Cause of death confirmed
"Breaking Bad" actor Mike Batayeh's cause of death has reportedly been confirmed by the Washtenaw County Medical Examiner's Office in Michigan. The actor and comic, who was best known for playing the laundromat manager Dennis Markowski on the award-winning series, died at his Michigan home on June 1. He was 52. Mike's sister initially told TMZ the actor had died in sleep of an apparent heart attack. On June 13, however, the New York Post reported an email from the medical examiner's office indicated a cause of death consistent with suicide. "He will be greatly missed by those who loved him and his great ability to bring laughter and joy to so many," his family said in a statement issued on 1 June. In addition to his recurring role on "Breaking Bad," Mike appeared on episodes of shows including "The Bernie Mac Show," "Boy Meets World," "CSI: Miami" and "Everybody Loves Raymond," among others.
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John Lennon gets the AI treatment
Artificial intelligence has come for John Lennon. In a BBC Radio 4 interview published this week, Paul McCartney revealed plans to release a "final" Beatles song featuring an AI-enhanced, "pure" version of John's voice that was originally recorded on an old demo tape. "So when we came to make what will be the last Beatles record – it was a demo that John had – that we worked on and we just finished it up, it will be released this year," Paul said. "We were able to take John's voice and get it pure through this AI so then we could mix the record as you would normally do. It gives you some sort of leeway. So there is a good side to it and then a scary side, and we will just have to see where that leads." The use of AI in music and other recorded artforms has raised plenty of eyebrows, particularly with regard to ethical concerns about posthumous recordings. "[It's] kind of scary, but exciting because it's the future," he added of the technology.
He also pointed out that Peter Jackson used AI to isolate John's voice for the 2021 Beatles doc, "Get Back." Paul gave no further details on the demo or the new song, but experts have speculated it will be John's song "Now And Then," which appeared on a demo tape circa 1978, two years before his death, according to the New York Times.
Vanna White reacts
Pat Sajak's longtime "Wheel of Fortune" co-star, Vanna White, is speaking out about news of Pat's impending retirement. "When we started @WheelofFortune who could have imagined we'd still be at it 41 seasons later?" Vanna tweeted on Tuesday, June 13. "I couldn't be happier to have shared the stage with you for all these years with one more to come. Cheers to you, @patsajak!" Pat, 76, revealed on Twitter Monday that he'll say goodbye to his longtime TV post after the 2023-2024 season wraps up. "Well, the time has come," he wrote, in part. "I've decided that our 41st season, which begins in September, will be my last." Pat added that his tenue has been "a wonderful ride," promising he'd "have more to say in the coming months." As of Tuesday, there was no word on his replacement, but fans on Twitter were already campaigning for Vanna, 66, to trade in her letter-turning gig for Pat's host job. Over on "The View," meanwhile, Whoopi Goldberg volunteered, telling her co-hosts, "I want that job! I think it'd be lots of fun."
$1M payment plans revealed
The final legal stage in Johnny Depp and Amber Heard's bitter defamation battle has come to an end. On Tuesday, June 13, People reported Amber paid her ex-husband the $1 million settlement she agreed to in December following appeals filed by both stars to the original Virginia jury's verdict in 2022. A source close to Johnny told the outlet he intends to donate $200,000 of the money to each of five charities. The reported beneficiaries include a mix of organizations supporting children with serious illnesses and environmental conservation groups: Make-A-Film, The Painted Turtle, Red Feather, Teitaroa Society and Amazonia Fund Alliance.
Johnny initially sued Amber for defamation over her 2018 Washington Post op-ed about domestic abuse. She countersued Johnny and his lawyers for defamation related to claims made about their marital struggles. Jurors ultimately found both stars defamed each other, but awarded significantly more money in damages to Johnny. They both filed appeals and agreed to settle in December. At the time, Amber released a statement asserting the settlement "is not a concession," but rather a self-protection measure after the "humiliation" and trauma she suffered during the initial proceedings.
Presley trust settlement: New details
In May 2023, after months of tension over who would control Lisa Marie Presley's estate in the wake of her death, the late star's mother, Priscilla Presley and daughter, Riley Keough, arrived at a mostly confidential settlement agreement. Now, new details about that agreement have emerged. On Monday, June 12, Riley petitioned the court to approve the agreement, which names the "Daisy Jones" actress as the estate's sole trustee. As such, she'll also inherit Graceland and manage the sub-trusts that were set up for her younger twin sisters, Harper and Finley Lockwood, Entertainment Tonight reported on Tuesday. Priscilla, who previously sought sole control of the estate, will instead be named trustee of a sub-trust for her son, Lisa Marie's brother, Navarone Garibaldi. Riley's lawyer notes Priscilla planned to charge a trustee fee were she granted control of the estate, but Riley won't charge one. Instead, Priscilla will get a one-time, lump sum payment from the Presley family trust. She'll also serve as Special Adviser to the Trust, for which Riley will pay her on a monthly basis. (No dollar amounts have been made public in the documents, per ET.) Finally, the agreement states Priscilla is to be buried as close to her late husband, Elvis Presley, as possible without moving the gravesites at Graceland.
As for the trust's future, Riley's lawyer says in the petition that the actress will "[safeguard and invest the money] in a manner consistent with the needs of the beneficiaries, and not influenced by the desire of a Trustee." Of the nine beneficiaries, Navarone will get one ninth of the trust, with the remaining money and assets to be split between Lisa Marie's three daughters, Riley, Finely and Harper. Lisa Marie, Elvis Presley's only child, died in January 2023. She was 54.
At 58, Hoda Kotb has some anxiety about being an older parent as she raises two young daughters. She also has a game plan for staying positive about whether she'll be able to celebrate the girls' big life moments with them. "I look at my mom, who's 86, and I think to myself, 'OK, what's the difference here between me and her? Thirty [years]. OK, that's kind of good …," the "Today" anchor explained tp Bethenny Frankel on a recent edition of her "Just B" podcast, per Page Six. "So I add 30 to Haley and I add 30 to Hope. And I think to myself, won't that be spectacular? I can do that, wouldn't that be amazing?" Hoda continued. "Do I get to see them get married? Maybe, that would be really good. Or do I get to see them have a child? Maybe. That would be really good." Hoda announced she'd adopted Haley back in 2017, followed by Hope, whom she adopted in 2019. A medical complication sent Hope to the ICU for more than a week earlier this year. Asked about her daughter's ongoing recovery in May, Hoda told People, "I think it's going to be a longer road, but she is doing great."
On Tuesday, June 13, former President Donald Trump was arraigned at a federal courthouse in Miami. He pleaded not guilty to 37 criminal charges related to his alleged mishandling of classified government documents he took with him to his Florida estate after leaving office. Among other things, the former president is accused of jeopardizing the security of U.S. defense secrets, withholding national defense information and violating the Espionage Act. The New York Times reported that only nine people witnessed the actual arraignment. But thousands more weighed in on the proceedings on social media, including celebrities like Meghan McCain, politicians like Al Franken (and Trump himself) and sports figures like O.J. Simpson. O.J., for his part, offered Trump "some advice from the greatest legal minds of our generation, from my lifetime." He continued: "The one thing they all told me and stressed to me is do not talk about the case publicly. Do not do interviews about the case. I don't know if Donald's lawyers are stressing this to him. If they're not, he should fire them and sue them." See how more stars are reacting the arraignment right here on Wonderwall.