Rock legend Jim Rodford died Jan. 20, 2018. He was 76 years old. Rodford was a founding member of the band Argent and the bassist for The Kinks and The Zombies.
Rodford’s cousin and longtime bandmate, Rod Argent, announced on The Zombies’ Facebook page: “It is with deep sadness that I learned this morning that my dear cousin and lifelong friend, Jim Rodford, died this morning after a fall on the stairs. More details are not yet known about the exact cause of death … When Colin [Blunstone] and I put together our second incarnation in late 1999, our first phone call was to Jim. He gave us absolutely unflagging commitment, loyalty and unbelievable energy for eighteen years, and our gratitude is beyond measure.”
The statement continued, “To the end, Jim’s life was dedicated to music. He was unfailingly committed to local music … Colin and I would compare notes a couple of days immediately after a U.S. tour and discuss how long it would take us to recover from an intense, fantastic but exhausting couple of months — only to find out and marvel that Jim had already been out playing with local bands … Jim was a wonderful person, loved by everybody. When Colin and I, shocked and hardly able to talk, shared the news this morning, Colin said, ‘I’ve never heard anyone say a bad word about him.’ He will be unbelievably missed.”
Temptations singer Dennis Edwards passed away at age 74 on Feb. 1, 2018, reported Variety.
Edwards replaced original lead singer, David Ruffin, in 1968. Edwards brought his signature gospel style to the lead vocals on some of the group’s most memorable later-career hits, including ” Just My Imagination ,” “Cloud Nine,” ” Shakey Ground,” ” Ball of Confusion,” ” Papa Was a Rolling Stone,” “Psychedelic Shack,” and ” I Can’t Get Next to You.” He split from the group in 1977, but rejoined a decade later. In 1989, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of The Temptations.
According to the Chicago Tribune , Edwards died from complications from meningitis — and was allegedly abused leading up to his death. Court documents from an adult protective services investigator reportedly show that Edwards’ wife, Brenda, was accused of abusing the singer, leading the crooner to obtain an emergency protective order against her. She denied the claims.
Edwards is survived by Brenda, as well as a daughter from his previous marriage to Ruth Pointer of The Pointer Sisters.
John Mahoney, most famous for playing down-to-earth dad Martin Crane on Frasier, died Feb. 4, 2018, while in hospice care, reported Variety. He was 77 years old.
Mahoney was born in England and came to the United States when he was 19. He taught English at Western Illinois University before joining the Steppenwolf Theatre ensemble in his late 30s.
Mahoney’s career began in theater in his native England, then took to film with roles in now-classic films including Moonstruck (1987), Say Anything (1989), In the Line of Fire (1993), and The American President (1995). Before his star turn in Frasier in 1993, Mahoney appeared in the show’s predecessor, Cheers (though not in the same role,) and in 3rd Rock from the Sun . He received a Screen Actors Guild Award, two Emmy nods, and two Golden Globe nominations for his role as Frasier Crane’s blue-collar dad. Mahoney also won a Tony Award in 1986 for his role in The House of Blue Leaves on Broadway.
His most recent roles prior to his passing were as Roy, Betty White’s love interest, on
Hot in Cleveland from 2011 to 2014, and as a tormented CEO seeking therapy in In Treatment in 2009.
Mahoney never married and had no children, but in a touching tribute, Frasier star Kelsey Grammer said in a statement to Variety, “He was my father. I loved him.”
Actor and musician Mickey Jones died Feb. 7, 2018, following a long but unspecified illness, his rep told Variety. He was 76 years old.
Jones’ career as a character actor began in 1971 in the television comedy Rollin’ on the River, which led to a slew of small roles in a ton of movies , including Total Recall (1990) and recurring roles on Hot Rod , Justified , and
Home Improvement , in which he played Tim Allen’s friend, Peter Bilker. Jones’ catchphrase, “That would be me,” became the title of his 2009 autobiography, That Would Be Me: Rock & Roll Survivor to Hollywood Actor.
Jones’ most recent work included roles in J.K. Simmons’ Growing up Fisher and
Newsreaders. In addition to his acting career, Jones was also a prolific drummer, playing on albums by Trini Lopez and Johnny Rivers and touring with Bob Dylan and Kenny Rogers.
Reg E. Cathey
Reg E. Cathey passed away Feb. 9, 2018, at 59 years old after a battle with lung cancer, according to The Hollywood Reporter .
Cathey’s biggest roles were on television: He starred as Martin Querns on Oz from 2000 to 2003, as reporter-turned-politician Norman Wilson on The Wire from 2006 to 2008, as Barry K. Word in Lights Out in 2011, as Barry Querns on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit from 2008 to 2013, as Detective Julius Bonner on Banshee in 2014, as Uncle Bobby in The Divide, as Freddy, a restaurant owner who gets a job in the White House in House of Cards from 2013 to 2016, and as Chief Giles on Outcast from 2016 to 2017.
His movie work included roles in the Fantastic Four reboot (2015), St. Vincent (2014),
S.W.A.T. (2003), Pootie Tang (2001),
American Psycho (2000), Se7en (1995),
Airheads (1994), Clear and Present Danger (1994), The Mask (1994), What About Bob? (1991), and Born on the Fourth of July (1989).
Famous for his rich, deep voice, Cathey told The Guardian in 2016, “What I did notice is that Barack Obama becomes president and suddenly black people who are well-spoken are working more. This new market for the well-spoken black actor is all due to Obama. He got inaugurated, and I started working like a fiend — hired by the same people who would previously ask: ‘Have you always spoken like that?’ It’s like, ‘You know what, motherf**kers? Yes, I have.'”
Actor John Gavin died Feb. 9, 2018 at 86 years old.
Before acting, Gavin graduated from Stanford and served in the Navy in the Korean War before finally giving in to a family friend who urged him to take a screen test. His breakout parts included a sympathetic German soldier in the World War II drama A Time to Love and a Time to Die (1958) and as Steve Archer in
Imitation of Life (1959). His most famous roles were that of Sam Loomis in Alfred Hitchcock’s masterpiece, Psycho (1960), and as Julius Caesar in Spartacus (1960). He was almost cast as James Bond and even signed a contract for Diamonds are Forever (1971) until producers hired Sean Connery instead.
He soon transitioned to television roles, reported Variety. “When I walked through the gate, Universal quit building actors … Some of those early roles were unactable,” Gavin said. “Even Laurence Olivier couldn’t have done anything with them. The dialogue ran to cardboard passages such as ‘I love you. You can rely on me darling. I’ll wait.’ It was all I could do to keep from adding, ‘with egg on my face.'”
Gavin served on the board of the Screen Actors Guild, including as president from 1971 to 1973. He considered running for Senate as a Republican in 1991.
Comedian Marty Allen died from complications from pneumonia on Feb. 12, 2018, The Associated Press reported. He was 95 years old.
After serving in World War II, Allen’s comedy career began in 1950. He rose to notoriety when he partnered with Steve Allen for the duo Allen & Rossi. The pair performed on The Ed Sullivan Show a whopping 44 times, including the episode during which The Beatles made their U.S. TV debut. He and Allen split in 1968, but would continue to perform together occasionally throughout the 1990s.
Allen made hundreds of television appearances through the 1970s and 1980s, with credits ranging from game shows such as Hollywood Squares to serious roles in daytime dramas such as The Big Valley.
In 1984, Allen married Karon Kate Blackwell, with whom he performed a musical comedy act on tours throughout the United States for more than 30 years — they even had sold out performances as recently as 2015.
David Ogden Stiers
David Ogden Stiers, who starred as nobby surgeon Maj. Charles Emerson Winchester II on M*A*S*H , died March 3, 2018. He was 75 years old. According to Variety, Stiers suffered from bladder cancer leading up to his passing.
An Oregon native who studied acting at Juilliard, Stiers earned two Emmy nominations for his most famous role as Winchester, and a third for his performance in the NBC miniseries The First Olympics: Athens 1896 (1984). His Broadway debuts were in three simultaneous plays in 1973.
Stiers served as the narrator and voice of Cogsworth in Disney’s animated smash
Beauty and the Beast (1991), Governor Ratcliffe in Pocahontas (1995), the archdeacon in The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996), and Dr. Jumba Jookiba in Lilo & Stitch (2002).
He starred in eight Perry Mason TV movies from 1986 through 1988, and had small roles in Woody Allen films Shadows and Fog (1991), Mighty Aphrodite (1995), Everyone Says I Love You (1996), and The Curse of the Jade Scorpion (2001).
Stiers came out as gay in 2009, admitting he’d waited because his income came from mostly family-friendly fare. The same year, he began stage acting again.
Stiers most recently appeared in The Regular Show from 2011 to 2016.
His M*A*S*H co-star Lorena Swit said in a statement, “He was an extraordinary person, a gifted actor, phenomenal musician, and my sweet, dear shy friend … Working with him was an adventure. He was exceptional. I’m hurting. We all are.”
Rapper Craig Mack died March 12, 2018 at 46 years old, reported the New York Daily News. Mack was one of the first artists signed to Sean “Diddy” Combs’ Bad Boy Records and was nominated for a Grammy for his signature track, 1994’s ” Flava in Ya Ear .” Mack reportedly suffered from heart failure.
Fellow Bad Boy artist DJ Scratch claimed on Instagram that he was “the only famous person” at Mack’s memorial, but that may not have been deliberate.
He wrote, “When I left Craig’s memorial service I called @Diddy to thank him for giving Craig the platform for the world to know Craig Mack’s music. I told him I just left the service, he said, ‘They buried Craig already, what service are you talking about?!?’ He didn’t know about the memorial service. @diddy offered to pay for Craig Mack’s funeral, but the religious community Craig was in declined. None of his friends or colleagues were allowed to attend his funeral. Diddy respected their wishes. Craig was immediately buried on the property where he lived. Yesterday’s service was a memorial for Craig’s friends in NY & for fans to attend thrown by Craig’s childhood friend Alvin Toney.”
Legendary stage actor Sammy Williams passed away March 17, 2018 at 69 years old. A family spokesperson told The Hollywood Reporter that Williams had been battling cancer.
Williams won a Tony Award for best featured actor in a musical in 1976 in the original Broadway production of A Chorus Line , in which he played Paul San Marco, a Puerto Rican performer coming to terms with his homosexuality. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the role of San Marco was partially based on Williams’ own real-life experiences as a gay man, combined with elements from the life of author Nicholas Dante. He won an Obie Award for the role in 1975, per Broadway .com .
Apart from A Chorus Line, which was, incredibly, Williams’ first speaking role on a stage, he also had small parts in Applause and The Happy Time. He later became a choreographer and director in Los Angeles, most recently appearing in the Ahmanson’s Theatre production of Follies in 2012.
DuShon Monique Brown
Chicago Fire star DuShon Monique Brown died March 23, 2018 at just 49 years old. The Chicago Tribune reported that her cause of death was not disclosed but was rumored to be from a heart attack.
Brown starred as Connie, the no-nonsense assistant to Chief Boden, on the series. Prior to her work on the NBC hit, Brown had a recurring role as Nurse Katie Welch on Prison Break and guest roles in Shameless and
Empire. Before breaking out in showbiz, Brown was a school counselor and had a background in social work.
“The Chicago Fire family is devastated to lose one of its own,” executive producer Dick Wolf said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with DuShon’s family and we will all miss her.”
Brown’s co-star, Yuri Sardarov, who plays Otis on the series, launched a GoFundMe account after her passing. “We are shocked, and will miss her immensely. She is survived by her daughter, and fiancé,” the page reads. “Despite her visibility and involvement in a television show, DuShon was not a salaried actor. She had a full time job as a Chicago Public Schools counselor. Please join us in offering DuShon and family support during this very difficult time. Your generosity will help fund the cost of funeral arrangements and other financial burdens that her family must shoulder.”
K-Pop star Seo Minwoo of boyband 100 Percent died March 25, 2018 at only 33 years old, according to The Guardian. The singer was reportedly found unresponsive in his home and pronounced dead by first responders. He suspected cause of death is cardiac arrest.
Minwoo was the lead singer of the group, which originated in 2012. He took a sabbatical from performing in 2014 to perform his government-required military service but returned to the group upon completing his obligations. Minwoo also dabbled in stage acting in productions including The King And I, as well as movie and television roles.
Minwoo’s 100 Percent bandmate, Woo Changbum, paid tribute to Minwoo in an Instagram post after his passing. “May the souls of the deceased refrain,” Changbum wrote ( translated from Korean). “I hope you are comfortable in the sky. I want you to be a bright star and shine this world.”
R. Lee Ermey
R. Lee Ermey, famous for his Golden Globe-nominated portrayal of drill gunnery sergeant “Gunny” Hartman in Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket died April 15, 2018, at the age of 74.
Ermey’s manager said in a statement on Twitter that the actor passed away from complications from pneumonia.
According to his biography, Ermey was a Vietnam War veteran, having spent 11 years in the Marines — two of which he spent as a drill instructor. After retiring from the military in 1971, he took advantage of the G.I. Bill and studied drama at the University of Manila in the Philippines. Francis Ford Coppola was filming 1979’s Apocalypse Now nearby at the time and cast Ermey as a helicopter pilot.
Ermey’s career went on to span nearly 40 years, with roles in films including Se7en,
Dead Man Walking, the remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre , and as the toy soldiers’ Army Sarge in the Toy Story franchise.
In 2002, Ermey became the first retiree in the history of the Marines to receive an honorary promotion to Gunnery Sergeant.
Steven Bochco, the legendary producer behind television series such as Doogie Howser, M.D. ; NYPD Blue , L.A. Law, and Hill Street Blues, died April 1, 2018. He was 74 years old.
Bochco had been suffering from a relatively rare form of leukemia called blastic plasmacytoid dendritic cell neoplasm for years. Along with chemotherapy, he credited a stem cell transplant he received in 2014 for prolonging his life significantly, according to The Hollywood Reporter .
Throughout Bochco’s career, he was nominated for 30 Emmys, winning 10 of them. He collaborated with the likes of Steven Spielberg, with whom he worked when he wrote for TV series Columbo.
“Steve was a friend and a colleague starting with the first episode of Columbo in 1971 that he wrote and I directed,” Spielberg told The Hollywood Reporter in a statement. “We have supported and inspired each other ever since, and through many deep mutual friendships we have stayed connected for 47 years. I will miss Steve terribly.”
