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Helen Reddy, singer behind feminist anthem ‘I Am Woman,’ dies at 78

Helen Reddy, the 1970s pop star and cultural icon behind the hit song “I Am Woman,” has died at 78. Reddy died Tuesday afternoon at her home in Los Angeles. Her children, Traci Donat and Jordan Summers, confirmed the news on Reddy’s official Facebook page, writing, ″It is with deep sadness that we announce the…

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Helen Reddy, singer behind feminist anthem ‘I Am Woman,’ dies at 78

Helen Reddy, the 1970s pop star and cultural icon behind the hit song “I Am Woman,” has died at 78.
Reddy died Tuesday afternoon at her home in Los Angeles. Her children, Traci Donat and Jordan Summers, confirmed the news on Reddy’s official Facebook page, writing, ″It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved mother, Helen Reddy, on the afternoon of September 29th 2020 in Los Angeles. She was a wonderful Mother, Grandmother and a truly formidable woman. Our hearts are broken. But we take comfort in the knowledge that her voice will live on forever.″

Australian-born Reddy was regarded as a queen of 1970s pop, reigning as the world’s top-selling female singer in 1973 and 1974. Her biggest hit, 1971’s ″I Am Woman,″ catapulted Reddy to new heights as a feminist icon, and the song became the unofficial anthem of the women’s movement, still often played and quoted from at women’s marches today. Reddy won a Grammy for the song, and famously caused a stir by thanking God, ″because she makes everything possible.″

Her other hits included ″Delta Dawn,″ ″Angie Baby,″ Leave Me Alone (Ruby Red Dress),″ and ″Ain’t No Way to Treat a Lady.″
Reddy also made waves on screen, starring in her own weekly television variety program, The Helen Reddy Show. She also starred in Disney’s Pete Dragon, in which she sang the Oscar-nominated ″Candle On the Water.″ Reddy was nominated for a Golden Globe for her role in Airport 1975.

She was the subject of the biopic I Am Woman, which was released this month and stars Tilda Cobham-Hervey as Reddy.
Helen Reddy was born into a well-known show business family on Oct. 25, 1941, in Melbourne. Her mother was an actress, and her father was a writer, producer, and actor. From the age of 4, Reddy joined her parents as a performer on the Australian vaudeville circuit.

In 1966, Reddy came to New York City after winning a talent contest on Australian television show Bandstand, which touted its top prize as a chance to cut a single for Mercury Records in New York. When she arrived, with only $200 to her name and a return ticket to Australia, she was told that the prize was only a chance to audition — and Mercury did not wish to record a single with her.

She struggled for several years, performing in night clubs. Reddy famously met her husband and manager Jeff Wald at a party a friend threw for her that charged an admission price of $5 to help Reddy make her rent and afford to stay in the United States. The couple relocated to Los Angeles in 1969, and Wald eventually began to find success as a manager for musical groups.

After pressure from Reddy, Wald helped kickstart her recording career. She scored a hit with the B-side to her second single, a cover of ″I Don’t Know How to Love Him,″ from the rock musical Jesus Christ Superstar. Following the success of that single, Reddy signed a recording contract with Capitol Records.
″I Am Woman″ was to become her biggest success and her first No. 1 hit. She wrote the iconic lyrics, ″I am woman, hear me roar/In numbers too big to ignore″ and paired it with music penned by Ray Burton. The song made her the first Australian singer to ever top the U.S. music charts.

Throughout the 1970s, Reddy had over a dozen Top 40 hits, including two more No. 1s, ″Delta Dawn″ and ″Angie Baby.″ 1983’s Imagination marked her final original album as a recording artist, coming just after the finalization of her divorce from Wald, whose interference she cited as the reason for the decline of her career in the 1980s.
In addition to numerous guest-starring roles and appearances on various television series and variety shows, Reddy semi-regularly hosted NBC’s variety show The Midnight Special from 1973 to 1975. Throughout the 1980s, she also embarked on a successful career in musicals on Broadway and in London’s West End.

