Broadway Star Nick Cordero Dead at 41 ... After COVID-19 Battle

Nick Cordero -- a veteran leading man on Broadway -- has died after a long battle with COVID-19 -- this according to his wife, Amanda Kloots.

First word of Cordero's passing came Sunday when Sony music exec Tommy Mottola tweeted ... "NICK CORDERO..REST in PEACE our dear brother!!!" He added, "lead actor and star of 'A BRONX TALE MUSICAL'..beautiful sweet man.. amazing talented actor and singer...loving family man ..we pray for you and your family .. @amandakloots."

Tommy finished his thoughts by saying, "..no more pain ..no more sufferin…" Nick's wife, confirmed the news herself on Instagram, writing a lengthy tribute to her husband.

Amanda writes, "God has another angel in heaven now. My darling husband passed away this morning. He was surrounded in love by his family, singing and praying as he gently left this earth."

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She continued, "I am in disbelief and hurting everywhere. My heart is broken as I cannot imagine our lives without him. Nick was such a bright light. He was everyone’s friend, loved to listen, help and especially talk. He was an incredible actor and musician. He loved his family and loved being a father and husband. Elvis and I will miss him in everything we do, everyday." Amanda went on to thank Nick's team of doctors as well as his supporters who poured in love and well-wishes during his lengthy battle.

Amanda had publicly shared updates while her husband was fighting for his life ever since contracting the virus in March.

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Nick was initially hospitalized thinking he had pneumonia, which was later found to be COVID-19. Since being admitted, he's had several complications with his treatment, including septic shock, lung infections and a leg amputation.

Most recently, he had a procedure done to remove a pace maker, and Amanda said Nick might even need a double lung transplant down the road.

Prior to his diagnosis, Nick was an absolute stud on the big stage, having starred in several big shows like "Bullets over Broadway," for which he got a Tony Award nomination in 2014. He was also in "Waitress," "Rock of Ages," and the musical version of "A Bronx Tale," which earned more nominations and accolades.

Nick also had some on-screen credits, notably playing a cop in the CBS crime drama, "Blue Bloods."

He's survived by Amanda and their one-year-old son, Elvis. Nick was 41.

RIP

Coronavirus London Streets, Pubs Reopen ... Wild, Dicey Scene

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England has reopened its doors to pubs and restaurants -- on what they're calling "Super Saturday" -- but the government's warnings/threats seem to have fallen on deaf ears.

Check out the scene in the SoHo district of London, where an insane number of people broke loose Saturday from their flats and hit the streets and bars. There's zero social distancing and masks are few and far between.

Here's the thing ... the UK has banned gatherings of more than 6 people and there's a strong recommendation that people stay 2-meters apart. Clearly not the case.

Pubs closed back in March due to the virus and the lockdown. The government has warned if people don't follow the rules the pubs will be the first to get shut down again.

Europe has 280,000 confirmed COVID19 cases and 44,000 deaths.

The government has also allowed hair salons, outdoor gyms, playgrounds, hotels, movie theaters, museums and libraries to reopen.

Looks a lot like America.

4th of July Bev Hills Party Breeding Ground for COVID

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Hundreds of young people in SoCal ran for the hills on the 4th of July ... Beverly Hills that is, where they may get 2 cases of Corona -- and only 1 is the beer.

It's a crazy scene that has been repeated all over the country. Partiers packed in like sardines without face masks. There's a lot of drinking and super-close contact ... ideal for the spread of the virus.

Not that they're listening .... but California is experiencing a huge spike in coronavirus cases.  In the last 2 weeks in L.A. County, 28,130 people tested positive and 391 have died.

It's now as clear as can be ... there are lots of people who just don't care if they get the virus or just believe they are impervious to it. Wrong.

They clearly don't believe in science, so the question -- will they get a vaccine if and when it's available?

Hollywood Bar & Club Scene On Verge of Collapse ... After New Closure Order

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California's nightlife is going back into lockdown amid renewed spikes of coronavirus cases -- something the L.A. bar and club scene might not be able to survive ... TMZ has learned.

If you live in the Golden State, you probably heard about Gov. Gavin Newsom once again ordering the closure of bars and clubs in 19 counties -- including Los Angeles County, where those venues had just started to open back up after months of lockdown.

Newsom also said folks couldn't do indoor dine-in service at restaurants -- so even if a bar serves grub, it's a nonstarter. Fact is ... Newsom had no option. The virus is out of control.

Nevertheless ... it's a big problem for lots of bars and clubs -- especially smaller ones that were ramping up to get back into the game ... only to get shut down for a second time.

John Arakaki, who owns St. Felix -- a couple of stylish bars that have been functioning in the Hollywood area for the past 11 years -- says he quickly went through 60 percent of his government loans on safety training, staff payroll, cleaning the kitchen and everything in between. When he reopened 3 weeks ago, he was able to break even after factoring in all his revenue and expenses. He was hoping to turn the corner during the 4th weekend, but that's not going to happen. He says if he's down for 3 more weeks, survival looks bleak.

Cat & The Fiddle -- a West Hollywood pub -- reopened its doors Monday ... just to have everything shut down again 2 days later. The owner spent 5 to 10 thousand dollars in the past couple weeks on face masks, safety training for their staff, and beer and food inventory.

Heck, even popular Hollywood hot spots like Bootsy Bellows and Poppy -- two popular WeHo clubs -- are on the ropes -- they were ramping up for a big 4th of July, and that's now money down the drain. They say they can survive, but that's a relative term.

Some of the restaurant and club owners are especially frustrated because they feel the second shutdown order came from out of the blue. The reality ... the COVID numbers were on the rise for many days, and at a point, the shutdown was only a matter of time.

4th of July H2O Blowouts Packed Park, Pool/Lake Parties Mantra -- 'Just Live With It ???'

4th of July is proving many Americans don't care coronavirus cases are spiking again, which is in line with the White House's new messaging ...  just live with it.

A handful of water-based venues -- including a water park and two lakeside blowouts -- brought out droves of people this holiday weekend in Wisconsin, Missouri and Michigan ... all of which are seeing their own surges in confirmed COVID-19 diagnoses.

That didn't matter to these folks though -- they were ready to get wet and wild for Independence Day, and you can tell by how little mind they're paying to safety precautions.

At the Noah's Ark Waterpark in Wisconsin Dells, WI, hardly anybody was 6-feet apart from each other as they packed the wave pool. And, masks were out the window, obviously -- studies say they're ineffective if they get wet, so a lost cause right off the bat here.

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Elsewhere in Missouri ... the same bar adjacent to Lake of the Ozarks -- Backwater Jack's -- forged ahead with their planned Fourth of July blowout, which they dubbed No Ducks Given. Between Friday and Saturday, the place once again resembled a sardine can.

And, in Michigan, another lake shindig was well underway Saturday ... Diamond Lake in Cass County was packed to the gills along its shores with partygoers raging the day away.

We've seen this behavior all throughout the spring and early summer -- ever since America was put on high alert and states went on full-blown lockdowns. While the shelter-in-place orders seemed to flatten the curve, there has been an explosion of new cases in the wake of reopening.

And yet ... the bad and dangerous behavior continues, despite what the CDC and other health officials have to say. The question ... what's next? Welp, President Trump's administration seems to have an answer, according to a new report anyway. It's simple ... live life at your own risk. Thing is ... he's been putting people -- his own supporters -- in harm's way by holding reckless rallies with no social distancing and few masks.

NBC News reports that big wigs in Trump's cabinet are ramping up for the new messaging to the American people ... that the virus is here, and we gotta press forward regardless.

Ironically, it appears a large part of the country is already doing that, consequences be damned. So ... carry on? 😬

Joey Chestnut Breaks His Own Hot Dog Record ... No Crowd, No Problem!!!

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A little COVID fallout didn't stop hot dog eating champ Joey Chestnut from breaking his own record this year -- despite the fact there was no crowd -- 'cause the guy did just that and then some.

JC took top honors (again) Saturday at the annual July Fourth Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest -- which saw the dude down 75 dogs in 10 minutes ... beating his own previous benchmark of 74 from last year. It's his 13th title total ... so basically, a G.O.A.T.

During the festivities, he also hit another food vacuum milestone -- his 1,000th career dog! The feat wasn't without its hiccups (damn near vomit fests), but he held off 'til the end.

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BTW, Joey wasn't the only making history this weekend -- there's a women's champ too ... the one and only Miki Sudo, who downed 48.5 franks ... which easily beat the competition.

This year's event was unique in that there were no ticketholders or spectators (aside from the eaters' own teams, of course) ... which made for a somewhat muted performance. There was also plexiglass between the competitors -- so pretty distance friendly we'd say.

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The only downside to Saturday's dog chugging event was that Joey did NOT live up to his promise to TMZ Sports earlier in June, when he said he'd hit 77 dogs no problem.

Always next year, bud. Congrats either way!!!

Donald Trump Talks Culture War ... Crowd Couldn't Care Less About COVID

Donald Trump's idea of a 4th of July celebration was igniting a culture war, as 7,500 of his followers exposed themselves to a massive coronavirus outbreak.

Check out the crowd at Mount Rushmore ... ZERO social distancing, per the Governor herself, who believes crowding together is a symbol of freedom. In fact, the chairs were zip-tied together because of fire code regulations. Masks were few and far between and the crowd sat for hours, cheering and doing the things that spread the virus.

And, speaking of the virus ... it's hitting close to Trump's home. Donald Trump Jr.'s girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle, has tested positive.

As for the President ... his focus was on America's awakening, which he clearly thinks is a bad thing. Of the protesters, he said they are trying to "end America" by engaging in a  "merciless campaign to wipe out our history, defame our heroes, erase our values, and indoctrinate our children."

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And, he went on ... "We will expose this dangerous movement, protect our nation's children, end this radical assault and preserve our beloved American way of life."

Mount Rushmore Trump's Fireworks Show Costs $600k ... But Could Cost WAY More

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President Trump's highly touted Fourth of July fireworks extravaganza at Mount Rushmore isn't coming cheap -- it will cost the country well over half a million bucks ... and could cause a spike in coronavirus cases to boot.

The July 3 celebration with be the first at the South Dakota landmark since 2009 due to environmental issues, and Trump's really hyping it up ... while ignoring the COVID-19 related risks of gathering thousands for a fireworks display.

Nevertheless, POTUS and the First Lady Melania will travel to Rushmore Friday to take in the celebration ... which TMZ's learned has a price tag of nearly $600k, if not more.

According to federal procurement docs ... an environmental consulting service called Ero Resources Corporation was paid $138,800 to work on the event. Another consulting company got over $30k for permit review and display inspection, while a protective services business landed nearly $33k to provide security and screening.

But, that's not all ... the docs show nearly $30k spent on National Fire Protection Association code consultation ... and about $3,500 on portable toilets.

Add it all up and that's $234,247, and THEN tack on the $350k paid to a California company called Pyro Spectaculars for the actual fireworks show ... and the total is $584,247.

And, keep in mind ... this doesn't even factor in the scheduled flyover!!!

Also, if you aren't aware ... social distancing won't be enforced at the large gathering -- according to South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, who worked with Trump to make it happen -- despite the fact COVID cases are on the rise across the U.S.

Gov. Noem says free face masks will be given out to those who want them, but "we won't be social distancing. We're asking them to come, be ready to celebrate, to enjoy the freedoms and the liberties that we have in this country."

God bless America?

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