Tom Cruise, Scientology and Three Failed Marriages

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This blog started out as a biography about Mimi Rogers but as I read about her marriage to the thing that calls itself Tom Cruise, I became more interested in the effect Scientology can have on people. In this case I decided to research Tom Cruise’s failed marriages and their influence by Scientology. Rogers as it were, is more stunningly beautiful now than she was when she was younger. She has a very impressive career in film and television and is now a producer. Cool. I’m just as interested in her involvement in Scientology (which creeps me out) as I am in her film career.

Rogers has taken on several small roles and walk-ons in films and television shows. One of my absolute favourites was her role as a homicidal actress in Tales from the Crypt – Beauty Rest. Watch that one. It’s got beautiful women, Kathy Ireland, a 1980s supermodel, a beauty pageant and lots of cattiness. Awesome.

Wife Number One – Mimi Rogers
Rogers became involved with Scientology long before she met and married Cruise. Rogers’ father, Phil Spickler,  became involved in Dianetics in 1952 and would later become a prominent Mission Holder with the Church of Scientology and a friend of the Church’s founder, L. Ron Hubbard. Hubbard was a science fiction writer who built the premise of Scientology on the belief that a dictator of the “Galactic Confederacy” named Xenu who, 75 million years ago, brought billions of his people to Earth in a spacecraft, stacked them around volcanoes and killed them with hydrogen bombs. Riiight. Perhaps Xenu hung out with  Marshall Applewhite, the founder of Heaven’s Gate, To think that a woman as intelligent a Rogers would believe in this broo-haha boggles the mind. But I digress.

tomRogers became a trained auditor with the church. Prior to her acting career, she opened a “field auditing” practice, the Scientology Enhancement Center with her first husband, Jim Rogers. Later they divorced. She was a church auditor for Sonny Bono.  Cruise was also a client before Rogers directed towards a Celebrity Centre.

In an interview given to the Los Angeles Times in 1991, she stated “that philosophy was simply part of my upbringing. And, I think it was an excellent system of belief to grow up with because Scientology offers an extremely pragmatic method for taking spiritual concerns and breaking them down into everyday applications .” Regardless, Rogers left  Scientology.  She is described in media reports as a “former” member of the church.

Hubbard went into total seclusion in 1980, and the missions were targeted by a new cohort of leadership in the church, which included David Miscavige. Miscavige held an infamous meeting in 1982 which decimated the missions. Spickler left the church but he didn’t abandon his interest in Scientology. By church standards, that made him a “squirrel,” someone who practices Scientology outside of official channels. Seriously. A squirrel. Maybe they thought he was nuts. Haha.

Mimi’s father was declared a Suppressive Person after leaving the church in the early 1980s during a cull of Mission Holders. A SP in the Scientology perspective is a person with anti-social personalities. A statement on a Church of Scientology website describes this group as including notorious historic figures such as Adolf Hitler. Wow. Not the biggest compliment Spickler ever received I’m sure. Heil.

MimiRogersApr09It was through Scientology that Rogers and Cruise met. He became her second  of three husbands, she became his first of three wives. Rogers marriage to Cruise disintegrated after 3 years. It is rumoured that Scientology broke up the marriage but who knows how true that is. The story is quite interesting and it goes like this: Mimi wanted to get Cruise into Scientology training since she thought it would help him handle his philandering. “Tom was fucking everything that moved,” a friend said. “But they were all women. I know why the gay rumors started later, but it had nothing to do with who he was having sex with. He slept with women and he slept with a lot of them.”

If Rogers was hoping Scientology would help cure Cruise of his predilection to sleep around, Dave Miscavige was determined to encourage Cruise as a way to push Rogers away. “Miscavige was micromanaging the living hell out of it behind the scenes. Miscavige wanted to own Tom. He didn’t want Rogers to have any connection to him. Dave was maneuvering himself into being Tom’s opinion leader and best friend. He needed … to convince Tom that anything good that happened to him, you have to attribute to Dave.

But Cruise’s involvement in Scientology presented a dilemma (Houston, we have a problem). After Hubbard’s death, Scientology needed a new celebrity  to improve its image(I dare say that backfired on them). But Cruise had gotten into the Church through Rogers, who was connected to her “squirrel” father. It was one thing to use Cruise as a trophy but not so good if he promoted squirrels. Maybe he should have promoted chipmunks. The Church decided that the marriage would have to end. Nice church.

When Cruise began filming Days of Thunder he and Nicole Kidman began a sexual affair. When she realized what was going on, Rogers demanded that she and Cruise go through Scientology’s version of marriage counseling which is as warped as you’d expect. Two spouses have to sit down with an auditor, with each of them taking turns being quizzed. For hours, the spouses are asked “What have you done to your spouse?” and “What have you withheld from spouse?” Absolutely nothing positive in this so-called counselling. That’s a good way to strengthen a marriage.

After the counseling failed (what a surprise), a church member stepped in to tell Rogers that it was time for the marriage to end. Seriously. He visited her, carrying divorce papers, and with an attorney. Disgusted with how she was treated, Rogers quit the Church in 1990. She signed an agreement with Tom not to talk about the marriage with the press.  In an interview with Playboy in 1993, Rogers discussed her split from Cruise and likened her ex-husband to a “monk” when discussing intimacy issues. Rogers later retracted the comments and claimed she had been misinterpreted. I believe the signed agreement is the reason Rogers recanted her statement. To be fair, Rogers was 6 years Cruise’s senior and she looked much older. Cruise was very young and probably not ready to get married. That didn’t help them either.

Wife Number Two – Nicole Kidman
As you have read in the Rogers marriage, Kidman and Cruise became involved when Cruise was still married to Rogers. While Kidman and Cruise were filming on the set of Days of Thunder they began a sexual affair. Eventually the two married. A documentary kidentitled Alex Gibney’s Going Clear documented the breakup of Cruise and Kidman’s ten-year marriage. The film traced Cruise’s relationship with the Church, and claimed it intentionally broke up his marriage with Kidman because she was not a believer. It made Cruise feel paranoid about his relationship so much so that he ordered a tap on Kidman’s phone. Cruise was largely absent from the church during his nearly 10-year marriage to Kidman.