Night Court star Harry Anderson passed away in his sleep at 65 years old on April 16, 2018.
TMZ reported that Anderson’s wife, Elizabeth, found him unresponsive in their home. She told emergency personnel that Anderson had suffered from strokes, as well as a battle with the flu, in the months leading up to his death.
In addition to starring as judge Harry Stone on the NBC hit show , Anderson was also an accomplished comedian and magician, and he received numerous tributes from other stars upon their learning of his passing.
Neil Patrick Harris, who practices magic in addition to his work as an actor, revealed on Twitter that Anderson had recently sold him some magic memorabilia, while David Copperfield posted a tribute that included a photo with the three-card Monte that Anderson once used in his performances. Comedian and actor Paul Reiser reminisced on traveling to New Jersey with the former comic for $40 gigs.
Anderson’s Night Court co-star John Larroquette tweeted: “…Out in the cosmos tonight, with his fedora at a rakish angle and a ‘watch this’ wink to us, he’s coaxing whoever might be out there with him: ‘Pick a card. Any card.'”
Swedish DJ and producer Avicii died April 20, 2018 at just 28 years old. The EDM superstar, born Tim Bergling, was most famous for his hits ” Levels ,” ” Wake Me Up ,” ” Hey Brother ,” and ” Fade Into Darkness .”
Bergling suffered from some serious medical issues in the final years of his all-too-short life, including acute pancreatitis, which he told Time magazine in 2013 was caused by excessive drinking. As a result, the DJ reportedly quit drinking entirely, but his health issues continued, and in 2014, he had his gallbladder and appendix removed.
By 2016, Avicii had retired from touring completely, citing not just his physical, but also his mental health as reasons to step back from live performances. He told The Hollywood Reporter, “It was something I had to do for my health. The scene was not for me. It was not the shows and not the music. It was always the other stuff surrounding it that never came naturally to me … I’m more of an introverted person in general. It was always very hard for me. I took on board too much negative energy.”
TMZ reported that the DJ was found dead in Muscat, Oman, where he’d been staying at a luxury resort. To date, the circumstances surrounding his passing remain unclear.
Verne Troyer passed away April 21, 2018. He was just 49 years old. To date, his exact cause of death is unknown, but it’s suspected that his death be connected to an alleged suicide attempt from earlier that month.
“It is with great sadness and incredibly heavy hearts to write that Verne passed away today,” stated an announcement on the actor’s Facebook page. “Verne was an extremely caring individual. He wanted to make everyone smile, be happy, and laugh. Anybody in need, he would help to any extent possible. Verne hoped he made a positive change with the platform he had and worked towards spreading that message everyday.”
Troyer, who stood at 2 feet, 9 inches, was born with achondroplasia dwarfism — a condition in which cartilage won’t properly convert to bones, most often in the long bones in arms and legs, resulting in small limbs.
Troyer was best known for his role as Mini-Me in the Austin Powers franchise, though he has more than 50 acting credits from the silver and small screen. Austin Powers star Mike Myers honored Troyer with a statement to The Hollywood Reporter : “Verne was the consummate professional and a beacon of positivity for those of us who had the honor of working with him. It is a sad day, but I hope he is in a better place. He will be greatly missed.”
In 2018, we’ve already bid farewell to screen legends, music icons, and more. From The Cranberries frontwoman Dolores O’Riordan, to
House of Cards Emmy-winner Reg E. Cathey, plus rappers Fredo Santana and Craig Mack and legendary stage actor Sammy Williams, blues great Denise LaSalle, and many more. Join us as we take a look at these artists’ early works — Did you know
Chicago Fire star DuShon Monique Brown worked as a school counselor and actor John Gavin servied in the Korean war? We’ll reflect on their history-making performances, discuss the circumstances surrounding their deaths, and hear what their colleagues had to say about their passing.
Here are the stars we sadly said goodbye to this year.
Jon Paul Steuer
Former child actor Jon Paul Steuer, who starred as Quentin Kelly on Grace Under Fire and as Lt. Worf’s son, Alexander Rozhenko, on Star Trek: The Next Generation , died Jan. 1, 2018 at just 33 years old.
Steuer quit acting after the cancellation of
Grace Under Fire amid controversy surrounding the behavior of co-star Brett Butler, reported Variety. Steuer lived in Portland, Ore. and owned a vegan restaurant in the city called Harvest on the Bindery.
He was the lead singer of a band called P.R.O.B.L.E.M.S., who confirmed his untimely passing on Facebook . The band said, “The addition of Jonny to our dysfunctional band family was one of the best choices that we have ever made, and he brought a much needed sense of fun and lightheartedness to everything we did. He was only with us for a little more than a year, but we managed to cram a lifetime of great experiences into his tenure as our singer: dozens shows at home in Portland and across several states, an amazing European tour, and our best full-length release yet.”
Jerry Van Dyke
Jerry Van Dyke, younger brother of TV legend Dick Van Dyke, died Jan. 5, 2018 at 86 years old from heart failure, according to The New York Times . Jerry’s wife, Shirley Ann Jones, said Jerry’s health had begun to worsen following a car accident in 2015.
Jerry got his start with guest appearances on
The Dick Van Dyke Show and became a regular on The Ed Sullivan Show and The Judy Garland Show as a comedian. Far from riding his big brother’s coattails, Jerry was an Emmy nominated actor in his own right, earning four nods for his role of assistant coach Luther Van Dam on Coach from 1989 to 1997. After Coach ended, Jerry made regular guest appearances on television shows including My Name Is Earl , The Middle,
Yes Dear , and Raising Hope.
Canadian character actor Donnelly Rhodes passed away at 80 years old on Jan. 8, 2018, while in hospice care for a battle with cancer,
Rhodes became an actor after training for the Canadian National Park Service and serving as an airman-mechanic in the Royal Canadian Air Force.
His most famous roles were dopey escaped convict Dutch in Soap from 1978 to 1981 and Dr. Cottle in the original Battlestar Galactica. Rhodes also appeared on TV shows Mister Ed, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, Cheers, Taxi ,
The Golden Girls, The X-Files , The L Word ,
Smallville, and The Golden Girls, as well as the movie Tron: Legacy (2010). tar Galactica – Laura Asks Cottle For A Favor
Singer Denise LaSalle died Jan. 8, 2018 at 78 years old after suffering health issues for several months, which included the amputation of her right leg after a fall,
LaSalle was born Ora Denise Allen in Sidon, Miss. She began using a stage name when she moved to Chicago to sing R&B as a teenager. She later transitioned to blues and founded the National Association for the Preservation of the Blues in 1986. She was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in Memphis, Tenn. in 2011.
Jason Wayne Miller
Jason Wayne Miller, famous for playing Salami Sam in Heavyweights (1995), died in his sleep on Jan. 9, 2018, at home in Chicago,
TMZ reported. He was just 36 years old.
Heavyweights (1995) writer and producer Judd Apatow told Page Six that “being around Joe Miller was pure joy. We could not have loved spending time with him more. He made everyone around him so happy. What a terrible loss.”
Co-star Aaron Schwartz, who played Gerald Garner in the film, told the site, “Joe always brought the fun to the set. He was one of those people you always wanted to be around. So sad. So young. Rest In Peace Joe.” Watch out for Salami Sam !
‘Fast’ Eddie Clarke
Motörhead guitarist “Fast” Eddie Clarke died Jan. 10, 2018, at age 67. Clarke was the last surviving founding member of the classic metal band.
The band announced his death on its Facebook page: “We are devastated to pass on the news … Fast Eddie passed peacefully in hospital where he was being treated for pneumonia.”
Former Motörhead drummer Mikkey Dee, who is currently a member of the Scorpions, wrote in a statement, “Oh my f**king God, this is terrible news, the last of the three amigos. I saw Eddie not too long ago and he was in great shape, so this is a complete shock. Me and Eddie always hit it off great. I was looking forward to seeing him in the UK this summer when we around with the Scorps.” Dee continued, “Now Lem and Philthy can jam with Eddie again, and if you listen carefully I’m sure you’ll hear them, so watch out!”
Fellow founding member Ian “Lemmy” Kilmister died from cancer in December 2015, and Phil “Philthy Animal” Taylor passed away that fall.
Bobby Zarin, husband of The Real Housewives of New York star Jill Zarin, died Jan. 13, 2018. He was 71 years old.
“With the heaviest of hearts, we are devastated to share the news that our beloved Bobby Zarin passed away peacefully today surrounded by family after a courageous battle with cancer,” Jill wrote in a statement on her website . “There are no words to describe how heartbroken we are. Thank you, everyone, for all your love and support during this difficult time.”
Bobby was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in June 2009. It returned and spread to his brain in November 2016.
Jill posted a tribute to Bobby the day after his passing, writing on Instagram, “Rest in Peace my love. Words cannot express the hole in my heart. Bobby taught me what true and deep love is. Thank you my love for sharing your life with me … for raising Allyson as if she was your own, being an amazing father and grandfather and teaching me how to be a better person. You inspire those around you to be the best they can be … I will never forget you … your legacy lives on through your beautiful children and grandchildren. I will continue to raise money and awareness for ITOG (International Thyroid Oncology Group) so maybe this won’t happen to the next guy who draws the proverbial short straw. I will continue to honor you and make you proud. You taught me so many lessons.”
Dolores O’Riordan , frontwoman of The Cranberries, died Jan. 15, 2018 at age 46.
Her publicist said O’Riordan was in London for a short recording session, but released no further details, according to Ireland’s The Journal. The U.K. coroner told The Associated Press she was found dead in her hotel room in London and that her passing was “unsuspicious,” meaning there was no foul play.
O’Riordan was diagnosed with bipolar disorder after an altercation at an airport in 2014, reported The Telegraph . She later told The Telegraph that her mental health issues (including depression, an eating disorder, and an attempted overdose in 2012) stemmed from sexual abuse she suffered as a child.
O’Riordan’s boyfriend of two years, D.A.R.K. musician Olé Koretsky, wrote in a statement: “My friend, partner, and the love of my life is gone. My heart is broken and it is beyond repair. Dolores is beautiful … The energy she continues to radiate is undeniable. I am lost. I miss her so much.”
Actress Olivia Cole, who won an Emmy for her role as Mathilda George in Roots (1977), died Jan. 19, 2018, at 75 years old, reported Deadline . Aside from her iconic role in Roots (1977), Cole also earned an Emmy nomination as Maggie Rogers in Backstairs at the White House (1979).
Cole’s other notable works included The Women of Brewster Place (1989) opposite Oprah Winfrey, Coming Home (1978), Some Kind of Hero (1982) with Richard Pryor, Go Tell it on the Mountain (1984), First Sunday (2008), Guiding Light , L.A. Law, and Murder, She Wrote .
Comedian Bob Smith died Jan. 20, 2018, after a battle with ALS. He was 59 years old. Smith was the first openly gay comedian to appear on The Tonight Show, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Smith was also the first openly gay comic to perform an HBO half-hour special.
In addition to performing stand-up comedy, Smith was also an acclaimed writer, penning several novels, as well as three essay collections, including LAMBDA Book Award winner Openly Bob in 1997 and LAMBDA Book Award nominee Way to Go, Smith in 1999. His final book of essays, Treehab: Tales from My Natural Wild Life, was published in 2016 during his battle with ALS. He penned the entire collection with his one functional hand using an iPad.
Connie Sawyer, Hollywood’s oldest working actress, died at 105 years old on Jan. 22, 2018, Deadline reported. Her entertainment career began when she appeared in Vaudeville at just 8 years old and continued for decades, with movie roles in A Hole in the Head (1959), Ada (1961), The Way West (1967), The Man in the Glass Booth (1975),
When Harry Met Sally (1989), Dumb and Dumber (1994), and Pineapple Express (2008).
Sawyer’s six decades of television credits include roles on The Mary Tyler Moore Show,
Hawaii Five-O , Dynasty, Archie Bunker’s Place, Home Improvement , Seinfeld, Will & Grace, ER, The Office, How I Met Your Mother, Ray Donovan , and Murder, She Wrote .
Storm Chasers star Joel Taylor died Jan. 23, 2018, while aboard a cruise ship, TMZ reported. Taylor was 38 years old.Sources told TMZ that Taylor may have passed away from a drug overdose. A fellow passenger on the ship claimed Taylor passed out on the dance floor during the cruise after using the drug GHB and was taken back to his room by two other guests. He was found dead the following day.
Oscar-winning actress Dorothy Malone died of natural causes on Jan. 19, 2018, at 92 years old, Variety reported. Malone won an Academy Award for best supporting actress for her role as Marylee Hadley in Written on the Wind (1956), which co-starred Rock Hudson and Lauren Bacall.
Malone’s other notable works include
Warlock (1959), Peyton Place, Condominium (1980), and convicted murderer Hazel Dobkins in Basic Instinct (1992).
Former Glee star Mark Salling allegedly committed suicide by hanging on Jan. 30, 2018, reported TMZ. He was 35 years old.
“Mark was a gentle and loving person, a person of great creativity, who was doing his best to atone for some serious mistakes and errors of judgment,” Salling’s attorney, Michael Proctor, told People. “He is survived by his mother and father, and his brother. The Salling family appreciates the support they have been receiving and asks for their privacy to be respected.”
At the time of his death, Salling was preparing to commence a life behind bars. According to USA Today , he “admitted to possessing pornographic images of prepubescent children” in a plea agreement in October 2017. Salling was scheduled to be sentenced on March 7, 2018 and “expected to spend 4 to 7 years in prison, followed by 20 years of supervised release and registry as a sex offender,” reported Deadline .
A source told People that the disgraced actor had become isolated from friends. “This other dark side of him was completely shocking to everyone close to him,” the insider said. “Close people who didn’t talk to him are still sad about it. They loved him because of the person he was before all of this happened. There’s a level of sadness with everyone, but the sadness is from afar.”
World-famous theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking died March 14, 2018. According to the BBC , Hawking — who’d been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s disease, when he was just 21 years old — died peacefully in his home in Cambridge. He lived to be 76 years old, despite being given just two years to live at the time of his diagnosis. He is survived by his children: Lucy, Robert, and Tim.
“We are deeply saddened that our beloved father passed away today,” his kids said in a statement (via E! News). “He was a great scientist and an extraordinary man whose work and legacy will live on for many years.” The statement continued, “His courage and persistence with his brilliance and humor inspired people across the world. He once said, ‘It would not be much of a universe if it wasn’t home to the people you love.’ We will miss you forever.”
