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Peta’s DWTS Blog: ‘It’s a Very Strange Feeling’ Being Charlie’s Partner This Week

Dancing With the Stars

04/07/2014 at 08:00 AM EDT

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Peta Murgatroyd and Charlie White


Peta Murgatroyd is a former Dancing with the Stars champion, winning the coveted mirror-ball trophy in season 14 – only her second season on the series – with Donald Driver. The Australia native will blog for PEOPLE about competing with Big Time Rush band member James Maslow during the show’s 18th season.

I think James’s bullying package during last week’s show was such a strong message for kids in school. Bullying happens everywhere, all over the world, and usually, most kids have a story dealing with it. I think he just wanted to share the message with everybody that everything is going to be all right if you stay strong and keep pushing through with your dreams.

I’m glad he went with the bullying angle for his most memorable year, because we had another option to tell the story of his life on the road with Big Time Rush. We both sort of felt that wasn’t enough to tell. We needed to show the real James who has struggled with his weight – not just the James people already know by watching the show. I think people assume that those who are so heavily in the spotlight have looked a certain way their entire life and that it’s been easy.

James is so dedicated to health and fitness. He really takes it seriously. When everyone else is grabbing crappy snacks and fatty stuff to eat, he always opts for the healthier snack. It’s great for me, too, because sometimes I get in the habit of eating whatever is in the dance studio. There are granola bars and packs of chips, which are okay once in a while, but he is like, “Peta, no, let’s order in food.” So, we order salads and vegetables and stuff like that. He’s just on this health kick and he looks amazing. He’s a sexy guy.

But I can’t make all the talk about James. I have to focus my energy on a different partner this week for cast change-ups.

It’s a very strange feeling being paired with Charlie [White] this week. We get along like a house on fire. He’s so funny and so sweet, but I’m still obviously in contact with James. We’ve been texting and calling each other just to check up and see how each other’s dances are going. It’s just weird because I’m thinking about camera blocking and how I’m not going to be with James. I’m going to be with Charlie, and even though it isn’t what I’m used to, it’s been a ton of fun.

Charlie has a crazy schedule, so it’s been a hell of a week. We’re performing a rumba and it’s looking really, really good. I’m very impressed with him. It’s Disney week, so we’re excited about that.

Charlie is such a hard worker. I feel like I’ve had a pro-dancer in the room with me. He’s literally a dancer. I don’t have to teach him much at all. He just does it. I’ve been very lucky.

Related Video: ‘DWTS’ Rehearsal with Peta and James

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Source: Peta’s DWTS Blog: ‘It’s a Very Strange Feeling’ Being Charlie’s Partner This Week

First Dibs: Film Legend Mickey Rooney Dies At 93

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Brittany Daniel steams up Big Morning Buzz Live, HBO falls short on one of its biggest nights, and Chiwetel Ejiofor could turn into a bad guy.

  • Hollywood lost a legend late last night, as the world learned Mickey Rooney died. The short-statured star began his career in vaudeville, with his talent leading him through nearly 80 years in show business. He was with his family in Los Angeles when he passed away. [USA Today]
  • Did you catch The Game‘s Brittany Daniel on Big Morning Buzz Live last week? If not, we’re hitting you with her interview, where she describes her romantic role on the BET series.

  • Looks like HBO Go is going to need more bandwidth. The cable channel’s streaming service went down last night, as Game Of Thrones began its fourth season. Problems continued through the debut of Silicon Valley and the season premiere of Veep. HBO, get it together! [E!]
  • Are fans ready for Chiwetel Ejiofor to become a villain in a James Bond flick? It’s actually not that far-fetched an idea. [MTV News]

[Photo Credit: Getty Images]

Source: First Dibs: Film Legend Mickey Rooney Dies At 93

Garth Brooks Sings ‘Happy Birthday’ to Merle Haggard

04/06/2014 at 11:00 PM EDT

Garth Brooks presented Merle Haggard with the ACM Awards Crystal Milestone Award, honoring the 77-year-old’s contributions to country music on a very appropriate occasion: Haggard’s birthday.

George Strait and Miranda Lambert led the band in a performance of Haggard’s most famous songs, including “Tonight the Bottle Let Me Down,” “Mama Tried” and “I’m a Lonesome Fugitive.”

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Merle Haggard

Ethan Miller / Getty

The standing ovation that greeted Brooks as he walked onstage made it clear he’s still a beloved figure in country music. Yet the moment belonged to Haggard – and the impromptu performance of “Happy Birthday” the onstage crew bestowed upon him was sweet proof of the music man’s eternal popularity.

“Country music’s been great to me all my life,” Haggard said, “and it’s great again tonight.”

