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Dead Wrestler's Dad

Sues the WWE

Pay Up If You're Gonna Exploit My Son

4/19/2015 12:40 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

Eddie Hot Stuff Gilbert Family Sues WWEThe WWE is cashing in on Eddie "Hot Stuff" Gilbert even though he's been dead for 20 years ... at least according to his family, which is dragging the league to court to get a cut of the action.

According to docs ... Eddie's dad, Tommy Gilbert, is in charge of the estate and says the WWE is plastering his son's image and likeness all over TV and other media platforms without permission -- and, more importantly, without paying them a dime.

Tommy says old wrestling footage of Eddie -- a pro from '79 until his death of a heart attack in '95 -- is being used to promote the WWE. 

Interestingly, Eddie's fam isn't suing to block use of the footage -- they just want a judge to force the WWE to fork over a share of its profits, plus damages.

Slam.

Johnny Kemp

'Just Got Paid' Singer Dies Mysteriously

4/17/2015 4:03 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
breaking news

0417-johnny-kemp-getty-01Johnny Kemp -- the guy who sang the 80s party anthem "Just Got Paid" ... died Thursday at the age of 55.

Originally from the Bahamas, Kemp died while vacationing in Jamaica. He was reportedly found floating on a beach in Montego Bay. It's unclear at this point what caused his death.

Kemp released his biggest hit in 1988 -- it reached #10 on the Billboard charts and #1 on the dance charts. It also got a Grammy nomination for Best R&B Song.

R.I.P. Johnny. It's Friday night ...

Percy Sledge

'When a Man Loves a Woman' Singer Dies

4/14/2015 8:00 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
breaking news

0414-percy-sledge-getty-03R&B legend Percy Sledge -- famous for his hit "When a Man Loves a Woman" -- died at home in Baton Rouge, Louisiana Tuesday morning after a long battle with cancer.

Percy took his signature song to #1 in 1966. It was his debut single and went on to become an international hit. It was re-released in the U.K. in 1987 and still made it to #2 on the charts.

Michael Bolton's cover version also hit #1 in 1991 -- and it's one of Hollywood's favorite tunes ... appearing on the soundtracks of well over 20 movies.

Percy had a few other hits -- "Warm and Tender Love" and "Take Time to Know Her" -- but nothing that matched his first blockbuster hit.

He continued performing until about a year ago -- and this Thursday marks the 49th anniversary of the release of "When a Man Loves a Woman."

Sledge was 73.

We got Percy out in NYC a couple years ago. The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee was just awesome. 


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Lauren Hill's Foundation

$42k Donation Surge

... To Honor Her Memory

4/13/2015 12:35 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

0413-lauren-hill-getty-01Lauren Hill is still having a major impact on the war on cancer ... even after her death -- TMZ Sports has learned her foundation received a major surge in donations in the hours after she passed away. 

A rep for The Cure Starts Now Foundation tells us ... they received more than $42,000 in donations through Lauren's Club 22 fundraising organization since Friday from people wishing to honor Hill's memory. 

So far, the foundation has received more than $1.5 million in donations through Club 22 -- named after Lauren's basketball jersey number. 

A memorial for Hill will be held tonight at Xavier University -- where Lauren played her first college basketball game for Mt. Saint Joseph. 

We're told event organizers are expecting a packed house ... and sadly, may have to turn some people away if they hit capacity. 

A private funeral will take place on Wednesday -- but it's only for close friends and family. 

Lauren was 19. 

South Carolina Cop

Listened to Everlast Song About Not Judging

Moments Before Shooting

4/10/2015 9:11 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

The South Carolina cop charged with murdering Walter Scott had a very ironic song playing in his patrol car as he took off on foot to chase Scott ... and eventually shot him 5 times. 

Police released Officer Michael Slagers' dash cam video from the traffic stop, and you can hear Everlast's "What It's Like" playing in the car. If you don't know the 1998 hit ... it's an extremely mellow anthem urging people to avoid pre-judging strangers.

Some of the lyrics:
God forbid you ever had to walk a mile in his shoes'
Cause then you really might know what it's like to sing the blues
Then you really might know what it's like

The song is interesting ... considering the allegations of gross racial profiling attached to the case.

As we previously reported ... Scott was pulled over by Slager for a broken taillight, but a scuffle broke out between them after Scott attempted to flee. Scott was unarmed when he was shot in the back.

Richard Dysart

'L.A. Law' Star

Dies from Cancer

4/9/2015 12:23 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Exclusive Details

0409-richard-dysart-getty-01Richard Dysart -- a veteran of stage and screen best known for his role on "L.A. Law" -- died Sunday after a long battle with cancer ... TMZ has learned. He was 86. 

According to Dysart's daughter-in-law, he passed away at his home in Santa Monica. His wife tells us he'd been diagnosed with cancer a few years ago.

Dysart had a penchant for playing famous figures -- he portrayed Dwight D. Eisenhower (twice), J. Edgar Hoover (twice) and Harry Truman (twice). He also famously played the villain against Clint Eastwood in "Pale Rider."

But he became a household name as Leland McKenzie on "L.A. Law," which ran from 1986-1994. He was nominated for four Emmys, winning once in 1992. 


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Dee Snider

I'm Angry at A.J. for Dying

... He Could Have Saved Himself

4/8/2015 1:16 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

Dee Snider just unleashed a bitter rant about Twisted Sister drummer A.J. Pero's death -- saying his heart attack was totally avoidable, but Pero did nothing to save himself or protect his family.

