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Country music Hall of Famer Mel Tillis dead at 85

Country Music Hall of Famer Mel Tillis died early Sunday morning in Ocala, Florida, according to his publicist, Don Murry Grubbs. He was 85.

>> Read more trending news

In his six-decade career, the singer recorded more than 60 albums, had three dozen Top 10 singles and wrote several hit songs that are now regarded as classics, the Tennessean reported.

During the 1960s, Tillis’ songs charted for several artists, with hits like “Ruby (Don't Take Your Love to Town),” “Mental Revenge” and “Detroit City,” becoming classics, the Tennessean reported.

As a recording artist, Tillis scored during the 1970s with two dozen Top 10 hits. Five of them topped the charts, including “Coca Cola Cowboy” in 1979.

His other No. 1 hits were “I Ain’t Never” in 1972, “Good Woman Blues”  in 1976, “Heart Healer” in 1976, “I Believe in You” in 1978. He also went to No. 1 in 1980 with “Southern Rains.”

The Country Music Association named Tillis Entertainer of the Year in 1976, the Tennessean reported, and he was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame that same year.

Tillis appeared on several television shows, including “Hee Haw” and “Hollywood Squares.” He also appeared in films such as “Cannonball Run” and “Smokey and the Bandit.” He  did commercials for Whataburger, a fast-food restaurant chain, the Tennessean

reported.

Lonnie Melvin Tillis was born on Aug. 8, 1932, near Tampa, Fla. He developed a speech impediment after a childhood bout of malaria, the Tennessean reported. But he used the stammer to his advantage as an entertainer.

“After a lot of years and more hurting than I like to remember, I can talk about it lightly — which eases things a bit,” he wrote in “Stutterin' Boy,” his 1984 autobiography. “It's a way of showing people that it hasn't licked me, so it doesn't have to lick others.”

In 2007, Tillis was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry Hall of Fame by his daughter, singer Pam Tillis. Later that year, he was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame.

"I'm just so thankful, for everything," he  said when he was inducted.

In 2011, Tillis was named a National Medal of Arts recipient for his contributions to country music, the Tennessean reported. He received his award in February 2012 during a White House ceremony.

Bill Murray resurrects 'Caddyshack' character in Facebook series about baseball

Carl Spackler is back.

Bill Murray played the hilarious golf course groundskeeper in “Caddyshack,” determined to keep a pesky gopher from ruining his lush fairways. He will play a similar role in “Bill Murray and Brian Doyle Murray’s Extra Innings,” an unscripted series that debuts Monday on Facebook, Entertainment Weekly reported.

>> Read more trending news

The show will stream on Mondays for the next 10 weeks.

The brothers will chronicle their adventures to several baseball parks and will attempt to get rid of animated gophers at the Martha’s Vineyard stadium. Bill Murray dresses in his Spackler outfit, with shredded cargo shorts and a floppy bucket hat, to play “Whack-a-Mole,” Entertainment Weekly reported.

“I have issues with my own personal space,” Murray says as he wanders into the outfield, armed with a watering can. “In an ordinary situation, I need about a meter around me to be comfortable. However, on a baseball field, I need to be far away from any burrowing animal.”

Bill Murray, perhaps the most famous fan of the Chicago Cubs, also sings the new show’s theme song, “The Thing About Baseball,” written by the brothers and Paul Shaffer.

Lena Dunham slammed for defending 'Girls' producer accused of rape

Social media users are slamming actress and “Girls” creator Lena Dunham after she defended one of the show’s producers, Murray Miller, following allegations that he raped a teen actress, Page Six reports.

>> On Rare.us: Lena Dunham responds to backlash after she announced she had to give up her dog, Lamby

“Life comes at you fast @lenadunham,” S.E. Cupp tweeted with a screenshot of one of Dunham's previous tweets, which reads, “Things women lie about: what they ate for lunch. Things women don’t lie about: rape,” side by side with her defense of Miller.

