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Mr. Rogers Biopic Good Casting, He Loved Tom Hanks! ... Says Son

2/1/2018 12:40 AM PST

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood for Mr. Rogers' family -- not only do they think Tom Hanks is a perfect choice to play him in a flick ... they have mad love for TH!

Fred Rogers' youngest son John tells us the family couldn't be happier with Hanks' casting in the upcoming biopic about his late father, "You Are My Friend," for a whole bunch of reasons ... mostly because Fred was apparently a big Tom Hanks fan.

John says Fred really respected and enjoyed Hanks' work, especially "Forrest Gump." Check out the clip ... you won't believe how many times John says his pops watched it. 

As far as any involvement in the project, John says he hasn't been approached to get involved or consult Hanks for the role just yet. But he is open to it ... your move, Tom.

'Storm Chasers' Star Joel Taylor Death Investigation Dropped by FBI ... Back with Local Cops

1/25/2018 3:30 PM PST

Joel Taylor's death is officially off the FBI's plate -- for now at least ... TMZ has learned.

Carlos Osorio -- a spokesman for the FBI's San Juan Division -- tells TMZ the feds have been pulled off the "Storm Chasers" star's case, and it's been passed back to local authorities. 

Osorio says FBI members conducted a preliminary investigation on the cruise ship Taylor died on this week, and concluded his death was not the result of a violent crime. That, coupled with other factors he wouldn't elaborate on, made U.S. officials determine the case was no longer in the FBI's jurisdiction.

Here's the catch -- if it's determined Taylor's death is linked to murder ... we're told the feds could reopen the investigation. That doesn't seem likely -- Taylor's death appears to be tied to a drug OD.

As we reported ... Taylor was so out of it after consuming what we're told was GHB that he was rendered unconscious on the dance floor and had to be carried to his room. Passengers told us drug us was rampant on the cruise ship as passengers partied.

No arrests have been made, and local police in San Juan are currently investigating the circumstances surrounding Taylor's demise. 

'Storm Chasers' Star Joel Taylor Cruise Ship Where He Allegedly OD'd Had Zero Tolerance Drug Policy

1/25/2018 9:46 AM PST

The cruise line on which "Storm Chasers" star Joel Taylor died of an apparent OD this week does not allow illegal drugs on the boat ... which raises the question -- how did they ignore a river of drugs on board?

Royal Caribbean International tells TMZ they have a "zero tolerance" policy when it comes to drugs. If the crew finds them, they confiscate them.

So the question ... multiple passengers tell us drug use was out in the open ... flagrant and notorious.  The parties were drug-fueled and, as we reported, Taylor was so out of it he fell into unconsciousness on the dance floor and had to be carried to his room after allegedly consuming GHB. 

As we reported ... we're told several passengers suspected of drug possession were stopped after drug-sniffing dogs zeroed in on them at the Ft. Lauderdale port where the ship departed.

TMZ broke the story ... the FBI is now investigating Taylor's death and has already spoken to folks at the cruise line to find out what went down on board.  

Charles Manson 3 Finalists Vying for Body!!! Judge to Sort It Out

1/24/2018 12:40 AM PST

Charles Manson's still on ice, but the battle's heating up for his body -- and the 3 lucky finalists in line for the corpse all have some issues, which have now fallen in a judge's lap.

According to docs, obtained by TMZ and filed by the Kern County Coroner, 3 men are claiming Manson's bod. The first is Michael Channels, who submitted the first will from Manson -- but it's only partially legible. Plus, Channels is listed as a witness, which casts doubt on the will's validity.

Contestant #2 is Matthew Robert Lentz, who claims to be Manson's son and also filed a will, but his only has 1 witness -- at least 2 are required -- so it's incomplete. 

Last up ... Jason Freeman -- who says he's Manson's grandson -- filed legal docs to prove he's Charles Manson Jr.'s son ... seemingly making him the murderer's next of kin. The problem here is, before his death, Manson told prison officials he had no family.

In other words ... it's legal helter skelter. Good luck sorting it out, your honor!

Teletubby Tinky Winky Actor Simon Shelton Dies at 52

1/23/2018 7:57 AM PST

One of the guys who played Tinky Winky -- the allegedly gay Teletubby -- has died.

