Entertainment News Roundup: Michael Nesmith, musician and TV star of ‘The Monkees’ fame, dead at age 78; White House respects jury decision to convict Jussie Smollett and more

Following is a summary of current entertainment news briefs.

Michael Nesmith, musician and TV star of ‘The Monkees’ fame, dead at age 78

Michael Nesmith, one of the stars of “The Monkees,” a 1960s TV comedy series about a rock quartet modeled after the Beatles, died on Friday of natural causes at the age of 78, his family said in a statement on his website. Nesmith, known for his trademark wool watch cap and quiet demeanor, was a singer, guitarist and songwriter for the band, a made-for-television ensemble that would form the cast of the NBC series.

White House respects jury decision to convict Jussie Smollett

The White House on Friday said it respected the jury’s decision to convict actor Jussie Smollett, one-time star of the TV drama “Empire,” of staging a hate crime against himself. Spokesperson Jen Psaki said false accusations can divert valuable law enforcement resources away from important investigations.

Travis Scott says he was unaware of issues that led to Astroworld concert crush

Rapper Travis Scott has said he was not aware of any problems at his Astroworld concert last month that would have caused him to stop the show and denied that the high energy culture he encourages contributed to the crush that killed 10 people. In his first interview about the crowd surge that injured scores of fans at his Houston concert on Nov. 5, Scott said he did not know people had been killed or injured until after he left the stage.

Can’t shake this: Taylor Swift to face copyright lawsuit

Pop superstar Taylor Swift must face a lawsuit from songwriters who claim the Grammy-winning singer copied their lyrics in her 2014 hit single “Shake It Off,” a California judge has ruled. In a decision issued on Thursday, U.S. District Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald rejected Swift’s bid to throw out a suit that said she took wording from 2014 song “Playas Gon’ Play” by R&B girl group 3LW.

Garth Dennis of reggae band Black Uhuru dies at 72

Garth Dennis, a musician who helped pioneer an electronic and echo-driven style of reggae in the 1980s as a leader of the band Black Uhuru, has died, Jamaica’s culture ministry said on Saturday. He was 72. The cause of death was not immediately known.

Hobbit, Sauron and Gollum makeovers in New Zealand as Lord of the Rings turns 20

Middle-earth came to life again this week as New Zealand celebrated 20 years since the premiere of the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy with special screenings, costume exhibition and art displays. Friday marked the 20th anniversary of when the first feature film of the J.R.R Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” and “Hobbit” trilogies premiered at Odeon Leicester Square in London on Dec. 10, 2001, bringing instant fame to New Zealand’s rolling hills, meadows and forests, which were the backdrop for the mythical Middle-Earth.

Biden jokes about poor cooking skills in late-night TV debut on ‘Tonight Show’

U.S. President Joe Biden urged Americans to get vaccinated against COVID-19, vowed to combat inflation and joked about his lack of cooking skills during his first late-night TV appearance on NBC’s “Tonight Show” on Friday. Biden, 79, told host Jimmy Fallon that he and first lady Jill Biden had convinced the White House staff to let them make their own breakfast at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Kenneth Proto

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