Inspirational Quote Of The Day


RIP Lee Thompson Young


Lee Thompson Young, who played Boston police detective Barry Frost on the TNT police drama “Rizzoli & Isles,” was found dead Monday morning.

Young’s manager has confirmed to TheWrap that the actor killed himself.

“It is with great sadness that I announce that Lee Thompson Young tragically took his own life this morning,” said longtime manager Jonathan Baruch. “Lee was more than just a brilliant young actor, he was a wonderful and gentle soul who will be truly missed. We ask that you please respect the privacy of his family and friends at this difficult time.”

According to a Los Angeles Police spokeswoman, officers arrived at Young’s apartment after 8 a.m. Monday morning and found him dead.

Young, a South Carolina native, developed an affinity for acting at age 10 and two years later had secured representation. He rose to fame in 1998 when he starred in the Disney Channel show “The Famous Jett Jackson.” On the program, which ran for three years, the actor played a teenage celebrity trying to live a normal life as a high school student.

The actor went on to attend USC, where he was a recognizable presence on campus, often dressing in all-white ensembles. He attended the School of Cinematic Arts on a full academic scholarship and graduated magna cum laude in 2005.

Following graduation, he booked guest-starring roles on various television programs. His next big break came in 2010, when he was cast on TNT’s popular police drama “Rizzoli & Isles.” As Det. Barry Frost, Young played the affable partner to Jane Rizzoli, played by Angie Harmon.

Production has been shut down for “Rizzoli & Isles” following the news of Young’s death. No word on when filming will begin again.

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Inspiration Of A Gentleman: Michael Clark Duncan

I just want to take a moment and pay tribute to a wonderful actor. Michael Clark Duncan. RIP.

Michael Clarke Duncan was one big, irresistible jumble of contradictions.

His presence was formidable, even intimidating: The former bodyguard had a muscular, 6-foot-4 frame, but it was topped by the brightest of megawatt smiles.

His gravelly baritone was well-suited to everything from animated films to action spectacles, but no matter the role, a warmth and a sweetness was always evident underneath.

The prolific character actor, whose dozens of movies included an Oscar-nominated performance as a death row inmate in “The Green Mile” and box office hits including “Armageddon,” ”Planet of the Apes” and “Kung Fu Panda,” died Monday at age 54. And although he only turned to acting in his 30s, it’s clear from the outpouring of prayers and remembrances he received across the Hollywood and sports worlds that his gentle-giant persona made him much-loved during that relatively brief time.

Duncan died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, where he was being treated for a heart attack, said his fiancée, reality TV personality Rev. Omarosa Manigault, in a statement released by publicist Joy Fehily.

Duncan “suffered a myocardial infarction on July 13 and never fully recovered,” the statement said. “Manigault is grateful for all of your prayers and asks for privacy at this time. Celebrations of his life, both private and public, will be announced at a later date.”

Tom Hanks, star of 1999’s “The Green Mile” — the film that earned a then-little-known Duncan a supporting-actor nomination at the Academy Awards — said he was “terribly saddened at the loss of Big Mike. He was the treasure we all discovered on the set of ‘The Green Mile.’ He was magic. He was a big love of man and his passing leaves us stunned.”

“I will miss my friend, Michael Clarke Duncan,” comedian and talk-show host Steve Harvey said on Twitter. “What an incredible soldier in God’s Plan.” Other sad and shocked reactions came from a diverse field that included Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, actresses Alexa Vega, Niecy Nash and Olivia Munn, and former boxing champion Lennox Lewis.

In the spring of 2012, Duncan had appeared in a video for PETA, the animal rights organization, in which he spoke of how much better he felt since becoming a vegetarian three years earlier.

“I cleared out my refrigerator, about $5,000 worth of meat,” he said. “I’m a lot healthier than I was when I was eating meat.”

Duncan had a handful of minor roles before “The Green Mile” brought him accolades and fame. The 1999 film, based on the Stephen King novel of the same name, starred Hanks as a corrections officer at a penitentiary in the 1930s. Duncan played John Coffey, a convicted murderer with a surprisingly gentle demeanor and extraordinary healing powers.

