September 14, 2012 in Nation/World

Liberty Medal given to Muhammad Ali

From Wire Reports
Associated Press photo

Retired boxing champion Muhammad Ali receives the Liberty Medal from Laila Ali during a ceremony at the National Constitution Center.
(Full-size photo)

Boxing great Muhammad Ali was honored Thursday with the Liberty Medal for his longtime role outside the ring as a fighter for humanitarian causes, civil rights and religious freedom. Hundreds of people gathered in Philadelphia to watch the three-time heavyweight title holder receive an honor that his wife, Lonnie Ali, called “overwhelming.”

“It is especially humbling for Muhammad, who has said on many occasions, ‘All I did was to stand up for what I believe,’ ” Lonnie Ali said.

The 70-year-old retired champ, hobbled by a 30-year battle with Parkinson’s disease, did not speak. He stood with assistance to receive the medal from his daughter Laila Ali. He looked down at his medal for several moments and then waved to the crowd.

Jay Pharoah to play Obama on ‘SNL’

“Saturday Night Live” has elected a new Barack Obama: Jay Pharoah will take over the plum role of impersonating the president. “SNL” creator and executive producer Lorne Michaels announced the casting switch in an interview with the New York Times.

Veteran cast member Fred Armisen has played Obama since 2008. Pharoah joined the show in 2010, and has since stood out for his impressions of Denzel Washington, Eddie Murphy and Will Smith.

Michaels also said that Jason Sudeikis will remain with the show at least until January. He will continue to play Obama’s Republican opponent, Mitt Romney.

Ex-Grateful Dead drummer wanted

Police in Kentucky have a warrant for the arrest of former Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart stemming from an alleged assault after a recent show.

Harrodsburg Police Lt. Chad Powell said Thursday that the warrant stems from an incident Saturday after a performance by the Mickey Hart Band in Harrodsburg.

In an email from his publicist, Hart said he is “totally baffled” by the assault claim and added that it is completely false and without any basis.

Actor Walter Koenig is 76. Actor Sam Neill is 65. Actress Mary Crosby is 53. Actress Melissa Leo is 52. Actor-writer-director-producer Tyler Perry is 43.

Thoughts and opinions on this story? Click here to comment >>

Get stories like this in a free daily email