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       For those of you who have been following the tragedy of the murders in Jennifer Hudson’s family and the kidnapping of her young, seven year old nephew; think about this, what happens when your safe place, your place of foundation has been invaded or attacked?  This family is going through a nightmare of epic proportions and because of fame, they are having to do it publically.

       Jennifer and her sister Julia have lost their mother, Darnell Donerson and their brother, Jason Hudson; and, Julia’s son Julian is missing.  This home that the murders took place in was Jennifer’s refuge from the crush of the world that she stepped into as a celebrity when her star began to rise from her singing and her acting over the last several years.

       The Hudson family was and is a family of faith.  Jennifer has said that she grew up in that home, that neighborhood and her home church.  It is an integral part of her support system.   It is part of who she is.  Her mother did not want to move when her daughter became famous…they didn’t want that celebrity to change who they were as a family.  Their home was the center of their family.  It was where all things sprouted for them.  Where they came to; to be together.  It was a safe place.  A place of nurturing.

        What happens now; other than trying desperately to get answers to where Julian is….and what happened to their mother and their brother?  Julia and Jennifer are on automatic pilot i am sure at the moment.  Trying to make sense of things…hoping and praying for the safe return of Julian.  But, their safe place has been invaded.

        How will they ever be able to look at that home and feel what they once felt.  Will it ever feel like home again?  Or will they always feel loss and hurt when they look upon the face of the place that has so many memories for their family.  What about Julian when he comes home…did that poor baby witness the murder of his beloved grandmother and uncle?  Will he ever feel safe there again?  Will he ever feel “at home” somewhere else?  What does this kind of trauma do to a human mind and soul? 

         Many people experience such traumas in their lives…it is something that can be overcome…but, it does shake the foundation of a person/family to rebuild that sense of trust and safety.  Please pray for the Hudson family…as well as, anyone else who has had to go through something so violent and traumatic.  Their faith in God will help them through this time.  However, they are human…and will go through much before they are able to recover and overcome.  Have you ever gone through a trauma that has made your safe place feel violated or unsafe to you?  How did you handle it?

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        Tonight was the elimination show on dancing with the stars.  The contestant that left this weeks competition is Rocco Despirito, the chef.  I felt that he had been improving…but evidently not enough to compensate for all of the viewers who love Cloris Leachman. 

         However, Rocco was a true gentleman with his departure.  I love the fact that he thanked the other competitors, his dance partner Karina, and in turn each of the judges.  I respect him because of what comes across as a true appreciation of his experiences on the show.  He appears to really and truly have discovered joy in the experience.  He conducted himself in true sportsman like behavior while competing as well as in exiting the competition.  Good job team Rocco and Karina!  

        Ps…Cloris seemed a bit surprised that she wasn’t the one leaving this week.  Even though she did an outstanding job last night in her dance.  I really like the fact that each season…most of the competitors develop a real affection for one another. 

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     While speaking peace and love, peace and love…Ringo Starr recorded a video, that was on CNN, demanding that no more fan letters be sent to him.  He says after October 20th…they will be thrown out.  He also says, no more sending things in, to be signed or autographed. 

       For a man who made a career out of the love of his fans…and their dedication to him and his band mates…you probably wonder what would prompt him to declare such a statement.  He says…he has too much to do!

       Myself…i would have to say…a person needs to consider what it must be like to live in a fishbowl your whole life.  Could be that maybe, just maybe Ringo has figured out that many of those “fans” who clamor for an autograph are just turning around and selling those same autographed items to ebay or to some collector so that they can earn a pretty penny!

         Another thing to think about is that Ringo Starr, born Richard Starkey, is 68 years old.  He says that he has too much to do…but, in the back of his mind you also have to wonder if he is looking back saying…I am 68 years old; most of my life is behind me.  I have given so much to my fans…maybe it is time to do what I want; with, what time i have left. 

        That isn’t too far fetched; as two of his band mates are already deceased.  There is only Ringo and Paul McCartney left alive of the Beatles.

