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B.B. King

Blues Guitar Legend Dies at 89

5/14/2015 11:10 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
breaking news

0501-bb-king-getty-02Legendary guitarist B.B. King died Thursday at home in Las Vegas ... according to his attorney.

King brought Mississippi Delta blues to the mainstream with his hit 1970 version of "The Thrill Is Gone." He also recorded countless collaborations with other superstars ... such as Carlos Santana, Eric Clapton, U2, and Sheryl Crow.

TMZ broke the story ... some of B.B.'s children had recently battled his longtime manager Laverne Toney about his medical care and finances. Earlier this month, Patty King accused Toney of elder abuse ... a claim that was eventually shot down in court.

King, who was 89 ... had been at home in hospice care since May 1.

B.B. toured almost non-stop for more than 60 years with his black Gibson guitars  ... which he famously named Lucille.

Due to his health issues -- in addition to his age, he was diabetic -- B.B. finally backed off his road schedule last year. 

He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987, and won 15 Grammys ... as well as a Presidential Medal of Arts, and a Presidential Medal of Freedom. 

It's remarkably sad -- within a month, the singers of "When a Man Loves a Woman," "Stand by Me" ... and "The Thrill Is Gone" have all passed away.



Nate Dogg's Son

Gold Digging Widow Pounced

When Dad Was Mentally Impaired

5/10/2015 12:25 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF


Nate Dogg's widow doesn't deserve a single red cent of his estate -- according to the hip-hop legend's son ... who claims the marriage was a sham and Latoya Calvin is just trying to cash in now.

According to court docs ... Naijiel Hale says Latoya caused the car accident that led to Nate Dogg having multiple strokes and eventually dying. He also believes she married his father while Nate was mentally incapacitated, so she shouldn't be entitled to anything.

Naijiel's mother, Rhoda Mouton is also joining the fight -- and points out, in docs ... Latoya didn't even attend Nate's funeral.

Nate's estate says he and Latoya separated and filed for divorce 19 days after they married. The only hiccup -- the divorce wasn't final when Nate died. 

As we previously reported ... the Dogg's $350k house in Pomona, CA has been the subject of a bitter family feud for years between Latoya and Nate's family -- including his six kids.

Joanne Carson

Johnny's 2nd Wife Dies at 84

5/9/2015 9:45 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
breaking news

0509-jaonne-johnny-carson-getty-02Joanne Carson -- the woman by Johnny Carson's side when he rocketed to superstardom -- died at her home in L.A. on Friday.

Joanne-- a former Pan Am stewardess (that's what they were called back then) and model -- married Johnny in 1963 -- the year after he started hosting "The Tonight Show." They'd been dating since 1960 ... when Johnny was still doing sketch comedy.

They lived together in NYC until they divorced in 1972. Joanne moved back to her native California ... and worked in TV talk shows for a while. She was married and divorced once more. Johnny went on to marry two more times.

While living in NYC ... Joanne became good friends with famed author Truman Capote. He had a writing room in her L.A. home on Sunset Boulevard, and died there in 1984.

Joanne died in hospice care -- she'd been in failing health for some time now ... according to the L.A. Times, which first reported her death.

Joanne was 84.

Wrestling Tragedy

Man Kills Toddler

Imitating 'Undertaker' Slam

5/7/2015 8:50 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
breaking news

update_graphic_red_barA rep for the WWE tells TMZ Sports, "There is no excuse for a 20-year-old grown man to assault an 18-month old child, no matter what. Using a flimsy excuse about emulating a wrestling maneuver does not absolve Brandon Hoffman of this abhorrent crime. The death of Bryson Shoemaker is a tragedy, and WWE offers its condolences to the child’s mother, Sierra Shoemaker."update_grey_gray_barA Pennsylvania man killed an 18-month-old boy ... when he slammed the child to the floor while imitating The Undertaker's signature wrestling move ... this according to cops. 

Cops say 20-year-old Brandon Hoffman was trying do the Undertaker's "Last Ride" move -- and intended to slam the child onto a bed ... but missed ... fatally injuring the boy. 

Hoffman told cops he had been watching the child while the boy's mother was at work -- and had successfully pulled off another wrestling move before the accident. 

Hoffman has been charged with involuntary manslaughter, endangering the welfare of a child, aggravated assault and more. Bail has been set at $150k. 

'You Sexy Thing' Singer

Dies at 71

5/6/2015 9:42 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

The guy who sang one of the catchiest hits of the '70s -- "You Sexy Thing" -- has died. 

Errol Brown was the lead singer of Hot Chocolate, who were big in the '70s and '80s.

"You Sexy Thing" had a second wind in 1997, when it was featured in "The Full Monty."

Brown and Hot Chocolate had other hits as well, including "Every 1's a Winner." If you don't think you know it, think again. You can name that tune when you hear it.

Brown died of liver cancer. He was 71.   


'Ultimate Survival Alaska' Star

Jimmy Gojdics

Shot Dead in Alaska

5/6/2015 6:25 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
breaking news

0506-ultimate-survivor-ng-01Jimmy Gojdics, who competed on the National Geographic Channel show "Ultimate Survival Alaska," was shot dead in Fairbanks, Alaska. He was 69.

Alaska State Troopers rushed to Gojidics' home Sunday afternoon, according to Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. When troopers arrived, they found Gojdics in grave condition.

He was taken to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Cops are calling it a homicide, but so far there are no suspects.

Gojdics competed on season 2 of the show, and finished fourth with his team.

Ellen Albertini Dow

'Wedding Singer' Rapping Granny

Dies at 101

5/5/2015 6:15 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
breaking news

0505-ellen-albertini-dow-getty-01Ellen Albertini Dow -- who famously performed "Rapper's Delight" in the Adam Sandler movie "The Wedding Singer" passed away Monday. She was 101. 

Dow's longtime agent confirmed her passing to Deadline.

She most recently appeared on "Family Guy" ... and "New Girl" in 2013 -- when she was 99! Ellen's other famous TV roles were on "Seinfeld," "My Name Is Earl," "Scrubs," "Six Feet Under" and "The Golden Girls."

She also played Grandma Cleary in "Wedding Crashers" and was Tom Green's grandmother in "Road Trip."

Her version of "Rapper's Delight" was on the "The Wedding Singer" soundtrack ... which made Billboard's top 5.

****WARNING: EXPLICIT LANGUAGE (It WAS rated R, after all)*****

Ben E. King

'Stand By Me' Singer Dies

5/1/2015 7:26 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
breaking news

0501-ben-e-king-getty-01Soul singer Ben E. King -- most famous for his classic, "Stand By Me" -- died on Thursday ... according to his publicist.

King reportedly died at his home in New Jersey after suffering a heart ailment. He was 76 years old.

King's mega hit song made it to Billboard's top five in 1961 -- but "Stand By Me" returned to the charts in the '80s. It was also covered several times by other artists ... including John Lennon ... and made the charts 9 times.

He started his career with the Drifters in the '50s and had hits like "Save the Last Dance for Me" and "There Goes My Baby."

Ben E.'s passing comes just 2 weeks after the death of another soul legend -- Percy Sledge, who sang "When a Man Loves a Woman."


Weight Watchers

Founder Dies at 91

4/29/2015 6:46 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF


Jean Nidetch -- the woman who founded Weight Watchers -- has died.

We're told the 91-year-old passed away in the Ft. Lauderdale area early Wednesday morning.

Jean came up with the groundbreaking idea in 1961, not to start a business, but to help her in her own struggle. She had been overweight since early childhood, and at the time she was 5'7" and weighed 214 lbs. 

Jean started following basic tips ... don't skip meals, eat fish 5 times a week, veggies, etc. She soon started inviting friends over and they would talk in her living room about their common goals. 

It caught fire, and in 1963, Weight Watchers was born, and Jean became a celebrity, even appearing on Johnny Carson's show.  

0429-jean-nidetch-AP-01In 1978 Weight Watchers was sold to the Heinz Co. for $71 million. Even after she retired, she was known as the first lady of Weight Watchers International.

Jean was living in a one bedroom apartment and, by the way, she wasn't a slave to diet. She drank regular sodas, stocked the fridge with Klondike bars and liked Mallomars, which she kept in her laundry hamper.

Jean died of natural causes. 

'Louie Louie' Singer

Dead at 71

4/28/2015 3:32 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

0428-jack-ely-countrymen-GETTY-01Jack Ely, the lead singer of the group the Kingsmen which recorded the hit "Louie Louie" -- a song that prompted an FBI investigation -- has died.

Ely's controversial song was a monster hit in 1963. He almost slurred some of the words, making them very difficult to understand and subject to considerable interpretation. 

The FBI launched a probe to determine if some of the lyrics were obscene.  Many junior high school students were buzzing that one of the lyrics included the phrase, "f*** you girl, oh, all the way," and "I felt a boner in her hair."

Ely left the group shortly after the song was released and ended up training horses in Oregon. 

He ws 71. 


Suzanne Crough

'Partridge Family' Daughter Dies

4/28/2015 9:13 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

0428-subasset-partridge-family-gettyThe youngest "Partridge Family" star Suzanne Crough died Monday at her home in Nevada ... TMZ has learned.

Crough starred as the tambourine-shaking daughter Tracy Partridge ... during the classic sitcom's run from 1970 to 1974.

She was 52 years old. It's still unclear what caused her death, but a family member confirmed Suzanne's passing and said it was sudden.

Suzanne was married with 2 daughters ... one of whom is getting married this summer.

She last reunited with her 'Partridge' co-stars for an appearance on the 'Today' show back in 2010.

David Cassidy tells TMZ he was saddened to hear about the sudden passing, adding, "Although, we did not know each other very well due to our age difference during our Partridge days, I always thought fondly of Suzanne and her family."

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Andrew Getty

Burglars Steal Silverware after Death

4/27/2015 10:09 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF


Andrew Getty -- the grandson of billionaire titan J. Paul Getty -- was targeted in death by thieves who stole some very expensive flatware. 

Law enforcement sources tell TMZ, within 2 weeks of his death at the end of March, burglars broke into his gated home near Mulholland Drive and stole his silverware.

Cops tell us the thieves gained entry by forcing open a door.

The 47-year-old heir, whose father was reportedly worth $2 billion, had all sorts of eccentric items, including mechanical devices for a horror film he was producing.

We're told as far as cops know, the only thing the thieves took was silverware. Weird.


Bravo's Greg Plitt Sued

I Know You're Dead, Bro

But About that $50k ...

4/26/2015 12:20 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

Greg Plitt Owes Money After DeathBravo fitness star Greg Plitt allegedly made a handshake deal with a filmmaker to create his popular fitness show, but never paid the guy ... who's now going after Greg's estate to get the cash.

According to docs ... filmmaker Devin Coury says he and Plitt had an oral contract for his online "Raw Series" back in 2009. Coury says he shot the footage for the program, and was owed $50,000 for his services.

Of course, Plitt died last year when he was hit by a train -- but Coury says he never got a dime of the 50 large. In the docs, Coury says he saw Plitt one last time in 2013, and got his word he would make things right ... but that never happened.

As for proof there was really a deal -- Coury's submitted invoices he sent to Greg.  

Coury admits trying to get the money from his dead friend's estate is a "fragile situation" -- but he's pressing forward with his claim. 

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