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Miller High Life Guy

Dies at 36

3/10/2015 1:02 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

0310-windell-middlebrooks-getty-01Windell D. Middlebrooks -- the actor best known for playing the straight-talking Miller High Life delivery man -- died suddenly at his home ... TMZ has learned.

Sources close to Middlebrooks tell us he was found unconscious at home in the San Fernando Valley Monday morning -- and was transported by ambulance to a hospital ... where he was pronounced dead.

We're told it does not appear there was any foul play. 

While he was best known for the Miller commercials ... Middlebrooks was also a very successful TV actor with roles on "Cougar Town," "Parks and Rec," "Scrubs," "It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia," and the "Bernie Mac Show."

He was also a series regular on ABC's "Body Of Proof."

Middlebrooks was 36 years old.

A rep for MillerCoors tells us ... "He connected with people so naturally because he was one of the kindest, most genuine folks around. We will miss him a great deal and he will always hold a special place with us."

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Sam Simon

Packed a Punch As Sparring Partner

... Says Ex-Boxing Champ

3/9/2015 3:45 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

0309-lamon-brewster-sam-simon-GETTY-01Of course Sam Simon is famous for "The Simpsons" and his philanthropy -- but he was also hugely into boxing ... managing former WBO Champ Lamon Brewster, and even stepping in the ring with him!

Brewster was emotional about the loss of his manager and friend when he spoke to TMZ Sports ... telling us, "Sam would spar with me to help me get ready for my fights." That's pretty crazy when you consider Brewster was a beast at 6'2" and 226 pounds!

Brewster says Simon was always a big fan of boxing in general, but after legendary trainer Freddie Roach introduced them -- Simon became his manager from 1999 to 2006.

Simon's guy got the WBO belt in 2004 by knocking out Wladimir Klitschko -- and Simon was right by his side to celebrate in the ring. Brewster says Simon was like a father to him ... who "was always giving me life advice and cracking jokes."

As for Simon's skills in the ring ... Brewster says, "He could hit! He had a good heart, man ... and so down to Earth."

He added, "Sam is now in a great place and I am pretty sure he is up there telling jokes."

'Simpsons' Co-Creator

Dies After Long Battle With Cancer

3/9/2015 11:41 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

0309-sam-simon-getty-01Sam Simon, the co-creator of "The Simpsons" has died ... TMZ has learned.

Simon passed away Sunday at his L.A. home, following a long, difficult battle with colon cancer. Simon was diagnosed in 2012 and was very public that his disease was terminal.

We're told Simon was surrounded by his family when he died, and his dog. The dog was very special in Sam's life ... he was a big animal rights advocate.

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The Sam Simon Foundation tells us, "For those of us who knew him, his voice will forever echo in our minds; his sense of humor will continue to make us laugh; and his compassion and generosity will continue to impact our lives."

Adding, "Sam, you will be missed by many, but there is a particular sadness among our clinic staff. We have been together for so long, and your absence will forever leave a void in our lives."

Hank Azaria, who voices multiple characters on the show, just tweeted, "Rest in peace and thank you for The Simpsons, Sam Simon."

Sam previously announced he would be leaving his nearly $100 million fortune to his various charities.

Simon was 59.

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Corey Feldman

This One Goes Out to Corey Haim

[AUDIO]

3/6/2015 12:30 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

It took him 5 years, but Corey Feldman is finally ready to honor his BFF Corey Haim in song -- recording a tribute to him to mark the upcoming anniversary of his death.

The song is called "Remember 222" and will be released March 10th. Haim died in 2010 from pneumonia and a bad heart.

The title refers to Haim's favorite number -- which, as Feldman has pointed out for years ... is eerily similar to his own fave digits ... 22.

Interestingly, the lyrics make reference to the Coreys' drug history: "Made the most of every day ... we altered our reality." It also features dialogue from some of their movies ... like "The Lost Boys," and "Dream a Little Dream." 

It ain't "I'll Be Missing You" ... but it's the thought that counts. 

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Brownstone Singer

Death by Wine Glass Was Freaky

But No Signs of a Crime

3/2/2015 10:30 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

0302-charmayne-maxwell-INSTAGRAM-01R&B singer Charmayne Maxwell's death in her home appears to be an almost one in a million accident, and nothing sinister ... TMZ has learned.

Law enforcement sources tell us detectives combed the scene where the ex-Brownstone singer fell on Friday evening -- and say all evidence points to her falling backward at the doorway between the house and the back patio ... while holding a wine glass.

We're told during the fall ... the wine glass shattered on the ground behind Maxwell's head, and when she landed shards of glass punctured the back of her neck in two places. We're told there was an injury to the back of her head, and it's possible she was knocked unconscious. 

TMZ broke the story ... Charmayne's husband Carsten Soulshock came home and found her bleeding around 9 PM Friday. We're told cops interviewed him and several other family members ... and say there's no history of domestic violence. They do not suspect foul play.

The one remaining mystery is what caused the fall -- and we're told one theory is she was intoxicated. The coroner now has her body, and will conduct an autopsy and toxicology test which could answer that question.   

Ex 'SoA' Star's Dad

My Dead Son's Company

Is Ripping Me Off

3/2/2015 12:15 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

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Former "Sons of Anarchy" star Johnny Lewis -- who's been dead for more than 2 years -- just got sued by his own father for a huge chunk of cash the actor failed to pay back before his death. 

If you recall, Johnny fell to his death off the roof of his Los Angeles landlady's home in September 2012 ... after he killed her and dismembered her cat.

According to the legal docs obtained by TMZ … 2 weeks before Johnny died, Michael Lewis loaned more than $60,000 to his son's company to cover legal costs, Screen Actors Guild dues, insurance, and moving expenses. 

Michael says so far, he's only gotten back $23K from his son's estate -- so he's suing Johnny's estate to get back the unpaid cash. 

A debt is a debt.

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William Shatner

Jets Back to L.A.

Mum About Nimoy Funeral

3/1/2015 1:45 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF

030115_william_shatner_launchWilliam Shatner made a surprising return to Los Angeles Sunday ... but was quiet about whether he would attend Leonard Nimoy's funeral. 

Shatner tweeted on Saturday ... he would not be able to go due to a charity event he had scheduled in Florida -- however our photog shot Captain Kirk after his flight landed around 11:30 AM today. 

He remained tight lipped about whether a backlash from fans made him change his mind about paying his last respects to Spock. We reached out to his rep ... but so far no word back.

Shatner did talk to us about Terry W. Virts ... the astronaut who paid tribute to Spock by giving Earth a Vulcan salute from space.

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2:50 PM PST -- Nimoy's rep says the funeral was at 9AM this morning ... which means Shatner was still in the air during the service.

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Brownstone Singer

Dies After Bloody Freak Accident

3/1/2015 1:40 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

0301-charmayne-maxwell-INSTAGRAM-01Charmayne Maxwell -- part of the 90s R&B group Brownstone -- died Friday night in L.A. after her husband found her bleeding from a cut to her neck  ... TMZ has learned.

A family member tells us Charmayne had come home from her son's soccer game, and was home alone with him. Later in the evening ... around 9 PM her husband, music producer Carsten Soulshock, came home and found her unconscious and bleeding.

We're told it looked like Charmayne had fallen and cut her neck on glass ... she was bleeding profusely, but still had a pulse. Carsten called 911, and paramedics transported her to Cedars Sinai Hospital ... but she had lost too much blood. We're told she died on the way to the hospital.

LAPD went to the home ... and tell us it was a broken wine glass that cut Charmayne's neck. Detectives do not suspect foul play.

The group -- which was on Michael Jackson's MJJ Music label -- had its biggest hit with 1995's "If You Love Me." They earned a Billboard Music Award and a Grammy nomination for the song.

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William Shatner

I Can't Attend Spock's Funeral

2/28/2015 1:20 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
breaking news

0228-nimoy-shatner-getty-02Captain Kirk says he won't be there when Mr. Spock beams up for the last time ... despite their decades of friendship.

William Shatner says he's in Florida for a Red Cross Ball -- a commitment he had made prior to Leonard Nimoy's death on Friday morning -- and, regretfully ... will have to miss the funeral service on Sunday.

Shatner adds, "I feel really awful. Here I am doing charity work and one of my dearest friends is being buried." He says he will take time on Sunday to celebrate Nimoy's life ... and encouraged fans everywhere to do the same.

