George Lucas honours ‘the boss’ Carrie Fisher

George Lucas honours ‘the boss’ Carrie Fisher

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George Lucas: “We’ll all love her for ever and ever.”

Star Wars creator George Lucas called the late Carrie Fisher “the boss” in an emotional tribute speech.

Speaking at Florida’s Star Wars Celebration exhibition, he said the Princess Leia star was “very strong, smart, funny, bold, tough”.

“She was brilliant, and obviously we will all miss her, but she will always be the princess who took command and never backed down,” he added.

The actress died last year aged 60, days after suffering a cardiac arrest.

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Fisher’s daughter Billie Lourd also took to the stage at the event

Lucas added: “She was the boss. It was her war, and when I cast it, I said I want somebody young to play the part.

“When Carrie came in, she was that character. There are not very many people like her. They are one in a billion. For this particular part, it was absolutely perfect.”

The celebration also saw other stars from the film series take to the stage, including Fisher’s daughter, Billie Lourd, who will appear in the upcoming Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which is released in December.

“My mom, like Leia, was never afraid to speak her mind,” she said.

Star Wars Celebration is a fan experience which features interview panels, exhibitions, merchandise stalls and autograph signing. Here are some of the other stars from the sci-fi extravaganza who took part:

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Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and George Lucas joined forces once again

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Warwick Davis, who played an Ewok in The Return of the Jedi, will appear in The Last Jedi

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Billy Dee Williams is best known for his role as Lando Calrissian in the film franchise

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Anthony Daniels is famous for playing the humaniod robot C-3PO

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The eminent composer John Williams conducted some of his music from the films

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Star Wars producer Kathleen Kennedy has also worked on films including Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park and War Horse


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Bake Off fans give mixed response to official team photo

Bake Off fans give mixed response to official team photo

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Spot the difference: Paul Hollywood, Sandi Toksvig, Noel Fielding and Prue Leith

Fans of the Great British Bake Off are decidedly mixed about seeing the new presenting line-up officially together for the first time.

Paul Hollywood, Sandi Toksvig, Noel Fielding and Prue Leith are fronting the show after Mary Berry, Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins left last year.

One fan tweeted: “New #GBBO line-up is just… No!Bezza, Mel & Sue are irreplaceable 🎂❤️.”

But another simply wrote: “I’m sold #GBBO.”

Hollywood decided to stay with the show while Perkins, Berry and Giedroyc chose to remain with the BBC instead.

A number of fans are just not keen on the changes made to Bake Off after the BBC lost the contract to broadcast it after Love Productions, who make the show, signed a three-year deal with Channel 4.

Another fan wrote: “No! Just no! Much of the nation took this programme to its heart. Winning formula. Hugely popular. It worked. And then…this! 😰#GBBO.”

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Mostly gone but not forgotten: Paul Hollywood, Sue Perkins, Mary Berry and Mel Giedroyc

“Looks like someone has superimposed Noel’s face on Sue’s body & Pru’s face on Mary. Super awkward, just like the show probably will be #GBBO,” wrote another Twitter user..

But some are prepared to give the new team a chance, with one tweeting: “Why’s everyone hating on the new #gbbo line up. I am so excited for Paul Hollywood and Noel Fielding to start a bromance 😍😍 #ilovecake.”

Another added: “It doesn’t bother me at all – I like Sandi and Noel and I think it will be every bit as good as it was on the BBC. You’ll see! #GBBO.”

The show made its debut on BBC Two in 2010, moving to BBC One in 2014.


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Never say never again: When celebrities eat their words

Never say never again: When celebrities eat their words

In 2015, John Cleese said there was “no way” he’d ever work at the BBC again. Now he has changed his mind after announcing he will make a new BBC sitcom that will reunite him with his Clockwise co-star Alison Steadman.

Cleese isn’t the first celebrity to go back on his very public word. From Charlie Simpson’s Busted to Bond star Sean Connery, it’s wise to never say never again.

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Busted busted in 2005

Charlie Simpson – Busted

There are some bands that will never get back together. Abba. The Jam. The Smiths. Then there are those that “will never get back together”. Like The Stone Roses. And Busted.

The group that had eight top 10 hits in the 2000s, and sent many a teenage girl all aflutter, split in 2005 when frontman Charlie Simpson left.

Simpson told BBC Newsbeat “not in a million years” would they reform. But some 999,990 years before that date, Simpson announced they were getting back together after all.

Speaking at the time of their reunion in November 2015, Simpson said: “I reckon I said it 20 more times than that, privately and publicly, and I meant it every single time.

“But as I say, I have changed my mind, and that has been down to the circumstances changing. I never thought we would get to a point where we were in a studio writing music we all got behind creatively and that was a huge shock to me.”

The band played UK arenas in 2016 with the aptly named Pigs Can Fly Tour.

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Gervais returned to the Globes not once, not twice, but three times

Ricky Gervais – Golden Globes

When Ricky Gervais hosted the Golden Globe awards in 2010, offending half of Hollywood in the process, he told the relieved A-list audience: “It’s OK folks, I won’t be doing this again.”

But he returned the following year, and again in 2012, before announcing very publicly he would not be back.

On his blog after the 2012 ceremony, the acerbic comic wrote: “I’ve told my agent to never let me be persuaded to do it again though. It’s like a parachute jump. You can only really enjoy it in retrospect when you realise you didn’t die and it was quite an amazing thing to do.”

Four years later, he headed back. Employing a good old British turn of phrase, Gervais tweeted: “It’s a good job I’m drunk. Otherwise the thought of hosting The Golden Globes again would seem like a real pain in the arse.”

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Whoopi Goldberg was one of several Hollywood stars who threatened to quit the US

Election promises

What do Whoopi Goldberg, Miley Cyrus, Amy Schumer, Chloe Sevigny and Ne-Yo have in common?

They all should be living in Canada or Europe after vowing to leave the US if Donald Trump was elected President. But they’re not.

Some hastily tweeted U-turns when Trump was elected, others went quiet and hoped nobody would remember.

Goldberg said “I’m not leaving the country I was born and raised in,” while Schumer used social media to declare her pledge to move to Spain was merely a “joke”.

Cyrus released an emotional video the morning after Trump’s win saying she “accepted” the new president.

Samuel L Jackson, who had been succinct in his intentions, also backed out. “If that mother… becomes president, I’m moving my black ass to South Africa,” he said.

He didn’t.

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Charlie Chaplin returned to Europe in 1952

Charlie Chaplin

In the early 1950s, Charlie Chaplin reportedly said he had “no further use for America” and “wouldn’t go back there if Jesus Christ was President”.

After a series of political controversies, personal scandals and falling audiences, he decided to hold the world premiere of Limelight in London, where the film was set, rather than the US, where he had settled.

Boarding the RMS Queen Elizabeth in New York in 1952, he received word that his re-entry permit had been revoked and he would have to be interviewed about his political views and moral behaviour if he wanted to return.

He said: “I have been the object of lies and propaganda by powerful reactionary groups who, by their influence and by the aid of America’s yellow press, have created an unhealthy atmosphere in which liberal-minded individuals can be singled out and persecuted.”

By 1972, feelings had softened on both sides and the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences offered Chaplin an honorary Oscar.

Chaplin was given a 12-minute standing ovation, the longest in the Academy’s history, as he accepted his award for “the incalculable effect he has had in making motion pictures the art form of this century”.

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Daniel Craig (left) and Sean Connery are regularly voted the best Bonds

James Bond

Daniel Craig famously said he would “rather slash my wrists” than reprise his role as 007 fifth time.

But The Sun reported last week he was “ready to do a final Bond”.

It isn’t confirmed, but the newspaper said film producer Barbara Broccoli had almost persuaded him to get back on board one last time.

Craig is regarded as one of the best Bonds of all time – and it seems the best Bonds are also the most fickle.

In 1983, Sean Connery returned to the role for the seventh and last time in Never Say Never Again, with the title being more than a subtle nod to Connery’s reported remarks that he would “never again” play Bond.

Quite.


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Nicole Kidman leads Cannes Film Festival line-up

Nicole Kidman leads Cannes Film Festival line-up

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Kidman will be seen in the second series of Jane Campion’s Top of the Lake

Nicole Kidman fans may want to head to the French Riviera next month – the star is in four productions that will be shown at the Cannes Film Festival.

Two of the Australian actress’s films will be in competition for the Palme d’Or, both also starring Colin Farrell.

They are Sofia Coppola’s One is The Beguiled and The Killing of a Sacred Deer, directed by Yorgos Lanthimos.

Her sci-fi rom com How to Talk to Girls at Parties and an episode of TV drama Top of the Lake will also be screened.

Elsewhere, multiple Oscar-winning director Alejandro Inarritu will show a short virtual reality film titled Carne Y Arena (Flesh And Sand).

Filmed by renowned cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, the experimental film will explore the experience of a group of immigrants and refugees crossing the border between Mexico and the US, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

It is a theme explored by a number of film-makers. Happy End by Austria’s Michael Haneke is another refugee story, this time set in Calais.

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An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power focuses on Al Gore’s climate campaigning

Actress Vanessa Redgrave also examines the refugee experience in her directorial debut, Sea Sorrow.

Among the big-name directors competing for the Palme d’Or are Michel Hazanavicius, the man behind the Oscar-winning silent movie The Artist, whose film Le Redoutable is about the romance between director Jean-Luc Godard and actress Anne Wiazemsky.

Carol director Todd Haynes will premiere his period drama Wonderstruck, starring Julianne Moore.

Lynne Ramsay is the only British director with a film in competition. Her latest feature, a thriller titled You Were Never Really Here, stars Joaquin Phoenix.


Films in competition

  • Arnaud Desplechin – Les Fantomes D’Ismael
  • Fatih Akin – Aus dem Nichts (In the Fade)
  • Noah Baumbach – The Meyerowitz Stories
  • Bong Joon-Ho – Okja
  • Robin Campillo – 120 Battements Par Minute
  • Sofia Coppola – The Beguiled
  • Jacques Doillon – Rodin
  • Michael Haneke – Happy End
  • Todd Haynes – Wonderstruck
  • Michel Hazanavicius – Le Redoutable
  • Hong Sangsoo – Geu-Hu (The Day After)
  • Naomi Kawase – Hikari (Radiance)
  • Yorgos Lanthimos – The Killing of a Sacred Deer
  • Sergei Loznitsa – A Gentle Creature
  • Kornel Mundruczo – Jupiter’s Moon
  • Francois Ozon – L’Amant Double
  • Lynne Ramsay – You Were Never Really Here
  • Benny Safdie and Josh Safdie – Good Time
  • Andrey Zvyagintsev – Nelyubov (Loveless)

As usual, there will be a number of special screenings out of competition. This year, Barack Obama and Donald Trump will be seen in a An Inconvenient Sequel, Al Gore’s follow-up to his 2006 climate change documentary An Inconvenient Truth.

The Cannes Film Festival runs from 17 to 28 May 2017.


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Tracey Emin helps National Portrait Gallery buy her ‘death mask’

Tracey Emin helps National Portrait Gallery buy her ‘death mask’

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Tracey Emin’s Death Mask “blurs the distinctions between life and death”

Tracey Emin has helped the National Portrait Gallery buy one of her more unusual works – her own “death mask”.

The artist created the mask in 2002 as a “specimen” or “museum display” to “transform herself into an object of scrutiny for generations to come”.

Emin and her gallery White Cube priced the mask at £60,000 – but offered the National Portrait Gallery a £30,000 museum discount.

The remaining £30,000 came from a grant from The Art Fund.

Death masks have been created throughout history to preserve the final images of famous people just after they have died.

Emin is very much alive – and her bronze cast is now in its “rightful home”, according to the National Portrait Gallery.

Associate curator Rab MacGibbon said: “Artists have frequently explored their mortality in self-portraits. Tracey Emin’s Death Mask… blurs the distinctions between life and death, art and identity.”

Death Mask will feature in the exhibition Life, Death And Memory, which also includes the death mask of painter John Constable and the last portrait for which film director and artist Derek Jarman sat.

Emin, 53, is best know for her autobiographical works such as My Bed and the tent Everyone I Have Ever Slept With.


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Will Jude Law’s Dumbledore be openly gay?

Will Jude Law’s Dumbledore be openly gay?

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Will there be a romance on screen in Fantastic Beasts 2 between Jude Law and Johnny Depp?

The news that Jude Law is to play a young Dumbledore in the sequel to Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them has led to speculation over the direction of the movie – and whether his character will be openly gay.

It’s 10 years since JK Rowling revealed that Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore was gay in a Q&A with fans.

It confirmed speculation that had been around on fan sites for years – all that was known before that was that he had a mysterious, troubled past.

Rowling also revealed that when he was young, Dumbledore had been smitten with rival Gellert Grindelwald, who he beat in a duel. Dumbledore was “horribly, terribly let down” she said, and his love for Grindelwald was his “great tragedy”.

We already know Johnny Depp will play Grindelwald in the movie, so many fans are hoping to see Depp and Law in an on-screen romance.

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Twitter

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Twitter

Some LGBT fans were upset that JK Rowling didn’t mention in any of the books that Dumbledore was gay and saw it as an “afterthought”.

In a blog post on the Harry Potter fan site Mugglenet.com, Elayna Mae Darcy says the upcoming Fantastic Beasts film is a chance to put that right.

“One has to have hope that she will use this opportunity to show us the side of Dumbledore we could never have seen when he was a much older man who had long before been tragically let down by the man he loved,” she writes.

“We have the chance to witness, in real time, a Dumbledore who is young and vivacious and who, hopefully, both acknowledges his sexuality and gives us a chance to see a well-rounded gay character in a mainstream blockbuster.”

She says the Harry Potter author has a responsibility to show the relationship.

“Representation can change people’s lives and make them feel seen… Kids growing up right now have a chance to experience one of the most important characters in the entire saga as someone who’s confident with who he is.”

And she is backed by other fans, who do not want to see Dumbledore’s sexuality glossed over.

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Speaking last year about the second Fantastic Beasts movie, Rowling said we will see Dumbledore as a younger and “quite troubled man”.

“We’ll see him at that formative period of his life. As far as his sexuality is concerned, watch this space,” she said.

But Debbie Moon, Bafta-winning writer of the fantasy series Wolfblood, isn’t convinced we’ll see any romance on screen.

“Chances on Young Dumbledore appearing even remotely gay in a major studio tentpole? I’ll take 0%…”she tweeted.

And some fans have pointed out that any gay storyline may cause problems for the film’s distribution worldwide.

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The live action Beauty and the Beast, which featured the first openly gay character in a Disney film, was recently pulled from Kuwait cinemas and faced issues in Malaysia, where homosexual activity is illegal.

Russia’s Culture Ministry allowed the release of Beauty and the Beast – but children under the age of 16 are not allowed to see it.

It was given a 16+ age rating after a Russian MP petitioned Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky to ban it because of the inclusion of a gay character.

When pressed on Dumbledore being gay in the second film, Rowling pointed out that is only the second film in a series.

“I would like to say because this is obviously a five-part story, there’s lots to unpack in that relationship.”

So fans may have to wait to watch the love story and ultimate betrayal unfold.


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Charlie Murphy: Seven things about the comedy star’s life

Charlie Murphy: Seven things about the comedy star’s life

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Murphy’s comedy career took off in his 40s

US comedian Charlie Murphy, the older brother of actor Eddie Murphy, has sadly died of leukaemia at the age of 57.

Here’s a chance to look back at his life and career.

He’s known for his Prince and Rick James sketches

Charlie Murphy’s True Hollywood Story sketches on Comedy Central’s Chappelle’s Show in the early 2000s made him a star in the US.

