Carry On actress Liz Fraser dies aged 88

Carry On film star Liz Fraser has died aged 88 and director Michael Armstrong has led tributes to the late actress.

The late Carry On film star's death was announced today, and director Michael Armstrong has described her as "one of the greatest comedic actresses of her era".

He wrote on Twitter: "My lovely Liz Fraser has died. I'm too upset to speak of our personal relationship over the years but will state: as one of the greatest comedic actresses of her era on stage & screen.

"Her legacy of work will serve as a masterclass for future generations. RIP, dearest Liz. X"

A tweet on the British Comedy Society's Twitter account read: "We're very sad to learn that the wonderful comic actor Liz Fraser, star of many post-war TV, radio and film comedies, has died at the age of 88. She was a delight. Seen here in Carry On Cruising."

Elstree Studios chairman Morris Bright tweeted: "Sad to hear of passing of lovely actress Liz Fraser at 88. Fun, bubbly, irascible, she worked with the very best of British comedy talent from Hancock to Sellers.

"Always a delight to welcome her to events @PinewoodStudios to talk about her long career. We had such fun."

Liz made her Carry On debut as Delia King in 1961's Carry On Regardless and went on to play Glad Trimble in 1962's Carry On Cruising, and Sally in Carry On Cabby alongside Hattie Jacques in 1963.

She is said to have been dropped from the franchise after making a comment about how the movie series could be better marketed.

But Liz did return to the franchise 12 years later as Sylvia Ramsden in 1975's Carry On Behind, which also featured Kenneth Williams, but she is said to have been paid less than half the salary she was previously on.

Liz's first big role in film came in 1959 when she appeared as Peter Sellers' on-screen daughter Cynthia in I'm All Right Jack, and she went on to play his girlfriend in 1960 movie 'Two Way Stretch'.

She previously claimed the late actor tried to seduce her on numerous occasions.

Liz said: "He wined and dined me at his Hampstead penthouse and another time locked me in his dressing room having invited me there for lunch.

"He had treated a girlfriend of mine badly, so I didn't quite go there."

Liz played Ian Lavender's on-screen mum Mrs. Pike in the 1971 film version of TV show Dad's Army, and starred opposite Julie Andrews in 1964 Hollywood movie The Americanisation of Emily.


Liz Fraser. Source: Bang Showbiz



Bert and Ernie aren't gay, Sesame Street insists as persistent puppet sexuality rumours swell again

On again off again gay rights icons Bert and Ernie aren't gay. Repeat: The famous puppets are not in a same-sex relationship.

That's the word from the producers of Sesame Street, who had to quell rumours about the duo's personal life yet again today after the theory - oft repeated over the show's nearly 50-year history -- was stoked by an interview with a former writer.

"I always felt that without a huge agenda, when I was writing Bert & Ernie, they were (gay)," said Mark Saltzman, who wrote for the show throughout most of the 1980s, in an interview with LGBTQ website Queerty.

"I don't think I'd know how else to write them, but as a loving couple... Because how else?"

Mr Saltzman said he was inspired to write their loving interactions and minor quibbles by his own relationship.

But in a tweet this morning, Sesame Street issued a statement insisting that "they remain puppets, and do not have a sexual orientation".

"As we have always said, Bert and Ernie are best friends," producers said. "They were created to teach preschoolers that people can be good friends with those who are very different from themselves."

A writer previously revealed he wrote the roommates as a gay couple, but Sesame Workshop says none of the show’s puppets have a sexual orientation. Source: 1 NEWS


Award-winning thriller hitting Auckland stage - 'It will make you squeal'

There's an award-winning thriller showing in Auckland this week, and not in the movies, but on stage.

Māori playwright Albert Belz and director Tainui Tukiwaho are presenting Cradle Song, and they say the genre is fairly new to Kiwi theatres, as 1 NEWS' Laura Twyman discovers. 

A Māori playwright and director are behind Cradle Song, with a genre they say is fairly new to Kiwi theatres. Source: Breakfast

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Asia Argento threatens Rose McGowan with legal action for telling 'horrendous lies'

Asia Argento has threatened Rose McGowan with legal action for the alleged "horrendous lies" she told about her.

The 42-year-old actress was accused last month of having sexually assaulted a 17-year-old boy in 2013, and fellow actress Rose - who had become friends with Asia after they both accused Harvey Weinstein of sexual misconduct - later said she was "heartbroken" by the accusations.

Now, Asia has issued a statement to Rose via Twitter, claiming she has 24 hours to retract her previous comments, before the actress takes "immediate legal action".

Her tweet read: "Dear @RoseMcGowan. It is with genuine regret that I am giving you 24 hours to retract and apologise for the horrendous lies made against me in your statement of August 27th.

"If you fail to address this libel I will have no option other than to take immediate legal action."

In Rose's statement, she urged the actress to be "honest and fair" following allegations that she had reached a $US380,000 settlement with Jimmy Bennett at the end of last year, after he accused her of sexual assault.

The 45-year-old actress wrote: "Asia you were my friend. I loved you. You've spent and risked a lot to stand with the MeToo movement. I really hope you find your way through this process to rehabilitation and betterment.

"Anyone can be be better- I hope you can be, too. Do the right thing. Be honest. Be fair. Let justice stay its course. Be the person you wish Harvey could have been."

Italian actress and MeToo activist Asia Argento. Source: Associated Press


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Game of Thrones, Mrs. Maisel triumph at Emmys

Amazon's The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel became the first streaming series to win top Emmy comedy honours and HBO's Game of Thrones recaptured the best drama series award today a ceremony that largely slighted its most ethnically diverse field of nominees ever.

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Amazon's freshman sitcom about an unhappy 1950s homemaker liberated by stand-up comedy, earned best actress honours for star Rachel Brosnahan.

Her castmate Alex Borstein earned the supporting actress trophy and the series creator, Amy Sherman-Palladino, nabbed writing and directing awards.

Claire Foy of The Crown and Matthew Rhys of The Americans won top drama acting Emmys, their first trophies for the roles and last chance to claim them, with Foy's role as Queen Elizabeth II going to another actress and Rhys' show wrapped.

The field bested by Foy included last year's winner Elisabeth Moss for The Handmaid's Tale and Sandra Oh of Killing Eve, who would have been the first actor of Asian descent to get a top drama award.

"This wasn't supposed to happen," said a startled Foy.

Game of Thrones, which sat out last year's Emmys because of scheduling, won despite competition from defending champ The Handmaid's Tale.

"Thank you for letting us take care of your people," Game of Thrones producer D.B. Weiss said to George R.R. Martin, whose novels fuel the drama.

In a ceremony that started out congratulating TV academy voters for the most ethnically diverse field of nominees ever, the early awards all went to whites.

"Let's get it trending: #EmmysSoWhite," presenter James Corden joked at the midway point, riffing off an earlier tribute to Betty White.

"I want to say six awards, all white winners, and nobody has thanked Jesus yet," co-host Michael Che said, referring back to his earlier joke that only African-American and Republican winners do.

Then Regina King broke the string, with a best actress trophy in a limited series or movie for Seven Seconds, which tracks the fallout from a white police officer's traffic accident involving a black teenager.

She was followed by Darren Criss, who won the lead acting award for the miniseries The Assassination of Gianni Versace and who is of Filipino descent.

Thandie Newton won best supporting drama actress for Westworld, and Peter Dinklage added a third trophy to his collection for Game of Thrones.

Brosnahan used her acceptance speech to give a shout-out to her comedy's celebration of women power.

"It's about a woman who's finding her voice anew, and it's one of the things that's happening all over the country now," she said. She urged the audience to exercise that power by voting.

Bill Hader collected the best comedy actor award for Barry, a dark comedy about a hired killer who stumbles into a possible acting career.

Henry Winkler, aka 'The Fonz', won a supporting actor award - his first Emmy - for Barry, four decades after gaining fame for his role in Happy Days.

"If you stay at the table long enough, the chips come to you. Tonight, I got to clear the table," an ebullient Winkler said, with an equally delighted auditorium audience rising to give him a standing ovation. To his grown children, he said: "You can go to bed now, daddy won!"

The biggest award so far won by a broadcast network was Saturday Night Live for best variety sketch series.

The Emmys had a real-life dramatic moment when winning director Glenn Weiss, noting his mother had died two weeks ago, proposed to his girlfriend, Jan Svendsen.

"You wonder why I don't want to call you my girlfriend? It's because I want to call you my wife," Weiss said. She said yes, he put his mother's ring on her finger and the crowd whooped and cheered.

John Oliver, in picking up the trophy for best variety talk show award for Last Week Tonight, thanked Weiss' girlfriend for giving the right answer or, he joked, the whole ceremony could have gone south.

The Emmys kicked off with a song, We Solved It, a celebration to the diversity of nominees sung by stars including Kate McKinnon and Kenan Thompson. The tune included a mention that Oh could become the first woman of Asian descent to win an Emmy. "There were none, now there's one, so we're done," the comedians sang.

Oh played along from her seat: "Thank you, but it's an honor just to be Asian," said the Korean-Canadian actress.

Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels, producing his second Emmy telecast in 30 years, was tasked with turning viewership around after the 2017 show's audience of 11.4 million narrowly avoided the embarrassment of setting a new low.

The ceremony clearly bore his stamp, with Che and Jost as hosts and familiar SNL faces, including Kate McKinnon and Alec Baldwin, as presenters and nominees. The long-running NBC sketch show, already the top Emmy winner ever with 71, won again for best variety sketch series.

The pressure's on Michaels because NBC and other broadcasters are increasingly reliant on awards and other live events to draw viewers distracted by streaming and more 21st- century options. The networks, which air the Emmy telecast on a rotating basis, are so eager for the ad dollars it generates and its promotional value for fall shows that they endure online competitors sharing the stage.

The cast of Game of Thrones poses backstage after winning the award for outstanding drama series at the 70th Primetime Emmy Awards at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. Source: Associated Press