People: Morgan’s condition upgraded to fair
Actor and comedian Tracy Morgan has been upgraded to fair condition following the New Jersey highway crash that badly injured him and killed one of his friends, his spokesman said Monday.
“His personality is certainly starting to come back as well,” spokesman Lewis Kay said.
The 45-year-old former “Saturday Night Live” and “30 Rock” star suffered broken ribs and a broken leg in the June 7 crash on the New Jersey Turnpike. The crash killed fellow comedian James McNair and seriously injured two other people.
Prosecutors say Wal-Mart driver Kevin Roper’s truck hit Morgan’s limo. The Jonesboro, Georgia, resident has pleaded not guilty to death by auto and assault by auto charges.
A criminal complaint alleges Roper hadn’t slept for more than 24 hours before the accident when he swerved to avoid slowed traffic on the turnpike and plowed into Morgan’s limo.
Franco will direct off-Broadway play
James Franco is adding another notch to his expansive resume: stage director.
Rattlestick Playwrights Theater said Monday that Franco will direct the world premiere of Robert Boswell’s play “The Long Shrift” from July 7-Aug. 23. The off-Broadway job will coincide with Franco’s current one on Broadway as an actor in “Of Mice and Men.”
Franco has seemingly been dipping his toe into every element of show business, from acting in TV and films like “Pineapple Express” and “Spider-Man” to screenwriting and producing, or writing a novel and being an artist.
Zendaya will portray R&B sensation
Recording artist Zendaya will portray Aaliyah in a Lifetime film about the R&B sensation who died in a plane crash at the height of her stardom.
The biopic will be filmed this summer and is scheduled to air this fall, the network announced Monday.
It will trace a career that began with Aaliyah’s debut on “Star Search” at age 10. In August 2001 her life was cut short when her plane crashed after takeoff from a Bahamian runway. She was just 22.
Zendaya will record four of Aaliyah’s songs for the film.
She recently released her debut album and its first single, “Replay,” has sold 1.1 million copies. She starred on the Disney Channel series “Shake It Up!” and was a runner-up on ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars.”
The birthday bunch
Actor Peter Lupus is 82. Singer Barry Manilow is 71. Comedian Joe Piscopo is 63. Actor Thomas Haden Church is 53. Actor Greg Kinnear is 51. Actor Jason Patric is 48. Actor-comedian Will Forte is 44. Tennis player Venus Williams is 34.