prison in the film The Longest Yard. Two years earlier, he broke taboo and posed nude in Cosmopolitan magazine, which helped cement his growing status as a sex symbol, however he later said that he regretted posing for the magazine, saying it distracted attention from his Deliverance co-stars and likely cost them an Academy Award. Mr. Reynolds was at the peak of his fame in the late 1970s and early 1980s, appearing in such box office smashes as Smokey and the Bandit and the Cannonball Run movie franchises. He also earned People's Choice Awards in 1979, 1982 and 1983 as all-around male entertainer of the year. However he turned down appearing in some of the most iconic films in history, including The Godfather, Star Wars and the James Bond 007 franchise. "I took the part that was the most fun... I didn't take the part that would be the most challenging," he once said. Mr. Reynolds' love life drew headlines after a high-profile divorce to WKRP In Cincinnati actress Loni Anderson, with whom he had a son named Quinton, preceded a bankruptcy filing in 1996. In 1998, he experienced something of a career resurgence and scored a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for his portrayal of a porn film producer in director Paul Thomas Anderson's film Boogie Nights, despite later saying he disliked the film due to its glorification of the porn industry. Years later, he suffered from health issues that led to open heart surgery. Mr. Reynolds checked into a drug rehab clinic in 2009, saying he wanted to "regain control of his life" after becoming addicted to painkillers prescribed following back surgery. He then fell into financial trouble amid private ventures in an Atlanta restaurant and a professional sports team, though he continued to make cameo appearances and teach acting classes. "I worked as an actor for 60 years, I must have something I can give," he said. In recent years, he began appearing in numerous films and TV shows and was cast in the upcoming Quentin Tarantino-directed film about the infamous 1969 Charles Manson family murders, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. That movie is scheduled for release in 2019, and Mr. Reynolds had not yet started shooting his appearance in the film. He had heart surgery in 2010 and then in 2014, he auctioned off memorabilia, including a Smokey and the Bandit-era Trans Am, and his Golden Globe for Boogie Nights. He also put his Florida mansion on the block, but flatly insisted he was "not broke." In May 2015, a frail-looking Mr. Reynolds, cane in hand, made a rare public appearance at a pop-culture convention in Philadelphia. He told the local paper his absence from public life was due to his work on his tell-all memoir, But Enough About Me. "Quinton and I are extremely touched by the tremendous outpouring of love and support from friends and family throughout the world," Loni Anderson wrote in a statement. "Burt was a wonderful director and actor. He was a big part of my life for 12 years and Quinton's life for 30 years. We will miss him and his great laugh." His Smokey and the Bandit co-star and former girlfriend Sally Field released a statement that included "...My years with Burt never leave my mind. He will be in my history and my heart, for as long as I live. Rest, Buddy." - CNN/Yahoo.com, 9/6/18.
Bjorn Ulvaeus of ABBA announced on Sept. 3 that an ABBA-themed restaurant will be coming to London's O2 in the spring of 2019. In an interview with the UK's The Mirror paper, Ulvaeus said his "Mamma Mia! The Party" restaurant will be a recreation of a taverna on the island of Skopelos, mirroring the setting of the first Mamma Mia! movie. Mediterranean cuisine will be served as hits from ABBA's extensive back-catalogu are played live during the experience, and diners will be encouraged to sing along to the songs. A similar experience has was began in ABBA's native Sweden, in Stockholm, in 2016 and has sold out shows there for three consecutive years. "We have long admired The O2 and the huge entertainment success it has becomewe believe bringing "Mamma Mia! The Party" to The O2 will add to this already vibrant cultural destination and provide the perfect location for our exciting new show," Ulvaeus noted. The sequel to the original Mamma Mia! film, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, opened in August. - New Musical Express, 9/3/18...... Dozens of famous musicians and celebrities paid emotional tributes to the late Aretha Franklin during her funeral service on Aug. 31 at Detroit's Greater Grace Temple. "We will have never known a queen like this," Stevie Wonder said, as he paid tribute to the "Queen of Soul" in his eulogy to Franklin, who died of pancreatic cancer on Aug. 16 at age 76. Between performances of "The Lord's Prayer" and "As," the Motown icon said the world needed to "make love great again" as a fitting tribute to "what Aretha said throughout her life." "What needs to happen today, not only in this