Allison Janney on Broadway, 'The West Wing' legacy and Trump

Published: Friday, April 21, 2017 @ 6:00 AM

In this March 29, 2017 photo, Allison Janney poses for a portrait in New York. Janney, who won Emmy Awards for her work in “The West Wing” and “Mom,” is starring in a Broadway revival of “Six Degrees of Separation.” (Photo by Brian Ach/Invision/AP)
Brian Ach/Brian Ach/Invision/AP
In this March 29, 2017 photo, Allison Janney poses for a portrait in New York. Janney, who won Emmy Awards for her work in “The West Wing” and “Mom,” is starring in a Broadway revival of “Six Degrees of Separation.” (Photo by Brian Ach/Invision/AP)(Brian Ach/Brian Ach/Invision/AP)

Allison Janney recently found comfort in the fact that she shares something special with the late Sir Laurence Olivier. Yes, acting, of course. But also this: panic attacks.

The Emmy-winning actress from "The West Wing" and "Mom" confesses she's been Googling her nervous symptoms and whom she shares them with as she makes her Broadway return.

>>>RELATED: Dayton-area grad Allison Janney wins 7th Emmy, gives acceptance speech

"I'm not going to lie. There's a considerable amount of nerves, panic attacks," she says. "It kind of gets more acute as you get older, for some reason. I don't know why. It should get easier as we get older. I'm going to have to find a mantra."

When it comes to the wonderfully warm Janney, even her bout of nerves is refreshing. The actress — who has two Tony Award nominations — has built a huge following for her smart, heartfelt performances in everything from "The Way Way Back" to "Masters of Sex."

"I think part of the reason I love acting is I never feel more connected than I do when I'm onstage or working with another actor," she says. "I feel like I have a purpose and a reason. It makes me feel connected in a way that sometimes eludes me in my day in and day out life."

>>>RELATED: Dayton native Allison Janney hosts Miami Valley students on LA set

The self-confessed workaholic says she's having one of the busiest years of her life, juggling a movie — "I, Tonya," in which she plays skating star Tonya Harding's mother — as well as the TV series "Mom" — and now onstage in a revival of the 1990 play "Six Degrees of Separation ."

The play's plot, based on a real-life incident, centers on a young black man claiming to be the son of actor Sidney Poitier who bamboozles his way through households of rich, supposedly sophisticated New Yorkers. Janney plays a woman whose comfortable life is jolted awake by the encounter.

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"I think the issues that are in 'Six Degrees of Separation' are issues we're still dealing with as a country — race and class and wanting to be loved. Everything in it resonates, sometimes I think more now than even then," she says. "It's such a beautiful, beautiful play and it breaks my heart every single night."

In this March 29, 2017 photo, Allison Janney poses for a portrait in New York. Janney, who won Emmy Awards for her work in “The West Wing” and “Mom,” is starring in a Broadway revival of “Six Degrees of Separation.” (Photo by Brian Ach/Invision/AP)(Brian Ach/Brian Ach/Invision/AP)

Janney's name came up for the revival of John Guare's play initially as a bit of dream casting on the part of Trip Cullman, the show's director. He fell in love with her when she was playing the fast-talking White House press secretary C.J. Cregg on television's "The West Wing."

>>>RELATED: 'The West Wing' stars stop in Dayton for campaign pitch

"You just always love to listen to Allison Janney talk," says Cullman, who said she captures both the chilly patrician essence of the "Six Degrees" role and also its enormous warmth. "She is as kind as she is talented, as funny as she is heartbreaking in the role."

In this March 29, 2017 photo, Allison Janney poses for a portrait in New York. Janney, who won Emmy Awards for her work in “The West Wing” and “Mom,” is starring in a Broadway revival of “Six Degrees of Separation.” (Photo by Brian Ach/Invision/AP)(Brian Ach/Brian Ach/Invision/AP)

That Janney snagged the Broadway gig at least in part because she previously played Cregg makes perfect sense: The actress is still a little in awe of that part she played for seven years.

"Of all the roles I've ever played, I wish I was most like her," she says. "I look up to her and wish I could be more like her. I loved her smarts, her heart, everything. It was pretty exciting to get to play her."

>>>RELATED: 10 actors you should know who were born in Dayton

Nostalgia for "The West Wing," which ended its run in 2006, is on the rise, with fans fondly recalling a steady, kindly president surrounded by staffers who were whip-smart, honorable and caring. That fictional West Wing seems better than the real thing to many people, including Janney.

In this March 29, 2017 photo, Allison Janney poses for a portrait in New York. Janney, who won Emmy Awards for her work in “The West Wing” and “Mom,” is starring in a Broadway revival of “Six Degrees of Separation.” (Photo by Brian Ach/Invision/AP)(Brian Ach/Brian Ach/Invision/AP)

"It's just a very confusing time now for the world and Washington and for all of us. It's kind of like a reality show that you don't want to watch. I know I'm having difficulty watching it. I feel unmoored," she says.

Has she watched any briefings from the real press secretary, Sean Spicer? "I have been able to watch few of them because I get so embarrassed and it is too upsetting for me to watch them," she says. "I can't even talk about it."

She may just have to find a mantra for that, too.

Fox offers Bill O’Reilly big contract after $32 million settlement, Gretchen Carlson reacts

Published: Sunday, October 22, 2017 @ 1:57 PM

Inside Bill O'Reilly

Fox News offered Bill O’Reilly a $25 million contract even though O’Reilly had agreed to settle a sexual harassment claim for $32 million, according to The New York Times.

