People in the news

By United Press International  |  July 25, 2012 at 4:07 AM
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SHERMAN HEMSLEY: Television actor Sherman Hemsley has died at his home in El Paso, Texas, police told TMZ Tuesday. He was 74.

No cause of death was immediately released.

The Philadelphia-born actor is best known for his work in the classic sitcoms "All in the Family," "The Jeffersons" and "Amen." He also lent his voice to a puppet character on Jim Henson's series "Dinosaurs."

His film credits include "Love at First Bite," "Home of Angels," "Senseless," "Jane Austen's Mafia!," "Up, Up, and Away," "Screwed," "For the Love of a Dog," "Hanging in Hedo" and "American Pie Presents: The Book of Love." said he was unmarried and had no children.

JENNIFER HUDSON: Singer-actress Jennifer Hudson was in a Chicago courtroom Tuesday for the sentencing of her former brother-in-law, who was convicted of killing her mother, brother and nephew.

William Balfour, who was married to Hudson's sister Julia, was found guilty in May of three counts of first-degree murder, as well as aggravated kidnapping, home invasion, residential burglary and possession of a stolen vehicle in the shooting deaths of members of the Hudson sisters' family.

Prosecutors argued Balfour, now 31, shot his victims to death in 2008 in a jealous rage because Julia had left him and was dating someone new.

Judge Charles Burns first denied Balfour's motion for a new trial, then sentenced him to three consecutive life terms in prison for his crimes, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

Balfour, who did not testify at his trial, expressed remorse, particularly for killing Julia's 7-year-old son, Julian, before he was sentenced.

"My deepest sympathies to Julian King. I loved him. I still love him," the Sun-Times quoted Balfour as saying as he also offered "condolences and prayers" to Hudson's family.

CHRISTIAN BALE: "The Dark Knight Rises" star Christian Bale Tuesday visited with seven people wounded in a movie theater massacre in Aurora, Colo., a hospital official said.

Bale and his wife, Sibi Blazic, went to the Medical Center of Aurora, where the hospital's interim president, Bill Voloch, said they visited with five people who are still in treatment for wounds and two people who came to the medical center from Swedish Medical Center, The Denver Post reported.

"The patients were really happy to meet Bale," Voloch said. "They are obviously big fans of his movies. They wanted to see Batman and were really pleased to see Bale.

"It was good for the patients. We hope it was therapeutic for them, and all the staff really appreciated him coming."

Bale and Blazic spent time with doctors, police officers and emergency medical personnel who were among the first responders when the shooting broke out early Friday at a screening of "The Dark Knight Rises."

Bale and Blazic stopped by a memorial to victims and visited with Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper.

A spokeswoman for Warner Bros., which is distributing "The Dark Knight Rises," said Bale was "not representing" the studio in Tuesday's visit, the Post reported.

Bale's "Dark Knight Rises" co-stars joined him earlier in expressing sympathy for those involved in the mass shooting.

"My most sincere sympathies go out to the families of the victims in Aurora," Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who plays a Gotham policeman in the blockbuster Batman movie, said via Twitter Monday.

"My heart aches and breaks for the lives taken and altered by this unfathomably senseless act," Anne Hathaway, who plays Catwoman, said in a statement during the weekend. "I am at a loss for words how to express my sorrow. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families."

"Words cannot express the horror that I feel. I cannot begin to truly understand the pain and grief of the victims and their loved ones, but my heart goes out to them," said Bale.

James E. Holmes, 24, is to be charged next week in the deaths of 12 people and the wounding of dozens more when he allegedly opened fire at the Century 16 Movie multiplex where the third and final installment in Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy was showing in a midnight screening.

JONATHAN RHYS MEYERS: NBC and Sky Living say they are working on a co-production of "Dracula," a drama series starring Irish actor Jonathan Rhys Meyers.

The project from the producers of "Downton Abbey" was announced jointly Tuesday by Universal Television Executive Vice President Bela Bajaria and Sky's head of drama, Anne Mensah.

Meyers is best known for his work in the drama series "The Tudors" and the TV movie "Elvis." His film credits include "August Rush," "Vanity Fair," "Match Point," "The Velvet Goldmine" and "Michael Collins."

The 10-episode series introduces Dracula as he arrives in London, posing as an American entrepreneur who maintains he wants to bring modern science to Victorian society when, in reality, he seeks revenge because his life was ruined centuries earlier, a synopsis said.

The show is to begin production this year.

"We are delighted that Jonathan Rhys Meyers has chosen this project to return to television and have built an amazing team of producers behind the camera to deliver this extraordinary show," Michael Edelstein, president of NBCUniversal International Television Production, said in a statement. "Since 1897, the story of Dracula has captivated readers and viewers alike and this sexy, updated twist on the classic also promises not to disappoint."

Additional casting and production details for the British-American co-production are expected to be announced soon, the networks said.

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