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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

'Wizard of Oz' Munchkin Karl Slover Dead at Age 93

Karl Slover, who played a Munchkin in "The Wizard of Oz" has died at age 93, TMZ reported Wednesday.   Flowers will be placed on the Munchkins star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in California in the afternoon, a spokesperson tweeted.
Standing at just 4 ft 5 inches -- Slover was one of the smallest dwarf actors who played the natives of the fictional Munchkin Country in the 1939 classic film.

He played multiple parts in the movie as a trumpeter, a soldier, one of the sleepy heads, and was also among the choir who sang "Follow the Yellow Brick Road."

There are now just three living Munchkins -- actors Margaret Pellegrini, 88, Ruth Duccini, 93 and Jerry Maren, 91.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Billy Crystal to Return as Host for 84th Academy Awards®

Beverly Hills, CA (November 10, 2011) – Producers Brian Grazer and Don Mischer have announced that Billy Crystal will serve as host for the 84th Academy Awards. "I'm thrilled to welcome Billy back to the Oscar® stage," said Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences president Tom Sherak. "He's a comic legend and Oscar icon, and it feels good to have him back where he belongs."
Commented Grazer, "Like so many others, I've been eager to see Billy host again. It's very gratifying that he agreed to do it with Don and me at the helm."
Said Mischer, "With Billy, we're moving forward with one of the greatest hosts in Oscar history. His return to the Oscars® is, in a sense, a celebration."
This will mark Crystal's ninth time as host. Only Bob Hope has hosted more Academy Awards presentations, with 19 ceremonies between 1940 and 1978. Crystal last hosted the Academy Awards in 2004.
"Some of the best moments of my career have happened on the Oscar stage. I am thrilled to be back there. Actually, I am doing this so that the young woman in my pharmacy will stop asking me my name when I pick up my prescriptions," said Crystal.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Brian Grazer to Produce 84th Academy Awards® with Don Mischer

Beverly Hills, CA (November 9, 2011) – Academy President Tom Sherak announced today that Academy Award®-winner Brian Grazer will join Don Mischer as a producer of the 84th Academy Awards. This will be the first time Grazer has produced the Oscar® telecast.
"Brian Grazer is a renowned filmmaker who over the past 25 years has produced a diverse and extraordinary body of work," said Sherak. "He will certainly bring his tremendous talent, creativity and relationships to the Oscars®."
"I am thrilled to welcome Brian Grazer as my partner and that we will be  collaborating to produce an outstanding show," echoed Mischer.
"It’s very gratifying to be part of a show that honors excellence in the medium to which I have devoted so much of my career," said Grazer. "Don is a legend, and I am excited to work with him."
"I too am delighted that Brian will join Don in producing the Academy Awards and I am looking forward to our producers delivering the movie event of the year," commented Academy CEO Dawn Hudson.
Grazer has earned four Academy Award nominations. He won a Best Picture Oscar in 2001 for "A Beautiful Mind."    In 1984, Grazer was nominated in the writing category for "Splash," and he received Best Picture nominations in 1995 and 2008 for "Apollo 13" and "Frost/Nixon," respectively.  His other film credits include "Spies Like Us," "Kindergarten Cop," "The Nutty Professor," "Liar Liar," "8 Mile" and "Cinderella Man."  His current projects include the about to be released "J. Edgar" and the just released "Tower Heist."

Eddie Murphy Exits as Host of 84th Academy Awards®

Beverly Hills, CA (November 9, 2011) – Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President Tom Sherak announced that Eddie Murphy has withdrawn as host of the 84th Academy Awards. "I appreciate how Eddie feels about losing his creative partner, Brett Ratner, and we all wish him well," said Sherak.
Commented Murphy, "First and foremost I want to say that I completely understand and support each party's decision with regard to a change of producers for this year's Academy Awards ceremony. I was truly looking forward to being a part of the show that our production team and writers were just starting to develop, but I'm sure that the new production team and host will do an equally great job."
Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2011 will be presented on Sunday, February 26, 2012, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center®, and televised live by the ABC Television Network. The Oscar® presentation also will be televised live in more than 200 countries worldwide.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Academy Statement Regarding Brett Ratner

Beverly Hills, CA (November 8, 2011) – This morning, Brett Ratner submitted his resignation as a producer of the 84th annual Academy Awards to Academy President Tom Sherak. Ratner then issued an open letter to the entertainment industry in which he explained his decision.
"He did the right thing for the Academy and for himself," Sherak said. "Words have meaning, and they have consequences. Brett is a good person, but his comments were unacceptable. We all hope this will be an opportunity to raise awareness about the harm that is caused by reckless and insensitive remarks, regardless of the intent."

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Gilbert Cates, veteran Oscar producer, dead at 77

Gilbert Cates, the producer and director who oversaw a record 14 Academy Awards ceremonies, has died. He was 77.
Los Angeles' Geffen Playhouse, which Cates founded, said he died Monday. The cause of death was not immediately known.
Cates was comfortable at the helm of the Oscars, calling it "an absolutely great job." He produced more Academy Awards telecasts than anyone else and brought in comedians such as Billy Crystal, Whoopi Goldberg, Chris Rock, Jon Stewart and Steve Martin to host the show.
On Tuesday, Martin tweeted his condolences: "So sorry to hear Gil Cates has died. He helmed two Oscar shows I hosted. He was delightful, wise, canny and unperturbed. A great fellow."