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Ronald Pickup, ‘Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’ star, dead at 80

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Ronald Pickup, 'Best Exotic Marigold Hotel' star, dead at 80

Ronald Pickup, a UK actor best known for his roles in “The Crown” and “Best Exotic Marigold Hotel,” died Wednesday. He was 80.

Pickup’s agent told the BBC that the thespian “passed away peacefully yesterday after a long illness surrounded by his wife and family. He will be deeply missed.”

The Chester native’s big break occurred in 1964 when he played an unnamed physician in “Doctor Who” episode “The Tyrant Of France.”

From there, Pickup went on to appear in a smorgasbord of films, including “The Day of the Jackal” (1973), the Bond flick “Never Say Never Again” (1982), and “The Mission” (1986). The Sony Award winner most notably played Neville Chamberlain in Winston Churchill biopic “Darkest Hour (2017)” and bachelor Norman Cousins in “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2012),” alongside dames Maggie Smith and Judi Dench. He reprised the role for the 2015 sequel.

On TV, Pickup memorably portrayed George Orwell in “Orwell On Jura” — his favorite part — and Archbishop of Canterbury Geoffrey Fisher in the acclaimed Netflix drama “The Crown.”

Pickup’s performances weren’t relegated to the big screen. The Shakespearean dramatist trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), of which he later became an associate member, and worked with Laurence Olivier at the National Theatre for seven years.

Pickup is survived by his wife Lans Traverse, whom he first met at RADA, as well as his daughter, Rachel, and son, Simon.

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‘Godzilla vs. King Kong’ to become highest-grossing film of pandemic

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'Godzilla vs. King Kong' to become highest-grossing film of pandemic

It’s a roarrr-ing success!

“Godzilla vs. King Kong” is on track to become the highest-grossing North American film since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Warner Bros. and Legendary flick netted $48.1 million in its first five days since opening in theatres on March 31, Boxoffice Pro reported.

According to the film industry magazine, the movie could have surpassed $57.9 million in sales as early as last Thursday, which would be the most for any film released since March 2020.

Official figures since last weekend have not yet been released.

The epic monster movie is also streaming on HBO Max.

The movie business, like many other industries in the US, took a hit during the pandemic as theaters across the country were forced to close.

Forty percent of the nationwide theaters remain closed, according to Bloomberg.

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DMX fans remember rapper’s sweet ‘Fresh Off the Boat’ cameo

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DMX fans remember rapper's sweet 'Fresh Off the Boat' cameo

DMX fans are celebrating the late rapper’s funny bone.

The 50-year-old, gravel-voiced musician, who died Friday following an April 2 heart attack triggered by a drug overdose, showed off his comedic delivery in a 2015 episode of the Randall Park-starring ABC sitcom “Fresh Off the Boat.”

In the episode, Louis Huang’s (Park) son Eddie, played by Hudson Yang, gets a part-time job pitching in at the home of a new neighbor — DMX. But Eddie has a lot to learn before he jumps in.

“You look older in person,” Eddie tells him in the episode, titled “We Done Son,” to which a baby-cradling DMX responds, “Fatherhood ages you. I’m tired. Emotional. Crying. Yelling. Pulling up the same cotton commercial. It’s the fabric of our lives.” 

But when an excited Eddie says he can’t wait to clue in his friends about his new gig, the hip-hop legend forks over a multipage nondisclosure agreement for him to sign.

“Sorry, little man; can’t have you blowing up my spot,” he tells the disappointed kid. “It’s the same one Oprah used on Stedman,” DMX adds, referring to Winfrey’s rarely seen longtime partner, Stedman Graham. 

The Ruff Ryder then rattles off a list of chores for Eddie to take on for his newborn daughter, including “baby-proofing the living room” and putting “lavender drops in her cloth diapers.” When Eddie asks why he doesn’t just use disposable ones, an environmentally conscious DMX responds, “ ‘Cuz I ain’t trying to leave some big-ass carbon footprint.”

In another, more touching scene, DMX gives Eddie a tour of his orchid-laden private greenhouse and offers the boy some solid relationship advice.

“When I first started growing orchids, I thought they needed the most expensive soil and lights to blossom. And they died,” the “Party Up (Up in Here)” singer tells Eddie while showing off his floral bounty. “That’s when I realized that all they really needed was time and attention.”

DMX then draws a connection between his horticultural know-how and how to treat women.

“You don’t need to get your girl a gift,” he says. “You need to give her your time.”

That clip brought a wistful reaction from Twitter user and apparent orchid-grower @CharlotteAbotsi, who shared it with a message of foreshadowing. “This morning I woke up to find the last petal of an orchid plant I’ve been trying to nurse on the floor,” she wrote in the tweet. “I should’ve known then. RIP DMX.”

That quick stint on “Fresh Off the Boat” apparently wasn’t DMX’s only connection to sitcom life. During a 2017 episode of the talk show “Hot Ones,” actress Gabrielle Union told host Sean Evans that DMX “loves” the 1980s sitcom “The Golden Girls.”

“That’s a real fun fact,” says Union, who worked with him in the 2003 film “Cradle 2 the Grave.” In the video, Union shares that DMX watched the show in his trailer on set — and invited her to join him over beers. “We would have a Heineken — and sometimes a little Crown [Royal] — and we watched ‘The Golden Girls,’ ” she says, adding, “And he would laugh hysterically.”

Union was also among the celebrities who weighed in on his passing Friday. “No words right now. Nothing but fierce love, prayers and protection for X’s family, friends and fans. This loss is devastating,” she tweeted, adding prayer emojis and a black heart.

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Marine vet pens children’s book to help military families cope with deployment separation

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Marine vet pens children’s book to help military families cope with deployment separation

A Marine veteran has written a children’s book to help kids with the challenges of a parent being deployed.

The book, titled “I Will Come Back,” will be released in May in both Spanish and English.

Author and veteran Padgy Soltis wrote the story based on her son’s experience of living in a dual military family and experiencing the deployment of both parents.

“My hope is that this book will help children experiencing issues with separation from a loved one, whether it is a day or months long,” Soltis said. “It is a reminder that they are always in our hearts regardless of the distance or time.”

Soltis originally wrote the book in 2016, when she began a new career months after her son was born. The author was sent away for two months for training when her son was only eight months old.

Then in 2017, her son’s dad was deployed for six months, a departure that was followed by a nine-month deployment in 2018 for Soltis.

“The most difficult moments between a child and parent are times of separation,” the book’s synopsis reads. “This book is the light at the end of the tunnel when being apart is inevitable. Whether it is making a trip to the grocery store, a weekend away for work, or a nine-month military deployment. ‘I Will Come Back’ reminds children and parents that regardless of the time and distance they may be apart, they will be reunited once again.”

Soltis’ book, originally a poem that helped her adjust to deployed life without her son, is “written in a simple, rhythmic style, [and] it gives kids a reassuring sense that the bond of parenthood and love knows no limits,” Soltis said.

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