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    24 live another day poster

    Kiefer Sutherland reprises his role as Jack Bauer on Fox next week in the "24: Live Another Day" miniseries.

    This time around, Jack will only have 12 episodes (instead of the standard 24) to prevent an attack from taking place in London.

    But before we start the clock, let's catch up with what led Jack and the rest of "24" to live another day.

    Warning: There are spoilers ahead. 

    The original concept of "24" was that each episode represented an hour of a day in real time. This would include multiple storylines taking place at once, along with a ticking clock.

    The day revolved around Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland).

    He's the best agent of CTU (Counter Terrorist Unit) — a government organization in charge of protecting the country from terrorist attacks.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Epic Records just released the first single from Michael Jackson's next album.

    "Love Never Felt So Good" was recorded 31 years by Jackson in 1983. The single will be featured on "Xscape," Jackson's second posthumous album since the singer passed in 2009. 

    The album will contain eight unreleased track and will be released May 13.

    Usher debuted the song, performing it at the premiere iHeartRadio Music Awards in Los Angeles.

    Listen to it below:

    SEE ALSO: New Michael Jackson album being released in May

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    The first official trailer for the next "Call of Duty" game is here and it stars an animated Kevin Spacey.

    If we didn't know any better, we'd say Spacey is reprising his "House of Cards" role in the new ad.

    Yesterday, Activision announced there would be a big trailer reveal for "Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare" on Sunday. A new site revealed a blurry image with a countdown clock.

    After it leaked Thursday evening, the trailer was released soon afterward.

    The game will be released November 4.

    The animated Spacey is incredibly spot-on.kevin spacey call of dutykevin spacey house of cards

    SEE ALSO: Microsoft just solved one of the biggest mysteries in video game history

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    Nielsen posted a handy infographic Wednesday detailing how long it would take to binge-watch a lot of popular TV shows. 

    It's worth checking out if you are thinking about binge-watching a new show and want to figure out how much time you'll have to invest. 

    With more than 190 episodes, "24" is the longest show on the list. You would have to watch more than six days without stopping in order to catch up on the entire eight-season series.

    "Breaking Bad," on the other hand, would take less than two days to watch in full.

    Missing from the list is "The Simpsons," which at 25 seasons, would take approximately 9 days and 14 hours to watch. It would take roughly 5 days, 5 hours, and 30 minutes to watch "M*A*S*H."

    nielesen binge shows

    SEE ALSO: This website calculates how much time you've wasted watching TV

    AND: What's Netflix is streaming in May

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    Dodge Challenger 2014

    Based on the images streaming out of Dubai, the cast and crew of "Fast and Furious 7" seems to have truly enjoyed their time filming in the bustling Arab emirate.

    To show their appreciation, star Vin Diesel gifted Dubai princess Her Highness Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum with one of the black Dodge Challengers that have become synonymous with his "Dominic Toretto" character, according to Arabian Business 

    The princess posted a photo of the car on Instagram. Diesel also included a signed CD, a postcard, and a handwritten note that read, "To my extended family in Dubai, thank you for the love...your friend always."

    The princess expressed her gratitude for the gift by posting, "Thank you @vindiesel for this wonderful gift, it was a great pleasure meeting you and your family."

    Based on the photo posted, the seemingly stock Challenger features red interior and exterior accents over a black base. The exact technical specifications of the gifted car have not been revealed, however, stock Challengers come available with a 5.7 litre Hemi V-8 pushing out 375 low-revving horsepower; making it the perfect stop light drag racer. 

    Here's a closer look at the Dodge Challenger:

    Dodge Challenger

    Dodge Challenger

    Dodge Challenger

    SEE ALSO: This Insane 'Dragon Bike' Was Made For A Chinese Client Using 3D Printing

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    ron howard mansion 4x3

    Oscar-winning producer, actor, and director Ron Howard and his wife Cheryl have just listed their gorgeous mansion in Greenwich, Connecticut for $27.5 million.

    Representing country living at its finest, the private lakefront estate has more than 32 acres of property, including a lake, nature trails, and even a stargazing observatory with a professional-grade Meade telescope.

    The main home is a New England estate with six bedrooms, a two-story library, a 14-seat movie theatre, indoor saltwater pool, gym, and yoga studio. There’s also a 2,500-square foot guest house with two bedrooms, an indoor regulation size tennis court, and basketball half court.

    The estate is located in the exclusive enclave of Conyers Farm, which straddles Greenwich and the hamlet of Armonk in Westchester, N.Y.

    “We moved 3,000 miles away from the hub of Los Angeles, to raise our family here,” Ron Howard said about the property, according to Sotheby's International Realty. “Whether we’re watching films in our theatre, walking the trails throughout our property, star gazing in our observatory, or just relaxing with friends and loved ones by the lake, Cheryl and I feel we’ve accomplished the goals we set when we began work on this place.”

    The Howards have owned the estate for 20 years, but have decided to move to a different home now that their children are adults.

    Howard is an acclaimed actor, director, and producer, famous for winning an Academy Award for Best Director and Best Picture for "A Beautiful Mind," and playing Opie on "The Andy Griffith Show" and Richie Cunningham in "Happy Days."   

    Sotheby’s International Realty and Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Connecticut and Westchester are both co-brokering the home.

    Welcome to Ron Howard's lakefront Connecticut home, which is located in the enclave of Conyers Farm.

    Source: Sotheby's International Realty

    It sits on over 32 acres of land with a lake, nature trails, and extensive gardens.

    Source: Sotheby's International Realty

    The main home has 17,200 square feet of space with lakefront views.

    Source: Sotheby's International Realty

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    amazing spiderman 2 Warning: There are massive spoilers ahead.

    "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" is out in theaters this weekend, and many people will be upset with the end of the film.

    If you've seen every trailer for the movie, there aren't many surprises at all until maybe one of the final scenes.

    Even then, you're probably able to guess what happens. There's been a lot of fan speculation about a major character death occurring in the film.

    Last chance to head back before spoilers.

    emma stone gwen stacy amazing spider manWell, they did it.

    Much like the popular comic, the sequel kills off Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) in a final climatic battle.  

    The punches kind of never stop coming so when this occurs you may be in action overload and not even fully grasp the full effect of what just happened. 

    It's a moment that makes your stomach lurch and your heart jump into your chest. It's also a moment that will be difficult for parents to explain to children. 

    Comic book fans have predicted this was coming. Sony put out a trailer showing Stone wearing the iconic outfit Stacy wears in the comic when she’s killed inadvertently by the Green Goblin and Spider-Man.  

    We've discussed at length whether or not director Marc Webb would actually follow through with the iconic comic sequence.

    gwen stacy the amazing spider man 2

    The sequel doesn’t make it look like Spider-Man necessarily kills Gwen by snapping her back or neck. Instead, it looks like she may have also received a fatal blow to the head from a clock gear.

    The scene is hinted at from early on in the film. As Stacy delivers an ominous Valedictorian speech at her high school graduation essentially embracing and welcoming death, you know there’s no way she’s making it out of this film alive.  

    Gwen Stacy graduation, amazing spiderman 2

    "I know that we all think we're immortal, we're supposed to feel that way, we're graduating. The future is and should be bright, but, like our brief four years in high school, what makes life valuable is that it doesn't last forever, what makes it precious is that it ends. I know that now more than ever. And I say it today of all days to remind us that time is luck. So don't waste it living someone else's life, make yours count for something. Fight for what matters to you, no matter what. Because even if you fall short, what better way is there to live?"

    Despite the hints of Stacy’s impending doom, it seems like Sony is pulling the trigger on this one too early. We knew it would happen eventually to make room for Spidey’s other love interest Mary Jane Watson, but the studio’s missing out on a huge opportunity by letting Stone go now. 

    andrew garfield emma stone amazing spider-man 2Not only is the chemistry between real-life couple Stone and Garfield one of the best parts of the franchise, Gwen Stacy's character is one of the strongest female leads in a recent superhero movie who has resonated so well with audiences and young moviegoers.

    In many ways, she makes the movie as much as Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield).

    The New York Times' reviewer Manohla Dargis noted this, too.

    "Most women in the big comic-book movies continue to be consigned to supporting roles, and especially antediluvian ones, good for ogling and saving and not much more. Gwen is actually more interesting. That’s because, unlike some other superhero stories in which godlike heroes live and love among ordinary folk, Peter remains a strongly human presence ... This blunt, uncharacteristically violent development is true to the source material, but it’s a bummer and a blown opportunity, both narratively and in terms of how the male and female characters work."

    Clearly, audiences are extremely receptive of strong female leads girls can identify with. Look at what Jennifer Lawrence has done with “The Hunger Games” franchise that has gone on to make upwards of $1.5 billion after two movies.