nation but throughout the world, is that we need to make love great again because black lives do matter," Wonder said. "Because all lives do matter that is what Aretha said throughout her life. Though the pain, she gave us the joy, and said, 'Let's make love great again'," he added. Other tributes at the service included performances by Jennifer Hudson, Chaka Khan, Ariana Grande and Gladys Knight. The 7-plus-hour service was both reflective and celebrity, focusing on Franklin's gospel roots in the Motor City where she was a member of the New Bethel Baptist choir, and also dedicated much to her illustrious career and her part in American's civil rights movement. Smokey Robinson, another longtime friend of Franklin's, also delivered a eulogy to the star before singing a short a cappella dedication to her. "I'm going to miss our talks, we used to talk for hours about anything we wanted, or nothing at allYou will be a featured voice in the choir of Angels," he said. Further tributes were paid by former presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama (Franklin had sang at both of their presidential inaugurations), as well as civil rights leaders including the Rev. Al Sharpton. "She gave us pride and she gave us a regal bar to reach. And that's why we're all here. We don't all agree on everything but we agree on Aretha," Rev. Sharpton said. The night before the funeral, than 30 acts gathered in Detroit for a special Aretha Franklin tribute concert. "A People's Tribute to the Queen" at the city's riverfront Chene Park Amphitheatre was a four-hour and 45-minute marathon that touched on every aspect of Franklin's music, starting with opera and finishing with an epic, full-cast romp through "Respect," and hitting on gospel, jazz, blues, soul and pop in between. Tickets for the free show were snapped up in minutes earlier in the week, and those without set up lawn chairs outside the venue to take it all in. Among those participating were Tyler Perry, actresses Erica Peeples and Jennifer Lewis, reality TV star Judge Greg Mathis, and Motown great Martha Reeves. - New Musical Express/Billboard, 9/1/18...... Meanwhile, Aretha Franklin's family issued a statement on Sept. 3 saying it found Atlanta pastor Jasper Willliams Jr.'s eulogy delivered at the Queen of Soul's funeral to be "offensive and very distasteful." Rev. Williams' eulogy was criticized by the family for including political musings that described children being in a home without a father as "abortion after birth," and said "black lives do not matter unless blacks stop killing each other." "He spoke for 50 minutes and at no time did he properly eulogize her," said Vaughn Franklin, the late singer's nephew, who said he was delivering a statement for the family. Franklin said that his aunt never asked Williams to eulogize her, since she didn't talk about plans for her own funeral. The family said they selected Williams because he has spoken at other family memorials in the past, most prominently at the funeral for Aretha Franklin's father, minister and civil rights activist C.L. Franklin, 34 years ago. Rev. Williams reacted by saying although he respects and understands the family's opinion, he is not backing down from any of his comments. Besides a social media uproar, Rev. Williams heard resistance at the funeral itself, with Stevie Wonder yelling out "black lives matter" after the pastor said, "No, black lives do not matter" during his eulogy. Williams had minimized the Black Lives Matter movement because of black-on-black crime. "Black lives must not matter until black people start respecting black lives and stop killing ourselves," he said. - AP, 9/3/18...... A rep for Gladys Knight has issued a clarification of a statement made by the "Midnight Train to Georgia Singer" during a radio interview in which she said that she and Aretha Franklin had "the same disease." "The last time I talked to her, we were at the same hotel and we didn't know it," Knight recalled. "I know her crew and family. She knows my crew and family. I went down. I said, 'ReRe, what you doing out here?' And we just got to talking and everything and at that time we shared that fact that we had the same disease." After Knight's comments started a media firestorm, she issued the following statement: "I'd like to clarify that Aretha and I discussed both of us having cancer, mine was stage 1 breast cancer and hers was pancreatic. Due to early detection, I am cancer free and grateful for that." - The Hollywood Reporter/TheBlast.com, 9/1/18...... Queen and Adam Lambert kicked of their three-week residency in Las Vegas on Sept. 1 with a setlist packed with past Queen classics -- including "Somebody To Love," "Killer Queen," "Another One Bites the Dust," "Crazy Love" and "Bohemian Rhapsody" -- and even a cover of late Vegas icon Elvis Presley' 1956 hit "Heartbreak Hotel." Titled "Crown Jewels," the show opened appropriately enough with an image of an imposing metal vault