Dee came on TMZ Live to talk about the band's upcoming farewell tour, but ended up venting about Pero. Dee told us he's in the anger stage of grieving because ... he says Pero knew he had a history of heart disease in his family, but never got checked out.

A.J.'s autopsy results -- which Dee revealed -- are what really set him off about his friend's death.

Watch him unload ... he's a man on a mission.

James Best

'Dukes of Hazzard' Sheriff

Dead at 88

4/7/2015 6:01 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
breaking news

0406-james-best-getty-01James Best -- who famously played bumbling Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane on "The Dukes of Hazzard" -- died Monday night at age 88. 

Best passed in a hospice facility following a brief illness and complications from pneumonia, a close friend told the Charlotte Observer.

In addition to his role on "Hazzard," Best appeared on several classic shows, including, "Gunsmoke," "Mod Squad," "I Spy," "Bonanza," "Perry Mason" and "Rawhide."

Best formed an acting school in the '70s where he taught the likes of Burt Reynolds, Clint Eastwood, Lindsay Wagner, Farrah Fawcett and Quentin Tarantino.

RIP.

David 'Devilfish' Ulliott

Famed Poker Player

Dies From Cancer

4/6/2015 1:27 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
breaking news

0406-devil-fish-dave-ulliot-GETTY-01David “Devilfish” Ulliott -- a British poker player who got famous on "Late Night Poker" -- died Monday following a battle with colon cancer. He was 61.

Ulliott's son announced he "died peacefully surrounded by his loved ones."

Ulliott was just diagnosed in February, and doctors didn't give him great odds ... saying it was really just a matter of time.

He amassed $4,364,305 in tournament earnings and is survived by his wife Anpaktita and their eight children.

Fredric Brandt

Famed Botox Doc to Stars ... Dead

4/6/2015 6:33 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
breaking news

0406-frederic-brandt-getty-01update_graphic_red_bar8:40 AM PT -- Law enforcement sources tell us Brandt's death was a suicide. There are reports he killed himself by hanging, but our sources would not confirm that.update_grey_gray_barDr. Fredric Brandt ... the dermatologist who smoothed out the skin of dozens of stars including Madonna, Stephanie Seymour and was the inspiration for Martin Short's character on Tina Fey's new show, was found dead over the weekend.

The Dade-County Medical Examiner confirms to TMZ -- the 65-year-old Botox pioneer -- was found in his Coral Gables home.  

Dr. Brandt was the go-to person for the aging rich and famous, especially in NYC. The New York Times wrote his patient's skin "is smooth and yet not freakishly taut."

Dr. Brandt has a huge business selling high-end dermatology products called "Dr. Brandt."

Martin Short's character on Fey's "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" which airs on Netflix mimics Brandt's look, and he's quite eccentric.

There are reports Brandt was extremely depressed over Short's seeming portrayal of him.

Lynyrd Skynyrd Drummer

Dies in Car Crash

4/4/2015 10:41 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Exclusive Details

0404-bob-burns-getty-01Robert Lewis Burns, Jr., the original Lynyrd Skynyrd drummer died in single vehicle car crash.

The Georgia State Patrol confirms Burns veered his 95' Buick Roadmaster off the road as he approached a curb and hit a tree and a mailbox.  Cops say Burns was not wearing a seat belt.

We're told he was alive when paramedics arrived but died on scene. There is no indication that drugs or alcohol were involved.

Burns was in the group from it's inception in 1964 and stayed until 1974.  Three members of the group -- the lead singer, guitarist, and backup vocalist -- died in a 1977 plane crash.

Burns was most recently in a group called Artimus Pyle, a tribute band to Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Burns was 64.


J. Paul Getty Grandson

Massive Blood Loss Before Death

Ulcer Suspected

4/4/2015 7:40 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

0403-andrew-getty-01

J. Paul Getty's grandson Andrew Getty died from a massive bleed from his intestines ... that's the preliminary conclusion of the L.A. County Coroner.

TMZ broke the story ... 47-year-old Getty was found dead in his L.A. home Tuesday, laying in the bathroom with blood around his rectal area.

Law enforcement sources tell TMZ ... Getty lost a full liter of blood, and so far it looks like an ulcer.

Getty had been complaining of serious stomach pain for several days before his death and made an appointment to see a doctor, which was scheduled for the day after he died. He had been suffering from severe stomach cramps.

Authorities believe Getty was trying to make it to the bathroom to relieve the pressure when he collapsed.

The Coroner will not make a final determination until toxicology results are in.

Rev. Robert H. Schuller

Original 'Hour of Power' Minister Dies From Cancer

4/2/2015 8:35 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
breaking news

0402-robert-schuller-getty-01Rev. Robert H. Schuller -- the minister behind TV's "Hour of Power" -- died from esophageal cancer Thursday morning.

Schuller was at a nursing facility in Artesia, CA when he passed away. He'd been diagnosed with cancer in 2013.

Schuller was one of the early televangelists ... launching the "Hour of Power" in 1970 -- and he continued to preach on the program until 2010.

The reverend was also famous for building the 2700-seat Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, CA ... which opened in 1981. He retired as senior minister there in 2006. His son initially took over, and eventually his daughter became the church's leader.

0402-subasset-crystal-cathedralThe Cathedral filed for bankruptcy in 2010, but Schuller's legacy continues on TV -- one of his grandsons took over the "Hour of Power" in 2013. 

Schuller was 88 years old. 

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