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    'NCIS: Los Angeles' star Miguel Ferrer dies at 61

    Miguel Ferrer, who brought stern authority to his featured role on CBS' hit "NCIS: Los Angeles" and, before that, to NBC crime drama "Crossing Jordan," has died.

               CBS said Ferrer died Thursday of cancer at his Los Angeles home. He was 61.

               He had played assistant director Owen Granger on "NCIS: Los Angeles" since 2012. Before that, he played the chief medical examiner and gruff-but-supportive boss to series star Jill Hennessy for the six seasons of "Crossing Jordan."

              A native of Santa Monica, California, Ferrer was the son of Academy Award-winning actor Jose Ferrer and singer-actress Rosemary Clooney, and a cousin of George Clooney, who issued a statement Thursday afternoon.

    "Today, history will mark giant changes in our world," Clooney said, "and lost to most will be that on the same day Miguel Ferrer lost his battle to throat cancer.  But not lost to his family. Miguel made the world brighter and funnier and his passing is felt so deeply in our family that events of the day ... pale in comparison. We love you Miguel. We always will."

                In his own statement, "NCIS: Los Angeles" showrunner R. Scott Gemmill called Ferrer "a man of tremendous talent who had a powerful dramatic presence onscreen, a wicked sense of humor and a huge heart."

             Ferrer began his career in the early 1980s with guest shots on many TV series. In 1990 he scored a signature role as FBI Agent Albert Rosenfield on David Lynch's smash series "Twin Peaks." He reprised that character for the 1992 movie "Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me."

    He will encore yet again as Agent Rosenfield for Showtime's "Twin Peaks" revival airing this spring.

              Along with TV, Ferrer appeared in more than 40 movies, including "RoboCop," where he played the villainous Bob Morton, designer of the title character, "Iron Man 3 ," where he portrayed the vice president, and "Traffic."

    Voiceover credits include "Superman: The Animated Series," ''Robot Chicken" and "American Dad!"

               Before becoming an actor, he was a successful studio musician who played drums in a variety of bands, and toured with his mother and Bing Crosby.

                 Survivors include his wife Lori and sons Lukas and Rafi.

    'NCIS: Los Angeles,' 'Crossing Jordan' actor Miguel Ferrer dead at 61

    Actor Miguel Ferrer, who starred in the TV shows "NCIS: Los Angeles” and "Crossing Jordan," in addition to the film "RoboCop" and doing voiceover work in "Mulan," has died at age 61 Thursday, Variety reported.

    Ferrer had been battling cancer.

    >> Read more trending stories

    "Today, 'NCIS: Los Angeles' lost a beloved family member," showrunner R. Scott Gemmill said in a statement. "Miguel was a man of tremendous talent who had a powerful dramatic presence on screen, a wicked sense of humor, and a huge heart."

    Ferrer played Owen Granger on the show since 2012. He was the son of the late musician José Ferrer and late Hollywood actress Rosemary Clooney and cousin to actor George Clooney.

    George Clooney released a statement to The Hollywood Reporter on his cousin's death:

    Today history will mark giant changes in our world, and lost to most will be that on the same day Miguel Ferrer lost his battle to throat cancer. But not lost to his family. Miguel made the world brighter and funnier and his passing is felt so deeply in our family that events of the day, (monumental events), pale in comparison. We love you Miguel. We always will.

    Deadline Hollywood reported that Ferrer had a breakout Hollywood role in the 1987 film "RoboCop" as the creator of the title character.

    Ferrer is survived by his wife, Lori Weintraub and sons Lukas and Rafael.

    Streaming giants play hero and villain in Oscar season

    When Oscar nominations are announced next week, Amazon is virtually assured of notching the first — but probably not the last — best-picture nomination for a streaming service.

    Kenneth Lonergan's "Manchester by the Sea," which Amazon plunked down $10 million for at the Sundance Film Festival last year, is widely expected to be among the leading contenders at the Academy Awards. It will be a triumphant moment for the nascent Amazon Studios, which acquired its first original film (Spike Lee's "Chirac") in 2015 but has, following in Netflix's footsteps, quickly altered the landscape of Hollywood.

    Netflix and Amazon are increasingly influencing the movie awards season, playing the role of both hero and villain in an industry where their entry into the movie business is welcomed and feared in equal measures.

    Though viewed as disrupters, both have sought that powerful, old-fashioned Hollywood status — Oscar winner — to bolster their prestige. "We want to win an Oscar," Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos earlier pronounced . Netflix, a three-time documentary nominee, is still seeking its first win. Propelled by "Manchester," Amazon is poised to beat its streaming rival to the top Oscar categories.