Simon Shelton died last week, according to his son, who told the BBC his dad passed last Wednesday. Shelton's niece, Emily Atack, said her uncle was "taken so suddenly."

Simon scored the "Teletubbies" role as the purple Teletubby after the original actor was fired in 1997. He stayed in the purple suit through 2001.

Tinky Winky was accused of being gay by deceased televangelist Jerry Falwell, who once wrote ... "He is purple -- the gay pride color, and his antenna is shaped like a triangle -- the gay pride symbol."

Yes, that actually happened.

Shelton was 52. RIP

Connie Sawyer Oldest Working Actress Dies at 105

1/22/2018 2:55 PM PST
Breaking News

Hollywood's oldest working actress, Connie Sawyer, died at home after an incredibly long and prolific career.

Connie reportedly passed away at her Woodland Hills home. Unclear exactly how, but she was 105 ... so presumably it's related to her age. 

The longtime actress got her start in Tinseltown at the age of 18, and has over 140 acting credits to her name -- most of which were TV roles.

Sawyer's been on a number of hit shows over her six-decade career, including "The Jackie Gleason Show," "The Andy Griffith Show," "All in the Family," 'Mary Tyler Moore,' "Starsky & Hutch," "Seinfeld," ... and on and on.

She's also starred in movies like "Dumb and Dumber," "Pineapple Express," "When Harry Met Sally..." and "The Way West."


Dolores O'Riordan Mourned by Hundreds In Open Coffin Public Reposal

1/21/2018 12:46 PM PST

Dolores O'Riordan was mourned by hundreds this weekend in her native Ireland during an open coffin public reposal -- where bystanders said goodbye to the Cranberries singer.

Dolores' body was on display Sunday at St. Joseph's Church, where mourners flocked to pay their respects to the Irish rock star. The casket remained open, and some fans reportedly said she looked "at peace" ... according to the Irish Times

Her mother and six siblings were in attendance, and her Cranberries bandmates left a floral tribute beside her coffin which read ... "The song has ended, but the memories linger on."

As we reported ... Dolores died this past week while recording in London. Her rep said she died "suddenly" and cops are treating the death as "unexplained" for now ... no further details have been released. Friends of hers told us she'd been "dreadfully depressed" as of late, and was also suffering from back pain.

Dolores will be laid to rest next to her father Tuesday at Caherelly Cemetery in County Limerick, Ireland. 


Tom Petty Died From Massive Accidental Drug OD

1/19/2018 3:51 PM PST

Tom Petty's autopsy results are in, and they show the singer died from an accidental drug overdose as a result of taking a variety of medications. 

The L.A. County Coroner says a number of Tom's organs failed due to "mixed drug toxicity."

The autopsy report says when paramedics arrived he was in full cardiac arrest, but CPR revived him -- but on the way to the hospital he lost pulse for 20 minutes. He went into cardiac arrest a second time in the hospital and died 21 hours after being admitted.  

Tom's autopsy report shows the singer was on several pain meds, including Fentanyl patches, oxycodone (Oxycontin), temazepam (Restoril), alprazolam (Xanax), citalopram (Celexa), acetyl fentanyl and despropionyl fentanyl. The reason doctors prescribed the meds was because of a number of medical problems, including emphysema, knee problems and a fractured hip.

The family says the linchpin to Tom's demise was the fractured hip. He insisted on touring for 53 concert dates with the condition, which worsened over time and caused him to take the meds. On the date he had the heart attack he was told his hip had graduated to a full-on break that made the pain unbearable and may have caused the overuse of meds.

The autopsy says Petty suffered from coronary artery atherosclerosis.

As we reported ... Tom's official death certificate left his cause of death as "deferred," leaving it as a mystery until now.

We broke the story ... Tom went into full cardiac arrest before being taken to a hospital in L.A. He eventually died when his family took him off life support.

Fentanyl was also linked to the deaths of Prince and Lil Peep.

Tom was 66. 

Dolores O'Riordan Music Sales Up Over 900k% ... After Sudden Death

1/15/2018 4:17 PM PST

Dolores O'Riordan's sudden unexplained death has made tidal waves in the music world -- just take a look at her sales online ... which are up over 900,000%.

