Longtime country singer, songwriter Mel Tillis dies at 85
Mel Tillis, the affable longtime country star who wrote hits for Kenny Rogers, Ricky Skaggs and many others, and overcame a stutter to sing on dozens of his own singles, has died.
A spokesman for Tillis, Don Murry Grubbs, said Tillis died early Sunday at Munroe Regional Medical Center in Ocala, Fla. He was 85.
Grubbs said Tillis battled intestinal issues since 2016 and never fully recovered. The suspected cause of death is respiratory failure.
Tillis, the father of country singer Pam Tillis, recorded more than 60 albums and had more than 30 top 10 country singles, including “Good Woman Blues,” “Coca Cola Cowboy” and “Southern Rain.” Among the hits he wrote for others were “Detroit City” for Bobby Bare; “Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town,” by Rogers and the First Edition; and “Thoughts of a Fool” for George Strait.
Although his early efforts to get a record deal were rebuffed because of his stutter, he was a promising songwriter in Nashville in the 1950s and 1960s, writing tunes for Webb Pierce and Ray Price.
In all, the Country Music Hall of Fame member wrote more than 1,000 songs and in 2012 received a National Medal of Arts for bringing “his unique blend of warmth and humor to the great tradition of country music.”
He also dabbled in acting, appearing in such feature films as Clint Eastwood’s “Every Which Way But Loose,” and the Burt Reynolds movies “Cannonball Run I and II” and “Smokey and the Bandit II.” He starred in several television movies and briefly had a network TV show, “Mel and Susan Together,” with Susan Anton.
‘Justice League’ disappoints in US with $96M opening
Only in the modern era of superhero films could a $96 million opening weekend be considered anything less than impressive. But that’s the situation Warner Bros. and DC’s “Justice League” find themselves in.
The big budget superhero mashup came in well under expectations, which had pegged it for a $110 million launch in North American theaters. If studio estimates hold, it will also have the dubious distinction of being the lowest-opening film in the DC Extended Universe.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to comScore. Where available, the latest international numbers for Friday through Sunday are also included. Final domestic figures will be released today.
1. “Justice League,” $96 million ($185.5 million international).
2.“Wonder,” $27.1 million ($310,000 international).
3. “Thor: Ragnarok,” $21.8 million ($24.1 million international).
4. “Daddy’s Home 2,” $14.8 million.
5. “Murder on the Orient Express,” $13.8 million ($20.7 million international).
Musicians unite at AMAs in wake of tumultuous year
The 2017 American Music Awards on Sunday marked a night of unison, positive vibes and American pride as musicians spoke about coming together in a year dominated by natural disasters, violence and divisive politics.
Bruno Mars was not in attendance at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. Mars, on tour in South America, picked up multiple awards, including artist of the year.
Iconic entertainer Diana Ross was honored with Lifetime Achievement Award.
Another highlight of the night came when Linkin Park – whose lead singer Chester Bennington killed himself earlier this year – won favorite alternative rock artist.
Like Mars, Keith Urban also won multiple awards, including favorite country album, country male artist and country song.