Director Satoshi Kon Passes Away at 46

Sad news for legions of fans of director Satoshi Kon, as AFP reports…

TOKYO — Japanese animation director Satoshi Kon, whose films using cutting-edge animation techniques captured audiences worldwide, has died of pancreatic cancer, aged 46.

He died at 6.20am on Tuesday (2100GMT on Monday), his office, called Kon’s Tone, said on its website.

His movie “Paprika” was screened at the 2006 Venice Film Festival and won the audience award at the annual Brussels anime festival in 2007. His third work, “Tokyo Godfathers” (2003), was nominated for a US Academy Award.

Kon was born in Hokkaido and debuted as a manga comic artist in 1985 while he was a student at Musashino Art University in Tokyo.

He made his debut as an anime director in 1997 with “Perfect Blue”, and won acclaim for his refined and realistic expressions.

His second anime, “Millennium Actress”, was released in 2001 and distributed worldwide, winning awards at film festivals.

A story about a documentary filmmaker investigating the life of a reclusive, legendary actress, it is interwoven with her movies, in sequences in which reality and cinema become blurred.

Kon was working on “Yumemiru Kikai (Dream Machine)” before his death.
Featuring a futuristic adventure starring a robot, it would have been his first work aimed at children after he produced a series of what he called “animations which adults can enjoy”.

Rue McClanahan Passes Away


Golden Girl Rue McClanahan has died at the age of 76.

“She passed away at 1 a.m. this morning,” her manager, Barbara Lawrence, tells PEOPLE. “She had a massive stroke.”

McClanahan, who played man-happy Blanche Devereaux on the still-popular ’80s sitcom Golden Girls, had suffered a minor stroke earlier this year while recovering from bypass surgery. Lawrence adds that at the time of her death Thursday, McClanahan “had her family with her. She went in peace.”

Still in syndication, Golden Girls ran on NBC from 1985 to 1992. Only last year, McClanahan’s costar, Beatrice Arthur, died from cancer. Estelle Getty died in 2008. Surviving star Betty White, 88, is currently enjoying a remarkable resurgence in her career, having recently hosted Saturday Night Live.

Born in Healdton, Okla., Rue lived in six towns by the time she was 8. Her father was a road builder who moved from one project to another. She found solace in acting (“the only thing I ever wanted to do”) and after four years at the University of Tulsa moved to New York, where she worked as a part-time file clerk while trying to find jobs in the theater.

Her first job was off Broadway, in 1957, and she finally hit Broadway in 1969. TV work came from soap operas, until she made it on CBS’s Maude, starring Beatrice Arthur, starting in 1972. She played Maude’s best friend Vivian.

But it was Golden Girls that put her on the map and led to fame, fortune – and several husbands. In all, she had six, including actor Morrow Wilson, whom she wed in 1997 and who survives her, as does a son, Mark Bish, from her first marriage.

As McClanahan told PEOPLE in 1986: “I’ve always been lucky enough to marry good cooks. One cooked Greek. One cooked Tex-Mex – chili and stuff.” Then, with a laugh, she added, “True, one needed a recipe to make a peanut butter sandwich …”

80s Star Corey Haim, Dead at 38

Yesterday came the sad news that child star and 80s teen heartthrob Corey Haim had been found dead of an overdose. It came as a surprise to few as the world has been watching his slow decline into drugs for years, but it was the ending everyone hoped would be avoided. Always troubled, he seemed the archetypal fallen star even at 38.

Naturally, the celebrity community lent their voices to the outpouring of condolences, grief and shock via social networking website Twitter. At a time like this, some celebrities chose to simply offer their best wishes, others seemed completely shocked and others used the platform to spread a positive message to the world to stay away from drugs, which every year kill 20 000 in accidental overdoses alone. It’s a sobering number and one that only seems all the more real when it claims a public figure.

Here are the reactions from the stars, found on

Ashton Kutcher: “Rip Corey Haim ‘Childhood hero.'”

Meredith Salenger (Haim’s Dream A Little Dream leading lady): “Just woke to hear Corey Haim passed away. Heartbreaking. so sad. Rest in Peace Corey.”

Melissa Gilbert: “Corey Corey Corey. You will be missed. May those who love you find peace knowing that there is no more torture for you…no more pain. My heart aches for your mother. Fly well, dear talented boy.”

Karina Smirnoff (‘Dancing With The Stars’): “What is happening with Hollywood? Corey Haim found dead from overdose. Another talent lost to drugs.”

Melissa Joan Hart: “No way! I just saw him last week at a Lupus event!”

Alyssa Milano: “Just woke up to the sad, sad news that Corey Haim passed away. RIP sweet boy.”

Kevin Smith: “Lost Boy goes home: Corey Haim, dead at 38. G’bye, LUCAS. You gave hope to the weird & unlikely.”

Billy Bush: If u look at the list of guys corey haim worked with…its a who’s who of trouble. Poor guy, surely he was deeply troubled

Ralph Macchio: “Always so sad and disturbing when the addiction and demons prevail. RIP Corey Haim.”

