Herb Stempel, the federal whistleblower who exposed how the NBC game show “Twenty-One” was manipulated for ratings, died last month at the age of 93. His death was confirmed this weekend by Stempel’s stepdaughter to The New York Times.Stempel’s story was told in the Robert Redford film “Quiz Show,” which starred John Turturro as Stempel and earned five Oscar nominations, including Best Picture. Stempel, an Army veteran attending school on the G.I. Bill, applied to be on “Twenty-One” and was handpicked by producer Dan Enright to be the star of the show, portrayed as an American underdog making thousands for his family.Stempel was given the answers to questions in advance, winning thousands during his run on the show.Also Read: Anthony James, 'In the Heat of the Night' and 'Unforgiven' Actor, Dies at 77But as ratings began to level off, Enright turned his attention to Columbia professor Charles Van Doren, seeing him as a new star to keep viewers interested. Herb Stempel was convinced to intentionally miss the final question and allow Van Doren to win after Enright promised that he would find him a slot on a panel show. Not only was that promised never honored, but Stempel said he felt personally humiliated when the question he was forced to throw was to identify the winner of the 1955 Best Picture Oscar.“I knew that the answer was ‘Marty,’ but Dan Enright specifically wanted me to miss that question. This hurt me very deeply because this was one of my favorite pictures of all times and I could never forget this,” Stempel said in a 1992 interview with PBS’ “American Experience.” “A few seconds before that, as I was trying to come up with the answer, I could have changed my mind. I could have said, ‘The answer is “Marty.” instead of “On the Waterfront.” I would have won. There would have been no Charles Van Doren, no famous celebrity. Charles Van Doren would have gone back to teaching college and my whole life would have been changed.”Also Read: Richard Herd, 'Seinfeld' Actor, Dies at 87After attempting to expose “Twenty-One” through the press, Herb Stempel went to the authorities. “Twenty-One” became the basis of a New York State investigation that questioned the show’s producers, including Enright, who denied Stempel’s claims and dismissed him as jealous of Van Doren’s success. When the grand jury’s findings were sealed by a judge’s order, the investigation escalated to the federal level.In February 1957, Stempel testified before Congress about his offer to throw the game to Van Doren, but it wasn’t until another contestant came forward with notes he took of questions provided to him by producers that Van Doren and the “Twenty-One” producers finally confessed. The scandal resulted in changes to the Federal Communications Act outlawing rigging of game shows.Herb Stempel would not discuss “Twenty-One” for another 35 years, until he was approached by PBS for an interview on “American Experience.” While Stempel said he didn’t like his portrayal by Turturro on “Quiz Show,” he made multiple media and public appearances following the show’s release, including an appearance on “Late Night With Conan O’Brien” in the very same NBC studio where “Twenty-One” was recorded.Read original story Herb Stempel, Whistleblower Who Inspired Robert Redford Film ‘Quiz Show,’ Dies at 93 At TheWrap
Rick Moranis is bringing a 20-year acting hiatus to an end with the 'Honey, I Shrunk The Kids' reboot. But these actors have managed to stay away, for now at least.
Since Natalie Wood’s untimely death in 1981, theories have swirled around what happened and if anyone could’ve been responsible for her drowning. Now, her daughter, Natasha Gregson Wagner, decided to take control of the narrative around her mother’s death in Laurent Bouzereau’s new documentary, “Natalie Wood: What Remains Behind.”“In 2012, I became a mom, so it started to become very important to me that I take a little bit of a hold of the narrative and diffuse some of the noise and shine a light on all of the amazing qualities about my mom that not everybody knows,” Wagner told TheWrap’s Beatrice Verhoeven at the Sundance Film Festival, where the film premiered.Bouzereau says he was approached by Wagner to do a documentary about her mother, and he was astounded at how much material there was to work with.Also Read: Natalie Wood's Yacht Captain Believes Robert Wagner Murdered Actress“I started looking into the story and there was so much I didn’t know,” Bouzereau said. “So I went on a journey of discovering and really putting myself in that world and discovering not only a story about Hollywood but a story of a family and I felt that I could relate to it. And I hope viewers out there, even those who may not know who Natalie Wood was, will relate because it is a story of a tragedy but it’s a story of a life well-lived as well as a story of an incredible mom, of a woman who was extremely before her time, extremely powerful. She had the power to say to the studios, ‘I want Robert Redford in my movie, ‘Inside Daisy Clover.’ He had not had a career on the big screen yet.”Wagner is the daughter of Richard Gregson and Wood, but after the couple divorced, her mother remarried Robert Wagner in 1972. Wood was married to Wagner from 1972 until her death on Nov. 29, 1981, off Catalina Island in California. The then 43-year-old actress was sailing with Wagner, as well as Christopher Walken and Captain Dennis Davern, but was found floating in the water wearing a red down jacket and a flannel nightgown.Also Read: Robert Wagner Called 'Person of Interest' in Natalie Wood's 1981 Death by InvestigatorAfter a two-week investigation, the death was ruled as an accident, but the case was reopened in 2011. In 2012, the Los Angeles Coroner’s Office amended the death certificate, changing the cause of death to “drowning and other undetermined factors.” The autopsy report indicates that there were several fresh bruises on Wood’s body when she was found. Last February, Wagner was named a person of interest in the case. In 2011, he was named “not a suspect” by the sheriff’s department. Investigators said Wagner has refused to speak with them since the case was reopened. There has long been speculation about the death of the “West Side Story” star — at first, Wagner, Walken and Davern told detectives that she took a dinghy and went to shore. Over time, investigators say, Wagner and Davern’s accounts shifted.Watch the video above.Read original story Why Natalie Wood’s Daughter Decided to Take ‘Hold of the Narrative’ About Her Mother’s Death in New Sundance Doc (Video) At TheWrap
In a new op-ed for NBC News published Tuesday, Robert Redford called President Donald Trump’s administration a “monarchy in disguise.”The actor/director used words like “crisis” and descriptors like “dictator-like” to describe Trump’s “attack” on “everything this country stands for” in the piece for NBC’s “Think.”Redford wrote, “it’s time for Trump to go — along with those in Congress who have chosen party loyalty over their oath to ‘solemnly affirm’ their support for the Constitution of the United States.”Also Read: 'Morning Joe': GOP Support of Ukraine Conspiracy Theory Is Like 'Living in an Alternate Universe'His criticism of Trump-aligned Republicans is a sentiment often shared on NBC’s sister network MSNBC, where morning hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski regularly examine — and castigate — GOP officials who defend or otherwise fall in line with Trump.Redford’s assertion “it’s time for Trump to go” is also in line with findings from Fox News, whose polling department found earlier this month that 49% of Americans support the impeachment and removal of Trump. (That, of course, has earned Fox News considerable ire from the president.)Also Read: Fox News Continues to Stand by Polling Unit as Trump Again Takes Aim at 'Lousy' Poll Showing More Americans Favor ImpeachmentRedford added that when Trump was elected, he “honestly thought it only fair to give the guy a chance,” but soon the president began to “disappoint” and “alarm” him. Notably, he uses the op-ed to call for Trump to be ousted the same way he was brought in: Through defeat in the next election, not necessarily through impeachment.Democrats were not overlooked in the op-ed. “Instead of the United States of America, we are now defined as the Divided States of America,” Redford wrote. Leaders on both sides lack the fundamental courage to cross political aisles on behalf of what is good for the American people.”Redford ended the piece with a call to action: “Let’s rededicate ourselves to voting for truth, character and integrity in our representatives (no matter which side we’re on). Let’s go back to being the leader the world so desperately needs. Let’s return, quickly, to being simply … Americans.”A representative for the White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.Read original story Robert Redford Calls Trump Presidency ‘Monarchy in Disguise’ At TheWrap
Sterling Van Wagenen, who co-founded the Sundance Film Festival with Robert Redford, has been sentenced after pleading guilty to sexually abusing a child.
A remake of 90s sex drama Indecent Proposal is on the way, and being penned by the screenwriter of Emily Blunt thriller The Girl of the Train.
Robert Redford and Paul Newman are considered one of our all-time great screen pairings after buddying up for two movie classics, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) and The Sting (1973). Redford says that Newman, who passed away in 2008, almost costarred in Redford’s new film A Walk in the Woods. The movie — which is in theaters now and is based on the 1998 book of the same name by Bill Bryson — stars Redford as Bryson and Nick Nolte as his pal Katz as the out-of-shape duo attempt to hike the Appalachian Trail.
The 79-year-old known for his All-American good looks, everyman appeal, and smart, authoritative characters has been a constant force in American film from the ‘70s (The Sting, All the President’s Men) to the '80s (The Natural, Out of Africa) up through the '90s (Sneakers, Indecent Proposal) and beyond, even as he’s gotten choosier with roles and devotes much of his time overseeing the world’s preeminent showcase for independent cinema, the Sundance Film Festival. In our latest episode of Role Recall, which you can watch above, Redford reminisces about five of his most memorable parts, including how traded places with Butch Cassidy co-star Paul Newman, hid a skiing injury on the set of The Sting, and risked infuriating fans of the novel The Natural for the sake of a happy ending. It’s hard to imagine, given how similar their screen legacies feel now, but Paul Newman was a much bigger star than Redford when the pair teamed up for this Oscar-winning Western, having starred in classics like Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, The Hustler, and Cool Hand Luke.