        Also this week in the news, there was an article that i read somewhere that claimed that fan stalkers are the most dangerous of the mentally ill.  Consider this, both John Lennon and George Harrison were attacked by stalkers.  John was fatally shot and killed.  George Harrison was stabbed, but lived after the attack.

        While listening to the video that Ringo recorded regarding fan mail…i was put off by the tone of the video; it comes across as  hostile…but, once i stopped and thought about these other issues…it made more sense to me.  So…Peace and Love as Ringo says!  www.ringostarr.com

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        There is a new biography coming out, called:  Here’s the story: Surviving Marcia Brady and Finding My True Voice.  It is being released for sale tomorrow.  Over the years, it appears that Maureen McCormick, the actress who played Marcia Brady on the Brady Bunch television show in the 70’s lost her identity to the character that she played on that show.

         Having grown up during those Brady Bunch years…i know that Maureen was a television icon during that time because of the character that she played.  She was a trend setter.   Many young girls wanted to be Marcia.  The Brady Bunch was a huge part of the culture in the 70’s…even though the show was only on for about five years; it influenced a whole generation of young people and their families.

        As we now know, many childhood actors have gone on to have troubled lives because of the unique set of circumstances growing up with such an unhealthy balance of power, between the lifestyle of a child actor and normal growing up circumstances.  When a child actor makes the kind of money they do, has all kinds of adults jumping to their whims, has masses of people hanging on their every word and action…the balance of power in raising a child from youth to adulthood can get warped a bit in the entertainment business.  Many of the actors/actresses don’t listen to positive advice or instruction…they surround themselves with yes people and hangers on.  Too often we hear of young people in the industry who get into legal trouble or trouble with drugs/alcohol addictions because they don’t have an authority figure to keep them from making such mistakes.  Their relationships enter into difficulties because they don’t know if they are being liked for who they are or for who they play on television.

           I am looking forward to reading Maureen’s memoir; as i have heard bits and pieces over the years about her struggles after the Brady Bunch years.  I can’t imagine that it was an ideal way to grow up.  However, Maureen McCormick is now 52 years old.  I hope that by reading the story…that it instills in others some kind of wisdom in helping others not to repeat the mistakes that so many have made in similar journeys.

           Often times in these types of memoirs…much of the time and attention is focussed on the misdeeds, as opposed to the lessons learned; i hope that is not the case in this book.  It would be nice to have some success stories in the media on overcoming the odds of loosing yourself to your television character’s image.   In any case, there is a whole generation of people who will be interested in finding out how things progressed for the actress who gave so much enjoyment through her nemesis. 

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       Sad news…actress Eileen Herlie has passed away.  Eileen played Myrtle Fargate on the soap opera, All My Children for 30 years.  She passed away from pneumonia on Wednesday October 8th, 2008.  She will be missed.  The thing is…i remember when she came on the show…:) wow…is that dating myself since i just told you she was on the show for 30 years…but, for all you know, I could have been 3 when she came on…let me live in my delusion for just one little moment, LOL.

         In any case, when she first came on the show…she play a mischievous con woman with a twinkle in her eyes and a lilting smile on her lips.  She was involved with the “carney” as she called it…the close knit group of people who float from town- to- town when the carnivals come to make a living.  Over the years, the character Myrtle took on a different personna.  She became the favorite quirky aunt that the younger relatives loved and admired and went to for advice much to the consternation of the older generations.  The older relatives and friends just could not predict what would come out of her mouth…whether her advice to “Erica Kane”, played by the wonderful Susan Lucci, would be appropriate or encourage the young woman to greater misdeeds.

          In the last decade or so…Myrtle took the place of trusted advisor to Erica Kane.  Erica’s mother Mona had passed away…so Myrtle became the foil to the willful Erica; giving her advice that was spot on…but most of the time Erica knew this but did her own thing anyway.  She was loving and affectionate towards Myrtle which helped the viewer’s fall in love with the new role that Myrtle played with their favorite vixen, Erica.