Dolores' music both on her own and with her band, The Cranberries, dominated Amazon's music sales Monday after news broke of her death -- with one of The Cranberries' albums, "Something Else" surging at 913,350% in sales. 

Her tunes also occupy the other top 4 slots for trending albums, which are up 147,552% ("Are You Listening?"), 107,520% ('Everybody Else is Doing It'), 93,781% ("To the Faithful Departed") and 77,096% ("Wake Up and Smell the Coffee"), respectively.

BTW ... her music sales on iTunes are also skyrocketing -- with Cranberries' albums dominating the number 3rd, 6th, 7th and 9th spots on their Top 10 Albums chart. 

As we reported ... Dolores died Monday unexpectedly. Her bandmates sent out a message saying ... "We are devastated on the passing of our friend Dolores. She was an extraordinary talent and we feel very privileged to have been part of her life from 1989 when we started the Cranberries. The world has lost a true artist today."

Sources connected with the singer tell TMZ she had been "dreadfully depressed" in recent weeks.

She was 46. 

Dolores O'Riordan Cranberries Singer Dead at 46

1/15/2018 9:17 AM PST
Breaking News

3:10 PM PT -- Friends of Dolores tell TMZ ... she had been "dreadfully depressed" in recent weeks, and was also suffering with a lot of back pain.

11:08 AM PT -- Dolores tried taking her life by OD'ing back in 2013, saying she had suffered from depression and ultimately a mental breakdown. She was also diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Dolores said she believed some of her emotional problems emanated from being abused as a child.

The Cranberries lead singer, Dolores O'Riordan, died Monday in London.

Dolores was reportedly in London for a recording session. A rep for the band would only say she died "suddenly." The rep offered no further details.

The Irish band struck it big in the '90s ... when Dolores took over for their previous lead singer. Their songs "Zombie" and "Linger" were huge international hits. 

Dolores released 2 solo albums while the Cranberries were on hiatus. They got back together in 2009, and had planned a tour last year, but ended up canceling when Dolores had back pain.

She split from her husband of 20 years in 2014, and survived by 3 children. Dolores was 46.


Jill Zarin's Husband Bobby Dead at 71 After Cancer Battle

1/14/2018 8:01 AM PST
Breaking News

Bobby Zarin, the husband of Jill Zarin, has died after a long battle with cancer.

The "Real Housewives of New York" star posted a statement, saying the family was devastated.  Bobby died Saturday surrounded by his family.

Bobby battled cancer for years. He was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2009 and underwent radiation treatment -- eventually having his thyroid removed.

In 2016, Bobby was diagnosed with a brain tumor. The pic (below) is the last one taken of the 2 of them out at Andy Cohen's show last June when she was a guest.

There will be a service Monday.

Bobby was 71. RIP 

West Hollywood Jesus Dead at 57 Just Before Christmas

1/3/2018 8:18 PM PST
Exclusive Details

One last reminder 2017 totally sucked -- the most photographed Jesus ever didn't make it to Christmas ... TMZ has learned.

Family members tell us the man known as West Hollywood Jesus died Dec. 13 after a brief hospitalization in L.A. for pulmonary issues.

WeHo Jesus, real name Kevin Short, was a mainstay up and down Hollywood Boulevard, and famously posed for pics with countless tourists over the years. If you've been, you know there are multiple Batmans and Supermans, but only one Jesus. And now he's gone. Again.

WeHo Jesus was 57 ... 20 some years more than the O.G. made it.

Of course, WHJ didn't have Pontius Pilate on his ass.


Celebs In Memoriam Were 2017 Deaths ... More Shocking Than Last Year's?

12/29/2017 12:40 AM PST

A bunch of celebs died over the course of this year -- and as tragic as they were, we gotta ask ... do their deaths top 2016 in shock value?

Stars as big as Hugh Hefner, Tom Petty and Bill Paxton all passed away in 2017 -- but the year also saw back-to-back suicides in rockers Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington

Remember, the world lost Prince (and A LOT of other people) last year -- which left tons of folks shook. But, the fallen stars of 2017 might've been just as earth-shattering.

Take a look back at who we've lost in Hollywood this year ... RIP.

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