bearing Queen's insignia, torn open by the giant robot from Queen's iconic 1977 News of the World album cover and lifted up to reveal the band who launched their way into a fast version of "We Will Rock You." For the encore, Queen were introduced by a projection of their original frontman Freddie Mercury's famous vocal improvisation at Wembley Stadium in 1986, before the traditional, slower version of "We Will Rock You" and an anthemic "We Are The Champions." The day before the opening, Queen guitarist Brian May said in an inteview that Mercury would both "love and hate" the new Queen singer Adam Lambert. "Freddie would love and hate him, because Adam has a real gift from God," May said. "It's a voice in a billion, nobody has that range, nobody that I've ever worked with, not just the range but the quality throughout the range. I've seen Adam develop just like I watched Freddie develop." In other Queen news, Amazon.com is featuring an animated video of Queen's "Somebody to Love" for the new marketing campaign for their streaming service. The video, naturally, features Mercury's trademark mustache and imperfect teeth, as a cartoon mouth belts out the track's second verse and chorus to a roaring stadium audience. The commercial is rolling out digitally as well as with radio, television and out-of-home billboard advertisements in select U.S. cities and internationally in the U.K. and Germany throughout 2019. - NME/Billboard, 9/3/18...... Ozzy Osbourne announced on Sept. 3 that the UK leg of his upcoming "No More Tours 2" in February 2019 will be his "last ever" UK tour. Osbourne will be playing Nottingham (2/1), Manchester (2/3), Newcastle (2/5), Glasgow (2/7), Birmingham (2/9) and London (2/11), where he will also be joined by opening act Judas Priest on all dates. "I've been extremely blessed to have had two successful music careers," said Osbourne. "I'm looking at this final tour as being a huge celebration for my fans and anyone who has enjoyed my music over the past five decades." Ozzy's world tour will continue into 2020, before he steps back from long tours. "This will be my final world tour, but I can't say I won't do some shows here and there," he said. - NME, 9/3/18...... The estate of Michael Jackson and IMAX are partnering to digitally remaster Michael Jackson's Thriller 3D into IMAX 3D. The partnership was announced on Aug. 29, which would have been the singer's 60th birthday. It will be released in IMAX theaters across the U.S. for one week, beginning Sept. 21. The estate's co-executors say Jackson loved to give his fans the "latest and greatest in technology and entertainment experiences." The 14-minute short film, directed by John Landis, premiered in Los Angeles in 1983. The 3D version was first shown at the 74th Venice Film Festival in 2017. In other Michael Jackson news, The Simpsons ceater Matt Groenig has cleared up the rumors surrounding the King of Pop's cameo on the long running comedy. In an interview with The Weekly on Aug. 29, Groening was asked if they had "Michael Jackson" and the comedy writer confirmed that The Simpsons didn't just have a "Michael Jackson" cameo using an impersonator, they had the real Michael Jackson. "You don't have to put it in quotes," Groening said. "We really did have him." Groening explained that the singer called him one day out of the blue, asking to be featured in the show, and at first, he didn't even believe it was really Jackson. "I was sitting in the office late at night, the phone rings and I pick it up," he said. When the voice on the other end replied, "'Hi, this is Michael Jackson," he assumed it was a prank call because the singer has "a voice that sounds like somebody doing a Michael Jackson bit." Jackson called again and insisted that it really was him, and "he said that he loved Bart and wanted to be on the show," Groening explained. In still more Jackson news, fashion house Hugo Boss has that it will mark what would have been Jackson's 60th birthday by reissuing the iconic suit worn on the cover of Thriller. Although remaining faithful to the original design, the new suit boasts a narrower silhouette and retains two pleats on the trousers. It also features buttons on the jacket cuffs. But fashion aficionados will have to act fast -- only 100 are being made; each suit is numbered and will sell for $1,195. Hugo Boss has also announced the addition of white T-shirts that are modelled on the design of the original suit. It's yet to be announced when the design will go on sale. - AP/Billboard/NME, 8/30/18...... On Sept. 1, Paul McCartney announced a string of new dates in 2019 as part of his mammoth world tour in support of his upcoming album, Egypt Station. Sir Paul's just announced dates include Raleigh, N.C. on May 27; Greenville, S.C. on May 30; Lexington, Ky. on June 1; Madison, Wisc. on June 6; and Moline, Ill. on June 11. Earlier in 2018, tickets for McCartney's upcoming UK dates sold out "in seconds," much to the ire