Reddy officially retired from show business in 2002, though she did occasionally make appearances, making a voice cameo as herself in a 2007 episode of Family Guy and performing in small nightclubs and at benefit performances. She found a second career as a practicing clinical hypnotherapist.
In 2006, she published the memoir The Woman I Am.
One of her final public performances came in 2017, where she was a guest at the Women’s March in downtown Los Angeles. Reddy was introduced by Jamie Lee Curtis and broke into an a capella rendition of ″I Am Woman.″

Reddy was diagnosed with dementia in August 2015.
She is survived by her daughter, Traci, and son, Jordan, as well as her granddaughter Lily, who made a cameo appearance in I Am Woman.
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Broadway comes to TV with ‘American Utopia’ and ‘What the Constitution Means to Me’

Both shows are worth the time, although seeing them at home, frankly, reinforces what’s lost in translation given the tingle that live theater, at its best, can send up your spine — a sensation that doesn’t quite emerge on either front. Together, they underscore what “Hamilton” so impressively accomplished by conjuring that elusive magic. Notably,…

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Broadway comes to TV with ‘American Utopia’ and ‘What the Constitution Means to Me’

Both shows are worth the time, although seeing them at home, frankly, reinforces what’s lost in translation given the tingle that live theater, at its best, can send up your spine — a sensation that doesn’t quite emerge on either front. Together, they underscore what “Hamilton” so impressively accomplished by conjuring that elusive magic. Notably, HBO Max’s “The West Wing” special also captures some of that by bringing a TV show to the stage for the purposes of watching at home. (Like CNN, HBO is a unit of WarnerMedia.)Byrne, the Talking Heads front man, has always possessed a theatrical and cinematic flair, including his 1986 directorial effort “True Stories.” Those qualities inform “American Utopia,” a collection of songs — imaginatively choreographed and lit — that conveys the joyous and playful aspects of his music.On the plus side, that sense of fun is entertaining enough. The main drawback is that while Byrne addresses pressing issues during his chatting with the audience — including the importance of voting, and introducing his performance of Janelle Monae’s “Hell You Talmbout,” name-checking Black people killed by police — there’s scant thematic adhesive to the presentation, unlike some other productions wedding rock to Broadway (Bruce Springsteen’s “Springsteen on Broadway,” filmed for Netflix, comes to mind).Lee does an admirable job of shooting the performance from every conceivable angle, although while the overhead shots are quite cool, one could probably do without closeups on Byrne’s feet, which along with the rest of the performers, are bare.Byrne’s playlist includes the hit “Burning Down the House,” and a boisterous rendition of “Road to Nowhere,” which includes a march through the appreciative audience.”American Utopia” doesn’t set the screen ablaze, but Byrne and his collaborators certainly know how to put on a show, even when it feels like they’re going nowhere.”What the Constitution Means to Me,” by contrast, is an audacious idea, one that starts slowly — at least in this format — before sinking in its hooks about halfway through.Playwright-star Schreck (a Tony nominee on both scores) earned college tuition money by competing in Constitutional debates, and revives her 15-year-old self to explore — humorously at first, pointedly later — its troubling and inequitable aspects, including mistreatment of women.Schreck’s reminiscing about “Dirty Dancing” and visiting legion halls to wax eloquently about the Constitution to mostly older men come into sharper focus when she exits the time capsule, and pivots to speaking in her 40-something voice.At that moment her memories and observations become sharper, from the patriarchal values of the court to violence against women to her own experience with abortion.”When abortion became illegal, it didn’t become rare,” she says, referencing the days before Roe v. Wade. “It only became deadly.”Schreck closes by engaging in a debate with a teen orator, Rosdely Ciprian, about whether the Constitution is indeed the living, breathing document that we’ve been taught to admire in school — adaptable to the modern age — or a hopelessly dated construct that needs to be discarded, starting over from scratch. It’s an interesting device, while lacking the impact of the material that precedes it.Directed by Marielle Heller (“A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”), “What the Constitution Means to Me” serves as a reminder that those pining for the past tend to ignore historic inequalities. There’s even quotation from the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg — who caused a stir when she saw the show last year — which makes the special feel extra timely and poignant.Minor drawbacks aside, both shows have plenty to recommend them. And if live theater means anything to you, they provide at least a taste of what you’re missing.”What the Constitution Means to Me” premieres Oct. 16 on Amazon.”American Utopia” premieres Oct. 17 at 8 p.m. ET on HBO, which like CNN, is a unit of WarnerMedia.

