HOLLYWOOD

hollywood_rizzo_c

Meryl Streep

Meryl Streep

HOLLYWOOD — Meryl Streep will transform herself into an opera singer, opposite Hugh Grant, when they start shooting “Florence Foster Jenkins” in May. Director Stephen Frears (“Philomena” and “The Queen”) will turn Meryl into the real-life heiress/socialite, who lived from 1868-1944. She was a soprano known and ridiculed for her lack of rhythm, pitch, tone, aberrant pronunciation and generally poor singing ability. Meryl should have a field day with this one!

* * *

Stephen Collins, the pastor patriarch of “Seventh Heaven,” recently made headlines when his wife of 27 years, actress Faye Grant, released marriage-counseling session tapes that allegedly revealed Collins’ inappropriate behavior with two young girls some 30 years ago. No charges were ever filed, but when she leaked the tapes to the media, Collins was fired from the sequel to “Ted” and a recurring role on “Scandal.” Despite monthly spousal support of $13,000, Grant has been angling for a bigger share of the $12 million Collins has amassed from his TV and film work. But the laugh is on her, because her second set of divorce lawyers have asked her to find other representation. The couple has already spent more than $1 million in legal fees.

* * *

We’re sad to report the passing of Carol Ann Susi, from cancer, at age 62. She was the voice of Howard Wolowitz’s mother (mostly off-screen) on the top-rated CBS comedy “The Big Bang Theory.” Ironically, her first acting job also was my first acting job, on the series “Kolchek: The Night Stalker.” In the 1974 episode titled “They Have Been, They Are, They Will Be,” I played Leon Van Heusen, a TV repairman by day and a seeker of UFO’s by night who goes into the woods with communication equipment to contact aliens. Carol Ann played Monique Marmelstein, Darren McGavin’s secretary in many of the episodes that followed. I turned to photography and writing; she went on to appear in many shows, including “Grey’s Anatomy,” “King of Queens,” “Seinfeld” and the film “Death Becomes Her” with Meryl Streep and Goldie Hawn.

* * *

James Maslow, who starred for four years on “Big Time Rush,” dazzled us on season 18 of “Dancing With the Stars” and has danced himself into the new Sony Crackle series, “Sequestered,” with Patrick Warburton and Jesse Bradford, and the upcoming thriller film “Wild is the Night.” He can sing, dance and act, and he’s only 24. That’s what we call fancy footwork.

* * *

Was Randy Jackson asked to leave “American Idol” after 12 seasons of judging and one season of being a mentor? Just asking! Ryan Seacrest is the last remaining member of the original cast.

© 2014 King Features Synd., Inc.