The break-up happened just when Kidman had conceived Cruise’s child, causing her to have a miscarriage.  As former members tell it, the trouble started after he fell in love with Kidman on the set of 1990’s Days of Thunder. Because her father was a psychiatrist (the church doesn’t believe in the profession), Kidman was seen as an enemy. Her father, like Roger’s, was a SP. In Scientology terms, she was labeled a P.T.S. (Potential Trouble Source).) Indeed she was. Cruise “drifted” from the church during the marriage. He was unreachable on the set of the couple’s joint thriller, 1999’s Eyes Wide Shut. Kidman discouraged Cruise from pursuing Scientology and for a decade, it worked.

Desperate to get the ambassador back, Miscaviage enacted a plan to “facilitate the break-up.” He sent officials to “audit” Cruise’s mental state and stir-up his paranoia. Soon after Cruise requested a wire-tap on Kidman’s phone because he was concerned that she was confiding in non-church members about their problems. Members also persuaded the couple’s kids, Isabella and Connor, to turn against Kidman to ensure that Cruise would get full custody of them. It worked.

Insofar as psychiatry is concerned, Scientology simply doesn’t allow for it. Cruise has stated “there is no such thing as a chemical imbalance,” (I beg to differ – he is a perfect example of it). In an interview with Matt Lauer he turned on him as he argued vehemently against psychiatry. “Here’s the problem. You don’t know the history of psychiatry. I do,” Cruise fumed. “You should be a little more responsible in knowing what it is because you communicate to people.”

Cruise as a spokesperson has been ambiguous at best, disastrous at worst. The documentary Going Clear includes footage of Cruise speaking to a congregation of brain-washed Scientology followers. The pertinent question that is asked is “why is Tom Cruise paid a thousand bucks to have invisible aliens pulled out of his body?” Kidman was bewildered when Cruise simply walked out refusing to go for marriage counselling (not in the Scientology church). So much for his second marriage.

arrives at the "Mad Money" premiere at Mann Village Theater on January 9, 2008 in Westwood, California.

arrives at the “Mad Money” premiere at Mann Village Theater on January 9, 2008 in Westwood, California.

Wife Number Three – Katie Holmes
This time Cruise’s wife left him. Holmes had to plan her escape for quite some time. For once, Cruise was the one who was blind-sided. It was Cruise’s turn to be shocked and devastated. Cruise had been prepared to fly to New York with Suri and Holmes and celebrate his birthday. Instead he flew to L.A. without his family, alone and unhappy.

Once again Scientology played a role in Cruise’s divorce. Holmes supposedly told a source that Cruise’s “fierce loyalty to his faith” was to blame for the marital breakup. At the start of the marriage, Holmes embraced the Scientology beliefs but over time she withdrew from their practices. She also feared that Suri would be pulled too deeply into the Church. They married in the Scientology faith. Cruise was very honest about his devotion to Scientology with Holmes so her rejection of the religion (or cult) was extreme and for Cruise unexpected.

Former members describe practices that range from weird to downright torturous. One woman recalled how she had to perform chores such as “rock-hauling” meaning hauling rocks out of a creek, when she was six years old. Another story detailed a man whose punishment for an indiscretion was to clean a bathroom floor with his tongue. Small wonder that Holmes removed Suri from the Church.

Cruise remains a die-hard Scientology devotee. Perhaps when he marries Wife Number Four she’ll be more submissive to his demands and he will make his Scientology-based marriage work or they’ll be facing a war of the worlds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Home Alone Since Retirement

Macaulay-Culkin-Home-Alone-the-good-son-my-girl-macaulay-culkin-31171548-675-1000McCauley Culkin was the cutest brat in Hollywood (along with Hayley Joel Osmond who is my next blog) until he a couple of years after he hit puberty. Then suddenly he disappeared (along with Hayley Joel Osmond who is my next blog). He was so cute. He was a scrawny little boy with a funny screech and some funny lines in Home Alone and Home Alone 2. Now he is a scrawny little man with red-rimmed eyes and a tired smirk.

Like his physical appearance, ever since childhood his career has been downhill for Culkin. He starred in the sappy sentimental film My Girl where he was stung to death by an angry swarm of bees. Seriously. He made a dismal appearance as Richie Rich in (what else)  Richie Rich and that gem earned him a Razzie Award for Worst Actor. He made the colossal mistake of appearing in the ballet, The Ballbreaker – oops – Nutcracker Prince onscreen. He must have needed the money.

Culkin attempted a horror movie, The Good Son, where he played a Bad Son and a psychopath. Reviews were awful. Surprise. His starring role as Richard Tyler earned him a second Razzie for Worst Actor. The film was described as “sad and dreary.” Culkin’s last silver screen performance was in Party Monster in 2003, seven years after he made Richie Rich. This “movie lacks insight and leaves us feeling sad and empty — sad for ourselves, not Alig — and maybe it had to be that way“.  An awful lot of sad and drearies for our friend Culkin.

macaulay-culkin-legt-kopf-zur-seiteThen he did something rather cool. He parodied Andy Warhol (whom I greatly admire) while eating a cheese pizza (Warhol filmed himself eating a hamburger). Alright so he was taunting the late Warhol – any way you reference my idol works for me. He made the video to promote his stupid cover band Pizza Underground, an ode to Velvet Underground. In 2014 Culkin stormed offstage when the band’s lacklustre performance caused the audience to boo and throw pints of beer at the stage. Well done,  Culkin. You de man.

His acting career tanked when he was 14 so he retired. Washed up at 14. Wow. Not a good sign for the future. Well what else could he do? His films just weren’t working out for him mostly because he chose inane scripts and is a terrible actor. His personal life isn’t much better. He divorced his wife Rachel Miner after 4 years of marriage, 2 of which they were separated.  He is estranged from his father. Somewhere along the way he got nailed for possession of marijuana.

His fashion sense has been described as eclectic. I call it awful. He wears stuff like fuzzy, pink animal ears, womens’ sunglasses and beaded necklaces. Yes that will improve the image.

rs_560x415-141109124141-1024_Macauley-Culkin-On-Stage_jl_110914One good thing, he began dating Mila Kunis right after his divorce and they maintained a relationship for 8 years. That’s 6 years longer than he lived with his wife. They also parted ways and Culkin has gotten involved with some babe named Jordan Lane Price from that silly soap opera All My Children since 2013. At least he has lots of money. That’s something, right?

And that’s what a washed-up child actor looks like in Hollywood.

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J K Simmons can Whiplash me anytime

Actually until Jonathan Kimble (J K) Simmons rocked the silver screen as the narrow-minded Terrence Fletcher in Whiplash I had no idea this incredible man existed (not being a Spiderman fan or a fan of the TV series where he has made his mark). Actually the Jonah Jameson JK_Simmons_2009character he portrayed had a touch of Fletcher in him. That might be why his name came up on the list to audition for Fletcher. The best scene in the Spiderman film showed Simmons’ character doing a hilarious attempt to imitate Spiderman, oblivious of the fact that his staff is watching.

Personally I loved Terence Fletcher and the fact that even though his dream for a Charlie Parker broke him in the end, he still had a streak of the Bastard in him that made his character so sexy. God help me I loved him.

Simmons appeared on a talk show (God only knows which one I can’t remember) and he discussed that iron body of his in the movie, explaining the director and he decided his physique would suit the character as a driven, self-disciplined, rigid man. Personally, I wanted the camera to stay on his posterior a lot longer but in the end (pun), we can’t all get what we want from a movie.

Seeing him on talk shows what a bit of a let down. He’s so adorably sugar sweet and complimentary of everyone around him – exactly the opposite of Fletcher. Of course, no one expects an actor to be the role in real life, but in my twisted mind Simmons is just a natural Fletcher and needs to be to keep that spellbinding presence. I love the fact that he is a family man and deeply appreciative of his wife and adorable kids. He certainly is no Fletcher towards them, thank God.

In fact there’s a scene in the movie when he is speaking to a little girl who has started taking piano lessons. He asks her if she will come and be in his band one day and is very warm with the child. (“When you’re grown up will you come and play in my band?”) That brief glimpse inside Fletcher’s mind just added another heart-stabbing dimension to his character, making him even more irresistible. To think! Fletcher has a human side.

J_K_-SimmonsSimmons was the only actor who could play that role. The many roles he played before it attested to that fact. He more than deserved the Oscar.  In his acceptance speech he was both grateful ad self-deprecating – something you don’t see very often. His wife, he mentions, has returned to directing and producing which is “awesome because it means more roles for me. Because I’m sleeping with the director….” Why can’t he sleep with me? I’ll give him a role or two.

God help me, I’m obsessed with the man. One of his most memorable roles was also one of his briefest. He played Osborne Cox in the closing scene of the hilariously brilliant Burn After Reading, starring so many celebrities it’s impossible to list them all here. Besides, Simmons is the only one who matters. His last, sarcastic line in the last scene of the film? Jesus f***ing Christ.

Simmons is always working on film now. Always. He actually began acting decades ago and spent twenty years working on Broadway before he ventured into film. Everyone wants him (including me but I cannot afford him, alas). At any rate, if J K Simmons is in a new film, I intend to see it. What’s pathetic enough about Simmons that I’d include him in this blog? Nothing. I’m pathetic. It’s my slavish devotion to Simmons that is utterly, utterly pathetic.

And I’m proud of it.

 

 

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Hoffman’s killer got a slap on the wrist courtesy of The F****ing Fixer

The morning I discovered 46-year-old  Phillip Seymour Hoffman was dead just about killed me, philip-seymour-hoffman-140828too. I loved the man. His talent was in his diversity – he could play so many different roles so convincingly it was small wonder that his name became box office gold. What I didn’t know, and probably millions of Hoffman fans, was that the man struggled with a 20-something year heroin addiction. Most likely he had several friends who knew of his drug use and tried to help him overcome it. Alas, it was not to be.

Heroin however wasn’t truly what killed him. It was laced heroin that his “friend” Robert Vineberg, sold him a batch of laced heroin without telling him. 73 bags to be precise.  Naturally he insisted he had no idea the stuff was laced. He ran out of the usual stuff he and Hoffman did together so he acquired it from an unknown source. Vineberg knew it was laced. Hoffman did not. Now Hoffman is dead. Vineberg faced 25 years in prison for the death of his late friend and deportation back to my own stomping ground, Canada. Not something to be proud of, to put it mildly.

Guess what he got? The s.o.b. copped a plea deal and walked away with rehab treatment, 25 days in jail and 5 year probation. Seriously. He even had the nerve to make the victory symbol to photographers the day he walked out of court.

dealerhoffmandeathVineberg is a jazz musician who plays  saxophone and keyboard with his blues band Adventures in Bluesland. The week after his release from court, he performed at B.B. King’s club.

It’s a celebratory occasion,” he smiled at photographers. Vineberg, scrubbed clean for his appearance at Manhattan Supreme Court looks like a sleazy agent, gap-toothed, grey-haired and wearing a boxy, outdated suit. He showed absolutely no remorse for his actions. Of course he added carefully and probably on the advice of counsel, “The worst part is I still lost a friend.”

Clearly, the creepy musician managed to retain serious legal representation in the form of bail bondsman Ira Judelson, who calls himself The Fixer. How could anyone buy Vineberg’s bull about not selling Hoffman the dope and believing that “they were close friends who would help keep each other clean.” No one will pay for the loss of a great actor and no doubt, decent human being with a loyal family and circle of devoted friends.

Vineberg had been sent to Rikers Island prison where he sat for two weeks, sleepless and sick while kicking his heroin habit. Meanwhile Judelson bragged “I’m like a legal loan sharticle-2626505-1DC83E3500000578-527_634x916ark.”

Judelson penned a memoir wherein he stated, If the client does a runner, the bondsman loses his fee and could be responsible for the full amount of the bail. The fee in New York is a 6-8-10 percent structure; the higher the bail the lower the percentage. ‘It’s like a blood oath, because if you f*** with me, you f*** with my living. You f*** with my family….‘I might be the only person keeping you from getting sucked up in the injustice system. I know who to touch for a favor to make sure your time inside goes easy, which judges might let you slide and which ones have zero tolerance….‘I have a direct line to white-shoe lawyers who’ll work pro bono… and I know the cops and the DAs who believe in second chances. So yeah…I guess I’m a macher. It’s my job to make things happen. It’s my job to get you out of jail’.

Apparently Judelson, whose cover picture looks like a caricature of a fat, middle-aged, grey-haired Mafioso in a grey, pin-striped suit that fails to hide his huge belly, and in spite of appearances, talks like a mincing ponce, doesn’t have a problem f***ing with Hoffman’s grieving family.

Vineberg’s victory is a mockery of Hoffman’s murder.

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Darling Donny Denied Dignity and a Childhood

Anyone who was young and hip in the 1970s remembers Donny Osmond. He was a sex symbol for teenage girls. Dark-haired, brown-eyed with a toothy grin and wholesome image, he drove pubescent girls insane. Donald Clark “Donny” Osmond today he is an American singer, actor, dancer, radio personality, and now a former teen idol. Osmond has also been a talk and game show host, record producer and author. Whew. That’s an exhausting list of credentials. In the 70s there wasn’t a teen girl around who wasn’t hopelessly in love. Including me. That pretty voice and sparkling smile melted me like the Witch in the Wizard of Oz, only hopefully that was a prettier sight.

donny_osmond-too_youngHowever in private, Osmond suffered many setbacks even during his most successful years. At six-years-old, he performed in Sweden and became homesick. He wanted to go home. Instead, he was performing three shows a day for massive audiences. Every day he was in a different town and setting up sound and light shows with his brothers. He wrote a letter that summed up his feelings: “I wanted to go back to my sandbox, I wanted to go see my buddy Scott Bramwell. I wanted that life again.” His father found the letter and there were harsh repercussions. There would be no going home ever again, at least not as an innocent, sheltered child.

At only 5 years old, adorable little Donny, along with his young brothers, made a debut on the Andy Williams show. America fell in love. Seven years along, gorgeous sister Marie and youngest and least attractive, chubby brother, Jimmy, joined the act. The family had a television series and became one of the biggest families (along with the Jackson Five) in pop. The Osmonds, like the Jacksons, capitalized on their clean-cut image and impressive talent.

In 1972 The Osmonds danced and sang their way into Britain’s heart. Osmond-mania replaced Beatle-mania. Massive numbers of young girls stampeded their private airplane on the runway. They had to be carried out, unconscious, from concerts and hosed off. It was Donny and his hit Puppy Love however that the girls truly lusted after. Osmond was only 13 when he sang Puppy Love live for the first time. The girls screamed so loudly that “it was unbearable and I forgot the rest of the words,” Osmond admitted. Any teen magazine where Osmond appeared was sold out within days. At that time, Britain was plagued with unemployment and shortages, Osmond was a miraculous money-maker. He even had the power to boost entire countries’ financial recessions.

look2One can’t help but make comparisons to the wholesome, squeaky image that launched Justin Bieber’s career. Bieber’s coiffed hair, pretty face, hairdo and high-pitched vocals directly channel Osmond’s 1970s image and appeal. It’s no accident of course. Agents work with whatever charisma a celebrity has to offer and recognize former trends that have proved successful.

donny-osmond-debra-glennIn spite of his incredible popularity, Osmond didn’t indulge in his groupies. His Mormon faith forbade pre-marital sex and Osmond honoured it. He took no one back to his hotel room. He was “a virgin when I married…I’m glad I withheld.” He finally wed his red-head, gorgeous 19-year-old student girlfriend, Debra Glenn. He made the right choice. Thirty-odd years later, they remain married and have five children.

Osmond claims his father was authoritative but he didn’t abuse his children in the manner of Joe Jackson with his sons and daughter, Janet. Like most children, Osmond had moments of resentment for his father. He didn’t like losing his childhood. He didn’t like following stringent orders, but then again, what teenager does?

In 1976, Marie and Donny got their own television show. “I’ve got some new for you. We’re going to have our own television show,” Marie told him on their apartment stairs. That was how he found out. The variety show was hugely popular, even though Osmond Osmonds_1971felt uncomfortable about leaving his brothers behind. Osmond also wasn’t permitted to sell any records. At the time he stated “Donny and Marie are doing all the work,” but later he appreciated how much work his brothers did behind the scenes. For his part, Osmond didn’t “receive a dime.” He didn’t know how he supported his family. If he needed food, it was there but the millions of dollars he and Marie pulled down went into the Osmond Partnership.

Eventually ratings dropped. They changed the format of the show. “And then everybody panicked.” Their silly cheese-ball act was right for the time. It included outlandish costumes and cartoonish show-time characters but over time, this appeal crashed and the show was canceled. One of the reasons was that the Osmond machine tried to keep Donny and Marie as teen idols and refused to allow them to grow up. It didn’t work.

4980434_f520After years of incredible success, suddenly Osmond was Over. He became an American joke. Girls became women. They didn’t shriek with adoration over him anymore. They shrieked with hilarity. He couldn’t even get a record deal. Even labels laughed at him. He was in an era when pristine behaviour was essential if one wishes to remain in the public eye. His reputation was solid: no sex scandals, no drugs, no rehab, none of the Lindsay Lohan pranks we expect in pathetic celebs today.  In fact, Osmond’s agent suggested that spreading false rumors about drug arrest charges might recharge his career. Osmond refused. He felt he could not reconcile how lying to create a nefarious drug image could be explained to his children, nieces and nephews.