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Source: Garth Brooks Sings ‘Happy Birthday’ to Merle Haggard

Mickey Rooney Dies at 93

Mickey Rooney, the supercharged child vaudevillian who grew up to become MGM’s biggest star – despite barely standing over 5 feet tall – has died at the age of 93.

Rooney, who had been in ill health for quite some time, passed away on Sunday, TMZ reports.

A genuine showbiz legend whose career, like his personal life, was often likened to a roller-coaster, Rooney was multi-talented, eight-times married and many times written off, only to land back on his feet again and again. And while many of his personal tales were fanciful – Mickey Mouse was not named after him, despite his claim – movie fans adored Rooney and respected filmmakers idolized his sizeable gifts, which were sometimes likened to genius.

Literally born in a trunk – in Brooklyn – Rooney, born Joe Yule Jr., was a toddler in his parents’ stage act before making his screen debut, playing a little person, when he was 6. After his parents’ marriage broke up, his mother took him to Hollywood and got him cast in the role of Mickey McGuire in a series of 78 short films that led to his being signed to MGM at age 14.

At 17, he first played Andy Hardy, the all-American boy next door, in what would ultimately become a 15-movie series. These family dramas, mostly about Andy’s dating problems, became so popular that Rooney was propelled to the top of the national box-office chart. He was also frequently paired with the studio’s singing powerhouse Judy Garland, and the two were not only America’s sweethearts – and the screen’s first teen idols – but beloved by MGM’s financiers.

Eight Marriages

Offscreen, Rooney was already far from being the boy next door. Speaking to PEOPLE in 1993, the star discussed his many wives, from his 1942 marriage with Hollywood’s long-reigning sex symbol Ava Gardner, to his eighth and final one, to singer-songwriter Jan Chamberlin, whom he wed in 1978. In the process, he had nine children, two stepchildren and four grandchildren.

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Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney, 1940

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer / Getty

“My partners,” he said about his former wives, “weren’t what we call in horse racing parlance routers. They were sprinters; they went out of the gate, but then they stopped. They couldn’t go the distance.”

Gorgeous Gardner, only 19 when they wed, failed to share Rooney’s love of golf and ponies. The marriage ended “abruptly,” said Rooney. “She just told me she wanted a divorce.”

Second wife Betty Jane Rase, Miss Birmingham (Ala.) of 1944, was “totally oblivious to anything going on outside our home.” Rooney recalled. “We just weren’t compatibly compatible.”

Wives No. 4 and No. 5, model Elaine Mahnken and California beauty queen Barbara Ann Thomason, apparently presented similar problems: Rooney admitted to cheating on both. In 1965, Thomason began an affair with actor Milos Milosevic. The two were found dead in a murder-suicide in the Rooneys’ L.A. house in 1966. “I died when she did,” Rooney said. “I am furious at what happened to her.”

He rebounded with a 100-day marriage to Thomason’s close friend Marge Lane. “I think that was her name, anyway,” he said.

“The fact is,” Rooney told PEOPLE, “man was not meant to live alone, nor was woman. That’s why I persisted and finally found Jan.”

And though Chamberlain had her hands full with Rooney, he said the marriage worked because she let him think he was the boss – though in 2011, when her husband testified before Congress about elder abuse in this country, Jan Rooney said Mickey was not an abused elder, as he claimed.

A Special Oscar

When the studio system collapsed after World War II, Rooney still managed to land star roles, although by the mid-’50s, following a stab he took at TV, these dwindled to character parts.

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Mickey Rooney in 1946


Rooney delivered an embarrassing turn as the toothy Asian neighbor of Holly Golightly (Audrey Hepburn) in 1961′s Breakfast at Tiffany’s, though the following year he shined again, this time as a boxing trainer in Requiem for a Heavyweight, with Anthony Quinn and Jackie Gleason. In 1963 there was the blockbuster ensemble comedy It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad Mad World, which helped put Rooney back on the box-office chart, albeit briefly.

After a decade-long career slump, during which he swore off liquor and became a born-again Christian, Rooney received a Best Supporting Actor nomination for 1979′s The Black Stallion – at the same time he was wowing Broadway audiences with the burlesque show Sugar Babies with another MGM veteran, tap-dancer Ann Miller.

In 1981, Rooney won an Emmy for playing a mentally challenged man in the TV movie Bill, and in 1983 the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences awards him a special Oscar, “In recognition of his 50 years of versatility in a variety of memorable film performances.”

Summing up his tumultuous, if colorful, life, Rooney said in his 1991 autobiography Life Is Too Short, “Had I been brighter, the ladies been gentler, the Scotch weaker, the gods kinder, the dice hotter – it might have all ended up in a one-sentence story.”

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Source: Mickey Rooney Dies at 93