Ted Levine -- the actor who played Buffalo Bill in "Silence of the Lambs" -- is being sued by his family who claims his craziness sent them into financial ruin, and they ultimately blame Hollywood.
Levine's brothers and sister say he's a sadistic and cruel bully who forced them to auction off the family's beloved BBQ joint in Holly Ridge, NC. -- for a fraction of its value.
Mick Levine tells TMZ ... he and his siblings agreed to sell the restaurant after their parents' deaths ... but Ted began making demands, berating Mick in emails, calling him "you crazy f***ing c**t."
Mick says his famous brother vowed to "fix it so his family members see nothing" ... and forced them to sell the property at auction.
Mick says in his docs Hollywood is the bad guy, exploiting his brother's mental illness, saying, "Hollywood only profits from his illness. It's more grist for the entertainment mill. They rattle Ted's chain and then roll the cameras," adding, "Ted then portrays another sociopath or psychopath."
The sale went down Wednesday. The property -- valued at $554K -- was sold to the high bidder for $325K.
Cruise & Beckham
Splitting a Bottle of Red Wine ...
Is That Manly?
6/26/2014 8:20 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Tom Cruise and David Beckham split a bottle of red vino ... hanging out in a pub in Notting Hill ... but Becks apparently felt he needed to up his masculinity level a touch ... so he also had a Guinness.
David, you like red wine, it's cool. Own it.
'Pit Bull Girl'
Story Is BOGUS
6/24/2014 1:26 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
KFC is calling BS on the "pit bull girl" who was allegedly turned away from one of its franchises because customers were grossed out by her bite wounds.
KFC claims there have now been 2 investigations -- one internal and one independent -- and both show "no evidence" such an incident ever occurred at the Jackson Mississippi franchise.
3-year-old Victoria Welcher's family claims the girl was kicked out because employees felt her facial wounds from the dog attack were upsetting customers.
KFC says it will still honor its $30,000 donation to assist Victoria's family in paying her medical bills.
So even if the claim was phony ... it worked.
'KFC Pit Bull Girl'
Family Claims It's No Hoax!
6/24/2014 5:30 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
The people calling BS on a story about a little girl who was thrown out of a KFC because her face made customers lose their appetite are themselves full of BS ... so claims the aunt of the girl.
3-year-old Victoria Welcher was supposedly kicked out of a KFC in Jackson, Miss. last month after an employee felt her facial wounds from a pit bull attack were upsetting customers.
New reports claim the story is bogus.
But Victoria's aunt, Teri Rials Bates, now claims it really happened and the franchise is in the midst of a KFC investigation.
The owner of the franchised KFC in Jackson says the story's fishy.
Sued Over Bum Pressure Cooker
Soup Exploded All Over Me!
6/23/2014 12:15 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
A Wolfgang Puck pressure cooker went haywire ... shooting scalding hot soup all over a New Jersey woman's body ... so says the lady who is now suing the famous cook.
Larysa Moccia claims she used her pressure cooker approximately 10 times during the year she owned it, making soup on each occasion.
She claims she followed the directions to the tee -- unplugging the pressure cooker, waiting 30 minutes, then venting the pressure.
But on May 21, 2012 ... Moccia claims after the pressure cooker indicator gave the all clear to open the lid ... she says she slowly removed it ... then, suddenly, she says the lid popped off and burning hot liquid exploded onto her abdomen and upper extremities.
Moccia claims the lid was supposed to remain locked when the contents were pressurized, but it failed.
She's suing Wolfgang, HSN and others.
We reached out to Wolfgang and HSN ... they had no comment.
Teri Polo Bankruptcy
Goodbye Steak Dinners ...
6/22/2014 12:30 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
"Meet the Fockers" star Teri Polo is hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, but a girl's gotta eat ... so she's cut out fancy dinners and regressed to college -- ordering pizza. Lots o' PIZZA.
Polo -- who filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy in April -- had to keep a list of all her purchases for May ... and based on court documents ... she's making frugal, if not unhealthy, choices.
In the docs, obtained by TMZ, Polo ordered pizza 5 times in May -- home delivered two days in a row. She also bought lunches at McDonald's, Subway and Ikea ... and treated herself to Pinkberry and Starbucks.
TP did splurge a little -- got herself a $27 pedicure, and an $18 bottle of wine. Soothes the pain.
High Steaks Date
6/21/2014 12:44 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Senator Claire McCaskill
Dr. Oz Attack
6/18/2014 12:30 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Senator Claire McCaskill -- who grilled Dr. Oz like a cheeseburger during Tuesday's hearing -- was incredulous over the Doc's "miracle pill" because she's walked the walk ... sources connected to the Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Protection tell TMZ.