Rapper Fredo Santana died Jan. 19, 2018, at just 27 years old.
The Chicago-based MC (and cousin of controversial and often-incarcerated rapper Chief Keef) suffered from a fatal seizure, reported TMZ. Santana, born Derrick Coleman, had been hospitalized in the months leading up to his death, including a hospitalization for liver and kidney failure in October 2017. Once released from the hospital, Santana reportedly went right back into the studio to make more music, though Rolling Stone reported that he considered going to rehab as well.
The drill rapper was open about his addiction to lean, also commonly known as sizzurp — a combination of prescription cough syrup (usually codeine) and other substances, which may have caused his fatal seizure. His girlfriend reportedly arrived at his home at 11:30 p.m. and found him dead on the floor.
Several rappers paid tribute to Santana,
including Drake and Maxo Kream.
Making the situation even more tragic: Santana had an 8-month-old son.c
Alana “Honey Boo Boo” Thompson is a particularly divisive character in the world of reality television. Rosie O’Donnell loves the
Here Comes Honey Boo Boo star, calling her show “really revolutionary TV in a way most people won’t understand.” RuPaul claims she is his “reason for living” and wants to sing a duet with the pint-sized pageant princess. Even Barbara Walters dubbed her one of the most fascinating people of 2012, a stance she defended by saying “she’s sweet and loving with her mother and loving with her sisters.”
On the other side of the spectrum, there are plenty of famous folk who can’t stand the Georgia-born GIF generator. Ever since she sparkled and shined her way into the public’s consciousness in Season 5 of TLC’s Toddlers & Tiaras in 2012, Honey Boo Boo has rubbed a lot of people the wrong way — on principal, if nothing else. Maroon 5 singer Adam Levine flies into a red rage at the mere mention of her name. Conan O’Brien strongly suspects Honey Boo Boo is responsible for China “kicking America’s a**.” Meanwhile, The Real Housewives of Atlanta ‘s Kenya Moore thinks Honey Boo Boo looks like a prostitute.
Wherever you stand on the great Honey Boo Boo divide, it’s time to “redneckognize” a simply fact: Some people wish she’d just go away. Let’s reheat last night’s ” sketti ,” hunker down, and deep-dive into this.
We’ll keep the big fenagly words to a minimum.
Adam Levine calls her ‘the decay of Western Civilization’
Let’s start with an easy one. Pop star Adam Levine, Mr. “This Love” himself, allegedly hates Honey Boo Boo with a fiery passion that verges on fanatical. In a 2012
GQ profile , the Voice judge went off on the former Toddlers & Tiaras tyke, and the result is a thing of beauty.
Asked whether he’d rather wake up “not famous” or wake up as one of Honey Boo Boo’s parents , Levine wastes no time completely wigging out: “Seriously, Honey Boo Boo is the DECAY of Western civilization,” he declared.
According to Levine, the fact that the show successfully gathered so many eyeballs “doesn’t mean it’s good.” In fact, he likened the Honey Boo Boo phenomenon to when “people witness atrocities and can’t take their eyes away from them.” And, just in case some readers still aren’t clear on where Levine stands on the issue, he emphasized that “that show is literally The. Worst. Thing. That’s. Ever. Happened.”
And he goes on. And on. And on. “It’s complete f***ing ignorance and the most despicable way to treat your kids. F**k those people.” Later, he apologized for all his frothy vitriol, saying, “I’m so sensitive to that. … it’s upsetting.” And then, just to clarify, he shouted: “F**K THOSE PEOPLE.”
Maybe he’s more of a Lauryn “Pumpkin” Shannon kinda guy.
Kris Jenner hates HBB and her little mother, too!
Did Kris Jenner try to turn the Kardashian clan against Honey Boo Boo’s family? That’s the story one rabble-rousing source told
Radar Online in 2012. The anonymous tattletale claimed Jenner really had it in for the beauty pageant contestant and Mama June Shannon. Reportedly, Jenner was angry because they were upstaging her own reality show calamity. “She thinks the Thompsons are classless, unlike her family, and can’t understand why America is so fascinated by them,” whispered the source. “The show has become bigger than Keeping up with the Kardashians, and Kris is starting to feel threatened by its success.”
But perhaps this story has a happy ending — which is exactly what we want from this situation, right? None too shadily, Jenner actually responded to the Radar Online story, claiming she wasn’t familiar with all the Honey Hoo-Hoo Whatchamacallit: “I would never criticize her, because I didn’t even really know who Honey Boo Boo is,” she told E! News in 2012, confessing that she strongly suspected Boo Boo was the name of a dog.
By 2013, Jenner had apparently done her homework and learned her Sugar Bears from her Chickadees. Commenting on the Thompson’s Halloween costumes that year — they’d all dressed up as the Kardashians — the “momager” did her best to be a good sport, tweeting , “‘So awesome honeybooboo mamajune_booboo you guys all looked fabulous! #Kardashianlove”
Well played? You decide.
PETA rep Michelle Cho doesn’t like her chicken names
Although we don’t imagine Honey Boo Boo has a walk-in closet brimming with ermine and mink, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) still did its homework and found something to scold the little girl for: the name of her plucky pet chicken, Nugget.
In 2012, Alana Thompson was just minding her own business when an ominous letter arrived from the animal activist organization. The screed urged Honey Boo Boo to “honor” her pet chicken “and protect other chickens just like her.” At the time, Thompson was just 7 years old.
According to E! News, the letter, written by PETA’s former Associate Director of Communications Michelle Cho, alerted Thompson that “chickens are smart, interesting animals with personalities of their own.” In no uncertain terms, the organization asked Thompson to change the name of her feathered friend at once — to “Not A Nugget.” To sweeten this non-deal, PETA even sent the former Toddlers & Tiaras star an “I Am Not a Nugget” T-shirt, plus a sampling of some juicy, protein-packed “faux-chicken tenders” by Gardein.
We’re not sure PETA’s swag bag did the trick. Two years later, Thompson told InTouch all the things she wanted to be when she grows up: “a mama, a beauty queen, working at Walmart [and] working at McDonald’s so I can eat their chicken nuggets.”
She makes no mention of wanting to be a brand ambassador or thought leader at Gardein.
Jimmy Fallon: ‘Never hit your mother!’
As far as bad behavior goes, striking your mom is right up there with carjacking and managing a puppy mill. Through the power of editing, home audiences were spared the sight of Honey Boo Boo getting physical with Mama June during a 2014 appearance on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon . Unfortunately, the studio audience wasn’t quite so lucky. The unedited segment was allegedly such a disaster, writer Christy O’Shoney wrote a Salon story calling Honey Boo Boo a “tiny, dimpled monster.” (O’Shoney was in the audience because a friend happened to have a spare ticket.)
O’Shoney suggests the little girl was constantly having her lines fed to her by
Mama June and reportedly possessed none of the storied fizziness that’s turned her into a modern-day meme on legs. In fact, O’Shoney says the whole interview was fraught with an “eerie tension.” She also claims Honey Boo Boo was so annoyed at one point that she abruptly “struck” Mama June, much to the palpable dismay of the host. “Never hit your mother!” Fallon allegedly exclaimed, in an only-slightly-jokey tone. O’Shoney’s bottom line? She found Honey Boo Boo “disrespectful, defiant, entitled.”
In fact, Honey Boo Boo supposedly refused to give Fallon her friendship bracelet (on numerous occasions) and said his muscles weren’t that big. Maybe someone didn’t drink enough Go Go juice that day.
Kenya Moore thinks she looks like a ‘hooker’
Rule of thumb: It’s generally frowned upon to compare a 7-year-old girl to a prostitute. Nevertheless, no one seemed to bat an eye when The Real Housewives of Atlanta star Kenya Moore came for Honey Boo Boo. In 2014, the former Miss USA told InTouch: “Her mother puts her onstage looking like a glorified hooker!” She also thinks that “Honey Boo Boo is not a role model for young women,” which, fair enough.
Thompson also has it in for Mama June. In fact, she doesn’t have many good things to say about pageant moms as a whole. According to Shannon, beauty contests are about so much more than grabbing a trophy. You have to demonstrate that you’re distractingly beautiful inside and out. “Pageants are about having poise and promoting self-esteem and self-worth,” she says. She doesn’t think Honey Boo Boo possesses any of these qualities: “When a little girl wears a lot of makeup, fake teeth, and extensions, like hookers do — that’s just not appropriate.”
Honey Boo Boo would probably respond to these accusations with one of her most famous epigrams: “Pretty comes in all sizes. My size is cute.”
Steve Harvey is gonna have to pass
Poor Steve Harvey. The self-professed King of Comedy probably thinks Honey Boo Boo is a multi-headed monster that occasionally shambles into his life to remind him that Chaos Reigns.
In 2013, the entire family managed to upend his interview while appearing on his talk show, Steve. In fact, all hell quite literally broke loose. As Shannon regaled Harvey with news that Lauryn “Pumpkin” Shannon “changes boyfriends like she changes underwear,” her equally craven sister, Anna “Chickadee” Cardwell, abruptly let one rip. Harvey’s face contorts into so many varied expressions of disgust that entire articles have been dedicated to dissecting the moment. “Honey Boo Boo meets Steve Harvey and we took over!” cried Mama Shannon, clearly pleased as punch. Meanwhile, Honey Boo Boo lay slug-like and squalid, sprawled on the sofa with limbs awry like an abandoned ventriloquist doll on a sugar low.
This shining beacon of Peak TV isn’t the only time Harvey has had to deal with the Honey Boo Boo crew. That same year, they all appeared on Family Feud, and that experience sounds equally off-putting. During a 2014 visit to The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon (via Buzzfeed ), Harvey revealed that Pumpkin “shut the show down ’cause she had a request.” Apparently, she wouldn’t let the show go on until she had a big mouthful of yummy corn.
“Who the hell can’t go on without a bowl of corn?” he wondered, aghast. Then, to Fallon: “You don’t … you don’t know nobody like that.”
Harvey probably wishes he didn’t, either.
Conan O’Brien: She’s why China is kicking America’s a**
Et tu, O’Brien? Stars like The Bridge’s Diane Kruger and Pitch Perfect’s Rebel Wilson have both appeared on Conan to discuss their unhealthy obsession with Honey Boo Boo (“It’s like crack to me,” Kruger confessed.) Alas, so far no one’s successfully converted the talk show host into a fan. All in all, he doesn’t seem remotely smitten on the reality star, as you can tell from some of his material: “Sarah Palin visited the White House last night along with Ted Nugent and Kid Rock. All three expressed their regrets that Honey Boo Boo couldn’t make it.”
O’Brien takes it one step further in the above clip, suggesting the real reason China is “kicking America’s a**” is because everyone in the USA is sitting around watching Alana Thompson rock her daisy dukes .
And since three makes a trend, let’s not forget the time Conan’s crew superimposed Honey Boo Boo’s face onto Gollum from The Hobbit . Anybody who does that probably isn’t a big fan.
Trey Parker and Matt Stone can’t abide her
Even by South Park standards, the show’s depiction of Honey Boo Boo (in the show’s 232nd episode) is pretty damn vicious. It even inspired think pieces with headlines such as: “Honey Boo Boo on ‘South Park’: Are Reality Stars Parker and Stone’s Blind Spot?”
Titled “Raising the Bar,” the episode finds Cartman coming to terms with the fact that he’s obese. To combat the problem, he spends most of the episode riding around in a mobility scooter. Soon enough, famous folk such as Alana “Honey Boo Boo” Thompson follow his lead. In a plot twist that’s perhaps not South Park’s most inspired moment, Cartman launches his own reality show called
Fatty Doo Doo. At one point, Cartman and Honey Boo Boo are pitted against one another in a wrestling match (that takes place in a pile of spaghetti, or “sketti,” as the case may be.) For some reason, this all goes down on the South Lawn of the White House.
Well, the Honey Boo Boo clan caught wind of the episode, and it didn’t exactly give it two thumbs up. (Or three, for that matter.) Mama June was asked by the TMZ minions what she thought of the spoof, and she responded, “Me being a big person, I didn’t take offense … That show is just not a show that I would want to be on in the first place.”
Her main complaint? Without putting too fine a point on it, Mama June ultimately thought the South Park episode was “kinda trashy.”
Larry the Cable Guy declared all-out redneck war
Things we’ve learned so far today: Not all rednecks are created equal — at least, not according to Larry the Cable Guy. Inexplicably swarmed by TMZ reporters in 2012 while hanging out in West Hollywood, the stand-up comedian insisted there’s a very distinct line in the sand that separates his kind of redneck from the Honey Boo Boo variety. Yes, apparently there’s a pecking order to these things.
“I’m a redneck,” he huffed. “I’m not a Honey Boo Boo redneck, I’m a Larry the Cable Guy redneck, there’s a big difference between the two rednecks.” He then attempts to break down all the numerous “stages” of redneckiness. Jeff Foxworthy is apparently the gold standard of redneck, while the likes of Honey Boo Boo are decidedly lower class. What’s the difference, exactly? According to Larry the Cable Guy, “The food’s not as greasy” when you’re in the upper echelons of redneckery.
This all echoes a sentiment he expressed in an interview with M Live in 2013: “Honey Boo Boo, in my opinion, is [a] bottom of the barrel redneck.” So there you have it.
Mickie Wood gives her a Bronx cheer
Mickie Wood isn’t necessarily the classiest of class acts. After all, she reportedly
responds to criticism by impersonating flatulence. Nevertheless, Radar Online claims the notorious mother of child pageant star Eden Wood finds Honey Boo Boo to be positively “vomit inducing.” Heather Ryan, Eden Wood’s former manager, wrote a gruesome e-book called Unleashing a Momster that chronicles all the child pageant melodrama that goes on behind the scenes. Turns out there’s a considerably lurid underbelly beneath all that sparkle and shine.
In a chapter entitled “The Honey Boo Boo Boom,” Ryan claims Honey Boo Boo represents everything Mickie “hated about herself” and “hated about ugly, overweight hillbillies.”
If the e-book is to be believed, Mickie would just sort-of sit around and be “disgusted” and “lament for hours about how vomit inducing the Shannon family was.” Allegedly, her jealousy went through the roof when Here Comes Honey Boo Boo premiered in 2012. Ryan writes: “I’m pretty sure I heard a loud, distinctive BOOM from Taylor, Arkansas as Mickie Wood’s head exploded.”
She may have just been blowing raspberries again.
On April 5, 2017, a high school student from Reno, Nev. issued a plea to the Twittersphere: “HELP ME PLEASE. A MAN NEEDS HIS NUGGS.” This simple caption accompanied a screenshot of an exchange between Carter Wilkerson and fast food giant Wendy’s. “Yo @Wendys how many retweets for a year of free chicken nuggets,” Wilkerson asked. “18 million,” the burger chain replied. “Consider it done,” Wilkerson shot back.
With that, Chicken Nuggs Boy was born. Wilkerson woke up the next morning to 50,000 retweets, and the hashtag
#NuggsForCarter trending like crazy. Less than two weeks later he was on Ellen , where the daytime talk show host and then-holder of the record for the most retweeted tweet of all time attempted to bribe him with a big screen TV and a year’s supply of her branded underwear. “If somehow you pass me, Carter, I will come to your house,” Ellen warned the viral superstar.
But pass her he did on May 9, 2017 with a jaw-dropping 3,505,305 retweets. Though Wilkerson was short 13.5 million RTs, Wendy’s made good on its offer, awarding him his precious nuggs in addition to contributing $100,000 to The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption.
So what happens when you become such an internet celebrity that Guinness World Records recognizes your achievement ? Read on the find out what happened to Carter Wilkerson, the Chicken Nuggs Boy.
He’s kind of nugged out
Giving a high school kid an unlimited supply of chicken nuggets for an entire year could go wrong in all kinds of ways — think pranking his friends by filling their cars with nuggs or eating so many that there’s a worldwide shortage of the bite-size meat treats. But Carter Wilkerson showed a surprising level of restraint with his prize.
Speaking with Metro one month ahead of the one-year anniversary of his re-tweet record, Wilkerson revealed that he wasn’t “100% sure,” but he thought he’d “eaten over 400” nuggets by that point. Just doing some rough calculations, that means Wilkerson downed only 8.39 nuggets per week, which is probably more in line with the average nugget enthusiast’s consumption as opposed to a super fan who waged a worldwide, record-breaking social media campaign over them.
So what’s the deal with that? “I still love chicken nuggets of all brands and types,” Wilkerson told Metro, but he added, “If i could choose a different food it would have to be In and Out Double Doubles, or just burgers.”
Burgers? We feel like we don’t even know who you are anymore, Chicken Nuggs Boy!
Did he deserve those nuggs in the first place?
As we previously mentioned, the original arrangement between Chicken Nuggs Boy and Wendy’s was “a year of free nuggets” upon his achievement of 18 million retweets. At the time of this writing, Wilkerson’s epic tweet has leveled off at 3,649,469 , which is, of course, impressive, but falls quite short of his goal. And Wendy’s isn’t letting him forget that.
The burger chain with the unusually hilarious
social media presence tweeted at Wilkerson on April 5, 2018, “Had a whole year and still didn’t get to 18 million? smdh,” along with a smirking emoji. Wilkerson replied, “aye, we cool right.” Wendy’s shot back, “Always.” This savvy exchange between the teen and a major brand is now something of a mainstay on Wilkerson’s timeline.
One day after his back-and-forth with Wendy’s, Wilkerson tweeted at the Denver Nuggets, asking, “Yo @nuggets when you guys gonna bring me out for a game?” The NBA team issued a stinging clap back of with, “When you actually get your retweets.” Woah!
Do you smell that? It’s the distinct odor of Chicken Nuggs Boy getting roasted over an internet fire.
Nuggin’ for a good cause
From the very beginning of his quest for a complimentary nugg-filled year, Wilkerson knew that he was in a unique position to use his viral fame for good. That was the impetus behind his website, aptly named Nuggs for Carter, on which he sells t-shirts and donates all of the proceeds to a worthy cause.
“I’m pretty fortunate,” Wilkerson told the Reno Gazette Journal of his philanthropic endeavor. “I don’t need the money, so I thought it would be really cool to give it to charity.” That charity is The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, the eponymous organization started by the Wendy’s founder with a mission “to dramatically increase the number of adoptions from foster care.”
Wilkerson also seeks donations through his website for Mom’s on the Run , a local Reno, Nev. (where Wilkerson is from) organization that raises money for families dealing with a diagnosis of breast or gynecological cancer. Wilkerson told KTVN that he has a personal connection to Mom’s on the Run through his own mother, who battled breast cancer in 2009.
Who knew a teen’s half-hearted Twitter joke could turn into something so positive?
Chicken Nuggs Boy knows how to internet
Katy Perry’s 2017 music video for her song “Swish Swish ” was so jam-packed with viral stars that the CDC probably should have quarantined it. According to PR Week , the video featured not only Doug the Pug, but also “social influencer” Dexter Mayfield, YouTuber Christine Sydelko, and Russell Horning (aka the ” Backpack Kid .”) Chicken Nuggs Boy was there too, albeit in the briefest of cameos, of which he definitely made the most.
In his literal one second of screen time , Wilkerson is seen chomping a nugg, sporting a Nuggs For Carter tee, laughing, pointing, and all while holding Katy Perry’s dog named — wait for it — Nugget on his lap. He celebrated his music video debut by turning his cameo into a GIF and sharing it on Twitter.
What this translates to is a viral celeb starring in an homage to viral celebs creating a meme out of the moment and then recirculating it back onto the web. If that’s not peak internet, we don’t know what is.
All those nuggs haven’t gone to his head
Wilkerson still holds the title of most re-tweeted Twitter user of all time, but he’s still just a normal teenager. Yes, he met Ellen DeGeneres and Katy Perry , and yes, he’s got more than a hundred thousand followers on his verified Twitter account, but he’s also a kid who, as of this writing, hasn’t even graduated from high school.
In a 2017 interview with The New York Times , Wilkerson talked about just how typical his life had been at the time his tweet went viral “as he prepared for AP tests, considered college applications and took his girlfriend to the prom.” The then-11th-grader who previously described himself as “not a huge attention person,” confessed that he was enjoying the newfound notoriety from his classmates. “I think they’re all pretty jealous,” he told The Times , adding, “Who doesn’t want to be the Nugget Kid?”
As for what the football team captain and track runner envisions for his future, he’s now switching gears from his previous goal of following the family business, dentistry, to considering a possible career in marketing. He’s certainly got a nice chunk for the resume already.
He’s an accidental marketing genius
According to Digiday, Wendy’s wasn’t the only brand who wised up to the “viral magic” that could be created by making a celebrity out of an average joe. After all, isn’t the unspoken goal of most social media users to be discovered for their hidden genius and suddenly thrust into money-making fame?
Well, after Wendy’s performed the rare alchemy of making an internet superstar out of 12 words tapped into Twitter by a random high schooler, other brands jumped on the bandwagon. Digiday reported that Universal Studios used fan-made videos to cut together a promo for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom; Emerald Nuts actually “made a user’s review on Amazon into a tagline for its latest ad campaign;” and Saucony let a sneaker superfan takeover its Instagram page after discovering that he’d “ordered 36 identical pairs of Saucony Jazz shoes because he loved them so much.”
If there was ever a time in existence when brands were paying attention to the value of hardcore fandom, that time is now, and largely thanks to the wild success of Chicken Nuggs Boy.
However, as with any attempt to recreate such a flash-in-the-pan moment, there were always going to be a few epic fails. Which brings us to…
United Airlines’ attempt to lure Chicken Nuggs Boy never took off
In a pretty early attempt to grab the coattails of Wilkerson’s skyrocketing internet fame, United Airlines tweeted him the following just two days after his plea to Wendy’s: “If you get the 18 million RTs, we’ll give you a free flight to take you to any @Wendys in the world in a city we serve. Good luck!”
Unfortunately, United Airlines had a viral moment all to itself the very next day when passenger Dr. David Dao was violently
dragged off of a flight after refusing to give up his seat due to the airline’s policy of overbooking. Twitter users, of course, took the opportunity to hilariously link the airlines PR disaster with its attempt at viral marketing.
User @blader tweeted, “Yo @United how many retweets to not get assaulted by you on my next flight?” Others followed with the similar sentiments, many using the popular “It’s a trap! ” meme. Amazingly, United doubled down a month later when Wilkerson broke the re-tweet record and attempted to recruit him again.
As far as we can tell, Wilkerson never replied to United, however, user @aligulpir basically spoke for the collective internet this time around with the epic reply , “Yes @carterjwm it’s time to decide at which airport you will be dragged off. So many to choose from!!! #excited.” Oof. The silver lining here for United — if there actually is one — is that the airline was not alone in its highly public foible.
Sorry, Fake Free Cruise Kid
This one doesn’t fall on the brand so much as it does another aspiring viral star, but it was a blatant attempt at copycatting Chicken Nuggs Boy’s fame — and he even weighed in on it! — so we’re including it here. On April 3, 2018, Twitter user Dylan Baer posted what appeared to be a screenshot of an agreement between himself and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. “Please help, man needs his boat,” Baer tweeted, to which Royal Caribbean allegedly agreed, “2 million and Oasis of the Seas is all yours.”
As with Wilkerson before him, the tweet gained traction, earning more than 700,000 retweets before folks started questioning the authenticity of the arrangement. Like Wendy’s, Royal Caribbean has a savvy and responsive Twitter account that it uses for everything from promoting trips to sharing funny memes to fielding routine customer service issues such as boarding delays or bad dining experiences. When the questions started rolling in about Baer’s impending free cruise, three different Royal Caribbean reps were quick to shut the whole thing down.
“This isn’t true,” tweeted a rep who identified herself as Candy. “It’s fake, and I’m sorry for any confusion the tweet is causing,” a rep named Lorenzo also tweeted. And finally, Gabbie, yet another Royal Caribbean employee, tweeted, “This is absolutely fake and we didn’t agree to this.”
The jig was up for Baer, who then got predictably roasted himself. Even Wilkerson took a light swipe, tweeting , “where my boat at? @RoyalCaribbean.” Alas, Baer remains among the lowly general populace who still have to fork out cash to cruise, but we wonder: If there was no solidarity between Chicken Nuggs Boy and Fake Free Cruise Kid, is there hope for any of us?
Jim Carrey’s wild personality, kooky facial expressions, and outlandish sense of humor have been making the world chuckle since the ’80s. After snagging a gig on The Tonight Show at the age of 21, he parlayed his newfound success into a recurring spot on the ’90s sketch comedy show In Living Color . He tickled our funny bones as he depicted memorable characters, such as Fire Marshall Bill and the buff bodybuilder Vila de Milo , and it was clear as day that Carrey had no limit to how far he would go to bring laughter into his fans’ lives.
Box office success soon followed, with
movies such as Ace Ventura: Pet Detective and Dumb and Dumber, but despite his accomplishments, he has struggled with inner turmoil that manifested itself during his childhood and wreaked havoc in his life well into his adult years. His goofy personality and his penchant for comedy can be described as protective shields that hide his angst.
From depression to homelessness, the trials and tribulations he has experienced are no laughing matter. This is the tragic real-life story of Jim Carrey .
His intense fear of the Grim Reaper
During a lull in his filming schedule, he penned his children’s book, How Roland Rolls, and the story was far from the fairytale template most children’s books follow.
“One of the things I’ve always wanted to talk about or deal with is the fact that kids have profound feelings and profound questions that people don’t give them credit for. They think about life and death and ‘What happens when something happens to Mom? What happens when something happens to me?'” he told The Hollywood Reporter . The plot of his book was rooted in the actor’s own fears growing up with two parents who were “heavy smokers.”
“I remember locking myself in the bathroom and crying because I thought they were going to die. They banged on the door, telling me to come out. I don’t know if I got over that fear at that time; it was just kind of with me,” he said.
His fears heightened as his mom freely talked about her own mortality. “I remember being seven years old and my mother at the dinner table saying things like, ‘My brain is deteriorating at an incredible rate!’ or ‘My angina’s acting up; I could go at any time!'” he recalled. “Things like that would just shake me to the core.”
He later came to grips with his mom’s outspoken banter, realizing it was her way of “getting attention and getting love,” — but it was at the cost of scaring the bejesus out of him.
He dropped out of school
At the age of 10, Carrey wrote a heartfelt letter to The Carol Burnett Show in hopes that they would give him the opportunity to display his comedic chops and show off his “150 voices” on the program. He waited for a reply and was finally greeted with a rejection letter from the TV personality, who told him the program was “just grown-ups” and encouraged Carrey to “stay in school, study hard.”
Sadly, Carrey wasn’t able to heed her advice after his father lost his job as an accountant. In order to help his family make ends meet, the Bruce Almighty star dropped out of school on his 16th birthday, according to CBS News. “We were experiencing poverty at that point. We all got a job, where the whole family had to work as security guards and janitors.”
There was a bright side to his early exit from school. He was determined not to be a looo-hoo-zuh-her , so he spent his time away from the classroom working on his comedy act “full-time .” And, boy, did it pay off.
He became a homeless teen
His family’s financial hardships meant tough times were abundant. However, Carrey managed to turn those difficult times into a source of laughter.
“A lot of people don’t know this but when I was about 14 or 15, my father lost his job and I actually became homeless for quite some time, but of course, I grew up in Canada and I thought we’d gone camping,” he says in one of his earlier comedy skits.
He may be able to laugh about it now, but that rough period of his life was far from humorous at the time. Carrey revealed in an interview with Inside the Actors Studio (via People), that he and his family even had to live “in a van for a while.”
Thankfully, those days are now over. Carrey has used his fortunes to give his lifestyle a complete 180, like the time he purchased a beachside Malibu home that he later sold for a whopping $13.4 million . Cha-ching!
His mirror was his only friend
As if his family’s financial struggles weren’t bad enough, Jim Carrey also dealt with bouts of loneliness as a child, which he described in a December 1984 issue of Interview magazine.
When asked if his childhood was unusual in any sort of way, he made the startling admission: “Well, I spent most of my time in my room staring at a mirror. I never knew I was supposed to socialize,” he said. He went on to say that he would spend “hours” making faces at himself in front of the mirror, but he described the memory in a nostalgic way by claiming he was just “having a good time.”
While chatting with James Lipton on Inside the Actors Studio (via the Daily Mail ), the Liar Liar actor shared more secrets about his life of solitude, but he hinted that his aversion to being a social butterfly may have been self-imposed. After dropping out of school, he said he went from being a “straight-A student to not wanting to know anybody’s name, and not wanting to make a friend.”