After actress Aurora Perrineau accused Miller of raping her when she was 17, Dunham and co-showrunner Jenni Konner responded in a joint statement, saying, “While our first instinct is to listen to every woman’s story, our insider knowledge of Murray’s situation makes us confident that sadly this accusation is one of the 3% of assault cases that are misreported every year. It is a true shame to add to that number, as outside of Hollywood women still struggle to be believed. We stand by Murray and this is all we’ll be saying about this issue.”

>> Read more trending news

Dunham continued her thoughts on Twitter, later writing, “I believe in a lot of things but the first tenet of my politics is to hold up the people who have held me up, who have filled my world with love.”

However, that was also met with the ire and mocking from users:

In her statement, Perinea, now 23, claimed she woke up in Miller’s bed after consuming alcohol with him at a hotel, and he was “having sexual intercourse with me.” On Friday, she filed a police report in regard to the incident. Miller has since “categorically and vehemently” denied the allegation.

'SNL' slams former cast member Al Franken on 'Weekend Update'

"Saturday Night Live" slammed Sen. Al Franken just days after Los Angeles news anchor Leeann Tweeden accused the Minnesota Democrat and former "SNL" cast member of groping and kissing her without her consent during a 2006 USO tour.

>> Sen. Al Franken accused of kissing, groping news anchor without consent

Colin Jost and Michael Che took aim at the comedian-turned-senator during the show's "Weekend Update" segment.

"Thursday is Thanksgiving, and there is so much to be thankful for this year – unless you're a human woman," Jost said before showing a photo of Franken smiling as he appears to grope Tweeden's chest.

>> Read more trending news

"Now, I know this photo looks bad, but remember: It also is bad," Jost continued. "And sure, this was taken before Franken ran for public office, but it was also taken after he was a sophomore in high school. It's pretty hard to be like, 'Oh, come on. He didn't know any better; he was only 55!'"

>> Watch the clip here

Che added: "And without even looking, you can bet that President Trump called out Al Franken and not Roy Moore, who's accused of way worse, by the way. But Franken is a liberal and Trump and Moore are conservatives, and in this country, everybody has to pick a side – except for me. I think they're all [expletive]."

>> Watch the segment here (WARNING: Viewer discretion advised.)

Photos: Notable deaths 2017

'Project Runway' contestant Wendy Pepper dead at 53

Anne Eustis Pepper Stewart, known as Wendy Pepper, has died at the age of 53, Page Six reports.

The “Project Runway” first season contestant “died peacefully" Nov. 12 while "surrounded by her loving family," according to her obituary. The news comes just one month after the death of fellow contestant Mychael Knight, who appeared on Season 3 of the fashion competition series, at age 39. In addition to Pepper coming in third place on the series, she “designed and hand-sewed exceptionally beautiful clothes for children and adults," her obituary said.

>> Designer Mychael Knight, ‘Project Runway’ alum, dead at 39

“We are saddened to hear of the passing of another member of the 'Project Runway' family, designer Wendy Pepper, this year,” a spokesperson for Lifetime, which began airing “Project Runway” after the show left Bravo, said on Friday. “Wendy was one of the original designers that sent creations down the catwalk, paving the way for other designers to come. We wish her family and friends peace during this difficult time.”

>> PHOTOS: Notable deaths 2017

“She was an artist who proudly forged her own path in life,” her family wrote of her in her obituary. “She was a chef, a writer and a lifelong entrepreneur. Her wit and humor were unmatched, as was her generosity of spirit.”

Pepper, of Washington, D.C., is survived by her daughter, Finley M. Stewart, as well as her parents, three brothers, one sister and many nieces and nephews. Her cause of death is currently unclear. A funeral service will be held for her on Dec. 1 in Georgetown.

