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Actress Cindy Williams of “Laverne & Shirley” Passes Away at Age 75

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Actress Cindy Williams of "Laverne & Shirley" Passes Away at Age 75

Cindy Williams, one of America’s most recognizable stars in the 1970s and 1980s for her role as Shirley opposite Penny Marshall’s Laverne on the hit sitcom “Laverne & Shirley,” has died, according to her family.

Williams died on Wednesday at 75 in Los Angeles after a brief illness, according to her children, Zak and Emily Hudson, in a statement released through family spokeswoman Liza Cranis.

“The death of our kind, hilarious mother, Cindy Williams, has left us with insurmountable sadness that can never truly be expressed,” the statement said. “Knowing and loving her has been both a joy and a privilege for us. She was one of a kind, beautiful, and generous, with a brilliant sense of humor and a sparkling spirit that everyone adored.”

Williams appeared in George Cukor’s 1972 “Travels With My Aunt,” George Lucas’ 1973 “American Graffiti,” and Francis Ford Coppola’s 1974 “The Conversation” in a film career that preceded her full-time move to television.

But she was best known for “Laverne & Shirley,” a “Happy Days” spinoff that aired on ABC from 1976 to 1983 and was one of the most popular shows on television at the time.

On the show about a pair of blue-collar roommates who worked on the assembly line of a Milwaukee brewery in the 1950s and 1960s, Williams played the stern Shirley Feeney to Marshall’s more libertine Laverne DeFazio.

“They were well-liked characters,” Williams said to The Associated Press in 2002.

Feeney was naive and trusting, while DeFazio was quick-tempered and defensive. For plot inspiration, the actors looked to their own lives.

“At the start of each season, we’d make a list of what talents we had,” Marshall told the Associated Press in 2002. “We used Cindy’s ability to touch her tongue to her nose in the show. “I did some tap dancing.”

Williams told The Associated Press in 2013 that she and Marshall had “very different personalities” but that stories about the two clashing on set were “a bit overblown.”

With its self-empowering opening song, “Give us any chance, we’ll take it, read us any rule, we’ll break it,” the series was a rare network hit about working-class characters.

That scene would become as well-known as the show itself. Williams’ and Marshall’s chant of “schlemiel, schlimazel” as they skipped along became a cultural phenomenon and a source of nostalgia for many.

Penny Marshall died in 2018, along with his brother, Garry Marshall, who co-created the series.

On Tuesday, actress Rosario Dawson tweeted a video of the opening theme.

“Singing this song with so much love for both of you ladies,” Dawson wrote on Twitter. “These are absolute gems. Reunited once more… Cindy Williams, rest in peace.”

Lenny and Squiggy, Laverne and Shirley’s oddball hangers-on, were also played by Michael McKean and David Lander. Lander died in the year 2020.

McKean paid tribute to Cindy Williams on Twitter with a production memory.

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“Season 1 Backstage: I’m offstage waiting for a cue. “The script was challenging, so we’re giving it our all, and the audience is having a great time,” McKean tweeted. “Cindy scoots past me to make her entrance and exclaims, ‘Show’s cookin’!’ Amen. Cindy, thank you.”

As the show’s ratings fell in the sixth season, the characters relocated from Milwaukee to Burbank, California, trading their brewery jobs for jobs at a department store.

Cindy Williams became pregnant in 1982 and requested that her working hours be reduced. She walked off the set when her demands were unmet and sued the production company. During the final season, she made only a few appearances.

Williams was born in 1947 as one of two sisters in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Van Nuys. Her family relocated to Dallas shortly after her birth, but she later returned to Los Angeles, where she pursued acting while attending Birmingham High School and majoring in theatre arts at LA City College.

Her television acting career began in 1969, with appearances on “Room 222,” “Nanny and the Professor,” and “Love, American Style.”

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Her performance in George Lucas’ “American Graffiti” would become a defining role for her. The film foreshadowed the subsequent nostalgia boom for the 1950s and early 1960s. The following year, “Happy Days,” starring her “American Graffiti” co-star Ron Howard, would be released. Before they had their show, the characters of Laverne and Shirley appeared on TV as dates for Henry Winkler’s Fonzie.

Lucas also considered her for the role of Princess Leia in “Star Wars,” which was eventually filled by Carrie Fisher.

Williams has appeared in dozens of TV shows over the last three decades, including “7th Heaven,” “8 Simple Rules,” and “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit.” She and Marshall appeared in a “Laverne & Shirley” tribute episode of the Nickelodeon show “Sam and Cat” in 2013.

Last year, Williams performed “Me, Myself, and Shirley,” a one-woman stage show filled with stories from her career, at a theatre in Palm Springs, California, near her home in Desert Hot Springs.

From 1982 to 2000, Williams married singer Bill Hudson of the Hudson Brothers. Hudson raised her two children. He previously married Goldie Hawn and is the father of actress Kate Hudson.

Geoff Thomas is a seasoned staff writer at VORNews, a reputable online publication. With his sharp writing skills and deep understanding of SEO, he consistently delivers high-quality, engaging content that resonates with readers. Thomas' articles are well-researched, informative, and written in a clear, concise style that keeps audiences hooked. His ability to craft compelling narratives while seamlessly incorporating relevant keywords has made him a valuable asset to the VORNews team.

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Dickey Betts, Co-Founder Of The Allman Brothers Band, Dead At 80

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Dickey Betts, a guitarist and co-founder of the Allman Brothers Band, has died, according to a family statement released to CNN on Thursday by his longtime manager.

Betts was eighty.

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Dickey Betts, Co-Founder Of The Allman Brothers Band, Dead At 80

“It is with profound sadness and heavy hearts that the Betts family announces the peaceful passing of Forrest Richard ‘Dickey’ Betts,” according to the statement. “The well-known performer, songwriter, bandleader, and family patriarch passed away this morning at his home in Osprey, Florida, with his family by his side. Dickey was larger than life, and his absence will be felt around the world. During this terrible time, the family requests prayers and respect for their privacy in the coming days. More information will be provided at the proper time.”

Betts’ manager, David Spero, told Rolling Stone that the guitarist had cancer and chronic obstructive lung disease.

Betts, who was born in West Palm Beach, Florida, grew up listening to bluegrass, country music, and, subsequently, rock & roll. Betts, bass guitarist Berry Oakley, drummers Butch Trucks and Jaimoe, and brothers Gregg and Duane Allman formed the Allman Brothers Band in 1969, and are credited with helping create the sound and genre of Southern rock in the 1960s and 1970s.

Betts composed and sung the band’s biggest song, “Ramblin’ Man.” Initially, he created the song with the intention of having another artist sing it.

“I was going to send ‘Ramblin’ Man’ to Johnny Cash,” Betts stated in 2020, later adding that he “thought it was a great song for him.”

“But everyone liked the song. Even my father enjoyed the song before we recorded it or anything. And I’m thinking I’ll email this to Johnny Cash and see if he wants to perform it,” he added. “The producer (Johnny Sandlin) mentioned that we needed another song for the record and asked if I had any. I explained, ‘Well, I got one, but I was going to send it to Nashville for Cash to record.’ He said, ‘Let’s hear it. And then, ‘No! We gotta do it.'”

Betts also wrote the popular Allman Brothers songs “Blue Sky” and “Jessica.”

Duane Allman died in a motorcycle accident in 1971, and Oakley died in a motorcycle crash the following year. Betts and Gregg Allman became the band’s leaders, but creative disputes and substance misuse prompted the group to split up and reform several times.

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Dickey Betts, Co-Founder Of The Allman Brothers Band, Dead At 80

Cameron Crowe, then 16, followed the Allman Brothers Band on tour in 1973 for a Rolling Stone cover story that would later serve as the basis for Crowe’s Oscar-winning 2000 film “Almost Famous.” In 2017, Crowe described Billy Crudup’s key rock star character as “a tribute” to Betts.

In an email to CNN later that day, Crowe referred to Betts as “a guitarist for the ages, the musical glue that held together The Allman Brothers Band for many years.”

“Dickey’s quiet warmth, and his timeless contribution to American music was a big inspiration for our film,” said the writer-director.

Betts quit the Allman Brothers Band in a widely publicized separation in 2000. While the band continued to tour for nearly 15 years and issued one more studio album, Betts performed with his Great Southern ensemble, which included his son Duane, and released another studio album of new songs. Betts retired in 2014.

Also on Friday, the Allman Brothers Band issued an official statement, stating that Betts’ “extraordinary guitar playing alongside guitarist Duane Allman created a unique dual guitar signature sound that became the signature sound of the genre known as Southern Rock.”

