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I'm sad to say the "Queen of Soul" Aretha Franklin has died. The legendary soul singer first came to my attention when I watched 'The Blues Brothers' and I've been a fan ever since.

Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul whose songs "Respect" and "Chain of Fools" topped the charts in the 1960s, has died, her publicist announced. She was 76.

Franklin died of an undisclosed illness for which she was hospitalized Monday. CBS News and NPR confirmed her death. NPR reported that she died Thursday in Detroit, according to Franklin's publicist, Gwendolyn Quinn.

Her death came after several concert cancellations in recent years, including two March shows in New Jersey. Franklin's last live performance was Nov. 2 at the Elton John AIDS Foundation in New York City.

Aretha Louise Franklin was born March 25, 1942, in Memphis, Tenn., to pastor and civil rights activist C.L. Franklin. The family moved to Detroit two years later, where she began singing gospel as a child at New Bethel Baptist Church.

Franklin began her professional career at age 14, recording with J.V.B. Records and Columbia Records. It wasn't until she signed with Atlantic Records in 1967, though, that she gained fame with "Respect," "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" and "I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)," perhaps her most famous songs.

She produced more than 40 studio albums and about half a dozen live albums over the course of her more-than six decade career.

Franklin won 20 Grammy Awards, including the Legend Award in 1991, the Lifetime Achievement Award in 1994 and the MusiCares Person of the Year in 2008. She was also honored with three American Music Awards, a Golden Globe, two MTV Video Music Awards and three NAACP Image Awards.

She has 73 songs on Billboard's Hot 100 list, including two No. 1 hits and 17 Top 10 hits.

Franklin sang "My Country 'Tis of Thee" at President Barack Obama's 2009 inauguration in Washington, D.C., a performance she said she wasn't happy with.

"Mother Nature was not very kind to me. I'm going to deal with her when I get home. It, by no means, was my standard. I was not happy with it, but I just feel blessed because it could have been five above zero or five below zero like it is in Detroit," the Queen of Soul told CNN's Larry King. "I was still blessed to be able to pretty much just sing the melody, but I wasn't happy with it, of course."

A biopic starring Jennifer Hudson about Franklin's life is in the early phases, and is based on the singer's memoir Aretha: From These Roots.

She was married twice, from 1961-69 to Ted White and from 1978-84 to Glynn Turman. She was engaged to be married a third time to Willie Wilkerson but called it off in 2012.

Franklin is survived by four sons: Clarence Franklin, Edward Franklin, Ted White Jr. and Kecalf Cunningham.

She may be gone, but her music, spirit and soulful voice will live on forever.

Be Well,
Steve


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Tessa Thompson cast as Lady in 'Lady and the Tramp' remake
Tessa Thompson has been cast in Disney's live-action remake of Lady and the Tramp which is set to debut on the studio's upcoming streaming service which launches in 2019.

Thompson will voice one of the film's leads, cocker spaniel Lady who falls for street smart dog Tramp, voiced by Justin Theroux, noted The Hollywood Reporter.

The actress joins a cast that includes Kiersey Clemons as Darling, the human owner of Lady; Ashley Jensen as the voice of Scottish Terrier Jackie and Benedict Wong as the voice of English bulldog Bull.

The film will feature the animal characters being brought to life using CGI, similar to Disney's 2016 remake of The Jungle Book.

Charlie Bean (The Lego Ninjago Movie) is directing based on a script by Andrew Bujalski. Lady and the Tramp was first released as a fully animated film in 1955.

Thompson will next be seen in boxing sequel Creed II on Nov. 28 and is set to star alongside Chris Hemsworth in a new version of Men in Black.


'Designing Women' revival in development
Sony Pictures Television Studios are developing a revival of sitcom Designing Women.

Original series creator Linda Bloodworth-Thomason is leading the project, Deadline reported.

The revival has been in development for months with Sony looking for a home for the program, noted The Hollywood Reporter.

The series, which ended its seven-season run on CBS in May 1993, followed stars Dixie Carter, Annie Potts, Jean Smart and Delta Burke as four women working at an interior design firm. The women were also joined by Meshach Taylor.

Designing Women tackled issues such as women's rights, homophobia and racism, among others. The sitcom was was nominated for multiple Emmy Awards.

The sixth season of the series featured actresses Julia Duffy and Jan Hooks replacing Burke and Smart. Duffy did not return for Season 7 and was then replaced by Judith Ivey.

