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Jerry Herman dies at 88

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Jerry Herman (Image via Instagram)

Tony Award-winning composer and out Broadway icon Jerry Herman has died at 88, according to Associated Press.

Herman, known for such cheery, old-fashioned musicals as “Mame,” “Hello, Dolly!” and “La Cage aux Folles,” died Thursday of pulmonary complications in Miami, where he lived with his partner, real estate broker Terry Marler. His passing was confirmed by goddaughter Jane Dorian early Friday. He was a longtime HIV survivor, having been diagnosed in the 1980s.

Herman wrote the music and lyrics for 10 Broadway shows and contributed to several more. He was a two time Tony-winner for Best Musical (“Hello, Dolly!” and “La Cage aux Folles”), a two time Grammy-winner (Best Cast Album for “Mame” and Song of the Year for “Hello, Dolly!”); he was also a Kennedy Center honoree.

The composer’s optimism and simple, straightforward melodies and lyrics were sometimes used by critics to disregard his relevance as a Broadway creator, particularly when prevailing trends moved toward darker, more complex shows in the 1970s.

When he won his second Tony, for “La Cage Aux Folles” in 1984, Herman said, “This award forever shatters a myth about the musical theater. There’s been a rumor around for a couple of years that the simple, hummable show tune was no longer welcome on Broadway. Well, it’s alive and well at the Palace [Theatre].”

The spirit of hope that Herman maintained in his upbeat compositions is evident from the titles of his well-known songs, such as “I’ll Be Here Tomorrow,” “The Best of Times,” “Tap Your Troubles Away,” “It’s Today,” “We Need a Little Christmas” and “Before the Parade Passes By.”

For many, Herman’s most beloved composition was “I Am What I Am,” from “La Cage,” which became an LGBTQ anthem with its potent lyrics, such as the final verse:

I am what I am
And what I am needs no excuses
I deal my own deck
Sometimes the aces, sometimes the deuces
There’s one life, and there’s no return and no deposit;
One life, so it’s time to open up your closet
Life’s not worth a damn
‘Till you can say
“Hey world, I am what I am.”

Herman is survived by Marler, and goddaughters Dorian and Sarah Haspel, who is Dorian’s own daughter. Plans for a memorial service have yet to be announced.

 

Watch videos of some of Herman’s most beloved compositions below.

 

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Celebrity News

Andre Leon Talley, iconic Black fashion journalist & editor dies at 73

Talley worked at Vogue during an unprecedented time of growth in the fashion industry in the 1980’s and 1990’s

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Andre Leon Talley being interviewed in the 1990's (Screenshot via YouTube)

WHITE PLAINS, Ny. – Andre Leon Talley, a formidable iconic fashion journalist and the former creative director and one-time editor-at-large of Vogue magazine, passed away at age 73 of unspecified causes at a hospital in White Plains, an inner suburb of New York City in Westchester County, New York.

News of the famed fashion journalist’s death Tuesday was first reported by celebrity news and gossip site TMZ.

Talley was known for his close friendships with designers like Karl Lagerfeld, Tracy Reese, Rachel Roy, and singer/actress Jennifer Hudson, and Vogue magazine editor in chief Anna Wintour among others.

Talley worked at Vogue during an unprecedented time of growth in the fashion industry in the 1980’s and 1990’s. From 1983 until late 1987, he was the magazine’s the news director and was then promoted to Vogue’s creative director in ’88, a post he held until 1995. He later came back to the magazine in 1998 as the editor-at-large until his departure in 2013.

Born in Washington D.C. on October 16, 1948 and raised in North Carolina, Talley graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in French Literature in 1970 from North Carolina Central University. He later attended Brown University, after he was awarded a scholarship, where he earned a Master of Arts degree in French Literature in 1972.

Talley’s early career as a journalist saw him working at Andy Warhol’s Factory and Interview magazine. He later became the Paris bureau chief for Women’s Wear Daily.

His later career saw Talley hosting his own radio show principally concerned with fashion and pop culture on Sirius XM. He also released a book The Chiffon Trenches: A Memoir on May 19, 2020, which detailed his early career start and some of the issues he encountered as a Black man.

Talley was also an LGBTQ+ icon. When asked about his sexual orientation by daytime chat show host Wendy Williams during a May 29, 2018 appearance, he stated, “No, I’m not heterosexual; I’m saying I’m fluid in my sexuality, darling.”

Andre Leon Talley, Fashion’s Godfather | Fashion Icon Profile:

VideoFashion profile in 2020 marking of the release of Andre Leon Talley’s memoir, “THE CHIFFON TRENCHES.”

Andre Leon Talley | Full Address | Oxford Union:

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Music & Concerts

64th Annual Grammy Awards rescheduled to April

Trevor Noah, Comedy Central’s Emmy® Award-winning “The Daily Show” host will return as master of ceremonies for Music’s Biggest Night®

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Graphic by the Recording Academy®

SANTA MONICA – The 64th Annual GRAMMY Awards® have been rescheduled and will now broadcast live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Sun, April 3 (8-11:30 p.m., live ET/5-8:30 p.m., live PT) on the CBS Television Network and will be available to stream live and on demand on Paramount+.

Trevor Noah, Comedy Central’s Emmy® Award-winning “The Daily Show” host and comedian, will return as master of ceremonies for Music’s Biggest Night®. The show moved from its original date of Jan. 31 amid growing concerns surrounding the Omicron variant. News of the rescheduled date was initially shared via a joint announcement from the Recording Academy®, CBS and CMT.

With THE 64TH ANNUAL GRAMMY AWARDS shifting airdates, the CMT MUSIC AWARDS, country music’s only entirely fan-voted award show, will move from its originally scheduled date of Sunday, April 3 to a later date in April.

Information about the date and location of the awards show will be announced in the coming weeks. This will be the inaugural broadcast of the CMT MUSIC AWARDS on the CBS Television Network. The show will also be available to stream live and on demand on Paramount+*.

Additional details about the dates and locations of other official GRAMMY® Week events, including the GRAMMY Awards Premiere Ceremony®, MusiCares® Person of the Year and the Pre-GRAMMY® Gala will be announced soon.

The 64th Annual GRAMMY Awards are produced by Fulwell 73 Productions for the Recording Academy.

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Television

‘Jeopardy!’ champ helps 83-year-old accept Trans people

Schneider recognized the challenges that come with being an openly Trans woman on national TV, but noted: “I thought it would be worse”

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Amy Schneider (Courtesy of Sony Television & Pictures Corp.)

OAKLAND – Trans “Jeopardy!” champion Amy Schneider, the most winning woman in the show’s history, opened up in a recent interview about learning that her TV presence helped an 83-year-old man learn to accept Trans people. 

In an interview with NPR, Schneider recognized the challenges that come with being an openly Trans woman on national TV, but noted: “I thought it would be worse.”

Though Schneider has dealt with her fair share of transphobic comments on the internet, she told NPR’s Ari Shapiro that she stays out of the comment sections because it’s better for her mental health. 

However, she did recall receiving one Twitter post that highlighted the positive impact of her visibility. 

“After two to three years of conversation, you being on “Jeopardy!” every night has taught my dad to be accepting of Trans people,” the post said, according to Schneider. “You’re the first person he’s used correct pronouns with, an 83-year-old man saying, this isn’t too hard. Thanks for your message of love.” 

“That is just one of the best things I could hear,” Schneider said. “And that I’ve been able to do that, give people that experience – and if I’m helping them, that’s what I want to do most of all.”

On Friday, Schneider won her 33rd straight game, the third-longest winning streak in “Jeopardy!” history, amassing $1,111,800 in winnings.

Recently, the history-making contestant returned to Twitter after a brief hiatus sparked by being robbed at gunpoint over the New Year’s weekend. 

“Hi all! So, first off: I’m fine. But I got robbed yesterday, lost my ID, credit cards, and phone,” she said, adding: “So, I doubt I’ll even start writing tonight’s game thread today, and if I keep winning, it may take a bit for me to get caught up. Thanks for your patience!”

Schneider, an engineering manager from Oakland, has been an inspiration to many during her historic run on the show. 

“Seeing Trans people anywhere in society that you haven’t seen them before is so valuable for the kids right now that are seeing it,” she told ABC affiliate KGO-TV in November, adding: “I’m so grateful that I am giving some nerdy little Trans kid somewhere the realization that this is something they could do, too.”

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