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Category: VH1

Jeff Conaway dies at 60; costars remember 'Grease' and 'Taxi' actor

Jeff Conaway, 'Grease' actor, dies

Jeff Conaway, the "Grease" actor who played Kenickie and appeared on "Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew," died Friday. He was 60.

The actor had been in a medically induced coma before doctors took him off life support Friday. The coma was a result of pneumonia and his unconscious arrival to Encino Medical Center May 10 because of "too many prescribed drugs," his sister Carla Shreve said.

Jeff Conaway dies at 60"Jeff was taken off life support [Thursday] afternoon," his manager, Phil Brock, told People. "His family chose to take him off of life support based on advice from physicians. They thought for several days that the situation was hopeless."

Conaway died at 10:30 a.m. and his sisters, nieces and nephews were with him, he added.

Conaway did not die from an overdose, Dr. Drew Pinsky told TMZ.

"This was aspiration with overwhelming pneumonia and sepsis," he said, a result of numerous years on prescription medications that wore out his body.

The Manhattan-born actor launched his career at age 10 by tagging along to an audition for the Broadway show "All the Way Home" with his mother. He soon became a stage actor and went on to play Kenickie, a high school bad boy in the Broadway musical "Grease."

He shot to fame in the movie adaptation of the show in 1978, costarring with John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John.

Conaway was a "wonderful and decent man and we will miss him," Travolta said in a statement Friday. "My heartfelt thoughts are with his family and loved ones at this very difficult time."

After "Grease," Conaway went on to become Bobby Wheeler, a struggling actor-turned-cab driver on "Taxi."

"Taxi" costar Marilu Henner described him as a "talented, handsome, loving" friend.

"Jeff was like a brother to me," she said in a statement.

"Tony Danza and I visited Jeff in the hospital almost daily over the past two weeks. We saw how much love surrounded him, along with his sisters, Michelle and Carla, his wife, Kerri, his ex-wife, Rona, and his friend, Lance. Jeff looked the healthiest I'd seen him in a long time and I really thought that he was going to come out of this." 

After subsequent stints on soap operas and television shows, the actor appeared on VH1's "Celebrity Fit Club," but left soon after to go to rehab in 2006.

He returned to the network for stints on "Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew." His speech was so slurred that he required subtitles.

Conaway developed an addiction to cocaine and pain killers after having back surgery, according to a Times interview. When he tried to quit taking the drugs on "Celebrity Rehab," he threw tantrums, shouted and blacked out.

He is survived by his sister Carla, sister Michele Goffin, wife Kerri Young Conaway and stepson Emerson Hall.

Read the full Times obituary here.

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-- Nardine Saad
twitter.com / NardineSaad

Upper photo: Jeff Conaway, Olivia Newton-John, John Travolta and Stockard Channing in "Grease." Credit:  Paramount Pictures / Getty Images

Lower photo:  Jeff Conaway in 2008. Credit: Frazer Harrison / Getty Images


Rapper Flavor Flav arrested on outstanding traffic warrants

Flavor Flava, aka William Drayton Jr.'s mug shot for arrest Flavor Flav -- real name William Jonathan Drayton Jr. -- was arrested in Las Vegas on Friday after a routine traffic stop resulted in police officers finding four warrants out for his arrest. The rapper took to Twitter on Monday to tell his side of the story.

Drayton was pulled over by police at 10:57 p.m. Friday for a routine traffic violation east of the Las Vegas Strip. When an officer ran his name through the system, the warrants came up; he was arrested and taken to jail, where he was booked, got his mug shot taken and was eventually released, TMZ reported.

The 52-year-old Public Enemy alum's four separate misdemeanor traffic warrants include driving without proof of insurance, a parking violation and two cases of driving without a license.

It was unclear when the warrants were issued, the Las Vegas Sun reported. But in 2002, Drayton served nine weeks at Rikers Island jail in New York for various auto-related violations including driving with a suspended license, numerous parking tickets and being late for meetings with his probation officer.

The VH1 reality television star known for wearing quirky sunglasses and a clock around his neck aired his version of events online Monday, tweeting that he was on his way home from Benihana's when he was pulled over.

Flavor Flav arrested He also re-tweeted his newest mug shot, above.

"[H]e found out I had a traffic warrant wanted to make a name for himself took me in and now I'm home laying my bed what's the big deal?!" he added.  

Hey, when rapper-actor Ice-T tweeted about a "rookie cop" arresting him after a traffic stop he disagreed with in New York, charges eventually were dropped.

Drayton dropped out of school in 11th grade and did time in jail for robbery and burglary. He dealt with drug addiction in the 1990s and in 1991 spent 30 days in jail after pleading guilty to assaulting then-girlfriend Karen Ross, according to US Magazine.

