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Archive for Saturday, August 16, 2008

People in the news

August 16, 2008

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Jerry Wexler, famed record producer, dies

Legendary record producer Jerry Wexler, who helped shape R&B music with influential recordings of Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles and other greats, and later made key recordings with the likes of Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson, has died, said his son, Paul. He was 91.

Paul Wexler said his father died at home in Sarasota, Fla., about 3:45 a.m. Friday of heart disease; the death was first confirmed to The Associated Press by David Ritz, co-author of Wexler's 1993 memoir, "Rhythm and the Blues."

Both his son and daughter Lisa were present at the time of his death.

Wexler earned his reputation as a music industry giant while a partner at Atlantic Records with another legendary music figure, the late Ahmet Ertegun. Atlantic provided an outlet for the groundbreaking work of African-American performers in the 1950s and 1960s. Later, it was a home to rock icons like Led Zeppelin and the Rolling Stones. He later helped Dylan win his first Grammy by producing his 1979 "Slow Train Coming" album.

Wexler helped boost the careers of both the "King of Soul," Charles, and the "Queen of Soul," Franklin. Wilson Pickett, Solomon Burke and Percy Sledge were among the other R&B greats who benefited from Wexler's deft recording touch. He also produced Dusty Springfield's classic "Dusty in Memphis," considered a masterpiece of "blue-eyed" soul.

Trump to buy McMahon's home

Donald Trump will soon be Ed McMahon's landlord.

Trump announced Thursday he would save the television personality's Beverly Hills mansion from foreclosure by buying it for an undisclosed amount and leasing it to McMahon.

The developer told the Los Angeles Times he doesn't know McMahon personally, but acted out of compassion because helping out "would be an honor."

McMahon, 85, who was Johnny Carson's sidekick on the "Tonight" show for three decades, has not worked for about 18 months because of a neck injury. He defaulted on $4.8 million in mortgage loans with Countrywide Financial Corp.

McMahon bought the six-bedroom, five-bathroom, 7,000-square-foot house in January 1990. The home was listed at $4.6 million last weekend - down from a peak price of

$7 million.

Texas town invites Colbert to 'outhouse'

Stephen Colbert's one-man campaign against towns named Canton has its latest target firing back.

A city councilman in Canton, Texas, joked that he would "mash his nose" after the comedian referred to the town as an "incorporated outhouse."

"What does that sucker know about it? He's never been here anyway," Councilman John Fuller said in a story Friday in the Tyler Morning Telegraph.

In an ongoing gag on his Comedy Central show "The Colbert Report," Colbert has been taking pot shots at various towns named Canton. It began when he referred to a Georgia town as "the crappy Canton."

Leaders of the Texas town of Canton, which has a population of about 5,100, invited Colbert to the town's monthly flea market - which, according to a city Web site, harkens back to Texas' frontier traditions, "when it was common to trade a rifle for a good hunting dog."

'Office' actor Robinson faces drug charges

Prosecutors have filed felony drug charges against Craig Phillip Robinson, an actor best known for his role as Darryl Philbin on NBC's "The Office."

According to documents released Friday, police in Culver City arrested Robinson on June 29 on suspicion of possessing MDMA, also known as ecstasy, and methamphetamine.

He was released the same day after posting bail, jail records show.

Los Angeles County prosecutors charged Robinson with two felony counts of drug possession and one count of being under the influence of illegal drugs.

Robinson's publicist declined to comment Friday. The 36-year-old is scheduled to appear in court on August 21.

No joke: Bill Murray leaps 13,000 feet

Bill Murray landed in Chicago on Friday like he never had before - by jumping from an airplane 13,500 feet up.

The 57-year-old actor took several deep breaths before stepping out the open doors of a C-31 Fokker and dropping at about 120 mph to the city's lakefront with members of the Army Golden Knights Parachute Team.

An exuberant Murray, whose jump kicked off the 50th Chicago Air and Water Show, landed safely on a beach.

The actor pretended for a moment to stagger as if dizzy, smiled broadly, waved to the crowd and shook hands with some of the Golden Knights.

Friends asked Murray to participate in the show, which features demonstrations and performances in the air and on Lake Michigan, to support the Illinois United Service Organizations.

Once he landed, Murray said a Golden Knight jumper had tried to ease his nerves by telling him he would want to repeat the jump.

"But right now," Murray said, "I really feel like having a drink."

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