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'Let's Make a Deal' Host Monty Hall Dead at 96

9/30/2017 3:23 PM PDT
Breaking News

Television icon Monty Hall -- the co-creator and host of "Let's Make a Deal" -- died from heart failure at his home in Beverly Hills ... TMZ has learned.

Hall's daughter Joanna Gleason tells us ... he passed away Saturday morning surrounded by friends and family. We're told his health had been declining the past few years. Gleason says her dad was most proud of his show because it gave him the platform to help people.

The legendary game show host began his TV career in the 1950s by working on several children's shows. He moved on to host network game shows, and struck it big with 'Deal' in 1963 ... which ran for 13 years and returned for a short run in the '90s. It was rebooted in 2009 with Wayne Brady as host.

Hall also appeared as himself on popular shows like "The Hollywood Squares" and "Password All-Stars" ... and produced several more.

Monty was inducted into the American TV Game Show Hall of Fame in 2007, and will forever be associated with the catchphrase ... "What's behind Door No. 1?"

He was 96.

RIP

Hugh Hefner Playboy Mansion Staff Reuniting To 'Memba the Boss

9/29/2017 12:30 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

You can tell Hugh Hefner was seriously beloved because even his former employees are rallying to celebrate his life. 

Our Playboy Mansion sources tell us ... staff members, new and old, started planning the reunion almost immediately after Hef died Wednesday. We're told 2 former butlers created a Facebook group that night to put the band back together -- employees, Playmates and Hef's children are all invited.

We're told the employees -- many of whom were featured in "The Girls Next Door" -- wanted to get together out of respect for Hef and the close-knit environment he created at the Mansion. Although many of them were laid off 2 years ago, we're told they still treat each other like family.

The staff event will be off-site from the Mansion, and is separate from the final tribute party to Hefner. 

Hugh Hefner Death One Last Playboy Mansion Party in His Honor

9/28/2017 11:45 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Hugh Hefner's not going out without one more legendary Playboy party ... TMZ has learned planning is underway for a celebration of his life at the Mansion.

Sources close to Daren Metropoulos -- the Pabst heir who bought the mansion last year -- tell us he's going to sign off on a party for Hef sometime soon. We're told the get-together will be more of a tribute to the Playboy founder's life ... and less of the standard Playboy blowout bash.

Daren needs to OK all parties since he made the purchase.

We broke the story ... Daren bought the Playboy Mansion last year for a cool $100 mil, on the condition that Hef could live there for the rest of his life. Sources say he plans on combining an adjacent estate he owns with the Mansion and restoring both to their OG condition. 

As for the birds, monkeys and other animals that call the mansion home ... we're told they'll all stay on the property when Daren moves in.

Daren released a statement Thursday on the passing of Hef, saying ... "Hugh Hefner was a visionary in business, a giant in media and an iconic figure of pop culture whose legacy will leave a lasting impact." 

Hugh Hefner's Crypt The Guy Next Door To Marilyn Monroe

9/28/2017 6:52 AM PDT

Hugh Hefner's so-called "better place" is waiting ... and it's right next to the woman who helped him launch Playboy.

Hef bought the crypt to the left of Marilyn Monroe's in L.A.'s Westwood Village Memorial Park. He dropped $75k on the burial spot way back in 1992 -- and once said, "Spending an eternity next to Marilyn is too sweet to pass up."

Marilyn, the cover girl for Hef's first issue of Playboy, has been there since her death in 1962.

Fun-ish fact: Marilyn's ex-husband, Joe DiMaggio, used to own the crypt above hers -- but sold it when they got divorced in 1954.

TLC's T-Boz My Fam's Suing the Cops Who Killed My Cousin

9/28/2017 7:12 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

T-Boz says her family is taking legal action against the police department for the shooting death of her mentally ill cousin ... and she's behind them, 100%.

We got the TLC singer Wednesday night at Avalon Hollywood, and asked if she'd heard back from cops in Peoria, Illinois about her cousin Eddie Russell Jr.'s death last week. He was gunned down by officers in what they call a standoff that turned life-threatening.

T-Boz says she and her fam haven't heard a peep, but plan to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the cops. As we reported, officers fired 17-20 rounds at Eddie, who was on the run after allegedly attempting to rob a bank.

She explained where she believes cops bungled the case -- and strongly feels Eddie's punishment didn't fit his crime.

Hugh Hefner DEAD AT 91

9/27/2017 8:25 PM PDT
Breaking News

Hugh Hefner -- who founded Playboy and turned it into a globally iconic brand -- is dead at 91.

Playboy says Hugh died peacefully at home Wednesday, surrounded by loved ones.

Hefner's health had been in serious decline over the last year and he's not been seen in public for some time. His passing comes just over a year after his brother, Keith, died battling cancer.

Playboy magazine catapulted Hef into a cultural phenomenon ... paving way for the iconic Playboy Mansion that quickly became known for its legendary parties.

As TMZ reported ... Hefner parted ways with the pad in August 2016 ... selling to Pabst Blue Ribbon heir Daren Metropoulos for $100 million. But the sale had one condition -- Hefner could live in the mansion without the new owner's meddling until Hefner died.

Hefner married 3 times -- first to high school sweetheart Mildred Williams in 1949 ... then former Playmate of the Year Kimberly Conrad in 1989 ... and finally Crystal Hefner in 2012. She's 31.

His third marriage came 4 years after breaking up with longtime GF Holly Madison. He's survived by 4 children -- Christie and David from his first marriage and Marston and Cooper from his second marriage.

Hefner founded Playboy in 1953 with Marilyn Monroe gracing the first cover. The magazine landed huge celebrities for years to come -- including Cindy Crawford, Kim Basinger, Pamela Anderson, Madonna, Sharon Stone, Naomi Campbell, Carmen Electra, Drew Barrymore and Kim Kardashian.

The magazine stopped publishing nude photos in 2016 but went back to them in February of this year after Hugh's son, Cooper, was named chief creative officer.

The mag also had a strong pull with some amazing writers -- including Gabriel García Márquez, Margaret Atwood and Haruki Murakami.

Drake Buries Longtime Friend, Fif ... After Being Gunned Down

9/24/2017 4:39 PM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Drake helped lay his longtime friend, Anthony "Fif" Soares, to rest this weekend ... this after the guy was brutally gunned down in Toronto.

Drake attended Fif's funeral service Saturday at the Ogden Funeral Home chapel in Scarborough, Ontario ... and later traveled to the Duffin Meadows Cemetery where he served as one of the pallbearers for the casket.

Eyewitnesses tell us Drake did not speak at the procession, and mostly kept to himself. You can tell from the video he's in deep mourning over Soares' death ... who was just killed a couple weeks ago.

As we reported ... Soares was gunned down in his apartment lobby by 2 unidentified men. Police released surveillance video of the murder ... and it graphically shows him being shot.

Police are still investigating the crime ... they had no suspects as of last week.

'Clerks' Star Lisa Spoonauer Died of Painkiller Overdose ... Battled Cancer, Lung Disease

9/22/2017 7:30 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

"Clerks" star Lisa Spoonauer died from an accidental overdose of a powerful painkiller ... TMZ has learned.

According to the Ocean County Medical Examiner in NJ, Lisa died of acute and chronic intravenous use of hydromorphone ... the generic brand of the narcotic, Dilaudid. She was also battling cancer, anemia, lung disease and immune deficiency ... all of which contributed to her death.

Lisa, who played Caitlin Bree in the cult classic film ... was only 44 when she died in May. At the time, her family said she'd been fighting undisclosed illnesses for years.

Her death prompted "Clerks" writer/director Kevin Smith to post an emotional tribute.

'Revenge of the Nerds' Star Bernie Casey Dead at 78

9/20/2017 3:26 PM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Bernie Casey, the beloved and iconic co-star in "Revenge of the Nerds" and "I'm Gonna Git You Sucka," died in an L.A. hospital ... TMZ has learned.

Bernie's rep tells us he died peacefully Wednesday, surrounded by loved ones. We're told he suddenly fell ill recently, and had spent the last few days hospitalized.

He broke into Hollywood with roles in blaxploitation films, and went on to co-star in nearly 80 different projects -- most notably he was the national head of the Tri Lams in 'Nerds' ... and neighborhood activist John Slade in 'Sucka.' He was also in "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure."

Casey was totally a jack-of-several-trades, having also played in the NFL as a Pro Bowl wide receiver for the L.A. Rams in the late '60s. He also had a passion for painting and poetry.

Bernie was 78.

R.I.P.

Emmys 2017 Dick Gregory, Charlie Murphy, Frank Vincent, Harry Dean Stanton Forgotten In Memoriam

9/17/2017 8:02 PM PDT

The showrunners for the 2017 Emmys forgot to honor some noteworthy performers during their in memoriam segment ... including Dick Gregory, Charlie Murphy, Harry Dean Stanton and Frank Vincent who all died this year.

During the memorial montage of Hollywood stars who passed away so far in 2017, a bunch of TV stars, producers and other figures in showbiz were remembered except the above 4 guys ... and many people noticed the omissions, including Common.

It's odd ... all 4 actors had performed in TV shows and series in their careers at one point or another. Gregory had starred in "Reno 911!" and "Wonder Showzen", Murphy in "Chappelle's Show" and "The Boondocks" and others, Stanton in a number of TV roles and Vincent in "The Sopranos."

Still ... the Emmys failed to recognize them regardless. 

Prince 'Purple Rain' Handwritten Notes Hit Auction for Thousands!

9/18/2017 12:40 AM PDT

Prince was a perfectionist and it's evident in the handwritten edits he made to "Purple Rain" and lyrics for songs which hit the auction block for a hefty price.

Some 200 Prince-related items are up for bidding via RR Auction including the 9 pages of notes Prince made on his epic 1984 opus which RR thinks will go for more than $12k!!!

They're pretty cool ... you can see where Prince changed and added things to the original screenplay: "1. Glove box opens, Jerome fingers camisole, hands it back 2 Morris, 2. Morris takes it. Uh, 1 more thing here's a little something ..." and so on. 

Some other Prince items include:

-- Yellow boots he wore onstage from '86-'92 ... $12k
-- "The Ladder" handwritten lyrics ... $8k
-- Lace crop top .... $3k
-- His Parade Tour tambourine ... $1.5k
-- "Camille" Advance Pressing ... $4k
-- Prince's 1980 Rick James tour all access pass ... $800

Bidding ends Sept. 27.

Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan Dead at 73

9/17/2017 4:41 PM PDT
Breaking News

Bobby "The Brain" Heenan -- a former wrestler, manager, announcer and WWE Hall of Famer -- has died ... according to WWE. 

Fellow WWE commentator Jim Ross tweeted out the news first Sunday, saying "The news of Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan's passing today gutted me. I loved our time together. No one ever did it better than the Wease." 

Ric Flair also tweeted out his condolences, noting that Heenan was one of the greatest managers, announcers and performers in the wrestling game.

Bobby came up as a pro wrestler and manager through the '60s and '70s in the World Wrestling Association, American Wrestling Association and later the World Wrestling Federation. He managed stars like Angelo Poffo, Guy Mitchell, the Valiant Brothers, Nick Bockwinkel, Jesse Ventura and Andre the Giant. 

He went on to become a well-known wrestling commentator through the '80s, '90s and 2000s. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2004.

Bobby had battled throat cancer for more than a decade after announcing his diagnosis in 2002. Talent agent Gilbert Boyes tells TMZ that Bobby's wife told him recently Bobby would not be able to make public appearances any longer.

He was 73.

RIP

Chester Bennington Widow Posts Vid of Him with Fam ... Great Mood 36 Hours Before Suicide

9/17/2017 11:21 AM PDT

Chester Bennington appeared happy and engaged with his own family less than 2 days before his hanging suicide ... based on a video his widow shared.

Talinda Bennington posted a video of Chester hanging out with one of his sons eating jelly beans ... she says it was shot just 36 hours before his death.

She captioned the vid saying "This is what depression looked like to us just 36 hrs b4 his death. He loved us SO much & we loved him." 

We broke the story ... Chester committed suicide by hanging in July ... much like his good friend and fellow musician Chris Cornell did just a couple months before.

Talinda seems to be making a point here -- even though Chester might have been deeply depressed ... he was able to mask it well enough around those closest to him. She's already taken steps to prevent copycat cases by putting together an org to help fight suicide.

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