ART CRITIC SISTER WENDY DIES
LONDON (AP) — Sister Wendy Beckett, an art historian and critic, has died. She was 88. The Carmelite Monastery of Quidenham said Beckett died Wednesday afternoon. She was a sister of the Catholic Church who became prominent in the 1990s presenting BBC shows about art history. Her work included a series of well received documentaries including “Sister Wendy’s Odyssey” and “Sister Wendy’s Grand Tour.” The BBC said it commissioned Beckett in 1991 to host a TV documentary on the National Gallery in London. She stood in front of the paintings dressed in a black nun’s habit and discussed the paintings without a script or teleprompter.
MARIAH CAREY’S CHRISTMAS CLASSIC SETS NEW RECORD ON SPOTIFY
NEW YORK (AP) — Mariah Carey’s 24-year-old Christmas classic is so popular it set a new one-day streaming record on Spotify on Christmas Eve. Chart Data reported that “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” released in 1994, was played 10.8 million times Monday on Spotify. The song bested the record set by rapper-singer XXXTentacion (ex-ex-ex-ten-TAH’-see-YOHN’), who logged 10.4 million streams with “SAD!” a day after his death in June. Spotify wouldn’t comment on the news when reached by The Associated Press. Carey called the new feat “such an amazing Christmas gift” in an Instagram post on Tuesday. Every holiday season “All I Want for Christmas Is You” begins to climb the Billboard charts as its popularity resurfaces. This year the song reached a new peak when it hit No. 6 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart. Carey’s 1994 “Merry Christmas” album is spending its fourth week at No. 1 on R&B charts.
OLIVER HARDY WAS TERRIFYING, INSPIRING FOR JOHN C. REILLY
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Playing Oliver Hardy, the large comic with the even larger persona, was a burden that became a mission for John C. Reilly. Reilly told The Associated Press it was a “terrifying prospect” to accept the role in “Stan & Ollie” that earned him a Golden Globe nomination. The film, which stars Steve Coogan as Stan Laurel, will be released in the U.S. Friday. Reilly’s research made him feel a special connection to Hardy and insisted the fat suit he wore actually be heavy to feel real. He says “it was a lot every day to carry” and eventually regretting doing it. And when Reilly learned the legendary comedy duo was largely forgotten late in their lives, he felt he had to preserve their memory and “do it for Oliver.”
A STAR-MAKING ROLE FOR JOANNA KULIG IN ‘COLD WAR’
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Actress Joanna Kulig is making waves in Hollywood with her star-making turn in the romantic drama “Cold War.” Critics have called the 36-year-old the “Polish Jennifer Lawrence” and compared her to 1960s-era Jeanne Moreau. In the film, which has been short-listed for a foreign language Oscar, Kulig plays a Polish singer named Zula who has a tormented romance with the musician who discovers her. The 36-year-old is now navigating awards season in Hollywood, her third trimester of pregnancy and has already filmed a part in the Amazon series adaptation of “Hanna.”
RESCUERS USE HEAVY-DUTY VEHICLE FROM ’DIESEL BROTHERS” TO PLOW DOWN INVASIVE WEEDS
SYRACUSE, Utah (AP) — Authorities say three stranded duck hunters were rescued by a heavy-duty all-terrain vehicle donated from the Discovery Channel show “Diesel Brothers.” The Davis County Sheriff’s Office in Utah tells KSL-TV they used the vehicle from the show, which is filmed nearby. They were able to plow through 13-foot-high weeds to reach the hunters stuck in the mud. KURTV reports three men in their 20s had gotten stuck after water leaked into their wading boots and bogged them down. They called 911 when they couldn’t walk out. No one was injured. Search and Rescue Commander Erik Bornemeier says the vehicle called a Sisu Nasu cut the rescue time from six hours to less than an hour. He says the invasive weeds called phragmites are sharp enough to cut crew members.