At 24, Osmond tried “to conquerBroadway and failed miserably. He attempted to star in Little Johnny Jones and it opened and closed in the same night. “I still didn’t have an idea but everybody knew…everybody just kind of patronized me…I don’t think I’ve ever brought myself to read the reviews… They’re pretty bad.” Osmond responded by trying to not be Donny Osmond. Long-time friend Michael Jackson stated “your name is poison. You’ve got to change your name.” For a time, Osmond begged  people to work with him. Just as bad, his money evaporated. Graciously, Osmond won’t go into details about that incident except to admit that people embezzled from them.

Osmond went into small-time venues, including university gigs.  For years Osmond’s image haunted him. He couldn’t revive his career. In 1988 he made the attempt with a recording called Soldier of Love. In New York City it became the number one requested record. The radio station that played the song was too embarrassed to admit they were playing Donny Osmond’s single. They called him the Mystery Singer. When the station revealed who he was, the public went wild with enthusiasm. He was back.

Donny_Osmond_(OTRS)At 31, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat was offered to Osmond to appear on Broadway. On opening night Osmond recalled “the World Press being there.” He was terrified about its reception. This time, critics loved him. He remained on top in a six-year run when he suddenly developed stage fright. He had worked so hard to resurrect his career. What if it all came crashing down again? Finally, he walked offstage and went back to Utah for a time.

You know what rejection is all about…so having said that, I can’t look back with any regret.” His emotions belied his words as he wept during this part of his interview. Osmond actually stated that if he could have had an ordinary life without celebrity, he would have chosen it over fame. He believes everyone in his family would have done the same. His voice cracked when he stated he wanted “an easier life…an easier life.”

Isn’t that what everyone wants?

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Dashing Depp’s Dangerous Dilemma about his Diamond Dogs

There’s puppy love and then there’s Johnny Depp.  Johnny Depp, the icon of American cool, has suddenly turned weird about, of all things, two teacup dogs named Pistol and Boo. What? Of all the stressors and obstacles in a celebrity’s path over twenty-something years of fame, this is the straw that cracks the camel’s back? Really?

In this Sept. 4, 2015 photo, Amber Heard, left, and Johnny Depp pose for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film Black Mass during the 72nd edition of the Venice Film Festival in Venice, Italy. A court hearing dealing with allegations that Johnny Depp's wife, Amber Heard, illegally brought the couple's dogs to Australia has been adjourned until November. Heard was charged in July with two counts of illegally importing Pistol and Boo into Australia and one count of producing a false document. She could face up to 10 years in prison and heavy fines if convicted.(AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

In this Sept. 4, 2015 photo, Amber Heard, left, and Johnny Depp pose for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film Black Mass during the 72nd edition of the Venice Film Festival in Venice, Italy. A court hearing dealing with allegations that Johnny Depp’s wife, Amber Heard, illegally brought the couple’s dogs to Australia has been adjourned until November. Heard was charged in July with two counts of illegally importing Pistol and Boo into Australia and one count of producing a false document. She could face up to 10 years in prison and heavy fines if convicted.(AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

Perhaps it’s that a man will do anything when he’s in love. The dogs actually belong to his youthful wife (about half his age). Depp and Amber Heard are on the meat hook for bringing their two adorable pups into Australia without legal permits. Hey, it’s not like they can’t bring the dogs with them at all. They simply have to follow the law like every other schlepp, such as you and me. But Depp is no schlepp. At least, not in his mind. His ego seems to have eaten him alive (like feral dogs). He made a tongue-in-cheek threat to assault Agricultural Minister Barnaby Joyce if his wife is given a 10-year jail sentence so he could be jailed too. Doggone dogs.

Perhaps he is annoyed that celebrities don’t get preferential treatment over the rest of us. Naturally he is used to privileged treatment and if he doesn’t get it, he probably buys it. This time, however, Australia, which was founded on transported criminals keep in mind, dug in its heels and said “send the dogs home or we will put them down.” Depp however won’t take that one sitting down. In response he and his wife actually left the country and flew back to piraAmerica, delaying the filming of Pirates of the Caribbean. Seriously. If it ever gets made, they’ll have to rename it Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of Barnaby Joyce.

Look, I’m as big a Depp fan as anyone else. I watch most of his movies. I think he is a great character actor and was born for celebrity. He is ultra-cool and incredibly handsome. He is funny and entertaining on talk shows but what happened here? Is this a new Depp that we can expect to haunt the public stage from now on? Let’s hope not.

And I sincerely hope the Australian Minister has learned his lesson, which is he had better treat incredibly conceited and self-centered narcissists as if the world evolves around them, or else he can just send them to jail. To think, people are starving in Africa and this is worldwide news (perhaps we can find feed starving Africans a few dogs). Well, when all’s said and done, there is a bright side. At least the two celebs didn’t land in Korea.

 

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Abrupt Ending for the Icon of 50’s Rock

Okay there is nothing pathetic about the King of Rock and Roll as he is known, although arguably Little Richard deserves the title.  However, I digress. What’s pathetic was the wasted end of his extraordinary life and many opinions abound about what happened to the King at the time of his premature death at 42.

Looking Back
The last six months of Elvis’ life were something of a miracle in that he could even perform onstage without falling over. He lived on various prescription medications 24-7 and he drank heavily. Often he appeared in concert making embarrassing mistakes that he managed to cover up with his natural charm and good humour. Up to the end Elvis was able to laugh at himself. Perhaps that was why no one saw the end coming.

elvis_presley_By 41, Elvis was obese, his behavior had become more bizarre yet he remained one of the most popular celebrities in the world. In private, his entourage watched and worried as he became a nocturnal  creature who would rent an amusement park outside Memphis so he could ride  the roller coaster at night, then covered  hotel-room windows with aluminum foil to keep daylight out. His dependence on stimulants, sedatives and painkillers was legendary.

by 1974, Elvis was a sick man. And it seemed that none of the  people he gathered around him could do anything to stop him from slipping away. His stepmother Dee felt “suffocated” by Elvis’ father Vernon and she moved out, along with Linda Thompson, Elvis’ girlfriend, who packed her bags and left Graceland, as Priscilla had some years before. Everyone around him seemed to be abandoning him.