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Taraji P. Henson confirms split from fiancé Kelvin Hayden

The “What Men Want” actress confirmed during an appearance Monday on “The Breakfast Club” that she and the former NFL player have ended their engagement.”I just turned 50 and I mean, I hadn’t said it yet, but it didn’t work out,” she told the hosts of the popular New York City radio show. “I tried.…

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Taraji P. Henson confirms split from fiancé Kelvin Hayden

The “What Men Want” actress confirmed during an appearance Monday on “The Breakfast Club” that she and the former NFL player have ended their engagement.”I just turned 50 and I mean, I hadn’t said it yet, but it didn’t work out,” she told the hosts of the popular New York City radio show. “I tried. I was, like ‘Therapy, let’s do the therapy thing,’ but if you’re both not on the same page with that then you feel like, you’re taking it on yourself. And that’s not a fair position for anybody to play in a relationship.”The couple got engaged in 2018 and were scheduled to be married in June this year.In March Henson told “Extra” they were postponing the wedding due to the coronavirus pandemic.”It’s probably going to be more like July,” she said at the time. “We have to see what this will be like at the other end.”The “Empire” star was part of a panel discussion on “The Breakfast Club” about trauma and relationships.She said she loves Black men and Black love and is a fan of mental health support for her community. “It hurts when relationships don’t last,” she said. “I love to see Black love and I want to see more of it. I want to see our relationships last and make it.”

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‘Supermaket Sweep’ hopes to get you swept into the fun

The phrase “global pandemic” had just been thrown around in the news the day before and even though I’d been prepping supplies and canned goods since the month prior, I decided that morning that our household could use a fresh round of the basics so we could hunker down for a couple of weeks. Everyone…

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‘Supermaket Sweep’ hopes to get you swept into the fun

The phrase “global pandemic” had just been thrown around in the news the day before and even though I’d been prepping supplies and canned goods since the month prior, I decided that morning that our household could use a fresh round of the basics so we could hunker down for a couple of weeks. Everyone in West Los Angeles apparently had the same idea. I’ll remember that morning for the rest of my life because walking into a crowded grocery store with mostly bare shelves was something I had been privileged enough to not have experienced before. Though, there had been a time when I wanted nothing more than to run through a grocery store, clearing shelves as I went along. I loved “Supermarket Sweep” as a child and was convinced I could achieve financial independence if only given the chance to run the big sweep one day. (My plan was always to start by grabbing an inflatable bonus, running it back and then heading straight for the expensive meats.) This store looked like it had fallen victim to lots of sweepers but not in a fun way. Carts were piled high but faces were masked and not smiling. The eyes that poked above face coverings were filled with worry. By the time my turkey, ribs and I got to the checkout counter, and I heard that familiar beep, I didn’t think about “Supermarket Sweep.” I thought, “Get me the hell out of here.” ABC will premiere its reboot of “Supermarket Sweep” on Sunday, hoping to feed viewers’ appetite for escapist programming with their new take on the game show once hosted by David Ruprecht. In the process, it will confront the question of whether it’s escapist at all to be reminded of our complicated relationship with grocery shopping and food this year, whether you couldn’t find toilet paper or are one of the millions struggling with food insecurity in wake of the economic downfall. “We want it to be received with fun and laughter and joy and a little escape from the mask of it all,” executive producer Alycia Rossier told reporters on a recent conference call. “The grocery workers in the States have kept us alive for the last six months. They went to the store every day. And we see our store as a place of celebration.” The show honors a grocery store worker in every episode and awards them $2,000, Rossiter said. The groceries featured in the show’s store were also all donated to the Los Angeles Food Bank or, in the case of perishables, donated to animal charities that could use them as feed.”We were thinking about it every step of the way,” she said. That includes host and executive producer Leslie Jones, who noted that while people aren’t wearing masks inside their fictional grocery store, they are essential items. (Contestants and those on set were tested for coronavirus prior to filming, which occurred in late July, and safety protocols were instituted on set.) “I’m going to say right here, yeah, you’re supposed to have on your damn mask,” she said. If you appreciate Jones and her brand of humor for being as inherently joyful as intended, you’ll enjoy her in the role of host. Other than the prices of groceries, which will inspire sticker shock and the maximum amount of prize money ($100,000), no notable changes have been made to the game itself. And that’s great news because the game was perfect as it was. Jones sees the hour-long show as a chance for people “to bond together and know that there’s still some good stuff going on and that there’s hope.” Ultimately, viewers will decide if they’re ready to buy that.

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