1. Former Senator Arlen Specter Dies
Arlen Specter, the longest-running senator in Philadelphia, died Sunday at the age of 82 after a battle with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Specter, who was Jewish, ended his 30-year career in Congress after he switched from the Republican to the Democratic party and lost in the primary.
Specter was a celebrated moderate and the only Jewish Republican in the Senate by the end of his career with the GOP. He often broke with party lines, particularly on social issues like gay rights, abortion, gun control and stem cell research. His support helped President Obama ultimately pass the healthcare reform package.
2. Sacha Baron Cohen Gears Up for a Busy 2013
Sacha Baron Cohen was cast as Freddie Mercury in a film about the Queen frontman more than two years ago, but filming has yet to start…until now. Brian May, the band’s guitarist, posted an update about the film on his website last week:
“Ah … I promised news of yesterday’s Queen band meeting. Well, it was just Roger and Jim Beach and myself … we are a small cottage industry !! Our main agenda was the Freddie film … which, I’m happy to tell you, is on course… filming is now scheduled to start in the Spring, with Sacha Baron Cohen playing Freddie. The film should be ready for release early in 2014.”
As for Cohen, the Jewish comedian’s next film is the controversial comedy The Lesbian. The movie is based on Hong Kong billionaire Cecil Chao, who offered a $65 million bounty to any man who could woo his daughter out of her same-sex marriage.
Who knew Gwyneth Paltrow could flow like her good friend Jay-Z?! Paltrow recently put her rapping abilities on display (alongside pal Cameron Diaz) in a video the two made for their pal Chelsea Handler.
Paying homage to the Chelsea Lately star, the ladies are introduced by Handler as “Emcee Gwyneth Paltrow” and “Deejay Jazzy Cameron Diaz.” Paltrow, whose father is Jewish, wasn’t afraid to be a little subversive with her rhyme about her friend Chelsea (whose father is also Jewish). During the rhyme, Paltrow rapped, “Yo, Chelsea… We know that you got on TV by being a ho.”