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Robert Towne, Oscar-Winning Writer Of ‘Chinatown,’ Dies At 89

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NEW YORK — Robert Towne, the Oscar-winning screenwriter of “Shampoo,” “The Last Detail,” and other outstanding films, has died. His work on “Chinatown” was a model of the art form and helped define the jaded allure of his native Los Angeles. He was 89.

According to publicist Carri McClure, Towne died on Monday at home in Los Angeles, surrounded by his family. She refuses to remark on the cause of death.

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Towne | AP Image

Robert Towne, Oscar-Winning Writer Of ‘Chinatown,’ Dies At 89

Towne once enjoyed prestige on par with the actors and directors he worked with in a field that gave rise to rueful jokes about writers’ standing. Through friendships with two of the biggest actors of the 1960s and 1970s, Warren Beatty and Jack Nicholson, he authored or co-wrote some of the iconic films of a period when artists had exceptional creative power. The rare “auteur” among screenwriters, Towne was able to convey a profoundly personal and influential picture of Los Angeles to the cinema.

“It’s a city that’s so illusory,” Towne said in a 2006 interview with the Associated Press. “It’s the farthest west of America. It is a final resort. It’s a location where people go to make their aspirations a reality. “And they’re always disappointed.”

Towne, known in Hollywood for his prominent brow and long beard, won an Academy Award for “Chinatown” and was nominated for three more, including “The Last Detail,” “Shampoo,” and “Greystoke.” In 1997, the Writers Guild of America honored him with a lifetime achievement award.

“His life, like the characters he created, was incisive, iconoclastic and entirely (original),” quoted “Shampoo” actor Lee Grant on the television show X.

Towne’s success came after a long career in television, including roles in “The Man from U.N.C.L.E” and “The Lloyd Bridges Show,” as well as low-budget films for “B” producer Roger Corman. In a classic show business scenario, he partly owes his breakthrough to his psychiatrist, who introduced him to Beatty, another patient. As Beatty worked on “Bonnie and Clyde,” he brought Towne to revise the Robert Benton-David Newman script and had him on set while the film was shot in Texas.

Towne’s contributions to the famous crime picture “Bonnie and Clyde,” released in 1967, went unacknowledged, and he was a popular ghostwriter for many years. He worked on “The Godfather,” “The Parallax View,” and “Heaven Can Wait,” among others, and described himself as a “relief pitcher who could come in for an inning but not pitch the entire game.” However, Towne was named in Nicholson’s macho “The Last Detail” and Beatty’s erotic comedy “Shampoo” and was immortalized in “Chinatown,” a 1974 thriller set during the Great Depression.

“Chinatown” was directed by Roman Polanski and stars Nicholson as J.J. “Jake” Gittes, a private investigator assigned to track down Evelyn Mulwray’s husband. The spouse is the chief engineer of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, and Gittes becomes entangled in a catastrophic spiral of corruption and violence led by Evelyn’s brutal father, Noah Cross (John Huston).

Towne, influenced by Raymond Chandler’s fiction, revived the danger and ambiance of a classic Los Angeles film noir but set Gittes’ convoluted quest against a wider, more sinister backdrop of Southern California. Clues gather into a timeless detective story that leads helplessly to tragedy, summed up by one of the most repeated lines in film history, words of gloomy fatalism delivered to a distraught Gittes by his partner Lawrence Walsh (Joe Mantell): “Forget it, Jake, it’s Chinatown.”

Towne’s script has long been a mainstay of filmwriting workshops, but it also teaches how movies are made and the dangers of attributing any film to a single point of view. He admits to working closely with Polanski as they revised and tightened the story and arguing fiercely with the director about the film’s despairing ending, which Polanski pushed for and Towne later agreed was the right choice.

However, the notion originated with Towne, who passed down the opportunity to adapt “The Great Gatsby” for the cinema to work on “Chinatown,” which was inspired in part by Carey McWilliams’ 1946 book “Southern California: An Island on the Land.”

“There was a chapter called ‘Water, water, water,’ which was a revelation for me. In 2009, he told The Hollywood Reporter, “And I thought, ‘Why not do a picture about a crime right in front of everybody’?”

“Instead of a jewel-encrusted falcon, make it something as common as water faucets, and create a conspiracy out of it. And after reading about what they were doing, dumping water and starving farmers, I knew there were immense visual and dramatic potential.”