>> Read more trending news

Following her passing, many fans took to social media to share their condolences, with one appearing to quote “Project Runway,” writing, “If you really want to succeed, you’ve gotta be willing to throw yourself into the arena. #wendypepper you will be remembered for being a talented designer and a witty and humorous lady and mother.”

Venus Williams' Florida home burglarized, $400,000 in goods stolen during U.S. Open

The Florida residence tennis star Venus Williams calls home was burglarized as she played in the U.S. Open in September, according to a Palm Beach Gardens police report released Thursday.

>> Watch the news report here

Though what was taken from the home at BallenIsles Country Club is redacted from the report, police indicate more than $400,000 worth of items were taken from the residence.

>> Serena Williams shares wedding photos in new interview

Palm Beach Gardens police indicate in the report that the last time the items were known to be in the home was Sept. 1, the day Williams’s sister, Serena, gave birth to her first daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr.

That was the same day Williams beat Greek tennis player Maria Sakkari in the U.S. Open in New York. Williams made it to the semifinals where she lost to U.S. player Sloane Stephens in three sets on Sept. 7.

The burglary was reported on Sept. 5, according to the report.

>> Read more trending news 

This is not the first time this year Williams has been part of a Palm Beach Gardens police report. On June 9, Williams collided with Linda and Jerome Barson at an intersection near her home. Jerome Barson died weeks later from complication of blunt traumatic injuries.

Williams was not charged in the crash, but Barson’s family has filed a civil lawsuit against her.

AC/DC co-founder Malcolm Young dead at 64

Rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young, the co-founder of the rock ’n’ roll group AC/DC, died Saturday, Rolling Stone reported and the band announced on its website. He was 64.

>> Read more trending news

Young had been suffering from dementia for the past three years, which forced his retirement from the band that he founded with his brother Angus Young in 1973.

"Today it is with deep heartfelt sadness that AC/DC has to announce the passing of Malcolm Young," AC/DC wrote on its site. “Malcolm, along with Angus, was the founder and creator of AC/DC. With enormous dedication and commitment he was the driving force behind the band. As a guitarist, songwriter and visionary he was a perfectionist and a unique man. He always stuck to his guns and did and said exactly what he wanted. He took great pride in all that he endeavored. His loyalty to the fans was unsurpassed.”

Angus Young added, "As his brother it is hard to express in words what he has meant to me during my life, the bond we had was unique and very special. He leaves behind an enormous legacy that will live on forever. Malcolm, job well done.”

The Young brothers lost their older brother, George Young, who was the band’s longtime producer and a guitarist for the Easybeats, on Oct. 23. George Young was 70 when he died.

>> AC/DC producer, Easybeats guitarist George Young dead at 70

In a statement to Australia's SBS, the band said that Malcolm Young died peacefully Saturday with his family by his side.

“Renowned for his musical prowess, Malcolm was a songwriter, guitarist, performer, producer and visionary who inspired many,” the statement said. “From the outset, he knew what he wanted to achieve and, along with his younger brother, took to the world stage giving their all at every show. Nothing less would do for their fans.”

Malcolm Young was last featured on the band's Black Ice tour, which ran from 2008 to 2010 and is the fourth-highest grossing tour of all time, SBS reported.

Malcolm Young, like his older brother George and younger brother Angus, was born in Glasgow, Scotland before the whole Young family emigrated to Sydney, Australia in the early 1960s, Rolling Stone reported.

Malcolm and Angus named the band after the “AC/DC” electrical current marker that they observed on their sisters sewing machine, Rolling Stone reported.

The brothers were the creative forces behind hits like “Highway to Hell,” “Back in Black,” “Highway to Hell,” “Thunderstruck,” “You Shook Me All Night Long,” and “For Those About to Rock (We Salute You).”

Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine tweeted that he was “losing it that Malcolm is gone,  I hate this.”

David Coverdale of Whitesnake tweeted that Young was “a great guy” and “a pleasure to know.”

“Truly missed,” he added.