Duncan’s performance caught on with critics and moviegoers and he quickly became a favorite in Hollywood, appearing in several films a year. He owed some of his good fortune to Bruce Willis, who recommended Duncan for “The Green Mile” after the two appeared together in “Armageddon.” Duncan would work with Willis again in “Breakfast of Champions,” ”The Whole Nine Yards” and “Sin City.”

His industrial-sized build was suited for everything from superhero films (“Daredevil”) to comedy (“Talladega Nights,” ”School for Scoundrels”). He could have made a career out of his voice work alone, with appearances in several animated and family movies, including, “Kung Fu Panda,” ”Racing Stripes” and “Brother Bear.” Among Duncan’s television credits were “The Apprentice,” ”Two and a Half Men,” ”The Suite Life of Zack and Cody” and a new series, “The Finder.”

Born in Chicago in 1957, Duncan was raised by a single mother whose resistance to his playing football led to his deciding he wanted to become an actor. But when his mother became ill, he dropped out of college, Alcorn State University, and worked as a ditch digger and bouncer to support her. By his mid-20s, he was in Los Angeles, where he looked for acting parts and became a bodyguard for Will Smith, Jamie Foxx and other stars. The murder of rapper Notorious B.I.G., for whom Duncan had been hired to protect before switching assignments, led him to quit his job and pursue acting full-time.

Early film and television credits, when he was usually cast as a bodyguard or bouncer, included “Bulworth,” ”A Night at the Roxbury” and “The Players Club.”

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Inspiration Of An Entertainment Icon: Andy Griffith

I just want to take a moment to pay tribute to a TV Legend. RIP, Andy Griffith.


Andy Griffith, an actor whose folksy Southern manner charmed audiences for more than 50 years on Broadway, in movies, on records and especially on television — most notably as the small-town sheriff on the long-running situation comedy that bore his name — died on Tuesday at his home on Roanoke Island in North Carolina. He was 86.

His death was confirmed by the Dare County sheriff, Doug Doughtie.

Mr. Griffith was already a star, with rave reviews on Broadway in “No Time for Sergeants” and in Elia Kazan’s film “A Face in the Crowd,” when “The Andy Griffith Show” made its debut in the fall of 1960. And he delighted a later generation of television viewers in the 1980s and ’90s in the title role of the courtroom drama “Matlock.”

But his fame was never as great as it was in the 1960s, when he starred for eight years as Andy Taylor, the sagacious sheriff of the make-believe Southern town of Mayberry, running weekly herd on a collection of eccentrics like his ineffectual deputy, Barney Fife, and the simple-minded gas station attendant Gomer Pyle while, as a widower, patiently raising a young son, Opie.

“The Andy Griffith Show,” Monday nights on CBS, was No. 4 in the Nielsen ratings its first year and never fell below the Top 10. It was No. 1 in 1968, its last season. After the run ended with Episode No. 249, the show lived on in spinoff series, endless reruns and even Sunday schoolclasses organized around its rustic moral lessons.

The show imagined a reassuring world of fishin’ holes, ice cream socials and rock-hard family values during a decade that grew progressively more tumultuous. Its vision of rural simplicity was part of a TV trend that began with “The Real McCoys” on ABC in 1957 and later included “The Beverly Hillbillies,” “Green Acres,” “Petticoat Junction” and “Hee Haw.”

But by the late 1960s, the younger viewers networks prized were spurning cornpone, and Andy had decided to move on to movies after the 1966-67 season. CBS made a lucrativeoffer for him to do one more season, and the “The Andy Griffith Show” became the No. 1 series in the 1967-68 season. But Mr. Griffith had decided to move on, and so had the zeitgeist. “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In,” with its one-liners about drugs and Vietnam, and “The Mod Squad,” about an integrated police force, were grabbing a new generation of viewers.