of many fans. Meanwhile, in a Sept. 1 interview with London's Sunday Times, Macca revealed how a particularly vivid experience of taking drugs left him convinced that he had seen God. Discussing spirituality in the interview, Paul claimed that there was "something higher", and likened it to the time he took Dimethyltryptamine (DMT) with art dealer and gallery owner Robert Fraser. "We were immediately nailed to the sofa," he told the paper of taking drugs in his Beatles heyday. "And I saw God, this amazing towering thing, and I was humbled. And what I'm saying is, that moment didn't turn my life around, but it was a clue. It was huge. A massive wall that I couldn't see the top of, and I was at the bottom. And anybody else would say it's just the drug, the hallucination, but both Robert and I were like, 'Did you see that?' We felt we had seen a higher thing." DMT experienced a wave of popularity during in the 1960s as a more effective alternative to substances such as LSD and magic mushrooms. - NME, 9/1/18...... AC/DC are reportedly working on a new album using recordings of their late co-founding rhythm guitarist, Malcolm Young. According to the source, Young's brother Angus Young is working on a new AC/DC album, to be dedicated to Malcom's memory. Malcolm died in November 2017 after retiring from the band due to early onset dementia. Malcolm recorded the material that will be used for the album along with his brother in the early 2000s, "five years prior" to their 2008 album Black Ice. "Turns out, five years prior to the Black Ice LP, AC/DC's 15th studio release, Angus and Malcolm Young lived to together [sic] where they literally wrote hundreds of songs, many were recorded and have been stashed away until now," the source said. "Angus has decided to selected [sic] the best tracks from those recordings that Malcolm played on and is now back in the studio recording and mixing them with fellow band mates Phil Rudd, Cliff Williams and yes, Brian Johnson on vocals." Johnson was forced to quit the band in 2016 after suffering hearing loss, and was replaced on the band's tour by Guns N' Roses singer Axl Rose. - NME, 9/2/18...... The Eagles' 1976 greatest hits album Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975 has jumped from No. 125 to No. 60 on Billboard's Hot 200 Albums Chart following news of the title being certified 38-times platinum in the U.S. by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) -- and surpassing Michael Jackson's Thriller as the highest-certified album of all time in the U.S. As for Jackson's Thriller LP, it has jumped back on to the Hot 200 tally at No. 135 -- its first visit to the list since May 19, and highest rank since April 7 (when it also placed at No. 135). Thriller earned 7,000 units in the week ending Aug. 23 (up 330 percent), with 2,000 of that sum from traditional album sales (up 30 percent). - Billboard, 8/31/18...... In other chart action, Rod Stewart has scored his 23rd Top 10 hit on Billboard's Adult Contemporary Chart with "Didn't I," Stewart's first original, non-holiday song to reach the chart's top 10 since 1999. "Didn't I," the first taste of Stewart's upcoming studio album Blood Red Roses, becomes Stewart's first top 10 on the chart since 2012, when he spent five weeks at No. 1 with his rendition of holiday standard "Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow." As for Stewart originals, such as "Didn't I," it's Stewart's first top 10 since "Faith of the Heart," from the Patch Adams soundtrack, which reached No. 3 in March 1999. - Billboard, 8/31/18...... Elton John is participating in a new "rap battle" ad campaign for the candy bar Snickers, with the Rocket Man taking on the role of rising rapper Boogie's "hungry" alter-ego. After Boogie's turn is announced in the battle, John unexpectedly appears and sings a snippet of his 1976 duet with Kiki Dee, 'Don't Go Breaking My Heart" -- much to the bemusement of party-goers. A Snickers is then presented to him, which helps John/Boogie turn back into his true self and the rap battle is then resumed. Elton reportedly took a hands-on role in casting the commercial, and viewed a number of auditions with director Andreas Nilsson before settling on Boogie. "In pairing Elton and his 50-plus years of multi-genre hits with Boogie, a hip-hop artist on the brink of stardom in today's most popular category, we can connect with our audiences over a shared love of music," said Snickers exec Dale Green. Meanwhile, Elton announced on Aug. 30 that he will be partnering with the global fan-to-fan ticket marketplace Twickets for his "Farewell Yellow Brick Road" tour. The aim of Twickets is to combat the secondary ticketing market, prevent the exploitation of Elton John fans and to eliminate price mark-up by ensuring that tickets are resold at face value. Elton's sold out "Farewell Yellow Brick Road" tour begins in Allentown, PA on Sept. 8, and will make 300 stops around the world before concluding