In the Rick James skit, Murphy recounted how he got to know the Super Freak singer before James punched him in the face in Studio 54, leaving a ring imprint on his forehead.

In the Prince sketch, the pop legend challenged Charlie and his friends to a basketball match after a party – then made them all pancakes.

Murphy said both incidents really happened.

The brothers had a tricky start in life

Born and raised in New York, Eddie and Charlie’s parents – Lillian and Charles – split up when the boys were little. Charles was murdered by a girlfriend just a few years later.

Lillian became ill and the brothers spent a short period in foster care. She then remarried and her husband Vernon Lynch brought Eddie and Charlie up.

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Charlie said he never felt he was in Eddie’s shadow

Charlie was a troubled teen

He has talked about experimenting with drugs and having “tons of fights”. He once found himself with a gun held to his head in high school after threatening a classmate.

According to his 2009 book The Making of a Stand-Up Guy, Murphy received three years probation for robbing a driver at gunpoint, and in the final year of his probation was arrested for larceny, loitering and other misdemeanours.

He was then sentenced to serve the rest of his probation – 10 months – in county jail.

He was once part of controversial group The Five Percenters

The group, also known as the Nation of Gods and Earths, was founded in 1963 by Clarence 13X when he broke from the Nation Of Islam.

The group says black people are the original people of the planet earth and that black people are the fathers and mothers of civilisation.

Murphy explained in a Talk of the Nation interview in 2009 how he removed himself from their influence.

“I would question things. I had an analytical mind back then. And if you tell me something and profess it to be the truth, I don’t just accept it… because you said it.

“And that’s what I felt like when I was part of the organisation, like, you know, I was being told things, but the explanation beyond the explanation I was getting was not good.”

He had a varied career

His mother took him to all the armed services recruitment offices on the day he was released from jail in 1978 and they all turned him down due to his criminal record.

The Navy eventually agreed to take him after his mother pleaded: “You gotta take my son or he’s going to be killed out here.” He served for six years as a boiler technician.

Before he hit the big time, Charlie was also a screenwriter, a hip-hop manager and the head of security for his little brother – but was overprotective of Eddie became hot-headed when dealing with hecklers.

He later went on to appear in films including Jungle Fever, Night at the Museum and Lottery Ticket.

He didn’t start stand-up until he was 42

He said: “When I first started doing comedy, I was 42 years old and I was the brother of one of the most celebrated comics in history who made his name in the game 20 years earlier.

“So, that took a lot of bravery. It’s never been done before. It’s not a part of human reality. It’s like, if Michael Jordan all of a sudden had a big brother who plays basketball and he’s good, too. That does not compute for most people.”

Having a famous brother ain’t that bad

In a 2009 interview with Essence, Charlie spoke about his relationship with Eddie.

“I’ve never felt like I was living in anyone’s shadow,” Charlie said. “My life was what it was. I was always proud of my brother. He helped me tremendously, but we’re family so we were never in his shadow.”


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Survivor: Transgender contestant Zeke Smith outed

Survivor: Transgender contestant Zeke Smith outed

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CBS

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Zeke Smith had not planned to reveal he was trans on air

A contestant on a US TV show has been outed as being transgender by one of his fellow competitors.

Jeff Varner, who is appearing on Survivor: Game Changers, made the revelation about his team-mate Zeke Smith on Wednesday’s episode.

Varner told the show’s presenter and his team-mates: “There is deception here,” before turning to Smith and asking: “Why haven’t you told anyone that you’re transgender?”

He has since apologised on Twitter.

Several other contestants quickly defended Smith after Varner’s comments, telling the former news anchor his actions were “so wrong” and that he “didn’t have to do that”.

‘Hate will always lose’

Smith had previously shared his history with Varner privately but had not intended to reveal he was trans on the show.

In an article for The Hollywood Reporter published after the episode aired, Smith criticised Varner and said he was “not wild about [viewers] knowing that I’m trans”.

He wrote: “In calling me deceptive, Varner invoked one of the most odious stereotypes of transgender people, a stereotype that is often used as an excuse for violence and even murder.

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Varner said he was “profoundly sorry” for outing Smith

“Varner is saying that I’m not really a man and that simply living as my authentic self is a nefarious trick.

“In reality, by being Zeke the dude, I am being my most honest self – as is every other transgender person going about their daily lives.”

‘The worst decision of my life’

Smith added that he doesn’t believe Varner, who is gay, did it because he hates trans people, and praised his Survivor team-mates for the way they reacted.

“I think he hoped others would believe that trans people are fraudulent. What’s great is that nobody bought it.

“It’s important people see he lost that fight. The message should be clear that hate will always lose.”

In a Twitter message posted after the show aired, Varner offered his “deepest most heart-felt apologies to Zeke Smith”.

He wrote: “I was wrong and make no excuses for it. I own responsibility in what is the worst decision of my life.”


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US comedian Charlie Murphy dies of leukaemia aged 57

US comedian Charlie Murphy dies of leukaemia aged 57

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Reuters

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Mr Murphy starred in films and on comedy sketch shows

US comedian Charlie Murphy, the older brother of actor Eddie Murphy, has died of leukaemia aged 57, reports say.

The TMZ website quoted his manager as saying he died on Wednesday morning in hospital in New York.

Murphy starred on comedian Dave Chappelle’s show and also appeared in films including Jungle Fever, Night at the Museum and Lottery Ticket.

He also co-wrote and appeared in some of his brother’s films.

In a statement to Hollywood Reporter, the Murphy family said their “hearts are heavy with the loss today of our son, brother, father, uncle and friend Charlie”.

“Charlie filled our family with love and laughter and there won’t be a day that goes by that his presence will not be missed. Thank you for the outpouring of condolences and prayers,” the statement said.

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Reuters

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Charlie Murphy (R) arrived in Hollywood as his brother Eddie’s (L) bodyguard

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Reuters

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He also had a successful comedy career

Charlie Murphy arrived in Hollywood after working as a bodyguard for Eddie at the beginning of his career, the EFE news agency reported.

He has said that he was so fond of Eddie and found him so funny that he would not hesitate to confront people who did not laugh during his appearances.

Other comedians and actors have been paying tribute on social media.

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Jude Law to play young Dumbledore in Fantastic Beasts sequel

Jude Law to play young Dumbledore in Fantastic Beasts sequel

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Law is one of the few English actors not to have appeared in a Harry Potter film

JK Rowling’s Dumbledore is to have a new face – and it belongs to Jude Law.

The Oscar-nominated actor will play the young Albus in the sequel to Harry Potter spin-off Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

Law’s casting sees him follow in the footsteps of Richard Harris and Sir Michael Gambon, who shared the role of Harry’s headmaster in the Potter films.

The new film, due out in November 2018, will depict the character before he became head of Hogwarts.

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Richard Harris and Sir Michael Gambon previously played Dumbledore on screen

Directed by David Yates, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 2 will see Eddie Redmayne reprise his role as “magizoologist” Newt Scamander.

“Jude Law is a phenomenally talented actor whose work I’ve long admired and I’m looking forward to finally having the opportunity to work with him,” said Yates in a statement.

“I know he will brilliantly capture all the unexpected facets of Albus Dumbledore as JK Rowling reveals this very different time in his life.”

The new film will also see Johnny Depp return as Gellert Grindelwald, the villainous wizard briefly seen at the end of the first Fantastic Beasts film.

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AFP

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Harris played the Hogwarts headmaster in two films before his death in 2002

Warner Bros president Toby Emmerich said: “As fans ourselves, we are thrilled to have Jude Law joining the Fantastic Beasts cast, playing a character so universally adored.

“Jude has been a member of the Warner Bros family for years and we’re excited to embark on this new adventure with him.”

Born in south London in 1972, Law has received Oscar nominations for his roles in 1999’s The Talented Mr Ripley and 2003’s Cold Mountain.

He also plays Doctor Watson in Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes films and can currently be seen in HBO’s The Young Pope.


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