         We will be missing the character Myrtle…but…because the woman behind her was such a wonderful actress…Eileen Herlie will be sadly missed as well.  That is a tribute that every actor/actress wants to hear…that they played the character so well…that in the eyes of the audience…they became that very same character.  So, we grieve the passing of  “auntie” Myrtle (Eileen); she was part of the family.  I know it was just a soap opera…but, it feels a little bit sad.   May you rest in the arms of God in peace!

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       The infamous Hugh Hefner, publisher/owner of Playboy magazine, is lonely but not alone.  His longtime girlfriend Holly Madison has left him.  She is still residing in the Playboy mansion for the time being as she is also part of his business…however, their personal romantic relationship is over.  The reason being is that Holly wanted & hoped for marriage and babies. 

        Approximately six months ago, Holly found out that Hugh is no longer able to father children at the age of 82.  Marriage also was not in the cards; as he is still married to wife, Kimberly Conrad.  You would think that a woman who lived with, at least, two other women in their relationship…that not only would she understand that marriage was not part of the plan…but, that bringing children into such an arrangement would NOT be a good thing. 

        Still, other than the obvious perks of living with an extremely wealthy man who could offer many material things in life…one has to wonder what, if any, benefit there is for women who range from ages 18-28 would find from being one of several romantic partners with an 82 year old man who lives such a public life of a player. 

        For his part in this debacle, Hugh says that he has been down in the dumps since the split.  At the same time, Hugh makes it a plainly obvious that he is moving on.  He is already looking for new partners to add to his female menagerie.  He says that he will NOT live alone.

        If a person was to think on the psychological side of this equasion…you’d have to wonder why a man who is aging is so bent on surrounding himself with young beautiful women, in large numbers all at the same time, and who is so determined not to live alone.  It is not as if these young women can keep him from aging or knocking on death’s door when the time comes.  It seems such an empty pursuit; a steady avoidance of anything deeper than a temporary commitment.  Hugh was married twice; one marriage ended in divorce, and the other in a long term seperation that continues to this day. 

        Still, there has been a considerable amount of interest in the life of the man who founded Playboy magazine and the business behind it.  There seems to be no shortage of women who are willing to become a part of his lifestyle.  Many of those women have gone on to make a name for themselves in the entertainment industry themselves.  Morally, many people have taken issues with the man, his business, and the message that is implied of living an alternative lifestyle that is in direct opposition to traditional relationships regarding men and women. 

        The image of Hugh Hefner and his life are rolled into a neat little wrap of sexual freedom, financial indulgences, celebrity dalliances and carefree relationships.  However, beneath the surface of such fairytales are usually layers of pain, anger, dysfunction, fear and abandonment issues. 

         In the end, only Mr. Hefner has the answers to such ponderings.  If there are such issues in his life, we will probably never know it.  I am fairly sure, buried in a file cabinet in a lawyers office somewhere, is probably a stack of documents; attesting to the fact of an agreement of confidentiality between Mr. Hefner and the bevy of beauties who have come and gone out of his very public life. Otherwise, don’t you think we would have heard lurid tales of love em and leave em situations from those who have felt jilted by Hugh Hefner, in the past?

        

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        There is something to be said for being a part of the middle class…without any of  the demands expected of the rich and famous.  Have you ever stopped to think about what your life would be like if you were one of those celebrity names in the tabloids?  Every family has issues in their family tree with some relative or another. 

        Think about it…what if cousin Ralph committed a crime and was photographed for a magazine, making sure to give an interview which made a connection between his name and your’s in the article; or, your sister decided to become a singer (and she howled like your neighbor’s hunting dog) but still, she badgered your professional contacts to try to get an audition; or say, your Grandma decided to go on a talk show and talk about her sex life before she married Grandpa?  Maybe your father wants to write a best seller that very closely resembles your life pre-celeb days? Or a relative goes on a large shopping spree that they can’t possibly afford to pay for on their own?   How would you handle it?

