The first man who brought Pinocchio to life on the big screen has died -- Richard Percy Jones passed away at home in Northridge, CA.
Jones died Monday night ... apparently of natural causes.
As a kid, he was chosen by Walt Disney to provide the voice of the boy puppet for the 1940 animated flick, "Pinocchio." Jones was also a skilled rodeo rider -- appearing in a bunch of B-movies and TV shows. He also had bit roles in the "Our Gang" films.
Jones retired from acting in the 1960s... to go into real estate and banking. He's survived by his wife and 4 kids.
Hi-Five Singer Russell Neal
Charged with Murder
7/4/2014 7:30 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Hi-Five singer Russell Neal's wife was killed after being stabbed multiple times and he's now been charged with murder.
Cops say Catherine Martinez died from blunt force trauma and stab wounds.
The victim was a hot, 24-year-old fitness model. She was also an aspiring boxer who went by the name Brasilia.
The 40-year-old singer went to the police station Wednesday and told cops his wife was dead in their apartment and he needed a lawyer.
The couple has 2 kids. Law enforcement sources say there were no witnesses to the murder so it appears the children were not in the apartment when their mom was killed.
Neal is currently in custody on $100K bond.
'Gold Rush' Star James Harness
Dead at 57
7/3/2014 2:53 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
4:00 PM PDT: Harness' kids say James died a week ago, after suffering a stroke a week before. They say the funeral will be held in Oregon Saturday.
James Harness, star of Discovery's "Gold Rush," is dead.
Harness -- who lived in Oregon -- had serious medical issues, including back injuries from a car accident that crippled him with pain.
He also had a serious addiction problem with pain pills, which triggered problems on the show. We're told he wasn't showing up for work and became so unreliable he was fired during season 2.
We do not know the cause of death or where he was when he died.
Harness was divorced and had a son and a daughter. He was 57.
Dead at 67
After Battle With Cancer
6/29/2014 5:01 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
"Designing Women" star Meshach Taylor died Saturday night ... after a long battle with cancer.
Taylor's family says he passed away at his home in California while surrounded by loved ones.
Meshach is best known for the role of Anthony Bouvier on the popular late 80's show ... and he was nominated for an Emmy in 1989.
Taylor also famously portrayed Hollywood Montrose in the '87 cult classic flick "Mannequin" -- and had a TON of roles on hit T.V. shows ... like "Hannah Montana", "The Drew Carey Show" and "Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide."
Dead at Age 70
6/27/2014 4:35 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Veteran soul singer Bobby Womack died Friday.
Womack's sister says he passed away in his sleep ... she says they don't know the cause of death.
Bobby struggled with multiple health problems throughout his life ... including diabetes, pneumonia, colon cancer and the early signs of Alzheimer's.
Bobby and his brothers formed a group in the '60s called "The Valentinos" and they recorded the song "It's All Over Now" before the Rolling Stones released their version -- the group's first #1 hit.
Bobby also recorded the songs "Across 110th Street" and "If You Think You're Lonely Now."
In 2009, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
'Survivor' Star Caleb Bankston
We'll Pay For His Funeral
Says Railroad Company
6/26/2014 10:31 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
"Survivor" star Caleb Bankston -- who died in a freak train derailment Tuesday -- will be buried Thursday in Alabama ... and the railroad company where he worked will foot the bill for the funeral ... TMZ has learned.
A rep for Watco Companies -- which operates the Alabama Warrior Railway where the derailment occurred -- says it's been in contact with Bankston's family ... and has promised to cover all of the burial expenses.
TMZ broke the story ... the 26-year-old train engineer was crushed between two rail cars when one of the cars unexpectedly jumped the tracks.
The cause of the derailment is still under investigation.
Caleb was engaged to marry Colton Cumbie this fall. The two appeared together last year on "Survivor: Blood vs. Water."
Fans Flock to Burial Site
For Death Anniversary
6/25/2014 3:01 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Michael Jackson's devoted fans made their annual pilgrimage to Forest Lawn Cemetery Wednesday to pay their respects on the 5th anniversary of his death.
Many of the fans wore iconic MJ threads as they placed flowers and pics near his final resting place.
The scene was decidedly more respectful than the sight of Conrad Murray thumbing his nose
at the Jackson family.
'Survivor' Star Caleb Bankston
Crushed Between Two Train Cars
6/25/2014 9:26 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
"Survivor" star Caleb Bankston was crushed to death by 2 rail cars when the train on which he was riding derailed ... TMZ has learned.
Bankston -- a contestant on "Survivor: Blood vs. Water" last year -- was checking on something in the small space between two of the cars when the train went off the tracks. Cops say the rear car slammed into the forward car ... with Bankston caught helplessly in between.
Since this is an industrial accident, Birmingham PD says the Federal Railroad Administration and the railway company’s safety officer will conduct separate investigations.
So far, it is unknown what caused the derailment. We're told there was one other worker on the train at the time of the crash ... he was not injured.
Conrad Has a Cow
On 5-Year Death Anniversary
6/25/2014 8:01 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Dr. Conrad Murray mocked the 5-year anniversary of Michael Jackson's death by popping into a convenience store for a bottle of milk.
In case you don't remember, Michael's code word for Propofol -- the drug that killed him -- was milk.
Murray has commemorated June 25th in various ways ... having his pic snapped in a tearful pose at MJ's mausoleum, dancing at a wedding and various other hijinks.
This is Murray's first MJ anniversary since being sprung from L.A. County Jail.
Katie Cleary's Husband
Suicide Triggered By
Hormone Therapy Gone Awry
6/25/2014 1:00 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Andrew Stern -- the husband of "Deal or No Deal" showcase model Katie Cleary who committed suicide Sunday -- went on a downward spiral after undergoing hormone replacement therapy for his libido ... TMZ has learned.
TMZ broke the story ... Stern shot himself in the head at a San Fernando Valley firing range. Sources say he was deeply depressed, largely over the meltdown of his marriage.
Close friends of Andrew tell us ... 2 years ago he went to a Beverly Hills health and wellness center because he was feeling lethargic and had a waning libido. We're told the center gave him a kit, which included human growth hormones and testosterone. Both were injectables.
The friends say he started experiencing drastic mood swings and became extremely irritable. Andrew kept the regimen up for a year but couldn't take it anymore and stopped cold turkey.
We're told abruptly stopping such therapy is extremely dangerous and in Andrew's case he spiraled into a deep depression, which got much worse because his business failed and everything then took a toll on his marriage.
The friends tells us ... Andrew -- who filed for divorce in April -- went nuclear after seeing pics of his wife in Cannes, nuzzling up to Leo DiCaprio. Katie's rep says the pics didn't have an impact on Andrew, but his friends scoff and say it had a HUGE affect.
One friend tells us he spoke with Andrew the day before he killed himself -- Andrew said he was having "a tough day" but assured him he'd be OK.
Dies in Train Accident
6/25/2014 3:22 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Caleb Bankston, a contestant on "Survivor: Blood vs. Water" died Tuesday in a train accident.
The 26-year-old -- who appeared on the show with his fiance last year -- worked for the Alabama Warrior Railway. He was working on one of the trains when it derailed Tuesday, killing him.
Caleb worked as a locomotive engineer/conductor.
It's unclear what caused the derailment but both OSHA and the Federal Railroad Administration have already been contacted.
Caleb was a well-liked cast member. Aras Baskauskas tweeted, "Caleb was an amazing man and friend. One of the sweetest and most sincere humans I've ever come across."
Sharon Tate's Sister
'Manson Family XXX' Will Be Released
Over My Dead Body
6/25/2014 12:30 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Charles Manson will NOT be glorified in porn ... so vows the sister of Sharon Tate.
Debra Tate is incensed over the impending casting of "Manson Family XXX" ... a porn parody of the twisted Manson family murder spree that rocked L.A. in 1969.
Adult film director Will Ryder -- whose credits include "Not The Wizard of Oz XXX" -- will cast Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel, Leslie Van Houten, Linda Kasabian, Charles "Tex" Watson, and others. Manson is the central figure who has sex with all of them.
Debra Tate calls it the lowest of lows ... vowing to sic her lawyers on producers if they dare use Sharon's name or likeness.
Problem is, it's parody so she's flat out of luck.
My Husband's Suicide
Nothing to Do with Leo Photo
6/24/2014 2:30 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
"Deal or No Deal" model Katie Cleary says her husband's suicide over the weekend had nothing to do with photos that surfaced of her hanging with Leo DiCaprio and Adrian Grenier ... but the husband's friends tell a different story.
TMZ broke the story ... Andrew Stern -- who married Cleary in July 2010 -- shot himself in the head Sunday, and law enforcement tells us he was suffering significant stress over marital problems.
Just last month Katie was in Cannes partying with Leo and Adrian ... and reports surfaced that she was involved with Leo, although he denies it.
Now Katie's rep tells us ... the couple split 8 months ago and Stern filed for divorce in April. The rep says Cleary and Stern discussed the photos and they were a non-issue.
But several of Andrew's friends see it differently, telling us the pics really bothered him. They say Andrew still loved Katie but filed for divorce because she was humiliating him by globetrotting and hobnobbing with celebs.
Katie's rep also says Katie and Adrian have been friends for a while, and she had never even met Leo until the night of the photo, where they talked about animal conservation and that's all.
As we reported ... in addition to marital problems, we're told Andrew was stressed out over finances. Katie's rep and Andrew's friends say he was also struggling with depression.