Posts Tagged ‘ dead ’

Just How Did Star Wars Brought People Back From The Dead?


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With Rogue One: A Star Wars Story having been in theatres for a few weeks now, one of the biggest talking points of the film has been the digital resurrection of the late Peter Cushing as Grand Moff Tarkin. While there were plenty of rumors prior to release about the character appearing in the film, the villain ended up having an unexpectedly sizeable role as a secondary antagonist.

Reactions to the use of Cushing’s skeletal visage have ranged from praise over the effects to derision over morality, though the team behind the film maintains that his involvement was imperative to the story, given Tarkin’s position as Commander of the Death Star in Episode IV. “If he’s not in the movie, we’re going to have to explain why he’s not in the movie,” said Lucasfilm story development executive Kiri Hart to the New York Times. “This is kind of his thing.”

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Industrial Light And Magic worked on Tarkin, with permission and input from Cushing’s estate. Actor Guy Henry portrayed the character on set, with his facial performance replaced by a digital recreation of Cushing in the film’s final cut. The team at ILM used archived daily footage from A New Hope to study and simulate the facial tics of Cushing. “When Peter Cushing makes an ‘aah’ sound, he doesn’t move his upper lip,” explained ILM chief creative officer John Knoll. “He only opens his jaw about halfway, and makes this square shape with his lower lip, that exposes his lower teeth.” Before these nuances in Cushing’s face were accounted for, the team felt like their creation resembled a relative of Cushing, and not the actor exactly. However, their first rule was that “realism trumped likeness.”

While ILM was certain they could pull off Tarkin as a fully-realized character in the film, there were back-up plans just in case, though it would have resulted in a significantly reduced on-screen presence for the character. “We did talk about Tarkin participating in conversations via hologram, or transferring that dialogue to other characters,” Knoll said.

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Some of the criticism stemming from the use of Cushing’s likeness in Rogue One was that it opened the door to using the digital appearances of deceased actors in other films. Knoll, however, said he doesn’t see that happening, with Rogue One acting as a special cirumstance. “I don’t imagine that happening,” Knoll said. “This was done for very solid and defendable story reasons. This is a character that is very important to telling this kind of story. It is extremely labor-intensive and expensive to do. I don’t imagine anybody engaging in this kind of thing in a casual manner. We’re not planning on doing this digital re-creation extensively from now on. It just made sense for this particular movie.”

 

via CBM.com

R.I.P. Tupac Shakur (June 16, 1971 – September 13, 1996)


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On September 13, 1996, Tupac Shakur tragically passed away after being shot in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas. At around 4:03 p.m., Tupac was declared dead after his body started hemorrhaging blood and doctors were unable to stop the internal bleeding. His mother, Afeni, ordered the doctors to stop after blood loss became too severe and ‘Pac was soon declared dead after living seven days in a medically-induced coma. The official cause of death was noted after an autopsy as respiratory failure and cardiopulmonary arrest in connection with multiple gunshot wounds. Shakur’s mother positively identified her son at the hospital after his death, the Clark County Coroner’s office certified the death certificate and, most disturbing, a photo from Shakur’s autopsy leaked out of the coroner’s office, showing the rapper laying with his upper chest sliced open and the first word of his “Thug Life” tattoo visible on his stomach. His remains were cremated at his mother’s request. During his brief life, Tupac was arguably the most revered and celebrated rapper to ever do it. In a career that stretched from his days as a background dancer for the Oakland-based hip-hop collective, Digital Underground, to acting in films and his celebrated run at Death Row Records, Tupac Shakur’s life and music touched the lives of millions of fans across the planet. Due to having one of the most extensive and exhaustive catalogs of music, Tupac has sold over 75 million records worldwide making him one of the most commercially successful musicians of all-time. His discography features some of hip-hop’s most enduring records including “California Love”, “I Get Around,” “Hail Mary,” “Dear Mama” and countless others. Stories that Shakur is still alive persist today, The details surrounding Tupac Shakur’s death have been recounted dozens of times in the nearly 18 years since the night he was shot in Las Vegas. Newspaper and magazine articles, books, documentaries and websites have recapped, analyzed, scrutinized and commodified the rapper and actor’s unsolved murder, ranging from sober accounts to wild-eyed conspiracy theories. There are even those who still hold onto the belief that Shakur is not really dead, with reports over the years having him living in Cuba, New Zealand, Tasmania or rural Pennsylvania.