Carter died in 2007 at the age of 70 and Taylor died at the age of 67 in 2014. Carter, Smart, Potts and Burke had attended a reunion of Designing Women held at the Museum of Television and Radio in Beverly Hills in Oct. 2006.

It is unclear if the Designing Women revival would feature former stars or a brand-new cast.

Designing Women is the latest television revival in development following a string of former programs in development or on the air once again, including CBS' Murphy Brown -- set to return on Sept. 27. Other recent television revivals have included Roseanne, Will & Grace and Full House sequel series Fuller House, among others.


LOOSE LIPS:
"...I contributed to that unprofessional environment, and I tolerated that kind of behavior from other people, and I wish that I hadn't. And I regret a lot of that."
--Casey Affleck, apologizing for his behavior on the set of 2010's I'm Still Here and the two sexual harassment lawsuits filed against him, to the AP



??? Guess Who ???

Which Star Wars icon has joined the second season of History channel's 'Knightfall'?


Weird Al Yankovic to get star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
Recording artist and comedy legend Weird Al Yankovic is scheduled to get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame this month.

"The time has finally come... On Aug. 27 at 11:30 AM I'll be getting my very own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (6914 Hollywood Blvd., right across the street from the Chinese Theatre). The ceremony is FREE and open to the public, so come on down!!" Yankovic tweeted.

Star Wars actor Mark Hamill was among the first to congratulate Yankovic on the honor.

"Congratulations @alyankovic on your well-deserved star! You're right across the street from the Chinese Theater? I'm right next to Minnie Mouse in front of the El Capitan Theater... that makes us neighbors! #WelcomeToTheNeighborhood," Hamill wrote in his own post.

Yankovic, 58, is currently on the road with his Ridiculously Self-Indulgent, Ill-Advised Vanity Tour.

"I wanted to do something completely different, so we went the whole other direction and decided to make it as bare-bones a tour as possible," Yankovic told UPI in April about why he has decided to forego his signature, zany props, costumes and videos this time around. "So, it's literally just me and the guys in the band walking out on stage and playing music."

Yankovic is best known for his song parodies "The Hamilton Polka," "Eat It," "I Lost on Jeopardy," "Amish Paradise," "Smells Like Nirvana," "White and Nerdy," "I Love Rocky Road" and "Like a Surgeon."


Hulu renews 'Castle Rock' for Season 2
Hulu said it is working on more episodes of its horror drama Castle Rock, which is set in the Stephen King multiverse.

"Nothing stays dead in this town. #CastleRock will return for a Season 2," the streaming service tweeted Tuesday.

Starring Andre Holland, Sissy Spacek, Bill Skarsgard, Scott Glenn and Melanie Lynskey, the show debuted July 25. It is an original tale that takes place in King's fictional Maine town and makes references to people and events from many of King's stories and the film adaptations they inspired.

Manhattan collaborators Sam Shaw and Dustin Thomason serve as writer-producers on the project.

The Hollywood Reporter said the premiere date for Season 2 and which cast members, if any, will be back for it, have not yet been determined.


??? Guess Who ???

Which Star Wars icon has joined the second season of History channel's 'Knightfall'?

Star Wars icon Mark Hamill has joined the cast of History channel's second season of the Knights Templar drama Knightfall.

"Thrilled to be a part of the epic adventure that is #Knightfall- I've never done anything quite like this & can't wait to join the amazing ensemble cast led by the excellent @tom_cullen! #AllTheGlamourOfThe14thCentury," Hamill tweeted Tuesday.

Hamill, 66, will play Talus, who is described in a news release as "a battle-hardened Knight Templar veteran of the Crusades, who survived captivity for 10 years in the Holy Land and is tasked with training the new initiates to the Order."

Aaron Helbing -- known for his work on The Flash and Spartacus: War of the Damned -- will serve as showrunner and executive producer for Season 2 of the medieval series, which stars Downton Abbey veterans Tom Cullen and Jim Carter.

"In the face of ever-increasing competition, we're proud of History's track record of producing signature drama series that are epic in scope with complex characters," Eli Lehrer, History's executive vice president of programming, said in a statement. "Whether it's the legendary Knights Templar, the extraordinary tale of medieval Norsemen, or the story of a formerly classified United States Air Force program investigating UFOs during the Cold War, these series reflect our commitment to bringing the defining, big canvas stories of history to life. We look forward to offering our viewers a grittier, darker Knightfall in Season 2 and welcoming Mark to the cast."