Saturday, November 30, 2013

Publicist: 'Fast & Furious' star dies in car crash Nov. 30, 2013, 10:23 PM EST LOS ANGELES (AP) — Paul Walker, the star of the "Fast and Furious" movie series, died Saturday in a car crash that killed one other person north of Los Angeles, his publicist said. He was 40. Walker died Saturday afternoon, Ame Van Iden told The Associated Press. A statement on the actor's Facebook page said he was a passenger in a friend's car, and that Walker was in the area to attend a charity event for his organization Reach Out Worldwide. "We ... are stunned and saddened beyond belief by this news," the statement said. The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said that deputies found a car engulfed in flames when they responded to a report of a collision in the community of Valencia. Two people who were found in the car were pronounced dead at the scene. The Santa Clarita Signal reports a red Porsche crashed into a light pole and tree and burst into flames. Bing: More about Paul Walker Walker was working on "Fast & Furious 7" at the time of his death. He also starred in the suspense drama, "Hours," which is set for release this month. Walker rode the "Fast & Furious" franchise to stardom, starring in all but one of the six action blockbusters, beginning with the first film in 2001. The blond-haired, blue-eyed Los Angeles-native brought California surfer good-looks and an easy, warm charm to the popular street-racing series. "All of us at Universal are heartbroken," Universal Pictures said in a statement. "Paul was truly one of the most beloved and respected members of our studio family for 14 years, and this loss is devastating to us, to everyone involved with the 'Fast and Furious' films, and to countless fans." The son of a fashion model and a sewer contractor, Walker grew up in a working class, Mormon Los Angeles household. The oldest of five siblings, Walker's mother began taking him to auditions as a toddler. He was a child model beginning at the age of 2. Walker has said the early induction to show business wasn't to start him on a career path, but as a way to help provide for the family. After a string of TV roles as a child in the '80s, Walker made his feature film debut in the 1998 comedy "Meet the Deedles." Supporting roles in the films "Pleasantville," ''Varsity Blues" and "She's All That" followed. His performance in the 2000 thriller "The Skulls" caught the eye of producer Neal H. Moritz, who cast him in "The Fast and the Furious" as undercover police officer Brian O'Conner. Adapted from a Vibe magazine article about underground street races, the film became an unexpected hit. In the sequel, "2 Fast 2 Furious," Walker moved to center stage with his co-star Vin Diesel momentarily dropping out. Walker, a self-described "gearhead," kept his character's sports car from the film. Walker starred in other films, including the crime thriller "Running Scared," the Antarctic adventure "Eight Below" and the heist film "Takers." Though his stardom didn't make as much of an impact outside the "Fast & Furious" series, Walker continually drew praise from his co-stars and directors as a kind-hearted and eager collaborator. And "Fast & Furious" proved unusually enduring. Released in May, "Fast & Furious 6" was the most lucrative of them all, grossing more than $788 million worldwide. The seventh installment began shooting in September, with a release planned for July. "Your humble spirit was felt from the start," said Ludacris, Walker's "Fast & Furious" co-star, on Twitter. "Wherever you blessed your presence you always left a mark, we were like brothers." Walker is survived by his 15-year-old daughter.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Bosnia futball

ST. LOUIS (AP) - Lionel Messi's last-minute scratch from Argentina's exhibition soccer game against Bosnia on Monday night isn't dampening excitement in St. Louis, home to one of the largest Bosnian communities outside Sarajevo. The four-time world player of the year injured his leg a week ago while playing for FC Barcelona and isn't expected to return until 2014. Argentina had been considered one the early World Cup favorites, though Argentine coach Alejandro Sabella discounted such talk at a Sunday press conference. He singled out Germany and host Brazil as teams to beat. ''The media says that we are the favorites,'' he said. ''We don't.'' Messi would likely still have been a secondary attraction for the 70,000 Bosnians who have settled in St. Louis over the past two decades after war in the former Yugoslavia. The Bosnia-Herzegovina national team will join traditional power Argentina in the 2014 World Cup for its first appearance as an independent nation. After narrowly missing out berths in the 2010 World Cup and 2012 European Championships, that's an enormous point of pride in a country still beset by poverty, more than 25 percent unemployment and ethnic division among Bosnian Muslims, Serbs and Croats. Bosnia's appearance before what should be a highly partisan ''home'' crowd wasn't assured until Vedad Ibisevic scored in the 68th minute of a 1-0 win over Lithuania in mid-October. Ibisevic's family was among the many displaced by a conflict that killed over 100,000 people. He moved to St. Louis as a teen and starred for a city high school and one season at Saint Louis University before turning pro. He plays in the Bundesliga, Germany's top division. Bosnia is also led by Manchester City striker Edin Dzeko and German-born playmaker Zvjezdan Misimovic. The national team's arrival was just about all 16-year-old Adnan Abdic could talk about as he helped his father and uncle at a merchandise stand they set up Saturday outside a Bosnian-owned market in Bevo Mill, the south St. Louis neighborhood once home to German immigrants a century ago. The high school junior watched national team's 2-1 exhibition loss to Mexico at Soldier Field in Chicago in May 2012 and has tickets for Monday's game. ''It's been crazy,'' he said, describing not only the walk-up sales of blue and yellow jerseys and pennants but the team's visits to the Bosnian bakeries, restaurants, taverns and nightclubs that have revitalized the once-declining neighborhood. ''The players are stars here.'' The international exhibition at Busch Stadium is the second this year. An overflow crowd of 48,263 attended Manchester City's 4-3 exhibition win over rival Chelsea in May. And an August friendly between Real Madrid and Inter Milan drew more than 54,000 to the Edward Jones Dome, home of the St. Louis Rams. Read More: