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“I just want the applause of my children saying I’m a good Dad…”

Sir Elton John, gearing up for his final show in the United States at Dodger Stadium, speaks with GMA anchor Robin Roberts

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Sir Elton John holds up a family photograph during an interview with GMA's Robin Roberts (Screenshot/YouTube GMA)

LOS ANGELES – This Sunday after his first memorable concert stage appearance in a sequin LA Dodger’s uniform-costume, Sir Elton John returns to end the North American leg of his global farewell tour at Dodger Stadium coming full circle fifty years later.

The 75-year-old entertainer in a recent interview with ABC News Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts says that after five decades on the stage, he’s looking forward to spending more time with family.

The dichotomy of Roberts, the first woman of color and first openly LGBTQ woman to anchor a prestigious television network morning show and the singer-musician, who is openly gay and married with two sons against that time period five decades ago in both of their lives and the society then versus now is stark.

Johns’ last concert at Dodger Stadium, which will also be live streamed on Disney+, marks a new beginning he tells Roberts. His focus now is on his sons Zachary, 11, and Elijah, nine, along with his husband David Furnish.

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David Archuleta tells Jennifer Hudson his experience of coming out

Archuleta opens up to his fellow “American Idol” alum about his experience growing up in the Mormon religious faith & his journey

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Screenshot/YouTube The Jennifer Hudson Show

BURBANK, Ca. – In a recent episode of the Jennifer Hudson show, David Archuleta opens up to his fellow “American Idol” alum about his experience growing up in the Mormon religious faith and his journey to coming out.

The 31-year-old-old singer tells JHud how he almost got married several times to different females and shares how he’s learning to love himself.

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Out voice actor Kevin Conroy, the voice of Batman has died

Conroy was able to use his theater background to manifest one of the most memorable voices in cartoon history

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Screenshot/YouTube

NEW YORK – Kevin Conroy had been the voice of (animated) Batman for nearly three decades, voicing almost every iteration of Batman in cartoons, animated movies or video games. In recent years he was a fan favorite on the Con circuit.

Conroy died Thursday after a short battle with cancer, his representative confirmed. He was 66.

Learning of his passage, actor Mark Hamill, known as the voice of the Joker appearing oft times opposite Conroy, released a statement saying:

“Kevin was perfection. He was one of my favorite people on the planet, and I loved him like a brother. He truly cared for the people around him – his decency shone through everything he did. Every time I saw him or spoke with him, my spirits were elevated.”

Conroy began his career as a theater actor, attending Julliard, a prestigious acting school in New York City. He studied alongside heavyweights Robin Williams, Kelsey Grammer and more.

Conroy would go on to perform on Broadway and off-Broadway when his agent called him about auditioning for the role of Batman in a new animated show. During the audition he was able to use his theater background to manifest one of the most memorable voices in cartoon history.

Conroy is survived by his husband Vaughn C. Williams, his sister Trisha Conroy, and his brother Tom Conroy.

Memorial services are pending.

In August of 2020, ‘Great Big Story’ on its YouTube channel profiled Conroy titled: Meet the Voice of Batman.

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Singer-Rapper Aaron Carter found dead at home Saturday morning

Representatives for Carter’s family confirmed the singer’s death but did not provide any immediate further comment

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Aaron Carter/Twitter

LANCASTER, Ca. – Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department homicide investigators are continuing their investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of singer-rapper Aaron Carter, 34, who was found unresponsive in his home.

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies and EMS from L.A. County Fire Department’s Fire station 129, responded to the Carter residence at 42502 Valley Vista Drive Saturday morning at approximately 11:00 a.m.

According to LASD spokesperson Deputy Alejandra Parra, the person making the 911 call, later identified as the house sitter, stated “she found a male unresponsive in the bath tub.” She was advised by the dispatcher to begin cardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) prior to the deputies arrival. 

Shortly after the deputies arrived, LACD Fire department EMS personnel arrived and pronounced the male (Carter) deceased at the scene. Representatives for Carter’s family confirmed the singer’s death but did not provide any immediate further comment.

“We are still in the process of accepting this unfortunate reality,” Carter’s fiancé, Melanie Martin said in a statement Saturday afternoon. “Your thoughts and prayers are greatly appreciated.”