Cringeworthy Concert
Elvis performed at the 
University of Maryland on September 27th and his bloated face and body were so changed, that some of  the boys in the band didn’t recognize him. He stood up out of the limousine and fell to the ground, refusing to let anyone assist him to his feet. Onstage, he was a mess. Guitarist John Wilkinson was standing a few feet away from Elvis. “The  lights went down,” he recalled, “and Elvis came up the stairs. He was all
gut. He was slurring. He was so fucked up. It was obvious he was drugged, that there was something terribly wrong with his body. It was so bad, the  words to the songs were barely intelligible. He could barely get through the  introductions. We were in a state of shock. I remember crying. He cut the  show short, yet it seemed like it went on forever.

I watched him in his dressing room, just draped over a chair, unable to  move. So often I thought, ‘Boss, why don’t you just cancel  this tour and take a year off?’ I mentioned something once in a guarded  moment. He patted me on the back and said, ‘It’ll be alright. Don’t worry about it.'” He admitted he couldn’t take time off, “I owe too many people too much.”

Medical Concerns
gal_elvis_deathOn January 28, 1975, Elvis attended the 18th floor of Baptist Hospital. It was discovered that he suffered from an enlarged colon, and a
more serious problem that was never disclosed to the public, showed up in a liver biopsy. There was severe damage to his liver and the probable cause was drug abuse. The colon problem was caused by Elvis’ poor eating habits.  Elvis loved fried foods and sugar, and needed a complete and immediate change in diet if he was going to survive. Those are fighting words for most people but not for Elvis Presley. Perhaps it was his natural optimism that left him unconcerned for his health. Or it might have been that his life as a superstar made him feel immune to his medical issues. At either rate, Elvis’ poor eating habits and drug abuse continued unabated.

Winter Work
Elvis worked during the winter holidays for the first time in December 31 – January 1, 1975. I
t was  written into his contract that he was not available until after January 8th, his birthday. He agreed to perform on New Year’s Eve in the huge Silver Dome in
Pontiac, Michigan, which seated 80,000 people because he needed the money.
His bank accounts were empty, and he had  borrowed money against future earnings, using Graceland for collateral. The man was broke. Every way except economically, the show was a disaster. Elvis was confused when he stepped onstage. His sidemen and singers were below him on another level. He was surprised and angry. He didn’t want to sing alone. Then his pants ripped, splitting at the seams because of his extra poundage.

The temperature made it worse. It was so cold, the members of the band  were playing in their overcoats. “The trumpet players’ lips were so cold  they could barely blow their horns. It was so cold [that guitar] strings kept changing key.”There were many interesting and strange business developments in Elvis’ life at the time, too many to document here.

The End

Ginger Alden [his last girlfriend] said they continued  to make wedding plans, during the last week of his life, claiming that he was going to make an announcement at a concert in Memphis at the end of the tour. He read his Bible and his numbers book. He ate his cheeseburgers and took his pills. On August 14th, he started a fast, something he often did to lose weight quickly before going on tour. Oddly, he didn’t take any Ionamin, the  appetite suppressant he’d favored for so long. At 250 pounds, he was grossly overweight, however, and how much could he lose in two days? Ultimately it wasn’t his weight Elvis would lose; it was his life.

th542NDSJZDuring the last day, Elvis played a game of squash, then fell into a melancholy mood. He played piano and sang for Ginger and some friends, which lightened his mood. However overall his mood swings were “scary.” People around him had to try not to let Elvis’ moods affect them. During the evening Elvis remarked,”I’m going to make this the best tour ever.” By two or 2:30 a.m., Elvis had changed into a striped workout suit. Elvis retired to his bedroom about four a.m. Elvis developed considerable abdominal pain at this point, directly related to his enlarged colon. He told Ginger he was going to read in the bathroom.

Hours later, Ginger discovered him prone on the bathroom floor. He was inert. His mouth was shut tight; it wasn’t possible to attempt rescusitation.The autopsy would show he had as many ten different drugs in his body. Four of the drugs were in  “significant amounts.” These were codeine, ethinamate, methaqualone and unidentifiable barbiturates. He had taken a number of  Placidyl and Valium capsules, both tranquilizers, and unknown quantities of Demerol and Meperidine, both painkillers.

The last year and days of Elvis Presley’s life were among the most pitiful he’d ever lived. No doubt the man would have made more rock and roll hits and completed more successful tours had he been able to control his drug and eating habits. But the strain on his body was too much, even for an earthbound star. He was a music icon whose life ended in a manner the opposite of what one would expect of a living legend: not with a bang but a whimper.

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And the Grammy Doesn’t go to….

The 57th Annual GRAMMY Awards - ShowSome surprises and some not – so- surprising results from the Grammy Awards this year. There were a number of artists I would have bet money on winning and I am happy they did:

Sam Smith –  beautiful voice, haunting music. I love his comment when thanking his former lover for breaking his heart as it helped him to win 4 Grammys. Eat that, ex-lover. Smith certainly deserved Best New Artist. His performance during the evening was classy and memorable, unlike the following hag…

Madonna – when will someone tell her it’s over? Aren’t we all used to her opening her legs and showing us her 60-year-old privates by now? Is this talent? She’s not just crass, she’s boring and predictable. And the song she performed is one of the worst I have heard her produce in a long time. Notice that she had no nominations this year? ‘Twould seem the Academy agrees with me.

Bruno Mars –  “say whaaat?” where was this hottie? I love this man! His music, his moves, his face and body – sweet Lord, it’s getting warm in here.  He should have been Mark-Ronson-Bruno-Mars-Uptown-Funk-videonominated in every category with Sam Smith – and taken home a couple himself. At least strut your stuff across the stage, Bruno. That would have really sent the Grammys over the top this year. Bruno has been winning Grammys since 2011. The Academy needs to give its head a major slap. Well, Uptown still funks me up, no matter what the idiot Academy thinks about my boyfriend….

