Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Colleagues and friends of James Gandolfini are paying tribute to the actor in the wake of his sudden death Wednesday in Italy. Gandolfini was 51.David Chase, who created The Sopranos, the hit HBO series for which Gandolfini is best known, called Gandolfini “a genius.”In a statement, Chase called Gandolfini “one of the greatest actors of this or any time."“I remember telling him many times, ‘You don’t get it. You’re like Mozart.’ There would be silence at the other end of the phone,” Chase stated, adding that the loss was “crushing” for Gandolfini’s wife and children. “And it’s bad for the rest of the world. He wasn’t easy sometimes. But he was my partner, he was my brother in ways I can’t explain and never will be able to explain.”Steven Schirripa, the actor who played mobster Bobby Bacala on The Sopranos, said in a statement: “Jimmy was a dear friend and like a brother to me. He was a great actor and a great father. I will miss him terribly. I am very sad.”Lorraine Bracco, another Sopranos co-star, wrote that she was “utterly heartbroken."“We lost a giant today,” she said in a statement.And Jeff Daniels, who starred alongside Gandolfini in the Broadway play God of Carnage, said the actor didn’t miss a single one of their 320 performances together in the production.“Sadly, I now miss him like a brother,” Daniels said.Gandolfini was a New Jersey native, and the state’s Gov. Chris Christie called the actor’s death “an awful shock” in a statement Wednesday.“James Gandolfini was a fine actor, a Rutgers alum and a true Jersey guy. I was a huge fan of his and the character he played so authentically, Tony Soprano. I have gotten to know Jimmy and many of the other actors in the Sopranos cast and I can say that each of them are an individual New Jersey treasure …,” Christie said.The band Journey, whose hit song “Don’t Stop Believin’,” was prominently featured in the last scene of the final episode of The Sopranos, released a statement calling it “an honor to have been able to share one of the greatest moments ever in TV history with James Gandolfini. He was an amazing actor – taken way too young – and he’ll be missed. Our condolences go out to his family. Our condolences go out to his family.”On Twitter, other celebrities continued to express their sorrow and send condolences to the actor’s family.Shocked and saddened by James Gandolfini’s passing. My deepest sympathies to his family and friends.— Michael J. Fox (@realmikefox) June 20, 2013So sad to lose James Gandolfini. One of the sweetest, funniest, most generous actors I’ve ever worked with. Sending prayers to his family. — Susan Sarandon (@SusanSarandon) June 20, 2013James Gandolfini. This is a tremendous loss. A brilliant actor and a wonderful man. Our deepest sympathies to his family. Devastating. — Michael Chiklis (@MichaelChiklis) June 20, 2013 Sad to hear about James Gandolfini . First met Jimmy back in ’94.He was roommates in NY with Lenny Loftin. Lovely man. RIP Jimmy— Russell Crowe (@russellcrowe) June 20, 2013My thoughts and prayers go out to James Gandolfini’s family. An extraordinary actor. RIP, Mr. Gandolfini.— Robin Williams (@robinwilliams) June 20, 2013I’m truly heartbroken to hear that James Gandolfini has passed away. He is one of my all time favorite actors. Tragic loss.— Jonah Hill (@JonahHill) June 19, 2013Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Vera Anderson/WireImage(NEW YORK) -- James Gandolfini, best known for his role as mobster Tony Soprano in the 1999-2007 HBO series The Sopranos, has died.HBO has confirmed Gandolfini has died at the age of 51 of a possible heart attack.Gandolfini was on vacation in Rome, Italy, at the time of his death. TMZ notes he was expected to attend a film festival event this weekend in Sicily.A statement from HBO reads:We're all in shock and feeling immeasurable sadness at the loss of a beloved member of our family. He was [a] special man, a great talent, but more importantly a gentle and loving person who treated everyone no matter their title or position with equal respect. He touched so many of us over the years with his humor, his warmth and his humility. Our hearts go out to his wife and children during this terrible time. He will be deeply missed by all of us. Gandolfini's managers, Mark Armstrong and Nancy Sanders, also released a statement:"It is with immense sorrow that we report our client James Gandolfini passed away today while on holiday in Rome, Italy. Our hearts are shattered and we will miss him deeply. He and his family were part of our family for many years and we are all grieving."
