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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.

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Swedish musician Avicii dead at 28

Published: Friday, April 20, 2018 @ 1:40 PM

Avicii Dead at 28

Swedish DJ Avicii was found dead Friday in Oman, his publicist confirmed. He was 28.

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Judge forces David Copperfield to reveal 'Lucky #13' magic trick

Published: Friday, April 20, 2018 @ 7:09 AM

What You Need To Know: David Copperfield

David Copperfield was forced to shatter his most famous illusion.

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The famed magician was ordered in court Tuesday to break the Magicians Oath in court Tuesday, the BBC reported. A judge ordered Copperfield to explain one of his most famous tricks -- the Lucky #13 -- during a trial involving a man who claimed he was injured during the stunt.

British tourist Gavin Cox, 58, filed a negligence lawsuit against the illusionist, Time reported. Cox claimed he fell while participating in the Lucky #13 trick at the MGM Grand Resort and Casino in Las Vegas in 2013, the BBC reported. In the trick, Copperfield makes 13 audience members, chosen at random, disappear on stage and then reappear at the back of the room, the BBC reported. 

Cox told NBC News that he has suffered chronic pain and brain injury and has spent more than $400,000 on medical bills.

Copperfield’s attorney argued that revealing the secret would be financially detrimental, but a Las Vegas district court ruled against the magician

A Las Vegas district court rejected Copperfield’s defense, which argued that disclosing the secret behind the trick would be financially detrimental to him. He was ordered to explain how the trick was done.

Spoiler alert: Copperfield’s executive producer testified that when the curtain falls, the 13 volunteers are taken through passageways that circle the MGM building. They exit the building and then re-enter at the back of the theater, Time reported.

“There was a duty by the defendants to provide a safe environment to the audience participants,” Cox’s lawyer, Benedict Morelli, said in the opening statements.

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Actors Rachel Weisz, Daniel Craig expecting first child

Published: Friday, April 20, 2018 @ 9:12 AM

Rachel Weisz and Daniel Craig are expecting their first child together. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images
Rachel Weisz and Daniel Craig are expecting their first child together. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)(Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

Actor Rachel Weisz has announced that she and her husband, James Bond actor Daniel Craig, are expecting their first child.

The actress revealed the news when she spoke to The New York Times to promote her movie “Disobedience.”

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“I’ll be showing soon. Daniel and I are so happy,” she told The Times. “We’re going to have a little human. We can’t wait to meet him or her. It’s all such a mystery.”

Weisz, 48, and Craig, 50, have been married for seven years and are very private about their personal lives, but Weisz did share that she is happy in her marriage.

“I’m very happy being married,” she said, “Very, very happy,”

Although Weisz applauds celebrity couples who have made their relationships part of their brand, that’s not the case for her marriage

“Daniel and I are really similar. We just literally don’t know how to do that,” Weisz said. “We’re just really crap at talking about our private lives.”

This is the second child for each actor. E! News reported that Weisz has an 11-year-old son with director Darren Aronofsky and Craig has a 25-year-old daughter with actress Fiona London.

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Destiny’s Child singer Michelle Williams engaged to pastor Chad Johnson

Published: Thursday, April 19, 2018 @ 12:20 PM

Getting To Know Michelle Williams

Former Destiny’s Child singer Michelle Williams is getting married.

The 37-year-old singer is engaged to pastor Chad Johnson, 40, after a year of dating.

Williams and Johnson opened up to People about their love story, which began in March 2017 at a spiritual retreat hosted by Elevate International.

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Johnson, founder of Elevate International, led the retreat in Arizona and said he and Williams were in “very similar places on a personal level.”

“I was in a horrible, dark place,” Williams said. “I just needed to go somewhere where I could get a message of hope and restoration, rejuvenation — get connected to God.”

“Michelle was coming off the heels of a really bad relationship, and I was just in a place of despair as well,” Johnson, a professional sports chaplain who has worked with the Pittsburgh Steelers and L.A. Dodgers, said.

The two kept in touch after the retreat and progressed from texts to FaceTime calls.

“We spent almost three months without even seeing each other, just building a strong foundation on the phone and through FaceTime,” Johnson told People. “It was really built on friendship and communication.”

The two went on their first date at a wedding in the Dominican Republic, had their first kiss and decided to date officially.

“I told her, ‘I’ve been looking. I don’t want to look anymore. I’m done. My search is over,’” Johnson said.

A year to the day Johnson first reached out to Williams -- on March 21 -- the two got engaged. Johnson proposed with a 5-carat ring and a video of himself with members of Williams’ family.

“I started weeping and wailing when I see all these special people,” Williams said. “Towards the end of the video, something in my head said, ‘Pull yourself together! He’s about to propose! Stop all this crying!’”

Williams said she was drawn to her now-fiance because she could be herself with him, adding that Johnson calls her by her first name.

“My first name is Tenitra; my middle name is Michelle. I felt like I could be Tenitra; just ratchet, I didn’t have to have on any makeup, if I had to have on my hair bonnet — he just made me feel very safe in being myself,” she said.

The two plan on having a wedding this summer.

“It’s gonna be … think James Bond-meets-’Midsummer Night’s Dream’ — with a little hood in it,” Williams said. “It’s gonna be very traditional. We’re doing black-tie. We want it to be small and intimate and very private.”

Find out more about Johnson’s proposal and the couple’s love story at People.com.

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