He suffered from depression
In an interview with CNN’s Larry King, Jim Carrey described himself as a “weird, serious person,” and he dove deeper into that topic when he chatted with iNews . His “serious” personality isn’t one the public gets to see often, and it could be attributed to the actor’s struggle with depression. He revealed that it took him some time, but he was able to get to a point where he was “sometimes happy.”
After gradually ditching Prozac, abstaining from alcohol and drugs, and limiting his coffee intake, Carrey found that his mental wellness improved. To keep depression at bay, he looked toward the spiritual side of his life. “Jesus. I’m a Buddhist, I’m a Muslim, I’m a Christian. I’m whatever you want me to be,” he told 60 Minutes. “It all comes down to the same thing … You are either in a loving place, or you are in an unloving place. If you are with me right now, you cannot be unhappy. It’s not possible, just try.”
Art cured his broken heart
We’ve seen him hit up the red carpet with a bevy of beautiful women, but one of his most well-known relationships was with fellow actress and comedienne Jenny McCarthy. After five years together, the couple announced its breakup.
“Those moments where you saw us together, was it love? You’re damned right it was,” McCarthy told Oprah Winfrey in September 2010. “The problem is there wasn’t a photographer when the times were rough.”
After going their separate ways, Carrey turned to art as a form of therapy. In the documentary, Jim Carrey: I Needed Color , he said painting and creating clay sculptures helped him “heal a broken heart.” Although he didn’t mention McCarthy by name, the timeline of their breakup coincided with his foray into the world of art. “When I really started painting a lot, I had become so obsessed that there was nowhere to move in my home. Paintings were everywhere, they were becoming part of the furniture. I was eating on them,” he said.
He’s ‘a hard guy to date’
Jim Carrey has had a long list of leading women in and out of his life. He married actress Melissa Womer in 1987, and the former couple had a daughter, Jane, before they went their separate ways. He later went on to marry his Dumb and Dumber co-star, Lauren Holly, in 1996, but their marriage barely lasted eight months before Holly filed for divorce in July 1997. A string of rocky relationships followed, including a broken engagement to his Me, Myself & Irene co-star Renée Zellweger (pictured).
After news broke that his aforementioned romance with McCarthy was on the skids, those close to the actor spoke out about just how jacked up their relationship may have become. Although Carrey always had a smile on his face while hanging out with their mutual friends, the usually bubbly McCarthy “rarely smiled and looked serious,” a source alleged to People. “There wasn’t that spark between them. They didn’t seem to be in sync.”
A friend close to the comedian labeled Carrey “a hard guy to date.” The insider claimed, “Jim can run hot and he can run cold. He is someone who desperately needs to be with someone, then just as desperately needs to be alone. But at the same time, he can be a very loving, very compassionate guy.”
His ex-girlfriend’s tragic death led to a legal battle
Another one of his relationships that made headlines began in 2012 when he met makeup artist Cathriona White on a film set, according to USA Today. White tragically took her own life in September 2015 by overdosing on prescription drugs, and Carrey was a pallbearer at her funeral. The following year, White’s estranged husband, Mark Burton, and her mother, Brigid Sweetman, sued the actor for wrongful death, claiming Carrey had infected White with “three STDs without warning her” and had supplied her with the painkillers that she used to commit suicide.
According to The Hollywood Reporter , Carrey fought back with a countersuit claiming White attempted to extort him in 2013 by threatening to reveal her STD allegation. He also claimed that her mother and estranged husband’s wrongful death lawsuit was just another way for her family to attempt to exploit him.
The court battle and allegations got very nasty, but the whole thing was dismissed in January 2018, according to a statement Carrey’s rep gave to The Hollywood Reporter . No further details were given by either of the parties following the suit’s dismissal, although Carrey’s lawyer told the website the actor was looking forward to moving on with his life.
Sean Hannity’s career is perplexing to many. The multimillionaire managed to transform himself from school-skipping college dropout to high-powered political authority with his specific brand of political commentary. Until Rachel Maddow narrowly beat out his ratings in April 2018, he was was the most-watched nightly cable news host, amassing more than 3 million viewers monthly — and it’s hardly surprising.
Conservatives tune into Hannity because he’s painted himself as a defender of the blue collar and middle class. He gives credence to right-wing conspiracy theories and staunchly questions the mainstream medis (while rarely acknowledging he is the MSM.) Liberals watch as if he’s a unicorn — a man so filled with brazen allegiance to false conservative viewpoints that he can’t be real. Yet, he is. The cable news host has a loose definition of the truth and regularly spouts incorrect facts and statistics to support his claims while failing to disclose any bias he might have. Then again, he never said he was a journalist — until he did . Sometimes he’s a close adviser to the president, and other times he’s not. The cable news host is so polarizing he caused an army of fans to smash their expensive coffee makers after Keurig pulled its advertising from his show.
No matter how elusive the cable news host’s true values may be, there is one thing undeniably Hannity: controversy. Here’s the truth about the sometimes-journalist, always-talk show host who some say might just be President Trump’s unofficial chief of staff.
He dropped out of college because he couldn’t afford it
Sean Hannity may have risen up through the ranks of Fox News, but it wasn’t because of his education. The self-proclaimed opinion journalist was a very poor student — both in behavior and budget. Hannity attended Catholic school at Sacred Heart Seminary, where he reportedly clashed with the nuns. As a teenager, he frequently cut class to smoke. “I just wasn’t that interested in school. It bored me to tears,” he admitted to The New York Times .
Hannity didn’t fare much better in the world of higher education. He never finished college, where he was studying political science, and attended three different universities — NYU, Adelphi, and University of California-Santa Barbara — before dropping out. The TV host
admitted that he quit college because he “ran out of [money]” after paying for three years of classes out of pocket. He claims to have had very good grades at all three schools, but moved to Rhode Island with his sister, Teddy Grisham, to launch a wallpaper and design business instead of continuing his studies.
That doesn’t mean he never got a degree. In 2005, Hannity received an honorary degree from Liberty University, the evangelical Christian college that gave Donald Trump an honorary doctorate of law in 2017.
His father was physically abusive, but he says he ‘deserved it’
Sean Hannity is rarely painted as a sympathetic character, but before his brazen support of political conspiracy theories and humble brags about his membership with the U.S. Concealed Carry Association, the talk show host was a troubled kid. Hannity has said he was regularly abused by his father for misbehaving.
In an interview with The New York Times, Hannity claimed his father would rip off his belt and “[kick] the [expletive] out of me” for misbehaving. However, he also said he isn’t “as good as” as his dad in “many ways.” This is a horrifying, heartbreaking picture to many, including Hannity’s fellow guests on a Fox News segment where he discussed the abuse at length.
Fox legal analyst Mercedes Colwin, columnist Mike Bako, and psychotherapist Dr. Robi Ludwig spent the segment arguing that corporal punishment isn’t effective. Hannity went as far as aggressively smacking his belt against the desk to demonstrate how his father would beat him. He also claimed he “deserved it” when his father punched him in the face for talking back.
Homophobic remarks got him booted from his first job
Hannity applied for a volunteer position at KCSB in 1989, the radio station of UC-Santa Barbara. He landed the gig and got his own show where he began to develop his patented pundit persona. It was the type of show that celebrated conspiracy theories and questioned the mainstream media. Alas, he lost his show as quickly as he landed it.
According to The Washington Post, Hannity’s program fielded more complaints than any other KCSB radio show in no small part due to a segment he aired about AIDS conspiracy theories. Hannity claimed that the mainstream media was lying when it said AIDS could not be contracted through saliva and tears. He encouraged guests who believed gay men contracted AIDS because they were eating each other’s feces and adamantly stated that those who believed homosexuality was normal were brainwashed.
After being taken off the air, Hannity threatened to sue the school on grounds of discrimination over his conservative viewpoints. The ACLU took his case, and the college offered to give Hannity back his slot. Hannity then demanded twice the airtime along with a public apology. The college declined.
Even though Hannity used the ACLU for his benefit before rising to fame, he has since slammed the organization during his time with FOX News. He teased a liberal guest for being a “card-carrying member of the ACLU” and claimed the organization doesn’t defend free speech.
He became one of the richest celebs on the planet
Despite the fact that Hannity portrays himself as a voice for the working class, he’s actually one of the richest celebrities on the planet. According to Forbes, he rakes in an estimated $36 million per year as the 77th highest paid celeb — but this wasn’t always the case.
Hannity didn’t come from money, and he gained his riches through an intense work ethic. He held down jobs for most of his life, from bartending at the age of 17 to the first paid radio gig he landed in 1990. According to The Washington Post, Hannity was paid just $19,000 a year to host an afternoon show on WVNN. Over the next couple of years, Hannity conducted plenty of controversial interviews. He was even scolded for bringing a prostitute on air. He also flagrantly insulted lesbians (a statement he proudly cited in his official station biography.) Eventually, he became the top-rated radio host in the northern Alabama area.
A pastor told Hannity his wife was ‘crazy’ for marrying him
Hannity’s marriage to Jill Rhodes is an anomaly in the world of celebrity relationships. While most Hollywood marriages don’t even last an entire movie PR cycle, this high-profile couple has been married since 1993. They met when Rhodes was a newspaper reporter, but Hannity’s controversial political views almost ruined their relationship before it even got started.
Most religious couples meet with a priest or pastor before getting married. Here, the minister helps them discover if they’re truly compatible in the long term. For Hannity’s minister, the answer was a resounding no. During one of these prenuptial meetings, Hannity got into a heated argument with the minister after declaring that the church had become too liberal. Rhodes left in tears, but not before the minister reportedly told her she was “crazy to be marrying this guy.”
Hannity and his wife have since had two children: a son Patrick, who was born in 1999, and a daughter Merri Kelly, born in 2002. Despite their happy union, the couple is notoriously private and rarely caught together on camera.
He ‘basically has a desk’ at the White House
Since the 2016 election, Hannity has been criticized over his relationship with Donald Trump, which raises numerous questions about the journalistic integrity of Fox News. The political pundit has carved a name for himself as Trump’s fiercest advocate on
television, defending everything from the president’s illegal travel ban to his ill-advised tweet storms. Hannity even panders to the president’s base by peppering his segments with far-right conspiracy theories .
By now, it’s no secret that Trump gets a whole lot of his news from Fox. The Los Angeles Times even caught the commander in chief tweeting about segments right after they aired on Fox & Friends. Still, his relationship with Hannity may be even more influential. According to reports from the Daily Beast, The Washington Post and The New York Times , the president has regular phone conversations with the Fox News host and picks Hannity’s brain on everything from policy and White House staff to potential tweets. According to the Chicago Tribune , White House advocates have dubbed Hannity the unofficial chief of staff because of his influence and close connection with the president. One presidential adviser allegedly claimed that Hannity “basically has a desk in the place.”
Hannity has since slammed The New York Times piece about his relationship with Trump, claiming it was fake news and alleging that the publication colluded with Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election. Washington correspondent Glenn Thrush fired back, saying he personally saw a Republican official receive an email with political advice from the
Fox News host.
He’s no stranger to ‘weird and creepy’ scandals
The culture of sexual harassment scandals at
Fox News seems so prevalent that it almost feels like you can’t be successful at the network if you haven’t paid someone hush money. From Bill O’Reilly , who was fired after a series of sexual harassment allegations came to light, to the unnamed executive who exposed himself to a contributor and cost the network $2.5 million — it feels like an epidemic. If Sean Hannity hasn’t made this egregious misstep, he’s certainly treading dangerous territory by association.
In 2017, conservative pundit Debbie Schlussel, who appeared on Hannity’s show in the early aughts, claimed the TV host repeatedly invited her back to his hotel room. Hannity allegedly first propositioned her at a book signing before the show. While on the show, Schlussel claimed Hannity barely let her talk and threatened to turn off her microphone if she didn’t “obey [her] host.” Afterward, he allegedly asked her to come back to his hotel room a second time. When she declined, he allegedly called her up on the phone, screaming.
Hannity told the New York Daily News that those claims were “100% false and a complete fabrication.” He threatened to sue Schlussel, stating she was a “serial harasser.” Schlussel later clarified her side of the story: “I never thought I was sexually harassed by Sean Hannity, I thought he was weird and creepy not someone I liked.”
He’s embroiled in Michael Cohen’s criminal investigation
Sean Hannity is so close with President Trump that they don’t just share political values — they share legal counsel, and as a result, political scandals.
In April 2018, FBI agents raided the home, office, and hotel room of Trump’s private lawyer, Michael Cohen, as part of an ongoing
criminal investigation . Later in court, Cohen was forced to admit that his third, secret client (alongside Trump and Republican fundraiser Elliott Broidy) was Sean Hannity. He was allegedly met with a courtroom filled with audible gasps and flagrant laughter.
Cohen has made a name for himself by mitigating sex scandals and facilitating hush money payments to porn stars and Playboy models — not a good look for Hannity, who initially claimed he never retained or paid Cohen for anything. Hannity later claimed he may have tossed Cohen “10 bucks” to establish attorney-client privilege (which typically does not include business matters) and only spoke to Cohen about real estate.
Hannity’s relationship with Cohen blurs the lines of media ethics, and many consider it a hit to Fox News’ self-proclaimed reputation as “Fair & Balanced.” Earlier in 2017, the network
dropped its famous slogan, which wasn’t really shocking considering its full support of Hannity’s lack of disclosure.
He built an empire on foreclosed properties
In a 2016 episode of Hannity , the Fox News host slammed Barack Obama for the U.S. foreclosure rate, which he claimed was at an all-time high during his presidency. Later in the episode, he claimed millions of Americans were suffering because of those foreclosures. On the surface, Hannity was grieving with American families who had lost their homes, but behind-the-scenes, he was using the foreclosures to build a secret real estate empire worth more than $90 million.
According to a behemoth report by The Guardian, Hannity was linked to a group of shell companies that purchased more than 870 homes — ranging from mansions to low-income rentals — over the last decade. Some of these homes were bought at a discount after their previous owners defaulted on their mortgages. According to The Guardian, “Hannity is the hidden owner behind some of the shell companies” and “also amassed part of his property collection with support from the US Department for Housing and Urban Development (Hud), a fact he did not disclose when praising Ben Carson, the Hud secretary, on his television show” in 2017.