    If it wasn’t for the extreme success of that, we probably wouldn’t see Shailene Woodley leading another young-adult adaptation or Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow as more than eye candy in “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.” And we know what two female lead characters did for Disney’s “Frozen.” 

    Sony had something similar to the Tony Stark/Pepper Potts' relationship in the "Iron Man" films, but on a more equal-level playing field. Gwen was basically the yin to Spidey’s yang — minus the super powers, of course.  

    peter parker gwen stacy amazing spiderman 2 andrew garfield emma stoneThere's a scene in the sequel where Spider-Man needs to solve a problem and it's because of Gwen’s smarts he's able to figure it out. 

    The sequence is reminiscent of Barbara Gordon's eventual role in the Batman comics where she serves as a tech guru coined Oracle offering assistance to the Caped Crusader.  

    Kudos to Sony for killing off a main character, something Disney and Marvel has come close to with "Captain America: The Winter Soldier," but hasn’t executed yet on screen. 

    However, after all progress made on screen with female leads this actually feel like it goes a few steps back by showing once again that female characters are expendable and weak.

    More Spider-Man: The amount of Sony product placement in "The Amazing Spider-Man" sequel is ridiculous

    SEE ALSO: Future Spider-Man villains are teased during the sequel's end-credits

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    Kentucky derby woman girl cigar

    The 140th Kentucky Derby will be run on May 3, 2014, and already two horses have scratched, leaving just 19 in the field. Currently, California Chrome is the favorite at 5-2. Pablo del Monte and Hopportunity have both been withdrawn from the race.

    The fun of the derby is that it brings out all the rank amateur bettors in the nation. I have a friend who places her bets at the last minute, after she's seen which horses have pooped before getting into the gate, for instance. Another acquaintance never bets on gray horses. "Gray don't pay!" is her motto.

    This is no way to bet on horses.

    I, however, have a horse-betting system that takes the guesswork out of it. Or at least, adds to the fun for those of who can't be bothered to read The Daily Racing Form.

    The caveat here is that I know nothing about horses. But I do know that horse racing is really boring unless you have money riding on it. So I decided to approach the Kentucky Derby as if it were a probability problem that could be solved with Excel.

    kentucky derby horse normandy invasionHere's how it works.

    There are 19 horses in the running Saturday. So at the outset, you have a 1 in 19 chance of picking the winner.

    Those are NOT good odds.

    Some horses have better chances than others at winning — some might not like longer races, for instance — and the odds adjust on each horse as more bettors place their bets.

    But the bottom line is that the derby is a crowded race, random things happen, and in theory any horse can win.

    So a sensible investor approaching the derby as if it were a portfolio with different risk levels in it might want to ask, how many horses can I bet on and still come out ahead if any one horse wins? Put another way, can I spread my bets among as many horses as possible and still come out ahead?

    The good thing about the derby is that there are a lot of horses running at very long odds. The formulas in my spreadsheet ask, for a $10 bet on each horse, how many horses can I bet on and still be able to win more than the total amount of money I've wagered?

    This year, you can bet on nine of the 19 horses at the current odds, and if any of them win you'll come out ahead. That reduces your overall odds to something slightly akin to a 50/50 coin flip. Much better than 19-1.

    Of course, your portfolio will contain NONE of the favorites. In other words, you're betting on all the horses the other bettors think will most likely lose. But you're covering as much of the field as possible. Remember, you only need ONE horse to come in good and Business Insider just paid your mint julep bill for the weekend!

    The horses you must bet on are these: Vicar’s in Trouble, Harry’s Holiday, Uncle Sigh, We Miss Artie, General a Rod, Vinceremos, Chitu, Tapiture, and Commanding Curve:

    Kentucky Derby

    A $10 bet on each one to win will cost you $90. If any of them come first you will win at least $210 and as much as $350. (I've built-in a margin to give the betting a purpose — there's no fun in betting $100 to win $110, for instance.)

    The other disclosure here is that I've used the current odds as of 6.54 p.m. on the day before the race. Odds change up to post time, so this is for fun only.

    Personally, I use the spreadsheet as an advisor, not a decider. Remember the Edwards Quant Fallacy: There's a difference between good data and applying judgment to good data. So consider picking only three or four horses, some at good odds and some at long odds. That limits your losses but makes your gains interesting. The worst thing that can happen is that you'll add some genuine excitement to a race that is, otherwise, two minutes of chaos.

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    After more than 40 years, "The Price Is Right" remains one of the most consistent institutions of American television.

    It’s the longest-running American game show in television history. At this year’s South By Southwest Interactive festival held in Austin, attendees got a chance to spin the iconic wheel, which weighs around 2,000 pounds.

    NOW WATCH: 11 Video Games From The 1980s That Are Better Than Games Today

    Follow BI Video: on Twitter

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    stan lee

    While America celebrates Free Comic Book Day (where you can get a selection of free comics at your local comic shop), we would like to bring up a grammatical quibble from legendary Marvel creator Stan Lee.

    According to Lee, the accepted spelling of "comic book" as two words is wrong. As he told AMC's Comic Book Men blog:

    People always write it as if it’s two separate words. But to me, if it’s two separate words, then it means a funny book — a comic book. If you write it as one word, which is the way I do it, then it’s a generic term meaning a comicbook! So I feel everybody ought to write comicbook as if it’s one word, because it doesn’t mean funny book.

    Lee appears to be fighting a losing battle on this one, even if his rationale makes sense.

    When it comes to the hyphen in "Spider-Man," however, the co-creator is the authority and he refuses to give an inch:

    Oh, that’s get me angry! It’s gotta have a hyphen, because that’s the way I stated it. And also, it makes it look very different from Superman, which doesn’t have a hyphen. It should be a capital “S” and a capital “M.” If I don’t see it done that way, it arouses my ire. So if you don’t want my ire to be aroused, you’d better write it correctly.

    SEE ALSO: The 9 most controversial grammatical rules

    AND: The amount of Sony product placement in "The Amazing Spider-Man" sequel is ridiculous

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    The official Twitter account of The White House tweeted this on Saturday evening, writing that it was the "Westeros Wing."

    white house game of thrones

    Yes, that's President Obama on the "iron throne" from the hit HBO show "Game of Thrones." As we know, the president is a big fan of the series. At a state dinner in February, he tried to score advance copies of that show and "True Detective" from HBO's Chief Executive Officer.

    The tweet came during the White House Correspondents' Dinner, happening Saturday evening at the Washington Hilton.

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    The Donald Sterling/Clippers scandal made for perfect fodder for this weekend's "Saturday Night Live" cold open.

    The show begins with a cameo-filled press conference. 

    "This has been a terrible time for the NBA, but frankly it's been a wonderful time for me, NBA commissioner, Adam Silver. I have gotten more high-fives from black people this week than any week in my life."Adam Silver SNL

    Next up, Donald Sterling takes the mic. "Thank you Adam Silver, who I thought was one of us. This week has been such a terrible ordeal for so many people. But let's just focus on the real victim here  me. My reputation has gotten a real black eye, which we all know is the worst kind of eye."Donald Sterling SNL

    "And through all this pain, I have decided to sell the Los Angeles Clippers for the bargain price of one billion dollars ... I hope to use every penny to repair my relationship with the black community, especially Magic Johnson, who is clearly one of the good ones."

    Sterling, played by Bobby Moynihan, continued, "I have also tried to fix the transgressions in my personal life. I have parted ways with my half-black mistress, Ms. Stiviano, and I am proud to announce that I have upped my limit a little bit and now I have a mistress who is 3/4 black."Donald Sterling SNL

    "Listen," says Sterling's new mistress, "I know you're all like, 'She don't have no dignity,' but you know what I do have? A new Lexus convertible."

    Sterling then continues, "Despite what you heard, I still have plenty of NBA players who love me, like my dear friend Mr. Dennis Rodman."

    Rodman then appears to defend Sterling, saying, "I am a great judge of character and this is one of the greatest men I've ever met  right up there with my main man, Kim Jong-un."Dennis Rodman Donald Sterling SNL

    Watch the full sketch below:

    SEE ALSO: Emma Stone Gives Andrew Garfield Hosting Advice During His 'SNL' Monologue

    MORE: Diddy Is Serious About Buying The Clippers

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    Emma Stone Andrew Garfield SNL

    "Saturday Night Live" host Andrew Garfield opened his monologue by telling the audience that he was "petrified" to host the live show.

    Cue Garfield's "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" co-star and real-life girlfriend, Emma Stone, who has previously hosted "SNL." 

    "I'm not even here, I just wanted to say you're doing so great!" Stone said, before offering her boyfriend some words of wisdom and refusing to leave the stage.

    Here are some of Stone's tips that don't work out very well for Garfield:

    • "If you get into trouble, just remember that the band is really great and they laugh at anything." (They don't laugh when Garfield then makes a joke.)
    • "Use the cue cards." (He has his lines memorized instead.)
    • "Be self-deprecating, make a little joke about yourself." (He starts telling a story about his new movie.)

    Watch the complete opening monologue below:

    SEE ALSO: Donald Sterling Mocked During Press Conference In 'SNL' Cold Open

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    kevin spacey call of duty

    If a video game is based on a movie, it's not uncommon for the character from the movie to do the voice for the same character in the game. But that's easy to figure out, and it might even be expected.

    Games often use the voice and the likeness of a real-life actor.

    Activision announced that Kevin Spacey would star in the next "Call of Duty" game, called "Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare." It comes out Nov. 4. 

    Sometimes, video game voices aren't expected, though, and recognizing the voice feels like finding an Easter egg. 

    Ray Liotta — "Grand Theft Auto: Vice City"

    The "Grand Theft Auto" series is thought to be the pioneer in casting Hollywood actors in its video games. "Grand Theft Auto III" had a low budget and a relatively low profile at the time, but still had an all-star cast. 

    The next game in the series, "Vice City," starred Ray Liotta as the protagonist Tommy Vercetti. Now, though, lesser-known actors voice the main characters, but celebrities are still used throughout the games to voice DJs, villains, and even to portray themselves.

    Samuel L. Jackson — "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas"

    Samuel L. Jackson is no stranger to the video game world. In addition to playing Officer Frank Tenpenny in "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas," he also voiced characters in "Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars," "Iron Man 2," "Afro Samurai" and "The Incredibles."

    Jackson isn't the only famous actor to lend his voice to the game. Other stars include: Ice-T, Andy Dick, Axl Rose, and James Woods.

    Patrick Stewart — "The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion"

    Patrick Stewart might be best-known for his work as Charles Xavier in the "X-Men" series, as well as Captain Jean-Luc Picard in "Star Trek: The Next Generation." But he's also the voice of Emperor Uriel Septim in "Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion."

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Christopher Welch_02

    Just a day after Christopher Evan Welch landed a career-making role on HBO’s “Silicon Valley,” he received some heartbreaking news. The lung cancer he’d been battling successfully since the fall of 2010 had spread to his brain.

    Chris was sitting with his wife, Emma, and his doctor at Memorial Sloan Kettering in New York. “I have to go shoot this pilot,” he said, stunned.

    Welch was 47. Before his diagnosis, he’d been a fanatical cyclist, winging around Central Park on his fixed-gear bike, his thin brown hair flying behind him. Nobody could say why the cancer had attacked his lungs, then his prostate, and now his brain. He was a casual smoker, and he enjoyed the occasional steak at Keens, but so did a lot of people. Maybe the weeks Chris spent after the 9/11 attacks helping out at ground zero were a factor. Or maybe it was all just the result of some horrible mutation that lay dormant in his DNA all along.

    Screen Shot 2014 04 09 at 11.28.03 AM

    With aggressive treatment, Chris and the doctors had kept the tumors at bay so far. The latest news was bad, but he and Emma were used to that. One more fight in a grim slog.

    It was agreed the surgery could be put off for a month, and Chris went to Los Angeles, where he created the role of comedically awkward, creepily soft-spoken angel investor Peter Gregory.

    Based loosely on the slightly less-awkward, creepily soft-spoken PayPal co-founder and Facebook angel Peter Thiel, Gregory is a linchpin of the series, having funded the startup —Pied Piper — around which the action revolves. More than that, he’s a poster boy for the tech world’s imperiousness, its brilliance, and its odd alienation from the very world it is forever trying to make “a better place,” as one character after another puts it in one of the show's running gags.

    Welch shot five episodes before further complications related to the cancer took his life this past December.

    While the show is charming and keenly observed, and will likely thrive even in his absence, watching Peter Gregory, TED-talk Socrates and sesame-seed tycoon drive his absurdly narrow Smart car off into the Northern California sunset won’t be easy.

