Everyone knows about the Motown stars born in Detroit (Smokey Robinson, Diana Ross, etc.), but when you broaden the focus to the statewide level, the results are even more impressive.
An amazing number of notables — actors, actresses, comedians, comediennes, singers, TV show hosts, etc. — were born in Michigan.
The list includes:
Sinbad (Benton Harbor), Tom Selleck (Detroit), Byron Allen (Detroit), Madonna (Bay City), Francis Ford Coppola (Detroit), Ed McMahon (Detroit), Casey Kasem (Detroit), Robert Wagner (Detroit), Courtney B. Vance (Detroit), Earvin “Magic” Johnson (Lansing) and Marlo Thomas (Detroit).
Also, Greg Mathis (Detroit), Gilda Radner (Detroit), Ralph Bunche (Detroit), S. Apatha Merkerson (Saginaw), Grant Show (Detroit), Lee Majors (Wyandotte), Ernie Hudson (Benton Harbor), Florine Mark (Detroit), John Witherspoon (Detroit), Max Gail (Detroit) and David Spade (Birmingham).
Plus, Charles Lindbergh (Detroit), Tim Meadows (Highland Park), Bob Eubanks (Flint), Lily Tomlin (Detroit), Robin Williams (Bloomfield Hills), Terry Crews (Flint), Ellen Burstyn (Detroit), Dick Martin (Battle Creek), David Alan Grier (Detroit) and Julie Harris (Grosse Pointe Park).
And then there’s Sugar Ray Robinson (Detroit), Michael Moore (Flint), Steven Seagal (Lansing), Serena Williams (Saginaw), Sonny Bono (Detroit), Bob Seger (Dearborn), Denise Nicholas (Detroit), Kid Rock (Romeo), Freda Payne (Detroit), Sandra Bernhard (Flint)…and more!
THE BLACK EYED PEAS, whose megahit album “The E.N.D,” featuring “Boom Boom Pow,” “I Gotta Feeling” and others, just won’t stop selling, have announced their 2010 concert tour, which begins Feb. 4 in Atlanta. The tour makes its way to The Palace of Auburn Hills on March 9.
If you are a fan of bandleader/musician Paul Shaffer (the David Letterman show and so much more), be sure to pick up his autobiography, “We’ll Be Here For the Rest of Our Lives.” He has crossed paths with a virtual who’s who of the music industry and show business in general. The book is full of interesting anecdotes.
One of my favorites involves “It’s Raining Men,” the disco anthem recorded by the Weather Girls and co-written by Paul Jabara (lyrics) and Paul Shaffer (music).
The song was actually intended for Donna Summer, but she had become a born-again Christian and believed the song, featuring lines such as “Rip off the roof and stay in bed,” was offensive. And she felt that the line, “Hallelujah! It’s raining men, amen,” was downright blasphemous.
Despite being suspicious of the title, Summer agreed to listen to “It’s Raining Men” because Jabara had written one of her biggest hits, “Last Dance.” The two Pauls didn’t know about Summer’s conversion and thought she would love their new composition because she had huge hits with songs such as “Bad Girls,” “Love to Love You Baby” and “Hot Stuff.”
Eminem, who has recovered from drug addiction, says one of the problems huge stars, such as Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley, too often face is that no one will tell them they have a very serious, potentially deadly problem.
ALEX ALEXANDER, the actor, model, fitness trainer and massage therapist from Detroit, sent us a letter.
He’s as busy as ever. Recent projects include a play titled “Shades of War: The Unsung Hero of the American Revolution” which is at the 1515 Broadway theater in Detroit Dec. 10-13; several roles in the American Ballet Theater of New York’s production of “Romeo and Juliet”; and a film titled “Scarred” that won a Michigan Independent Film Award.
Alexander is one of those naturally “up” people who never sits around waiting for work to come to him. He goes out and finds it, or creates it.
For whatever reason, more people are buying vinyl recordings than they have in a long time. In fact, in 2009 two million vinyl records were sold, which is up 37 percent from last year.
Tiger Woods, the greatest golfer in the history of game, is just the latest in an incredibly long list of married male celebrities who got caught with other women. In this case, the betrayed wife apparently went ballistic and left physical marks on her husband’s face.
True, it could be said that Woods got what he deserved (massive public humiliation, a permanently tainted reputation, crashing his car, etc.), but I still feel bad for him. What happened is his personal business and, course, his wife’s.
As Star Jones put it, the public has “prurient interest” in the matter, just as it had with Bill Clinton and all the others.
Also, this proves again why celebrities should never be put on pedestals. But nothing will change his monumental achievements as a golfer.
Martha Reeves recently had a party, focusing on her exodus from Detroit City Council, and made sure the invitation included the words, “Gifts are welcome.” That was tacky, but not as bad as Star Jones setting up a website so that the public could send wedding gifts.
BETCHA DIDN’T KNOW …that before she was famous, Whoopi Goldberg (real name: Caryn Elaine Johnson) worked for a while as a bricklayer.
MEMORIES: “Maybe” (the Three Degrees), “One Less Bell to Answer” (the Fifth Dimension), “Sweet Love” (the Commodores), “Better Be Good to Me” (Tina Turner), “Key to the World” (L.J. Reynolds), “Love or Let Me Be Lonely” (the Friends of Distinction), “Love’s Theme” (the Love Unlimited Orchestra), “Ladies Night” (Kool & the Gang), “Can You Handle It?” (Graham Central Station), “Let Me Start Tonite” (Lamont Dozier).
BLESSINGS to John Arnold, Dalondo Moultrie, Brenda Perryman, Rita Ross, Mike Vargas, Walter Bridgforth Jr., Anita Baker, Tim Dinkins, Kimmie Horne, Ann Jamerson and Derek Thornton.
WORDS OF THE WEEK, from psychologist/author Clark Moustakas: “Accept everything about yourself. You are you, and that is the beginning and the end.”
Let the music play!
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