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Activist James Redford Known for His Documentaries Dies Age 58

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According to his wife, Kyle, James Redford, 58, passed away on Oct. 16, 2020, resulting from bile duct cancer in his liver. He is known for his documentaries and activism.

In 1999, after waiting for a matching donor for six months, he wanted to communicate the need for organ and tissue donation. The James Redford Institute (JRI) for Transplant Awareness was his solution. The organization educates and promotes organ and tissue donation through its website and films.

“The Kindness of Strangers” is “a powerful yet sensitive look at the lives of those touched by organ donation and transplantation.” The documentary, produced by Redford and directed by Maro Chermayeff, debuted HBO on Sept. 23, 1999.

He and his father, Robert, co-founded The Redford Center in 2005. The center “harnesses the power of film, new media, and impact campaigns to move people to action through inspiring stories that galvanize environmental justice, solutions, and repair,” according to the nonprofit’s website.

James Redford’s Documentaries and Films

Redford’s filmography is extensive. Each of the films and documentaries listed below is an example of his diversity:

  • He wrote the original screenplay for “Cowboy Up,” starring Keifer Sutherland. The film was released in the United States on July 11, 2001.
  • James also wrote the critically acclaimed screenplay, based on a book by Tony Hillerman, “Skinwalkers,” a “PBS Mystery!” The made-for-TV movie was released on  Nov. 24, 2002.
  • “Spin,” written and directed by Redford, starred Stanley Tucci. The film was released on Nov. 8, 2004.
  • Redford wrote, directed, and produced a 9-minute short comedy called “Quality Time,” about raising teenagers was released on July 22, 2010.
  • “Mann V. Ford,” an HBO documentary exploring the Ford Motor Company dumping toxic waste on Native American lands. It was produced by James and first aired in 2011.
  • The documentary “The Big Picture: Rethinking Dyslexia” was released Jan. 20, 2012. It was written by James, whose son, Dylan, struggled with dyslexia.
  • “Watershed: Exploring a New Water Ethic for the New West” is a 2012 documentary co-produced by Redford and Jill Tidman and narrated by the former.
  • The HBO original documentary “Toxic Hot Seat” about harmful flame retardant chemicals. It was initially released on Oct. 15, 2013. Redford served as a co-producer and co-director.
  • “Paper Tigers” is a documentary about a high school in Washington state overcoming tremendous odds of adverse childhood experiences. James wrote the story, co-produced, and co-directed the film, released on May 28, 2015.
  • “Resilience: The Biology of  Stress and The Science of Hope,” released on January 22, 2016. Redford directed this documentary that explores the link between heart disease to childhood experiences.
  • Redford produced “California Typewriter,” a 2016 documentary celebrating “artists, writers, and collectors who remain steadfastly loyal to the typewriter as a tool and muse.” Tom Hanks, John Mayer, David McCullough, Sam Shepard,

James Redford’s Decades of Health Issues

RedfordThe 58-year-old died of liver cancer after years of health issues and two liver transplants. When he was 15, he was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, which caused him to suffer extreme weight loss and other associated debilitating symptoms.

Redford was also diagnosed with sclerosis cholangitis, an autoimmune disease that damaged his liver. No official cause of death has been released at this time.

James was born on May 5, 1962, to Robert Redford and Lola Van Wagenen. He was one of four children — Scott, who preceded James in death, Shauna, and Amy.

Speaking on behalf of the senior Redford, Cindi Berger explained, “he is mourning with his family during this difficult time and asks for privacy,” according to People Magazine.

“The grief is immeasurable with the loss of a child,” says Berger. “Jamie was a loving son, husband, and father. His legacy lives on through his children, art, filmmaking, and devoted passion for conservation and the environment.”

James leaves behind Kyle, his wife of 32 years, and their two children — Dylan and Lena.

Written by Cathy Milne-Ware

Sources:

IMDb: James Redford; Biography

PEOPLE: Robert Redford Is Mourning His Son James’ Death with His Family: ‘The Grief Is Immeasurable;’ Alexia Fernandez and Liz McNeil

PEOPLE: Robert Redford’s Son James Redford, Filmmaker, and Activist Dies at 58 After Cancer Battle; Alexia Fernandez

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‘Grand Dame of Television’ Betty White Celebrates 99th Birthday [Video]

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When Betty White says she “doesn’t need anyone’s permission,” she is not joking. At 99 years old, she has earned that privilege. On her birthday, Jan. 17, 2021, this tiny little powerhouse says she will be staying up as late as she wants.

She is looking forward to a quiet day in her Los Angeles home. White’s longtime friend and agent, Jeff Witjas, will be bringing her flowers and her birthday meal —  a hot dog and french fries.

WhiteAt 5-foot-four, the diminutive comedienne has been honing her craft since the 1930s. Her sparkling blue eyes light up when she packs a punchline or zings someone with her saucy one-liners.

White, also known as The Grand Dame of Television, has had the longest TV career of any performer on their list, explains the writers of Oldest.org in their updated 2020 compilation.

On May 8, 2010, at the tender age of 88, White hosted “Saturday Night Live.” To date, she holds the title of being the oldest person ever to host the comedy/variety program currently in its 46th season.

In an interview with “Parade,” she claims to hold no secrets to her longevity. However, the iconic actress says she does not plan on retiring. White says:

I just love to work, so I’ll keep working until they stop asking.

Watching clips of her on YouTube is an entertaining activity — especially watching her bloopers and any skit with sexual undertones.

