Nov. 28 Entertainment Briefs

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Atwood writing ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ sequel, out in 2019

NEW YORK (AP) — Thanks to public demand, and a certain American president, Margaret Atwood is writing a sequel to her million-selling “The Handmaid’s Tale.” “The Testaments” will be published next September by Nan A. Talese/Doubleday, the publisher announced Wednesday. The book is set 15 years after the final scene of Offred, narrator of “The Handmaid’s Tale.” Atwood’s novel about a dystopian society in the imagined land of Gilead was a best seller when first published in 1985 and was back on the charts after Donald Trump’s election in 2016. The novel is also the basis for an acclaimed miniseries on Hulu. Atwood, a Canadian author, said in a statement that the sequel was inspired by readers’ questions about Gilead and by the “world we’ve been living in.”

Developer plans to update home previously owned by Franklin

DETROIT (AP) — A real estate developer who recently bought the Detroit mansion owned by late singing legend Aretha Franklin plans to renovate the home. Anthony Kellum, president of Michigan-based Kellum Mortgage, announced Tuesday that he purchased the 5,600-square-foot (520-square-meter) brick home adjacent to the Detroit Golf Club that fetched $300,000 last month. Kellum says he plans to update the home built in 1927. He says it has been vacant for 10 years and requires “major renovations to restore its original beauty.” The Detroit News reports Franklin bought the home in 1993 but nearly lost it in 2008 due to unpaid property taxes. Franklin’s 4,148-square-foot (385-square-meter) Colonial-style house in suburban Detroit’s Bloomfield Township still is listed for $800,000 . Franklin died of pancreatic cancer in August in her Detroit riverfront apartment. She was 76.

‘Spongebob’ creator Stephen Hillenburg dies at 57

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Stephen Hillenburg, who used his dual loves of drawing and marine biology to spawn the absurd undersea world of “SpongeBob SquarePants,” has died, Nickelodeon announced Tuesday. Hillenburg died Monday of Lou Gehrig’s disease, also known as ALS, the cable network said in a statement. He was 57. He had announced he had the disease in March 2017. His death comes just weeks after the passing of another cartoon hero in Marvel creator Stan Lee. Hillenburg conceived, wrote, produced and directed the animated series that began in 1999 and bloomed into hundreds of episodes, movies and a Broadway show. The eternally, obliviously jolly SpongeBob and his yell-along theme song that opened “Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?!” quickly appealed to college kids and parents as much as it did kids. “The essence of the show is that SpongeBob is an innocent in a world of jaded characters,” Hillenburg told The Associated Press in 2001. “The rest is absurd packaging.”

Oprah Winfrey’s mother, Vernita Lee, dies at 83

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Oprah Winfrey’s mother, Vernita Lee, has died at the age of 83. A Winfrey spokeswoman on Monday issued a statement saying Lee died at her Milwaukee home on Nov. 22. The spokeswoman says private funeral services were held. No other details were provided. Lee was a teenager when she gave birth to Winfrey in Mississippi in 1954. They moved to Milwaukee when Winfrey was 6-years-old. Lee was featured getting a makeover on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” in 1990. Lee is also survived by another daughter, Patricia Amanda, and four grandchildren. She was predeceased by a son, Jeffrey, and by a daughter, Patricia.