Saturday, June 23, 2012

Vanessa Morgan - TV



Vanessa Morgan
The Sexiest Vamp Babysitter On TV!

By Rych McCain international/Nationally Syndicated Entertainment Columnist












Vanessa Morgan (Photo by Sean Getti)
    The Disney Channel has produced a slew of cutie-pie looking youngsters who went on to become young adult stunners such as Miley Cyrus, Britney Spears, Hilary Duff, Vanessa Hudgens, Brenda song, Raven Symone and the list goes on. Soon to be added to that tradition is actress/singer Vanessa Morgan. 

     This young lady is fully equipped with the sexy, sultry looks, talent and persona that not only turn heads and catches attention but will have many suitors (both script wise professionally and relationship wise personally) hustling to get in line. 

Vanessa Morgan (Website Photo)
     Even though she is currently almost fully legal at age twenty, Morgan came up through the ranks at Disney and other outlets as a child actor breaking in the biz as an eight year-old with her film debut as the young Vanessa Williams in VH1’s TV movie “A Diva’s Christmas.” The Ottawa, Ontario, Canada native won the beauty title of Junior Miss America in 1999 and has starred on the international Family Channel TV series “The Latest Buzz.” Morgan has other credits including the Disney Channel TV movies “Harriet The Spy: Blog Wars” and “Geek Charming.” She currently has a recurring role Jenne, Cameron’s girl friend on Disney’s “A.N.T. Farm” TV series and stars as Sarah the half human vampire also on Disney’s “My Baby Sitter’s A Vampire” TV series.

Benny's spell book (Disney Channel Photo)



    
     Disney doing a vampire TV show? Was it shocking or surprising to Morgan to get such a role on The Disney Channel of all places? She chuckles, “It was a complete shock because Disney definitely doesn’t do anything like that. We never thought it was going to get picked up by Disney at all when we made it because that is really out of their comfort zone but I was auditioning for another Disney show and the head of Disney said ‘Oh, we just bought your show.’ So I was the first one to find out even before anyone else. I guess they liked how it was a bit riskier than how they usually go so they wanted to try it out. And kids love it because its not so protected and squeaky clean. It’s actually the humor that they really like.” 
  
    When asked about her character, Morgan says, “My character’s name is Sarah and she’s the vampire baby sitter. She’s very strong. She’s dealing with the fact that her ex-boyfriend was a vampire and turned her into one against her will. But she’s dealing with that because she wanted to have kids one day, be a normal high school student and now she’s realizing that’s not really going to happen anymore. She has to deal with school and then fighting vampires and all of these mystical creatures that she’s discovered are now in her town.”

Vanessa Morgan (Website Photo)

     As far as being a former beauty pageant queen, did that have any affect on making her career happen as most contestants claim to enter pageants as a career advancement? Morgan reflects, “I was really little and I saw these other little girls and I thought oh I get to show my talent, I’ll get to sing. I did the competition and you know how they do the hair and make-up and I didn’t even do my hair. I just had my afro curls and I put on blush, lip gloss and a little bit of mascara. I didn’t do any classes or anything. Then I won Miss Junior California and then Junior Miss America. For me it wasn’t about a career move I said oh, I get to show my talent and sing. I just kind of did it actually because I wanted to beat out the girls that took it so seriously with all of the make-up and stuff. I just strutted across the stage in my little afro and winked at the judges. I guess they liked it.”
 
     Off camera Morgan loves going for walks, dancing, being with friends and hanging out with her dogs. She also loves splitting her time between the States and Canada. How does she avoid the pitfalls of Hollywood being young and superfine? “Morgan blushes and laughs, “Just look out for people who have your best interest. In this industry you can meet a lot of fake, competitive, nasty people who don’t have your best interest. So you have to deal with that. Everyone will deal with a person like that on set or in their life. Hold to the right set and don’t allow yourself to be used and be confident in your talent.” 

     Hit her up at twitter.com@vanessamorgan, her website www.vanessamorgan.com and Facebook.


 © 2012 Rych McCain Media/Syndication tm 
(You DID Hear It From Me!)  
E-Mail: feedbackrych@sbcglobal.net

Friday, June 22, 2012

Steve Helmkamp - TV




Steve Helmkamp
Taking A Bite Out Of Life His Way!