She responds with grace when placed in awkward positions, such as the “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” clip when she and Jason Momoa are guests. Momoa shows off his muscular Men’s Health cover during the program, and White responds in her sassy fashion. Ken Saclo commented:

Dude, I know Conan is hilarious, but cmon you gotta give it up to Betty White, who at age 92, is still so sharp, witty, and funny as hell. I highly doubt I will make it to 92, much less be that cool!! She is awesome!

Happy birthday, Queen of Comedy!

Written by Cathy Milne-Ware

Sources:

AP: Betty White To Mark 99th Birthday By Feeding Ducks, Staying Up Late; by Lynn Elber
IMDb: Betty White Biography
Oldest.org: 10 Oldest Living Actors in the World (Updated 2020)
History: Betty White becomes oldest “Saturday Night Live” host

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First Black Country Music Superstar Charley Pride Dies at 86 [Video]

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The first Black Country Western superstar, Charley Pride, passed away. He died of COVID-19 complications in Dallas, Texas, on Dec. 12, 2020.

Eighty-six-year-old Pride sang “Kiss an Angel Good Mornin'” with singer|songwiter Jimmie Allen for his final performance. They sang on live TV at the “Country Music Awards” (CMA) on November 11. Pride received the Willy Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award.

He earned numerous awards and additional accolades:

  • Grammy Award: 10 nominations between 1967 and 1980.
  • CMA Entertainer of the Year award in 1971.
  • CMA Top Male Vocalist in 1971 and 1972.
  • Grammy Award: Three victories — two in 1972 and one in 1973 — Best Gospel Performance (Other Than Soul Gospel) for “Let Me Live,” Best Country Vocal Performance, Male for “Charley Pride Sings Heart Songs,” and for “Amazing Love” in the same category.
  • Hollywood Walk of Fame Star in 1999; located at 7083 Hollywood Boulevard.
  • Country Music Hall Of Fame: Winner of the Commemorative Medallion in 2000.
  • Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017.

Pride was born on March 18, 1938, in Sledge, Mississipi. He was one of 11 children whose father was a sharecropper. As a child, he picked cotton; when he was 14, he got his first guitar and taught himself listening to the “Grand Ole Opry.”

PrideAs a young man, he played baseball for the American Negro League for teams in Detroit, Memphis, and Birmingham. Pride’s baseball career was interrupted by the draft in 1956. Two years later, in Helena, Montana, he played ball, worked at a smelting plant, and began singing in public.

He was encouraged to move to Nashville, and in 1964 Pride signed a contract with Jack Johnson, his longtime manager. It was only a month when he signed with the label RCA.

The 3-time Grammy winner broke onto the charts within two years, his taut, wide-ranging baritone’s single “Just Between Me and You” pushed to No. 9 in the United States.

He dropped 41 studio albums, 2 live albums, 18 compilation albums, 11 music videos, and 74 singles during his career. Overall, 39 of his singles hit No. 1.

The superstar is survived by his wife, Rozene, and their three children —Dion, Kraig, and Angela.

Written by Cathy Milne-Ware

Sources:

Rolling Stone: Charley Pride, Pioneering Black Country Singer, Dead at 86; Joseph Hudak
Variety: Charley Pride, Country Music’s First Black Superstar, Dies of COVID-19 at 86; Chris Morris
IMDb: Charley Pride
NNDB: Charley Pride

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28-Year-Old Bobby Brown Jr. Dies

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Officers with the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) responding to a medical emergency discovered Bobby Brown Jr. unresponsive on Nov. 18, 2020. He was 28 years old.

An LAPD spokesperson, Officer Jeff Lee, explained the officers found him just before 2 p.m. PST. in Encino, California. Brown Jr. was pronounced dead by authorities at the scene. Lee stated that they do not suspect foul play as the cause of death.

He was the half brother to the late Bobbi Kristina Brown. Brown died in January 2015. She was 28-years-old at the time of her death.

Brown Jr.’s sister was found unresponsive and face-down in a bathtub in a townhome in Atlanta. She spent several months in a coma. Brown was under the care of hospice when she passed.

CNN asked Brown Sr.’s agent, Nick Szatmari if he had any comments about Brown Jr.’s death. Szatmari told CNN that he had “No comment regarding the death.”

Brown JrHe is the son of singer Bobby Brown and Kim Ward. Ward gave birth to Brown Jr. on Nov. 26, 1992. He went by the nickname King Jayare.

The family has suffered many losses throughout the years. Three years prior to his half sister’s death, Whitney Houston — his stepmother — died in a similar manner as his sister. In Houston’s case, cocaine and heart disease were contributing factors to her death.

After the medical examiner performed an autopsy on Brown they found she had cocaine, morphine, alcohol, and prescription drugs in her system. Her ex-boyfriend Nick Gordon was found liable for her death. Gordon passed away earlier this year.

Brown Sr. started his music career in the R&B group New Edition. After which he became a solo artist with hits like “Every Little Step” and “My Prerogative.”

Many people went to social media to pay their respects to Brown Jr.’s family. The up and coming artist will be missed. May he rest in peace.

Written by Sheena Robertson and Cathy Milne-Ware

Sources:

CNN: Bobby Brown Jr., the son of singer Bobby Brown, dies at 28 by Madeline Holcombe

IMDb: Bobby Brown Jr.

KTLA: Bobby Brown Jr. found dead in L.A. at 28 by Associated Press

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