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Gandolfini won three Emmy Awards for his performance on The Sopranos. Last month, HBO ordered a seven-part drama series, Criminal Justice, with Gandolfini attached.Gandolfini had numerous movies to his credit as well, most recently Zero Dark Thirty and The Incredible Burt Wonderstone. He had been working on a drama titled Animal Rescue, which is scheduled for release next year.His film resume also includes Crimson Tide, Get Shorty, The Mexican, The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3, and Killing Them Softly.Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
MEHDI TAAMALLAH/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Miley Cyrus has never said publicly that she smoked pot, but in a new Rolling Stone interview she doesn’t exactly deny it either.“I did a song with Snoop Dogg called ‘Ashtrays and Heartbreaks,’ so people can put it together for themselves,” Cyrus told the magazine.“I think alcohol is way more dangerous than marijuana. People can be mad at me for saying that, but I don’t care,” the 20-year-old singer told Rolling Stone. “I’ve seen a lot of people spiral down with alcohol, but I’ve never seen that happen with weed.”In 2010, Cyrus famously denied smoking marijuana after a videotape surfaced of her with a bong. At the time, she claimed it contained salvia, a legal hallucinogen.Then, on her 19th birthday, she joked in another videotape that “You know you’re a stoner when your friends make you a Bob Marley cake.” Her rep later told Us Weekly it was all a joke: “The cake was a joke and Miley’s response was intended to be sarcastic.”In the Rolling Stone article, Cyrus defended marijuana users as being laid back.“As long as it isn’t illegal, there are far more dangerous things. And it’s legal in the state of California. So I’m happy to live in California, a place where you can be whoever you want to be.”Neither Cyrus nor her rep responded to ABC News’ request for comment.Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- It worked for Zach Braff and Veronica Mars creator Rob Thomas. Now James Franco has turned to crowdfunding to bankroll a trilogy of movies.Franco launched his campaign on June 17 to raise $500,000 through Indiegogo, a crowdfunding alternative to Kickstarter. Unlike Braff and Thomas, Franco doesn't plan on directing the films. He's raising the money so that a group of young filmmakers from New York University, where he attended the film program, can adapt his 2011 short story collection, Palo Alto."Because of who I am, people often believe that it is easy to find investors and distributors for my films," Franco wrote on his campaign website. "Unfortunately, things aren't that easy. More times than not, I have put in my own money to produce my films and my student's films. However, this time it's different. We need more funding, I will still fund part of it but I need your help, filming three feature films back-to-back requires more funding than I can give."Levels of contribution range from $10 for copies of the screenplays to $10,000, which earns you dinner with Franco and an executive producer credit. As of Wednesday afternoon, the campaign had taken in just shy of $50,000.Crowdfunding started as a way for independent, mostly unknown artists to appeal directly to the public to fund their film, book, album and more, but now a growing number of established celebrities are turning to crowd-funding for their next projects.That's got some people crying foul. John Trigonis writes on the website Daily Crowdsource that stars are "saturating the pool with their somewhat unfair advantage -- celebrity."By far, the biggest success comes from the creator of Veronica Mars who raised a record $2 million in a single day for a big-screen version of the TV series. Then again, being a cast member of the critically acclaimed TV series Girls did not help Zosia Mamet reach her goal. The 25-year-old daughter of playwright David Mamet sought $32,000 in donations through Kickstarter to fund a music video for her band with 17-year-old sister Clara, but managed to only rake in $2,783 after 14 days. Perhaps Mamet was feeling the backlash that has been building against the celebrity Kickstarter bandwagon. "It's possible that people are getting tired of rich, young celebs asking for money on the Internet," Jordyn Taylor of the New York Observer wrote.Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Doug McKenzie/Getty Images(JACKSONVILLE, Fla.) -- Country singer Slim Whitman died Wednesday. He was 90.Best known for his 1952 hit, "Indian Love Call," Whitman joined the Grand Ole Opry cast in 1955. He earned a string of top 10 hits between 1952 and 1971, including his final hits, "Guess Who" and "Something Beautiful (to Remember)."Whitman was also a star overseas with his single "Rose Marie," spending 11 weeks at #1 in England in 1954. His song, "Closer to the Waterfall," was used in the 1977 film Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and "Indian Love Call" was featured in the 1996 movie Mars Attacks!Whitman was also widely known for selling his albums via telemarketing in the 1980s. That effort reportedly led to millions of album sales.Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Frank Micelotta/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Paramount has released its first trailer to Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues.
