That 70s Show actress Lisa Robin Kelly died on Wednesday in a California rehab facility where she had checked herself in voluntarily for treatment. She was 43 years old.
Best known for her role on That 70s Show as Eric Foreman’s older sister Laurie, the actress has battled addiction issues for several years. She was kicked off That 70s Show for drug problems and her issues continued having been arrested on DUI charges 4 times in the last 3 years.
“Unfortunately Lisa Robin Kelly passed away last evening,” her agent said. I spoke to her on Monday and she was hopeful and confident, looking forward to putting this part of her life behind her.”
Lisa was a graduate of DePaul University and had recently filed for divorce from her husband Robert Joseph Gilliam with whom she had a rocky relationship.
We make a lot of jokes here at MWTVG about the dumb things that celebrities sometimes do but we never joke about addiction and substance abuse. There are very few of us out there who haven’t either dealt with demons ourselves or had a close friend or family member suffer with addiction.
It’s very sad to see someone struggle and lose their battle. RIP Lisa Robin Kelly.
It’s been a while since we highlighted a Midwestern actor. Feels like we kind of dropped the ball in reminding you of all the talent that has come out of the Midwest. Our bad.
So let’s take a quick look at an actor from the Midwest who was the star of one of our favorite shows of all time – Scott Bakula.
He was born October 9, 1954 in St. Louis, MO. He is most remembered as Dr. Sam Beckett, a quantum physicist, who after a time traveling experiment went wrong, temporarily took the place of other people to put right what once went wrong.
It’s hard to believe that Quantum Leap first aired on NBC in March 1989. That’s quickly approaching 25 years ago, which just makes me feel old. In addition to QL, he appeared on other shows like Boston Legal, Chuck, Men of a Certain Age, and Two and a Half Men. Oh, he also graced the cover of Playgirl Magazine back in 1995. For a complete biography, here is a link to his Wikipedia page.
So that’s another Midwestern guy who made it big in Hollywood. I leave you with a Quantum Leap compilation.
I have mixed feelings about AT&T’s It’s Not Complicated series of commercials. On the one hand, AT&T violates my rule about putting kids with speech impediments on TV. On the other hand, the adult star of these commercials is very funny. I’m torn. I really hate the kids, but I love the guy so, I was doing some research on these commercials to see what others thought about them and I found out something very interesting about the adult star, his name is Beck Bennett and he is from Chicago.
Beck is from the Chicago suburb of Winnetka and is a 2003 graduate of New Trier High School. He’s a 2007 graduate of USC and has already been a big star on You Tube with the comedy troupe he formed “Good Neighbor”. The group has been so popular, that they have signed a production deal for a new TV show this fall that is being produced by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay. Here’s the video that shot Beck and his group to fame:
Beck Bennett is clearly a rising star. The AT&T commercials (which BTW are directed by Jorma Taccone of The Lonely Island), are the most popular commercials AT&T has ever had. They are currently shooting another series of commercials even as we speak. The best part (or worst part if you hate child actors) is that the commercials are improvised. Beck has said that the commercials initially had scripts but that everything that has made it to the air has been completely improvised. While this leads to the disaster of the kid talking about the werewolf, or the kid talking about wanting more, that makes me contemplate hurling myself in to an active volcano, we also get the brilliance of Beck Bennett reacting to the crazy crap the kids say. I guess to get a bit of genius, we have to put up with the torture of child actors and I’m ok with it as long as we get to see more of Beck’s reactions.
We here at MWTVG are fans of midwest actors and we love to promote their activities. We’ll be looking forward to Beck Bennett in The Good Neighbor Show which will most likely be airing on Comedy Central this fall.
As we are a website that promotes itself as the voice of the Midwest, we periodically like to feature actors who have somehow become successful even though they came from middle America.
Today, we feature Bill Murray. Born in Wilmette, Illinois (suburb of Chicago). For full bio go here.
A lot of people remember Bill from his SNL days. Like a lot of comedians from the Midwest, Bill actually started his career in 1974 at Second City Chicago. From there he moved to New York and teamed up with another actor you may remember, John Belushi. They worked on various projects leading up to him becoming a cast member on SNL in 1976. This was only SNL’s second season (interesting SNL fact, early on he dated co-star Gilda Radner). Continue reading →
As many of you are aware, 30 ROCK is coming to an end in January. As of now, there are only 5 episodes left. While others have questioned whether or not they are phoning it in this year, I think the show is as funny as it’s ever been.
Let’s not kid ourselves, while Tina Fey is the headline act, Alec Baldwin is the engine that drives the bus. On last night’s show, Jack Donaghy’s mother, played by Tony award winning actress Elaine Stritch (a Midwestern girl from Michigan), died. Over the years, Jack has had quite a complicated relationship with his mother. What I have enjoyed about it is that it’s not the typical sitcom fare. No, theirs is a relationship that can never be duplicated.
Even last night, right before she passed, she said to Jack, “I’ve only ever wanted you to be happy.” Most of us would take that as a wonderful heart felt sentiment. Not Jack though. He sees right through it as something that someone says to somebody when they have not lived up to their potential and needs to settle. Continue reading →
We like to feature actors that come from the Midwest here at MWTVG. Let me introduce you to one that comes from right around the same area as the MWTVG team, the suburbs of Chicago. This guy even went to my high school, Glenbard South, and I didn’t even know it.
You might recognize him as Winston Bishop on the Fox comedy NEW GIRL. Morris studied acting at the College of DuPage in suburban Chicago and has been working regularly since 2000. I’ll admit that I didn’t know who he was until he got (what I thought) was his big break on NEW GIRL. He has been a very popular actor on BET which I can tell you honestly, I just about never watch unless they are re-playing NEW JACK CITY.
Morris was not originally cast on NEW GIRL but got his break when Damon Wayans Jr.’s show HAPPY ENDINGS was picked up for a 2nd season. Morris got cast in the role then to replace Wayans and the rest is history.
Today, I would like to jump in the mix with the following commercial:
So Brad got paid $7 million to appear in commercials for Chanel No.5. Who in the hell green lighted this commercial. The SNL parody is more believable. Here’s a Forbes article making fun of the commercial.
So, congratulations Oklahoma (Pitt’s birthplace), he’s all yours. Incidentally, I believe this commercial answers the question of to whether he is a steer or queer, as that is what comes from that part of the country apparently.