A year in showbiz: court drama, box office records and a young billionaire
LONDON (Reuters) – From the world’s youngest self-made billionaire to celebrities in court, the world of entertainment produced a wide array of headlines this year. Below are some of the biggest showbiz stories of 2019.
* The year began with rap making history at the Grammys as Childish Gambino’s “This is America” became the first hip hop track to win the ceremony’s top record and song of the year accolade. At the Oscars, “Green Book” took best film while Briton Olivia Colman beat presumed favorite Glenn Close for the best actress honor.
* The case surrounding “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett, who is gay and black, lit up social media after he told Chicago police two men had attacked him by throwing a noose around his neck, pouring bleach on him and shouting abuse.
Smollett was later charged with making up the attack and taken off the “Empire” TV show, although prosecutors dropped the criminal case against him.
* Criminal cases during the #MeToo era saw Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein’s trial, in which he is accused of rape and predatory sexual assault, set for January 2020. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges. Actor Cuba Gooding Jr pleaded not guilty to charges of groping three women.
* Singer R. Kelly was arrested and charged with recruiting underage girls and women to have sex with him. He has denied abuse accusations for decades.
* Prosecutors dropped a sex assault case against Oscar winner Kevin Spacey after the alleged victim refused to testify.
* Documentary “Leaving Neverland”, in which two men said they had been abused as children by Michael Jackson, renewed scrutiny of the late singer’s legacy. Jackson’s estate called it a “rehash of dated and discredited allegations”.
* The U.S. college admissions cheating scandal saw actress Felicity Huffman briefly go to prison. Rapper A$AP Rocky got a suspended sentence following a brawl in Sweden.
* The Rolling Stones temporarily postponed their North American tour after singer Mick Jagger underwent heart surgery. The Spice Girls reunited for a tour, though without fifth member Victoria Beckham.
* Reality star Kim Kardashian revealed she is studying to become a lawyer and her half-sister Kylie Jenner became the youngest self-made billionaire thanks to her makeup business.
* Dwayne Johnson was named the world’s highest-paid actor in an annual Forbes list while married couple Nick Jonas and Priyanka Chopra took People magazine’s best dressed accolade. People named singer John Legend “sexiest man alive”.
* The ending of medieval drama “Game of Thrones” divided fans, some petitioning for a re-write.
* Superhero film “Avengers: Endgame” broke “Avatar”‘s 10-year record as the biggest box-office movie of all time. Comic book standalone “Joker” became the first R-rated Hollywood production to take more than $1 billion in ticket sales worldwide.
* Actress Sophie Turner and singer Joe Jonas tied the knot and Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence married art gallery director Cooke Maroney. Chart topper Justin Bieber and model Hailey Baldwin married a second time while singer Katy Perry and actor Orlando Bloom got engaged. Actor Liam Hemsworth and singer Miley Cyrus separated after seven months of marriage.
* Britain’s Prince Harry and his wife Meghan welcomed son Archie while Kardashian and her rapper husband Kanye West announced the arrival, via surrogate, of their fourth child, Psalm.
* The world said goodbye to several big names including fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld, actors Doris Day, Peter Fonda, Albert Finney, Carol Channing and Luke Perry, composer Andre Previn, Prodigy frontman Keith Flint and Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison.
(Reporting by Marie-Louise Gumuchian; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)
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