De Niro: Once inspiring, US now tragic dumb comedy


De Niro: Once inspiring, US now tragic dumb comedy

PROVIDENCE, R.I.

Robert De Niro says that “in movie terms,” the country was once “an inspiring uplifting drama” but now has turned into “a tragic dumb*** comedy.”

The two-time, Oscar-winning actor spoke to Brown University graduates Sunday at the Ivy League school’s commencement ceremonies. He urged them to “work to stop the insanity” and to strive to make the world better.

De Niro received an honorary doctorate of fine arts.

Actor and rapper Daveed Diggs, who won a Tony Award for his role in the phenomenon “Hamilton,” also was among those who received honorary degrees. Diggs told the graduates that the country needs their new ideas “because the old ones have made a mess of things.”

Travolta donates plane to aviation group

LOS ANGELES

John Travolta has donated his personal vintage Boeing 707 airplane to a restoration group in Australia.

He said Friday that the plane will require maintenance before the trip from his Florida home to the Historical Aircraft Restoration Society in Albion Park, about 90 miles from Sydney.

The craft, which the society hopes to keep in the air, was originally in the Qantas fleet, delivered in 1964 and later converted to private use.

The actor, a pilot, hopes to be on board when the plane makes it voyage to Australia. The timing of that is uncertain.

Travolta said he has fond memories of the plane and is pleased it will continue to fly “well into the future.”

Prince Charles gets honorary degree in Transylvania

BUCHAREST, ROMANIA

A Transylvanian university says Prince Charles has received an honorary degree for his devotion to Romania at the start of a private visit to the East European country.

The rector of Cluj’s Babes-Bolyai University, Ioan Aurel Popa, bestowed the “doctor honoris causa” distinction on the prince Monday for his role as “a real protector of Transylvania and Romania.”

Charles, who is enamored of Romania, told students and professors gathered for the ceremony said he was enticed by the “hilly, woody and fertile landscape,” he encountered in Transylvania 20 years ago.

Springsteen surprises crowd at Van Zandt show

RED BANK, N.J.

Bruce Springsteen surprised concertgoers in New Jersey with a performance during the encore of a Steven Van Zandt show.

Count Basie Theatre executive Jon Vena said Monday the crowd “erupted” when Van Zandt introduced Springsteen during the Saturday show as “a friend who’s out of work.”

Springsteen emerged on stage during the encore and played four songs, including “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out” and a cover of Marvin Gaye’s “Can I Get a Witness.”

Van Zandt is a member of Springsteen’s E Street Band.

Associated Press

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