'AHS' Star Ben Woolf

Ryan Murphy & Network

Cover Final Expenses

2/28/2015 12:50 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

0226-ben-woolf-woolf-family-01"American Horror Story: Freak Show" creator Ryan Murphy is stepping up to help Ben Woolf 's family after the actor's death.

Sources close to Ben tell TMZ both Murphy and FX have offered to cover portions of the final expenses. Ben's family will be holding a themed memorial in Santa Barbara on March 21st.

We're told the entire 'AHS' cast and crew have been invited -- and guests are being asked to wear red or blue ... Ben's favorite colors.

TMZ broke the story ... Ben died last week from head injuries he suffered when he was hit by a passing car. We're told he will be cremated. 

Ben's father Nick says fans can honor Ben by donating to The Ben Woolf Fund -- which will be used to purchase memorial park "BENches" ... or fund his favorite charities like ... Little People Of America and the Story Teller Children's Center.

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Leonard Nimoy

Lived Long, Prospered

... Dies from COPD

2/27/2015 9:20 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
breaking news

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Leonard Nimoy, who famously played Mr. Spock, died at home Friday morning in Bel-Air... after battling chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

The "Star Trek" star announced last year that he was battling the disease and attributed it to years and years of smoking. He had given up the habit 30 years ago.

TMZ broke the story ... Nimoy checked into UCLA Medical Center last week for intense chest pains -- but was eventually released.

Nimoy started playing Mr. Spock when the TV show debuted in 1966 ... and is the only actor to appear in every episode of that original series. He continued in the Spock role through most of the movies -- including the most recent reboot in 2013.  

022715_star_trek_spock_launchAside from acting ... Nimoy also wrote books of poetry, 2 autobiographies, and even recorded albums ... mostly cover songs. 

Nimoy tweeted for the last time on Feb. 22, saying ... "A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP"

He was 83.

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The Trekkie In Chief, President Obama released a statement saying ... "Long before being nerdy was cool, there was Leonard Nimoy ... I loved Spock."

Nimoy's longtime co-star William Shatner tells us, "I loved him like a brother. We will all miss his humor, this talent, and his capacity to love." 

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'Next Top Model' Mirjana Puhar

Lead Detective Also a Reality Star

2/26/2015 12:40 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

Americas Next Top Model Death The lead detective assigned to the murder case of "America's Next Top Model" star Mirjana Puhar ironically has a connection to the victim ... they're both reality TV stars.

Det. Norma McKee was on A&E's "The First 48" -- a docuseries about murder investigations -- back in 2011, when she was just a rookie. The episode chronicled a double-murder investigation, her first, involving a couple that was shot point blank in their car by a backseat passenger. 

McKee got her man, who is currently serving 28 years after pleading guilty to two counts of second degree murder. 

Puhar and two other people were killed Tuesday in Charlotte, NC. Police have already arrested a suspect, who has been charged with three counts of first degree murder.

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'Next Top Model' Mirjana Puhar

Killed in Triple Homicide

[UPDATE]

2/25/2015 8:05 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

02025-mirjana-puhar-instagramupdate_graphic_red_bar8:45 AM PT -- Police have arrested 19-year-old Emmanuel Jesus Rangel and charged him with 3 counts of 1st degree murder.

The boyfriend, Jonathan Alvarado was 23 ... and the third victim was 21-year-old Jusmar Gonzaga-Garcia. Our sources say Jusmar was Jonathan's roommate and best friend. We're told Mirjana had just moved in with the guys.

update_grey_gray_barMirjana Puhar -- a recent "America's Next Top Model" contestant -- was killed Tuesday in a triple homicide at her boyfriend's home in Charlotte, NC ... TMZ has learned.

A source who was very close to Mirjana confirmed to TMZ that she was one of the 3 victims found dead in a home that belonged to Mirjana's boyfriend. The source says a friend of the couple went to the house after getting a call that gunshots were heard.

We're told the friend went into the house, saw 2 bodies -- Mirjana and the bf -- and then called police to report the killings. The friend didn't see the 3rd victim, but did see money scattered around the house.

19-year-old Mirjana was on the 21st cycle of 'ANTM' ... which aired last year. She was eliminated from the show in the 10th episode. 

Law enforcement sources tell us the preliminary investigation leads police to believe the murders were drug related -- and the victims knew the killer.  

Our Mirjana source says the young model had only been with the boyfriend for a few months.

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