The Young brothers and AC/DC were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2003, Rolling Stone reported. The band sold more than 110 million albums worldwide.

In September 2014 the band said Malcolm Young had left the group because of the onset of dementia, The Guardian reported.

In November 2014, Angus Young told The Guardian that his brother had developed symptoms when the group recorded the “Black Ice” album in 2008, and that he had to relearn songs between shows.

“It was hard work for him,” Angus Young said. “He was relearning a lot of those songs that he knew backwards; the ones we were playing that night he’d be relearning.”

Stolen Van Halen guitar returned to Hard Rock Cafe in Texas

A guitar owned by rock ’n’ roll legend Eddie Van Halen worth more than $100,000 was recovered Friday, hours after it was stolen from a Hard Rock Cafe in San Antonio, Texas, KSAT reported.

>> Read more trending news

The guitar, nicknamed “Frankenstrat,” had been reported stolen around 1 a.m. Friday. It was returned later in the day, but it is unclear how the restaurant was able to retrieve the instrument.

According to San Antonio police, someone walked in a side door of the Hard Rock Cafe and took the red, white and black guitar off the wall, and then exited the building. An employee noticed the guitar was missing after the Hard Rock Cafe closed, police said.

The Frankenstrat guitar was one of several that Van Halen had custom built for him during his career, the San Antonio Express reported. 

Van Halen is considered one of the most influential guitarists in the history of rock music. In 2011, Rolling Stone magazine ranked Van Halen eighth on its list of the 100 greatest guitarists.

Serena Williams shares wedding photos in new interview

Tennis icon Serena Williams married Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian in New Orleans Thursday, and gave the first official photos to Vogue magazine to share.

The ceremony was in front of 200 guests made up of family and friends -- Venus Williams, Beyonce, Kim Kardashian Anna Wintour, Ciara and the newlyweds’ 2-month-old daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr. among them. 

>> Read more trending news

Williams detailed her big day for Vogue in a story published Friday.

“Alexis really wanted to do New Orleans. It’s his favorite city besides Brooklyn,” Williams said. “It’s got a heavy European influence; it’s fun and has amazing food. He just loves the vibe. The venue—the Contemporary Arts Center of New Orleans—was a decision we both made. Painting and art is something I’m really passionate about, so it just felt natural and different to do it at a contemporary art museum.”

The wedding date  -- Nov. 16 -- held special importance for both as it was Ohanian’s late mother’s birthday.

“Obviously, we wish that she could be here for this, but choosing her birthday as our wedding date was a nice way of making sure she’s still involved and made us feel more connected to her on our day,” Williams told Vogue.

The “Beauty and the Beast” themed wedding included a Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen ball gown that Williams walked down the aisle in. The venue was designed similar to a fashion show.

“I wanted the whole thing to be as nontraditional as possible,” Williams said. “We did sofas instead of chairs, with everything facing the aisle instead of the altar.”

Baby Alexis was carried down the aisle by Williams’ mother, Oracene Price, and Williams’ best friend, Val Vogt, carried the athletes Yorkshire terrier, Chip, down the aisle. The dog, which Williams has referred to as her son, wore a tiny tuxedo and top hat.

The two exchanged personally written vows to each other before changing outfits for the reception. In between the ceremony and reception, guests were at a cocktail hour outside. A second line parade brought guests back inside, where guests dined on Southern, Armenian and Italian food at four long tables named after Williams’ Grand Slam wins.

“Serena wanted a ball, but she wanted a modern ball, not anything that was too stuffy,” event designer Preston Bailey said of the reception.

Williams changed into a custom feathered and beaded Versace dress after the couple was introduced as Mr. and Mrs. Alexis Ohanian. The newlyweds did a choreographed first dance and later in the evening danced on stage as New Edition performed.

Early Friday morning, the event ended with a surprise: Ohanian brought out a carousel for his new bride.

Read more about Williams and Ohanian’s wedding at Vogue.com.

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