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'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.   

RIP 

'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."

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Weight Watchers

Founder Dies at 91

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

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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. 

RIP

Suzanne Crough

'Partridge Family' Daughter Dies

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

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."

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Andrew Getty

Burglars Steal Silverware after Death

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

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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.

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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
EXCLUSIVE

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. 

Sawyer Sweeten

No Signs of Trouble Before Suicide

4/24/2015 10:58 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

Sawyer Sweeten DeathSawyer Sweeten was upbeat, looking to the future and showed no signs of depression, which is why his family is absolutely shocked he committed suicide.

As we reported, the 19-year-old shot himself Thursday morning. We're told it happened in a family member's Texas home. Sweeten was upstairs while unsuspecting relatives were downstairs. 

Sources close to the "Everybody Loves Raymond" star tell TMZ he was a "very positive person." We're told he was especially excited for the upcoming 10 year anniversary of the show's finale. And sources say Sawyer never showed signs of depression.

The family is struggling because they had absolutely no clue something was amiss. 

'Everybody Loves Raymond' Son

Sawyer Sweeten Commits Suicide

4/23/2015 7:09 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
breaking news

0423_Sawyer-Sweeten_getty_2010Sawyer Sweeten -- one of the twins from "Everybody Loves Raymond" -- committed suicide Thursday morning, according to his sister.

19-year-old Sawyer reportedly shot himself while visiting family members in Texas. His older sister Madylin Sweeten -- who was also on 'Raymond' -- confirmed the death to TMZ, saying ... "This morning a terrible family tragedy occurred. We are devastated to report that our beloved brother, son, and friend took his own life."

Sawyer played Geoffrey Barone -- one of Ray Romano's twin boys -- on the series from 1996 to 2005. He not only co-starred with Madylin, but also his real life twin brother Sullivan.

His 20th birthday was just a few weeks away.

Madylin posted on Facebook on Thursday afternoon ... "At this time I would like to encourage everyone to reach out to the ones you love. Let them have no doubt of what they mean to you.”

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Paris Hilton

Peace Out Tinkerbell ...

Ya Lived Better Than Us [TMZ TV]

4/22/2015 6:00 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
TMZ TV

Paris Hilton’s O.G., and most famous dog, Tinkerbell died after 14 years of ridiculous luxury -- leaving us with memories of all the amazing things she got to do ... that we never will.  

Sleep well, sweet princess.tmz-on-tv-3

Rosie the Riveter

Model for Iconic WW II Image Dies

4/22/2015 4:02 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
breaking news

0422-rosie-the-riveter-mary-keefe-GETTY-01The woman who became Norman Rockwell's Rosie the Riveter -- the symbol of American women working on the home front during World War II -- has died at the age of 92.

Mary Doyle Keefe died Tuesday in Connecticut after a brief illness ... according to her daughter.

Keefe met Rockwell when she was 19-years-old and working as a telephone operator. She was paid $10 to pose for Rockwell's iconic painting ... which showed a woman with her sleeves rolled up, rivet gun on her lap, and eating a sandwich during a break.

The image debuted on the Saturday Evening Post in May 1943.

In real life, Keefe wasn't anywhere near as beefy and muscular as Rockwell's Rosie. He later apologized to Keefe for the image, saying he needed to make her "sort of a giant."

The painting was eventually used to sell war bonds -- and Beyonce even struck her own version of Rosie last summer on Instagram.

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