         In today’s world, with everyone having access to so much digital information…if you are a celebrity, and the media decides to do a little digging…they are sure to find some family member, friend from the past, or ex-boyfriend/girlfriend who is more than ready, willing and able to spill the beans for a little $$$.  What’s more…you don’t even have to wait for the media to find those who are willing to spill the beans for a fee…your relatives can go viral just by publishing a blog.

          You don’t have to look far to see examples of what I am talking about.  After all, there are painful family issues that allegedly haven’t been able to be resolved in private, such as families like the Lohans who make the news regularily, with custody battles, blog posts, or writting letters to media outlets criticizing one another; rehashing the past and the present family problems.  These issues are deeply personal and have the ability to cause life long discord with in a family unit.  

           Then you have the media’s flavor of the month, the Spears family.  Either they focus on the latest exploits of Brit, Jamie Lynn, her mother, father or ex-husbands and boyfriends or they hint at some kind of rumor that vaguely resembles a sliver of truth and wait to see the fireworks.  You can understand the potential added damage done to an individual when there is intensive media scrutiny focussed on them. There is enough family drama in most families, without having to create an intense watch and see environment.

           What about family members who stay in the background until they have shopped around the possibility of writing a tell all book…like Oprah’s father, allegedly considered doing?  Or a little less reclusive personality, such as…Madonna’s brother, Christopher Ciccone who actually did write a book recently, detailing his complicated relationship with his sister.  Remember many years ago, the explosive book called Mommy Dearest, written by Joan Crawford’s daughter about her very famous mother?

           We’ve all seen that the tabloids will exploit a family member’s run- in with the law.  Or, maybe a business owner or individual who slaps a lawsuit on a family member of a celeb, knowing that it will get settled because of the negative PR.   A recent example of a legal situation was when Hulk Hogan’s son was sent to jail for allegedly being the driver in an accident that seriously injured one of his friends.  All the while, his family was going through a seperation/divorce and the media attention only added to their personal difficulties.  This fed the flames of many articles and celebrity gossip shows for many weeks.

            There is never a lack of divorce related stories or custody issues either.  We have come to know more about certain star crossed couples, and their problems, than we need to know; think of Charlie Sheen and Denise Richards, or Kim Basinger and Alec Baldwin, Pamela Anderson and any of her exes.  In these cases, many times the courts are often at fault for allowing legal records to become released to the public through the media; that is why you occasionally hear of circumstances where divorcing couples use a private mediator to settle their marriage issues.  Sometimes it is through individuals or their family members that we learn what is often harmful to the well-being of the couples or their children.  I am sure in the long run they come to regret the fact that so much private information has become public knowledge. 

            What about those situations where family members are estranged from one another and they use the media to communicate with each other about family issues.  I think about in that case, Angelina Jolie and her father.  Or, maybe Kellie Pickler who had a difficult relationship with her estranged birth mother.   Or Jennifer Anniston and her mother who allegedly became estranged, from one another, over too much personal information being given out. 

           Some celebrities don’t publically acknowledge their family problems…others confront them head on.  Which way is most effective for them, sort of depends on why the violations take place in the first place.  Some celebs feel that they must go public and defend themselves and others…keep a quiet counsel and deal with things privately.  It is not easy either way.  The power of criticism is strong…and you can’t please everyone, no matter what action a celebrity chooses to employ to deal with the fallout. 

           Regardless of celebrity status…it is helpful to remember that those people are human beings with feelings too.  They have relationships that can be damaged, and, they are often afforded little privacy as it is.  You would think that their family members would have a little bit of loyalty and a desire to keep some issues private; and, not turn their private relationships into some sort of pay- per- view.  But often, these situations aren’t JUST about money.  Sometimes, the interviews and books are written out of more complex issues; such as, unresolved issues involving trust, envy, control, anger, betrayal, neglect, abandonment or favoritism.  So when you see one of these interviews or books; remember that it might be more about getting even, than it is about getting rich!