Rest In Peace to Mr. Robin Williams.


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Oscar winner and comedian Robin Williams died this morning at 63. While his publicist wouldn’t confirm that his death was a suicide, a rep did issue this statement. “Robin Williams passed away this morning. He has been battling severe depression of late. This is a tragic and sudden loss. The family respectfully asks for their privacy as they grieve during this very difficult time.”

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Williams, who won an Oscar for his supporting role in Good Will Hunting, will reprise his role as Theodore Roosevelt in the third installment of Night at the Museum this December. He had recently signed on to reprise his beloved role as Mrs. Doubtfire in a sequel to be directed by Chris Columbus, and was last seen opposite Annette Bening in the indie film The Face of Love. His sitcom The Crazy Ones premiered on CBS last fall, but was not picked up for a second season.

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According to a press release issued by the Marin County Coronor’s office, the Sheriff’s office suspects the death to be “suicide due to asphyxia.” The 9-1-1 phone call came in just before noon today.

 

via Entertainment Weekly

The Passing Of Nelson Mandela. (via NY Times).


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Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first black president and an enduring icon of the struggle against racial oppression, died on Thursday, the government announced, leaving the nation without its moral center at a time of growing dissatisfaction with the country’s leaders.
“Our nation has lost its greatest son,” President Jacob Zuma said in a televised address on Thursday night, adding that Mr. Mandela had died at 8:50 p.m. local time. “His humility, his compassion and his humanity earned him our love.”  Mr Zuma called Mr. Mandela’s death “the moment of our greatest sorrow,” and said that South Africa’s thoughts were now with the former president’s family. “They have sacrificed much and endured much so that our people could be free,” he said.  Mr. Mandela spent 27 years in prison after being convicted of treason by the white minority government, only to forge a peaceful end to white rule by negotiating with his captors after his release in 1990. He led the African National Congress, long a banned liberation movement, to a resounding electoral victory in 1994, the first fully democratic election in the country’s history.

(Via New York Times.com)

R.I.P. Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini Passes At 51)


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James Gandolfini, best known for his role as an anxiety-ridden mob boss on HBO’s “The Sopranos,” died in Italy, possibly of a heart attack, an HBO spokeswoman and the actor’s managers said Wednesday. He was 51.  Gandolfini was on holiday in Rome, said Mara Mikialian, HBO’s vice president for program publicity.  The actor was scheduled to make an appearance at the Taormina Film Fest in Sicily this week, according to the festival.  Gandolfini won three Emmy Awards for his portrayal of Tony Soprano, the angst-ridden mob boss who visited a therapist and took Prozac while knocking off people. “The Sopranos” aired from 1999 to 2007.

My Sincerest Condolences To The People Of South Plainfield, NJ.


After re-cooping for a few days, I was looking for some new things to write about, and one of them came from a very real, very unfortunate source.  About 24 hours ago from the time of this post, I received word about a terrible tragedy in my home town.  In the photo below, emergency personnel work around the scene of a fatal fire in South Plainfield, N.J., Thursday, Feb. 23, 2012. A fast-burning fire destroyed half of the duplex home early Thursday, killing five members of a family and injuring four others, authorities said. Relatives and neighbors said the dead included several children.  My condolences and my heart goes out to family members of those who lost their lives in the fire.

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, N.J. (AP) — A fast-burning fire swept through half of a large duplex home early Thursday before firefighters could get inside to attempt a rescue, killing five members of a family, including four children, authorities said.  The cause of the fire was not immediately known. Officials said it was the deadliest on record for South Plainfield, about 30 miles southwest of New York City.  Relatives said the fifth victim was the children’s grandmother, though authorities said they were still working to identify the dead.