But the characters in “The Andy Griffith Show” — Barney (Don Knotts), Gomer (Jim Nabors), Opie (Ron Howard), Aunt Bee (Frances Bavier) and the rest, including Gomer’s cousin Goober Pyle (George Lindsey, who died in May) — remained tantalizingly real to enthusiasts who still gather online and sometimes in person in fan clubs to watch reruns.

Andy Griffith was considerably more complex than Andy Taylor and his fellow denizens of Mayberry, although the show was based on his hometown, Mount Airy, N.C.

Beginning with the lead in Elia Kazan’s film “A Face in the Crowd” in 1957, the story of a roughhewn television personality who becomes a power-crazed megalomaniac, Mr. Griffith brought a canny authenticity to dark roles.

From the 1970s to the 1990s, Mr. Griffith starred in no fewer than six movies with the words “murder” or “kill” in their titles. In 1983, in “Murder in Cowetta County” he played a chillingly wicked man who remains stone-cold even as he is being strapped into the electric chair.

Mr. Griffith’s fans may have imagined him as a happy bumpkin, but he enjoyed life in Hollywood and knew his way around a wine list. His career was controlled by a personal manager, Richard O. Linke, who forbade Mr. Griffith to solicit advice from anyone else, even his wife.

“If there is ever a question about something, I will do what he wants me to do,” Mr. Griffith said in an interview with The New York Times Magazine in 1970. “Had it not been for him, I would have gone down the toilet.”

Far from the relaxed, gregarious, drawling Andy Taylor, Mr. Griffith was a loner and a worrier. He once hit a door in anger, and for two episodes of the second season of “The Andy Griffith Show” he had a bandaged hand (explained on the show as an injury Sheriff Taylor sustained while apprehending criminals).

But the 35 million viewers of “The Andy Griffith Show” would have been reassured to learn that even at the peak of his popularity, Mr. Griffith drove a Ford station wagon and bought his suits off the rack. He said his favorite honor was having a 10-mile stretch of a North Carolina highway named after him in 2002. (That was before President George W. Bush presented him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005.)

Another honor was having his character place No. 8 on TV Guide’s list of the “50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time” in 2004. (Bill Cosby’s Dr. Cliff Huxtable was No. 1.) But one honor that was denied him was an Emmy Award: surprisingly, he was nominated only once, for his role in the TV movie “Murder in Texas,” although Mr. Knotts won five Emmys as Deputy Fife on “The Andy Griffith Show” and Ms. Bavier won one as Andy’s aunt. The show itself was nominated three times but also never won.Andrew Samuel Griffith was born in Mount Airy on June 1, 1926, the only child of Carl Lee and Geneva Nann Nunn Griffith. His father was a foreman at a furniture factory. Mr. Griffith described his childhood as happy, but said he never forgot the pain he felt when someone called him “white trash.”

After seeing the trombonist Jack Teagarden in the 1941 film “Birth of the Blues,” he bought a trombone from Sears, Roebuck & Company with money he earned sweeping out the high school for $6 a month. He wheedled lessons out of a local pastor, who later recommended him to the University of North Carolina, where he won a music degree and married Barbara Edwards. He moved on from the trombone to singing, and for awhile aspired to be an opera singer.

After first aspiring to be a minister, he tried teaching music and phonetics at the high school in Goldsboro, N.C., but left after three frustrating years. “First day, I’d tell the class all I knew,” he told The Saturday Evening Post, “and there was nothin’ left to say for the rest o’ the semester.”

In spare moments Mr. Griffith and his wife put together an act in which he posed as a preacher, telling jokes about things like putting frogs in the baptismal water, and she danced. They played local civic clubs.

In 1953, speaking to a convention of the Standard Life Insurance Company in Greensboro, Mr. Griffith, in his preacher persona, told a comic first-person tale about attending a college football game and trying to figure out what was going on. Some 500 discs of his monologue were pressed under the title “What It Was, Was Football,” and it became a hit on local radio. Mr. Linke, then with Capitol Records, scurried to North Carolina to acquire the rights and to sign Mr. Griffith.

Mr. Linke began guiding Mr. Griffith’s career in television and nightclubs. His break came in 1955, when he was cast in the Broadway play “No Time for Sergeants” as a mountain yokel drafted into the Air Force, a role he had already played on television, on an episode of “Playhouse 90.” The New York Journal-American called him “an engaging and brilliant natural,” and the play was a hit, running for almost two years. He played the same role in the 1958 film version, with what Bosley Crowther of The Times admiringly called “staggering simplicity.”

In Mr. Griffith’s first movie, “A Face in the Crowd” (1957), he played a far more complicated role: a mentally unbalanced vagrant who is discovered playing the guitar in an Arkansas jail and becomes a beloved television star until he is undone by his dark side. Mr. Griffith told The Times Magazine that he was so consumed by the stormy character that it affected even his marriage.

“I’ll tell you the truth,” he said. “You play an egomaniac and paranoid all day and it’s hard to turn it off at bedtime. We went through a nightmare.”

In 1959, Mr. Griffith returned to Broadway in the musical comedy “Destry Rides Again,” in a role that had been played in films by Tom Mix, James Stewart, Joel McCrea and Audie Murphy. Though reviews were mixed, Newsday declared, “There isn’t a more likable personality around than Andy Griffith.”

The pilot of “The Andy Griffith Show” was actually an episode of “The Danny Thomas Show” in February 1960. Danny Williams (Mr. Thomas) is arrested by a sheriff for running through a stop sign while driving through Mayberry.

Danny Williams baits the rural sheriff, calling him “hayseed” and “Clem.”

“The name ain’t Clem, it’s Andy, Sheriff Andy Taylor!” Andy Griffith responds.

Sheldon Leonard, producer of Mr. Thomas’s show, intended “The Andy Griffith Show” to fit the image of its star. Mr. Griffith negotiated for 50 percent ownership, which enabled him to be a major player in the show’s development.

A critical element to the show’s success was casting Mr. Knotts as the inept but lovable sidekick. So was the simple but appealing formula: characters would confront a problem, then resolve it by exercising honesty or some other virtue.

When Mr. Knotts left the show in 1965, a year after Mr. Nabors, Mr. Griffith said he became “nervous” about its future. Some principal writers had also left, and critics and viewers perceived the later years of the show as lacking the sparkle of earlier scripts and more lovable stars. Ratings, however, never tottered.

In the 1968-69 season, Mr. Griffith produced a sequel, “Mayberry R.F.D.,” with Ken Berry starring as a widowed farmer and many of the regular characters returning. It ran three seasons.Mr. Griffith’s career stalled after he left the show. Despite signing a five-year deal with Universal Pictures, he said he was not offered roles he wanted to play. “I thought I was hot stuff and go right into the movies,” he said in an interview with The Virginian-Pilot in 2008. “If didn’t work out that way.”

He returned to television in the fall of 1970 with “The Headmaster,” but it lasted only until January. It was replaced by “The New Andy Griffith Show,” but that was not a success, either, and was off the air by the summer. Then came a slew of made-for-TV movies.

In 1984, he played a deceptively laid-back prosecutor in the miniseries “Fatal Vision,” impressing NBC enough to make him the star of a TV movie, “Diary of a Perfect Murder,” which served as the pilot for a new series. Mr. Griffith played an unassuming but cagey defense lawyer in that series, “Matlock,” which made its debut in 1986 and went on to have an even longer life than “The Andy Griffith Show,”, running until 1992 on NBC and for three more years on ABC.

Mr. Griffith continued to play occasional movie and television parts, and in 1996 recorded a gospel album, “I Love to Tell the Story: 25 Timeless Hymns” that went platinum and won a Grammy.

In the 2009 movie “Play the Game,” he played an 80-something widowed grandfather who lives in a nursing home and awkwardly jumps back into the singles game. He tries Viagra and experiences oral sex, and says the words “horny” and “erection.”

If that weren’t enough to dumbfound the old Mayberry fans, he made a commercial in 2010 extolling President Obama’s health care legislation. Republican politicians and conservative talk show hosts leapt on him mercilessly, while satirists like Jon Stewart of “The Daily Show” made boisterous fun of the brouhaha.

