JULIA PHILLIPS DIES
Movie producer Julia Phillips -- the first woman every to take home a best picture Oscar, and the author of a scandalous tell-all memoir -- has died at her West Hollywood home after a months-long battle with cancer. She was 57.
Family members said Phillips had been diagnosed with cancer in August.
Phillips made history when she became the first woman to win a best picture Oscar, taking the honor for "The Sting" in 1973. She went on to co-produce Martin Scorsese's groundbreaking movie, "Taxi Driver" in 1976. She was also a co-producer on Steven Spielberg's "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" in 1977, but was dismissed from the project, beginning a career downturn from which her professional standing never improved.
Phillips made headlines in 1990 with her take-no-prisoners autobiography, "You'll Never Eat Lunch in This Town Again," in which she named names and told tales of petty, vindictive behavior in the corporate suites of Hollywood. She said many of her former friends cut her off after the best-selling book was published.
In 2000, Phillips co-wrote "The Drudge Manifesto" with online political gossip maven Matt Drudge. He told the Los Angeles Times that Phillips was almost entirely disconnected from Hollywood when she died.
Private services are planned.
Oscar-winning actor Jon Voight raised eyebrows at a New York news conference recently when he declared "Ali" a better boxing movie than the cinematic sacred cow "Raging Bull."
"This is the best boxing film, in terms of the sheer boxing of it -- and hopefully, more than that -- that has ever been made. It's better than 'Raging Bull.' Much better than 'Raging Bull,'" said Voight, who earned a Golden Globe Award nomination for his spot-on portrayal of sports announcer Howard Cosell in "Ali," which stars Will Smith as the titular boxer, Muhammad Ali. But he does concede that "Raging Bull" was "an extraordinary artistic event."
"Raging Bull" was the movie that cemented Robert DeNiro's star status.
"Ali" is the third boxing movie Voight has starred in during his almost four decade-long career. The star of "Midnight Cowboy" and "Deliverance" first played a fighter in 1971 in the film "All American Boy," then returned to the ring in 1979 to play a champion boxer-turned-horse trainer in "The Champ," earning an Oscar nomination for his performance.
Voight said he likes working in sports movies like "Ali" and the recent teen football movie "Varsity Blues," in which he played a coach, because "there's a lot of drama in athletics."
A dead ringer for Cosell in both voice and appearance in "Ali," Voight insisted he wasn't trying to do an impression of Cosell. "I did the best I could to evoke him," the 64-year-old actor explained, "to bring him to life."
(Thanks to UPI's Karen Butler in New York)
|Additional Odd News Stories|
WASHINGTON, May 19 (UPI) --Television actress Christine White has died in Washington, her representatives announced. She was 86.
DAMASCUS, Va., May 19 (UPI) --Police in Damascus, Ga., said the driver of a car that plowed into a crowd during a parade, injuring about 60 people, may have suffered a medical emergency.
MIAMI, May 19 (UPI) --The Miami Heat's Dwyane Wade said he wanted to make a Miami teen's prom "a memorable moment," so he surprised her by showing up at her senior prom.