    Starkly different approaches have led them here.

    Though Netflix gave its 2015 Oscar horse, Cary Fukunaga's "Beasts of No Nation," a wide theatrical release, it has largely focused on acquiring films to debut on its streaming platform. It prefers a simultaneous streaming and theatrical release, something theaters largely reject. Many filmmakers, too, want their films on the big screen.

    Amazon has held off on putting their movies onto its Amazon Prime subscription service until at least a partial traditional theatrical release has been mounted. It partnered with Roadside Attractions for the theatrical rollout for "Manchester by the Sea," which has proven lucrative. It's made $37.2 million domestically in nine weeks, making it one 2016's biggest indie hits.

    Lonergan, the veteran New York playwright whose last film, "Margaret," became embroiled in lawsuits and acrimony before Fox Searchlight gave it a minuscule release, called his experience with Amazon "the most fancy treatment I've ever had."

    "If they want to get into the movie business, great, because the people who are already in the movie business could use some improvement," said Lonergan.

    The bar for eligibility to the Academy Awards isn't high. Feature films generally need a Los Angeles theatrical run of at least seven consecutive days and cannot be broadcast in a non-theatrical format before showing in theaters, though day-and-date releases have been deemed OK.

    But that regulation means some Netflix films weren't eligible this year because they premiered only on Netflix. Jonathan Demme's concert film "Justin Timberlake and the Tennessee Kids" went straight to streaming after being picked up around its Toronto Film Festival debut.

    Though Netflix, like Amazon, doesn't make viewing statistics available, its films have likely been seen by far more people, around the world, than they would have been in a limited theatrical release — and their makers pocketed bigger checks. But straight-to-streaming films (like Vikram Gandhi's young Obama drama "Barry") can receive muted fanfare upon release and quickly fade into a digital ocean.

    For a filmmaker like Demme ("The Silence of the Lambs," ''Philadelphia"), the loss of a theatrical release is painful.

    "It seems to me that the streaming movies are skewing people from the movie theaters because the movie theaters are reluctant to show a film if a film is going to be streamed within three months," said Demme. "I worry sometimes that the streamers would be perfectly happy to see movie theaters close up."

    In a statement to The Associated Press, Ted Sarandos, chief content officer for Netflix, defended his service as "pro-film, pro-filmmaker and pro-film lover." He said he would book Netflix films into theaters if major exhibitor chains didn't boycott movies simultaneously released via streaming and theatrically, "putting the status quo ahead of consumer desire and innovation."

    "We don't see how it is in the best interest of anyone to hold back a film for 93 million fans around the world to make sure a few hundred or even a few thousand people in New York and LA can see the film in a dark room with strangers," said Sarandos. "Theatrical attendance has been in decline for decades. Most people watch most films at home and we want to bring films to where the audience is."

    The competition has been heating up. Amazon, with Amazon Prime's 30.5 million subscribers, last year spent $337 million on original content. It plans to produce 16 movies a year. Now in more than 200 countries, Amazon led a global rollout in December. Netflix, with nearly 94 million subscribers worldwide, dwarfed that spending, laying out $1.2 billion.

    Those deep pockets have been a boon to an indie film marketplace that's been squeezed by declining DVD revenue and diminishing box office. Netflix and Amazon now regularly outbid other distributors at film festivals.

    "As they buy in and scoop up product, it's making the ecosystem for these more independent distributors and specialized divisions very difficult," said James Schamus, the former head of Focus Features and director of last year's Philip Roth adaptation "Indignation."

    Some have recoiled from the streamers' increasing sway. Director Craig Atkinson, whose police militarization documentary "Do Not Resist," spoke out about what he described as Netflix's strong-armed negotiation tactics.

    Under motion picture production head Ted Hope, Amazon Studios has gone after well-respected filmmakers and largely art house releases, including films by Jim Jarmusch ("Paterson," ''Gimme Danger"), Woody Allen ("Cafe Society"), Whit Stillman ("Love & Friendship") and Park Chan-wook ("The Handmaiden"). The films, Hope has said, are "essentially advertising" for Amazon's many other sales items.

    Hints of a brewing battle have occasionally flared. Sarandos recently knocked Amazon for "not gaining much traction against all that spending."

    They may square off in one Oscar category in which Netflix has rapidly become a respected industry leader. Of the 15 documentaries shortlisted, four are from Netflix ("The 13th," ''Amanda Knox," ''The Ivory Game" and "Into the Inferno") and one is from Amazon, ("Gleason").