One thing that always bothered Mr. Griffith was people’s assumption that his depiction of Sheriff Taylor was him pretty much playing himself. He said he not only threw himself into creating a textured persona for the small-town lawman, but also helped write almost every episode — though he didn’t receive writing credit.

“You’re supposed to believe in the character,” Mr. Griffith said. “You’re not supposed to think, ‘Gee, Andy’s acting up a storm.’ ”

Inspiration Of A Troubled Life: Rodney King

I just want to take a moment to pay tribute to a father gone to soon. RIP, Rodney King

Rodney King, who gained national fame when his 1991 beating by Los Angeles police was caught on videotape, was reportedly shot late Wednesday night (Nov. 28, 2007).

King, 42, was wounded on a San Bernardino street corner before biking about 1 1/2 miles back to his home in neighboring Rialto to report the incident at 11:39 p.m., police said.

He had been shot two or three times with birdshot fired from a shotgun, police said. King, who was allegedly appeared drunk when police arrived at his home, was hit in the face, arms, back and torso. He was taken to a local hospital, but the wounds were not believed to be life-threatening.

No arrests were made, and other details of the shooting were sketchy. There was “speculation” that the shooting may have involved some kind of domestic dispute, but “we’re not sure about that yet,” San Bernardino police Lt. Scott Paterson said.

Beating Incident by LAPD

King, an African-American, gained national attention when amateur cameraman George Holliday captured video of four white Los Angeles police officers clubbing and kicking him. The incident followed a high-speed car chase on March 3, 1991.

The officers — Laurence Powell, Timothy Wind, Theodore Briseno, and Stacey Koon — were charged with criminal offenses, including assault with a deadly weapon. Their trial was originally set to be held in Los Angeles, but defense attorneys successfully argued that a fair trial in L.A. would be impossible because of the publicity.

The trial was moved to Simi Valley, a predominantly white suburb of L.A. The jury was comprised of ten white people, one Hispanic person, and one Asian person, and many people objected to the fact that there were no African Americans on the jury.

Acquittal and Resulting Riots

The officers’ acquittal in April 1992 triggered riots in South Central, Los Angeles. More than fifty people were killed and more than 2,000 were injured. 9,500 were arrested for rioting, looting, and arson.

The United States Department of Justice filed federal civil rights charges against the four officers, and in August of 1992 two of them were found guilty while the other two were acquitted.

King was eventually awarded $3.8 million in a civil trial for the injuries he sustained.

The riots and police response to it resulted in the resignation of Police Chief Darryl Gates, thought by many minorities to symbolize institutionalized racial intolerance. He was replaced by a black chief, Willie Williams, who introduced several changes suggested by an independent commission that investigated the riots.

Rodney Glen King, born April 2, 1965 in Fort Worth, Texas, has reportedly had several brushes with the law over the years.

Troubled Life and Death

After his beating by police officers in 1991, King continued to lead a troubled life, struggling with alcholism and having brushes with the law. In 2004, he pleaded guilty to driving under the influence of the drug PCP after he lost control of his SUV and slammed into a power pole in Rialto, California. In 2005, he was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence, and in 2007, police found him drunk with non-life threatening gunshot wounds also believed to be the result of a domestic dispute.

King shared his struggles as a reality TV star on shows such as VH1’s Celebrity Rehab and in his 2012 memoir The Riot Within: My Journey from Rebellion to Redemption.

Upon the 20th anniversary of the L.A. riots, King told CNN he had forgiven the officers who had beaten him, saying, “Yes, I have forgiven them because I have been forgiven so many times. My country’s been good to me, and I’ve done some things that wasn’t pleasant in my lifetime and I’ve been forgiven for that.”

In a final tragic twist, Rodney King’s life ended on June 17, 2012, found by his fiancee Cynthia Kelly at the bottom of a swimming pool in Rialto, California. There were no preliminary signs of foul play and he was pronounced dead at a local hospital, 20 years after the L.A. riots threw him into the center of the debate on race in America.

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