The singer’s publicist released a statement noting: “The family has been notified and will be flying out to Los Angeles. Aaron worked very hard towards the end of his life in recovery, to be a good father and to make amends with his family.”

The singer-rapper rose to fame as an adolescent star singing and acting. Carter, the younger brother of the Backstreet Boys’ Nick Carter was an actor in film and television shows like “Lizzie McGuire” and “7th Heaven.”

He opened for the Backstreet Boys on a 1997 tour, according to The Hollywood Reporter, and he did the same for Britney Spears, according to The Associated Press.

Carter is perhaps most well known, however, for his sophomore album “Aaron’s Party (Come Get It),” which was released in 2000 and has been certified triple platinum, KTLA reported.

It included the title track as its first single, as well as a cover of “I Want Candy” and a basketball-themed song “That’s How I Beat Shaq.” The parody song features an accompanying video with NBA icon Shaquille O’Neal in which the Hall of Famer loses a game of pickup to the scrawny preteen.

The teenage Carter was seen as a heartthrob who had several high-profile romances, including with fellow child stars Lindsay Lohan and Hilary Duff. In 2019, he publicly came out as bisexual, although he admitted he had only dated women.

Following his initial twitter post Carter appeared on an episode of The Doctors, during which he confirmed he was bisexual, and that he would be open to dating a man if one “comes into my life and sparks an interest.”

He later appeared to have partially walked back his coming Out as bisexual saying his remarks were misconstrued.

In a podcast for Hollywood Life, Carter was asked if he would ever date a man. The 30-year-old singer said no.

“It was more so just a story that happened when I was like 17 with somebody. And I can find men and women attractive, but when it comes down to it, I think it was a little misconstrued,” Carter said. “I see myself being with a woman and having kids. I want to have a family.”

“I keep telling people that. I don’t want it to be misconstrued too much just because I was open about a story,” he added.

He later seemed to reconsider claiming that he was ready to embrace his bisexuality and would be open to dating a man if one caught his interest. He also had plans to include his bisexuality in his upcoming music.

KTLA reported that the singer also had publicly battled addiction for many years, facing legal troubles and entering rehabilitation while continuing with his music career, according to E!.

In September of this year, he entered rehab for the fifth time so he could regain custody of his infant son, Prince, according to the Los Angeles Times.

He also publicly feuded with many, including his brother Nick, whom he accused of trying to put him under a conservatorship.

In 2019, he revealed on “The Doctors” that he was diagnosed with “multiple personality disorder, schizophrenia, acute anxiety and manic depression,” according to CNN.

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Star of Netflix’s ‘Heartstopper’ forced to come out as bisexual

“I truly don’t understand how people can watch & then gleefully spend their time speculating about sexualities based on stereotypes”

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Kit Connor (Nick Nelson) with co-star Joe Locke (Charlie Spring) in See-Saw film's Heartstopper (Photo courtesy of Netflix)

LONDON – The runaway Netflix-See Saw Films series Heartstopper made Kit Connor a star, but the 18-year-old actor is accusing Twitter trolls of making him come out as bisexual before he was ready. 

Connor broke a self-imposed hiatus from Twitter on Monday with a short tweet declaring he’s bi, and pointing a finger at all those who put pressure on him to reveal his orientation; 

“back for a minute. i’m bi. congrats for forcing an 18 year old to out himself. i think some of you missed the point of the show. bye”

Since Monday, Connor’s tweet has been liked more than 980K times, and PinkNewsUK reports there’s been an outpouring of support, starting with the author of the series the Netflix show is based upon. 

“I truly don’t understand how people can watch Heartstopper and then gleefully spend their time speculating about sexualities and judging based on stereotypes,” Alice Oseman tweeted. “I hope all those people are embarrassed as FUCK. Kit you are amazing.”

A fan responded with a screengrab from Oseman’s comic about coming out, which says: “You don’t have to do anything until you’re ready,” to back her up. “Not sure the trolls can actually be called fans,” said Wispa in their tweet.

Another fan tweeted: “i cannot believe that some of you are so insufferable that you watched a show about positive identity and forced kit connor to go through the exact thing that his character was terrified of.”

Connor announced he was leaving Twitter in September after a video was shared that showed him holding hands with actress Maia Reficco. He had previously refused to accept any label for his sexuality, including with a May 2022 tweet that said people on social media “know my sexuality better than I do.” 

But with accusations of queerbaiting flying about, Connor apparently felt pressured to clear the air. 

Since coming out on Monday, Connor has again gone silent on Twitter, but PinkNewsUK reported some prominent voices have filled the vacuum. 

“No actor should be forced into this position,” tweeted writer Mark Harris. “When it’s done by a fandom that pretends to righteousness about whether someone should be allowed to play a role or talk in certain terms, it is no less toxic.”

SkyNews Journalist David Chipakupaku told PinkNews “this isn’t a cause of celebration, just very sad.” He felt Connor’s coming out was “deeply upsetting” because of the “constant internet speculation and accusations of queerbaiting.” 

“Some of you didn’t take any lessons despite profession a love for this show,” he added.

Nadia Whittome, the youngest member of British parliament who is also queer and a woman of color, also tweeted her support, saying: “Being forced to come out is being outed and it’s disgusting. I’m sorry you’ve been put through that. Sending you so much love and solidarity, Kit.”

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Adidas ends partnership with ‘Ye’ over rapper’s antisemitism

“Adidas does not tolerate antisemitism and any other sort of hate speech. Ye’s recent comments & actions have been unacceptable”

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Kanye West (Screenshot/YouTube NBC News Today)

HERZOGENAURACH, Germany – German sportswear company Adidas announced Tuesday that it has ended its partnership with disgraced rapper Kanye West, now referred to as ‘Ye’ for his recent antisemitic comments.

“After a thorough review, the company has taken the decision to terminate the partnership with Ye immediately, end production of Yeezy branded products and stop all payments to Ye and his companies,” Adidas said in a statement.

“Adidas does not tolerate antisemitism and any other sort of hate speech. Ye’s recent comments and actions have been unacceptable, hateful and dangerous, and they violate the company’s values of diversity and inclusion, mutual respect and fairness.”

Problems in the business relationship between the rapper and the sportswear company were already tenuous. Adidas had publicly announced it was evaluating its relationship with West earlier this month after West, in the company of far-right talk show host Candace Owens, were seen wearing T-shirts that read; “White Lives Matter” during a Paris Fashion Week event where he was promoting his Yeezy branded Adidas products.

When the company announced it was reviewing its relationship over that incident the rapper exploded with a profane rant on Insta directed at the company and then he added more fuel to the controversy posting: “EVERYONE KNOWS THAT BLACK LIVES MATTER WAS A SCAM NOW ITS OVER YOU’RE WELCOME.”

Then after his antisemitic comments that prompted the most recent uproar over this past weekend, the rapper was locked out of his Instagram and Twitter accounts.

In West’s recent appearance on the Drink Champs Podcast, he blamed “Jewish Zionists” for the reports that his ex-wife Kim Kardashian and her then-boyfriend Pete Davidson had sexual intercourse next to a fireplace, claimed that “Jewish people have owned the black voice,” and described Disney as a Jewish platform.

In the same Drink Champs podcast, which was removed from Youtube, West also claimed that Jewish people “came into money through the lawyers” divorcing Christians because Catholics refused to do so.

Josef Schuster, president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, released a statement mildly critical of the sportswear giant for not dropping the rapper sooner.

“I would have liked a clear stance earlier from a German company that also was entangled with the Nazi regime,” Schuster said. “Adidas has done a lot to distance itself from its past and, like many sports brands, is one of those companies that conduct big campaigns against antisemitism and racism. That’s why an earlier separation from Kanye West would have been appropriate.”

Yesterday mega-talent agency CAA announced that it had dropped West as a client.

Adidas Cuts Ties With Kanye West Over Antisemitic Remarks:

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Hollywood talent agency CAA cuts Kanye West over antisemitism

West has engaged in hateful intolerant rants on podcasts and social media posts ranting about Jewish people’s collective power & control

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Kanye West meeting with Donald Trump in the Oval Office October, 2018 (Screenshot/YouTube Global News)

LOS ANGELES – Fallout from the display of antisemitic hatred on banners suspended over the 405 freeway Saturday by the ‘Goyim Defense League,’ a group of white neo-Nazi white supremacists led by the hate speech purveyor Jon Minadeo II, continued Monday.

Minadeo and his group told media outlets that they were acting in “support” of Rapper Kanye West, also known as Ye. The group gave Nazi salutes as they stood behind a large banner that read, “Kanye is right about the Jews,” according to images collected by antidiscrimination organizations and Los Angeles Jewish residents appalled by the group’s message and shared on Twitter and other social media platforms.

West has engaged in several hateful intolerant rants on podcasts and social media posts in which he has made comments about supposed Jewish people’s collective power and control.

In West’s recent appearance on the Drink Champs Podcast, he blamed “Jewish Zionists” for the reports that his ex-wife Kim Kardashian and her then-boyfriend Pete Davidson had sexual intercourse next to a fireplace, claimed that “Jewish people have owned the black voice,” and described Disney as a Jewish platform.

In the same Drink Champs podcast, which was removed from Youtube, West also claimed that Jewish people “came into money through the lawyers” divorcing Christians because Catholics refused to do so.

On Monday, CAA, the prominent Hollywood talent agency, stopped representing Ye amid growing calls to boycott the rapper formerly known as Kanye West. The agency ended its relationship with Ye following his recent antisemitic outbursts in various interviews, according to a person with knowledge of the situation speaking to the Los Angeles Times.

Reaction to the hate-filled display included the White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre earlier on Monday who tweeted:

California Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel (D-Woodland Hills) and State Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), Chair and Vice Chair of the California Legislative Jewish Caucus issued a statement Monday saying: “Words have consequences. Kanye West threatened Jews, and now other extremists are openly threatening our Jewish community with hateful banners on the 405 freeway and distributing appalling antisemitic propaganda in our neighborhoods.

“We are proud to be Jewish and we will not remain silent when hatred and bigotry are openly directed at our Jewish community or any other community in California.

“Any company—including Adidas—that continues to do business with Kanye West is party to this attack on Jews. It is morally indefensible to turn a blind eye to antisemitism and to put profits over the safety of Jews or others targeted by hate.

“We are grateful to those who have spoken out in solidarity with our Jewish community. Together, we will build a stronger and safer state.”

Hate group displays vile messaging over the 405 freeway Saturday, Oct 22, 2022
(Photo Credit: StopAntisemitism/Twitter)

Governor Gavin Newsom reacted to Saturday’s incident and the ongoing acts of antisemitism:

“This weekend’s public display of anti-Semitic hate is another wake-up call to all of us that we must remain vigilant to protect our values and freedoms as Californians,” said Governor Newsom. “The former President gave a platform to extremists spewing hate speech and we continue to see the dangerous consequences – from the insurrection on January 6th to Nazi salutes and anti-Jewish signs over the 405 freeway here in California. Our state is committed to protecting our diverse communities and will continue to lead the fight against racial, ethnic, and religious hate wherever it rears its ugly head.”

In Los Angeles Out City Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell in an emailed statement noted:

“The poison of hate has no place anywhere, and the rise in anti-Semitism in so many places, including Los Angeles, is deeply disturbing. It’s hard to fathom the malevolence required to put such vile words and gestures on public display, as well as the bigoted mindset required to think this way in the first place.

These acts are part of an alarming trend of abhorrent verbal and literal attacks against Jews here and everywhere. History has shown that ignorance, bigotry and hatred begets violence. Those of us who believe in and celebrate our pluralism and diversity must speak loudly against this. We absolutely cannot be silent.”

Speaking with reporters Monday during the daily briefing the subject came up as the White House Press queried the Press Secretary:

Q    With the Israeli President coming for a visit, it comes at a time when there has been a notable uptick in some prominent antisemitism and some questions about how Republicans are responding to that, how the culture is responding to that. 
 
What is the President’s view of how that might even influence the visit or be a subject of the visit or how he believes the country should be responding to that?  Kanye West has been a part of it.  Others have been asked to respond to the corporate side of those sort of notable instances. 
 
MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  So I could — I could just speak for the President and how he feels.  And he feels that our administration and himself should respond to this. 
 
Let’s not forget the President ran on — on healing — on healing the soul of our nation — right? — after years of — of just years of division, years of hatred. 
 
And so, he’s very, very — been very clear on that and how important it is to make sure that he does that in this administration.
 
So, when racism or antisemitism rears its ugly head, he is going to call that out.  And he has called it out.  We should not allow that conversation to be existing — not just in the political discourse but in our — in our everyday lives. 
 
And so, that is something that we’re going to continue to — to call out, that the President is going to call out.  It is ugly.  It is dangerous.  It is despicable. 
 
And he believes that — that we should con- — we should, as leaders — leaders in the political party, leaders — it doesn’t matter if you’re — which side of the aisle that you sit in, you should — we should be calling this out.  And that is something that, again, he’s going to condemn.  And he’s going to be very, very clear to call this out in the strongest terms.
 
Q    Does he think others have been timid in that area?
 
MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Look, I’ve talked about this before, when we saw the situation in Los Angeles and I was asked about the city council members, specifically in Los Angeles.  And they were Democrats, and we were very clear: It doesn’t matter if there’s a “D” or an “R” after your name, but that we should call this out. 
 
And what is sad about this is you see Republicans — Republicans in Congress who — who make these horrific — and not just in Congress, but, you know, across — across the — across the spectrum, make these really vile and dismi- — despicable comments about racism and antisemitism.  And they don’t call — they don’t call it out. 
 
And that — and that is going to be — that is not going to be how the President is going to handle situations like this.  He is going to call it out, regardless of what side of the aisle you sit on, regardless of, again, if there’s a “D” or an “R” after your name.
 
There is no place — no place at all for that type of vile belief or language in our political discourse.

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Out actor Leslie Jordan dies in Hollywood car crash

The actor died in a single-car crash Monday morning in Hollywood after suffering an unspecified medical emergency the LAPD said

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Leslie Jordan attended "Night 'Out' at Nationals Park"' in 2016 (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

LOS ANGELES – Beloved Out actor and comedian Leslie Jordan has died in a single-car crash Monday morning in Hollywood after suffering an unspecified medical emergency an LAPD source said. The news of his death was first broken by entertainment gossip news website TMZ.

The 67-year-old saw a resurgence of fame with his viral and hilarious videos on social media during the lengthy coronavirus pandemic. Jordon was best known for his roles as Lonnie Garr in Hearts Afire (1993–1995), Beverly Leslie in Will & Grace (2001–2006, 2017–2020), and several characters in the American Horror Story franchise (2011–present).

Jordon, an accomplished stage actor and playwright, was also devoted as an advocate for LGBTQ+ equality rights. Early on during the HIV/AIDS crisis, Jordan, a Los Angeles resident became involved in AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA) as a buddy and as a food delivery-person for Project Angel Food, a non-profit founded during the HIV/AIDS pandemic which to the present day prepares and delivers healthy meals to feed people impacted by serious illness.

In statement to the Blade after learning of Jordan’s death, Richard Ayoub, the CEO of Project Angel Food said:

“Leslie was more than just a supporter of Project Angel Food, he was family. When Leslie first moved to LA in the 90s he wanted to help people with AIDS so he volunteered as a driver for Project Angel Food. Leslie presented Project Angel Food with the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce’s Creative Business Award in 2019, and was such a joy to be around. Our hearts ache.”

“Today APLA Health joins our community in mourning the loss of Leslie Jordan, a long-time APLA Health supporter and a true warrior in the fight for LGBT health and equality. Leslie was there when AIDS Project Los Angeles (the former name of APLA Health) began and was a ceaseless advocate for people living with HIV/AIDS,” said APLA spokesperson Craig Bowers in an emailed statement to the Blade. “During the onset of the HIV pandemic, he volunteered his time in our Buddy Program and emceed several of our fundraising events. We extend our deepest sympathies to his family and friends during this time.”

Two years ago in a lengthy interview with Page Six, Jordan revealed he once hated himself for being gay. The star and social media phenom told Page Six that homophobia and self-loathing were planted deep inside him growing up in a church-going family in 1950s Tennessee.

“If you’re born homosexual, it’s not a choice,” said Jordan, who has released a book of essays called “How Y’All Doing?”

“I think for myself when you know something in your heart and you’re [told] that’s just wrong … I talk to a lot of my gay friends and I say it’s a wonder we’re even alive!”

In a 2018 interview with the Blade, Jordan spoke about his career:

“It feels amazing. I’ve always been the funny guy that came in with a zinger.  That was my job from the day I got here in 1982, with $1,200 that my mother pinned into my underpants on a Greyhound bus,” he quipped during a panel at the Television Critics Press Tour.

“I got off at the corner of Vine Street and De Longpre and I realized that was my job.…Thirty years I did that. ‘’Will & Grace’ (which he guest starred in) won an Emmy for it. And I thought, ‘you know what? It’s time.’ Just the way it’s unfolded has been amazing.”

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Actor Kevin Spacey found not liable by jury in sexual assault lawsuit

“We’re very grateful to the jury for seeing through these false allegations,” said his attorney, Jennifer Keller

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Screenshot/ABC News New York

NEW YORK – The federal grand jury hearing the $40 million dollar civil sexual assault lawsuit brought against Kevin Spacey found the actor not liable after about only an hour of deliberations.

Out actor Anthony Rapp had sued Spacey alleging that the time two Academy Award winning actor had molested him. Rapp, 50, and Spacey, 63, each testified over several days at the three-week trial.

In court documents, Rapp states that in 1986, Spacey, then 26, invited him, when he as 14, to his Manhattan home where Spacey allegedly assaulted him.

ABC News reported that deliberations began in midafternoon after a lawyer for Rapp, Richard Steigman, urged jurors to make Spacey pay for trying to make a sexual advance on Rapp in Spacey’s Manhattan apartment in 1986 after a party. He accused Spacey of lying on the witness stand.

The Associated Press reported when the verdict was read, Spacey dropped his head, then hugged his lawyers. He didn’t speak to reporters as he left the courthouse.

“We’re very grateful to the jury for seeing through these false allegations,” said his attorney, Jennifer Keller.

“What’s next is Mr. Spacey is going to be proven that he’s innocent of anything he’s been accused of. That there was no truth to any of the allegations,” she added, a reference to other sexual misconduct claims against the actor, including criminal charges in England.

Rapp released a statement after the verdict on Twitter:

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Glee’s Chris Colfer celebrates 10th anniversary of his book series

Colfer says he’s focused on the 10th anniversary of the release of his book series including an Oct. 20 book-signing event in Los Angeles

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Screenshot/KTLA

LOS ANGELES – For 116 episodes from 2009–2015 he played the beloved Out character of Kurt Hummel on the runaway hit Fox series Glee. Now the 32-year-old New York Times best selling author is celebrating the 10th anniversary of his book series “The Land of Stories.”

Actor Christopher Paul Colfer, who grew up in Clovis, California, spent time Tuesday morning with Sam Rubin on the KTLA 5 Morning News show. Rubin asked him about whether he envisioned his books being a success and the actor responded saying “I just did it for my own mental health to just get the story out of my mind,” adding, “I’m thrilled it found such a huge audience.”

Rubin noted to celebrate a decade of success, Colfer released a special edition of “The Wishing Spell,” the first book in the series. This edition includes beautiful illustrations, a new letter from the author, a bookmark, and a new map.

With the books being such a huge success, Colfer would eventually like to see them portrayed on the big or small screen.

“That really comes from the desire that the readers have because the readers want to see this come to life.” he told Rubin. “It has gotten very close a few times. Honestly, it probably would’ve happened already if I wasn’t so protective of it.”

Although Glee left the air seven years ago, Colfer has declined to say much about his time on the series and recent headlines for revealing he wouldn’t see his former castmate, Lea Michele, star in “Funny Girl” on Broadway.

“I think there is a lot about my time on ‘Glee’ that I would love to discuss in detail. Not just about the drama everyone knows about but also my time on the show and what it was like to be an out teenager in this industry, back then,” he explained to Rubin. “I’ve had many opportunities to do it and I just feel like my books are doing so well and I’m making so many families happy right now. So, why go back and relive some painful memories?”