McCaskill lost a ton of weight in 2011 ... actually more like 50 pounds. She did it the old fashion way -- diet and exercise -- and she was proud of it. We're told she thinks diet shortcuts are ineffective and often fraudulent.
So when Oz came to The Hill ... we're told McCaskill was locked and loaded for a showdown over Oz touting green coffee beans as a miracle drug. One of McCaskill's staffers tells TMZ ... this was not a vendetta against Oz, and others have told us the same -- that she just thinks these quick fixes are harmful, especially when they're endorsed by credible people.
For Oz's part ... we're told he and his staff privately acknowledged he went too far on the air, and pulled back on the hyperbole several years ago.
Only The Best For My BFF
Throws Diner B-day Bash!
6/12/2014 12:40 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Filthy rich Charlie Sheen just treated his best bud to an unlikely birthday present -- an all expenses paid meal ... at a famous L.A. greasy spoon.
Charlie and Tony Todd hit up NORMS -- which has been slinging hash since 1949 -- to celebrate Tony's 50th birthday on Tuesday. If you go, try the steak and eggs.
Diner fare might seem like a downscale party for Charlie -- who regularly fires up the private jet for impromptu adventures around the world -- but he tells us, "The MaSheen promised his bestie a meal out on the town, so what better spot than their old breakfast haunt, NORMS!!"
Tony -- a baseball coach at Santa Monica H.S. -- and Charlie go way back. They grew up together and have remained best friends through the years.
Kinda touching ... especially for the Warlock.
Secret Service Left Holding the Doggie Bag
6/10/2014 11:10 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
President Obama was so heavily guarded by an elite Secret Service team as he left a Virginia burger joint ... even his doggie bag got protection.
Check out our video of POTUS and Education Secretary Arne Duncan and others as they surprised diners Tuesday afternoon at FireFlies in Alexandria, VA.
The Prez ordered the American Way Burger with cheese, lettuce, tomato and mustard ... and fries and a side salad. Total bill -- $73 ... Obama left a $50 tip.
As for running with the doggie bag ... it's a job any Secret Service agent would relish.
These Boots Are Made for Stumblin'
... Mom's Drunk Night Out
6/9/2014 9:02 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
A wobbly Jessica Simpson hit up Warwick nightclub in Hollywood Sunday night, but from the looks of it ... she did plenty of partying beforehand -- and even had to make a 911 call for fast food to soak up the booze.
Simpson was accompanied by Eric Johnson and it's a good thing he was there ... because somebody had to make sure she didn't fall flat on her face!
Mrs. Weight Watchers -- who did look AMAZING -- had a hard time making her way in and out and definitely seemed to have a hard time answering fairly simple questions. Best part of the video ... the driver making a Jack in the Box run for Jessica WHILE she was in the club!
Lower weight, lesser tolerance.
Bails on Her Pinkberry Tab
... But Returns with $96 Tip
6/4/2014 7:41 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
3:15 PM PT -- We just uncovered the most crucial part of this story ... Charlize's fro-yo order! Here it is: chocolate hazelnut with chocolate shavings. Seems a little redundant, especially for $100, but whatever.
Charlize Theron had a Pinkberry worker thinking she got screwed -- the Oscar winner promised to come back to pay her bill, and even though it seemed touch and go for a while ... Charlize eventually came through with a HUGE tip.
Here's what went down -- an employee at Pinkberry in Hollywood says Charlize came in Tuesday afternoon, but when it came time to pay her $3.75 tab ... she plead poverty, saying she didn't have money on her.
The employee, Keila, says Charlize promised to come back, but more than an hour passed before Charlize returned (with Sean Penn, no less).
Watch the video ... Charlize plays it cool on the way out, but right after that Keila showed us why it was worth the wait -- CT left a Benjamin for the $3.75 bill!
Charlize ... definitely not a monster.
Real Life 'Blow' Smuggler
My First Post-Prison Meal Was ...
6/3/2014 8:38 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
George Jung arrived in San Francisco on Monday night to move into a halfway house ... but tells us the Massachusetts native dined on a hometown favorite before his flight.
As TMZ first reported, Jung -- the prolific cocaine smuggler portrayed by Johnny Depp in the movie "Blow" -- was released from prison yesterday after serving nearly 20 years behind bars.
"Boston George" -- who looks good for having spent two decades behind bars -- told a photog at the airport he partook in a New England mainstay before heading west.
He also dropped some deeply philosophical life advice. Considering the source, do with it as you see fit.