           Certainly, the people who publish the reports, interviews, books, and celeb gossip programs aren’t going to keep potentially scandulous information to themselves; not when it is their bread and butter.  So think about that, the next time you purchase one of the tabloids, weekly celeb mags, tune in to the gossip programs, or purchase the latest personal memoir about someone famous; you are enabling them to sell out their own family members.  What if your friends or relatives did that to you?  What kind of tales could they tell about you to allow them to make money off from you or your past?

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         Well, this is interesting…tonight on Dancing With the Stars…Kim Kardashian left the show before 82 year old Cloris Leachman.  HMMMMM…what can you say?   That is just sad.  Someone young, someone able bodied, someone who supposedly has a strong following, because of her “reality celebrity” television show, couldn’t beat out an 82 year old comedian/actress…who really can’t dance, who goes for the joke with her performances and who shocks viewers with her poor taste in speech!  

         Well, we are in for another week…of mugging by Cloris.  I certainly thought it was time for her to leave this week…but, what can you say…Kim certainly didn’t help matters with her poor performances.  Thanks alot Kim…i really like Dancing With The Stars…but, i really think that they need to respect the fact that their show is supposed to be family friendly…let’s make sure that future performers remember that fact!

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       I have said it before, and i will say it again…cancer is a thief…it steals from us those that we love and it takes from us the talents & gifts that they were blessed with, as well.  Yesterday, cancer stole another well known person of talent, Paul Newman passed away.  Every person has merit and it isn’t that we acknowledge only those who are well known…but, because this is such a large world…it is important to mention that cancer steals people from all over the world; rich-poor, well known-and lesser known, married-single, old-young, male-female.  Cancer does not care who it takes…it just takes.  So we lose laborers, artists & musicians, educators, inventors, doctors, lawyers, researchers, librarians, farmers, janitors, we lose mothers/fathers, sisters/brothers,husbands/wives, and we lose children…we lose so very much that it hurts the tapestry of our lives!

        It would be a great day to make a donation to one of the charities that battle back against such an enemy.  http://www.standup2cancer.org/ or http://www.holeinthewallgang.org/ or http://www.cancer.org/docroot/home/index.asp.

        I love that Paul Newman was a person of integrity and dedication.  He supported charities for many years that benefitted those afflicted by cancer and other devastating diseases…long before it affected his own physical being.  He cared; he cared enough to do something about it.    Paul Newman and his business partner created Newman’s Own line of salad dressings and other food items and donated the profits from that company to charities that benefitted many. 

        It is with grace and dignity that he battled the disease that took his life.  He lived his life as he wanted and didn’t appear to play games that some celebrities do regarding their status.  I liked that about him.  If that means that we didn’t get to know all kinds of personal and private information about him and his family…so what.  It just means that he didn’t buy into all the hype of being famous.   So, he had a long line of acting credits to his name, he made a name for himself with his race car driving, and his charities.  What matters most is that he loved his family and he positively impacted others with the gifts that he was blessed with. 

           That is the way we should all hope to be remembered…we lived, we loved and we left the world a better place by giving back in the ways that matter most! 

         

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          She is gone but not forgotten, the fair princess; Lady Diana Spencer.  It has been 11 years since her death in a car accident in Paris. Her youth, her beauty, her energy has been frozen in time through the photos we view.  So much has happened since that time.  Her beloved boys have grown up, her ex-husband Prince Charles has remarried Diana’s nemesis, the world has continued to move onward. 

           Still, no one has ever been able to take Diana’s place of purchase in the hearts of the public who loved her so.  She who was able to accomplish so much in so little time here on the Earth.  Can you imagine how much more she would have been able to do in a world full of hurts because of her ability to leverage her legacy?  She set a great role model with the work that she did for charities…that does not have to end.  People can follow her example and achieve much in the world, through donating time and money to those in need.  So we remember her today…full of smiles, and a heart that bent towards those in need, those who suffered, and those who were meant to overcome.  How can you be a light in the world?

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