Instead Colfer says he is very much focused on the 10th anniversary of the release of his book series including an upcoming book-signing event in Los Angeles.

Click image to purchase tickets and for more information

KTLA 5 Morning News:

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Murder she wrote- but “Gay Icon” she boasted

Angela Lansbury died Tuesday in LA at age 96. She enjoyed an eclectic, award-winning movie and stage career that spanned over 75 years

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Dame Angela Lansbury on stage singing her signature song from Disney's Beauty & the Beast (Screenshot/YouTube)

HOLLYWOOD – Celebrities with long successful careers often are labeled as icons and legends. Sometimes those terms are bestowed too generously. Unpacking the words, they usually end up meaning that the celebrity was popular, they had an eager fan base, and we can remember the roles they played, the awards they won, and the songs they sang.

This time those words are accurate and really mean something. We have just lost a true legend, a true icon, and possibly the biggest kick-ass diva of all time, Angela Lansbury.

Angela Lansbury brought a unique set of personas to many parts of American culture over her eight-decade long career. If you ask kids, they know her from her stand-out imprint across the Disney experience from Mrs. Potts in Beauty and the Beast, to Eglantine Price in Bed Knobs and Broomsticks to her small role in Mary Poppins Returns. In worldwide Theater, she owned some of the most unforgettable characters ever experienced including Mama Rose in Gypsy, Mame and Sweeney Todd’s Mrs. Lovett. For suspense buffs, she was as significant as Agatha Christie herself, not just for bringing a number of Chrsitie characters to life, but by invading American Television as its ultimate mystery writer, Mrs. Jessica Fletcher, of Murder, She Wrote.

Or, as RuPaul calls her, “Murder She Sat Down and She Wrote.”

Therein lies a clue to one of the most significant iconic sides to this multi-faceted cultural tsunami: the gay one.

“I am very proud of the fact that I am a gay icon,” she boasted at age 88 in an interview while staring in Blythe Spirit in London.

It was the only type of “icon” Lansbury ever bragged about publicly. She credited her notoriety with the gay community to her role as Mame. “Everything about Mame coincided with every young man’s idea of beauty and glory and it was lovely,” she said.

Her beauty and style were only parts of the glamorous magic she conjured, however. She lay the blueprint for the classic drag queen. She weaved her unique look into fabulosity and dared you to call her anything else but beautiful. She grabbed life by the balls and took you along for a ride whether you had your seat belts fastened or not. She made you love her whether she was a controlling stage mother, a murder obsessed writer, a human-meat baking cannibal or a soothing teapot.

She also had the other requisite for the ultimate drag queen: she created the shade-throwing mistress like none other. “Gaslighting” has become a popular diagnosis of the current political landscape. A major PR strategy is to attempt to re-write reality with what “gaslighter” mouthpieces themselves call “alternate facts.” This methodology to make sane people feel crazy and question their perceptions was typified in the 1944 movie “Gaslight” in which Charles Boyer enacted psychological torture on innocent Ingrid Bergman.

Who was the shady smart ass bitch maid helping along? It was Nancy, or Angela Lansbury in her first role.  She was an icon right out of the gate.

Her ultimate shady bitch, however, was likely a role she played in 1962 as The Manchurian Candidate’s Mrs. Eleanor Shaw Iselin, who demonstrated how politics could bring motherhood to a whole new level of evil.

Her characters were abashedly unafraid. They confronted everything from oppression, to poverty, to put-downs, to just sheer bad luck. She went elbow to elbow with murderers and people who would literally eat you alive. Much of the time, she played the deductress figuring out who had done the killing.

It the end, however, we are left with one ultimate truth, one for which, we are all the better for.

She was the one who slayed.

*************************

Rob Watson is the host of the popular Hollywood-based radio/podcast show RATED LGBT RADIO.

He is an established LGBTQ columnist and blogger having written for many top online publications including Parents Magazine, the Huffington Post, LGBTQ Nation, Gay Star News, the New Civil Rights Movement, and more.

He served as Executive Editor for The Good Man Project, has appeared on MSNBC and been quoted in Business Week and Forbes Magazine.

He is CEO of Watson Writes, a marketing communications agency, and can be reached at [email protected] .

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