By Rych McCain International/Nationally Syndicated Entertainment Columnist
  

Steve Helmkamp (M&H Photo)
  
    The average working person gets up every morning, five days a week, going to a boring dead end job that they hate. Most in that position accept it as their fate without challenge but there are the exceptions who ponder the question, what if I could take a break from work and the obligations of life?

      Los Angeles based actor and model Steven Helmkamp found himself face-to-face with an opportunity to make a separation from the ordinary via a new TV series. The new show is titled “Clean Break” and airs Wednesday nights 8 & 11 PM ET/PT as a web series and TV show on The Fuel-TV Network. The show features three men who are plucked from their mundane and monotonous lives and dropped into Hawaii’s most beautiful and remote locations to endure trying a physical, adrenaline-pumping and emotional series of challenges and adventures. The show’s motto says: “Sometimes you need to go outside to find out what’s inside.” The men are tutored and guided by veteran, champion watermen and their experiences made a visible and permanent impact on their attitudes and life.

Steve & Waterman Tamayo (Fuel TV Photo)
  
    Helmkamp, a Florida native, has spent his life loving the water but found himself in a rut with a job he couldn’t stand while being on call for acting gigs. Hoping to rekindle his motivation to find true happiness, Helmkamp reignited his love for adventure when the opportunity presented itself in the form of the TV show “Clean Break.”  He is an avid fitness devotee, and frequently takes advantage of California’s outdoor lifestyle by surfing, hiking, running, and biking. 

     After getting stuck as a medical sales rep between acting gigs which he hated, Helmkamp explains his jubilation when “Clean Break” came, saying “It was the perfect time and the perfect adventure for me at this stage of my life. Soon after I did the show, I was able to quit the medical sales job and since then a lot of other things have taken off for me in acting and entertainment and it’s been the best decision of my life.” 

     When he first found out about the show and what was involved, did he have reservations and trepidations about doing it? Helmkamp quips, “They told us it was going to be all extreme sports and there were going to be three guys. So when I got picked I immediately wanted to know who the other two guys were. I didn’t know if this was a competition, if the other two guys were world class athletes and they had mistaken me for one and I’d be going toe-to-toe with the other guys.”

Chase Penny, Steve Helmkamp, Luke Rodgers (Fuel TV Photo)
  
      Helmkamp voiced other concerns as well noting, “Also I was a little bit worried about the surfing aspect. I grew up surfing. I don’t surf every weekend but often and rip tides and currents can be really, really strong and you can get knocked in the head with your board and knock yourself out with huge waves that are out of your reach. Hawaii is known for that so that was definitely something to worry about. But once we got over there and I met the guys it wasn’t a competition at all. We really became like brothers and went through the whole thing together rather than against each other.” In fact, surfing experience was one of the requirements for landing the job.

     How did Helmkamp prepare physically for all of this? He laughs, “I’ve been an athlete all my life. I grew up playing soccer as a young kid, transitioned into basketball through high school and college but I’ve always been on hiking, bike riding and working out doing Crawford training so I really love staying up on my fitness game.” During the show, there was no preparation except to have a pro waterman take them out for escort and tips. As Helmkemp puts it, “We had a pro legend with us through almost every adventure that we did, but there was no preparation for it. Just saying your prayers at night was the only preparation I had.”


 © 2012 Rych McCain Media/Syndication tm  
(You DID Hear It From Me!) 
 E-Mail: feedbackrych@sbcglobal.net

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Coco Jones - TV/Movie




Coco Jones
Teen Star Rising And Real About It!

By Rych McCain International/Nationally Syndicated Entertainment Columnist


Watch the TV/Movie Premiere this Friday, June 15, 2012 on The Disney Channel at 8:PM ET/PT

Coco Jones (Disney Photo)
     She has the cutie-pie looks and personality that draws like a magnet and when one is in her presence, a sense of calm and maturity that precedes her fourteen years is noticeably evident. Coco Jones stars as Roxanne Andrews, a fast-rising recording star in the music-driven, original Disney Channel TV movie “Let It Shine.” She also recently signed an exclusive recording and publishing deal with Hollywood Records and is currently working on her debut album. In 2010, at age 12, Jones was a featured artist in season three of Radio Disney’s “N.B.T.” (Nest Big Thing), a popular musical talent showcase that puts the spotlight on aspiring young recording artists and provides them with the chance to showcase their music across national broadcast and online platforms. Jones guest starred and performed her single “Stand Up” in the Disney Channel’s series “So Random!” and headlined a series of Radio Disney concerts including performing at festivals, malls and theatres across the country. She has even sung the National Anthem twice in 2009 at NFL games. By the way, her dad is former NFL player Mike Jones.   

"Let It Shine" Soundtrack CD Hollywood Records
     Coming from an NFL family, did Jones experience the backlash that many children of famous parents get when they go for roles or positions in showbiz? Jones ponders the question and says, “I don’t think so. One, because my father had all the pulling in football when it came to anything about sports and what I was doing was completely different. And I think that was good though, because whenever I had to work for stuff and I got stuff harder and I tried to earn it more, that’s when I really appreciated it. So if he really did pull strings for me, which he didn’t have anyway of doing, I probably wouldn’t have appreciated it like I do now.” 

Coco Jones as Roxie (Disney Photo)
     When asked about her personal taste in real life vs. the outfits that she wore in “Let It Shine” and if she had any say-so in the clothing selection for the film, Jones giggles, “The outfits that my character wore were a little bit crazier than what I would wear. I’m not that much of a bright colored type of girl but my character really did have those really crazy outfits. But they were all really cute and I did have a say in which ones I wanted to wear and stuff like that but nothing was really bad which is what’s great about this movie. Nothing had anything provocative in it or anything that my mom wouldn’t want me to wear so it wasn’t bad at all.” 

Roxie Belts a gospel tune (Disney Photo)

     What type of message does a film like this and her character send to young girls in particular tweens who are fast becoming Jones’ fan base? She emphasizes, “Her message is really great for girls because she starts at the beginning of the movie as this not confident, people pleasing type of girl who does whatever her manager tells her to do and has no say in her own career. But she goes back to her home town and realizes that she can be whoever she wants to be and everything will work out in the end.”
Tyler J. Williams, Coco Jones & Trevor Jackson at Premiere



The cast had a blast on the red carpet at the “Let It Shine” Premiere which was held at The Director’s Guild of America on the famed Sunset Strip in Hollywood. Many of the Disney teen stars were out in support while the press with their still and video cameras were in a frenzied state shooting and firing questions. What was that evening like for Jones? She really lights up, “Oh my goodness, it was so much fun. It was really crazy. It is such a one-in-a-million thing and it only happens to certain kids. Everyone dreams of doing what we got to do that night. It was such an honor and I’m so grateful to say that I went to my own premiere for a movie that I’m in, it’s crazy, I really don’t know how to express it!”


© 2012 Rych McCain Media/Syndication tm
(You DID Hear It From Me!)
Email: feedbackrych@sbcglobal.net

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Bishop T. D. Jakes - 35th Anniversary




Bishop T.D. Jakes Honored In Dallas For 35 Years of Ministry! 

By Rych McCain International/Nationally Syndicated Entertainment Columnist
(All photos TDJ Ents and The Front Page Firm)

Bishop TD & Serita Jakes
   Last weekend world leaders, dignitaries and celebrities from around the world gathered in the vibrant Arts District near downtown Dallas Friday to attend an historic event honoring global humanitarian and faith-based entertainment mogul Bishop T.D. Jakes' 35 years of spiritual leadership and service. Aptly titled "A Triumphant Journey," the three-hour, black-tie celebration was hosted by director/writer/producer Tyler Perry and CNN anchor Soledad O'Brien at the state-of-the-art AT&T Winspear Opera House. The awe-inspiring evening was a surprise for Bishop Jakes and featured an unexpected appearance by entertainment icon Oprah Winfrey who congratulated him for being a "man of conviction and beacon of light."