He slams welfare but has benefited from government assistance
Hannity has long criticized welfare recipients. In 2013, he egged on a guest who called for an African American welfare recipient to be sterilized after fathering 22 children. He also
accused an aspiring musician who received food stamps and government health benefits of “basically stealing from other people.” The truth is, Hannity isn’t opposed to all government benefits, especially not the ones he can use for his gain.
Some of the properties that were purchased by shell companies linked to Hannity had mortgages that were secured and insured by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Under the National Housing Act, real estate investors are able to obtain mortgages for a down payment as low as 3.5 percent, a paltry sum considering traditional lenders typically require 20 percent upfront. Because these mortgages are considered higher risk, a buyer must purchase insurance. Since Hannity’s loans are insured by HUD, which uses a part of its budget to give rental assistance to the elderly and disabled, the organization would be on the hook if he fails to meet his mortgage payments. In other words, Hannity’s colossal investments are partly insured by taxpayer money.
If a multi-millionaire receiving government aid to get a cheaper mortgage doesn’t sit well with you, you’re not alone. In a statement, Hannity slammed naysayers and claimed he had nothing to do with HUD’s involvement and was investing in communities that desperately needed help.
He purchased discount properties from a convicted fraudster
Hannity was able to secure amazing deals for some of the properties he purchased under the veil of various LLCs. This included pint-sized down payments from HUD and deeply discounted properties purchased from a convicted fraudster who allegedly rigged foreclosure auctions. The rabbit hole of Hannity’s secret real estate empire runs almost as deep as the conspiracy theories he regularly promotes on his eponymous show.
Hannity reportedly purchased at least 11 properties through convicted real estate fraudster Jeffrey Wayne Brock. According to the Daily Beast, Brock would pay accomplices to not bid competitively against him in foreclosure auctions in order to acquire homes for just over the minimum bid. He was eventually sent to federal prison for his real estate scheme, and it was found that Brock was entirely bankrolled by investors who may not have had any idea about his shady practices. The payoffs given to low-bidding accomplices were labeled as a finder’s fee on investor invoices — a convenience charge that, at best, wouldn’t raise alarms and at worst, posed as a believable cover-up.
Hannity denies that he invested in any of Brock’s properties, and he likely didn’t have any knowledge about Brock. In a statement, the TV host admitted that he doesn’t “individually select, control or know details about” his real estate investments. Either way, he still benefited from Brock’s crooked scheme.
He allegedly pulled a gun at a liberal guest commentator
Sean Hannity fiercely defends the Second Amendment and is a proud member of the National Rifle Association . His love-affair with guns began at just 11 years old when his father allowed him to take his first shooting lesson. The TV host currently holds a concealed carry permit in five different states.
Despite the fact that he sung the NRA’s praises for teaching gun safety to the American public, Hannity may not actually take its advice to heart. According to CNN, Hannity was off camera when he pulled a gun on a liberal guest commentator who was filming a segment for his eponymous show. During the segment, the host allegedly pointed the firearm directly at Juan Williams, who had a visible red dot on his body from the gun’s laser sight. The incident was so disturbing that Williams’ colleagues reportedly brought it to the attention of Fox News executives, who passed it to the legal and human resources department.
Hannity later called CNN’s claim “outright false reporting.” He told the Los Angeles Times, “While discussing the issue of firearms, I showed my good friend Juan Williams my unloaded firearm in a professional and safe manner for educational purposes only.”
Fox News found no foul play when they investigated the incident.
On Thursday, April 26, 2018, NBC announced that the Saturday Night Live stars will host the 2018 Emmy Awards, Entertainment Tonight reports.
“NBC is thrilled to be the home of this year’s Emmy Awards and with Colin and Michael in the driver’s seat as hosts, along with surprise appearances by other cast members of Saturday Night Live,” NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt said in a statement. “I think we are in for one of the funniest awards shows in a long time.”
Meanwhile, the official SNL Twitter account
wrote, “Excited to announce that @ColinJost and Michael Che will be hosting this year’s #Emmys!”
Saturday Night Live – SNL @nbcsnl
Excited to announce that @ColinJost and Michael Che will be hosting this year’s #Emmys!
5:35 PM – Apr 26, 2018
Jost, who went public with his relationship with Scarlett Johansson last November, and Che will follow in the footsteps of last year’s host, Stephen Colbert . The comedy co-anchors, who have helmed the “Weekend Update” desk since 2014, shared their excitement about landing the coveted hosting gig in a joint statement.
“We’re proud to be the first duo hosting the Emmys since Jenna Elfman and David Hyde Pierce, and somehow that’s a real fact,” they said, jokingly making note of the fact that they’re the ceremony’s first hosting double act in 19 years.
Nominations for the 70th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards will be announced on Thursday, July 12. The event will air live from the Microsoft Theater at L.A. Live in Los Angeles on Monday, September 17, at 8 p.m. EST on NBC.
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Amanda June Bell
The 2017 Primetime Emmy Awards were filled with the usual levels of cheeky humor, emotional acceptance speeches, political calls to action, and the all-around excitement that one expects from the award show. Fortunately, the Emmys had no La La Land-Moonlight snafu, but there were still some major moments that happened behind-the-scenes before, during, and after the telecast. Here’s what you didn’t see on TV during the 2017 Emmys. idn’t See On TV At The 2017 Emmy Awards
Several stars sported blue ribbons to support the ACLU
The 2017 Emmys red carpet was filled with blue. Several nominees and guest presenters sported simple, blue ribbons pinned to their ensembles to show support for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Those who visibly supported the organization included The Night Of star Riz Ahmed, co-presenters B.D. Wong and Matt Bomer,
The Handmaid’s Tale stars Ann Dowd and Elisabeth Moss, Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi, Transparent stars Judith Light and Kathryn Hahn, Silicon Valley star Kumail Nanjiani, and Homeland star Mandy Patinkin.
The ACLU has been pursuing legal remedies to combat several of President Donald Trump’s executive actions, including his ban against transgender troops serving in the U.S. military, his travel ban to block immigrants and refugees from seven predominantly Muslim nations, and his Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. Given this fashion statement and the political atmosphere of the evening’s speeches, it was clear from the start that many stars came out for more than just an evening of entertainment.
Shailene Woodley dissed her own profession
Shailene Woodley might’ve been an Emmy nominee for her work on HBO’s Big Little Lies , but the actress used her time on the red carpet to proclaim that she does not have time to watch television. She told red carpet reporters, “All my friends watch TV. I just ask them when they have time to. When do people have time to? I’m a reader. So I always read a book instead of turning on my TV… I actually haven’t had a TV since I moved out of my parents’ house at 18.”
Woodley is known for being a modern-day hippie who even fetches her own water from natural springs rather than drinking from the tap, but her deprecation of the entertainment industry, and particularly the medium that was being celebrated, was considered extreme, even for her.
People were not happy about Sean Spicer’s cameo
Although it might have been meant as a cheeky wink to the fact that Melissa McCarthy won outstanding guest actress in a comedy series thanks to her impression of “Spicey” on Saturday Night Live , the opening monologue cameo by former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer didn’t land very well with audiences. During the cameo, he brought in his own roving podium to assure host Stephen Colbert that his crowd size would be the biggest, period. The bit quickly went viral, but for all the wrong reasons.
Some rebuked the decision to invite Spicer to the awards, questioning if the move
normalized the embattled White House staffer and suggesting that some of his remarks made while on the real podium were no laughing matter . Alec Baldwin, who won an Emmy for his portrayal of Donald Trump on
SNL, defended the decision to include Spicer in the ceremony. “I think people in the business, the average person, is very grateful for him to have a sense of humor and participate,” he told press . “I mean, Spicer obviously was compelled to do certain things that we might not have respected or we might not have admired…in order to do his job, but I’ve done some jobs that are things you shouldn’t admire or respect me for either.”
The entire show was trolled by BoJack Horseman
Hulu had a great night at the Emmys, becoming the first streaming service to win outstanding drama series for The Handmaid’s Tale, but competitor Netflix went home with a little less in hand. Online, at least one star of a Netflix series was busy trolling the Emmys like only he could. BoJack Horseman ‘s eponymous star spent nearly the entire telecast tweeting snarky remarks, and although BoJack is a fictional character, his faux status as an embattled Hollywoo (no “d”) figure certainly made his commentary that much more entertaining to follow in real time.
Jackie Hoffman’s reaction to losing was absolutely wild
Feud: Bette and Joan star Jackie Hoffman had an instantly meme-able reaction to losing out to Laura Dern of Big Little Lies in the best supporting actress in a limited series category. She was spotted mouthing “dammit, dammit” after her name wasn’t called for the prize. Afterward, Hoffman proceeded to lob strange accusations against Dern via Twitter. “Laura Dern had famous parents. Forgive me for being from real people #elitism
#Emmys2017,” said one of her tweets .
After that, her comments became even more bonkers. Hoffman accused Dern of running a “child porn ring” and “loot[ing] art from Nazis.” Eventually, it became clear Hoffman that others weren’t necessarily seeing her remarks as jokes, so she wrote, “I hear the media actually taking my reaction seriously? Are you kidding me?” For a minute there, it looked like Hoffman was the sorest loser of the night.
Ben Affleck and Lindsay Shookus made their official debut as a couple
Although he got no airtime because he was neither a nominee nor a presenter, Ben Affleck did come to the Emmys as the plus-one of Saturday Night Live producer Lindsay Shookus, who has become his official girlfriend after his split from long-time wife Jennifer Garner. SNL was on the receiving end of more than a dozen nominations and six wins at the Emmys, so although they didn’t pose for the press line, Affleck was seen supporting his new gal. The two were
spotted by reporters celebrating the show’s successful night backstage at the VIP lounge. Even though they’ve been seen out and about before the Emmys, this was their first official outing as a couple to a high-profile event.
#DCPublicSchools became a thing
Dave Chappelle and John Oliver went viral propping the District of Columbia Public School system during their time at the mic. While presenting, Chappelle gave a shout-out to his alma mater, and after that, Emmy-winner John Oliver lauded D.C. schools as well, saying that it would be interesting to see the district become a trending topic for “no reason whatsoever.”
Indeed, it did. #DCPublicSchools became the second-highest trending topic of the evening and even prompted several viral responses from the school system’s official Twitter account as a token of gratitude.
Folks were furious about Roger Ailes being part of the in memoriam segment
Any awards show’s in memoriam segment is bound to drudge up some bad feelings—whether it’s over unequal time spent on one person over another, someone important being omitted from the honor, or just plain disfavor of the tradition at large. The 69th Emmy Awards had an unusual complaint on its hands: viewers were more angered over who was included in the segment than who wasn’t, particularly controversial former Fox News boss Roger Ailes.
Ailes was accused of sexual assault multiple times by former employees and ultimately resigned as CEO before his passing in May 2017. For many, his inclusion in the Emmys’ memorial roll was especially upsetting. “Hey
#Emmys, Please don’t put Roger Ailes on the same list as Gwen Ifill, ever,” tweeted one viewer. “Had to turn it off. My industry hanging with Sean Spicer and honoring Roger Ailes made me depressed,” tweeted another.
Sterling K. Brown finally got to finish his acceptance speech
This Is Us star Sterling K. Brown took home one of the night’s biggest prizes—best actor in a drama series—but his time at the podium ended on a somewhat low note. After recognizing those who’d come before him, Brown proceeded to thank his co-stars individually with thoughtful and poignant notes of praise for each. But before he could finish, Brown was drowned out by music that the actor insisted was louder than others who’d accepting their prizes earlier in the show.
The internet was immediately outraged by the cut-off. Backstage, Brown finished his acceptance speech, telling press , “I wouldn’t mind finishing. Thank you for the invitation. I wanted to thank our writers. A show doesn’t get seven acting nominations without some impeccable, beautiful, thoughtful writing. You guys are our life’s blood.” He went on to thank the show’s producers and execs by name, along with his longtime manager, wife, and children, quipping, “they cut me off before I got to thank my wife, man.”
The voice that guided the whole show was a TV star in his own right
Although The Late Show ‘s Stephen Colbert was the host of the 69th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, it was another man who truly controlled the pace and presentation of the event. Superior Donuts star Jermaine Fowler served as the announcer for the evening, delivering voice-over commentary between each award presentation and ushering in commercial breaks with quick quips. Some of his notes were standard, while others were a bit more off-the-cuff: “She finished high school two years early. I read that on the internet,” he said of Elisabeth Moss, as she took the stage to accept her best actress in a drama series win.
According to CBS Entertainment Executive Vice President Jack Sussman, Fowler was picked for the job because the network wanted to avoid commentary being stale or separated from the action. “What most awards show do is have the announcer locked in a closet reading from a script on cue. What we will do is have Jermaine be an active part of the show. He will be connected with what’s happened on the telecast and what happens next. What we want to do is get a peek behind the curtain in a fun, engaging way,” he said. Reactions were
mixed: some felt Fowler’s commentary
needed some finesse ; others considered him the unseen hero of the entire program.
Even today, many young people face trepidation and fear when they decide to come out to family, friends, and the entire world. Here’s a far-from-comprehensive sampling of the many young individuals who’ve decided to open themselves to the world and may inspire others to do the same.
The daughter of Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradis, model for Chanel, and star of the forthcoming Yoga Hosers , Lily-Rose Depp came out at the age of 16 in the summer of 2015. Initially coming out via Instagram as part of the Self Evident Truths Project, Depp said that “she wanted to be in @selfevidentproject because she falls somewhere on the vast spectrum.”
This singer of the hit song “Stay With Me” came out in a big way in 2014. Opening his heart to the entire world, Sam Smith’s debut album, In the Lonely Hour , “is about a guy that I fell in love with last year, and he didn’t love me back,” according to the singer. Smith chose his personal love life as the topic of his album because he wants “to make it [his sexual preference] a normality because this is a non-issue. People wouldn’t ask a straight person these questions.” To quell any remaining doubts, Smith later officially came out via interview.
Star of USA Network’s White Collar and the
Magic Mike films, Matt Bomer came out very publicly. When he accepted the New Generation Arts and Activism Award at the Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards in 2012, he thanked his partner Simon Halls and their three children. Bomer was awarded the honor for his efforts fighting against HIV/AIDS. After coming out, Bomer stated, “I never really endeavored to hide anything.”
