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Roy Jones Jr. Praises Jake LaMotta 'Top 10 Boxer Of All Time'

9/20/2017 9:31 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Roy Jones Jr. says Jake LaMotta is one of the 10 greatest fighters EVER -- and says the late, great boxer had a very real impact on his own legendary career. 

"He taught me that no matter how tough things got, no matter how hard things got, you don't stop," Jones tells TMZ Sports.

"That's why he's called a Raging Bull. You don't stop for nothing."

As for why Jake belongs on the All-Time Top 10 list, Roy says the way he pushed Sugar Ray Robinson (widely considered to be the best boxer ever) to the brink 6 TIMES is one of the most incredible feats anyone has ever accomplished in the ring.

Jake died on Tuesday. He was 95.  

Jake LaMotta 'Raging Bull' Boxer Dead ... De Niro Pays Tribute

9/20/2017 7:20 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

8:54 AM PT -- Robert De Niro just issued a statement on LaMotta's passing, "Rest in Peace, Champ."

Boxing legend Jake LaMotta -- the champ who was played by Robert De Niro in the movie "Raging Bull" -- died Tuesday, TMZ has learned. He was 95.

Jake's wife tells TMZ, Jake died in a nursing home due to complications from pneumonia.

Another family member tells TMZ, Jake's condition deteriorated in the last few weeks. He was put on a feeding tube, which he kept pulling out. His condition worsened considerably in the last few days and a decision was made to withdraw the tube.

Jake's wife tells TMZ, "I just want people to know, he was a great, sweet, sensitive, strong, compelling man with a great sense of humor, with eyes that danced."

LaMotta was 83-19 in 106 pro fights -- a career that began in 1941, after he was rejected from serving in the military due to a medical issue.

He went on to win the world middleweight championship -- but he's most well known for his 6-fight rivalry with Sugar Ray Robinson ... though he only won 1 of the 6 fights.

LaMotta was famously portrayed by De Niro in the 1980 movie "Raging Bull," based on Jake's autobiography. De Niro won the Academy Award for Best Actor that year.

R.I.P.

Drake Longtime Friend's Murder Captured on Video

9/19/2017 10:24 AM PDT

The murder of one of Drake's longtime friends was caught on video, and cops just released it.

Anthony Soares was gunned down last week in Toronto by 2 men.

The video shows Soares standing in his apartment lobby when the 2 hooded men run up from a car in a nearby parking lot and begin shooting through the lobby glass. It appears they fired off at least 10 shots.

A few days ago Drake posted, "RIP to one of our family members ... our brother ... I still can't even believe this morning was real. It was a honor to have shared years together and I will always keep your memory alive. Forever Fif" [Fif was his nickname].

Police have no suspects.

Dick Gregory's Son Emmys Snub 'Highly Disrespectful' ... We Never Got a Phone Call

9/18/2017 2:29 PM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Dick Gregory's family didn't hear a peep from anyone involved with the Emmys regarding honoring the iconic comedian, and they absolutely consider it a slap in the face.

One of Dick's sons, Christian Gregory, tells TMZ the omission Sunday night from the In Memoriam segment was especially disrespectful due to his father's legacy. Christian points out most actors and producers of color wouldn't even be working in TV without Dick's civil rights activism and success in entertainment.

As we reported, Gregory, Charlie Murphy, Harry Dean Stanton and Frank Vincent were all left out of the tribute. Murphy's camp had been contacted for photos, but he was still absent from the broadcast segment.

The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences hasn't offered an explanation, but they've added all of them -- except Vincent -- to the Academy's website memoriam.

Charlie Murphy's Rep I Gave Emmys Photos for Tribute Gaffe is Inexcusable!!!

9/18/2017 9:52 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Charlie Murphy's rep says he sent the Emmys photos for the show's In Memoriam segment so there is NO excuse for having excluded him.

Domenick Nati tells TMZ, an Emmys producer reached out to him on August 18 asking for photos to include as part of the show's In Memoriam. Domenick obliged and said the producer emailed him 6 days later, saying they could do a nice tribute with what he'd sent.

So when the tribute finally aired Sunday on national television, Domenick was outraged it came and went without Charlie being mentioned. Dick Gregory, Frank Vincent and Harry Dean Stanton were also left out.

Domenick says a producer for the Creative Arts Emmys -- which aired Saturday night on FXX -- also reached out, and that program DID feature Charlie. He says cutting out Charlie, who died in April, from the main broadcast ... on network TV, where his fans were watching, was a big sin.

We've reached out to the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, so far no word back.

Triple H: Bobby Heenan Wasn't Just a Manager ... One of Greatest Wrestlers Ever

9/18/2017 6:15 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Bobby "The Brain" Heenan wasn't just a legendary wrestling manager -- he was also INCREDIBLE when it came to throwin' down in the squared circle ... so says Triple H

The WWE executive tells TMZ Sports most people don't know about Heenan's wrestling skills -- "He was one of the best in-ring performers there was. He just chose not to do it."

And why not? 

"He wanted to be a manager. That's what he wanted to do."

Heenan was obviously damn good at the managing thing -- rising to legendary status managing stars like Andre the Giant, Ravishing Rick Rude, Mr. Perfect and more in his storied career. 

Triple H also says one of his favorite Heenan moments was his 2004 WWE Hall of Fame induction speech -- which Bobby performed without a single scripted note. 

R.I.P.

Chris Hardwick Shocked at Emmys In Memoriam Screwup

9/18/2017 6:51 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Chris Hardwick thinks someone's got some 'splainin' to do after the Emmys overlooked several celebs, including a "legend" in its In Memoriam segment.

We got Chris leaving Beauty & Essex Sunday night in L.A., and brought him up to speed -- the Emmys forgot to honor Dick Gregory, Charlie Murphy, Harry Dean Stanton and Frank Vincent who all died this year.

Chris apparently hadn't heard about the blunder until we told him, and he says there's no good excuse for it. He has some pretty straightforward/solid advice to the Emmys on how to avoid these screwups in the future.

Harry Dean Stanton Dead at 91

9/15/2017 3:08 PM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Harry Dean Stanton -- who had iconic roles in "Godfather II," "Pretty in Pink," "Alien" and "Escape from New York" -- has died ... TMZ has learned.

Harry Dean died peacefully Friday afternoon at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in L.A. The legendary actor's career spanned more than 6 decades. His credits also include "Repo Man," "Cool Hand Luke," "Paris, Texas," "Alien," "Wild at Heart" and "Twin Peaks."

Harry Dean's final performance will be seen in "Lucky," which is set to air later this month. He's also appeared in HBO's "Big Love" as a polygamist patriarch.

Stanton was in the Navy in WWII and fought in the Battle of Okinawa.

Harry Dean was a talented musician who sang and played guitar. He performed for years with The Harry Dean Stanton Band.

TMZ used to see Stanton frequently at Dan Tana's in WeHo and he was always great to our photogs.

Harry Dean is survived by some family. He was a lifelong bachelor.

Harry Dean was 91. RIP.

Kathy Griffin's Sister Joyce Dead after Cancer Battle

9/15/2017 3:47 PM PDT
Breaking News

Kathy Griffin's sister, Joyce -- the one stricken with cancer who inspired Kathy to shave her head in July -- has lost her battle.

Joyce Griffin succumbed to an undisclosed form of cancer after undergoing extensive chemotherapy.

You'll recall, 2 months ago Kathy shaved her head in solidarity.

It's been tough for Kathy. Her older brother, Gary Griffin, died of esophageal cancer in 2014. Another sibling of Kathy's also died young. She had 4 siblings. Now there are 2.

Joyce was 65 years old. RIP.

Chicago Teen Kenneka Jenkins Cops Release Hotel Video Before Dying in Freezer

9/15/2017 2:29 PM PDT
Breaking News

The plot thickens in the death of a Chicago teen who was found dead in a hotel freezer, because cops have released a video which shows her stumbling through the hotel shortly before she disappeared.

The video shows Kenneka Jenkins appearing to be under the influence of something ... she's running into walls, she slams into a stairway railing and has no sense of balance.

The 19-year-old went missing Friday night after a party at the Crowne Plaza Hotel and her body was discovered in a hotel freezer a day-and-a-half later.

There's been a lot of suspicion on social media that foul play was involved, but cops have maintained they found nothing suspicious. 

Bottom line ... the video shows Kenneka is messed up, but it doesn't show how she got in the freezer. 

Rosie O'Donnell Ex-Wife Michelle Rounds Dead of Apparent Suicide

9/15/2017 1:11 PM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Rosie O'Donnell's ex-wife, Michelle Rounds, was found dead in her home Monday of an apparent suicide ... sources tell TMZ.

Rosie tells TMZ ... "I am saddened to hear about this terrible tragedy. Mental illness is a very serious issue affecting many families. My thoughts and prayers go out to Michelle's family, her wife and their child."

Rosie and Michelle started dating in 2011 and got married in a private ceremony in June 2012. They broke up in November 2014 and Rosie filed for divorce in February 2015.

Rosie cited irretrievably broken relationship as the reason for the divorce, which became final in March 2016. Seven months after they married, Rosie and Michelle adopted their daughter, Dakota, who is now 4 years old.

Michelle's mom posted a statement, "... If anyone would like to give to the National Suicide Prevention it would also be greatly appreciated. There are so many out there in this world that have demons that they think suicide is the only way out ..."

Michelle was 46.

#RIP

Frank Vincent Body Cremated For Presentation at Memorial Service

9/15/2017 6:54 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Frank Vincent has been cremated and will be displayed at his memorial service ... TMZ has learned.

The body of "Sopranos" and "Goodfellas" star was taken to a Montclair, New Jersey funeral home.  After cremation, his ashes were placed in an urn. We're told the urn will be placed front and center on a table at the memorial service, surrounded by photos of the actor over the years.

As we reported, Frank died Wednesday due to complications from open-heart surgery.  

The service is Saturday.

Troy Gentry Helicopter Crash Caused by Engine Failure

9/13/2017 10:56 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

The helicopter crash that killed country singer Troy Gentry was caused by a faulty engine.

The NTSB has issued its preliminary accident report, obtained by TMZ ... which says the pilot "was unable to control engine rpm with throttle inputs." Translation ... the engine was not responding to the throttle inputs, so the pilot on the doomed aircraft had lost control.

The pilot elected to stop the engine and perform an autorotation, which he had done in the past. The main rotor is supposed to turn -- even without power -- which essentially glides the chopper to the ground. According to the NTSB, the pilot was told to autorotate the aircraft over the runway.

The pilot started the autorotation 950 feet above the ground. The RPM "decayed" to the point where the pilot could see the individual rotor blades. It then fell to the ground. A high-pitched whine was heard as it crashed.

It seems, based on the NTSB report and the audio transmissions (below) ... the pilot initially tried hovering until emergency vehicles arrived below him, but the situation got desperate enough that he turned off the engine and attempted an autorotation to the ground.

The NTSB says Gentry was on the chopper purely for pleasure.

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