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Taurean Blacque, Detective Neal Washington on ‘Hill Street Blues,’ Dies at 82

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Taurean Blacque, beloved for his role of Detective Neal Washington on “Hill Street Blues,” has died. He was 82 years old.

Blacque died Thursday according to his son Rodney’s Facebook post. He died in Atlanta following a brief illness, according to reports.

For all seven seasons of the popular NBC cop show, Blacque starred alongside Michael Warren, Daniel J. Travanti, Charles Haid, Michael Conrad and Bruce Weitz in “Hill Street Blues.” The show ran from 1981-1987 and garnered Blacque an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Drama Series in 1982. In fact, the category that year was owned by “Hill Street Blues,” which saw all five nominees coming from the show created by Steven Bochco and Michael Kozoll. The other four nominees were Warren, Haid, Conrad and Weitz.

Blacque’s character of Detective Neal Washington was a respected yet stern veteran cop known from his trademark toothpick and cap. Blacque was one of 10 of the show’s regulars who remained on the series for its entire run.

The actor was born Herbert Middleton Jr. in Newark, New Jersey, on May 10, 1940. He got his start in the mid-1970s at the New York-based Negro Ensemble Company, where he gained ground as a stage actor. Soon, Blacque landed guest roles on TV series such as “Sanford and Son,” “Good Times,” “What’s Happening,” “The Bob Newhart Show” and “Taxi.” He also played another cop in 1996 for two seasons of “Savannah.”

Blacque, who changed his name from his birth name due to his astrological sign (Taurus) and his race, continued his acting in television, including a stint from 1989-90 as Henry Marshall on the NBC soap opera “Generations.” Later becoming a long-time resident of Atlanta, Georgia, Blacque performed in several productions at the Alliance Theatre of Atlanta. Among his notable performances have been in the James Baldwin play “The Amen Corner” opposite Carol Mitchell-Leon, Elizabeth Omilami and Crystal Fox.

Blacque is survived by 12 children, many of whom he adopted, 18 grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren.



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Prey Star Responds to Netflix’s Avatar: Last Airbender Casting Reports

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When asked about reports that she’s been cast in Netflix’s Avatar: The Last Airbender as Yue, Prey’s Amber Midthunder gives a careful response.

Prey star Amber Midthunder responds to reports of her being cast in Netflix’s live-action Avatar: The Last Airbender series. Midthunder recently received critical and fan praise for her role as Naru in Prey, playing the unassuming but fierce Comanche warrior as an Indigenous Sioux woman herself. Known for her breakout role in Marvel’s Legion as well as roles in the Roswell, New Mexico series and the 2016 film Hell or High Water, Midthunder has cemented herself as a talented actor, especially with the most recent Prey.

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Casting for Netflix’s highly anticipated Avatar: The Last Airbender series has really kicked off over the past few months, and reports say Midthunder will play the Northern Water Tribe princess Yue. In the original animated series, Yue has a critical role in Avatar Aang’s journey during the Siege of the North and is a brief love interest for the immature but sharp-witted Sokka. While Yue only appears in a handful of episodes in the original Avatar: The Last Airbender, she makes a lasting impact, sacrificing her life to save the Moon Spirit and ultimately help Aang reach his destiny. It remains to be seen if Netflix’s adaptation will alter Yue’s story in any way, but all signs so far point to Midthunder playing the role.


When asked by The New York Times if she can say anything about the live action Avatar: The Last Airbender series, Midthunder seems to know all too well that she shouldn’t say anything. All she can offer is a little chuckle and one sentence. She says:

“Nothing that I can be talking about right now.”

Midthunder’s casting keeps in line with the live-action Avatar: The Last Airbender’s dedication to tapping Asian and Indigenous actors to accurately represent the characters. The same age as Aang, 12-year-old Filipino-Canadian actor Gordon Cormier will star as the titular Avatar, alongside Mohawk actress Kiawentiio as Katara and Ian Ousley as Sokka. The new Avatar is expected to follow the same adventures as the original animated series in eight hour-long episodes, although a release date is still unknown. However, Avatar: The Last Airbender is expected to premiere in 2023.


Following the immense praise for her role in Prey, fans are already excited to see more of Midthunder and learn how she’ll bring Yue to life in Avatar: The Last Airbender. As a fierce warrior in Prey, it will be interesting to see Midthunder play a sweet, gentle character, although both Naru and Yue show exceptional courage and dedication. Even if she can’t reveal more yet, the prospect of Midthunder joining Avatar: The Last Airbender in such a pivotal role is a thrilling one, and hopefully more information will emerge soon.

Source: The New York Times

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Watch Armie Hammer’s Alleged Exes Share Graphic Details in First ‘House of Hammer’ Trailer

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Armie Hammer’s alleged exes are speaking out. In a trailer for discovery+’s upcoming three-part docuseries, House of Hammer, women who claim to have dated the disgraced actor are opening up about their alleged relationship with him.

ET has reached out to Hammer’s rep for comment on the docuseries.

Courtney Vucekovich is one of the two women featured, and she claims that “all was perfect” at the start of her alleged romance with the actor, “but then things change” as he “pushes your boundaries a little bit at a time.”

Julia Morrison agrees, as she shares a text she alleges to have received from Hammer that reads, “I have a fantasy about having someone prove their love and devotion and tying them up in a public place at night and making their body free use and seeing if they will f**k strangers for me.”

In an audio message Morrison claims Hammer sent her, the recorded voice says, “My bet was going to involve showing into her place and completely tying you up and incapacitating you and then being able to do whatever I wanted to every single hole in your body until I was done with you.”

Other texts the women claim to have received from Hammer include one that reads, “You are mine! You hear me? I own you now. I’ll own you forever” and another that read, “I decide when you eat, when you sleep. When you f**k.”

Then, another text allegedly from Hammer, appears on screen and reads, “I am 100 percent a cannibal. I want to eat you.”

Vucekovich says that left her “freaking out,” while Morrison claims the topic was all Hammer “wanted to ever talk about.”

It didn’t end there, as Vucekovich claims she got a note from Hammer that said, “I’m going to bite the f**k out of you.” She also allegedly received photos of rope via text.

“The ropes were around your neck, your wrist, your ankles, and you’re completely immobilized,” Vucekovich tearfully claims. “I was closing my eyes until it ended.”

The docuseries doesn’t just focus on the actor, though. Instead, it’ll shine a light on the whole Hammer family with the help of Casey Hammer, the Call Me By Your Name star’s aunt.

“On the outside, we were a perfect family, but magnify Succession a million times and it was my family,” she says, referring to the HBO series about a dysfunctional media tycoon family. “If you believe about making deals with the devil, the Hammers are top of the totem pole. Every generation in my family has been involved in dark misdeeds, and it just gets worse and worse and worse.”

“I know my grandfather had a dark side. I saw my father’s dark side first-hand. And I’ve seen my brother’s dark side, it was like a monster unleashed. Now it’s Armie Hammer,” she adds. “I’ve let the Hammers control me my whole life. It’s time to stop. I refuse to be silenced. My name is Casey Hammer, and I’m about to reveal the dark, twisted secrets of the Hammer family.”

Direct messages allegedly written by the actor first surfaced in January, 2021. In those DMs, he allegedly detailed graphic sexual fantasies, some with references to cannibalism. It has not been confirmed that the messages were authored by Hammer, and he released a statement calling the allegations “bulls**t.”

 The actor was subsequently let go from multiple projects he had in the works at the time.

Two months later, Hammer was accused of rape and battery by a then-24-year-old woman only identified as Effie. Hammer vehemently denied all allegations against him. 

The actor reportedly checked into a facility in May 2021, where he reportedly sought treatment for drug, alcohol, and sex issues. Hammer’s stay at the facility was reportedly paid for by Robert Downey Jr. The actor reportedly checked out of the Florida facility about six months later.

All three parts of House of Hammer will premiere Friday, Sept. 2 on discovery+.

 

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Jennette McCurdy Got ‘Pissed’ at Ariana Grande for Skipping ‘Sam & Cat’ Filming to Be a Pop Star: ‘F— This’

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Jennette McCurdy’s new memoir “I’m Glad My Mom Died” finds the former Nickelodeon star getting brutally honest with her feelings on Ariana Grande, the music icon who briefly starred with McCurdy on the “iCarly” and “Victorious” spinoff series “Sam & Cat.” Grande’s pop star career started taking off during the filming of the show, which only ran for a single season on Nickelodeon.

McCurdy writes that she grew to resent Grande once she “regularly” missed filming “to go sing at award shows, record new songs, and do press for her upcoming album” (via Entertainment Tonight). McCurdy, on the other hand, was left to “angrily hold down the fort.”

“The week where I was told Ariana would not be here at all, and that they would write around her absence this episode by having her character be locked in a box. Are you. Kidding me,” McCurdy writes. “So I have to turn down movies while Ariana’s off whistle-toning at the Billboard Music Awards? Fuck. This.”

According to McCurdy, she “booked two features during ‘iCarly’” that she “had to turn down because the ‘iCarly’ team wouldn’t write [her] out of episodes to go shoot them.” Grande was allowed to skip episodes to work on her music career.

“This is what it is. Ariana misses work in pursuit of her music career while I act with a box,” McCurdy writes. “I’m pissed about it. And I’m pissed at her. Jealous of her.”

McCurdy continues, “Ariana is at the stage in her career where she’s popping up on every 30 Under 30 list that exists. And I’m at the stage in my career where my team is excited that I’m the new face of Rebecca Bonbon, a tween clothing line featuring a cat with her tongue sticking out. Sold exclusively at Walmart. And I frequently make the mistake of comparing my career to Ariana’s. I can’t help it. I’m constantly in the same environment as her, and she doesn’t exactly try to hide her successes.”

What finally tipped McCurdy over into fully disliking Grande is when the latter came to set once day and revealed she had spent “the previous evening playing charades at Tom Hanks’ house.”

“That was the moment I broke,” McCurdy writes. “I couldn’t take it anymore. Music performances and magazine covers… whatever, I’ll get over it. But playing a family game at national treasure, two-time Academy Award–winner and six-time nominee Tom Hanks’s house? I’m done.”

McCurdy adds that from that moment on “I didn’t like her. I couldn’t like her,” adding, “Pop star success I could handle, but hanging out with Sheriff Woody, with Forrest fucking Gump? This has gone too far. So now, every time she misses work, it feels like a personal attack.”

“I’m Glad My Mom Died” is now available for purchase and has already topped the Amazon bestseller list. The memoir includes several shocking revelations from McCurdy’s years working at Nickelodeon, including one claim that the studio offered her $300,000 in hush money to stay quiet on the alleged abuse she dealt with behind the scenes.



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