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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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‘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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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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AMC Launches a Private Theatre Rental Program

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AMC’s declining revenue has caused the company to launch a Private Theatre Rental Program as of Nov.10, 2020. The company reported a $905.8 million quarterly loss. Many people contacted the corporation about private rentals during the coronavirus pandemic — within four weeks, the theatre made four times higher than the total amount of private theatre rentals in 2019.

AMCThey allow up to 20 friends and family members to watch a movie. It starts at $99.00, and guests can select their movie of choice and showtime. Twenty guests to comply with state and local regulations. Attendees have to wear proper PPE such as a mask at all times, and they also have to practice appropriate social distancing.

The rental fee for new release films depends on the location and theatre. Movies like “Freaky,’ “The War With Grandpa,” and “Tenet” will cost between $149.00 and $349.00 plus tax.

AMC Chief Content Officer Elizabeth Frank stated,

The feedback and results from our guests about the theatres being clean and safe have been positive. The private rentals provides an additional layer of safty and security to those moviegoers who are looking to see movies with their family members and friends.

Due to the pandemic and the collapse in box office revenue, theaters have reduced their operating hours. The corporation filed to sell stock to Citigroup Global Markets and Goldman Sachs to raise $47.7 million in cash to stay open. If they could not get other sources of liquidity, they may have to file Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

AMC Studio 30 has permanently closed after 27 years. It is the only Houston area theatre to be impacted.

Written by Jessica Letcher

Sources:

The Hollywood Reporter: AMC Theatres Launches Private Movie Screen Rentals; by Etan Vlessing
Variety: Struggling AMC Chain Launches Private Theatre Rentals Program; by Dave Mcnary
Click 2 Houston: AMC Studio 30 permanently closes after 27 years; by Briana Edwards

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