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On September 14, Charles “Chuck” Feeney signed the paperwork to shut down Atlantic Philanthropies. The ceremony was attended via Zoom by the philanthropies’ board which included former California Governor Jerry Brown, Bill Gates, and Nancy Pelosi.

While most would think the shuttering of a philanthropic endeavor would be a sad event, it was just how Feeney planned. It marked the competition of four-decade mission to give away almost every penny of his $8 billion fortune.

Feeney has saved $2 million to live on for the remainder of his life.


“We learned a lot. We would do some things differently, but I am very satisfied. I feel very good about completing this on my watch,” Feeney told Forbes. “My thanks to all who joined us on this journey. And to those wondering about Giving While Living: Try it, you’ll like it.”

Feeney was one of the first signatories on the Giving While Living pledge that encouraged the super-wealthy to give away 50% or more if their fortunes while still living.

His generosity was the inspiration for Bill Gates and Warren Buffet to sign their giving pledge in 2010. “Chuck was a cornerstone in terms of inspiration for the Giving Pledge,” Warren Buffett told Forbes. “He’s a model for us all. It’s going to take me 12 years after my death to get done what he’s doing within his lifetime.”

Feeney co-founded retail giant Duty Free Shoppers in 1960 which now operates in 11 major airports and 20 Galleria stores. In 2017, nearly 160 million travelers visited Duty Free Shopppers locations.

In 1984, he secretly transferred his entire stake in the company to Atlantic Philanthropies which he started two years earlier.

Not even his business partners knew that he no longer owned a portion of the company.

From there he began donating his massive fortune completely anonymously with the plan of giving it all away before he died. His cover was blown in 1997 when a lawsuit required him to reveal his charitable donations.

Feeney was able to amass even larger sums of cash because he was incredibly frugal.

“Until he was 75, he traveled only in coach, and carried reading materials in a plastic bag,” a New York Times feature read. “For many years, when in New York, he had lunch not at the city’s luxury restaurants, but in the homey confines of Tommy Makem’s Irish Pavilion on East 57th Street, where he ate the burgers.”

He currently lives in a modest apartment in San Francisco with his wife, doesn’t own a car, and wears a $10 Casio watch. On a table in his apartment he has a small, Lucite plaque that reads: “Congratulations to Chuck Feeney for $8 billion of philanthropic giving.”

Feeney gave nearly half of his fortune to education, including $1 billion to his alma mater Cornell. He has given $860 million to social change and human rights causes, $700 million to promote global health, $62 million to abolish the death penalty, and $76 million on a campaign to support the passage of Obamacare.

He has personally supported Sinn Féin, a left-wing Irish nationalist party.

“I see little reason to delay giving when so much good can be achieved through supporting worthwhile causes,” Feeney said. “Besides, it’s a lot more fun to give while you live than give while you’re dead.”

The super-rich are often rightfully the target of criticism for having ungodly wealth while others struggle to get by. But Feeney is a fantastic example of the power of wealth and how industriousness and greed don’t necessarily have to go hand in hand.

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Chrissy Teigen Accidentally Reveals the Sex of Baby No. 3

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Oops!

On Sept. 17, Chrissy Teigen took to Instagram Stories in what many followers assumed was going to be a casual check-in. But when some fans listened closely, they couldn’t help but notice a big reveal.

Ladies and gentlemen, Chrissy just revealed the sex of her third child with John Legend

“I wanted to update you,” the 34-year-old shared. “My placenta sucks. It’s always been kind of the bad part of my pregnancies with Luna. With Miles, it just stopped feeding him, it stopped taking care of him. I was stealing all his food because I was getting huge but he wasn’t getting big at all. He had to come out early and Luna had to come out early. I was induced both times. Anyways, it’s super weak. The baby is really, really healthy and he is big!”

Wait, did she just say ‘he?’ Yes, it’s going to be a boy!

“I am stupid,” Chrissy continued after covering her mouth and confirming she accidentally let the sex of her third child slip. “Anyway, so yeah its growing beautifully. Everything is good, I’m feeling good but my placenta is really, really weak and its causing me to really bleed a lot.”

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Brian Henson on the Evolution of Puppetry and ‘Earth to Ned’

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Brian Henson has been head of the Jim Henson Company for nearly 30 years now, following in his father Jim Henson’s footsteps. His latest project, “Earth To Ned” (streaming on Disney Plus) features new puppet creatures, such as the titular alien commander Ned (Paul Rugg) and his sidekick Cornelius (Michael Oosterom), who host a late-night talk show.