The backstory of “Chinatown” has become a kind of detective story, explored in producer Robert Evans’ memoir, “The Kid Stays in the Picture”; in Peter Biskind’s “East Riders, Raging Bulls,” a history of 1960s-1970s Hollywood; and Sam Wasson’s “The Big Goodbye,” which is entirely dedicated to “Chinatown.” In “The Big Goodbye,” released in 2020, Wasson claimed that Towne received substantial assistance from a ghostwriter, former college buddy Edward Taylor. According to “The Big Goodbye,” for which Towne declined to be interviewed, Taylor did not seek credit for the picture since his “friendship with Robert” was more important.

Wasson also wrote that the movie’s famous concluding phrase came from a vice detective who told Towne that crimes in Chinatown were rarely prosecuted.

“Robert Towne once said that Chinatown is a state of mind,” Wasson wrote in an email. “Not just a location on a map in Los Angeles, but a state of complete awareness almost identical to blindness. Dreaming you’re in paradise and waking up in the dark—that’s Chinatown. Thinking you’ve got it figured out and then discovering you’re dead – that’s Chinatown.”

After the mid-1970s, the studios gained power, and Towne’s reputation dwindled. His directorial efforts, such as “Personal Best” and “Tequila Sunrise,” yielded mixed success. “The Two Jakes,” the long-awaited sequel to “Chinatown,” was a commercial and critical failure when released in 1990, resulting in a temporary estrangement between Towne and Nicholson.

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Towne | Variety Image

Robert Towne, Oscar-Winning Writer Of ‘Chinatown,’ Dies At 89

Around the same time, he agreed to work on a film far removed from the 1970s’ art-house goals, the Don Simpson-Jerry Bruckheimer production “Days of Thunder,” starring Tom Cruise as a racing car driver and Robert Duvall as his crew chief. The 1990 film was notoriously over budget and critically derided, despite its admirers, including Quentin Tarantino and other racing enthusiasts. And Towne’s script popularized a word used by Duvall when Cruise complains that another automobile hit him: “He didn’t slam into you, he didn’t bump you, he didn’t nudge you.” He rubbed you.

“And rubbin,′ son, is racin.'”

Towne later collaborated with Cruise on “The Firm” and the first two “Mission: Impossible” films. His most recent film, “Ask the Dust,” a Los Angeles narrative he wrote and directed, was released in 2006. Towne married twice, the second time to Luisa Gaule, and they had two children. His brother, Roger Towne, also authored scripts, with credits including “The Natural.”

Towne was born Robert Bertram Schwartz in Los Angeles and moved to San Pedro when his father’s clothes shop failed due to the Great Depression. (His father changed the family’s name to Towne). He had always enjoyed writing and was encouraged to work in film by the vicinity of the Warner Bros. Theater and by reading critic James Agee. Towne had worked on a tuna boat and frequently discussed its impact.

“I’ve identified fishing with writing in my mind to the extent that each script is like a trip that you’re taking — and you are fishing,” he told the Writers Guild Association in 2013. “Sometimes they both require an act of faith… Sometimes it’s just faith that keeps you going, because you’re thinking, “God damn it, nothing—not a bite today.” “Nothing is happening.

SOURCE – (AP)

Kiara Grace is a staff writer at VORNews, a reputable online publication. Her writing focuses on technology trends, particularly in the realm of consumer electronics and software. With a keen eye for detail and a knack for breaking down complex topics, Kiara delivers insightful analyses that resonate with tech enthusiasts and casual readers alike. Her articles strike a balance between in-depth coverage and accessibility, making them a go-to resource for anyone seeking to stay informed about the latest innovations shaping our digital world.

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Shannen Doherty, ‘Beverly Hills, 90210’ Star, Dies At 53

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Shannen Doherty | AP News Image

Los Angeles — Shannen Doherty, the “Beverly Hills, 90210” star whose life and career were roiled by sickness and tabloid rumors, died at 53.

Leslie Sloane, Doherty’s spokesperson, confirmed that she died Saturday. She had breast cancer for several years.

“The beloved daughter, sister, aunt, and friend was surrounded by her loved ones, including her dog, Bowie. “The family requests privacy at this time so they can grieve in peace,” Sloane said. The news was initially published by People magazine.

Her sickness was made public in a lawsuit filed in 2015 against her former business managers, in which she claimed they mismanaged her money and let her health insurance lapse. She later disclosed detailed information about her treatment after a single mastectomy. In December 2016, she shared a snapshot of her first day of radiation, describing the therapy as “frightening” for her.

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Shannen Doherty | AP news Image

Shannen Doherty, ‘Beverly Hills, 90210’ Star, Dies At 53

Doherty disclosed in February 2020 that her cancer had returned, and she was in stage four. She stated that she came out so that her medical conditions may be revealed in court. In 2018, the star filed a lawsuit against insurance company State Farm after her California home was damaged in a fire.

