Will Smith, Jada Pinkett launch new media venture

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith are looking to expand their brands under a new corporate umbrella.

The Hollywood power couple on Wednesday announced the launch of a new media venture.

According to a statement, Westbrook Inc. will be a cross-platform holding company “formed to execute the Smith family’s global content and commerce business strategy.”

In a statement, the couple said Westbrook’s mission is “to spread positive ideas, art and products that entertain and empower the greatest number of lives.”

Westbrook Studios will serve as the studio home to all new premium TV and motion picture projects. It currently serves “Red Table Talk,” the Facebook Watch series featuring Pinkett Smith, Willow Smith and Adrienne Banfield-Norris.

The company will also develop projects as starring vehicles for Will Smith.

Actor Rip Torn dies at 88 at his home

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Rip Torn, the free-spirited Texan who overcame his quirky name to become a distinguished actor in television, theater, and movies, such as “Men in Black,” and win an Emmy in his 60s for “The Larry Sanders Show,” has died. He was 88.

Torn died Tuesday afternoon at his home with his wife, Amy Wright, and daughters Katie Torn and Angelica Page by his side, according to his publicist Rick Miramontez.

No cause of death was given.

His work on stage and screen spanned seven decades, ranging from an early career of dark, threatening roles to iconic comedic performances later in life.

After acclaimed performances in “Cross Creek,” ‘’Sweet Bird of Youth” and other dramas, Torn turned to comedy to capture his Emmy as the bombastic, ethically challenged television producer in “The Larry Sanders Show.”

Created by and starring Garry Shandling, HBO’s spoof of TV talk shows aired from 1992 to 1998 and is widely credited with inspiring such satirical programs as “30 Rock” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”

Torn played Agent Zed in the first two “Men in Black,” movies, which starred Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith.

Born Elmore Rual Torn, the actor adopted the name Rip in his boyhood, following the tradition of his father and uncle.

It was the subject of endless ridicule during his early days as a stage actor in New York, and fellow drama students urged him to change it.

Italian screen diva Cortese dead at 96

ROME (AP) — Valentina Cortese, an Italian post-war screen diva who was nominated for a best supporting actress Oscar but lost out to Ingrid Bergman, died on Wednesday. She was 96.

Milan Mayor Giuseppe Sala announced the death of the Milan-born actress in a tweet, thanking Cortese for having “given us marvelous and unforgettable” performances on the screen and stage.

Cortese was a popular muse for leading Italian directors including Michelangelo Antonioni and Franco Zeffirelli.

She garnered an Oscar nomination in 1975 playing a fading diva in Francois Truffaut’s “Day for Night,” a movie about making movies.

While Cortese didn’t win the Academy Award for best-supporting actress, she was showered with praise by the actress who did clinch it that year: Ingrid Bergman for her performance in “Murder on the Orient Express.”

In an elegant acceptance speech devoted to Cortese, Bergman said the Italian actress had given “the most beautiful performance” in “Day for Night” by playing an aging actress who forgets her lines like “all we actresses” do sooner or later.

“I’m her rival, and I don’t like it at all,” Berman said and gestured toward a smiling Cortese in the audience. “Please forgive me, Valentina.”

In an odd twist, the Truffaut film had won in the best foreign language film category a year earlier. But Cortese was only nominated the following year in the supporting actress category.

Cortese won acclaim too as a stage actress.

Her performances at Milan’s Piccolo Theater included roles in works by Brecht, Goldoni and Pirandello, directed by Giorgio Strehler, one of the theater’s co-founders and a long-time companion.

The theater will hold a wake for her on today and Friday.

Alonzo calls book a ‘mixtape memoir’

NEW YORK (AP) — Cristela Alonzo is telling her story in words and music, what she calls a “mixtape memoir.”

The actress and producer’s book, “Music to My Years,” comes out Oct. 8.

She will track her rise from living with her family in an abandoned diner to her fame as creator and star of the sitcom “Cristela.”

She is also a stand-up performer featured in the Netflix special “Lower Classy.”

The link is music and television and how they helped define moments in her life, such as the time the theme to the TV show “The Golden Girls” led to a trip to the principal’s office.

In a statement issued Wednesday through Atria Books, Alonzo said she wasn’t inspired by “ego” but out of a desire to connect her story to others.

“Also,” she says of her book, “there’s jokes in it.”