Ned is sent to destroy Earth, but instead, he falls in love with mankind, beaming human celebrity guests, such as RuPaul and Rachel Bloom, to his spaceship. The idea to play with a combination of late-night TV, improve and science fiction had been brewing in Henson’s mind for more than six years before becoming a reality.

Here, Henson talks with Variety about the craft of puppetry and creature effects, and how materials have changed in the crafts work.

From where did the idea for “Earth to Ned” stem?

We did a show called “Creature Shop Challenge” for Syfy and that was our first foray into reality TV, and we loved it. We did one season of the show before it ended. Our producing partners Joseph Freed and Allison Berkley from Marwar Junction Productions and I talked about the idea of aliens ignorant to all mankind on earth and we wanted to find a way to introduce them to the internet and see how much the misunderstand and understand Earth. So, it was born out of that.

We started riffing on Ned’s personality, which brought us to a celebrity talk show because we were enjoying that idea. He is meant to destroy it [but] instead, he falls in love with Earth and everything is delightful to him. We thought it would be a refreshing energy to bring into a talk show on an adult level and [on a] family level. We wanted the show to be a celebration of everything absurd about us.

If the rapport between Ned and his wingman Cornelius went wrong, it could be disastrous. How does that “chemistry” manifest in the world of puppetry?

We started training puppeteers in improv comedy back in 2007. I wanted our puppeteers to not just be good, but to be fast on their feet and good at character work — largely because puppet characters are often asked to do appearances, which is a lot more than just being able to do a well-scripted performance. We’ve been working in improv with puppeteers for over 10 years now and that has become the way we train puppeteers in the company. It’s the only way we do it.

I look for opportunities where I can use improvising puppets. We improvise with the celebrities for about an hour, and we find our best six or seven minutes to put in the show.

We did five castings with the puppeteers and we got down to our five favorite Neds and five Cornelius players before we got to Michael and Paul as the best character combination. And that was the most important thing for the chemistry of the show.

What’s great about this is it’s family-friendly and not as scary for kids as, say, “The Dark Crystal.” How did the design of the alien world evolve?

There’s a retro feel to the show. We wanted to approach it like it was a science-fiction show. We have these aliens and a spaceship, they’re beaming guests in and there’s an Earth couch for celebrities to sit on. We wanted to give this credibility to the interaction with the guests. The guests are then absolutely the fish out of water, and the aliens are the ones that look comfortable in that space.

Peter Brook, creative supervisor of the Creature Shop, supervised the designs of the creatures. Again, we wanted things to have a realistic finish to them. The CLODS have a basic, simple and old -fashioned rod puppet approach similar to what my dad was doing in the late 1950s. He had little characters like that. But then we added realistic teeth and eyes. And that’s how it all came together.

I think what gives the show this immersive viewing experience is that it’s not VFX and green screen; you can see the puppetry, but it doesn’t take you out of the show.

There are trade-offs with CG animation versus puppetry and animatronics. With CG animation, you can keep working and working at it so much that you can’t see any flaws to it. But you can sense that it didn’t happen. With animatronics and puppetry, you can see flaws and you can see that it’s not alive, but your unconscious tells that this happened. When you’re using puppets and animatronics, the audience is less likely to fully believe that the creatures are alive and know that they’re puppets. All the moments that you’re seeing happened at some point and were captured by a camera and that is exciting. It means the audience can more appreciate the artistry. You appreciate the sculptor and the puppeteers.

How has the world of puppetry changed from when you were working with your father to now in terms of the material progression?

Puppetry is one of the oldest art forms in the world. We use different materials. We used cables for “The Dark Crystal” and “Little Shop of Horrors,” but it’s still puppetry. The biggest change is in “Happytime Murders”: we could have puppeteers in the shot, but they’re dressed in green, and you remove them later in post. That’s allowed us to do more things. Latex was always very pure and good, but the quality of the latex started dropping off when condoms became popular — coinciding with the AIDS epidemic – and the quality of rubber has never gotten back up to that high level. Elsewhere, we use more silicon because it looks and feels more like skin.

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Bryan Cranston and Kevin Hart Play ‘Name the Review’

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The two stars of The Upside – an American remake of the hugely successful French dramedy, The Intouchables – have had very different careers. Bryan Cranston gained notoriety as a lovable TV dad, and then a kinda lovable TV anti-hero, before becoming one of the most respected dramatic movie actors of his generation; Kevin Hart got his start on the comedy club circuit before getting his first TV break and eventually becoming one of Hollywood’s most bankable comedy stars. Here the two play ‘Name the Review,’ each reading out snippets from reviews of the other’s work and asking each other to guess which series or film’s being praised (or eviscerated). Watch above – if only to hear Cranston get his best Snoop Dogg on.

The Upside opens in theaters January 11.

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