Unlike the previous two teasers, the snippet gives a bigger peek of the movie's plot, when Will Ferrell's Ron Burgundy and the rest of his Channel 4 news team head into the 1980s and the 24/7 world of cable news.
Anchorman 2, which also stars Paul Rudd, Steve Carell, and David Koechner -- as well as series newcomers Kristen Wiig and James Marsden -- opens Dec. 20.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Murray Close/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Jurassic Park 4 is back on track. Last month, production on the film was postponed, leaving its release date up in the air after it was originally scheduled to premiere in June 2014. Variety is now reporting that Jurassic Park 4 will now open sometime in 2015.Executive producer Steven Spielberg, who directed the first two films in the dinosaur series, is said to be working on the script with director Colin Trevorrow and producers.Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Adam Rose/NBC(NEW YORK) -- NBC announced Tuesday it is moving forward with an hour-long documentary that will capture actress Valerie Harper's battle with cancer. The 73-year-old Mary Tyler Moore Show star announced in March that she had been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. NBC has yet to schedule an air date for the documentary, which will be hosted by Meredith Vieira.Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- It seems Charlie Sheen's reported feud with Selma Blair on the set of Anger Management has cost her her job.Lionsgate, which produces the FX sitcom, announced on Tuesday, “We are confirming that Selma Blair will not be returning to Anger Management and we wish her the very best.” The announcement came after TMZ.com reported that Sheen had told producers he would quit unless they began the process of firing Blair as soon as possible. TMZ reported earlier this week that Sheen was upset that she allegedly complained about his work habits to the show's executives.To say that Sheen would have left a lot of money on the table had he quit the show would be a huge understatement. TMZ notes that he stands to earn between $75 million and $200 million if he completes the network's 100-episode order for Anger Management. He reportedly has taped approximately half that amount to date.TMZ further reports that when Blair was approached by a photographer Tuesday morning regarding her job status, she answered, "I don't know anything." Well, now she does.Deadline.com reports Sheen informed Blair of her firing by text message, and even called her the "C" word.Blair played Kate, the therapist of Sheen's character, on Anger Management. According to Deadline, the role will not be recast.As you'll recall, Sheen was fired from the CBS sitcom Two and a Half Men in 2011 after repeated rants against the show's creator, Chuck Lorre.
Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Ratings for The Voice are on the rise for its finale week.The final performance show of the season for the NBC competition pulled in an estimated 12.3 million viewers on Monday night, according to Variety. That's an improvement of about 500,000 viewers from last week's performance show, but a smaller total than what The Voice enjoyed during the first half of the season.The Voice crowned its fourth-season winner on Tuesday night.The top-rated primetime programs for the week that ended Sunday were the third, fourth, and fifth games of the NBA Finals, televised by ABC. The fifth game between the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs, played on Sunday night, drew an audience of 16.27 million viewers. The sixth game was held Tuesday night.ABC won the network ratings race for the week, followed by NBC, CBS, Univision, Fox, Telemundo, ION Television and the CW.Here are the top 10 primetime programs for the week of June 10-16, according to the Nielsen Company:1. NBA Finals: San Antonio vs. Miami (Sunday), ABC, 16.27 million2. NBA Finals: San Antonio vs. Miami (Thursday), ABC, 16.23 million3. NBA Finals: San Antonio vs. Miami (Tuesday), ABC, 14.05 million4. The Voice (Monday), NBC, 11.85 million5. America's Got Talent (Tuesday), NBC, 11.52 million6. The Voice (Tuesday), NBC, 10.66 million7. NCIS, CBS, 8.67 million8. The Big Bang Theory, CBS, 8.62 million9. NCIS: Los Angeles, CBS, 7.43 million10. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CBS, 7.14 million
Stuart Wilson/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- During Jimmy Kimmel Live!'s "Game Night" primetime special on Tuesday, Kimmel unveiled the video for "(I Wanna) Channing All Over Your Tatums," the sexually charged but nonsensical tribute to the sexiness of Channing Tatum.The video features Jamie Foxx (using the musical moniker 4 Chainz) and Tatum himself singing and rapping while a bevy of stars -- including a midriff-bearing Miley Cyrus, Olivia Munn, Gabourey Sidibe, Matt Damon and Kimmel himself -- extoll the virtues of Tatum in song.Cyrus' scene has her being rescued by Kimmel from a toppled vending machine from which they both steal packs of Skittles with "Channing" written on them.Foxx and Tatum co-star in the upcoming big screen drama White House Down. It opens nationwide on June 28.
Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The Dumb and Dumber sequel has found a new home.
Warner Bros., the parent company of the original film's studio New Line, cut ties with the project recently, but it's been picked up by Universal Pictures and Red Granite Pictures.
The announcement was made Tuesday by Dumb and Dumber directors, the Farrelly brothers.
Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels will reprise their roles of Lloyd and Harry in Dumb and Dumber To.
ABC/RICHARD CARTWRIGHT(LOS ANGELES) -- Johnny Depp has been hot in Hollywood for years, nabbing blockbuster films like Pirates of the Carribean, Alice in Wonderland and now Lone Ranger, out July 3. Still, the 50-year-old actor recently admitted that he thinks of retiring a lot.In the latest issue of Rolling Stone, Depp said although he thinks of calling it quits "every day," he's not slowing down just yet."I think while I've got the opportunity and the desire and the creative spark to do the things that I can do right now, I should do them," he continued. "And then, at a certain point, just take it down to the bare minimum and concentrate on, I guess, living life; really living life and going somewhere where you don't have to be on the run, or sneak in through the kitchen or the underground labyrinth of the hotel."In the revealing article, Depp also finally shared his thoughts on his split with Vanessa Paradis after 14 years. The pair, who never married but had two children, Lily-Rose, 14, and Jack, 11, split in June 2012."The last couple years have been a bit bumpy," Depp said. "At times, certainly unpleasant, but that's the nature of breakups, I guess, especially when there are kiddies involved.""It wasn't easy on her. It wasn't easy on me. It wasn't easy on the kids. So, yeah. The trajectory of that relationship -- you play it out until it goes, one thing leads to another. So for whatever reason that ceases, it doesn't stop the fact that you care for that person, and they're the mother of your kids, and you'll always know each other, and you're always gonna be in each other's lives because of those kids. You might as well make the best of it," he concluded.The July issue of Rolling Stone hits shelves on July 4.
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Kim Kardashian has been silent since she gave birth to her baby daughter last weekend. Ryan Seacrest, an executive producer of her E! reality series, did, however, provide a small update on the new mom on his Los Angeles-based radio show on Tuesday.Seacrest shared that he sent Kardashian an email after the baby's birth that read, "Yay! Congrats my darling, you're a mommy!" He says she replied, "Cant believe it! It's so crazy!"That's the closest thing to a public statement that Kardashian has made since she and her boyfriend, Kanye West, became parents. There's still no official word on the baby's name, though it is believed that Kardashian and West will choose one that begins with the letter "K."E! News' Ken Baker joined Seacrest on the show, saying the delivery was "not planned."
He added, “[The baby] is healthy and Kim is doing well. ...There’s a great sense of relief. Everyone is very happy for her and Kim is relieved [because] this was a very stressful time.”
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Terminator 3 actor Nick Stahl has reportedly been hospitalized for involuntary psychiatric treatment at a medical facility in Los Angeles.TMZ reports the actor, who has been in rehab previously and has also been reported missing multiple times, was held for treatment Monday night. According to sources, the 33-year-old troubled actor was transported to a medical facility around 3:30 a.m. by a friend.Last year, Stahl was arrested in Los Angeles for alleged lewd conduct in a porn shop. Recently, the actor said he was focused on recovery.Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio