- - Monday, July 16, 2012

Sylvester Stallone said Monday there was “no greater pain” than losing a child, begging for respect for his eldest son, Sage, who died last week.

He also called for an end to “speculation and questionable reporting” about the 36-year-old’s death, as it emerged that the young actor was actively planning his own wedding, in Las Vegas.

“When a parent loses a child, there is no greater pain. Therefore, I am imploring people to respect my talented son’s memory and feel compassion for his loving mother, Sasha,” he told celebrity news website TMZ.

“This agonizing loss will be felt for the rest of our lives,” he said, adding, “Sage was our first child and the center of our universe and I am humbly begging for all to have my son’s memory in full left in peace.”

Sage Moonblood Stallone was found dead at his Hollywood home Friday. An autopsy was carried out on Sunday, but the Los Angeles County coroner’s office said toxicology reports would take some 10 weeks.

Some prescription pill bottles were taken from the apartment, but authorities have said little about the cause of the death. There was no sign of foul play or trauma, or a suicide note, said Ed Winter of the coroner’s office.

His father was in San Diego at the annual Comic-Con festival to promote his latest movie, “The Expendables 2,” when he was told about his son’s death.

Sage Stallone’s attorney, George G. Braunstein, said he had never seen Mr. Stallone take drugs or drink alcohol.

“Never, no, not from the day I met him,” Mr. Braunstein said. “I never knew him to drink alcohol. I never saw him take drugs. I never knew of anything like that at all,” he told E! News.

“The last conversation I had with him, he was telling me about, he was getting married, and he was planning a kind of an exciting costume wedding in Las Vegas.”

The young actor appeared in the 1990 film “Rocky V” as Rocky Balboa Jr., the son of his father’s title character. The pair also appeared together in the 1996 movie “Daylight.”

He is credited with 13 big-screen roles as an actor, while he was a producer on three films, including the 2006 short “Vic,” which he also wrote and directed.

Mr. Braunstein said the family was “devastated” and is waiting to hear the cause of death, as the funeral is planned.

“I’m going to wait to see what the coroner says. I think it was either natural causes or a terrible accident. I don’t think it had anything to do with drugs, he wasn’t that kind of guy,” he said.

“He wasn’t anyone trying to take his life.”

Madonna may face lawsuit over swastika at concert

France’s far-right National Front said Sunday that it plans to sue Madonna after the singer showed a video at a Paris concert that contained an image of the party’s leader with a swastika on her forehead.

The video has been shown at other concerts on the singer’s tour, and the party has expressed its outrage before, warning that it would take action if the video was shown in France. On Saturday night, Madonna played it at the Stade de France.

National Front spokesman Alain Vizier said Sunday that the party would file a complaint in French court next week for “insults.”

Party leader Marine Le Pen is briefly pictured in the video during a montage in which famous faces — or parts of faces — morph one into the next. Soon after Ms. Le Pen’s face flashes up, Madonna’s face follows with Hitler’s mustache.

Ms. Le Pen, who inherited control of the party from her father, Jean-Marie, has tried to shed the National Front’s image as racist and anti-Semitic, especially during her recent failed bid for president. But she has maintained a hard line on immigrants, saying France has too many and criticizing many Muslims, in particular, for insufficiently assimilating into French culture.

Meanwhile, anti-racism group SOS Racisme expressed its support for Madonna on Sunday, commending her for her “resolutely anti-racist and feminist discourse.”

‘Oklahoma!’ actress Holm dies in New York at age 95

Celeste Holm, a versatile, bright-eyed blonde who soared to Broadway fame in “Oklahoma!” and won an Oscar in “Gentleman’s Agreement” but whose last years were filled with financial difficulty and estrangement from her sons, died Sunday, a relative said. She was 95.

Miss Holm had been hospitalized about two weeks ago with dehydration. She asked her husband Friday to bring her home and spent her final days with her spouse, Frank Basile, and other relatives and close friends by her side, said Amy Phillips, a great-niece of Miss Holm’s who answered the phone at the actress’ apartment Sunday.

Miss Holm died around 3:30 a.m. at her longtime apartment on Central Park West, located in the same building where Robert De Niro lives and where a fire broke out last month, Ms. Phillips said.

“I think she wanted to be here, in her home, among her things, with people who loved her,” she said.

In a career that spanned more than half a century, Miss Holm played everyone from Ado Annie — the girl who just can’t say no in “Oklahoma!” — to a worldly theatrical agent in the 1991 comedy “I Hate Hamlet” to guest-star turns on TV shows such as “Fantasy Island” and “Love Boat II” to Bette Davis’ best friend in “All About Eve.”

She won the Academy Award in 1947 for best supporting actress for her performance in “Gentlemen’s Agreement” and received Oscar nominations for “Come to the Stable” (1949) and “All About Eve” (1950).

Miss Holm was also known for her untiring charity work — at one time she served on nine boards — and was a board member emeritus of the National Mental Health Association.

‘Encyclopedia Brown’ author dies at age 87

Donald J. Sobol, author of the popular “Encyclopedia Brown” series of children’s mysteries, has died. He was 87.

Mr. Sobol died in Miami from natural causes Wednesday, with his wife Rose by his side, his son John Sobol told the Associated Press on Monday.

Mr. Sobol’s series featured amateur sleuth Leroy “Encyclopedia” Brown, who would unravel local mysteries with the help of his encyclopedic knowledge of facts great and small. The books, first published in the early 1960s, became staples in classrooms and libraries nationwide. They were translated into 12 languages and sold millions of copies worldwide.

“Thanks to Donald, generations of children have learned to read and solve mysteries alongside Encyclopedia Brown, one of the most iconic characters in children’s literature,” said Don Weisberg, president of Penguin Young Readers Group, which publishes Mr. Sobol’s books.

Next year marks the 50th anniversary of the Encyclopedia Brown series. Mr. Sobol’s latest Encyclopedia Brown adventure, “Encyclopedia Brown and the Case of the Soccer Scheme,” will be published in October, according to a release from Penguin.

The Encyclopedia Brown concept — in which the solutions to the mysteries are shown after the story — came to Mr. Sobol while he was doing research at the New York Public Library, and a clerk mistakenly handed him a game book, with puzzles on one side and the solutions on the other.

Mr. Sobol decided to write a mystery series with the same premise. He earned an Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America award for the Encyclopedia Brown series.

Compiled frpm Web and wire reports

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