Authorities said four other family members were also injured, though only one of them remained hospitalized by midday.  Neighbor Isabel Scavino said her husband woke up about 3:15 a.m. to the sound of a screaming child. She said they heard what sounded like either gunshots or firecrackers as the fire tore through the house, a converted 19th century farmhouse.  Scavino said she saw a woman running from the home with a small child in her arms, and other children also fleeing.

“The fire just spread out, it was just crazy. It looked like it started on the first floor and then just spread up to the roof in about a minute,” she said.  The fire was largely confined to the half of the home that was destroyed.  Fire Chief Thomas Scalera said the first floor was engulfed in flames by the time firefighters arrived, making it difficult for them to quickly get access to the second story, where all the victims were found.

Ladders were quickly put up at the back and sides of the home to try to reach the top stories, but Scalera said the flames were too intense for firefighters to get inside to try to rescue anyone.  “They are very somber right now at the firehouse,” he said.  Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce Kaplan said police and the prosecutor’s office were investigating the cause of the fire.  Two volunteer firefighters received minor injuries when they were involved in a two-vehicle crash en route to the fire, Kaplan said.

R.I.P. Whitney Houston.


 

Whitney Houston, who ruled as pop music’s queen until her majestic voice and regal image were ravaged by drug use, erratic behavior and a tumultuous marriage to singer Bobby Brown, has died. She was 48.

Houston’s publicist, Kristen Foster, said Saturday that the singer had died, but the cause and the location of her death were unknown.

News of Houston’s death came on the eve of music’s biggest night – the Grammy Awards. It’s a showcase where she once reigned, and her death was sure to case a heavy pall on Sunday’s ceremony. Houston’s longtime mentor Clive Davis was to hold his annual concert and dinner Saturday; it was unclear if it was going to go forward.

At her peak, Houston the golden girl of the music industry. From the middle 1980s to the late 1990s, she was one of the world’s best-selling artists. She wowed audiences with effortless, powerful, and peerless vocals that were rooted in the black church but made palatable to the masses with a pop sheen.

Her success carried her beyond music to movies, where she starred in hits like “The Bodyguard” and “Waiting to Exhale.”

She had the he perfect voice, and the perfect image: a gorgeous singer who had sex appeal but was never overtly sexual, who maintained perfect poise.

She influenced a generation of younger singers, from Christina Aguilera to Mariah Carey, who when she first came out sounded so much like Houston that many thought it was Houston.

But by the end of her career, Houston became a stunning cautionary tale of the toll of drug use. Her album sales plummeted and the hits stopped coming; her once serene image was shattered by a wild demeanor and bizarre public appearances. She confessed to abusing cocaine, marijuana and pills, and her once pristine voice became raspy and hoarse, unable to hit the high notes as she had during her prime.

“The biggest devil is me. I’m either my best friend or my worst enemy,” Houston told ABC’s Diane Sawyer in an infamous 2002 interview with then-husband Brown by her side.

It was a tragic fall for a superstar who was one of the top-selling artists in pop music history, with more than 55 million records sold in the United States alone.

She seemed to be born into greatness. She was the daughter of gospel singer Cissy Houston, the cousin of 1960s pop diva Dionne Warwick and the goddaughter of Aretha Franklin.

Houston first started singing in the church as a child. In her teens, she sang backup for Chaka Khan, Jermaine Jackson and others, in addition to modeling. It was around that time when music mogul Clive Davis first heard Houston perform.

“The time that I first saw her singing in her mother’s act in a club … it was such a stunning impact,” Davis told “Good Morning America.”

“To hear this young girl breathe such fire into this song. I mean, it really sent the proverbial tingles up my spine,” he added.

Before long, the rest of the country would feel it, too. Houston made her album debut in 1985 with “Whitney Houston,” which sold millions and spawned hit after hit. “Saving All My Love for You” brought her her first Grammy, for best female pop vocal. “How Will I Know,” “You Give Good Love” and “The Greatest Love of All” also became hit singles.

Another multiplatinum album, “Whitney,” came out in 1987 and included hits like “Where Do Broken Hearts Go” and “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.”

The New York Times wrote that Houston “possesses one of her generation’s most powerful gospel-trained voices, but she eschews many of the churchier mannerisms of her forerunners. She uses ornamental gospel phrasing only sparingly, and instead of projecting an earthy, tearful vulnerability, communicates cool self-assurance and strength, building pop ballads to majestic, sustained peaks of intensity.”

Her decision not to follow the more soulful inflections of singers like Franklin drew criticism by some who saw her as playing down her black roots to go pop and reach white audiences. The criticism would become a constant refrain through much of her career. She was even booed during the “Soul Train Awards” in 1989.

“Sometimes it gets down to that, you know?” she told Katie Couric in 1996. “You’re not black enough for them. I don’t know. You’re not R&B enough. You’re very pop. The white audience has taken you away from them.”

Some saw her 1992 marriage to former New Edition member and soul crooner Bobby Brown as an attempt to refute those critics. It seemed to be an odd union; she was seen as pop’s pure princess while he had a bad-boy image, and already had children of his own. (The couple had a daughter, Bobbi Kristina, in 1993.) Over the years, he would be arrested several times, on charges ranging from DUI to failure to pay child support.

But Houston said their true personalities were not as far apart as people may have believed.

“When you love, you love. I mean, do you stop loving somebody because you have different images? You know, Bobby and I basically come from the same place,” she told Rolling Stone in 1993. “You see somebody, and you deal with their image, that’s their image. It’s part of them, it’s not the whole picture. I am not always in a sequined gown. I am nobody’s angel. I can get down and dirty. I can get raunchy.”

It would take several years, however, for the public to see that side of Houston. Her moving 1991 rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner” at the Super Bowl, amid the first Gulf War, set a new standard and once again reaffirmed her as America’s sweetheart.

In 1992, she became a star in the acting world with “The Bodyguard.” Despite mixed reviews, the story of a singer (Houston) guarded by a former Secret Service agent (Kevin Costner) was an international success.

It also gave her perhaps her most memorable hit: a searing, stunning rendition of Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You,” which sat atop the charts for weeks. It was Grammy’s record of the year and best female pop vocal, and the “Bodyguard” soundtrack was named album of the year.

She returned to the big screen in 1995-96 with “Waiting to Exhale” and “The Preacher’s Wife.” Both spawned soundtrack albums, and another hit studio album, “My Love Is Your Love,” in 1998, brought her a Grammy for best female R&B vocal for the cut “It’s Not Right But It’s Okay.”

But during these career and personal highs, Houston was using drugs. In an interview with Oprah Winfrey in 2010, she said by the time “The Preacher’s Wife” was released, “(doing drugs) was an everyday thing. … I would do my work, but after I did my work, for a whole year or two, it was every day. … I wasn’t happy by that point in time. I was losing myself.”

In the interview, Houston blamed her rocky marriage to Brown, which included a charge of domestic abuse against Brown in 1993. They divorced in 2007.

Houston would go to rehab twice before she would declare herself drug-free to Winfrey in 2010. But in the interim, there were missed concert dates, a stop at an airport due to drugs, and public meltdowns.

She was so startlingly thin during a 2001 Michael Jackson tribute concert that rumors spread she had died the next day. Her crude behavior and jittery appearance on Brown’s reality show, “Being Bobby Brown,” was an example of her sad decline. Her Sawyer interview, where she declared “crack is whack,” was often parodied. She dropped out of the spotlight for a few years.

Houston staged what seemed to be a successful comeback with the 2009 album “I Look To You.” The album debuted on the top of the charts, and would eventually go platinum.

Things soon fell apart. A concert to promote the album on “Good Morning America” went awry as Houston’s voice sounded ragged and off-key. She blamed an interview with Winfrey for straining her voice.

A world tour launched overseas, however, only confirmed suspicions that Houston had lost her treasured gift, as she failed to hit notes and left many fans unimpressed; some walked out. Canceled concert dates raised speculation that she may have been abusing drugs, but she denied those claims and said she was in great shape, blaming illness for cancellations.