Soledad O'Brien & Tyler Perry Co-Hosts
Gayle King & Oprah Winfrey
     Jakes’ wife Serita Jakes and daughter Sarah Henson orchestrated the event to keep it secret from Jakes, senior pastor of the 30,000 member Dallas-based church The Potter's House. He was being celebrated 35 years of dedicated service. Jakes’ accomplishments in ministry and entertainment, as well as his dedication to humanity and family, were applauded in front of a packed audience of family, friends, parishioners, dignitaries, celebrities and fans. Jakes who was visibly moved expressed his shock at the crowd of well-wishers, some of whom traveled far and wide to participate in the celebration and took the stage to receive a resounding standing ovation."I have been blown away," said Jakes. "I love God and I've always loved people. Your presence here tonight says you love me back. It's hard to overwhelm me, but you've done it this time!" 

Bebe Winans & Chaka Khan
     The night included a kaleidoscope of musical performances ranging from gospel and jazz to R&B, featuring Jordin Sparks, Ledisi, BeBe Winans, Pastor Shirley Caesar, Fred Hammond, Israel Houghton and Karen Clark Sheard. Gospel duo Mary Mary brought the crowd to its feet with their stirring rendition of "Yesterday," and pianist


Keiko Matsui flew in from Japan to perform with KEM, Kelly Price and Kirk Whalum. R&B diva Chaka Khan serenaded Bishop Jakes with a medley of her greatest hits.
DeVon Franklin & Meagan Good

     In addition, film stars Loretta Devine, Mike Epps, Derek Luke, Kimberly Elise, Meagan Good and Charles S. Dutton, as well as Christian leaders Dr. Bernice King, Pastor Paula White, Pastor Bill Hybels and Pastor Sam Rodriguez paid homage to Bishop Jakes for inspiring so many. Other notable guests on hand to celebrate Bishop Jakes' 35th anniversary include Angela Bassett, Courtney B. Vance, Gayle King, Glynn Turman, producer Debra Martin Chase, Sony executive DeVon Franklin, and Emmitt and Pat Smith.

L to R: Pastor Paula White, Emmitt Smith, Jakes, Pat Smith (Emmitt's wife) & Donna Richardson Joyner (Tom Joyner's wife)

     The Dallas Black Dance Theater praised Bishop Jakes' milestone anniversary with a stirring performance, and luminaries such as Dr. Phil McGraw, the Mandela family, philanthropist and former U.S. President Bill Clinton, cast members of the upcoming film "Sparkle," and others delivered moving video presentations. "My husband has committed his life to empowering others that they might have joy, love and hope in their lives. The event was an opportunity to salute him for the millions of lives he's touched, the hearts he's changed and the lives he's saved through his stirring messages," said Serita Jakes. "It was a blessing to honor him for 35 years of unwavering service."

(C) 2012 Rych McCain Media/Syndication tm 
(You DID Hear It From me!) 
 E-Mail: feedbackrych@sbcglobal.net

Monday, June 11, 2012

Jeanette Harris - Music




Jeanette Harris - Music

  Jeanette Harris
The Saxiest Lady In Music!

By Rych McCain International/Nationally Syndicated Entertainment Columnist

     The day of women musicians being a novelty has long been over. Female musicians on every instrument in the orchestra have actually been a reality over the last 700 years and more. The plethora of all girl bands, female lead guitarists, drummers, bassists, keyboardist and horn players are currently in full force in every genre of music. But as with all disciplines be it art, academics, sports or whatever, there are always those who stand out amongst their artistic peers.

      Saxophonist and flautist extraordinaire Jeanette Harris is one such musician. The Fresno, California native started with piano at age seven and took up the sax at age ten. Following graduation from high school, Harris matriculated to the famed Berklee College of Music in Boston where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Music Performance. Harris has toured throughout the U.S. playing major jazz festivals and was the featured saxophonist and flutist with the late Teena Marie’s band. She has two albums out “Reflections’ and “Saxified” on the J&M label and is currently working on her next CD which will feature Grammy Award® winning guitarist Norman Brown.
Jeanette Harris (Photo J&M Records)

     Now days many musicians of all genres including hip hop are complaining that they are restricted from creating and playing the type of music that they feel and want to make in order to satisfy the demands from record labels to make music that fit certain radio formats. Harris responds, “It’s the same in the jazz world. I think jazz is a good example. Sometimes artists aren’t able to express themselves the way they really want to. They have to follow that really strict format and a lot of the jazz stations have kind of gone down hill because of that. You have to of course please the audience, the radio listeners and people tuning in but they had it so one-wayish, especially for jazz, that it was getting watered down a little too much. So people who would typically listen to a jazz station would maybe turn to an R&B station because the listeners were getting bored with how much it was watered down.”

     This situation is actually not a concern with Harris who has her own independent label where she can do what she wants anyway. As she puts it, “In the jazz world, a lot of the stations have died down so I’m not going to create music for a station that don’t exit anymore. So I create music that I love and hope that other people will love it. So having that creative control is amazing and I can do what I want.”

     Do people still trip in 2012 when they see a female horn lead? Harris laughs, “People do trip especially when it is a more masculine instrument like a sax or a drum. As soon as I walk in the room people kind of look twice and they say let’s see what she can do. They figure you sound a particular way and I guess that’s where I’m unique because I’m very funky on the sax. I don’t follow what they may assume I sound like. It’s a prejudgment for females, you have to prove yourself.” When Harris composes what are the determining factors that she uses to select the type of horn she will use i.e., alto sax vs. soprano sax? She breaks it down, “I dominantly play the alto. I love that tone. A lot of people actually like the tenor because they say its closer to the human vocal voice but it all depends. I do work between alto and soprano. So some of the songs that are a little more sensual and sexy (I call it saxy – that’s my word for sexy now), I use a soprano because I feel I can get a little more intense with it and more sensual. And usually, if I’m trying to get real funky and just want to go for it, I play the alto. So those are the two main voices that I use when composing my music.”

     Harris praises her alma mater Berklee College of Music for having the complete musical program in terms of history, theory, musicianship and an encouraging atmosphere. She also has a line of perfume coming out with the new album and loves to play in intimate atmospheres where she can be close to the audience. Harris is endorsed by BARI Woodwinds and Unison Saxophones which she highly recommends for their sound and look. 


(C) 2012 Rych McCain Media/Syndication tm 
(You DID Hear It From Me!) 
E-Mail: feedbackrych@sbcglobal.net

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

George Lopez - TV



 George Lopez, Superstar of Comedy and TV Hosts New Fox-TV Series "TAKE ME OUT!"

Rych McCain, International/Nationally Syndicated Entertainment Columnist

     The flip gets switched on the search for love this summer, thanks to the provocative and unpredictable new dating show "TAKE ME OUT!" hosted by superstar of comedy and TV George Lopez. The series is based on the hugely successful international format, "TAKE ME OUT!" The romantic action is fast-paced, dynamic and hilarious where first impressions really do count. One lucky woman will have the chance to win the ultimate dream date with a potential new flame. The show airs on Thursdays, 8-9 PM ET/PT. Tune in and get hooked!

"TAKE ME OUT" Host George Lopez (A Fox-TV Photo)


Rych McCain Media/Syndication tm 
(You DID Hear it From Me!) 
E-Mail: feedbackrych@sbcglobal.net

Zendaya - TV



Zendaya
Teen Starlet “Shakes It Up”!

By Rych McCain, International/Nationally Syndicated Entertainment Columnist


Zendaya (Photo by Keith Munyan)

     She is a bundle of positive energy that comes packaged in a winning personality with multiple talents, adorable cutie-pie looks and a name that means “To give thanks” in the language of the South African Shona people. We’re talking about sixteen year old actress/dancer/singer Zendaya Coleman, professionally known as Zendaya. She is a cast regular playing the role of Raquel “Rocky” Blue on the #1 rated Disney Channel Show “Shake It Up” which is now in its second season. Zendaya has been in showbiz most of her life starting off at age six training with the California Shakespeare Theatre’s student conservatory program. Her mom was the Theatre’s house manager. This was followed with further training as a student at the Oakland School For The Arts and even more follow-up training at the CalShakes Conservatory Program and the American Conservatory Theatre. Between all of these schools Zendaya had lead roles in many stage plays.


     Zendaya’s professional career began as a child model for Macy’s, Mervyns, Old Navy and others. From there she transitioned into dancing where she became a member of the Oakland dance troop “Future Shock” as well as hula dancing for AHA (Academy of Hawaiian Arts). She did an iCarly Toys ad and was a back up dancer to fellow Disney star Selena Gomez for a Sears commercial. Then came her big break i.e., the role of Raquel “Rocky” Blue on “Shake It Up.”  Zendaya’s name and physical bi-racial looks (Black dad & Dutch Mom) is something she has had to deal with all of her life but she is positively upbeat about it saying, “Most definitely, I have gotten that since I was very little. I have a racially ambiguous look and on top of that my name is really interesting. Nobody’s has ever heard it before. They don’t know how to say it or they ask me where it comes from. I mean its cool finding that people are interested in who I am.” 


     How does Zendaya relate to her on-camera character  “Rocky”? She smiles and quips, “She’s the shy quite one who’s always trying to look out for her friends. She’ll always be there for them no matter what because she’s the sharp one. Yeah, she’s just a great person and I’m a lot like her in real life and I love playing her character.” Since this is a dance orientated show and she is a principal dancer is her role very physically demanding? Zendaya comes back, “You know what, being on the show period is physically demanding just because it’s a dance show. And so we’re always dancing and always moving around having fun so you know of course, naturally I’m just going to get sore from that. Also there is a lot of physical comedy involved in our show because it is a comedy. So we have so many physical comedy bits in our show and its fun. I like it. I don’t really mind the soreness out there.”


     A television sitcom usually takes one week per episode with each day doing something different until it is taped. What is Zendaya’s favorite part of the entire production process? She lights up, “My favorite part of the process is definitely “2-a-days” which is our live taping days because we get to meet our fans. We get to have a live audience and that kind of brings me back to the stage which is where I started in theatre. It’s a nice home ground to be able to feed off the audience’s energy.” How does Zendaya stay grounded in such a crazy business with the negative peer pressure and all that comes with it? She humbly says, “I surround myself with positive people that really know who I am and has always been around me, no matter what and has been with me forever. So I surround myself with people I know love me and care for me weather I have the show or not. Those are the people that are always going to be there.”

Rych McCain Media/Syndication tm 
(You DID Hear It From Me!) 
E-Mail: feedbackrych@sbcglobal.net

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Nicole Lyons - Sports - TV


     Nicole Lyons, One Of The Sexiest Women In Pro Sports, Hits Milestone Top Ten Ranking In The NHRA

Rych McCain, International/Nationally Syndicated Entertainment Columnist 

NHRA Top Sportsman Div 2 Top Ten Ranked Nicole Lyons
 
Nicole Lyons (NL Website Photo)
      Nicole Lyons, female NHRA Race Car Driver, is midway into the coveted 2012 NHRA Top Sportsman Division 2 series and is ranked in the top ten. Lyons gained 30 points in her Norwalk, Ohio race last month, putting her currently in the number ten slot out of 28 racers per the NHRA website. This roadster plans to race in her home division on June 22-23, 2012 at the Atlanta Dragway with the hopes to gain momentum to the top position of the series.
“I am so happy to be ranked in the Top Ten midway into the season, especially after missing two events due to our new engine being built. Having the crank shaft break in my old engine during a test session in South Carolina was a bit of a set back but it really speaks volumes for our team being able to bounce back. I believe after our next NHRA race in June, we can bump our way into the Top 5 and then go after the 2012 championship. If any team can do it, it’s our team,” Lyons states.


Nicole Lyons (NL Website Photo)
     Recently, Lyons has added Royal Purple and Steve Schmidt Racing Engines to her list of sponsors for this season. Lyons is the only woman currently racing NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series Top Sportsman Division 2 and the only African American woman to have raced NHRA Top Sportsman.
“I’m thankful to have Royal Purple and Steve Schmidt in my corner and their products has excellent performance,” Lyons comments.

     Nicole Lyons, 5’6” exotic beauty, Is not only the first female but also the first African American female to be a part of the National Hot Rod Association since 2005; it was her previous record-breaking performance that gained her the membership of NHRA. Lyons is one of the few drag racers that has the ability to build and design her own engines. Lyons is also known for her stunning role on SPEED Network’s “Car Warriors”. Nicole Lyons has already been featured on several news outlets including NBC Nightly News w/ Brian Williams, FOX, CBS, Tyra Banks, Drag Illustrated Magazine, RIDES Magazine, G4TV, and many more. She is what critics are calling “The Jackie Robinson of Drag Racing.”

Rych McCain Media/Syndication tm
(You DID Hear It From Me!)
 E-Mail: feedbackrych@sbcglobal.net

Monday, June 4, 2012

Shirley MacLaine - Movie



Shirley MacLaine
 The Acting Brilliance Continues!

 By Rych McCain, International/Nationally Syndicated Entertainment Columnist

Shirley MacLaine (Photo: Millennium Films)
     To the older generation of movie fans, she is a highly respected icon in show business. For the younger fans and fellow actors, she is one of the most respected models of how the game is played. Shirley MacLaine has the kind of track record and laurels that few actors achieve in a career. She has excelled on every level doing it all i.e., stage, film, TV and writing best selling books. MacLaine has been nominated five times for an Academy Award® and hit pay dirt snagging the “Best Actress Oscar® in 1983 for “Terms of Endearment.” With her latest role, MacLaine brilliantly portrays the real life, late 81 year-old, millionaire widower Marjorie Nugent in the movie “Bernie.” 
 
     “Bernie” is a film based on the true story of assistant funeral director Bernie Tiede in the small town of Carthage, Texas. Tiede befriended Nugent and became so close to her that he managed all of her business and banking affairs which included them taking expensive trips around the world together. Nugent’s late husband was the town’s most successful banker and left her a fortune after he died. However, Nugent was the most hated woman in town. Her own family refused to communicate with her so Tiede was all she had. Eventually, Nugent’s strangled hold, increasing demands on Tiede to wait on her hand and foot 24/7 overwhelmed him to the point that his dark side came out and he shot her in the back four times killing her in 1996. After Nugent went missing for several months, the police found her body in a freezer in her garage. Tiede who was homosexual confessed to the murder in 1997. He was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

     When asked about what she had heard about the real life Marjorie Nugent before playing her MacLaine states flatly, “I just heard from whomever I met during the filming, they truly hated her. Everybody thought she was the biggest bitch on the planet and were frankly so glad she went. Which is all the stuff that makes comedy for me. This included her nephew and sister. You would think the closer you got to the deceased it would get better but it got worst.” MacLaine paused then added a quick verbal jab, “Maybe because they were talking to me they weren’t sure she was dead.”  Did Marjorie know what Bernie was up to all along in terms of getting on her good side to tap her money? MacLaine analyzed with her opinion, “I think she did. I think she knew it and accepted it. Being so hated gives you some kind of a sophisticated outlook on human behavior and I think she knew he would do anything to be loved. But she had never felt that kind of emotion. Nobody had ever put it out like that to her. So I think she understood, accepted it and it puts her in control if she is financing it. So they went around the world having a good time long as he stayed within her clutches."

Shirley MacLaine & Jack Black (Millennium Films Photo)
     MacLaine also stresses, “To me it was as much about money than anything else and I think because she was financing him she felt she also owned every single sentence and hour of his time. And frankly, anybody would have killed her if she had acted like that and it didn’t have to be just him. But when you have that combined with a person who needs to be loved more and adored and celebrated as the adored one more than anything else, it’s a perfect combination for friendship.” What was her experience working opposite funnyman, master actor Jack Black? MacLaine lights up, “First, I loved getting up at 5 in the morning which I hate, to go and know I was going to speak and be with him all day. I think he should get a nomination, I really do. I thought he was going to be chew up the scenery and be all of that stuff no, he can really act. So I thought to myself hum, this is going to be interesting all day long to work with this guy who is really a mini genius.” When asked about why she chooses the roles of difficult women, MacLaine laughs, “I just love to be impossible.”

Rych McCain Media/Syndication tm 
(You DID Hear It From Me!)
 E-Mail: feedbackrych@sbcglobal.net