Mandalit del Barco

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Actor Clarence Williams III has died from colon cancer. That's according to his manager. He was 81 years old. NPR's Mandalit del Barco has this remembrance.

(SOUNDBITE OF AL CAIOLA'S "THE MOD SQUAD THEME")

Updated May 26, 2021 at 10:12 AM ET

Editor's note: Amazon is among NPR's financial supporters.

Amazon has made a deal to buy Hollywood studio MGM for almost $8.5 billion. It's the second-largest acquisition for the company after purchasing Whole Foods.

TV host Ellen DeGeneres is pulling the plug on her successful daytime TV variety/comedy/talk show at the end of this season. For more than 18 years, she has famously danced with her guests and the audience, played games and pranks with them and given away prizes. She has interviewed everyone from Hollywood A-listers to precocious children. But now, she and Warner Brothers Television have said The Ellen DeGeneres Show will end in 2022.

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Before Little Richard, there was Lloyd Price, a pioneer of rock 'n' roll.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "PERSONALITY")

LLOYD PRICE: (Singing) 'Cause you've got - walk - talk - smile...

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Singers Beyonce and Taylor Swift made history last night at the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards, which was, of course, socially distanced. Four of the top awards went to women. NPR's Mandalit del Barco reports.

Mexican film directors have enjoyed success at the Academy Awards in recent years. Alfonso Cuarón won an Oscar for directing Gravity in 2014, and for Roma in 2019. Alejandro González Iñárritu won one in 2015 for directing Birdman and the following year for The Revenant. And Guillermo del Toro won his Oscar for directing The Shape of Water in 2018. Now, the "Tres Amigos," as they're known, may welcome uno más: up-and-coming filmmaker Fernando Frías de la Parra.

It's been 50 years since José Feliciano came up with the seasonal earworm "Feliz Navidad." The song is just two phrases of holiday cheer, in Spanish and in English, repeated over and over for three minutes.

When she moved to the U.S. from Argentina in 1967, Elsa Calandrelli gave herself a stage name in Quechua, the indigenous language of the Andes: Suni Paz, which means "lasting peace." That's because, she says, lasting peace is what she wants for the world. The 85-year-old singer and songwriter has dedicated herself to singing for and about indigenous and working-class people, and children of all backgrounds.

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In the category of "Beloved Trivia Game Show Hosts," there is one very clear answer: Who is Alex Trebek? For 36 years, Trebek quizzed Jeopardy! contestants on history, geography, hip-hop lyrics, "Potent Potables" and "Potpourri."

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In a new documentary, Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator of "Hamilton," pays tribute to his father, Luis Miranda, who's a well-connected political consultant in New York City. It airs on HBO tonight. NPR's Mandalit del Barco talked to both Mirandas at Sundance, where the movie premiered. And this piece is an encore.

The Ellen DeGeneres Show is facing a new round of serious allegations, this time of sexual harassment and misconduct against three of the daily talk show's executive producers, as well as other forms of workplace misconduct. The allegations come from 36 former Ellen DeGeneres employees.

On Thursday, DeGeneres sent a note to her staff in which she apologized for the show's reputed toxic workplace environment and pledged to do better.

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The coronavirus pandemic has reigned on next year's Rose Parade. It normally marks the start of the new year. Here's NPR's Mandalit del Barco with some more.

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Next year's Academy Awards ceremony will be postponed for two months as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead of February 28, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences and ABC announced the televised ceremony will be held now on April 25.

"For over a century, movies have played an important role in comforting, inspiring, and entertaining us during the darkest of times. They certainly have this year," academy President David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson said in a statement.

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Feature films will no longer be able to double dip from both the Oscars and the Emmys, says the Television Academy. In a statement, the academy said it supports a recent decision by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences board of governors. That board decided to relax its rules for the 2021 Oscars in response to movie theaters being closed during the coronavirus pandemic.

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Here in Los Angeles yesterday, fans, friends and family of the late basketball star Kobe Bryant paid their respects at the Staples Center. NPR's Mandalit del Barco was at the memorial, and she filed this report.

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I'm really happy we're finally talking about this on the program.

MANDALIT DEL BARCO, BYLINE: I know you are. I know you are (laughter).

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Nigeria has submitted its first-ever Oscar entry, but the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences says the film does not qualify for the international category. And that is sparking criticism. Here's NPR's Mandalit del Barco.

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The new movie "Dolemite Is My Name" stars Eddie Murphy as 1970s comic Rudy Ray Moore. It shows him going from doing raunchy stand-up to making his own blaxploitation film. Along the way, he gives a big break to a woman nicknamed Lady Reed.

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The new movie "Ad Astra" stars Brad Pitt as an astronaut traveling to Neptune in search of his missing father, who is played by Tommy Lee Jones.

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In 1949, Charles and Ray Eames designed and built their home on a bluff overlooking the ocean in the Pacific Palisades. Features of their house and studio are now ubiquitous, but 70 years ago, they were revolutionary.

Charles was an architect; his wife, Ray, a painter. From their Los Angeles studio, they designed molded plywood office and lounge chairs that are now considered classics. The couple devised toys and made innovative films about math and computers for clients such as IBM and Boeing.

What's a Mexican restaurant without guacamole? What's a hipster cafe without avocado toast? Some restaurateurs may be contemplating these questions this summer as the price of avocados has spiked to almost double the price a year ago.

In Los Angeles' Boyle Heights neighborhood, El Tepeyac Cafe uses loads of avocados for its delicious homemade guacamole. In fact, it goes through about 50 boxes of the fruit every week. Operations manager Bernadette Thom says the restaurant has no choice but to pay more.

For decades, animated children's stories included negative stereotypes of Indigenous people.

There was Disney's Pocahontas, which presented the daughter of a Powhatan chief in a romantic love story with Captain John Smith. Crystal Echo Hawk, CEO of the media watchdog group IllumiNative, says it was a false narrative about a girl who in reality was "taken by force and sexually assaulted."

"La Cocina" means "the kitchen" in Spanish. It's also the name of a business incubator based in San Francisco's Mission District. Since it began in 2005, it's been helping local food entrepreneurs, many of whom are low-income immigrant women, develop their small businesses.

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The Last Black Man in San Francisco is a film inspired by the real-life story of Jimmie Fails. He tries to reclaim the Victorian-style house where his family once lived, in the now-gentrified Fillmore District. Through the movie, he dreams of what it could be again.

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