    Executive Producer Mike Judge has long specialized in wounded, insecure, painfully uncomfortable men (from “Beavis & Butthead” and “King of the Hill” to “Office Space”), and despite Peter Gregory’s brief time on screen, he is already among the most indelible. Amid a cast that often seems like a taxonomy of male social inadequacy, Gregory is the most awkward of them all. Letting his hands dangle helplessly like a neurasthenic T. rex, speaking with an exaggerated formality, he’s a ridiculous, magnetic, and deeply human figure — the irreplaceable heart of the show.

    * * *

    Screen Shot 2014 04 09 at 11.27.16 AM

    Lanky and floppy-haired, Welch grew up in Dallas, Texas, the oldest child of a Korean War vet and a homemaker and entrepreneur. A theater geek in high school, he attended the University of Dallas on a full scholarship, then went on to grad school in Seattle, where he fronted the Ottoman Bigwigs, a brainy indie-rock band with a small but devoted cult following.

    He arrived in New York in 1997, appearing in a revival of Molière’s “Scapin,” opposite neovaudevillian Bill Irwin, delivering a slapstick tour de force that The New York Times called “a sensational debut.”

    In the years that followed, Welch built up an impressive career as a character actor, one vaguely familiar to anyone paying close attention, but, as Vulture rightly noted, maddeningly hard to place. Except for one unhappy attempt to wait tables in Dallas during college, he made his living — modest though it was — exclusively as an actor.


    Welch did his share of “Law & Order” episodes, like every New York actor, and was a regular presence off-Broadway and off-off-Broadway. He made it to Broadway a couple of times, as well, most notably as the tormented Reverend Parris in a 2002 production of “The Crucible,” opposite Laura Linney and Liam Neeson. But he also did plenty of experimental and regional theater, and it was while appearing in an out-of-town show — a 2005 revival of J.M. Barrie’s “Dear Brutus” in Westport, Conn. — that he first met Emma Roberts. “We played husband and wife, and we wound up falling madly in love,” she remembers.

    Chris could be snobby about doing commercials, although as an obsessive newspaper reader he was thrilled to land a New York Times ad. He had a great voice. He narrated Woody Allen’s “Vicky Christina Barcelona,” and made decent money reading audiobooks, including the young-adult “Last Apprentice” series, “The Imperfectionists,” and John Grisham’s “Playing for Pizza.”

    He was a big guy, over 6 feet, but he exuded vulnerability. His face, hawkish but soft, had something of a permanent wince about it, as if he expected to be smacked at any moment. Even when he played smarmy or sinister, that fearful look around his eyes, that cosmic flinch, made him relatable and drew audiences in.

    Screen Shot 2014 04 09 at 11.20.33 AM

    He became a regular on AMC’s short-lived spy series “Rubicon,” and especially in recent years, began building an impressive film resume, turning in uniformly stellar work in small roles — in films like “Lincoln,” “The Master,” and “Synecdoche, New York” — the latter two of which co-starred his friend Philip Seymour Hoffman, whose death just two months to the day after Chris’ dealt a further blow to New York’s tightly knit theater community. In light of the two losses, Welch’s existential barn-burner of a speech in “Synecdoche” — a performance he pulled together with just 24 hours’ notice — is shattering.

    * * *

    It started with a persistent cough, which led to an X-ray, which led to a CT scan. This was in 2010. A radiologist diagnosed Welch with stage IIIA lung cancer. Emma was six months pregnant.

    The doctors wanted to admit him immediately, but Welch was in a play, “The Little Foxes,” at the New York Theatre Workshop, and like most stage actors, he was determined never to miss a performance. Besides, they needed to process the news. “We’re getting out of here and we are both going to drink a glass of wine,” Emma said. “I don’t care if I’m pregnant.”

    Welch went onstage later that night. Then, even as he began chemo, he continued the run while spending his days rehearsing for yet another show he’d been offered: “The Coward.” He finished that run, as well. Once he even went on after waking up from general anesthesia.

    Things kept happening; life marched along.

    A few weeks after “The Coward” closed, their daughter, June Harper, was born.

    The lung surgery happened not long after that.

    Chris’ health was much improved by February 2013 when his agent called to tell him about “Silicon Valley.” The producers wanted him to read for either one of the rival Internet moguls, Gavin Belson or Peter Gregory, and he picked Gregory. Since he had to stay in New York, where he was appearing in an off-Broadway show, “The Madrid,” with Edie Falco, he taped his audition. Chris knew basically nothing about the tech world. Except for an addiction to Words With Friends on his iPhone, he was basically computer illiterate. But out of the blue, he decided to give Peter Gregory an odd vocal inflection. “I’m setting my voice back in this weird way,” he told Emma excitedly. He felt instantly he’d found the character.