In 1993, he was charged with attempted murder for allegedly shooting at a neighbor.

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-- Nardine Saad
twitter.com / NardineSaad

Right photo: Rapper Flavor Flav a.k.a. William Jonathan Drayton Jr.'s booking photo. Credit: Las Vegas Metropolitan Police / Getty Images

Left photo: Flavor Flav at his Comedy Central Roast in 2007. Credit: Jason Merritt / FilmMagic


Dwight Howard goes after Royce Reed in California court to collect on Florida defamation judgment

Dwight Howard going after Royce Reed in California

Basketball star Dwight Howard is going after baby mama Royce Reed in California to collect on a Florida court decision that she besmirched his name in the media by calling him out on Twitter and in "Basketball Wives."

Royce ReedThe Orlando Magic center claims Reed owes him $551,606.74, including interest, from a defamation judgment he won last year after several months of court battles. The $500,000 Reed was ordered to pay Howard for violating a court order that prohibited her from talking about him in the media still hasn't been paid out. So now Howard is changing it up, taking her to court in California so he would go after her Golden State assets, TMZ reported.

But sources said Reed, the most loathed of the ladies on VH1's "Basketball Wives" reality show, has "nada" in California.

Oh, snap!

Reed, a former dancer for the Orlando Magic and Miami Heat, caused a stir by dancing provocatively at a 2010 Super Bowl pool party hosted by Terrell Owens and Ludacris. She also invoked the wrath of Shaquille O'Neal's ex-wife, Shaunie O'Neal, and the other "Wives" cast members after getting crazy during the show's second-season reunion.

The matter of her throwing shade at Howard, the father of their son, 3-year-old Braylon, had been a sore issue while the show was being shot.

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-- Nardine Saad
twitter.com/NardineSaad

Photos, from top: Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic; Royce Reed of "Basketball Wives." Credits: Dale Zanine / US Presswire; VH1


Heidi Montag, Jake Pavelka and Danielle Staub together at last?

Danielle Staub, Jake Pavelka and Heidi Montag to star on VH1 show
Heidi Montag
and Jake Pavelka were spotted together at Café Med in West Hollywood on Tuesday. But it's not what you think. Danielle Staub was there too.

The oft-loathed reality stars — she of Speidi infamy and he of "The Bachelor" bizarro-land — were spotted alongside Staub (the also-oft-loathed New Jersey housewife) and other reality series alumni, said to make up the cast of a new VH1 show. They're supposed to get a restaurant up and running in 28 days, according to People.

So if you thought each of these reality semi-stars was cringe-inducing on his/her own, try not to imagine what they'll be like altogether. Chills.

"They are revamping a restaurant from the ground up. They started shooting this past weekend," a source told the mag.

File that under: Really?! Gordon Ramsay must be fuming with sweaty bullets of rage right about now.

What do you think of this trio? Will you watch whatever it is they're cooking up?

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— Nardine Saad
Twitter.com / NardineSaad

Photo: Left, Danielle Staub on Feb. 15, 2011. Credit: Marc Stamas / Getty Images. Center, Jake Pavelka in April 2010. Credit: Matt Sayles / Associated Press. Right, Heidi Montag on Nov. 16, 2009. Credit: Will Ragozzino / Getty Images.


Michael Lohan arrested, could face felony domestic violence charges

Michael Lohan arrested in domestic violence dispute Lindsay Lohan's father, Michael Lohan, was arrested Monday after allegedly holding his girlfriend against her will and preventing her from calling authorities. He could face several felony charges for the dispute.

Michael Lohan, who will appear on an upcoming season of VH1's "Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew" for anger-management treatment, was arrested on suspicion of false imprisonment, corporal injury on a cohabitant and preventing a report of victimization, L.A. County Sheriff's Department spokesman Steve Whitmore told L.A. Now.

Lohan, 51, was booked and bail was set at $200,000. Charges have not yet been filed by the L.A. County district attorney's office.

Deputies answered a call to Lohan's West Hollywood apartment at about 9 p.m. in relation to a domestic dispute, Whitmore said. Lohan was arrested later when deputies saw him roaming Santa Monica Boulevard near the sheriff's station.

After he was booked, Lohan was taken to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center to be treated for a "medical condition not related to the incident," the sheriff's department said in a statement. The alleged victim declined medical treatment.

Other reports have said that the altercation involved Lohan's ex-girlfriend Kate Major, whom he allegedly tried to choke with a towel after a violent argument. Major filed a police report against her then-fiance in July, alleging that he'd shoved her over a chair and kicked her during an argument. The charges were dropped in August at Major's request.

Michael Lohan, who has twice done prison time, including once for attempted assault, divorced Lindsay's mother Dina Lohan in 2007. 

We've heard "like father, like daughter," but what a way to continue to ride on your kid's coattails -- unless, this is all some twisted plug for the VH1 show. Dr. Drew Pinsky, incidentally, was in Hollywood at the "Super" premiere Monday night.

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-- Nardine Saad
Twitter.com/NardineSaad

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Photo: Michael Lohan in May 2010. Credit: Damian Dovarganes / Associated Press


Kim Kardashian, Kris Humphries sitting in a tree; Ray J c-o-m-p-l-a-i-n-i-n-g

Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries

Kim Kardashian may have found herself a keeper in basketball player Kris Humphries, who gushed about his lady friend over the weekend.  

The "Kourtney and Kim Take New York" star's new beau thinks he's the luckiest guy in the world and that Kimmie is a "great girl," HollywoodLife reports.

And despite juggling their work lives, they're making time for each other.

"I play basketball and she has all her things that she does that makes it busy," the New Jersey Nets power forward said. "But you just have to have fun every opportunity that you have with each other."

The two met after Kardashian, 30, finished filming the latest installment of her E! show, and they've been going strong ever since. They've already met each other's parents too.

The reason for their success? "You know, you have to be yourself," Humphries said.

We guess that means Kim is free to be on her BlackBerry all the time, tweeting away (when her account hasn't been hacked like it was yesterday) and Humphries, 26, is free to do whatever it is that makes him who he is. (P.S. We're still trying to figure that out, though maybe he's studying how to be a teen heartthrob?)

The middle Kardashian sister has come a long way since her graphic sex tape with R&B singer Ray J went public in 2007 and launched her into the limelight.

In a recent interview with Gossip On This, Ray J, never the coy one, congratulated his ex-girlfriend on her success but gave himself credit for her fame as well as that of another ex nicknamed "Cocktail," who he courted on his VH1 show "For the Love of Ray J."

"This is how I feel about it: I don't hang with stars, I create stars. So you know Kim was created, Cocktail was created and now I'm off to a new project," Ray J said. "I wish them well, I hope they have major success in their life. They are great girls, they got good heads on their shoulders and I want them to be successful and I'm off to the next project."

Oh, we'd love to hear what Humphries thinks about that.

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-- Nardine Saad
twitter.com/NardineSaad

Photos: Kim Kardashian, left, and New Jersey Nets forward Kris Humphries, right. Credits: Sam Morris / Getty Images, left; Mark J. Rebilas / US Presswire, right.


Royce Reed calls 'Basketball Wives' boot 'petty and immature'

'Basktball Wives' star Royce ReedRoyce Reed is talking back about her potential recasting on "Basketball Wives" due to her disconnect with b-ballers and her inability to speak publicly about baby daddy Dwight Howard and their son.

Reed, the least favorite "wife" -- she has little or nothing in common with her castmates and didn't know any of them before the show started taping -- has been losing her connection to the show, according to our interview with costar and executive producer Shaunie O'Neal. And a 2009 gag order that bars her from speaking about Orlando Magic center Howard or the son they have together further closed the door on any dishy portions of her life. 

"If they are indeed searching for a replacement for me, it is what it is. It all seems petty and immature to me," she told TMZ.

So the tenously named "Basketball Wives," which follows the exploits of women who have once dated, married or had kids with an NBA player, is courting new women to join the cast. Ones who can share the contents of their lives, perhaps.

Looks as if Reed will soon be a free agent. Maybe she's calling things "petty and immature" because the only claim to fame that she can speak of now is the show. Apparently, you need to actually have a life you can talk about to be a reality TV star.

Costars O'Neal and Evelyn Lozada have proved that it's OK if the relationship between a "Wives" star and an NBA player wasn't a slam dunk, as long as she can still share with the group. 

Shaquille O'Neal's ex-wife is now dating actor-model Marlon Yates, and Lozada is dating football player Chad Ochocinco, who has appeared on a few episodes of "Basketball Wives," even though we know him more from "Dancing With the Stars" than from the gridiron. Do we see a football-themed spinoff in the future?

Now we're curious about Reed's potential replacements. O'Neal stayed mum when we asked her to drop a few hints, so we vote for Eva Longoria to replace the gag-ordered Reed, only because Khloe Kardashian already has her own show on deck with Lakers hubby Lamar Odom. But it's probably safe to say that Longoria's A-list stock would plummet if she landed on the VH1 show.

We could see "The Bachelor's" resident villainess Michelle Money in the running too thanks to her affair with Chicago Bulls forward Carlos Boozer.

Who do you think should replace Reed? Sound off in comments.

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-- Nardine Saad
twitter.com/NardineSaad

Photo: Royce Reed of "Basketball Wives." Credit: VH1


Shaunie O'Neal dishes about 'Basketball Wives,' Royce Reed

Shaunie O'Neal in time for NBA All-Star Game weekend

Just in time for the NBA All-Star game, "Basketball Wives" star Shaunie O'Neal -- a.k.a. Shaquille O'Neal's ex-wife -- is shutting down rumors that beau Marlon Yates has been fooling around with co-star Royce Reed, and sounding off about the rest of the drama that's been percolating when the cameras are off.