Ellen Page, the star of Juno and X-Men: Days of Future Past, came out in early 2014 while delivering a speech at Time to Thrive, a conference promoting LGBT youth welfare. During her speech, the actress stated, “maybe I can make a difference, to help others have an easier and more hopeful time. Regardless, for me, I feel a personal obligation and a social responsibility.” Page isn’t all talk either. She took her stand for LGBTQ rights to Senator Ted Cruz in the summer of 2015, confronting the presidential hopeful for his opposition to same-sex marriage.
Runner-up on American Idol and sometimes-frontman for Queen, Adam Lambert is the first openly-gay artist to reach the #1 position on the Billboard 200 album chart. He has also been identified as the first openly-gay mainstream pop artist to debut on a major record label. On his coming out after the eighth season of Idol ended, he said, “‘Come out’ is so funny to me because I’ve never been ‘in.’ I’ve always been out. … Everybody that I worked with knew about my personal life.”
Billy Gilman, the country-music star who achieved fame at the age of 11 with the song “One Voice,” said that he was “scared to death” when he came out on November 20, 2014 via a video he posted on YouTube. Gilman said he felt fear because he’s “in a genre, and in an industry, that is ashamed of me for being me.” But he didn’t have too much to be afraid of. He’s had support from some fellow country artists like LeAnn Rimes and Keith Urban.
Lauren Morelli, a writer for Orange is the New Black came out after being married to her husband for two years. Lauren Morelli said that she didn’t even realize she was gay until she began working on the popular Netflix show. She and her husband split amicably, and she’s now out to everyone she knows—and to the public via a heart-felt and heart-touching article she wrote for Mic.com . Morelli is now dating one of the cast members of Orange is the New Black , Samira Wiley, who portrays Poussey Washington.
Samira Wiley is best known for her role as Poussey Washington on Orange is the New Black , and was featured on one of several covers for the twentieth anniversary issue of
Out. Speaking about her role, Wiley sees it as a positive way to inspire and empower “fans, some of whom have longed to see their lives, often marginalized by pop culture, reflected in characters like Poussey.” Wiley is not the only person in her family to feel this way. In 2007, her Baptist pastor parents were “the only traditionally black Baptist church in D.C. to perform same-sex unions.” With progressive parents like this, it’s no wonder that Wiley never had any fear coming out to them.
Daniel Franzese is known for playing Eddie on the short-lived HBO series Looking and Damian in the movie Mean Girls. In a touching move, Franzese first came out in a letter he wrote to his Mean Girls character via IndieWire in spring 2014. In the letter, Franzese thanked “sensitive, moisturizing, Ashton Kutcher-loving, pink-shirt-wearing kid,” crediting him with helping him come out of the closet. He went on to say in the letter, “You became an iconic character that people looked up to; I wished I’d had you as a role model when I was younger.” Now, thanks to Franzese, many youngsters do have a role model to look up to.
Most of the media covering Jay Kelly’s coming out as transgender in summer 2014 has focused on how his father, singer R. Kelly, has taken it. Despite the ambiguity of his father’s response, and the fear he felt telling his father, Jay Kelly knows he has the love and support of the rest of his family, and he has gone a bit further, telling “others in the LGBT community, … ‘be yourself.'”
Growing up as a member of the Mormon church, the frontman for Neon Trees felt that he had to keep his secrets close to his heart. It’s easy to see why he felt this way, since the church considers homosexuality a transgression as serious as theft, rape, and murder. Despite the numerous questions about the conflict between his sexuality and his faith, the singer says, “What I do know right now, is that I believe even more in the teachings of Jesus Christ. I pray more than ever, I love more than ever and I want to live more than I ever had before. I also know that I’ve never been so deeply happy in my entire life; that I’m finally free from the trappings of self-doubt and self-sabotage due to not accepting myself as a whole.” Glenn came out in early 2014, and it sounds like he hasn’t regretted it for a moment.
Known for her roles on AMC’s Breaking Bad and FX’s The Bridge, on which she plays a lesbian, Emily Rios insists that her character be treated in as realistic a manner as possible—since she herself recently came out as gay, too. “I want it to be an incidental thing, which is what happens in our everyday life,” the actress said in a 2014 article. She goes on to say, “I wanted to make sure the whole lesbian aspect wasn’t this whole coming out story and the character wasn’t going to be made more flamboyant in any sort of way.”
The Philippines-born transgender model and advocate came out during a New York City TED talk in March 2014, doing so to coincide with the International Transgender Day of Visibility. It wasn’t an easy decision for the model, who incidentally inspired Caitlyn Jenner, to come out, though. Rocero did so with a lot of fear and trepidation over how her decision might affect her career, but her fears, happily, were unfounded. Rather, than the dismissal she feared, she was “applauded.”
The Australian model Andreja Pejic has posed both men’s and women’s wear for fashion brands Marc Jacobs and Jean-Paul Gaultier. But apparently Barnes and Noble considered the transgender model’s cover for Dossier Journal too risqué for their stores. Pejic struggled with how she felt about her gender identity from her early teens until she came out in summer 2014, when she came to the conclusion, “you have to be true to yourself and you need to live the life you’ve wanted and not live it for an industry or for other people.” Pejic prepared herself for the worst and did endure some trials and tribulations, but overall, the model says “the reaction has been pretty positive.”
Singer M.K. Nobilette is the first openly-gay finalist to compete on American Idol and the first gay contestant to have her sexuality discussed on the show, coming out publicly on the show during its thirteenth season. While it’s debated that her coming out may be what cost her the title, Nobilette says, “the response has been pretty positive. Mostly, people have been really supportive.” On her coming out, judge Harry Connick Jr. has said, “I hope in 10 years we won’t even have to talk about this. It’s a big world, and everybody lives in it.”
The controversial former Disney starlet has gone from playing Hannah Montana to being one of the most progressive celebrity voices for LGBT rights, believe it or not. Miley Cyrus first came out as bi-sexual to her mother at the age of 14. She later came out to the world at large in summer 2015 because of something “she sees as an unacceptable reality: young people being persecuted and cast out for their sexuality.” She has also begun the Happy Hippy Foundation to raise funds and awareness for homeless and LGBT youth. Guess this is what she means when she says she’s “just being Miley.”
Since the 2014 series premiere of the Discovery reality show Alaskan Bush People, the network has promised that the Browns are ” unlike any family in America.” That couldn’t be more true, but probably not for the reasons the network implied. According to
Discovery, when the show debuted, Billy and Ami Brown and their seven children were a “newly discovered family who was born and raised wild,” but that might not be entirely accurate.
For starters, Billy and his son, Joshua “Bam Bam” Brown, were convicted of pretending that they lived in Alaska when they didn’t in order to get a benefit check from the state. Another not-quite-truth? The Browns claimed they went deep into the wilderness to build a new home, but their land was actually in a subdivision off a highway and only a half mile from a pizza place. In another eyebrow-raising twist, son Matt Brown was reportedly arrested in 2013 for drunkenly hitting a parked motorcycle with a borrowed car in a Walmart parking lot.
Read on for more truly shocking tales about
the Brown family that you’ll most likely never see on Alaskan Bush People.
Their ‘deep bush’ home was in a subdivision
In the first episode of the series, the Brown family was seen packing its belongings into a trailer and heading north to venture ” deeper into the wilderness ” in the Copper River basin. Dad Billy said that their five acres of unspoiled land was in the “deep bush.”
But, according to the Anchorage Daily News, their “homestead” was actually located in a subdivision that was easily accessible via a dirt road off a highway. In fact, the one-room cabin they eventually constructed was located only half a mile from a local pizza place called Grizzly Pizza!
They even had a next-door neighbor, 46-year-old Jason Hoke, who was reportedly irritated by the noise the production brought to his neighborhood and complained to the
Daily News about the sounds of shouting, chainsaws, vehicles, and even helicopters.
The newspaper reported that while the area was wild, like most parts of Alaska, it was “by no means wilderness.”
They reportedly ditched ‘Browntown’ for a hotel
While Alaskan Bush People depicted the family braving the elements in the great outdoors while it built its Hoonah homestead, locals claimed the Browns only slept in their makeshift village, known as “Browntown,” when cameras were filming.
According to Radar Online , the reality stars actually lived in a hotel called the Icy Strait Lodge in nearby Hoonah. Sources told the outlet they saw the Browns coming and going at all hours
One charming element of the Browns’ mystique is that the family is notorious for living in close quarters. The nine Browns have been filmed living on a boat, in multiple tiny cabins, and sharing a small apartment in Ketchikan that required family members to sleep in closets and under desks, but Hoonah locals claim all of the adult Brown sons had their own rooms at the aforementioned hotel, and son Matt allegedly liked to hang out at the lodge’s restaurant and bar trying to pick up girls.
Matt Brown was arrested for DUI
The Browns’ eldest son, Matt, was reportedly arrested for DUI. According to a colorful police report cited by Radar Online, he hit a parked motorcycle in a Walmart parking lot in Juneau at 4:30 a.m. on Aug. 30, 2013. He had reportedly picked up a woman earlier in the evening at a local bar and borrowed her car to go get potato chips at the megastore.
A police officer noted that Matt “smelled strong like a homeless person” and was acting strange. The officer wrote, “I asked Brown why he was acting weird, and he said he had Attention Deficit Disorder.” Matt also reportedly told officers he “did not know the girl’s name, phone number, or where she was.”
When officers administered a breathalyzer, Brown reportedly threw up, which was understandable since he allegedly blew a .15 — almost twice the legal limit in Alaska. In February 2014, just a few months before his family’s reality show debuted, Matt was reportedly sentenced to three days in jail and 18 months probation.
In July 2016, Matt spoke to People magazine about his drinking problem, revealing that he spent 35 days in rehab earlier that year. He told the magazine, “I started drinking lightly and then it got to be more and more. That’s when I saw the problem around the corner, and I didn’t want to be one of those guys.” He added, “I learned a lot about myself in those 35 days. I’ve turned my weakness into a strength.”
Billy Brown has a second family
Much is made of Billy and Ami Brown’s enduring marriage and tight-knit family bonds on Alaskan Bush People, so fans were shocked when news broke that Billy had another family not mentioned on the show.
Radar Online reported in 2016 that Billy had gotten married at age 16 to a 17-year-old in his native Texas, and the pair had two children. According to sources, Billy was not involved with the children when they were growing up. In a 2016 episode of Alaskan Bush People, Billy told his other seven children that he had reconnected with Twila, one of the kids from his first marriage. Twila visited the family in a later episode.
Billy claimed that he had wanted to take Twila with him when he left Texas, but said, “It was made very clear that was not an option.” He claimed that he and Ami had sent letters that were never given to Twila, adding that being separated from her had “haunted [him] every day of [his] life.
After they reconnected, Billy revealed, “All the years we were trying to find her, she was trying to find us.”
Ami Brown was only 15 when she married 26-year-old Billy
After Billy’s split with the mother of his oldest two children, he married Ami Brown in Texas after a whirlwind courtship.
According to a marriage license obtained by
Radar Online , Billy was 26 at the time of the wedding, but Ami was only 15 years old. Back then, girls of that age reportedly required parental consent in order to get married in the state of Texas, so Ami’s parents must have approved, theoretically.
Ami went on to give birth to seven of Billy’s children, and Radar reported that she started young, giving birth for the first time when she was still a teenager. While her marriage to Billy began early in her life, it has endured for more than 35 years and counting.
Billy has at least three daughters — Snowbird and Rain with Ami, and Twila from his first marriage — and we can’t help but wonder if he’d approve of them getting hitched at age 15.
One of the kids is dating a former show producer
Billy and Ami’s second-eldest son, Joshua “Bam” Brown, revealed to People in February 2017 that he had fallen for a “city girl.” In his words, “She’s stirred something inside me and made my soul wake up.”
Several media outlets identified his significant other as a former producer for Alaskan Bush People named Allison Kagan. During a trip to see his family in July 2017, Bam tweeted, “So grateful for my girlfriend Alli. I’m blessed that she is here with my family. … Love conquers all.”
In November 2017, he shared more details in a Facebook post, writing: “Since everyone keeps asking, Alli and I have been dating for a year (November 2016). When I visited New York that summer we were still just friends.”
He and Alli are planning to live in a renovated ferry boat. According to a post on his Facebook, “The boat idea came to us when we were on the Staten Island ferry … and how cool it would be to have a space that large and also be on the water! Alli searched and found the old ferry just before she was going to be sold for scrap! We have been gutting and renovating her ever since.”
Their neighbors aren’t their biggest fans
At least as long as they’ve been filming
Alaskan Bush People, the Browns have rubbed some of their neighbors the wrong way.
When they were building their homestead in the Copper River Valley, their next-door neighbor Jason Hoke was so irritated by the noise that he fired fireworks at a production helicopter, reported the Anchorage Daily News
Hoke claimed the aircraft was hovering just over the trees in his yard. “The entire house is shaking; my youngest boy Ethan, who was about 4 at the time, is crying,” he recalled. Hoke claimed he tried to wave the helicopter away and then resorted to using mortar fireworks to get it to leave. He told the Daily News that he “decided to shoot a couple in the air, not in the vicinity, and let them know ‘Hey, get away from my house!'”
According to Radar Online , things weren’t much better when the Browns filmed Season 8 in the town of Omak in Washington state. One local reportedly told Radar, “Omak is a small conservative town. We’re not like Hollywood and we don’t like strangers running around.”
They’re not ‘Alaskan’ bush people anymore
The Brown family members have described themselves on the show as nomads, and they’ve certainly lived up to that title in the years since it began airing. Before the reality show, the family claimed to have lost its first one-room cabin when the government burned it down because it was built on public land, so the brood moved north to the Copper River basin.
But the Browns left that homestead a short time later after they claimed to have heard gunshots near their home. They migrated south to Ketchikan, living on boats and in the city before buying a second homestead that they named “Browntown,” located near Hoonah.
When mom Ami was diagnosed with advanced lung cancer in 2017, the family moved to Southern California so she could receive treatment. (She reported in January 2018 that she was thankfully cancer-free.)
The Browns said they were going to establish a new homestead in the wilderness of Colorado, but they reportedly ended up buying
property in Washington state, where they filmed Season 8 of Alaskan Bush People.
Matt almost blew his own head off
Eldest son Matt Brown suffered an accident that could have ended his life when he injured his head in an explosion.
He was reportedly alone in “Browntown” at the time because his family was in Southern California for mom Ami’s cancer treatments. According to People, he was trying to make a bear deterrent using black powder. “The bears were really bad. I just got overly paranoid in the situation and took it a little too far,” he said.