Eminem –  where was this Monster? Eminem ripped up the charts for several weeks this year yet he was nowhere to be seen. He did walk away with Best Rap/Sung Collaboration and, as usual, Best Rap Album, no surprise there. Didn’t the Academy ask him to perform that evening?  Rihanna showed up. That tells me the powers that be aren’t thinking this thing through.

Taylor Swift – too much of her. Too many nominations. Frozen was a good song. Her other stuff all sounds the same and is inane at best. Definitely a teeny-bopper’s entertainer.

Beyoncé I’m not a fan but she’s got a God-given voice and apparently puts on a great paper-magazineshow. She deserves all the awards she gets. Kanye West certainly thinks so. When will Kim Kardashian marry a new rapper? West might have been mocking himself when he interrupted Beck as he received the Album of the Year Grammy from none other than Prince. Who cares? What an embarrassing husband. Of course the Grammys wouldn’t be the Grammys anymore without West making an ass of himself. Mind you, Kardashian’s got a pretty big ass herself. I don’t know how she fit into or got out of her seat on Grammy night. Maybe the Academy designed a chair especially to accommodate her cheeks…

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Absolutely Absent Andrew Ridgely – the Silent Half of Wham!

Wham! was the foundation for George Michael’s incredible worldwide success as a musical artist. He happens to be a good-looking man, too. Although Michael became a household name in the 1980s, he is still rocking in the free world, and cranking out as many hits as ever. However, this blog isn’t about the immortal Michael. It’s about Andrew Ridgeley, the other guy in Wham!, 379817384_65b41e58cawho, after the band broke up, abruptly disappeared from the North American radar.

Ridgeley was neither the usual songwriter nor the lead singer of Wham!, although it is rumored he co-wrote at least one highly successful song on the band’s albums. A reasonably handsome guy, he played a mean saxophone and guitar. Wham! sold more than 25 million records in the 1980s. They were the only British act in the 1980s to achieve three No. 1 singles in both the UK and the US. (take that, Spice Girls – oh, wait – they were a confusing 1990s phenomenon). Manager Simon Napier-Bell, (a brilliant publicist), fabricated a story that Ridgeley was punched on the nose in a nightclub, to get more publicity for his clients. Eventually, he admitted that the bandages on Ridgeley’s face were from plastic surgery he had done on his nose. Well, the surgery is understandable. Ridgeley’s better half was a better-looking kid.

Wham! had two UK No. 1 singles in 1984 and were competing that year with pop rivals Duran Duran, an equally kick-ass British band, to be Britain’s biggest pop act. It’s hard to say who won. They were both stupendous. As far as longevity goes however, Duran Duran matured into a sophisticated band that went beyond their 1980s pop sound. A trio of members came and went, however, the band still tours Europe and are huge in the UK. Most of the original and current members are still married to their first wives. Cool. But I digress.

In 1986, Michael left Wham! to move into an entirely different genre of music and, _CET3505-Edit-2-Edit-Edit-1well, we know how that turned out. Ridgely moved to Monaco, and tried his hand at Formula Three racing. Seriously. Bit of a career change, that. Ridgeley had no success in that area and he moved to Los Angeles to try his hand at acting and well, we know how that turned out. Another no-go. Clearly, Ridgeley was not the talented half of Wham! By 1990, Ridgely got the message and he made a permanent move back to Britain, appearing before a crowd of one (his mother) at the airport. The Spice Girls, I believe, scared him out of North America.

CBS Records released a guitar and drum driven solo recording from Ridgeley, Son of Albert (better than Son of Sam), in 1990. His brother Paul, an occasional percussionist for Bananarama, (cool), played drums on the album. Singles included “Shake” and “Red Dress”. Shake“, which was the first single from his solo album, had moderate success, reaching No. 13 on the Australian charts and No. 58 in the UK charts. Well, that’s not so bad. But “Red Dress” didn’t make the charts at all. The introductory video demonstrates why it did not. At least he was in good shape for the video. And that’s what matters.

CBS nixed the option of a second album. Son of Albert was one of the worst received albums of 1990, achieving only half a star in a savage Rolling Stone magazine review. Quote: On the credibility scale, Andrew Ridgeley falls somewhere between LaToya Jackson and oblivion.  Ouch. Ridgeley later said: “It was disappointing and depressing to receive quite such a beating over that album.” And you thought I was mean. Since 1991, Ridgeley has generally shunned the limelight, but he did agree to give an interview on camera for a 2005 documentary A Different Story, about the life of George Michael. Ouch again. When a documentary producer contacts you to appear in a documentary about someone else, that’s gotta hurt. Ridgeley looks hot in it, however. He has aged gracefully. Kudos.

41BX3+FTpUL__SY470_Ridgeley still writes music under pseudonyms. He made £10 million from sales and royalties of records since 1990.  Although the single “Careless Whisper” was issued as a George Michael solo piece, it was credited as being co-written by Ridgeley. It has sold six million copies worldwide and, to date, is the 34th best-selling single of all time in the United Kingdom, having sold over 1.3 million copies. Ridgeley still benefits financially from receiving thousands of pounds per annum from his share of “Careless Whisper” royalties alone. Not too shabby for a vanishing act. That’s an issue that confuses me. If he  writes such great songs for other bands and singers, why not write them for himself? Meh. One of those weird music industry things, I guess.

KerenRidgeley did alright in the romantic arena too. He lives with attractive, former Bananarama member Keren Woodward, in Wadebridge, Cornwall. He’s also an environmental activist and is a member of a bizarre-sounding eco group, Surfers Against Sewage. Surf’s up in Cornwall? Who knew? Perhaps a come-back isn’t in the cards, nor is a solo career. But a musical history with one of the world’s most prominent pop musicians ain’t a bad achievement either.

 

 

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Anna Nicole Smith – the Obese Version of Marilyn Monroe

Anna-Nicole-Smith_The-Early-Years-Edit_HD_768x432-16x9Anna Nicole Smith (aka Vickie Lynn Hogan) was born November 28, 1967. Smith lived one of those rags to riches biographies – rather like her idol, Marilyn Monroe. Smith dropped out of high school at age 15 and was married three years later, in 1985. Monroe married at the age of 16 to avoid returning to an orphanage. Smith’s highly publicized second marriage to J. Howard Marshall resulted in speculation that she married the octogenarian mainly for his money, which she denied. She reportedly never lived with him, never made love with him, or kissed him on the mouth more than ten times. After his death, Smith claimed Marshall promised her half his estate if she married him but he never included her in his will. Ultimately, Smith died without a penny from Marshall. Monroe had the opportunity to wed a billionaire in his 50’s, but unlike Smith she had enough integrity to continue her career climb without marrying for money.

Alternatively, Smith could be stunningly beautiful, then ghoulish-looking. Smith came to public attention through Playboy, winning the 1993 Playmate of the Year.  The magazine made her an overnight modeling sensation, and she became known for wanting to be “the next Marilyn Monroe“. Monroe was the very first Playmate ever to grace the magazine’s centerfold except back in the day, the women were labeled Sweetheart of the Month. Unlike Smith, Monroe’s picture wasn’t what launched her to stardom. She was already filming Gentlemen Prefer Blondes when her nude calendar picture, photographed by Tom Kelly long before anyone knew who Monroe was, became a nationwide sensation. The picture nearly cost Monroe the role.

640px-Marilyn_Monroe_-_publicityFor a famous woman, Smith was one of the least original celebrities ever to walk the red carpet. Frankly, she was a joke. She spent her career imitating the most beautiful woman who ever lived, yet Smith completely lacked talent and had no significant film achievements, or film awards, to her name.  Smith never found recognition as an actress.Smith wanted serious roles but Hollywood studios were reluctant. No kidding. Her persona of a ditzy dumb blonde was compressed heavily in her few film roles, which marketed her physical assets. Monroe struggled with the same stereotype, but unlike Smith she had talent and, late in her career, was largely able to overcome the dumb blonde stigma.

As a been-there-done-that publicity stunt, Smith mimicked Monroe by wearing a copy of the star’s flyaway, white sundress and standing over a fake subway grate. Yawn. Smith was way too fat for the dress and for the Monroe wanna-be effort. In the early 2000s, Smith had very few acting roles although she was offered her own reality show. When it premiered on August 4, 2002, it had the highest cable rating ever issued for a reality show. Despite the popularity of the show amongst college students and pop culture fanatics, the show declined considerably in viewership at the end of its first season. It was, however, renewed for a second season, before being cancelled on June 1, 2003, after two seasons and twenty-seven episodes. Surprise.

When she accepted a contract with Guess, photographers decided Smith bore a striking resemblance not to Monroe, but to bombshell Jayne Mansfield and showcased her in several Mansfield-inspired photo sessions. A photograph of Smith was used by New York magazine on the cover of its August 22, 1994, issue titled White Trash Nation. In the photo she appears squatting in a short skirt with cowboy boots as she eats chips. In October 1994, her lawyer brought a $5 million lawsuit against the magazine, claiming unauthorized use of her photo, and that the article damaged her reputation. Frankly, I’m with New York magazine.

Smith’s weight see-sawed throughout her career. At her heaviest, Smith weighed in at a 61725_anna-nikol-smit_or_anna-nicole-smith_1600x1200_www-gdefon-ruhefty 225 lbs. That’s way too much Playmate. Monroe never weighed over 156 lbs and when she died she weighed 117lbs. However, during her postmortem autopsy, Smith was diagnosed as having a severe thyroid disease that caused a slow deterioration of the thyroid gland. This may have contributed to her weight gain, although this hasn’t been proven, especially since Smith’s weight dropped significantly when she secured a contract with TrimSpa. Smith took the job in an effort to earn money and, at that point in her life, hang onto whatever scraps were left of her career. In March 2005, at the first MTV Australia Video Music Awards in Sydney’s Luna Park, she drunkenly mimicked Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction by pulling down her dress to reveal both breasts, each covered with the MTV logo. Classy broad. Have you ever seen more ridiculous implants than these? Didn’t think so.

Probably the most pitiful video of Smith was the notorious and creepy clown video. Clearly under the influence of drugs, Smith, with her face disturbingly painted like a clown, carried on a weird, garbled conversation with the videographer, her boyfriend Howard Stern. It was an all-time low for the model and Marilyn wanna-be.

Smith died on February 8, 2007 in a Hollywood, Florida hotel room as a result of an overdose of prescription drugs. At first when I heard she died at the age of 39 I figured she was so pathetic a figure that, in an effort to imitate Monroe to the end, she even committed suicide before she left her 30’s. Monroe died at the age of 36. However, after watching an episode of Autopsy: The Last Hours Of , I gained a new perspective on her death.

  1. I don’t believe Smith died due to an intentional overdose, in spite of her depression over her son’s death as he lay in her bed at her side.
  2. She died due to a lethal and unintentional combination of prescription medication, including chloral hydrate, a favourite of Monroe’s and
  3. a very high fever

Anna_Nicole_Smith_164Smith had prescriptions for 18 different medications. She took many of them, often with alcohol, to deal with the physical pain of her huge breast implants which she got to imitate her idol. The implants stretched her breasts until her nipples split and the implants had to be removed. After she healed, Smith had them replaced. Eventually they infected again, and once more they were removed. This painful ritual continued for several months of Smiths life. The implants also caused her severe back pain and she became addicted to a number of painkillers to quell the agony. Just remove them already. After Smith’s death, Kim Waithera friend and assistant, pleaded with the press not to make Smith “into a joke.” It was a moot point. Smith had already made herself into a joke.

On the night she died, Smith refused to allow her entourage to call an ambulance even though she was perilously ill. Even in her weakened state, she worried the press would ridicule her again, accusing her of an intentional overdose when that wasn’t the case. However, in such a tenuous state of mind, her friends should have taken matters into their own hands and called an ambulance. Had they done so it is likely Smith would still be alive today.

Pathetic. But alive.

 

 

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