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VULTURE DROPPINGS – Shameless Celebrity Press Conferences


History has not been kind to pop singers caught lip synching such as Milli-Vanilli and Ashlee Simpson. So last week, Beyoncé was eager to put out the media firestorm that had erupted when it became known that she lip-synched the national anthem at President Obama‘s inauguration. After instructing the attending journalists to stand up, she quickly launched into an a capella rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” during a press conference that was set up for her to answer questions about her Superbowl performance.

The move effectively silenced her critics. At least, temporarily. On his morning radio show, former NFL star Boomer Esiason said her performance may be to blame for a power outage that halted the second half of the game for over 35 minutes. He said that he heard from an inside source that the power went out twice during rehearsals for her show. And PETA criticized the singer’s outfit which was made of a combination of leather, iguana and python skin. Beyoncé  hasn’t responded to either accusation, but she can always exercise her freedom of speech as a celebrity by staging a press conference to set the record the straight. As the following examples illustrate, she wouldn’t the only one to do so.

Faye Dunaway explains why she was fired from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Sunset Boulevard” (1994)


Andrew Lloyd Webber just couldn’t make up his mind when it came to casting the lead role in the musical Sunset Boulevard. By the time  it was announced in May 1994 that Faye Dunaway had won the starring  role of Norma Desmond, two other actresses had already come and gone from the production. sunset_boulevard_patti_lupone_glenn_close Veteran Broadway star Patti Lupone was the first to play the role in London. She was fired and replaced with Glenn Close for a tryout in Los Angeles. Despite $4 million in advance ticket sales with Dunaway cast as the lead, Lloyd Webber pulled the plug on the show and fired the Oscar-winning actress, only a week before the first scheduled performance. Dunaway sued the famed Broadway producer and eventually settled in January 1995 for an undisclosed sum. Of course, in the immediate aftermath of the firing, Dunaway held a press conference to explain her side of the situation. While she made an effort to hide her seething anger behind a calm and carefully coiffed persona, she came across more like the screen legend Joan Crawford who she infamously portrayed in Mommie Dearest. In her 1995 autobiography Looking for Gatsby she wrote about her experience being fired from the musical:

faye_dunaway_looking_for_gatsbyJanuary 12, 1995 – For Immediate Release: A private settlement was reached today in the dispute between Faye Dunaway and Andrew Lloyd Webber and The Really Useful Company over her dismissal on June 22nd from the starring role in the Los Angeles production of Sunset Boulevard. The agreement stipulates that its terms will remain confidential.

Ms. Dunaway said in a settlement: “When strong, artistic personalities are separated by thousands of miles, the process of putting together a production as complex as Sunset Boulevard becomes difficult at best, divisive at worst. I am pleased that we were able to patch up what has been a very painful public rift between us without an extensive courtroom battle.”

Lloyd Webber said today, “Faye Dunaway is an extraordinary talent. I hope our paths cross one day in  happier circumstances where my regard for her abilities can be shown more fruitfully. I wish her every success in her future endeavors.”

“I accepted the role of Norma Desmond, in part, because of my admiration of Lloyd Webber’s ability to put his finger on the pulse of the theater-going  public,” said the Academy Award-winning actress. “He has created memorable musical theater and I have great respect for his achievements.”

The terms of this settlement prevent me from any further comment on this matter.

Embedding was disabled for a YouTube video of Dunaway’s 1994 press conference. To view the highly entertaining clip click here.


Tiger Woods Admits To Cheating On His Wife (2009)


yes-he-cheated[1]Tiger Woods scandal free career as the top golfer in the world ended with a crash in November 2009. After fighting with his wife Elin Nordgren, he fled their Florida mansion at 2:45 in the morning and shortly after crashed into a nearby fire hydrant. The botched getaway came to a dramatic conclusion when his wife came to help him from the car and smashed one of the car’s windows with a golf club to rescue Woods, who was then rushed to the hospital. The story provided fuel for newspaper headlines, tabloids and gossip blogs for months. Woods, however stayed out the limelight and avoided talking about his indiscretions until February 2010 when he held a tearful press conference. Whether the tears he shed were those of regret that he had betrayed his wife or fear that he would lose some of his many of multi-million dollar endrorsement deals is hard to say.

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