    This year may be only a preview of what's to come. Netflix has its starriest prestige films yet on tap for 2017, including Brad Pitt's "War Machine" and Will Smith's "Bright." And on Wednesday, Amazon began lining its coffers, picking up an anticipated Grateful Dead documentary ahead of its Sundance premiere.

    ___

    Follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jakecoyleAP

    Viral News

    Family seeking closure, wants mother's body out of car submerged in Sacramento River

    A family is grieving and asking for help days after their matriarch died in her car after it somehow became submerged in the Sacramento River.

    KTXL reported that the Sacramento Sheriff's Department said it believes Nichelle Johnson, 48, was driving her car Sunday and may have driven her car into the river on the foggy night.

    >> Read more trending stories

    KXTV reported that Johnson was driving to help her sister get settled in a new home.

    Investigators said Johnson called  911 but was unable to speak. A witness called 911 and reported seeing the car in the rushing water.

    According to KXTV, the California Highway Patrol and the local fire department responded but it was too late.

    Police said was the river running too fast for a helicopter to put divers in the river to retrieve the car or Johnson, KTXL said.

    "I just want them to help us get my mama out of that water. It's been too long. I just need answers. I just need closure," Mikaela Hampton, Johnson's daughter, said four days after the incident. "I don't know how I'm supposed to explain it to my baby."

    KXTV reported that a dive team found Johnson's car the next day, but Johnson was not found. Police said they are waiting for a bigger boat and volunteers from outside agencies in order to be able to retrieve the car and search for Johnson.

    Hampton wants help getting closure.

    "Help get my mom out so we can lay her and put her to rest," Hampton said. "I feel so empty knowing it's my mom. She's never gonna walk in this door."

    The family doesn't think officials are moving fast enough.

    "They're making no effort at all to go try and save her," Johnson's son, Malik Davis, said "They keep telling us all this stuff that we don't want to hear."

    <script height="219" width="390" src="http://player.ooyala.com/iframe.js#ec=wzYXcwOTE6RU_JVbafjhsKtsHPpgWK9w&amp;pbid=e94d1153704449a897d545a2af16e53c"></script>

    Air Force One transition report shows Trump's plane was once Paul Allen's

    When asked what they miss most about the presidency, former presidents often say Air Force One. But CBS News reports that, for Trump, the transition from one wide-body plane to a wider-bodied plane might be considered a downgrade.

    CBS News compared the history of Air Force One to that of Trump’s plane. Their analysis revealed Trump’s plane once belonged to Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.

    Air Force One History: Air Force One isn’t just a plane. It’s a military designation for any Air Force plane the president might be flying. The first plane officially called Air Force One carried President Dwight Eisenhower in 1959, but it was President John F. Kennedy who brought the plane into the jet age. The current fleet is comprised of two specially-modified Boeing 747s, which were first used by President George H. W. Bush in 1990. The two planes have carried every president since, from Bill Clinton to George W. Bush to Barack Obama – at a cost of over $180,000 per hour. Trump’s Plane History: Mr. Trump’s plane has a far different history. Also made by Boeing, the 757 entered service in 1991 with Sterling Airlines, a low-cost Danish airline. It then flew for a Mexican charter company called Taesa, before being sold to Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen who then sold it to Mr. Trump in 2010. That’s when the real refurbishment began.

    From nose to tail, Mr. Trump’s plane is smaller than Air Force One. It can only fly up to 4,400 miles and carry 43 passengers. Air Force One can fly up to 7,800 miles, with over 70 passengers, CBS News reports.

    While Air Force One has an onboard hospital, Mr. Trump’s 757 boasts 24-karat gold-plated seat belts and bathroom fittings, plush carpets, cream-colored leather seats and an entertainment center with over 1,000 movie titles branded with Mr. Trump’s name.

    >> Related: Boeing CEO meets with Trump about Air Force One costs

    In December, the head of Boeing Co., Dennis Mullenburg, said he promised President-elect Donald Trump that the manufacturer would complete the Air Force One project for less than the $4 billion the president-elect had claimed it would cost.

    The announcement came after Trump ripped into Boeing over the cost of the program to replace the aging presidential aircraft. 

    But Muilenburg said that BoeingCo. "would get it done for far less" than the $4 billion that Trump claimed, though he did not suggest what the aircraft manufacturer had estimated for a cost.

    The president-elect will use the existing jets when he takes office.

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