in 2021. Fans that were unable to secure tickets before are now able to purchase tickets directly through the official John and Twickets partnership website, with dates in Los Angeles and Toronto currently available. - NME/Billboard, 8/30/18...... The groundbreaking and award-winning alternative New York City paper The Village Voice announced on Aug. 31 it is shutting down its online edition, one year after it ceased publishing in print. Village Voice owner Peter Barbey called it "a sad day for The Village Voice and millions of readers," and added the paper has been subject to "the increasingly harsh economic realities" facing those creating journalism. He said staff members have been working to ensure that the print archive of the Village Voice is made digitally accessible. The paper released its last print edition on Sept. 20, 2017, with Bob Dylan gracing its final cover. - AP, 8/31/18...... Former members of Dire Straits announced they'll embark on their first-ever U.S. tour in September under the moniker Dire Straits Legacy. The band, which includes former Dire Straits member Alan Clark along with percussionist Danny Cummings, guitarist Phil Palmer, former Yes member Trevor Horn, Steve Ferrone from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Marco Caviglia, Mel Collins, and Primiano DiBiase, grew out of Clark's previous project, The Straits, which formed after Dire Straits leader Mark Knopfler broke up the band in 1992. "The DSL Dire Straits Legacy project was born from our love and respect for the music of Dire Straits, and to bring the music to fans who have been starved of hearing it played live by the musicians who made it, for far too long," the band shared in a statement. The 7-date tour also includes stops in Riverside, Calif. (9/28), St. Charles, Mo. (9/29), St. Charles, Ill. (10/2), Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (10/4) and St. Petersburg, Fla. (10/5) before wrapping in Westbury, N.Y. on Oct. 6. - Billboard, 8/20/18...... Billy Joel's former wife Katie Lee married her TV producer boyfriend Ryan Biegel on Sept. 1 in front of family and friends. Lee, who co-hosts the Food Network talk show The Kitchen, was previously married to Billy Joel from 2004 to 2010. The chef, 36, and Biegel vacationed in Capri, Italy before their wedding. The West Virginia native met Joel at the rooftop bar at The Peninsula hotel while visiting New York City for a weekend. They wed in 2004, but split in 2009. - People/RadarOnline.com, 9/2/18...... Restaurateurs in the UK have announced that a new cocktail bar dedicated to David Bowie will be opening in London's West End in September 2018. Named "Ziggy's" in honor of Bowie's much-loved persona Ziggy Stardust, the bar launches on Sept. 20 at the Hotel Caf Royal. It features a number of drinks inspired by the late icon's 1972 album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars, and are named after his lyrics. "Tigers on Vaseline" takes its name from the lyrics to "Hang On To Yourself," and is described as a modern twist on the pina colada. "Darkness and Disgrace," meanwhile, is an espresso martini crossed with a rum flip, and takes its name from "Lady Stardust." The Hotel Caf Royal has particular significance when it comes to Ziggy Stardust. It was there, on July 3, 1973, that Bowie threw a now-legendary "Last Supper" to retire the alter-ego. The party was attended by Lou Reed, Mick Jagger, Paul McCartney and Barbra Streisand amongst others as the afterparty for his final Ziggy gig at the Hammersmith Odeon. The bar will be decorated with pictures from that famous night, taken by the famed music photographer Mick Rock, and boasts a special Bowie jukebox. - NME, 8/31/18...... Broadway and TV actress Carole Shelley, perhaps best known for her role as Gwendolyn Pigeon of the "Pigeon Sisters" in the stage, film and television versions of Neil Simon's "The Odd Couple," died of cancer at her home in Manhattan on Aug. 31. She was 79. Shelley originated the role of Crage Hall headmistress Madame Morrible in the Broadway hit "Wicked" in 2003 and won a 1979 Tony Award for her portrayal of Mrs. Kendal in "The Elephant Man." The London native made her Broadway debut in "The Odd Couple" in 1965, alongside Monica Evans, Walter Matthau and Art Carney, and she and Evans reprised their roles as the Pigeon Sisters in the 1968 movie adaptation, starring Matthau and Jack Lemmon, and in four 1970 episodes of the ABC sitcom spin-off featuring Jack Klugman and Tony Randall. "We were Pigeons for quite some time," Shelley once said. "We got to look like each other after a while." Shelley and Evans also teamed up for voiceover work on Disney's The Aristocats and Robin Hood. The actress also appeared on such television shows as The Avengers, The Cosby Show and Frasier. A full-time resident of the U.S. since 1969, she last appeared on Broadway in "A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder" in 2013. - The Hollywood Reporter, 9/2/18.