The news was also devastating to close friend and frequent collaborator Corey Feldman, half of the 80s-dominating duo known as the Coreys who in recent years starred with Haim in a reality show. ET Online reports…

“I was awakened at 8:30 this morning by my brother and sister knocking on my bedroom door. They informed me of the loss of my brother, Corey Haim. My eyes weren’t even open all the way when the tears started streaming down my face,” Feldman discloses.

Feldman and Haim costarred in seven movies together including ‘The Lost Boys’ and ‘License to Drive.’ In addition to their films, the actors had an A&E reality series in 2007 called “The Two Coreys.”

“I am so sorry for Corey, his mother Judy, his family, my family, all of our fans, and of course my son, who I will have to find a way to explain this to when he gets home from school,” Feldman says. “This is a tragic loss of a wonderful, beautiful, tormented soul, who will always be my brother, family, and best friend. We must all take this as a lesson in how we treat the people we share this world with while they are still here to make a difference. Please respect our families as we struggle and grieve through this difficult time. I hope the art Corey has left behind will be remembered as the passion of that for which he truly lived.”

Actress Brittany Murphy Dies at 32

Hollywood is still reeling after learning of the death of actress Brittany Murphy, whose varied career included everything from Clueless to TV’s King of the Hill to a role in Robert Rodriguez’ Sin City. Whether a fan or not, her death comes as a shock to many, though CNN reports that the 32 year old’s death was due only to natural causes.

Los Angeles, California (CNN) — Brittany Murphy, the bubbly, free-spirited actress who appeared in such films as “Clueless” and “8 Mile,” died apparently of natural causes, the Los Angeles County coroner’s office said.

Murphy, 32, was pronounced dead at 10:04 a.m. PT (1:04 p.m. ET) Sunday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, hospital spokeswoman Sally Stewart said.

An autopsy had not been scheduled as of Sunday night, but Capt. John Kades, a spokesman for the coroner’s office, said there was no sign of foul play or trauma.

“Naturally occurring diseases could be found in any person that could lead to death,” Kades said.

Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show the leading cause of death for American women in Murphy’s age range is unintentional injury. Malignant tumors are second, followed by heart disease and suicide.

The coroner’s office is looking into Murphy’s medical history. A final report could take up to eight weeks.

Earlier, robbery and homicide detectives from the Los Angeles Police Department were on the scene to investigate the death, police spokeswoman Norma Eisenman said.

“The sudden loss of our beloved Brittany is a terrible tragedy,” her family said in a statement issued by her publicist. “She was our daughter, our wife, our love and a shining star. We ask you to respect our privacy at this time.”

Funeral arrangements are pending, the family said.

Murphy starred in several movies, including, “Just Married,” “Don’t Say a Word” and “Riding in Cars With Boys,” and also voiced the character of Luanne Platter on the animated series “King of the Hill.”

She is survived by her husband, British screenwriter Simon Monjack, whom she married in 2007.

Fans took to Murphy’s official Facebook page Sunday to give their condolences.

“She was a great actress and was going to go far in her career! She will be greatly missed!” read one post.

Former boyfriend — and “Just Married” co-star — Ashton Kutcher was one of many celebrities to post his reaction to the news via Twitter.

“2day the world lost a little piece of sunshine. My deepest condolences go out 2 Brittany’s family, her husband, & her amazing mother Sharon,” Kutcher tweeted.

“see you on the other side kid,” he added later.

Singer-actress Jessica Simpson tweeted: “Brittany Murphy was an incredible ray of Light to so many people. Her smile was contagious. My prayers are with her family and loved ones.”

Actress Alyssa Milano, who did a USO tour with Murphy in 2003, wrote: “She was a sweet soul, with a lot of talent and heart.”

Murphy was best known for her work in a string of romantic comedies, including playing lead roles in “Uptown Girls” alongside fellow Georgia native Dakota Fanning, and “Little Black Book” with Holly Hunter and Kathy Bates, but her movie roles had declined in recent years.

Last month, Murphy reportedly was fired from “The Caller,” a movie she was working on in Puerto Rico. Her representative issued a statement to news outlets disputing the report, saying, “She was not nor has she ever been fired from any job big or small. … [Due] to creative differences Ms. Murphy and the production mutually parted ways,” according to People magazine.

In addition to her “King of the Hill” role, she lent her voice to a number of animated works, including the TV series “Futurama” and the 2006 movie “Happy Feet.”

Her portrayal of troubled teenagers in “Don’t Say a Word” and “Girl, Interrupted” also gained her critical acclaim.

Murphy was the subject of tabloid gossip after she transformed from a pudgy brunette in 1995’s “Clueless” to a petite, lithe blonde who graced the cover of such magazines as Cosmopolitan in 2005. She frequently denied rumors of an eating disorder and plastic surgery.

Her love life also was fodder for gossip sites as she broke two engagements in 2004 and 2006, then married Monjack after four months of dating.

“All these ridiculous people came out and said all this nonsense when we got married, [but] thank God we had the substance and the history within that to [say], ‘Yeah, whatever!'” Monjack told People in 2008. “We still don’t understand what happened. It’s made us laugh, it’s made us cry, but it’s made us stronger.”