    Chris didn’t know then how right the choice was, but as it happens, Peter Thiel also happens to speak rather haltingly. Chris was offered the role immediately.

    The timing was perfect. With the illness, Chris hadn’t been working as much, and money was tight. Suddenly, things were looking up. Every actor dreams of an HBO series. “This was the job that changes the game,” Emma says.

    After taping the pilot, Chris underwent surgery to remove the brain tumor, and the operation was declared a success. But then came yet another blow. His blood-cell counts were dropping, and the doctors diagnosed AML, acute myeloid leukemia, most likely brought on by the earlier radiation treatments.

    “He was just really unlucky,” Emma says. “So unlucky.”

    There was really nothing to do but keep fighting. After a grueling summer, including six weeks in the hospital and repeated visits to the emergency room, Welch began what seemed like a miraculous recovery. “The lung had been removed and that was the end of it,” Emma recalls. “The brain was fine, the leukemia was in remission, the prostate was under control.” During a physical with a doctor working with the network — a standard requirement for an actor signing on to a TV series — he disclosed his medical history and was declared fit for the job. “You’d be surprised how many people I see who have cancer,” the doctor told him.

    “We thought we were home free,” Emma says.

    photo 1.JPG

    Chris and Emma moved into a rented bungalow in Santa Monica with June, who was then 2. He was in remission and holding steady. They were living near friends, in a great house a few blocks from the beach. Welch was needed on set only a couple of days a week, and the rest of his time he devoted to June, playing elaborate games, telling stories, singing songs, and going to the park.

    Things were good. Welch enjoyed being “the old guy” on a set full of young comics, and he was thrilled to discover that one of the show’s producers was Clay Tarver, guitarist for one of his favorite bands, Chavez. Mostly, he loved inventing Peter Gregory. “I’m just locked in,” he said. He even began to fantasize about being nominated for an Emmy.

    The work seemed to be contributing to his recovery. He was putting on weight and feeling healthier than he had in a while.

    Then, the show took a break for Thanksgiving.

    The Sunday after the holiday, Chris suddenly felt awful. He couldn’t get out of bed. He was vomiting, and his blood pressure dipped. There’d been rough days before, though. Nobody panicked. Emma started making calls, first to the ambulance, then to some friends to come look after June.

    “Do I need to make a call to HBO?” she asked.

    “I don’t know, maybe,” Chris replied.

    * * *

    That evening, Chris lay in intensive care with Emma by his side. He was suffering from septic shock. Five hours after heading to the hospital, in the early hours of Dec. 2, his heart gave out.

    Emma thinks it may be for the best that Chris died the way he did — so suddenly, during such a high point, without time to brood about what he’d be missing. The last months of his life were idyllic, she said. June missed her dad, of course, but she was just 3. She would be OK. And Chris had written to her in case something happened — letter after letter she could reread when she was old enough.

    But Chris was a dedicated performer, and knowing that he wouldn’t be able to finish what he’d started on “Silicon Valley” would have been unbearable in its own way. It was good he was spared that.

    Faced with a similar situation, many producers might well have opted to put off a show’s premiere and reshoot a character’s scenes with another actor in the role.

    Executive producers Mike Judge and Alec Berg never even considered it. “The brilliance of Chris’ performance is irreplaceable, and inspired us in our writing of the series,” they said in a joint statement. It was bad enough that they had to rewrite subsequent episodes in which Peter Gregory was originally going to appear, reimagining several major story points. “Cutting Chris out of those scripts was among the most difficult things we have ever had to do as writers,” they added. “The entire ordeal was heartbreaking. But we are incredibly grateful to have worked with him in the brief time we had together. Our show and our lives are vastly richer for his having been in them.”

    For the series' viewers, too, the loss will be acutely felt. We won’t have seen nearly enough of Peter Gregory or of Christopher Evan Welch. Then again, it was so nice getting to know them both.

    * * *

    Emma Roberts Welch was kind enough to share a video their friend Jennifer Kleinman put together for Chris' memorial service. It's a beautiful tribute to his life and career.


    And here, a wonderful track from the Ottoman Bigwigs' self-titled 1996 album, with Chris on vocals.  