The Alaskan Bush People crew filmed his evacuation for television , and in the gruesome video, Matt is seen bleeding profusely from the head. Paramedics opt to evacuate him, fearing that he may have fractured his skull and could be at risk for a brain injury. As the team carries him out on a stretcher, Matt can be heard saying, “I lost a little bit of blood, didn’t I?”
People reported that Matt was airlifted to a hospital in Juneau and treated in the ICU, but just a few days later, he was well enough to fly south to rejoin his family in Southern California.
Two family members were convicted of lying about living in Alaska
In Alaska, most residents who have lived in the state for at least a year are entitled to a yearly Permanent Fund Dividend check , which is drawn from oil and gas industry revenues. The benefit is nothing to sneeze at — in 2017, each qualified resident was paid $1,100. According to the Anchorage Daily News, in September 2016, six Brown family members were charged by a grand jury with 60 counts of first-degree unsworn falsification and first and second-degree theft for lying on their PFD applications.
Scott Stair with the Alaska Bureau of Revenue told the Daily News that Billy and Ami Brown and four of their adult children allegedly lived outside of Alaska for more than half the year during a period between 2009 and 2012, and thus were ineligible for dividend checks.
Ultimately, Billy and his second-eldest son, Joshua, took one for the team — each pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of second-degree unsworn falsification in exchange for charges against the other four family members to be dropped. Billy and Joshua were sentenced to 30 days in jail but were able to serve their time by staying in Juneau, Alaska, and submitting to electronic monitoring with ankle bracelets.
In a clip , Billy acknowledged that he pleaded guilty, but claimed the family members were innocent, implying that their prosecution was connected to their off-the-grid lifestyle.
The hard-partying cast of MTV’s Jersey Shore, who popularized the narcissistic dream life of GTL (gym, tan, laundry), and who were always DTF (down to um, never mind), may be gone from the airwaves, but most of them have managed to eek out far more than their 15 minutes of fame. From spin-off shows to brand-building to a federal courtroom, this wild bunch has continued to be a spectacle long after leaving Seaside Heights, N.J. Here’s where the cast of Jersey Shore is today. hat The Jersey Shore Cast Looks Like Today
Mike ‘The Situation’ Sorrentino
Of all the Jersey Shore cast members, Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino seems to have been the most successful at turning his eponymous show image into a brand. Wasting no time cashing in on his reality TV stardom, Sorrentino landed endorsement deals with Devotion Vodka and GNC, as well as produced and starred in his own workout DVD, recorded a rap song, and partnered on the clothing line Dilligaf (which stands for ‘Does it look like I give a f**k?’), according to
Gazette Review. He also made it a family affair, starring in a reality show, The Sorrentinos, with his mother, sister, and two brothers, who have since parlayed their own fame into a Manhattan real estate business . Mike also brought his brother Marc in on some tanning salons, as well as the management of his various enterprises through the entities Situation Nation, MPS Entertainment, Situation Productions and GTL Management, according to NJ.com . Sounds great, right?
Except Mike and Marc were indicted in 2014 for tax fraud on the charge of “conspiring to defraud the U.S. and filing false tax returns for the years 2010 through 2012.” Whoops. Mike characteristically shrugged it off by saying, “The situation will sort itself out.” Only years later the case is not only ongoing as of this writing, but new charges were added.
In an August 2017 show called Reunion Road Trip: Return to the Jersey Shore, in which five former castmates got together for a day, Mike claims his tax evasion case should be wrapped up in a month. He also says he’s been sober for 18 months after two stints in rehab and is “looking forward to getting engaged” to his long-term girlfriend, Lauren.
Nicole ‘Snooki’ Polizzi
Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi has come a long way from her days of hooking up with almost everyone in the shore house and drunkenly urinating on a nightclub dance floor. Since the show ended, she has maintained a more
consistent television presence than any other cast member with appearances on Dancing With the Stars , The New Celebrity Apprentice , and Snooki & JWoww —the only successful
Jersey Shore spinoff. She also married Jionni LaValle, her boyfriend from the show, had two kids, and even wrote a New York Times bestselling book.
The pint-sized reality starlet has once again teamed up with BFF and Jersey Shore alum Jenni “JWoww” Farley for a web series called
Moms With Attitude. It currently streams on Go90 Awestruck and YouTube and “gives viewers a peek into their new lives as moms,” according to producing partner Complex .
During her appearance on Reunion Road Trip: Return to the Jersey Shore , Polizzi revealed that Mike Sorrentino’s tax troubles led to “everyone getting audited.” However, that dubious claim also came right after she couldn’t remember what day it was, which led to equal confusion over how many birth control pills she had or hadn’t taken that day, so who knows? She also told everyone she got breast implants and outed Farley for getting “injections” in her butt. It was classic Snooki.
Joking aside, Polizzi has made a significant impact on society. In March of 2017, New Jersey Assemblyman John DiMaio introduced legislation seeking “to cap spending of state money for speakers at public universities in New Jersey at $10,000.” What does that have to do with Snooki? Oh, just that she was paid $32,000 by Rutgers University for a speech she gave in 2011 that encouraged students to “study hard but party harder.” USA Today pointed out that Polizzi was paid $2000 more than Toni Morrison, the Nobel Prize winning-novelist who gave the commencement address that year. Wow, that little factoid just made this whole thing way more depressing, huh?
Jenni ‘JWoww’ Farley
As previously mentioned, Jenni “JWoww” Farley is now the proud co-star of a web series with her tiny sidekick, Snooki, and their kids. Since there’s apparently a market for watching former reality stars doing things around their houses, JWoww’s got a whole other show with her husband, and former
Jersey Shore flame, Roger Matthews. It’s called Jenni & Roger: Domesticated , and it follows the tanned and tattooed duo through their journeys parenting their two young kids , Meilani and Greyson. The web series is under the Awestruck umbrella, and as of this writing, it has only aired its premiere episode called “Mornings with the Matthews .” In it, the family showcases its morning routine, which includes JWoww declaring, “Sometimes Meilani is a b***h” and Roger making repeated references to how he wishes the couple had more sex. So, it’s already going great is what we’re trying to say.
Farley recently spoke to ET about the constant bullying she has faced online, as well as plastic surgery rumors that have plagued her since her MTV days. “This is how bad it can get, like at the VMAs, someone wrote, ‘You’re a drug addict and your kids should be taken away from you,'” she said, addressing how she recently discovered the joy of turning off the comments on her Instagram.
As far as the plastic surgery rumors go, thanks to Snooki’s admissions on Reunion Road Trip: Return to the Jersey Shore, we now know that JWoww has gotten breast implants, as well as was the aforementioned “butt injections.” But that’s apparently all. She claims she’s had no work done to her face, but she’s open to “non-invasive surgeries and things like that to stay youthful,” which is nowhere near as interesting as her calling her daughter a b***h, which we now realized we should have closed with. Moving on.
Paul ‘DJ Pauly D’ DelVecchio
Out of all of the castmates, Paul “DJ Pauly D” DelVecchio was the one who already knew what his post-shore future had in store for him. With his signature Italian flag laptop in tow, the mushroom-coiffed gym rat had his eye on becoming a professional record-spinner. Toward the end of the show’s run, Pauly D signed a record deal with rapper 50 Cent’s G-Note record label, created his own line of headphones, launched a clothing line and tanning lotion brand, and was the first cast member to land a spinoff, The Pauly D
Project, though the show only lasted one season. He ended up making more than $11 million dollars in 2012, the year Jersey Shore ended, according to Forbes, and he has continued to be a mainstay at the hottest clubs ever since.
In 2016, Pauly D found himself on reality TV again on the show Famously Single , where he met his current girlfriend, Aubrey O’Day, a reality star and former singer in the girl group, Danity Kane. In an echo of Pauly D’s classy past, O’Day spilled the beans in one episode about her man’s ” special piercing” and how it “triggers the right spots.” Despite that ironclad indicator of a rock solid relationship, reports circulated in late June 2017 that the couple had called it quits for good, but Pauly D cleared that up—sort of—during Reunion Road Trip: Return to the Jersey Shore. He spoke vaguely of some issues that he and O’Day were working through, apparently in reference to the breakup headlines.
He also revealed that he hadn’t spoken to Mike Sorrentino in five years due to Mike “going to a dark place,” but by the end of the show, they seemed to be thick as thieves once again. Sorrentino even remarked, “I got my best friend back,” apparently in reference to Pauly D.
Known as the nice guy of the group, as well as an admitted “momma’s boy,” it was no surprise that when it was Guadagnino’s turn for a spin-off in 2013, he chose to do it from his parents’ Staten Island home and invite basically his whole family onscreen with him. While the premise sounded charming, The Show with Vinny flopped. Variety said it felt like “a week’s sentence to hang in Staten Island, with no TV and all the cool clubs closed.”
Since then, Guadagnino hasn’t been up to much in the public sphere, although he told
Fox News, “Since Jersey Shore I always took improv classes and sketch comedy classes and I always do that underground and just educate myself. I’m a huge comedy nerd. I watch every comedy show and I would love to just do something in comedy one day, whatever that is.”
Thus far, Guadagnino’s comedy dreams have mostly manifested themselves on his Twitter feed, where his greatest muse is The Bachelor . So while he’s waiting for that to take off, he’s gone back to the well with another family-centric show, Vinny & Ma Eat America. As the name denotes, the former fist-pumper travels across the United States with his mother, Paola, and they sample exotic cuisine, including insect-filled tacos and Rocky Mountain oysters. “Everything is a surprise for my mom. She has never been off of Staten Island. She emigrated here when she was 10 years old from Sicily and she never left,” Guadagnino said. So, it’s like Fear Factor crossed with Bizarre Foods starring the real-life cast of The Sopranos. Sounds great.
Sammi ‘Sweetheart’ Giancola
Stop us if this is starting to sound familiar. After the show, Sammi “Sweetheart” Giancola launched a range of products , did a bunch of talk show and reality TV appearances, and continues to be a public figure via the mainstream-adjacent route taken by most reality TV stars. She now co-hosts a podcast called Just Sayin’ with Clare Galterio that “features the type of honest and hilarious talk you’re only used to getting from your closest friends.”
The big question, of course, is what happened between her and Ronnie? The pair’s tumultuous relationship on the show was basically the only plot outside of people getting drunk and having questionable sex, so when they announced they were moving in together during the show’s finale, fans were left wanting to know if they’d go the distance. Though preferring to keep her relationship status private, Giancola finally addressed the issue on her podcast (via Inquisitr) in December of 2016, admitting that yes, she had gotten back together with Ronnie, but they had broken up again, for good. “Everybody knows my relationship with Ron so we broke up, obviously in May , because things were not working out and I left. And I will always love Ron and we always had like, he was somebody I was with my whole 20’s but it’s just better off that we’re not together cause it’s really up and down and it was a crazy ride always.”
Giancola was more blunt during a later appearance on Reunion Road Trip: Return to the Jersey Shore , saying Ronnie was not her favorite person, and she does not talk to him. “That door is shut and will remain closed for a long time,” she added. Ouch. Good thing he skipped the reunion, huh?
After Jersey Shore, Ronnie Ortiz-Magro iancola basically walked away from the spotlight. Though he briefly dabbled in the personal branding game with his line of low-cal, pre-mixed adult beverages that was grossly named Smush Cocktails, Ortiz-Magro eventually returned to what he was doing pre-GTL days: real estate. “I have a real estate company back in New York. I flip houses and investment banking and stuff like that,” he told TooFab.
But the lure of fame must have still had a pull on him, since he recently returned to reality TV for the second season of Famously Single. Yep, the same show where Pauly D met the love of his life. In fact, it was Pauly D who reportedly convinced Ortiz-Magro to do the show, despite the latter’s admission that he felt ” traumatized ” by Jersey Shore. In the course of filming, Ortiz-Magro fell for castmate Malika Haqq, who is famous for being Khloe Kardashian’s best friend, which makes their union a cross-pollination of reality TV worlds we’re not sure anyone was ready for. (Think Rob Kardashian with a blowout and rocking an Ed Hardy tee. No one wants that. No one.)
Season 2 of Famously Single hasn’t even aired yet, but Ortiz-Magro has already told E! News that he and Haaq are no longer together, so we’ll consider that a bullet dodged. Unfortunately for Ortiz-Magro, it also means rumors that he’s still secretly pining for Giancola have already begun. You were out, Ron, and you let them pull you back in. Why?
Deena Nicole Cortese
While Giancola and Ortiz-Magro had the most volatile relationship on the show, Deena Nicole Cortese, who joined the series after Angelina Pivarnick’s Season 2 exit, maintained a relationship with her boyfriend, Christopher Buckner, throughout the whole show. Soon after the end of Jersey Shore , the two appeared together on Couples Therapy, but they must have overcome whatever issues they were having because they got engaged.
Outside of a few appearances on Snooki & JWoww , Cortese hasn’t done any other TV work. She’s fairly active on Instagram and even advertises a management company to contact “for bookings” in her Twitter profile, so we assume she’s still getting paid to just show up at events. Not bad work if you can get it. Other than that, not much else is known about what Cortese’s daily life, but hopefully, she and Bucker can continue to be the anti-SamRon.
Though she was only on the show for two seasons, the self-described “Kim Kardashian of Staten Island” was certainly memorable. Angelina Pivarnick actually fled the shore twice, the second time for good following an argument with Snooki over hooking up with the same guys. Pivarnick launched a quasi-acting career that included a brief stint as a
TNA wrestler and a single appearance on the ABC FBI drama Quantico.
It turns out Pivarnick’s true passion was helping people, because in July of 2016, she graduated from the FDNY’s EMT school. “All smiles today while I graduated and became part of one of the biggest families in the world. The FDNY. The last three months were hard but I did it!!!” she posted on her Instagram (via InsideJersey ). She also had a pretty big month in September 2016, getting engaged to boyfriend Louie Gero and returning to catfighting with Snooki about lip injections. “It’s funny how she goes and gets her lips done at the same exact place that I got mine done. Yeah, so now all the times on [Jersey Shore] she used to call me ugly, now she’s trying to look like me,” Pivarnick told
inTouch Weekly . Maybe she’s mad because her fuller lips serve a practical purpose, like making CPR more effective, whereas Snooki’s are purely for vanity? We know it’s a stretch, but we’re really trying to hang on to the concept that Pivarnick has become a selfless person here.