ELVIS DRUMMER DJ FONTANA DIES
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — The drummer who helped launch rock ‘n’ roll as Elvis Presley’s sideman has died. D.J. Fontana was 87. He was the last surviving member of Presley’s original core of musicians. Fontana rose from strip joints in his native Shreveport, Louisiana to the heights of musical history as Presley’s first and longtime drummer. They met on the Louisiana Hayride, an influential radio and TV country music program based in Shreveport, when Presley was 19. Fontana was influenced by Buddy Rich, Gene Krupa and other big band drummers and was admired by Levon Helm, Ringo Starr, Max Weinberg and many others. He is a member of the Rock Hall of Fame. Karen Fontana tells The Associated Press that her husband died in his sleep in Nashville Wednesday night. She says he had been suffering complications from breaking his hip in 2016.
ADELE JOINS MEMORIAL FOR LONDON FIRE VICTIMS
LONDON (AP) — Singer Adele and grime musician Stormzy have joined emotional memorial services on the anniversary of London’s Grenfell Tower fire. The stars joined Londoners near the base of the tower, where survivors, relatives and neighbors laid wreaths and a gospel choir sang “Lean on Me.” Seventy-three white doves were released into the sky — one for each victim and one for any unknown victims. Fire ravaged the 25-story building on June 14, 2017, killing 72 people.
SUICIDE REPORTING UNDER SCRUTINY AFTER SPADE, BOURDAIN DEATHS
NEW YORK (AP) — Journalists are trained to ferret out news — and report it. But in the wake of two celebrity suicides last week, members of the news media are being advised not to tell everything they might know. News organizations, like The Associated Press, have set out guidelines telling reporters to go easy on details like how a person killed themselves or the contents of a suicide note, if there was one. Experts in suicide prevention say such details can be dangerous. For example Kelly McBride, media ethicist for the Poynter Institute, notes there was a reported increase in the number of suicides using the same method comedian Robin Williams did in August 2014.
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FRANCES McDORMAND - WOMEN IN FILM AWARDS
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — Remember when Frances McDormand ended her Oscars speech with the words “inclusion rider?” When she attended the Women In Film Crystal + Lucy Awards last night, she didn’t say that again — at least not out loud. She wore a red bumper sticker on her backside with the phrase, instead. She wasn’t the only one talking equality. Fellow actress Brie Larson spoke about the lack of diversity among movie critics. A USC study this week says film critics are almost 80 percent male and mostly white.
COURT REJECTS TRUMP BID TO DELAY DEFAMATION SUIT
NEW YORK (AP) — New York’s highest court has turned down President Donald Trump’s latest bid to delay a defamation suit filed by a former contestant on “The Apprentice” who accused him of unwanted groping and kissing. Trump wanted Summer Zervos says Trump made unwanted advances in 2007, then defamed her by saying she lied. Trump wanted the lawsuit frozen while a lower appellate court weighs his request to dismiss it or postpone it until after his presidency. Zervos’ lawyer, Mariann Wang (WAHNG), says she looks forward to proceeding with the case “and exposing the truth.” Trump’s lawyers say the ruling by the state Court of Appeals doesn’t decide their main argument: That a sitting president can’t be sued in a state court.
CELEBRITIES BACK RELEASE OF TENN. WOMAN SERVING LIFE SENTENCE
CINCINNATI (AP) — A woman serving a life sentence for killing a man as a teenager is getting some celebrity support in her effort to be freed. Kim Kardashian West and Rihanna are among those who have gone on social media to demand that Cyntoia Brown’s sentence be thrown out. Her attorneys say she lacked the mental state to be considered guilty of the 2004 killing. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled against giving juveniles life without parole. Tennessee officials counter that Brown does have a shot at parole — after 51 years.
Meanwhile, Kardashian West has met with the woman she helped persuade President Donald Trump to free from federal prison, Alice Marie Johnson. The two women appeared together in an interview aired on NBC’s “Today” show after they met face to face for the first time in Mississippi. Now that Trump has commuted Johnson’s life sentence for drug offenses, she says she will work to help others who are still behind bars.
REBEL WILSON DEFAMATION AWARD SLASHED
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Rebel Wilson has seen her award in a defamation lawsuit cut way back by an appeals court. She won her case against a German media company and was awarded $3.5 million. But an appeals court cut the damage award to $454,000. Wilson, who starred in the “Pitch Perfect” movies and in “Bridesmaids,” sued Bauer Media for claiming in 2015 that she lied about things like her age, the origin of her first name and her life as a kid in Sydney.
JOHN SCHNEIDER ARRESTED IN ALIMONY DISPUTE
LOS ANGELES (AP) — He says he’s unable to pay alimony. Now “Dukes of Hazard” star John Schneider is paying the price. He was arrested in the alimony beef — and sentenced to three days in jail. He didn’t have to serve it all; he was freed early because of jail overcrowding. Schneider tells Fox News he can’t afford to pay his ex, Elvira, who filed for divorce in 2014 after 21 years of marriage. But he’s still on the hook for the alimony and for a community service stint. Schneider says he’s “disheartened” with the legal system because of this.
FARRAH ABRAHAM ARRESTED IN BEVERLY HILLS
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — Police in Beverly Hills, California say ex-reality TV star Farrah Abraham appeared drunk when she was arrested early yesterday morning. She was busted for attacking a security guard at the Beverly Hills Hotel. Authorities say Abraham was asked to leave because she wouldn’t stop shouting at other guests inside the hotel’s restaurant. A guard says she hit him in the face, grabbed his ear and pushed at him, leaving him with minor injuries. A publicist for Abraham says it’s all a misunderstanding.
MICHAEL JACKSON STREET NAMING SCRUBBED
DETROIT (AP) — A Detroit official says the city still plans to do something for the Jackson 5. Just not this weekend. The Detroit Free Press reports Michael Jackson’s surviving singing brothers thought they’d be honored tomorrow by having a street named after them. But the honor was meant for just Michael, not the whole group. Now the ceremony has been canceled. Meanwhile, Jackie, Tito, Jermaine and Marlon are still slated to perform during the Detroit Music Weekend.
STRUGGLE OVER STAN LEE ESTATE
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Does the creator of heroes like Spider-Man and Iron Man need a hero, himself? Los Angeles police are looking into reports that Marvel Comics maven Stan Lee is a victim of elder abuse. At issue: the man who in recent months has acted as Lee’s business manager and personal adviser. Keya Morgan was arrested this week for allegedly calling police to say someone broke into Lee’s house. The “intruders” were two detectives and a social worker doing a welfare check on Lee, who’s 95, and has trouble hearing, seeing and making decisions.
by Oscar Wells Gabriel II
Follow Oscar Wells Gabriel II on Twitter at https://twitter.com/OWGabriel2