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Rock & Roll Queen Tina Turner succumbs

LOS ANGELES (CNS)—The music and entertainment world is mourning the loss of dynamic singer/dancer/ actress Tina Turner, the undisputed Queen of Rock 'n Roll who died in Switzerland at age 83 following a long

"I'm so saddened by the passing of my wonderful friend Tina Turner," Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger wrote on his Twitter page. "She was truly an enormously talented performer and singer. She was inspiring, warm, funny and generous. She helped me so much when I was young and I will never forget her."

Jagger was said to have developed his energetic stage presence by watching Turner's high-octane performances.

Gloria Gaynor called Turner an "iconic legend who paved the way many women in rock music, Black and white."


Tina Turner

"She did with great dignity and success what very few would even have dared to do in her time and in that genre of music," Gaynor said.


Turner was a two-time inductee into The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, first as part of a duo with husband Ike Turner then later as a solo artist.

"Two-time inductee Tina Turner worked hard to reimagine the role of a Black woman in rock & roll --- one that was firmly placed front and center," according to a statement from The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. "During her time in the duo Ike and Tina Turner (inducted in 1991), her electric onstage presence forever raised the bar for live performance.

"Their hits 'River Deep-Mountain High' and 'Proud Mary' endure to this day. But this Queen of Rock & Roll went on to make music history again with her solo career (for which she was inducted again in 2021) and with her bravery in sharing her life story as a book, film, and Broadway musical. There was nothing her deep, robust voice couldn't do, as displayed on her solo hits like 'What's Love Got to Do with It' and 'Private Dancer.'"

Musician Bryan Adams wrote on Twitter, "I'll be forever grateful for the time we spent together on tour, in the studio and as friends. Thank you for being the inspiration to millions of people around the world for speaking your truth and giving us the gift of your voice."

Singer Ciara wrote, "Heaven has gained an angel. Rest in Paradise, Tina Turner. Thank you for the inspiration you gave us all."

Laker legend Magic Johnson posted a photo with Turner on his Twitter page, noting that she gave "one of the best live shows I've ever seen."

"Tina [had] so much energy during her performances and was a true entertainer," Johnson said. "She created the blueprint for other great entertainers like Janet Jackson and Beyoncé, and her legacy will continue on through all high-energy performing artists. Cookie and I are praying for her husband, friends and family."

Flowers will be placed on Turner's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She received the star in front of the Capitol Records building in 1986.

In addition to her singing career, Turner occasionally showed up on the big screen, most notably portraying The Acid Queen in the 1975 film version of The Who's rock musical "Tommy." She also appeared in the Beatles musical "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band," played a mayor in the Arnold Schwarzenegger film "Last Action Hero," and portrayed the leader of a post-apocalyptic wasteland city in "Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome."

"The world lost a legend [...]," the SAG-AFTRA union said in a statement, noting that Turner was a member of the union since 1961. "Tina Turner was a genre-defying powerhouse singer, dancer, actress and author who
rightfully earned the title of rock 'n roll queen. She broke down barriers for generations of artists to come."


President Barack Obama presented Sidney Poitier with the 'medal of Freedom in 2009.  Courtesy The White House

Iconic film star Sidney Poitier dies 

LOS ANGELES (CNS)—Tributes from Hollywood and around the world poured in today in honor of legendary actor Sidney Poitier, who broke color barriers when he became the first Black performer to win an Oscar for a leading role and paved the way for generations of Black actors who followed.

Poitier, 94, died Jan. 7, according to the Bahamian Minister of Foreign Affairs. A cause of death was not revealed.

Born in Miami but raised in the Bahamas, Poitier won the best actor Academy Award for his work in "Lilies of the Field" in 1963, and he went on to become a major box office draw, a notion that was unheard of for a Black performer in the 1960s.

He cemented his legendary status with a trio of iconic 1967 roles: as Mark Thackeray in "To Sir With Love," Detective Virgil Tibbs in "In the Heat of the Night" and as John Prentice—fiance to a white woman—in "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner."

His films and roles directly attacked racial divides, and his emergence as a Hollywood star served as a beacon for Black performers that they could do more than portray servants, maids or musicians on screen.

In a statement, President Joe Biden said Poitier's performances "held a mirror up to America's racial attitudes in the 1950s and 1960s. With unflinching grandeur and poise—his singular warmth, depth and stature on screen—Sidney helped open the hearts of millions and changed the way America saw itself.

"The son of tomato farmers in the Bahamas, Sidney became the first Black man to win the Academy Award for best actor—but the trail he blazed extended leaps and bounds beyond his background or profession. He blazed a path for our nation to follow, and a legacy that touches every part of our society today," Biden said.

Poitier's film resume included "The Defiant Ones," "Porgy and Bess," "A Raisin in the Sun," "The Greatest Story Ever Told," "A Patch of Blue," "Uptown Saturday Night," "Buck and the Preacher," "Sneakers" and "A Piece of the Action."

He directed nine films, beginning with "Buck and the Preachers" and including "Uptown Saturday Night" and the Richard Pryor-Gene Wilder comedy "Stir Crazy."

Poitier also received acclaim on the small screen, portraying Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall in the miniseries "Separate But Equal," and Nelson Mandela in the TV film "Mandela and de Klerk."

Although he broke the Academy Awards color barrier in the early 1960s, it was decades later until any other Black performers received such honors. It wasn't until 2002—the year Poitier received an honorary Oscar—that the Academy Awards made history by giving its top acting awards to two Black performers, Denzel Washington for "Training Day" and Halle Berry for "Monster's Ball." It was Washington who presented Poitier with the honorary Oscar earlier in the telecast.

Poitier was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009 by President Barack Obama.

"Through his groundbreaking roles and singular talent, Sidney Poitier epitomized dignity and grace, revealing the power of movies to bring us closer together," Obama said in a statement Friday. "He also opened doors for a generation of actors. Michelle and I send our love to his family and legion of fans."

From 1997 to 2007, Poitier, who has dual citizenship in the US and the Bahamas, served as the Bahamian ambassador to Japan.

"For me, the greatest of the 'Great Trees' has fallen: Sidney Poitier," Oprah Winfrey said in a statement. "My honor to have loved him as a mentor. Friend. Brother. Confidant. Wisdom teacher. The utmost, highest regard and praise for his most magnificent, gracious, eloquent life. I treasured him. I adored him. He had an enormous soul I will forever cherish. Blessings to Joanna and his world of beautiful daughters."

Oscar winner Marlee Matlin said, "So sad to read of the passing of Sidney Poitier. Thank you for gracing us with your brilliance."

Ex-Walt Disney Co. CEO Robert Iger also hailed him, writing on Twitter, "Former Disney board member Sidney Poitier was the most dignified man I've ever met. Towering, gentle, passionate, bold, kind, altogether special."

Whoopi Goldberg added, "If you wanted the sky I would write across the sky in letters that would soar a thousand feet high. To Sir, with Love. Sir Sidney Poitier RIP. He showed us how to reach for the stars."

Laker legend Magic Johnson also lamented the loss of his friend.

"Sidney was incredibly talented, professional and so distinguished," Johnson wrote. "I still watch his movies today like 'To Sir, With Love,' 'Guess Who's Coming to Dinner,' 'They Call Me Mr. Tibbs' and one of my favorites, 'In the Heat of the Night.' A great friend, I learned a lot from watching Sidney and how he carried himself with such grace and class. May he rest in peace."

Actor/director Ron Howard called Poitier "one of cinema's greatest leading men ever."

"Riveting to watch," he wrote. "Also an excellent director and from the couple of times I had the honor of meeting him, an extraordinarily intelligent and gracious man. Watch a Poitier movie or two this week."

Turner Classic Movies host Ben Mankiewicz noted that Poitier "bore a responsibility no other actor of his era had to carry."

"He didn't choose to represent all Black men, but as the sole Black leading man in a business uncomfortable with more than one, such was his lot. Still, he delivered nuance, charm and honesty to each role," Mankiewicz tweeted.

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