Rumors had been flying around the VH1 reality show as NBA All-Star weekend approached, with sources saying that O'Neal's model-boyfriend Yates had has buying gifts for Dwight Howard's baby mama, allegedly with O'Neal's money. But O'Neal has said that's preposterous.

"Royce is not guaranteed to come back for Season 3. We are really trying to come up with something else and she's aware of it," O'Neal told the Ministry in a phone interview.

Guess that's what happens when a "basketball wife" starts dating outside the basketball arena, and can't talk about the basketball player who's the father of her child?

L.A. resident O'Neal had a busy weekend on tap. She's planning to take her children (P.S. She has five!) to the All-Star game on Sunday at Staples Center, hit her son's basketball tournament in Anaheim and host a charity event at the Louis Vuitton store in Beverly Hills.

Basketball Wives cast -- how many are going to the NBA All Star Game? She's also been dealing with the Reed fallout. O'Neal said the show (currently eight episodes into its second season) has outgrown Reed, "Wives'" Camille Grammer-equivalent, and she's desperate to stay relevant.

"Season 1 we establish [Royce] as Dwight Howard's ex-girlfriend and mother of his son. Season 2, she's now dating again, or dating other people that she seems to be pretty serious with," O'Neal said. "And she can't talk about her son, she can't talk about Dwight, and it's no connection any more, and the legal part of it has almost gotten more strict."

O'Neal said her boyfriend, Yates -- a runway model and actor who is shooting two pilots -- never really interacts with Reed outside of Twitter or social events, and has been dragged unwillingly into the drama.

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Bret Michaels undergoing heart surgery

Poison rocker Bret Michaels is underwent heart surgery in Phoenix Monday Bret Michaels is undergoing heart surgery in Phoenix where doctors will repair a hole in his heart that has been there since birth.

Surgeons at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center are performing a cardiac catheterization, which would stop blood from abnormally flowing between two chambers in his heart. The procedure requires inserting a scope in the groin area and guiding a closure device to repair his heart. Without the procedure, Michaels, 47, would have a higher risk of developing blood clots and suffering from another stroke.

The hole was discovered when the former Poison frontman was recovering from a brain hemorrhage last April, 10 days after an emergency appendectomy.

"Barring any complications, I should be out within three to four days," he told The Arizona Republic. "Then, I will be down [resting] for three weeks. I don't know if I can sit around for that long, but I'll try my best."

The cowboy-hat-and-bandanna-clad rocker auctioned off his 1969 Camaro Custom Coupe for $200,000 in Scottsdale, Ariz., over the weekend and donated a portion of the proceeds to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

He won the third cycle of "The Celebrity Apprentice 3" and recently asked his longtime girlfriend Kristi Gibson to marry him.

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-- Nardine Saad

Photo: Rocker and Reality TV personality Bret Michaels arrives for a taping of "The Late Show with David Letterman" in New York last July. Credit: Charles Sykes / Associated Press


Jane Lynch blends in, Kellan Lutz goes to the dogs at VH1's Do Something Awards

Jane-lynch-and-clones

What's better than Jane Lynch?

A zillion Jane Lynches.

VH1's Do Something Awards for people committed to social change was like a dream for Lynch lovers. The show, broadcast live Monday from Hollywood's Palladium, opened with the "Glee" star surrounded by clones, kind of like the Robert Palmer girls — but instead of puffy red lips and minis, they were wearing black tracksuits and particularly wiggy blond wigs. Indeed, there were Janes as far as the eye Kellan Lutz at the VH1 Do Something Awards could see, enough, in the original's words, to make "my narcissistic dreams come true."

Except for one rebel.

"That's Jennifer Saurenman," Jennifer Saurenman whispered as she walked by the Ministry (we were outed by our notebook) in full Jane Lynch drag.

OK, so there were a zillion Janes and at least one Jennifer acting the part of Jane. Not to mention a bunch of stars who came to present (Paula Abdul, Megan Fox, Demi Lovato) or accept (Snoop Dogg, Do Something for the Kids; Joe Jonas on behalf of the brothers, Do Something Music Artist; Christina Applegate, Do Something Kick Ass for Survival) or both (Kathy Griffin, Do Something Comedian).

The Ministry's favorite celeb of the evening was "Twilight" hottie Kellan Lutz, who picked the Do Something for Animals Award. Griffin presented the award — a golden sneaker with Mercury-like wings — inside a pen of barking dogs that suddenly materialized onstage. Noting his "incredibly awesome ... 

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