>> Read more trending news

The Times reported that O’Reilly settled out of court with former Fox News legal analyst Lis Wiehl just months before he was dismissed from the network.

O’Reilly categorized the Times piece as a “smear article” about him and defended himself on his website.

“In its latest diatribe against Bill O’Reilly, the Times printed leaked information provided by anonymous sources that is out of context, false, defamatory, and obviously designed to embarrass Bill O’Reilly and to keep him from competing in the marketplace,” a statement on O’Reilly’s website said.

“In the more than 20 years Bill O’Reilly worked at Fox News, not one complaint was filed against him with the human resources department or legal department by a coworker, even on the anonymous hotline,” the statement continued. 

The New York Times has copies of two letters written by 21st Century Fox lawyers attesting to that fact.”

>> Related: Recently released details put a new spin on when Bill O’Reilly and Fox News parted ways

After O’Reilly tweeted a link to his post, former “Fox & Friends” host Carlson responded.

“Nobody pays $32 million for false allegations – nobody,” Carlson wrote.

Carlson settled out of court in 2016, after she left Fox News amid her own allegations of sexual harassment against then chiarmen Roger Ailes.

Jim Carrey accuses dead ex-girlfriend of elaborate extortion scheme 

Published: Sunday, October 22, 2017 @ 9:38 AM

Jim Carrey Fast Facts

As the wrongful death lawsuit against him plows forward at full steam, Jim Carrey is claiming his late ex-girlfriend, Cathriona White, contracted the STDs that made her suicidal before meeting him, not after as her family alleges.

>> Read more trending news

White’s mother and estranged husband contend that White started experiencing suicidal thoughts after the actor gave her Herpes I, Herpes II and gonorrhea. However, documents filed in court by Carrey accuse White of an elaborate plot to extort him for millions “through smears and threats of public degradation via false allegations” and by faking her medical records. White allegedly told Carrey that she would lie and tell people that he gave her the diseases.

“When the threats were met with silence, White asked and obtained a copy of her friend’s Planned Parenthood records,” the motion says. “White’s intent in obtaining these records was clear — she cooked the records, creating forgeries with altered information, phony tests, and fictitious dates. A ruse, needed to support her lie, in July 2013, White and her attorney Marchino used the counterfeit records to extort money from Carrey.”

Carrey’s team points to text messages between White and a friend, which allegedly pertained to the scheme.

“This motion seeks an admission of the truth; namely that White had multiple STDs before meeting Carrey or nonforged copies of December 28, 2011 records of White, records that do not and have never actually existed,” the motion continues. 

>> Related: After months of delays, Jim Carrey finally has to answer questions about his ex’s suicide

“Recognizing that Carrey was conned before, White’s green-card husband, Mark Burton, and her estranged and emotionally abusive mother, Brigid Sweetman, decided to get a second bite at the apple by filing a lawsuit claiming Mr. Carrey caused White’s death, exploiting the judicial system with fraudulent ‘evidence’ in a continued effort to extort Carrey.”

>> Related: Jim Carrey’s ex made serious accusations against him in a note years before her suicide

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Mariah Carey’s ex-fiance James Packer calls relationship a ‘mistake’

Published: Sunday, October 22, 2017 @ 10:14 AM

Singer Mariah Carey and billionaire James Packer in happier times on vacation in Portofino, Italy on June 26, 2015.
Photopix/GC Images
Singer Mariah Carey and billionaire James Packer in happier times on vacation in Portofino, Italy on June 26, 2015.(Photopix/GC Images)

A year after calling off their engagement, James Packer is talking about his breakup with Mariah Carey for the first time.

>> Read more trending news

“I was at a low point in my personal life,” Packer said about his time with Carey.

“She was kind, exciting and fun. Mariah is a woman of substance. But, it was a mistake for her and a mistake for me.”

The couple first got together in 2015 and had plans to get married. Nine months after getting engaged, however, they called everything off in October 2016 while they were vacationing in Greece.

Carey, who was reportedly “blindsided” by the breakup, famously went on to burn her wedding gown in her “I Don’t” music video by tossing it into a fire.

>> Related: Mariah Carey is asking for much more than cash in her settlement with ex-fiancé James Packer

Mariah was totally blindsided by James. She read the news in Woman’s Day Australia that said he dumped her,” a source told Us Weekly. “Mariah knew they were having problems, but all relationships have issues — it wasn’t the kind of thing where she thought she’d read in the paper that she got dumped. She was devastated; she was shocked.”

A representative for the singer later confirmed the news in a statement that read, “Mariah and James had a fight in Greece, and have not seen each other since. The fight was not because of any cheating allegations or excessive spending by Mariah. James is one of the most successful businessmen in the world. They are trying to work it out. Right now, they’re not sure if they will stay together.”

‘Game of Thrones’ actor Peter Dinklage, wife Erica Schmidt celebrate birth of 2nd child

Published: Saturday, October 21, 2017 @ 7:37 AM

"Game of Thrones" actor Peter Dinklage and his wife, playwright/director Erica Schmidt, welcomed their second child recently.(Bruce Glikas)


“Game of Thrones” actor Peter Dinklage and his wife, Erica Schmidt, welcomed their second child, Us Weekly reported Friday.

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It is the second child for the couple. Their daughter was born in 2011, Us Weekly reported.

The couple did not publicly confirm the second pregnancy, but Us Weekly confirmed they were spotted with their newborn at a concert in September.

Dinkage plays the part of Tyrion Lannister on “Game of Thrones,” which ended its seventh season in August.