Tag Archives: Michael C. Hall

When Celebrities – Like Bret Michaels – Show True Grit, the Whole World Benefits

By Stacy Jenel Smith

Bret Michaels Celebrity Apprentice NBC photo

Will Bret Michaels make the live finale of “Celebrity Apprentice” tonight – exactly one month and two days after the brain hemorrhage that could easily have killed him?  And within days of his “warning stroke” and the discovery of a hole in his heart?

If anyone can pull off such a feat, rock and reality star Michaels is a good bet.  He learned to battle through physical challenges from the time he was six and was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes.

“When you’re five to eight years old and you find out you’re going to have to take insulin for the rest of your life, its pretty depressing. It’s heartbreaking,” he recalled in an interview a couple of years back.  “But I just looked at it and embraced it.  I said, ‘I’m still going to go out and enjoy my life. I’m still going to make music and ride motorcycles and get tattoos.’ I just gotta work a hell of a lot harder to take care of myself.”

Michaels says being able to go to a camp for diabetics as a child made all the difference in his world. “My mom was one of the counselors and later I was a counselor at a diabetic camp in Pennsylvania. I go back there every so many years to say ‘This is how I did it. This is what you gotta do.’”

He’s also actively raised funds for kids to go to such camps in various ways.  In 2005, an unorthodox campaign — with the mark of Michaels’ creativity now familiar to “Apprentice” fans — involved selling a controversial t-shirt that had a photo of him shirtless on the front and the words, “Bret Michaels Diabetic,” along with the number of injections he’d taken as of the day they shot the picture – some 253, 210.  And then the words, “Fear Nothing: Survive It.”

Michaels is displaying that same kind of courage and grit getting through his current crisis, and in so doing, he’s serving as an inspiration to millions.

When so often the media is focused on negative role models of the celebrity world, it’s worth noting that there are dozens of personalities, like Michaels, who set examples of courage and perseverance every year.  Speaking of those who’ve faced diabetes as just one example, we have the likes of Halle Berry, Mary Tyler Moore, Gary Owens and Nick Jonas, who has played his touching “A Little Bit Longer” song not only in concerts around the world, but at diabetes fund-raisers.

Michael C. Hall, Christina Applegate and Cynthia Nixon have joined the ranks of cancer survivors who advocate for early detection, along with Olivia Newton-John, Melissa Etheridge, Tom Green and a number of others.

Uterine cancer survivor Fran Drescher found that in her case, “There is a silver lining of cancer. Being a survivor has given a purpose to my life and an importance to my fame that works in astounding way I could never have imagined.”

Michael J. Fox continues the fight for a Parkinson’s Disease cure.

Basketball great turned movie theater mogul Magic Johnson has been living with HIV for 19 years now, and providing hope for long and productive lives to others dealing with the disease.

Def Leppard drummer Rick Allen, whose astonishing comeback from the automobile accident that cost him an arm inspires in itself, is constantly active in helping other amputees – particularly Iraq War veterans — through his Raven Drum Foundation.

The examples go on and on.

Even more than five years after his death, the late Christopher Reeve continues to inspire.

No one who was present for the 68th Annual Academy Awards – or watched at home – is likely to forget the heart-stopping sight of a lone figure in a wheelchair, revealed on an otherwise bare stage when the curtains opened.  Reeve, who’d been thrown from  a horse 10 months before and was left paralyzed from the neck down, had the audience of glamorous stars on their feet, some in tears as they applauded.   He then made a joke at his own expense and went on to deliver a compelling introduction about the power of socially-conscious films.  If you ever need a reminder of what courage and the power of the human spirit to triumph over adversity look like, that 3 minute, 12 second clip will do it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ffSy3-PJ5QI

In his “Still Me” memoir, the cinema “Superman” recounted his rehabilitation, admitting that initially, he considered suicide because he thought his life was over.  However, he:

  • wrote two best-sellers,
  • directed two telefilms,
  • produced and starred in a remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s “Rear Window,”
  • received multiple Emmy nominations for his acting and directing work,
  • traveled across the United States giving speeches,
  • established the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation to speed spinal cord injury research and aid sufferers,
  • co-founded the Reeve-Irvine Research Center,
  • was instrumental in pioneering a new form of therapy that has accounted for a number of paralyzed patients becoming able to walk again,
  • made the cover of Time,
  • won a Grammy,
  • and shattered ratings records for CW series when he guest starred on “Smallville.”

Those were all among the accomplishments by the late, great Christopher Reeve after his accident.