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Dickey Betts, Co-Founder Of The Allman Brothers Band, Dead At 80

“He was passionate in life, be it music, songwriting, fishing, hunting, boating, golf, karate or boxing,” the statement went on to say. “Dickey was all in on and excelled at anything that caught his attention.”

When asked what he enjoyed most about music, Betts told the Sarasota Herald Tribune in 2020 that it was the impact it had on his listeners.

“I like the crowds mainly, and what the music did for them,” he went on to say. “They enjoyed the music more than I did. I just love how the crowd can drift off into another universe during a concert.”

SOURCE – (CNN)

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Taylor Swift Drops 15 New Songs On Double Album, ‘The Tortured Poets Department: The Anthology’

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NEW YORK — Could there be a Taylor Swift new album release without any added surprises?

No.

On Friday, the pop star released her 11th album, “The Tortured Poets Department,” which is an amalgamation of her previous work and reflects the artist who, at the height of her powers, has spent the last few years re-recording her life’s work and touring it, filtered through synth-pop anthems, breakup ballads, provocative and matured considerations.

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Taylor Swift Drops 15 New Songs On Double Album, ‘The Tortured Poets Department: The Anthology’

But it was midnight. At 2 a.m. Eastern, she released “The Tortured Poets Department: The Anthology,” which included 15 new songs.

“I’d written so much tortured poetry in the past 2 years and wanted to share it all with you, so here’s the second installment,” Swift wrote in an Instagram caption. “And now the story isn’t mine anymore… it’s all yours.”

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Taylor Swift Drops 15 New Songs On Double Album, ‘The Tortured Poets Department: The Anthology’

The songs are a natural continuation of the first half of the album, with many returning to her “evermore” and “folklore” style, aided by her partner Aaron Dessner.

Swift has surprised her fans before, and she has surely done so with a surprise album release. A few months after “folklore” was released in 2020, she revealed that “evermore” will be available at midnight on the same day. Speaking of midnight, she released a “3am” edition of “Midnights” with seven new tracks in 2022, just a few hours after the original release.

Taylor Swift’s album “The Tortured Poets Department” is now available.

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Taylor Swift Drops 15 New Songs On Double Album, ‘The Tortured Poets Department: The Anthology’

Music Writer Maria Sherman describes it as “an amalgamation of an artist who has spent the last few years re-recording her life’s work and touring its material, filtered through synth-pop anthems, breakup ballads, provocative and matured subject matter.”

Swift revealed a surprise two hours after the album’s release: 15 more tracks.

Swift’s first original album since her record-breaking Eras Tour debuted last year.

SOURCE – (AP)

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Britain’s Prince Harry Formally Confirms He is Now a US Resident

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LONDON — Prince Harry, King Charles III’s son and fifth in line to the British throne, has publicly certified that he is now a US resident.

Four years after Harry and his American bride, Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, moved to a villa in Southern California, a travel firm he owns filed paperwork this week alerting British officials that he has relocated and is now “usually resident” in the United States.

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Britain’s Prince Harry formally confirms he is now a US resident

The formal acknowledgment highlights the prince’s growing isolation from Britain, following his and Meghan’s departure from royal duties to chase lucrative media partnerships in America. Since then, Harry has often challenged the royal family, including claims of unconscious racism made in a Netflix series and the prince’s autobiography, “Spare.”

Travalyst Ltd, a company created in 2020 to “promote global awareness of the importance of sustainable tourism,” filed the paperwork. Harry owns at least 75% of the company. Companies House, the government body in charge of overseeing company incorporation in the United Kingdom, received the papers on Monday.

The filing further distinguishes Harry from his status as one of the king’s counselors of state, which are members of the royal family who can be deputized to carry out the monarch’s duties if he is ill or away from the nation.

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Britain’s Prince Harry formally confirms he is now a US resident

While Harry is still a counselor of state, the crown warned Parliament in 2022 that “in practice” only working members of the royal family will be called upon to fill in for the monarch.

Although Harry and Meghan, also known as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, have established themselves in the rich enclave of Montecito, where they are raising their baby son and daughter, Harry is also under investigation for his US status.

The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think organization, has questioned the Department of Homeland Security’s decision to grant Harry a visa to the United States following drug-related admissions in “Spare.”

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Britain’s Prince Harry formally confirms he is now a US resident

The organization, which has petitioned a judge to order the department to release Harry’s immigration records, claims that the prince either lied on his visa application or was given preferential treatment because a history of drug usage would typically preclude an applicant from receiving a visa.

SOURCE – (AP)

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