Los Angeles, May 28 (AP/UNB) — A Los Angeles judge will consider whether to extend a temporary restraining order Tuesday that keeps a former associate of Britney Spears away from her and her family.
Sam Lutfi, 44, a onetime Spears confidante who has said he once acted as the pop star's manager, was ordered on May 8 to stay at least 200 yards (183 meters) from Spears, her parents and her two sons, and to refrain from contacting or disparaging them. The order could be extended on Tuesday afternoon. Spears, 37, is unlikely to appear.
Lutfi was a major presence in Spears' life at the height of her fame, leading up to her public meltdown in 2008.
The petition Spears' attorneys filed for the order alleged Lutfi had been sending harassing and threatening texts to Spears' family and disparaging them on social media.
Lutfi's attorney Marc Gans said the restraining order if overly broad and violates his client's civil rights. Gans said he and Lutfi looked forward to fighting the order at the hearing.
It's the second time the family has received a restraining order against Lutfi, who has been in legal battles with them for a decade. He sued them in 2009, alleging Britney Spears had breached a contract with him, her father punched him and her mother defamed him in a memoir. The suit was settled in 2016.
The petition for the latest restraining order alleged that Lutfi's "unjustified interference in her life" threatens Spears' "safety and well-being" and have caused her "severe mental trauma" at a time when stress and the poor health of her father have prompted her to put her career on hold indefinitely.
It also alleges that Lutfi has sought to undermine the conservatorship that for 11 years has kept her affairs almost entirely under the control of her father.
The status means a judge is unlikely to require Spears to appear at Tuesday's hearing.
Conservatorships, known in many states as guardianships, are normally reserved for people with conditions far more severe than Spears, including those with dementia or in a coma.
But judges have allowed the arrangement to remain in place far longer than was expected when it was first imposed at a moment of crisis for Spears.
There have been signs the arrangement may change.
Spears made a rare appearance earlier this month at a status hearing on the conservatorship in a Los Angeles courtroom, along with father Jamie and mother Lynne. The courtroom was cleared and only those involved know what the three said, but a judge subsequently ordered an examination of the circumstances by a court official.
Jamie Spears, who has reportedly been in poor health though no specifics have been made public, earlier this week notified the court that he is seeking to extend the conservatorship from California to Louisiana, Hawaii and Florida.
Cannes, May 22 (AP/UNB) — Twenty-five years after premiering "Pulp Fiction" in Cannes, Quentin Tarantino returned to the French film festival with neither great vengeance nor furious anger but a gentler fairy tale about 1960s Los Angeles.
"Once Upon a Time In ... Hollywood" made its much-anticipated debut Tuesday in Cannes, giving the festival its most concentrated splash of celebrity and frenzy. The film's two stars, Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio, brought a fittingly old-school Hollywood glamour to the Cannes red carpet, where throngs of onlookers swelled along the Croisette.
Much of the plot of "Once Upon a Time In ... Hollywood" had been carefully kept under wraps leading up to the premiere. DiCaprio plays a Westerns actor anxious that his notoriety is slipping. Pitt plays his stunt double, friend and, because of a drunk driving offense, his driver. Though set against the backdrop of the Manson Family murders, much of Tarantino's film is invested in recapturing the radiance of a bygone Hollywood.
For a filmmaker often associated with blistering dialogue and ecstatic explosions of violence, "One Upon a Time in ... Hollywood" finds the 56-year-old Tarantino working at a more relaxed pace, spending generous amounts of time in odes to spaghetti Westerns and '60s TV shows.
Ahead of the premiere, Tarantino, whose "Pulp Fiction" won the Palme d'Or in 1994, issued a statement to festival audiences imploring them not to spoil the film for future moviegoers — a request repeated before the film's press screening. Journalists lined up hours in advance.
"Once Upon a Time in ... Hollywood" is Tarantino's first movie not being released by Harvey Weinstein. After Tarantino cut ties with the disgraced mogul, the project attracted the interest of most studios. Sony Pictures landed the film and gave it a $95 million budget — a very rare gamble on a high-priced original movie.
Instead of superheroes or intellectual property, "Once Upon a Time in ... Hollywood" will instead bank on the draw of Tarantino and his two movie stars. Margot Robbie also co-stars as Sharon Tate.
"Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood" will be released in U.S. theaters July 26.
Los Angeles, May 21 (AP/UNB) — Fire rained down and heads came off. There was punishment, banishment and retribution. And that was just from the fans.
"Game of Thrones" aired its 73rd and final episode Sunday night, showing its gift for drawing record-setting numbers of viewers and for leaving those viewers deeply divided about the results, as they have been for finales from "Seinfeld" to "The Sopranos" to "Lost."
The final episode of "Game of Thrones" at least brought some clear winners, at least one clear loser and a major upset.
(MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD.)
Brandon Stark, who until recently appeared happy to remain a mystic philosopher forever, instead becomes philosopher-king, Bran the Broken.
Yet he doesn't get to sit on the Iron Throne (a dragon melted that) or rule the Seven Kingdoms (his sister Sansa broke one off to become queen of an independent North.)
And Daenerys Targaryen became the last of the show's many, many major character deaths, given a Shakespearean send-off by Jon Snow, who watched her burn thousands of innocents and believed she had become a mad tyrant.
"You are my queen, now and always," Jon says to Daenerys as he shoves a dagger into her, giving her what may have been the shortest reign of any monarch in Westeros.
It was the endgame of a heel-turn from a week earlier that brought more fan outrage than any other moment in the always provocative show.
Actress Emilia Clarke, who plays the role of Daenerys, told Entertainment Weekly that she cried when she first read the script in 2017 but defended the arc in the end, saying it was true to the character and she found her final moments "beautiful and touching."
"Hopefully, what you'll see in that last moment as she's dying is: There's the vulnerability — there's the little girl you met in season 1," Clarke said.
The negative reaction spilled into the finale, with fans on Twitter in particular expressing outrage about the outcome, even if many agreed it was reflective of the way the unjust real world works.
"Good morning to everybody except Bran," columnist Jemele Hill tweeted Monday, "who despite being a wack archer, sending Hodor and Theon to their deaths and chilling next to a fire while everybody was fighting, got to the king."
The episode's leaps from big event to big event to tie up its many plot threads did nothing to quiet criticism that the show that made its name on carefully meandering storytelling had given that up in the final two seasons in favor of attempts to please.
"Like most of Season 8, it felt like a Wikipedia summary more than a full story being told," Gina Carbone of CinemaBlend wrote.
Critics were genuinely divided. The episode had a 57 percent fresh score among reviewers on Rotten Tomatoes, and even positive reviews acknowledged the impossibility of pulling off an ending that would be broadly satisfying.
"It was everything nobody wanted, but it was still quite a thing: adequately just, narratively symmetrical and sufficiently poignant," Hank Stuever wrote in the Washington Post.
Regardless of how fans felt about the final season, they never stopped watching.
The finale brought in 19.3 million viewers across HBO's platforms, topping the previous episode's 18.4 million to make it the most-viewed episode of any kind in the channel's history.
Just after it aired on the East Coast, nine of Twitter's top 10 trending topics were related to the show.
Fans also noticed another gaffe, a plastic water bottle at the feet of Samwell Tarly, like the paper coffee cup clearly visible on a table next to Daenerys earlier in the season.
The show had a full-circle ending of sorts. Bran's surprise ascent to the throne would have been no shock at all to viewers just after the show's first episode — where he is clearly marked as a chosen figure, forced to witness a beheading by a father teaching him the ways of the world, and pushed from a high window only to survive, paralyzed.
He then over several seasons, while missing from the story for long stretches, became a mystical seer known as the Three-eyed Raven, with an essential role but distant presence and personality.
In the finale, a council of the remaining nobles of Westeros votes for Bran after a suggestion and major speech from Tyrion Lannister.
"People love stories," Tyrion says. "Who has a better story than Bran the Broken?"
(His sisters, just to name two, many fans thought.)
Bran actor Isaac Hempstead Wright was, unsurprisingly, thrilled with his characters ending.
"I find it an extraordinary character arc to see him go from a vulnerable character totally dependent on others to the one person who holds all the keys to understanding the world," he wrote Monday in The Hollywood Reporter.
Sansa's crowning as queen of the North was as predictable as the finale got — she'd clearly been headed for the role for a while.
While the night brought a big end for "Thrones" fans, its universe was far from over.
Author George R.R. Martin still intends to finish and release two more books in the series after the show passed him by years ago.
And spin-offs are in the planning stages. One pilot in production takes place in the same realm thousands of years earlier, and the finale might have hinted at another possibility.
Arya Stark, who saved humanity early in the season, decides to sail on to unknown lands, and her departure on a ship is among the series' final images.
"What's west of Westeros?" she asks her Stark siblings. "No one knows. It's where all the maps stop. It's where I'm going."
TV comedy writer Bess Kalb expressed a common response to this idea on Twitter: "Will watch Arya the Explorya."
New York, May 18 (AP/UNB) — To messages of support and puzzlement, Kim Kardashian West has, seemingly, revealed her newborn's name: Psalm West.
The beauty mogul, reality star, law student and wife of Kanye West took to her social streams to share the first look at their fourth child, born May 9. A photo of the boy nestled in a crib came in the form of a text message screen grab with her husband that called it a "Beautiful Mother's Day" and said the couple are "blessed beyond measure."
The baby is their second boy and the second to be born via surrogate because of a potentially life-threatening medical condition that complicated Kardashian West's two pregnancies.
The baby joins 5-year-old sister North, 3-year-old brother Saint and 15-month-old sister Chicago.
Los Angeles, May 15 (AP/UNB) — Tim Conway, the impish second banana to Carol Burnett who won four Emmy Awards on her TV variety show, starred aboard “McHale’s Navy” and later voiced the role of Barnacle Boy for “Spongebob Squarepants,” has died. He was 85.
Conway died Tuesday morning in a Los Angeles care facility, according to Howard Bragman, who heads LaBrea Media. Conway’s wife, Charlene Fusco, and a daughter, Jackie, were at his side. The cause was a disorder in which there is an excess of fluid on the brain, Bragman said.
Burnett said in a statement Tuesday that she was heartbroken. “He was one in a million, not only as a brilliant comedian but as a loving human being. I cherish the times we had together both on the screen and off. He’ll be in my heart forever.”
Tributes also came from across the comedy world, including from Conan O’Brien, who said “no one made me laugh harder than Tim Conway” and Kathy Griffin, who called him “a wildly talented, comedy giant.” Al Roker tweeted out a link to Conway playing a hysterically incompetent dentist.
A native of Ohio, Conway credited his Midwestern roots for putting him on the right path to laughs, with his deadpan expression and innocent, simple-minded demeanor.
“I think the Midwest is the heart of comedy in this country, and a little bit of the South, too,” he told the Wisconsin State Journal in 2005. “For some reason, we’re just more laid-back, more understanding. ... And Midwesterners have a kinder sense of humor.”
Those qualities probably contributed to his wide popularity on “The Carol Burnett Show,” which he joined in 1975 after years as a frequent guest. The show aired on CBS from 1967 to 1978 and had a short summer stint on ABC in 1979.
“We really didn’t attack people or politics or religion or whatever. We just made fun of, basically, ourselves,” he said.
The show operated with just five writers, one producer, one director and without network interference. The ensemble cast surrounding the redheaded star included Vicki Lawrence and Lyle Waggoner.
“I don’t think the network would allow a show like ‘The Carol Burnett Show’ now because we had such freedom,” Conway said in his interview with the State Journal.
Lawrence on Tuesday mourned the passing of her co-star, saying in a statement that “the angels are laughing out loud.”
“Hysterical, crazy, bold, fearless, humble, kind, adorable... all synonyms for Tim Conway. I am so lucky to ever have shared a stage with him.”
While America was laughing at Conway, so were his co-stars: Burnett and Harvey Korman were often caught by the camera trying not to crack up during his performances.
The short, nondescript Conway and the tall, imposing Korman were a physical mismatch made in comedy heaven. They toured the country for years with a sketch show called “Together Again,” which drew on characters from Burnett’s show.
Besides the four Emmys he won with Burnett (three as a performer, one as a writer), he won Emmys for guest appearances in 1996 for “Coach” and in 2008 for “30 Rock.”
Conway also had a modest but steady movie career, appearing in such films as “The Apple Dumpling Gang” (1975), “The Shaggy D.A.” (1976), “Cannonball Run II” (1984), “Dear God” (1996) and “Air Bud 2” (1998).
“The Apple Dumpling Gang” and “Cannonball Run II” allowed him to work with his comedic hero, Don Knotts, who died in 2006.
“If there’s any reason at all I’m in the business, I think it’s Don,” Conway once said. “He’s an icon in this business. He’s an icon that’s never going to be duplicated.”
He also found success in the 1980s in a series of comedy videos based on an oddly short character named Dorf. (Carefully costumed, Conway performed the bits on his knees.) Among them were “Dorf on Golf” and “Dorf Goes Fishing.”
More recently Conway voiced the role of Barnacle Boy for the hugely popular children’s series “SpongeBob SquarePants.”
He was born Thomas Conway in 1933 in the Cleveland suburb of Willoughby. He attended Bowling Green State University and served in the U.S. Army. He got his career start on local TV in Cleveland in the 1950s, where his duties included comedy spots on a late-night movie show.
He was spotted by Rose Marie of “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” who got him an audition for “The Steve Allen Show.” He became a regular on the show in the early 1960s. It was Allen who had advised him to change his name from Tom to Tim to avoid being confused with a British actor.
Following the Allen show, Conway gained attention as the incompetent Ensign Charles Parker on the Ernest Borgnine sitcom “McHale’s Navy” from 1962-66. That led to series of his own, including “Rango” and “The Tim Conway Show,” but they were short-lived.
“McHale’s Navy” fans loved watching Ensign Parker infuriate the ever-flammable Captain Binghamton (played by Joe Flynn), but it was Conway’s work on Burnett’s show that would bring him lasting fame.
Conway and his wife, Mary Anne Dalton, married in 1961 and had six children. The marriage ended in divorce. He later married Charlene Fusco.
In addition to his wife and daughter Jackie, Conway is survived by children Tim Jr., Patrick, Jamie, Kelly, Corey and Seann, as well as two grandchildren, Courtney and Sophia.