Frank Bonner 'WKRP' Star Dead at 79

Frank Bonner, famous for playing Herb Tarlek on the TV sitcom "WKRP in Cincinnati," has died ... TMZ has learned.

Frank died Wednesday as a result of complications from Lewy body dementia ... according to his family. We're told his loved ones are heartbroken, and they were with him when he passed away peacefully.

An actor and director, Frank was best known for his work on 'WKRP' in the late 1970s and early '80s ... playing Herb, the radio station sales manager who could never land the big account.

Frank's character was also known for wearing loud, plaid suits on the show plus white shoes and a matching belt.

He directed a handful of episodes on the OG 'WKRP' and reprised his role as Herb in the 1990s spinoff, "The New WKRP in Cincinnati" ... and also acted and directed in "Saved By The Bell: The New Class."

Frank made headlines in October 1979 when he was hospitalized following a parachute accident. He was injured after falling about 20 feet when his ascendency chute collapsed in a freak wind while he was being towed by a four-wheel drive vehicle over a dry lake bed near Los Angeles.

He was 79.


Brooklyn Nets Halftime Singer Laughs Off Critics DMX Cover Won't Please Everyone!!!


No matter what the haters say, the Brooklyn Nets' country singing halftime performer says he had a freakin' blast singing DMX and Notorious B.I.G. on Tuesday ... telling TMZ Sports he's unbothered by people pissed about his nod to the rap legends.

35-year-old singer Sam James went viral on social media after performing at the Nets vs. Bucks game ... with some folks giving their honest (and sometimes brutal) reviews of his setlist involving rap covers.

As it turns out, James says he grew up a HUGE fan of X ... and being able to perform his music in front of the massive crowd was a career moment for him.

"DMX's passing was so unexpected to me, and just to be able to do that last night at Barclays, it was special," James tells us."

He had the same feeling when covering "Juicy" by Biggie ... adding, "To be able to pay tribute last night to some of the greatest Brooklyn artists in Brooklyn at the Barclays Center in front of a crowd like that -- that was unreal."

James somehow had no idea his performance was spreading on the Internet ... but when we recited some of his not-so-nice reviews to him, the dude couldn't have been a better sport.

"I mean, listen, at the end of the day, you can't listen to what other people are saying about music," James said, laughing off the harsh comments. "Music is subjective. Everybody can have their own opinion."

"It's nothing off my back if people aren't into it."

In fact, James says the crowd around him was LOVIN' it ... so, he's more focused on what he experienced than what the trolls are saying.

"I was in the zone ... but everybody that was around me was pretty hyped. So, it felt great!"

James says he knows people are entitled to their opinion ... but he's down to try and change the haters' minds in the future.

"People that are into it, that's awesome. People that aren't, it's cool. Listen, I still got a little time to turn you around."

'Gone Girl' Actor Lisa Banes Dead at 65 After Hit-and-Run Scooter Accident

"Gone Girl" actor Lisa Banes has died after suffering injuries from a hit-and-run accident caused by an electric scooter ... TMZ has confirmed.

Law enforcement sources tell TMZ ... Banes died Monday after more than a week in the hospital in critical condition.

As we reported ... Banes was struck while using a crosswalk on the Upper West Side in NYC on June 4, witnesses said Banes had the right of way -- but the scooter driver barreled through a red light, striking her, and kept going. The scooter was described as red and black in color.

Cops have not yet made any arrests and have not released a more detailed description of the driver.

A rep for Banes -- who was best known for her roles in "Gone Girl" and "Cocktail" -- told ET, "We are heartsick over Lisa's tragic and senseless passing. She was a woman of great spirit, kindness and generosity and dedicated to her work, whether on stage or in front of a camera and even more so to her wife, family and friends. We were blessed to have had her in our lives."

Banes was 65.


Ned Beatty Dead at 83

3:28 PM PT -- Ned's manager tells us ... her client died around 7:30 AM this morning of natural causes, surrounded by friends and loved ones.

Ned Beatty -- a veteran character actor, famous for his work in "Superman," "Network" and several other iconic films -- has died ... TMZ has learned.

A family member tells TMZ ... Ned passed away in his sleep Sunday while surrounded by family at his home. No other details surrounding the exact circumstances of his death were immediately available -- however, we've been told his passing is NOT COVID-related.

The guy has appeared in a variety of different movies and an even bigger variety of roles over his five-decade-plus career ... giving us memorable characters and even better performances. He'll perhaps best be remembered for his standout monologue in 1976's "Network," in which he played a TV/communications chief, who tries convincing the protagonist to stop resisting a major merger deal that will adversely affect the masses.

It's an epic 5 to 6-minute speech he gives to the fictional truthteller, Howard Beale -- one of the only times Beatty appeared on screen in this flick, BTW -- ... and it earned him a Best Supporting Actor nomination at the Oscars that year. That's how great it is.

Beatty had scores of other unforgettable movie moments -- notably, as the bumbling sidekick to Gene Hackman's Lex Luthor, Otis, in the 1978 version of "Superman" in which he completely flipped the script from serious to comedic ... which he carried on for the sequel too. In other words, Beatty had incredible range -- and flexed it often in his acting.

Other remarkable film credits include ... "Deliverance," -- infamous for its "Squeal like a pig" rape scene, of which Beatty was the onscreen victim -- "Friendly Fire," "All the President's Men," "Silver Streak," "Back to School," "Nashville," "The Big Easy," "The Toy," "1941," "Captain America," "Rudy," "White Lightning," "Prelude to a Kiss," "Hear My Song," "Restless Natives," "Life," "Shooter," "Charlie Wilson's War" and even a couple voice acting roles in "Rango" as well as "Toy Story 3," in which he played Lotso ... the evil pink bear.

Ned had appeared in several big hit TV shows as well through the years, such as "Law & Order," "Roseanne," "The Boys," "Highway to Heaven," "American Playhouse," "Szysznyk," "The Rockford Files," "M*A*S*H*," "Homicide: Life on the Street," 'CSI,' "Murder, She Wrote" and countless others.

He's survived by his wife, Sandra Johnson, and his eight children and grandchildren. Ned was 83.


Originally Published -- 2:58 PM PT

Ultramarathon Tragedy Chinese Official Apparently Takes Own Life Amid Probe Into Death Of 21 Runners

An official in China has died -- seemingly taking his own life -- amid an investigation into an ultramarathon tragedy last month that killed 21 elite runners.

The Chinese state-controlled media confirmed Li Zuobi died on Wednesday -- after leaping from his apartment building.

Zuobi was the Jingtai County Communist Party Secretary -- and oversaw a team that was involved with the planning of the 62-mile Yellow River Stone Forest Trail Race which took place on May 22 in the province of Gansu.

As we previously reported, 172 elite athletes participated in the event -- but tragedy struck when a freezing cold storm suddenly moved in just a few miles into the race, punishing the runners with a barrage of hailstones, rain and icy winds.

A 1,200-person search party was launched -- but 21 runners ultimately died due to the severe weather conditions. Several more were hospitalized.

The Chinese government launched a formal investigation into the incident -- and ultimately punished 27 officials for major failures in the race planning.

Among the issues, officials determined the emergency response protocols in place to tackle to serious weather issues were unsatisfactory.

Li was not held personally responsible for the issues -- but his deputy, Zhang Wenling, was fired ... along with other lower-level officials.

MAY 2021

As for Li's death, CCTV (the Chinese state-controlled broadcaster) says investigators do NOT believe he was killed ... and have ruled out homicide.

The families of the 21 runners who lost their lives were offered $150k in compensation following the tragedy ... but some have reportedly declined the offer.

One of the runners who perished in the race is 31-year-old Liang Jing -- one of the top ultra-marathon runners in the world. He's survived by his wife and newborn baby.

Paul Mooney Letterman, Haddish, Tucker Playing Huge Roles in Memorial Service

Some comedy giants are pitching in to help memorialize Paul Mooney ... including David Letterman, Tiffany Haddish and Chris Tucker.

The late comedian's memorial service is slated to go down June 23 at the Roosevelt Hotel's ballroom. We're told Tiffany and actress Marla Gibbs have confirmed they'll attend.

As for the former 'Late Night' host, we're told Letterman -- along with the Angela & John Witherspoon Foundation -- are just some of the peeps who have contributed toward the cost of the memorial service.

Actor Tim Reid ... along with comedian J. Anthony Brown and Richard and Tina Lawson have also contributed to cover costs.

Chris Tucker and George Wallace are some of the comedians who can't attend the service, but instead will send a video tribute. We're also told invitations have been extended to Eddie Murphy and Dave Chappelle.

TMZ broke the story ... a star-studded tribute went down for the late comedian at the famed Hollywood Laugh Factory last month. The City of Oakland also honored him after Paul's sudden passing.

Pat Sajak Pulling for Trebek to Win Emmy ... What's 1 More Loss for Me???


Pat Sajak says he doesn't mind losing another Emmy to the late, great Alex Trebek -- not only because Alex deserves it, but also ... Pat's learned to lower his expectations.

We got the legendary "Wheel of Fortune" host Wednesday in Bev Hills, and asked if he'd be cool with Trebek taking home top honors at this year's upcoming ceremony. Fact is, most see Alex as a shoo-in ... for his talent and for being the sentimental favorite.

Not too surprisingly, Pat told us he was more than fine with that ... because, honestly, what else is the guy gonna say? But, he took it a step further and echoed what Wayne Brady recently told us ... explaining he was actually rooting for AT, like most everyone else in the biz.


Now, when we pointed out the obvious -- namely, that Pat has lost to Alex in the game show host category for many years now -- he jokingly acknowledged it too ... comparing himself to soap opera star Susan Lucci, who was passed over for a Daytime Emmy a whopping 19 times before winning.

Like we said, PS seemed to mostly be kidding here, but he did promise to give us a HUGE scoop ... about his retirement!!!

Chill, it isn't happening anytime soon, but watch what he told us about where you'll hear about it first. Pat Sajak wouldn't lie to us, would he???

Jim Fassel Ex-NY Giants Coach Dead At 71 ... Michael Strahan Mourns

Jim Fassel -- the former NFL head coach who led the NY Giants to Super Bowl XXXV -- has died ... and his ex-star player, Michael Strahan, is heartbroken.

Fassel passed away Monday in Las Vegas after suffering a heart attack following chest pains, his son, John, told the L.A. Times.

And, when Strahan was asked about his former coach on "Good Morning America" on Tuesday ... the ex-pass rusher explained he was crushed to learn of the passing.

"Just a great man, great coach," Strahan said of Fassel. "And, he will be missed. But, I was definitely shocked this morning to find out this news and I just wanted to send my love and condolences to his family."

Strahan continued, "Great man. I enjoyed every minute with him as my coach and after my career when we continued to stay in touch and talk."

Fassel joined the Giants as an assistant coach in 1991 and later became the head coach in 1997, when he won NFL Coach of the Year honors.

Fassel eventually took Strahan and the G-Men to Super Bowl XXXV in the 2000 season ... where they lost to the Baltimore Ravens.

Fassel was fired in 2003 after piling up a career 58-53-1 record ... but he still went on to be an offensive coordinator for the Ravens before wrapping up his coaching career as the head man for the United Football League's Las Vegas Locomotives.

He was 71 years old.


Clarence Williams III Dead at 81 'Mod Squad,' 'Half Baked'

Clarence Williams III -- famous for roles in "The Mod Squad," "Half Baked" and several other movies and shows -- has died.

The veteran actor's management team confirmed the sad news Sunday, saying Clarence had actually passed away Friday in L.A. due to colon cancer.

CWIII had a long history with his craft ... dating back to the '60s when he got his start in theater and broke through on Broadway with a Tony win for his work on "Slow Dance on the Killing Ground." He went on to do TV and movie acting thereafter -- and had a number of memorable roles.

He might best be remembered for playing Detective Linc Hayes on 'Mod Squad' ... in which he starred for five seasons, totaling 123 episodes. After that, the work kept pouring in for Clarence ... he was cast in supporting roles in hit shows like "The Cosby Show," "The Littlest Hobo," "Hill Street Blues," "T.J. Hooker," "Miami Vice," "Nasty Boys," "Twin Peaks," "Tales from the Cyrpt," "The Highwayman," 'Star Trek,' "Walker, Texas Ranger" and countless others.

Clarence also had several standout performances for cult classic films, including "Purple Rain" -- in which he played Prince's troubled dad -- as well as Dave Chappelle's stoner comedy "Half Baked" ... where he played a flamboyant local drug lord Samson Simpson, who was dueling with DC's booming Mr. Nice Guy weed biz in the flick. Tons of great lines from that.

Clarence had starred in a ton of other huge movies as well, such as "The General's Daughter," "Reindeer Games," "The Butler," "Deep Cover," "I'm Gonna Git You Sucka," "Sugar Hill," "Tales from the Hood" ... and many, many more.

He was 81.


Lil Durk Brother OTF DThang Dead at 32 Reportedly Shot & Killed

Lil Durk's older brother, OTF DThang, died this weekend ... TMZ has confirmed.

Cook County officials tell us Dontay Banks Jr. -- DThang's government name -- was found deceased on the 7900 block of S. Loomis Blvd. in Chicago, and has been assigned a case number. An autopsy still has to be done to figure out the cause and manner of death.

Reports say DThang was shot in the head outside of a nightclub and died on the spot ... citing alleged witnesses who say they saw the shooting go down.

DThang was a rapper himself ... but wasn't nearly as big as Durk is, who's blowing up right now. Still, he's got a string of songs out -- although it doesn't look like they ever collab'd.

This is just the latest tragedy to strike Durk's inner circle -- he's lost a handful of friends and loved ones over the years ... including, famously, the death of his labelmate King Von ... who was shot and killed last year. A producer he worked closely with named Turn Me Up Josh also died just last week ... something Durk himself commemorated with a post.

Durk hasn't commented on his brother's passing yet, but condolences have been pouring in all over social media. DThang was 32.


Paul Walker's Brother 'Fast and Furious' & Vin ... They're Still Doing Right By Paul

Walker's Wild Whip

Paul Walker's brother says Vin Diesel and the rest of the 'Fast and the Furious' family made the right move letting his character ride off into the sunset ... and he thinks Paul would get a kick out of where the franchise is these days.

We got Cody Walker at Sancho's Tacos in Huntington Beach and asked how he feels about the way 'F&F' has honored his bro's legacy with the 9th installment about to hit theaters.

Cody says Vin and co. have done a really good job of tastefully paying tribute to Paul's character, Brian O'Conner, and he thinks Paul would have never imagined the franchise going this far.

As you know ... Paul died in a fiery wreck in November 2013. The crash didn't happen on the set, but he was in the middle of filming "Furious 7" at the time. The script for the 8th installment referred to Paul's character a few times.

It's pretty cool ... Cody says he was in middle school when the OG 'F&F' came out, and his brother's movie is what Cody credits for his own love of cars. He says folks stop him in the street all the time to tell him Paul is the reason they love cars, and he always has the same response ... "Me too!!!"

We also asked Cody about one of the original movie cars -- Paul's orange 1994 Toyota Supra -- going up for auction later this month. Cody's anticipating a huge figure for the winning bid, and he tells us why Paul would think the whole sale is hilarious.

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Speaking of fast cars ... Cody's FuelFest is coming to Los Angeles later this month, right before the movie release, featuring some of the top custom, exotic, rare and exclusive cars from all over the world ... along with live music, drifting and drag racing.

You know Paul woulda loved that too.

Wayne Brady Rooting for Trebek to Win Emmy for Game Show Host ... He Set the Bar!!!


Wayne Brady is incredibly honored to be nominated for a Daytime Emmy alongside Alex Trebek ... but losing to him? Well, that'd be one helluva honor too.

We got the "Let's Make a Deal" host in Times Square, and wanted to get his 2 cents on being nominated alongside the late legendary "Jeopardy!" host for outstanding game show host.

Wayne, always the total gentleman, couldn't help singing Alex's praises.

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Wayne said the fact Alex got nominated posthumously speaks volumes ... calling him the consummate professional and the kind of host who was smooth and always in control.

There are some other notable nominees ... like Steve Harvey for "Family Feud," Alfonso Ribeiro for "Catch 21" and Pat Sajak for "Wheel of Fortune." Wayne says there'd be no shame losing to any of 'em, but losing to Alex? Well, he did set the bar after all.

Alex was nominated almost 7 months after he passed away following his courageous battle with pancreatic cancer. Despite announcing the diagnosis in March 2019 ... Alex continued hosting into his 37th season.

He's won 6 Emmys for outstanding game show host. If Alex gets his 7th, you can bet Wayne will applaud along with fans.

Marilyn Monroe Cookbooks Up for Auction ... 11 PM Eggnog, Anyone?!?!

Marilyn Monroe's cookbooks -- the only 2 confirmed to have been owned by the icon -- offer a glimpse into her personal life along with her diet ... and they're expected to fetch up to $75,000.

The books -- "The New Fanny Farmer Boston Cooking-School Cook Book" and "The New Joy of Cooking" -- were both published in the early 1950s and are in decent shape for being 7 decades old ... but of course, the content of the hardbacks are hardly the attraction.

Instead, it's the fact that several handwritten notes are included in the cookbooks ... including a listing menu for Beef Bourguignon and marrow bone soup, a grocery shopping list, and a deli business card on which she wrote a Doheny Drive address on the back.

There's also a newspaper clipping of a recipe for cheese lasagna that she doodled on, and perhaps most interestingly ... a typed diet with options for all 3 meals.

According to the diet ... Marilyn had either orange juice or stewed prunes to drink daily for her 8 AM breakfast along with toast and cereal. She went pretty carb-heavy for lunch, and had the choice of beef, chicken, lamb, sweetbread, fish or chicken liver for dinner.

She also had 2 scheduled milk and cracker snacks, and capped everything off at the end of the night ... with eggnog at 11 PM!!! It's unclear if the nog was spiked.

MM's cookbooks go up for auction June 22 at Siegel Auction Galleries and are estimated to sell for somewhere between $50-75k.

F. Lee Bailey Famed Lawyer Dead at 87

12:46 PM PT -- Bailey's oldest son, Bendrix Lee Bailey, tells TMZ ... F. Lee died Thursday morning in Georgia, where he was in hospice.

He says his father's death was NOT related to COVID-19, and the family is chalking it up to old age.

Bendrix also says Bailey didn't want a funeral, and he'll most likely be cremated -- but the family is considering a celebration of life.

F. Lee Bailey, one of the most famous lawyers in American history, has died.

Bailey represented some of the most notorious defendants in jurisprudence. He repped, among others, Boston Strangler Albert DeSalvo, Patty Hearst, Sam Sheppard and, of course, O.J. Simpson.

Bailey actually made a name for himself early in his career, but not as a lawyer. He was the host of a television show, "Good Company," in 1967, in which he interviewed celebs in their homes. In 1983, he had another show ... "Lie Detector," where he would question guests and submit their answers to a polygrapher.

You likely remember him most from O.J. Simpson's criminal trial, where he partnered with Johnnie Cochran, Robert Shapiro, Robert Kardashian and others. One of the most dramatic parts of the trial was when Bailey cross-examined former LAPD Detective Mark Fuhrman and made it clear to the jury the former cop had used the n-word. Many of those who covered the trial felt that was the moment the jury would decide to find Simpson not guilty.

Bailey had big problems after the Simpson trial. He was disbarred in 2001 for transferring assets from a client into his own, personal bank account.

An interesting twist in his life ... he was arrested in 1982 for drunk driving in California and beat the rap with his lawyer -- none other than Robert Shapiro.

In 2009 Bailey took and passed the bar exam in Maine but was forbidden to practice because the bar felt he did not possess "the honesty and integrity" to practice law.

Simpson posted a video after hearing about Bailey's death, and said his former lawyer had recently completed a book about O.J.'s criminal trial.

@TheRealOJ32 / Twitter

Bailey was married 4 times and had 3 children.

He was 87.


WWE's Alexa Bliss Pet Pig Death Inspires Rescue Mission ... No Animal Should Suffer!


WWE superstar Alexa Bliss is still mourning the death of her beloved pet pig -- but will honor his memory by making sure no other animal suffers the way he did.

As we previously reported, Alexa's pig, Larry-Steve, suffered a medical emergency last week -- but she could not find a veterinarian in her area who would treat the animal.

Due to the lack of medical care, Larry-Steve died ... one day before his 4th birthday.

Alexa tells TMZ Sports she's still very shaken up by the whole situation -- but now feels motivated to save other animals in similar situations.

"We just know that, unfortunately, there's not enough vets that are able to treat pigs or any tools to be able to help larger animals," Bliss told us at LAX.

Bliss says she's been contacted by a bunch of animal owners who experienced similar issues with their larger non-traditional pets and she feels compelled to help.

So far, Bliss says she's raised more than $16,000 for a pig rescue in Florida and will name it after her late pet.

"They're building an insulated pig house for the winter and it's gonna be called The House Larry-Steve Built."

Alexa says she's not sure if she'll get another pet pig -- she's still in a lot of emotional pain -- but will stay deeply involved in the animal community.

"I would love to keep rescuing animals and pigs specifically because they are so emotionally smart. They have the learning capability and understanding of a 3-year-old child. They can feel grief and they can cry real tears."

"People don't know that they're actually super emotional and super smart. I'm fascinated by pigs and loved having Larry around."

Vanessa Bryant Outraged Over Apparent Nike Shoe Leak 'Not Approved To Be Made'

Vanessa Bryant says Nike shoes she designed to honor Kobe and Gianna have been leaked ... and she's outraged over it, claiming they should have NEVER been made.

VB explained the situation early Thursday morning ... saying during recent talks with Nike, she helped create a version of the Kobe 6 Protro that was meant to honor her two loved ones who tragically died in a 2020 helicopter crash.

Vanessa says the shoes featured a black and white colorway, Gianna's #2, and other specific marks like a butterfly, wings and a halo.

The problem? Vanessa says after her split with Nike this spring, approval for the shoes to be made was NOT given -- but she claims they've somehow been leaked anyway and posted a photo of someone holding the shoe in their hand!

"Nike has NOT sent any of these pairs to me and my girls," Vanessa said in a statement.

"I do not know how someone else has their hands on shoes I designed in honor of my daughter, Gigi, and we don't. I hope these shoes did not get sold."

Vanessa added she wanted the shoes to be sold "to honor my daughter with ALL of the proceeds benefitting our @mambamambacitasports foundation."

Vanessa then asked her followers to track down the shoes ... writing on social media, "If someone can share how they have these shoes in their possession, that would be great because my daughters and I don’t have any of Gigi’s MAMBACITA shoes."

An Instagram user, brandon1an, who originally posted professional photos of the "Mambacita" shoes nearly 3 weeks ago, claims Nike is the one responsible for the shoe leak.

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"I just want to make it clear that I don't own a pair of those Mambacita Kobes," the IG user said in a statement Thursday morning.

"The pictures I posted are official product pictures from a Nike authorized retailer."

The user continued, "Unfortunately for [Vanessa Bryant], Nike clearly sent pairs to this retailer (as well as others) with the intent of selling pairs."

We've reached out to Nike to get an official comment on the situation, but so far, no word back yet.

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