    Grieve from Ottoman Bigwigs on Myspace.

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    electro the amazing spider man 2Warning: There are some minor spoilers ahead. 

    Since Sony Pictures announced its plans to expand the Spider-Man universe on screen, we knew “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” would be teasing off some characters and villains from future movies.  

    Back in December, we wrote about a scene we spotted in a trailer for the film showing a brief glimpse of some of Spidey’s biggest villains.  

    The blink-and-you’ll-miss-it image put a few classic bad guys from Spider-Man’s rogue’s gallery front and center.  

    Here you’ll spot the Vulture and Doctor Octopus’ famous gear. spider man vulture doc octopus

    If you see the movie this weekend, stick around through the series of initial credits. If you’re a big Spider-Man fan you’ll be briefly rewarded.  

    The credits sequence ever-so-subtly hints at who else will be joining the Sinister Six gang through a series of vague images. 

    Alicia Keys released a video for her new single from the film, “It’s On Again.” If you Shazam the song during the credits, you’ll be able to gain access the end-credits sequence. 

    The folks over at first spotted that you could Shazam the song now, ahead of the film’s release. Here are the images you’ll see.  

    This appear's to be the Vulture's wing:

    Vulture spider-man 2 credits

    Most recognizable is this nod to the Green Goblin's goblin spider-man 2 credits 

    Here we see Doctor Octopus' octopus spiderman

    This is where it starts to get tricky. Some think the next three are possible nods to Mysterio or maybe the Chameleon and Kraven the Hunter. However, it makes more sense that one of the final two images alludes to the Rhino. (We'll explain.)

    sinister six amazing spider mansinister six amazing spiderman creditssinister six credits

    Honestly, the image getting passed around from December gives a better look at what to expect from the future Sinister Six gang. Regardless, it's still causing a lot of excitement. 

    The big takeaway here is that since there are about 10 variations of the Sinister Six group in the comics, everyone wants to know which characters will make the cut. 

    By process of elimination from what we already know, it’s not too difficult.  

    So far we know the Green Goblin (Harry Osborn) will be leading the group.  

    dane dehaan green goblinThe Rhino will be next to join the team as he’s introduced in the film briefly. We can almost certainly count on Vulture and Doc Ock being a part of the six, too. That leaves two spots open. 

    Rhino, Amazing Spider-man 2

    Electro may or may not be back as a member. It’s kind of open ended at the end of the sequel, but anything’s possible in a superhero movie. We should also remember that the Lizard from the first “Amazing Spider-Man” is also out there somewhere. 

    When Green Goblin led the team in the comics, there were as many as 12 members in the crew including Electro, Lizard, Vulture, Venom, and Chameleon. Since the release of the end-credits, Kraven the Hunter, Chameleon, and Mysterio are receiving a lot of buzz.

    We'd be pretty upset if Venom wasn't included — especially since there's been talk about the character getting his own film. 

    Who do you think is a part of the Sinister Six and does this hold a flame to Marvel's "Avengers" squad?

    SEE ALSO: Why an 'X-Men' teaser will play at the end of "The Amazing Spider-Man 2"

    AND: "The Amazing Spider-Man" sequel is blowing a huge opportunity

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    It's well known that George Lucas and Steven Spielberg are close friends, so when Lucas' "Star Wars" eclipsed Spielberg's "Jaws" as the all-time box-office leader back in 1977, Spielberg took out a full-page ad in Variety magazine congratulating his old pal.

    The ad has R2-D2 from "Star Wars" reeling in the giant shark that terrorized beachgoers in "Jaws." Spielberg also writes a brief inscription saying that Lucas' "hyperspace performance package really did the trick" and signs it "your pal, Steven."

    Check out the vintage full-page ad:

    Spielberg congrats Lucas for Star Wars

    Once Spielberg's "E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial" reclaimed the box-office throne in 1982, Lucas returned the favor by taking out his own full-page ad in Variety.

    George Lucas congrats variety ad

    Lucas kept the tradition alive, taking out this full-page ad when, in 1998, James Cameron's "Titanic" sank the reissue of "Star Wars" to become the top box-office movie of all time.

    "It was an extremely gracious gesture," Cameron said in a recent Reddit AMA. "I sent him a thank-you note after."

    George Lucas Titantic ad

    SEE ALSO: Here Are The Original 'Star Wars' Casting Announcements From 1977

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