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June 21, 2013 | By Chris Lee, Los Angeles Times
Alongside Mr. Spock, Archie Bunker and the Fonz, James Gandolfini's Tony Soprano has been absorbed wholesale into the American psyche to rank as one of TV's most indelible icons. In every sense of the term, Gandolfini's mob boss was larger than life: a man of grand appetites, enormous externalized rage and tremendous heart who cast an equally gigantic shadow across popular culture during six seasons on HBO's "The Sopranos" that qualify as some of the finest television ever produced.
June 20, 2013 | By Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times Television Critic
James Gandolfini, the most important actor in the most influential television series of the last decade and a half, died suddenly Wednesday, in Italy. He was only 51, and though he had been a busy working actor -- in film and onstage as well as on TV -- for two decades, and had (with writer David Chase) created a character for the ages, he was also at what, especially in light of an early death, felt like the beginning of his career. Even though he spent the years of "The Sopranos" and afterward taking parts that told the world there was more to him than a New Jersey mob boss -- that is to say, waste management consultant -- its length and depth, its cultural mass, guarantee that Tony Soprano is the role for which he'll be most remembered.
May 28, 2013 | By Alana Semuels, Los Angeles Times
BOSTON - As terrorists struck his city, Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino was no Rudy Giuliani, leading citizens to safety amid the chaos and offering wrenchingly articulate sound bites to the television cameras. When explosions tore through the finish of the Boston Marathon last month, Menino was in the hospital, recovering from surgery for a broken leg, the latest in a series of health setbacks that had helped convince the 70-year-old mayor to announce in March that he would not run again.
April 20, 2013 | By Randy Lewis, Los Angeles Times
Tom Jones sits in a cozy booth along one wall of a favorite Beverly Hills restaurant. At 72, his curly hair and neatly manicured mustache and goatee are more salt than pepper after his decision to give up black hair dye a few years ago. But Jones appears dapper as usual, ultra-tan and fit in his smart black suit and dark, ribbed crew-neck shirt. The era-spanning entertainer is here to talk about his new album, "Spirit in the Room," coming out Tuesday. His latest work continues a career rejuvenation that kicked off in earnest three years ago with "Praise & Blame," a collection produced by Kings of Leon producer Ethan Johns.
April 16, 2013 | McClatchy Newspapers
Martyl Langsdorf, the artist who created the widely known Doomsday Clock for the first cover of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, died March 26 at a rehabilitation facility near her home in suburban Chicago of complications from a lung infection. She was 96. Since its introduction in 1947, the drawing of the Doomsday Clock has kept watch as international incidents flared. The clock is a symbol of the Nuclear Age, whose minute hand moves closer to midnight - and presumed annihilation - with each major immediate danger.
March 22, 2013 | By Carol J. Williams
Barack Obama's first trip to Israel as president seems to have thawed his frosty relationship with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, at least for public consumption. But it appears to have done little to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, curb illegal Jewish settlement-building or craft a unified strategy to keep nuclear weapons out of Iranian hands. It was a diplomatic mission with a strikingly unambitious agenda, Middle East experts say, and one that failed to exceed low expectations.
March 6, 2013 | By Steven Zeitchik, Los Angeles Times
Foreign auteurs tend to enjoy a good metaphoric image or three. And few like them more than Chan-wook Park, the South Korean filmmaker behind violent cult hits such as "Oldboy. " In "Stoker," Park's English-language debut starring Nicole Kidman that opened in Los Angeles last weekend, there are a number of memorable images. They're all there for a reason. "Stoker" centers on the loner India (Mia Wasikowska), her aloof and at times rivalrous mother (Kidman) and India's affectionate but mysterious uncle Charlie (Matthew Goode)
February 15, 2013 | By Ben Bolch, Los Angeles Times
HOUSTON - The gulf between Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard became literal Friday, with NBA officials placing the Lakers stars on opposite sides of a giant hotel ballroom for All-Star media interviews. There was no underlying message, subtle or otherwise. Bryant and Howard were stationed in those spots because that's where league officials had set up streaming video feeds. The teammates were also on different ends of the emotional spectrum, Bryant remaining upbeat as he discussed the Lakers' struggles while a dour Howard conceded he wasn't enjoying himself on the court as much as he had earlier in his career.
February 14, 2013 | By James Rainey, Los Angeles Times
Does mayoral candidate Jan Perry think that current Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is a really good guy to have in her corner? Or maybe she thinks hizzoner's support marks the recipient as another hapless representative of the City Hall status quo. It's hard to tell where Perry stands from a pair of recent mailers delivered by her campaign. The Los Angeles city councilwoman came out with a bulk-mail pitch Tuesday that shows her side by side with Mayor V. Both are grinning.
February 9, 2013 | By Dahleen Glanton and Bridget Doyle
CHICAGO - The funeral for Hadiya Pendleton on Saturday was a celebration of her life, just as her parents had wanted. But along with those moments of joyful remembrance, there was bitter awareness of the street violence that took her away. Hadiya, a high school honor student whose majorette squad performed in inaugural festivities for President Obama last month, was fatally shot Jan. 29 at a park about a mile from Obama's family home. The killing of the bright 15-year-old incited public outrage that made its way from the streets of the South Side to the White House.
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