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July 15th, 2013
06:03 AM ET

Remembering Cory Monteith – Nick Valencia reports

Hollywood this morning is remembering Cory Monteith, a TV star whose bright career was suddenly cut short when he was found dead in a downtown Vancouver hotel room.

CNN's Nick Valencia has more on that tragic news.

“News of the death of 31-year-old ‘Glee’ actor Corey Monteith stunned his closest friends,” Valencia says. “His cause of death was not immediately clear, but at a press conference late Saturday, police ruled out foul play.”

Skyrocketing to fame in 2009 as the lovable, heartthrob quarterback on the hit FOX TV series, Monteith was just beginning to find success, but his troubles have long followed him.

“Since he was 13-year-old, Monteith openly said he battled with his sobriety,” Valencia reports.

“It was just four months ago when the Canadian actor voluntarily checked himself into a rehab facility. His friends and girlfriend were encouraged by his steps to stay clean.”

His friend Adam Shankman spoke on the phone to Monteith just hours before his death.

Shankman shares that Monteith even said, "I'm feeling fantastic again." Shankman explains, "He was obviously referring to that moment he had this year with going to rehab. So I'm like everybody else really devastated and confused by what happened."

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Filed under: Celebrity • Hollywood • Obit • Tragedy
June 20th, 2013
06:26 AM ET

Remembering James Gandolfini – Nischelle Turner reports

CNN is remembering James Gandolfini this morning. The 51-year-old actor died in Italy of an apparent heart attack yesterday, though the official cause is yet unknown. He was on holiday with his teenage son.

The shock struck many from his HBO family of the creators and co-stars of “The Sopranos” to his fans and the residents of New Jersey. Nischelle Turner has been watching the reaction to the death of the man best known as Tony Soprano, and the tributes continue to flow in.

“He may have enjoyed global fame but he never strayed far from home, New Jersey," Turner says.

"He was a great actor and he definitely put New Jersey in the map, all positive,” one fan said. “He just made Jersey better than it already is."

One of his best-known fans, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie released a statement saying, "It's an awful shock. James Gandolfini was a fine actor, a Rutgers alum and a true Jersey guy. I was a huge fan of his and the character he played so authentically, Tony Soprano."

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January 28th, 2013
06:44 AM ET

'Argo,' 'Downton Abbey' big winners at the Screen Actors Guild Awards – Nischelle Turner reports


Los Angeles (CNN) - Although Daniel Day-Lewis appears on track to win the best actor Oscar next month, he suggests his win at the Screen Actors Guild Awards Sunday may actually hurt his chances.

His riveting portrayal of Abraham Lincoln in Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln" has been honored with the Golden Globe and SAG best actor awards. While those awards are often predictive of the Oscar best actor winner, Day-Lewis is downplaying his chances.

'Argo' glows

Other Oscar races grew murkier with Sunday's SAG awards, including for best picture. While "Lincoln" might have been a favorite at the start of Hollywood's awards season, its prospects of taking the top Academy honor were dimmed with Ben Affleck's "Argo" winning the SAG best film award, just two weeks after taking the Golden Globe.

This morning on "Early Start," CNN's Nichelle Turner recaps the big moments from the SAG Awards.

READ MORE: What's next? SAG winners talk Oscars, their future backstage

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Filed under: Award Shows • Awards • Entertainment • Hollywood
January 10th, 2013
06:01 AM ET

Nischelle Turner previews the 'pro-bowl announcement of entertainment'; the Oscar nominations

Hollywood is abuzz this morning in anticipation for the big announcement Tinseltown has been waiting to hear for months. In just a few hours, Seth MacFarlane and Emma Stone will name the nominees for the 85th Academy Awards. As CNN’s Nischelle Turner tells it, “the campaign for best picture is about to get real.” She has a preview for us live from Hollywood.

“As many as 10 movies could be nominated for best picture,” Turner says. She names Steven Spielberg's Civil War drama, “Lincoln,” as a top candidate sure to land a number of nominations. Its star studded cast includes the obvious nominee, Daniel Day-Lewis, in the lead role. Other titles sure to be named are "Les Mis", "Argo", "Zero Dark Thirty" and "Life of Pi", Deadline.com's Pete Hammond tells her.  "Silver Linings Playbook" should score nominations for best picture and for its stars—Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro, who's been facing an Oscar dryspell,” Turner reports.

But there’s drama in naming the nominees as much as there is the nominees themselves. “Among the possible Oscar nominees, one movie stands out as a major question mark.” It’s a wonder what Oscar voters will make of Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained"? Some critics have accused Tarantino of trivializing slavery in the film while others have lauded the picture greatly. “The controversy should make for a suspenseful Oscar nomination announcement.”

Filed under: Awards • Entertainment • Film • Hollywood • Movies