Julie Benz Proud of Michael C. Hall Candor

Julie Benz, Michael C. Hall

Julie Benz, Michael C. Hall

Julie Benz sounds delighted and very proud when talking about her former “Dexter” leading man, Michael C. Hall, and the way he’s handled his battle with Hodgkins Lymphoma.”He’s fantastic, doing just fantastic. His cancer is definitely in remission, and you know, they caught it very early,” she points out. And, Hall’s decision to go public, she feels, will inspire countless fans and others “to go and get checked out, because if you catch cancer early, you can kick its a–. Sorry to swear, but really, if you’re not feeling good or if you feel a lump in your gland, go to your doctor, no matter what. No matter how busy you are.”

Beautiful Benz debuted this past Sunday in her new recurring role on “Desperate Housewives” as Robin, the highly-educated stripper.

“It’s offered me the chance to do some comedy. It’s a very fun character, and very different from Rita,” she says, referring to her “Dexter” role. “I’m always looking for where I can go next and how I can do something different,” notes the actress. She plays a business executive who finds love among the vineyards in the Hallmark Channel romantic comedy, “Uncorked,” airing March 6.

Her schedule has been so grueling, between shooting the series, doing promotion and attending the Golden Globes and SAG Awards, she wound up getting sick with laryngitis last month. However, “I’m a workaholic and I thrive when I have to work hard,” she says.

And, it’s helped move her beyond the trauma of getting killed off “Dexter.” So did the fact, “I’m very close to a lot of the cast — Jennifer (Carpenter) and I are close friends, and Michael, James Remar and his wife, David Zayas and his wife — and I had the pleasure of going through awards season and being reunited with everyone.”

She doesn’t mind the fact that people are still approaching her and exclaiming about what happened to Rita. “I love that it was that impactful. It would really suck if they killed off Rita and nobody responded.”

ON THE PERSONAL SIDE: It’s not often that a celebrity begs to differ with Dr. Oz, but such is the case with Carnie Wilson, who turns up on Oz’s show today (2/4), ready to make a fresh start in her weight battle.

“He and I sort of have a conflicted diagnosis about something. He called me pre-diabetic, but that’s not right, according to my doctor and my numbers. I am in the very normal range. Maybe it was something he said for the show,” says the singer-cum-reality show star — “Carnie Wilson: Unstapled” on GSN — baker, and “Newlywed Game” host.

Carnie admits she was startled by some of what Dr. Oz told her, including that “at 65 pounds overweight, I fall into the morbidly obese category. When I weighed 300 pounds, I knew that I was in that category, but not now, at 218. I looked into that, and he’s right. My BMI is 39 and that’s too high,” adds Carnie, who has been trying to get rid of the weight she put on while pregnant with daughter Lucy, 7 1/2 months.

“The great thing about Dr. Oz is, he looked me in the eye and gave me big hugs and said, ‘I don’t see you as a celebrity. I see you as a wife and mom, and someone who has the opportunity to help millions of people.’ That’s the kind of man he is.”

She’s now going on the diet regime Dr. Oz lays out in his books, but admits that fitting in his prescribed daily workouts is a challenge for her. “When I’m filming and promoting the show, it’s not possible, but I’ll do as much as I can,” says Carnie.

STRUNG OUT: “CSI’s” Robert David Hall says he enjoys the occasional curve ball thrown his way by the show’s writers. For instance, a bit on the upcoming installment featuring Rascal Flatts required him to “autopsy a guitar that electrocuted some musician.

“I like it when odd things happen,” says Hall, who is a musician and singer himself. “I try to prepare for anything I do, so I went down to my guitar repairman, Norick Renson, and said, ‘I have to do an autopsy on a guitar,’ and he and his sidekick, Bret, told me exactly how to take apart a Fender bass guitar.” That’s going the extra mile for verisimilitude, all right.

COURSE OF DISCOURSE: Naomi Judd has a great gift of gab, but according to her, she had to sharpen her debate skills once she started appearing on TV all the time.

“Bill Bennett always calls me ‘the common sense’ celebrity,” notes the singer and talk show favorite, who’s exchanged words with hosts from Chris Matthews to Bill O’Reilly, in addition to having her own shows. “I’m pretty known for telling it straight.

“I learned to be more assertive on Bill Maher’s show. He said, ‘You are a Southern belle. You are too nice. If you’re going to be on this show, you can’t wait ’til Ann Coulter finishes saying something to jump in and try to negate her.'”

Still, Judd maintains a respectful attitude and fully intends to keep it that way.

With reports by Emily-Fortune Feimster

Craig T. Nelson’s Loss Was Ed O’Neill’s ‘Modern Family’ Gain

Ed O'Neill ABC photo

Ed O'Neill ABC photo

The raft of rave reviews that preceded Ed O’Neill’s “Modern Family” sitcom onto the ABC lineup this week are being received with a mixed response by the actor.

“It’s kind of spooky,” says the man who first found television fame as Al Bundy on the long running “Married, With Children.”  “I’m not used to such good fortune. I’ve never had a show that’s come out of the gate like this.  It seems too good to be true.”

It was too good to be true at first.  Ed reveals that the creators of the hilarious   three-generation sitcom offered him the starring part before it had even been written.  But it turned out the network wanted Craig T. Nelson as the lead, “and it was only when that didn’t work out,” says Ed, “that they came back to me.  I told my manager, ‘Make the deal — it’s too good a show to pass up.”

It wasn’t the first time fate played a happy hand on Ed.  “The hardest job I never got was David Milch’s “Deadwood.” he says. “I was slated to play the lead, but it turned out that HBO didn’t want me.  There was no point in asking why.  But about 15 minutes after I got the word that I wasn’t doing the show received a call from producer Dick Wolf who was doing a remake of ‘Dragnet.‘  Danny Huston was supposed to star, but backed out and here was Dick telling me, ‘I need you to play Joe Friday.’ Joe, of course, was the lead.”

O’Neill reveals, “I’m rarely the first pick, and there have been times that that’s been really upsetting.  But it didn’t put me to bed.  After a day or two I would shrug it off.  I’d be crazy if I didn’t consider myself one of the lucky actors.   At first, after ‘Married,With Children,’ there was the tendency to typecast me, but I never took it personally.  I just kept going forward and thought that eventually I’d be able to get away from the role of Al Bundy.  And I have.  And that’s enabled me to get out of the system money-wise, where I don’t have to do jobs I don’t want to do just because I need the money.  Indeed, I am lucky.”

THAT’S WHY THEY CALL IT ACTING:  When you’re an actor on a series doing love scenes with the actress who is married to the star of the show in real life, it would seem things might get a little nerve-wracking.  But David Ramsey – guitar-playing, pot-smoking confidential informant Anton Briggs to “Dexter” fans – makes it sound as if he and Michael C. Hall and Jennifer Carpenter take it all in stride. 

 “Love scenes in general are awkward.  I don’t know that it’s more awkward,” he tells us.  “You try to be careful in scenes where you have to kiss, to make sure you haven’t had hot dogs that day or whatever.” 

 According to Ramsey, there’s lots more of Anton and Debra (Dexter’s sister) ahead on this season of the Showtime hit, which has its season premiere Sunday (9/27).  “The writers, to their credit, aren’t going for the same type of shock value they did last year in terms of something life-threatening happening to Anton,” divulges the actor – whose character, last year, was nearly skinned alive.  This season “delves into the psychology of Debra and Anton’s relationship.  He’s the calm in the storm for her.  The major challenge between Debra and Anton this season is how she sees herself as not really worthy of love.  She has a major problem with her self-worth.  That fact becomes illuminated by Frank Lundy (Keith Carradine) coming back into her life.”

 THE INDUSTRY EYE:  Keanu Reeves’ “Henry’s Crime” is set to go into production the end of November with shooting set for New York City and Buffalo, Malcolm Venville directing and Keanu producing.  Just one big element still missing, it would seem, from the romantic comedy about a nice guy who’s mis-identified as a bank robber — the leading lady.  They’re talking to prospects now to fill the role of Julia, an aspiring actress (a good one – who’s in a production of “The Cherry Orchard”) who’s Henry’s love interest.

 An even bigger actor space to fill is that of the lead character Sutter Kelly in Fox Searchlight’s adaptation of the Tim Tharp novel, “The Spectacular Now.”   The coming-of-age dramedy is about a hard-partying, popular high school boy whose world changes when he meets a shy, insecure girl – a boy also facing the uncomfortable realization that his youth is almost over – so it’s very choice role.  Marc Webb of music video and “500 Days of Summer” fame is set to direct the movie

 It was announced last March that Corey Feldman would be on board for “The Lost Boys 3” – and now preproduction is picking up on the direct-to-DVD threequel, with casting being completed on subsidiary roles.

With reports by Emily-Fortune Feimster