Monday Nov 24, 2014
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama said this year's recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom made the world stronger, wiser, more beautiful and more humane. Obama praised the 18 artists, activists and lawmakers receiving the award at a White House ceremony on Monday. Among the recipients are Ethel Kennedy, actress Meryl Streep and singer-songwriter Stevie Wonder. Obama said Streep's talent is so immense that she "has no peers." He praised her work to promote empathy on and off the screen. He called Wonder a musical prodigy whose warmth and humanity can be heard in every note of his music. Others receiving the award included NBC journalist Tom Brokaw, author Isabel Allende and Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., the longest-serving member of Congress who is retiring at the end of the year. The list also included Native American activist Suzan Harjo, actress Marlo Thomas, economist Robert Solow, golfer Charles Sifford, former Rep. Abner Mikva of Illinois and physicist Mildred Dresselhaus. Posthumous medals went to six individuals, among them civil rights workers James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner, who were slain in 1964 as they participated in a historic voter registration drive in Mississippi. Other posthumous awards were for choreographer Alvin Ailey and Reps. Patsy Mink of Hawaii and Edward Roybal of California, founder of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. The Presidential Medal of Freedom is reserved for individuals who have made "meritorious contributions" to U.S. security, world peace or cultural endeavors. "This is one of my favorite events," Obama said from the East Room. "Once a year, we set aside this event to celebrate people who have made America stronger and wiser and more humane and more beautiful with our higher civilian honor." Composer Stephen Sondheim was scheduled to receive the award, but Obama said he couldn't make it and will be included in next year's class of honorees. ___ Follow Nedra Pickler on Twitter at https://twitter.com/nedrapickler Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
After appearing in Steve McQueen's "12 Years a Slave," Paul Dano is to co-star in the TV drama "Codes of Conduct" helmed by the British director, according to Deadline."Codes of Conduct" will follow Beverly Snow, a young, ambitious and talented man from Queens who'll try to conceal his past and his social origins to break into the Manhattan elite. Dano, who came to fame with "Little Miss Sunshine," will join Devon Terrell, the newcomer set to take the lead role. Academy Award-winner Steve McQueen will direct this pilot, his first TV project. He also took part in the writing process, helped by Matthew Michael Carnahan ("World War Z"). Filming starts this week in New York. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.
Canadian filmmaker Jean-Marc Vallee will direct Amy Adams as Joplin, according to Deadline.Adams, who won a Golden Globe for "American Hustle" and is to headline "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" in 2016, was chosen over Renee Zellweger to embody the American rock legend. Several directors were also serious contenders for this project before Vallee was eventually chosen, according to Deadline. Vallee became a prominent director thanks in part to three Academy Awards for "Dallas Buyers Club." He recently shot "Wild" with Reese Witherspoon, a serious frontrunner for the next Oscar season. He's also just finished filming "Demolition" with Jake Gyllenhaal and Naomi Watts. Vallee will start filming the biopic next summer. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.
NEW YORK (AP) — So far playing a recast character has worked to Billy Miller's advantage. He was the fourth actor to play Billy Abbott on CBS' "The Young and the Restless" and earned three Daytime Emmy Awards. Now, the 35-year-old actor is playing Jason Morgan on ABC's "General Hospital" (airing Monday through Friday at 3 p.m. EST). Steve Burton played Jason for 20 years until 2012, when the character was presumed dead. Recently, Jason was hit by a car, wiping away his memory (and giving Miller a clean slate to work with in the role). "It would be ridiculous for me to mimic (the way Burton played him)," Miller said in a recent interview. What he's brought to the character so far is levity. His version of Jason (or "Jake" as he goes by now) smiles and jokes. "It's more fun in this genre whenever you can add some lightness to it or make it funny. You don't get a lot of room for that so I usually look for it. It's a scary position for this guy who is so lost and doesn't know who he is, (so) you match that with a little bit of humor," he said. However, Miller looks forward to the day when Jason's past collides with his present. "It really does offer up some great story if we decide to go there. I really hope that's how we explore this because I feel like that might be more my strength," he said. He's also looking forward to interacting with other "GH" stars like Maurice Benard and Roger Howarth. He's particularly interested in working with longtime star Anthony Geary, saying, "I can't wait for that acting class." Miller left "Y&R" early this year. It was soon rumored that he would take over the role of Jason. "It was entirely premature. I was fortunate enough to have considerable options," Miller said. He was able to largely block out the chatter because he doesn't use social media. "Every girlfriend I've ever had, our first major fight that we had started off with a text that I thought was funny. Sarcasm clearly doesn't work in print unless you put those little emoticons in there and I'm way too old to have to use emoticons," he joked. "General Hospital" has several hiatuses throughout the year, giving some actors time for other projects if the schedule allows. Miller has upcoming roles on TNT's "Major Crimes" and USA's "Suits." "I've always thought the bigger your body of work, the more you're able to survive for a longer time," he said. ___ Alicia Rancilio covers entertainment for The Associated Press. Follow her online at http://www.twitter.com/aliciar ___ Online: http://abc.go.com/shows/general-hospital/ Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
NEW YORK (AP) — Judith Ivey will need to get in touch with her fearsome side. She's going to be the "Iron Lady" on Broadway. Producers of "The Audience" said Monday that Ivey, the two-time Tony Award winner and one-time cast member of "Designing Women," will play former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher when the show opens in New York on Feb. 17. "The Audience" imagines the private weekly meetings between the monarch and Britain's prime ministers — 12 in all — over her six-decade reign. It was a smash hit in London and Helen Mirren will be reprising her role as Queen Elizabeth II. The rest of the cast includes Richard McCabe as Harold Wilson, Rufus Wright as David Cameron, Geoffrey Beevers as the Queen's snooty attendant and Dylan Baker as John Major. Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.