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New York’s Ujamaa Black Theater is planning a special tribute show to honor the late Bernie Mac, who died of pneumonia last August at age 50.       

       The company has placed an ad in Back Stage – an entertainment-industry magazine with a special focus on casting – seeking black actors, singers, and comedians, as well as look-alikes for Mac, Isaac Hayes and James Brown, according to the New York Post.       

       In the meantime, fans of the comic can look forward to one more blast of Bernie in the movies with Disney’s “Old Dogs,” in which he co-stars with John Travolta and Robin Williams.       


EX-PORN STAR VAMPS IN ‘SOUL MEN’ November 18, 2008

Filed under: Entertainment — Ryann Hayman @ 11:09 am
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Old school adult film legend Vanessa Del Rio put a hurting on Bernie Mac while filming their hilarious sex scene for the wild, grown-up comedy Soul Men. 


      Fit and fierce at age 56, Del Rio retains all the fire that made her an X-rated superstar back in the pre-video, Boogie Nights era of porn (when dudes still watched “skin flicks” in movie theaters). 


      Soul Men co-star Samuel L. Jackson remembers Bernie pulling him aside on the set. 


      “He was like, ‘Man, she ’bout to kill me!’  I said, ‘What?’  ‘She’s jumping up and down and she’s just like buck wild over there!'” 


      Del Rio bursts out laughing when she’s told that story.  If she frightened Mac with her unbridled freakiness she didn’t realize it.  What she remembers most about her day on the Soul Men set is that Bernie Mac was a kind and considerate gentleman who spoke lovingly about his family and kept her laughing continuously. 


      “He was talking about his kids and about his dog and he just came across as such a wonderful, warm person,” Del Rio remembers. “We laughed a lot (and) I think laughter is very sexy!”


      Her playful attitude toward sex defined Vanessa Del Rio’s onscreen persona back in the 1970s and early ’80s.  She was renowned for having zero inhibitions on camera and for really enjoying her work.  Samuel L. Jackson dug Del Rio’s movies when he was in college because “she was the first porn star who acted like she really enjoyed sex!” Del Rio takes that as a huge compliment. 


      “We were truly having a good time because we were expressing ourselves,” she says. “It was the ’70s sexual revolution.  There was a lot of freedom then, a lot of free thinking .Back then (pornography) was something you did to have fun and to rebel.”


      Del Rio retired from hardcore work in 1986 but she never fully abandoned the adult entertainment industry.  Today she thrives on the Internet, personally managing a web site (www.vanessadelrio.com) where she performs naughty cam shows and hawks sexy merchandise including her memoir, a racy coffee table book with the deliberately ironic title, 50 Years of Slightly Slutty Behavior. 


      “That title is me being sort of tongue in cheek and coy … But by today’s standards I was just slightly slutty!” the pioneer pornista laughs.


      Three decades after storming the adult movie scene, Vanessa Del Rio is in Energizer bunny mode and she isn’t even thinking about slowing down — ever. 


      “I always said that when it’s my turn to go into a retirement home just give me my drugs, put me in a wheelchair and point me towards the men!” Del Rio declares with a saucy laugh.


Daughter: How Our Family Copes with Bernie Mac’s Death November 15, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ryann Hayman @ 4:20 pm
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Family was everything to comedic actor Bernie Mac, his daughter tells PEOPLE. 

Je’Niece Childress says she still feels her father’s presence at their family home in suburban Chicago home following his death four months ago from heart failure after multiple bouts with pneumonia. 

“That was his primary focus. Everything he did, he did with family in mind,” Childress tells PEOPLE of her father, whose last film Soul Menhits theaters on Friday. 

“If he got a new offer for a movie, he’d say, ‘I need to negotiate so I can take care of you and your mother.'” 

Recently divorced, Childress, 30, and her 2-year-old daughter Jasmine now live with her mother, Rhonda McCullough. 

“My mom and I were always close. Now we feel we’re all we have left,” she says. “We tend to tag team. When she’s having a moment, she’ll lean on me and when I’m having a moment, I lean on her … If I need to cry, she lets me go cry on her lap like I’m 2 years old again.” 

The women – who both now head up the Bernie Mac Foundation for Sarcoidosis – still feel the comedian’s presence at home. 

“When I turn a corner, I’m still thinking, ‘I’m going to see him,'” Childress says. “I’ve had moments where I’ve woken up and I’ve sworn I could feel him smacking me on the back of the leg. I’ll say, ‘That hurts. I told you to stop. You’re still so heavy-handed, even on the other side.'” 

Those moments are “very comforting,” she says. 

“He was my dad, my first guy I ever fell in love with, my protector. He was the one I laughed with,” she says. “It’s going to be very hard to live without that.”



Filed under: Entertainment — Ryann Hayman @ 11:53 am
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Samuel L. Jackson will reteam with his “Pulp Fiction” and “Jackie Brown” director Quentin Tarantino for the forthcoming WWII film “Inglorious Basterds” (Yes, ‘Basterds’ with an ‘e’), according to film blog The Playlist.


       The movie is a remake of the 1977 Italian movie about a group of American soldiers who are attacked by Germans while being escorted to military prison. The story follows five of the prisoners who managed to escape.       

       Jackson will reportedly serve as a narrator for the updated version, which is due in theaters next year. The blog site reports of Jackson being “present only in a few spots (beginning page 24), but [he] mostly pops up at random times in the script to add some context and background info.”      

      Jackson’s latest film is “Soul Men,” starring opposite the late Bernie Mac. The two play estranged members of a one-time R&B group that reunites to honor another bandmate who recently died.


Oprah’s Tina Turner dinner; ‘Big Momma’s House 3’; Mowry twin considers ‘Dancing’; Tyler Perry on ‘TV One on One October 22, 2008

Oprah Winfrey hosted a dinner for Tina Turner following her concert last week in Chicago. Tom Cruise showed up for the soiree at the Peninsula Hotel with his son Connor, according to the New York Post. Winfrey was reportedly excited that Turner introduced her to the concert crowd as “my best girlfriend.”


       *While conducting interviews for the new Bernie Mac/Samuel L. Jackson comedy “Soul Men,” producer David Friendly announced that he’s currently working on a third film in the “Big Momma’s House” franchise. Friendly said FOX is fast-tracking the project and hopes to have it in theatres for 2009. The first two films starred Martin Lawrence as a cop who goes undercover as an overweight grandmother.


       *E! Online spoke with former “Sister, Sister” costar Tamera Mowry about chances she would ever do a reality show. “I’ve been asked to do ‘Dancing With the Stars,’ and I’ve thought about the possibility, but I’m so afraid,” Mowry said. “It’s so terrifying to go out there and learn all those dances. My boyfriend, my boyfriend’s dad and my sister all tell me to go after it, but there’s no way you’re going to see me on there anytime soon, because it just scares me. I’ve heard it’s really hard on the body, and I think I would just cry all the time. Maybe in two or three years I would be willing to give it a try.”


       *TV One viewers can get a behind-the-scenes tour of Tyler Perry’s new studio as well as learn more about his childhood, his creative successes and his road to forgiveness when he talks with Cathy Hughes on “TV One on One,” Sunday, Oct. 26 at 10 p.m., repeating at 1 a.m. (all times ET).


“Soul Men” Drama September 24, 2008

Filed under: Entertainment — Ryann Hayman @ 4:06 pm
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The comedy “Soul Men,” co-starring Samuel L. Jackson and the late Bernie Mac, doesn’t premiere at the Apollo Theater for another month but already the legendary Sam Moore is complaining because of the parallels the movie draws to his life.

Sam and Bernie play an estranged R&B duo known as the Real Deal. In real life, Sam and Dave Prater, who died in  an auto accident in 1988, were considered the greatest of all soul duos. They performed together beginning in 1961 but split up several times. One of their biggest hits was the single “Soul Man.”

Although Sam, who makes his first appearance in 40 years at The Apollo on Monday, hasn’t seen the movie, that didn’t stop him from popping off to Rush & Molloy:

“In the movie, they have a reunion concert. Dave and I had a reunion in 1982 after not talking with each other for years.

“Sam Jackson and Bernie Mac sing ‘Hold On, I’m Coming.’ That’s also our song.”

In fact, Moore, who hasn’t seen the movie, says he has been told that Jackson and Mac listened to Sam and Dave’s original to get pumped up for the scene.

Moore says that Bob Weinstein’s Dimension Films “tried to buy me out” by offering him $1,000 for a walk-on role.

“A thousand dollars!” he exclaims. “Whoa. You know, slavery times have ended.”

Moore, 72, is vexed, too, by the free use of the N-word in the film. “Even when Dave and I were fighting and cursing, we never used that word,” he says. “It’s an insult to every one of us who fought in the civil rights movement.

“I don’t understand how this can happen,” says Moore, who’s going to consult lawyers. “It’s not right.”

“Soul Men” producer David Friendly insists, “Everything in the movie is completely made up. The characters are backup singers, unlike Sam and Dave, who were headliners. [Bob Weinstein’s brother] Harvey Weinstein suggested at a party that Sam might be in the movie. But Sam declined the offer. No money was ever discussed. Just because they sing one Sam and Dave song doesn’t make it a movie about them. I think it’s unfair of [Moore] to criticize a movie he hasn’t seen.”


THOUSANDS MOURN BERNIE MAC AT MEMORIAL: Ced the Entertainer said he’s still the hottest ticket in town August 18, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ryann Hayman @ 2:29 pm

More than 6,000 fans, friends, family members and famous colleagues of comedian Bernie Mac gathered at Chicago’s House of Hope megachurch Saturday to mourn his passing.


       With traffic outside of the South Side venue tied up for blocks, and vendors on hand selling memorial T-shirts for $10 a pop outside, fellow comedian Cedric the Entertainer cracked that Mac was “still the hottest ticket in town.”


        The service included the reading of condolence letters from children; from Democratic presidential candidate and Illinois senator Barack Obama; and from Mac’s hometown White Sox baseball team. Also, Mac’s comedy bits were played on large video screens with off-color words bleeped out, reports the Associated Press.


       Mayor Richard Daley said Mac had visited his office recently inquiring about ways to help curb violence in the city. 


       “He wanted to help get children away from a life of crime and violence,” Daley said during the service. “That’s why he’s the king of comedy. He never lost his soul in Chicago.”     


       Samuel L. Jackson, who co-stars with Mac in the upcoming movie “Soul Men,” spoke at the service, saying he knew Mac “was having some health issues, but he always said to me every morning that he was always good.”


       Jackson also said Mac always made time for his fans. “He never turned that kid down for an autograph,” Jackson said. “He always had time to shake a hand. He was always that kid from Chicago who wanted to make everybody happy and everybody laugh.”


       The music of Isaac Hayes, who died the day after Mac, and co-starred in “Soul Men,” played during the service.


       Cedric The Entertainer, Steve Harvey and D.L. Hughley, co-stars with Mac in the documentary “The Original Kings of Comedy,” took the stage together to remember their fellow comic.  Hughley told the crowd that he and others always looked forward to seeing Mac’s stage attire each night during the famed comedy tour. He said: “Bernie would wear colors that crayons hadn’t even thought of yet.”


       Mac died Aug. 9 at age 50 of what his publicist said were complications from pneumonia. He had been at Chicago’s Northwestern Memorial Hospital since the middle of July.