A convicted murderer learns his fate, an iconic sitcom star is dead, there’s a changing of the guard at “American Idol” and a weight-loss media darling is facing a lawsuit. Here’s a quick look at some of the stories trending in the entertainment industry this week:
It’s official: William Balfour — the man found guilty in May of the 2008 shooting deaths of Jennifer Hudson’s mother, brother and nephew — will be in prison for the rest of his life.
The Oscar-winning actress/singer was present in the Illinois courtroom to hear Cook County Circuit Judge Charles Burns sentence Balfour to three consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole for the slayings, plus 120 years for the felonies of home invasion and aggravated kidnapping, according to AP reports. Burns also said Balfour’s soul was “as barren as a dark space.”
Balfour was convicted of killing Hudson’s mother, 57-year-old Darnell Donerson, and brother, 29-year-old Jason Hudson, in the family home on Chicago’s South Side. He then kidnapped and killed her nephew, 7-year-old Julian King. Balfour’s request for a new trial was denied.
Balfour was the estranged husband of Hudson’s sister, Julia, when the crimes occurred. The shootings allegedly took place after he became enraged that Julia had begun seeing someone new.
Sherman Hemsley, the smart-talking, sideways-walking actor who starred in “The Jeffersons” for nearly a decade, has died. He was 74.
CBS News confirmed that Hemsley was found dead in his home in El Paso, Texas. Sources told TMZ that Hemsley’s nurse thought he was sleeping at first, then called for help after she realized that wasn’t the case.
Hemsley originally played the character of George Jefferson on another comedy, “All in the Family.” “The Jeffersons” spin-off became a big hit, with Hemsley even getting an Emmy nomination for lead actor in a comedy series in 1984.
He was seen on other television sitcoms and starred in the NBC show, “Amen.” Music fans may recall his 1989 single, “Ain’t that a Kick in the Head” and his 1992 R&B album, “Dance.”
The cause of death was not immediately known. Hemsley wasn’t married and had no children.
Goodbye J-Lo, hello Mariah Carey!
Carey has inked a deal to serve as a judge on “American Idol” next season, replacing Jennifer Lopez.
Carey is the latest in a line of celebrity “Idol” judges, and if the rumors of an $18 million paycheck for one season are true she’ll be the highest-paid judge in reality TV, according to People magazine.
“It’s gonna be so much fun working on @AmericanIdol,” Carey Tweeted on Monday. “As a singer-songwriter, I’m excited to help find and nurture new talent.”
It looks like Kirstie Alley’s weight-loss methods are being called into question. Alley is singing the praises of her Organic Liaison weight-loss program, saying on the company’s website that it’s the reason she has lost 100 pounds.
One unhappy dieter is singing a different tune, however, claiming that the program doesn’t work and that the former “Cheers” star’s new figure is due in part to an “extremely low-calorie diet” and her stint on “Dancing With the Stars” early last year, The Wrap reports.
Los Angeles resident Marina Abramyan filed suit in Los Angeles Superior Court after the Organics Liaison company denied her allegations and refused to change their advertising practices.
Neither Alley nor Organics Liaison has commented on the suit so far.
Jennifer Hudson Family Killer Sentenced, Mariah Carey Inks American Idol, Katherine Jackson Is Safe
Newswrap, July 24 – Mariah Carey inks $17 million deal to judge American Idol, Jennifer Hudson gets justice in sentencing of man who killed mom and relatives, Katharine Jackson, the mom of Michael Jackson, is safe in Arizona after fleeing a tumultous scene at her home in California.