Doherty was born in Memphis, Tennessee, and relocated to Los Angeles with her family when she was seven. Within a few years, she became an actor.

“It was completely my decision,” she told The Associated Press in a 1994 interview. “My parents never forced me into anything. They support me. It wouldn’t matter if I were a professional soccer player; they’d be just as supportive and loving.”

She worked continuously as a child star on TV shows such as “Little House on the Prairie,” where she played Jenny Wilder. As a teenager, she detoured to the big screen with “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” (1985) and “Heathers.”

In 1990, the doe-eyed, dark-haired actress scored her breakout role as Brenda Walsh in producer Aaron Spelling’s blockbuster teenage melodrama set in wealthy Beverly Hills. She and Brenda’s twin brother, Jason Priestley’s Brandon, were out of their element in the Midwest.

However, Doherty’s celebrity came with media scrutiny and allegations of outbursts, drunkenness, and impulsiveness, the last most notably following a brief marriage to George Hamilton’s son.

She quit “90210” at the end of its fourth season in 1994 (the show ran until 2000), allegedly due to problems with her costars and frequent tardiness.

However, in a 1994 Associated Press interview, Doherty portrayed her life as calm.

“It must be, if you pick up the Enquirer and find the only thing they can write about me is that I installed a pay phone next to my house and was seen at Stroud’s (a discount bed-and-bath chain) buying $1,400 worth of bed linens and wouldn’t go to an expensive store,” according to her. “It must be calm if they’re pulling that stuff out of their heads.”

Three years later, in 1997, a Beverly Hills Municipal Court judge sentenced Doherty to anger-management training after she allegedly smashed a beer bottle against a man’s window during a fight. In another legal fight, she pled no contest to a 2001 drunken driving charge and was sentenced to five days in a work-release program.

Doherty reconnected with Spelling in 1998 when he cast her as Prue Halliwell in “Charmed.” In an AP interview that year, the actress professed regret for her past.

“I did bring a lot of it on myself,” Doherty admitted. “I don’t believe I can point fingers and say, ‘Oh, you’re to blame.'” I don’t do this with myself, either. “Because I was still growing up.”

Doherty also stated that the media had “grotesquely misconstrued” her personality.

Spelling stated that their relationship was never as bad as others made it appear.

“We had a few bumps along the road, but golly, who doesn’t?” recalled Spelling, who died in 2006. “Everything Shannen did was blown out of proportion by the rag sheets.”

From 1998 until 2001, Doherty starred in “Charmed” alongside Holly Marie Combs and Alyssa Milano, after which Rose McGowan replaced her character. Seven years later, she starred in the “90210” sequel series alongside original series star Jennie Garth and competed in “Dancing with the Stars” in 2010. She also worked on the third “Beverly Hills, 90210” revival, “BH90210,” a meta take on the program that ran for one season in 2019.

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Shannen Doherty | AP News Image

Shannen Doherty, ‘Beverly Hills, 90210’ Star, Dies At 53

Doherty struggled to regain her “Beverly Hills, 90210” star status, although she did work in big-screen pictures like “Mallrats” and “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back,” as well as TV movies like “A Burning Passion: The Margaret Mitchell Story,” in which she played the author of “Gone with the Wind.” The nadir was “Blindfold: Acts of Obsession,” an erotic thriller starring Judd Nelson.

Doherty’s case against her former business managers was settled in 2016. She was honest about the toll cancer was taking on her. In an August 2016 interview with “Entertainment Tonight,” she discussed her anxieties and provided photographs of her baldness after treatment.

“The unknown is always the scariest part,” she told me. “Will the chemo work? “Is the radiation going to work?” she asked. “Pain is manageable, you know, living without a breast is manageable; it’s the worry of your future and how your future is going to affect the people that you love.”

Doherty married Rick Salomon in 2002 after the latter was involved in a sex tape issue with Paris Hilton. The marriage was annulled within a year. In 2011, Doherty married photographer Kurt Iswarienko. She filed for divorce in April 2023.

SOURCE | AP

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Griff Has Opened For Some Of Pop’s Biggest Stars. Now She Has A Debut Album Of Her Own To Tour

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Griff, a British singer-songwriter, has had an undeniably successful career. Less than two years after releasing her first track and clearing her A-level examinations, she received the Brit Award for Rising Star. Then she opened for Dua Lipa. Then, Ed Sheeran. Then Coldplay. Then, Taylor Swift.

Between gigs, solo shows, and music releases, she worked on the tracks for her debut album, “Vertigo,” which is out today.

“The usual steps that you take as a new artist have been a bit, like, upside-down,” the 23-year-old, who goes by Sarah Faith Griffiths, told The Associated Press in an interview. “An album is such a step hitting the ground, and it’s such a milestone I’ve always wanted to get to.”

Griff Has Opened For Some Of Pop’s Biggest Stars. Now She Has A Debut Album Of Her Own To Tour

According to her, this moment feels like the start of her career. The immersive pop album explores the emotions accompanying such a whirlwind and those arising from other destabilizing occurrences, such as growing up and experiencing heartache.

Griff said the inspiration for the project came, “funnily enough,” while navigating a spiral staircase in one of the residences she wrote the record in — in this case, a cottage owned by singer and songwriter Imogen Heap. She claimed the physical truth of the encounter immediately translated into an emotional counterpart, which has stayed with her ever since.

“That was just a very real, tangible feeling that I have had, and still have, at this stage in my life,” she told me.

“Tears For Fun” and “Miss Me Too” explore that dizzying sensation through multilayer productions inspired by the large-scale locations she has previously played in. “Astronaut” incorporates piano by Coldplay’s Chris Martin, who inspired Griff to alter an early form of the song into a ballad. “You said you needed space, go on then, astronaut,” she admits in her characteristic belt, her grounded demeanor lending weight to her charges.

“It’s almost like I’m a little greedy with emotions when it comes to songs,” she added, explaining her desire to combine heartbreaking words with catchy, optimistic arrangements. “For me, music is all about moving people and triggering emotion.”

According to her, the catharsis is shared by both the artist and the listeners, which Martin has encouraged.

“He really believes that as creatives and writers, we’re just kind of vessels, and creativity will flow through us and ideas will find their way to the right people,” according to her. “And I think that kind of philosophy is really reassuring.”

Griff succeeds in her aim not only through her sound but also through the graphics she and her crew create. Ever since the album’s first track was released, she has worn a spiral in her hair. Song visualizers envision her dancing in billowing textiles on the same spiral created in sand. Like her pop forefathers, she understands that an album “era” is a multimedia undertaking.

However, the more casual glances of Griff, the creative, may disclose far more about her inner life. In preparation for her gig opening for a night of Swift’s Eras Tour in London, she chronicled the process of making a garment out of blue and white cloth inspired by a line from Swift’s song “But Daddy I Love Him.”

“I was always draping bedsheets around myself,” she recalled from her upbringing. “I was the only female – I have two elder brothers and a lot of foster siblings — so I entertained myself by dressing up. “I think I just enjoy making things.”

Griff Has Opened For Some Of Pop’s Biggest Stars. Now She Has A Debut Album Of Her Own To Tour

Swift stated on stage: “This girl, she is so creative on every single level.”

Griff, true to her enthusiasm, says she is eager to continue producing.

“To be totally honest, I feel excited to get back in the studio,” she told me. “I feel like I’ve got a lot more to give.”

SOURCE | AP

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MrBeast to Gives Away 10 Tesla Cybertrucks in Latest YouTube Challenge

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MrBeast to Gives Away 10 Tesla Cybertrucks in Latest YouTube Challenge

(CTN News) – MrBeast, a YouTube celebrity known for his extravagant challenges and generous giveaways, revealed his latest video on Saturday, in which he plans to give away ten Tesla Cybertruck units.

The video shows 50 YouTube personalities competing for a $1 million reward by attempting to stay within a specific region, with the last person standing being proclaimed the winner.

In an initial challenge, MrBeast allowed players to leave the competition area to take a free-throw basketball shot. Successful entrants would win a Cybertruck for one of their subscribers and be eligible to re-enter the competition.

Those who missed their shot were eliminated. While many contestants failed, a handful secured a Cybertruck for their top subscribers.

The complete film is available on MrBeast YouTube account, where viewers can see the competition unfold. It’s unclear whether all ten Cybertrucks were given away during the video challenge.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk responded to the video on the social networking platform X, formerly known as Twitter, with the word “cool.”

This isn’t MrBeast’s first partnership with Tesla products. In January, he showed a Model X in one of his films and discussed it with Elon Musk, which resulted in the video being put on the X platform.

The Tesla Cybertruck has recently gained traction, becoming the best-selling vehicle in the United States, and it was priced above $100,000 in June.

The electric truck also participated in the Goodwood Festival of Speed hill climb. Tesla has updated Cybertruck drive units to improve efficiency and issued voluntary recalls for wiper motor and trunk bed trim issues.

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