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Notorious B.I.G.’s $6 plastic crown sells for $594,750 in auction

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At Sotheby’s, the crown is king.

The plastic topper worn by Christopher “Notorious B.I.G.” Wallace in his last photo shoot sold for $594,750 (including Sotheby’s “buyer’s premium” fees and taxes) during an auction Tuesday night — despite its original $6 price tag.

At the auction house’s first hip-hop memorabilia auction — which featured a one-of-a-kind Def Jam Recordings jacket, a triptych of pioneering DJs painted by Fab 5 Freddy and Judith Leiber’s crystal-encrusted handbag inspired by a boombox — the crown’s original purchaser said he didn’t buy the royal-rig for its gold content and embedded jewels.

“This crown is a novelty item; I bought it at a place on Broadway called Gordon’s,” said Barron Claiborne, a 57-year-old photographer who lives in Brooklyn. Claiborne owned the crown and used it in the stunning Rap Pages magazine cover-photo he took of Biggie in 1997. “Without Biggie, the crown would not be worth [six figures]. I only paid six bucks for it.”

What did Claiborne make of the fact that his crown — along with a pair of prints from the session, plus a photo contact sheet — opened with a quickly met estimate of $200,000 to $300,000?

“Some people have told me that it’s too low,” Claiborne coolly stated ahead of the hammer coming down. “That shows you how strong the symbol really is. I always thought Biggie was a king.”

The crown originally cost $6, said photographer Barron Claiborne.
The crown originally cost $6, said photographer Barron Claiborne.Getty Images

In fact, he admitted the payday is a step up from what he earned for shutterbugging the rapper.

“I’m not sure that I even got paid for it,” he said. “I was mostly shooting celebrities and reportage. I did this because I liked taking pictures of Biggie. The time before, I photographed him in a white suit — instead of the tracksuit that most rappers were wearing back in 1997.”

Amazingly, the royally inspired shot of Biggie Smalls — designed to illustrate yet another one of his nicknames: King of New York — almost didn’t happen. Sean “Puffy” Combs, the owner of Bad Boy Records, the label for which Biggie recorded, was at the shoot and scoffed at Claiborne’s concept.

“He said it would make Biggie look like Burger King,” recalled Claiborne. “But Biggie didn’t listen. He wore it anyway. And nobody’s ever told me that they look at the photo and think the crown is plastic.”

That’s a testament to “the charisma of Biggie Smalls,” he said. “His power cancels out the fact that it is a novelty crown.”

‘Sean “Puffy” Combs said it would make Biggie look like Burger King.’

 – Barron Claiborne

Tragically, though, even bulletproof charisma cannot deflect real bullets. At the time of the photo session, Biggie was in the middle of an East Coast-West Coast beef. Considering that none of the parties involved were, at the time, the types to settle differences in their lawyers’ conference rooms, things were life-or-death fraught. Inside Claiborne’s Grand Street studio, there were whispered concerns about an upcoming trip to Los Angeles.

“People were saying he shouldn’t go to California because of all the tension,” said the photographer, adding that Biggie died from gunshot wounds in LA on March 9, 1997 — three days after the session. “He had to be somewhat worried.”

The murder remains an open case.

As far as whom he thought would pay top price for the crown, Claiborne figured that several hip-hop moguls would be among the high bidders, dropping the names of Jay-Z, Nas and even the once-skeptical Puffy.

“Everybody in hip-hop is really inspired by Biggie,” Claiborne said. “The photo means a lot to people – more than I ever expected it to.”

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Fans Are Concerned About Kelly Clarkson’s Eye Because She Was Wearing an Eye Patch

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A sneak peek of The Kelly Clarkson Show Season 2 hit YouTube on September 15, and fans immediately noticed something was very amiss: Kelly promoted the new season while wearing an eye patch. The American Idol star addressed it in the most Kelly Clarkson way, ever, saying, “Yes, I am in an eye patch. How much more Kelly can I get?” Another clip shows her with Dennis Quaid, and she tells him, “Usually I don’t look like a pirate,” to which he responded, “You’re the most beautiful pirate I’ve ever seen.” Which is true.

Fans responded to the video on YouTube with concern. “I love Kelly, I wonder what’s wrong with her eye,” one person commented. “Why is [Kelly] wearing an eye patch? I hope her eye is alright,” someone else wrote. “Has something terrible happened with her eye? Can anybody explain?” wrote a third commenter.

But really, what happened to Kelly Clarkson’s eye?

According to YouTubers, Kelly might have just been dealing with an eye infection when filming the Season 2 promo. And it looks like her eye is back to normal, since she interviewed with Willie Geist, the host of Sunday TODAY on NBC, on September 12, and was most recently on the TODAY show on September 14. If Kelly did have an eye infection, she most likely had it in the beginning of September, which is when Deadline reports she was filming episodes for the show. 

It’s unclear if YouTubers are assuming Kelly just had an infection, or if Kelly addressed her eyepatch on an IG Story at some point. People seem pretty convinced it was an eye infection, though. Regardless, the talk show host and singer seems to be totally healthy and fine now.

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Source: YouTube
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Source: YouTube
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Source: YouTube

Kelly’s definitely has a rough 2020. Aside from, ya know, the pandemic, she and her husband of seven years announced they were getting a divorce back in June. “You can ask anyone that’s gone through divorce — I don’t think anyone expects it. You see yourself growing old with someone and then life has a different path. And it’s so hard on everyone,” Kelly told Hoda Kotb on the Today show on Monday (in which she appeared sans eye patch). 

Talking to Willie Geist, she admitted, “I mean, it’s no secret. My life has been a little bit of a dumpster. Personally, it’s been a little hard the last couple months.” She added, “I’ve been talking to friends that have been through divorce. I don’t know how people go through that without having some kind of outlet because it is the worst thing ever for everyone involved.” They have two children together: River Rose (6), and Remington (4).

We’re glad Kelly is okay, health-wise. Emotion-wise, we’re sure she’s going through a lot right now. And we’ll probably get snippets of that in the new season of The Kelly Clarkson Show, which premieres September 21. We’ll also be getting five extra episodes leading up to the premiere as a countdown of sorts (which started started September 14). Per Deadline, the season will be aired in front of a live (yet virtual) audience.

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25 best ‘The Mary Tyler Moore Show’ episodes to celebrate its 50th anniversary [PHOTOS]

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Fifty years ago she turned the world on with her smile, and we haven’t stopped laughing since. “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” debuted on September 19, 1970. It’s one of a handful of sitcoms from the CBS network that changed the way television comedies were made. Throughout its seven seasons, the show received 67 Emmy nominations, winning 29, which was a record until 2002 when “Frasier” won its 30th award. It received a nomination for Best Comedy Series each year of its run, winning for each of the last three seasons, and spawned three successful spinoffs: sister sitcoms “Rhoda” and “Phyllis” and acclaimed drama “Lou Grant.” Although the shag carpet, plaid suits and bell bottoms will forever associate “MTM” with the 1970s, the characters and stories are timeless and just as funny today as they were 50 years ago.

Mary Richards (Moore) is a 30-year-old woman who moves to the big city of Minneapolis after a bad break up. Full of self-doubt and nerves, she also has a layer of grit that helps her stand up for herself to her gruff (who’s really a big softie) boss news producer Lou Grant (Edward Asner), and earn respect among her male coworkers: the quick-with-a-quip head writer Murray Slaughter (Gavin MacLeod) and the buffoonish anchorman of the Six O’Clock News Ted Baxter (Ted Knight). Women are well-represented: sarcastic and very direct friend Rhoda Morgenstern (Valerie Harper), self-absorbed Phyllis Lindstrom (Cloris Leachman), the deceptively sweet Sue Ann Nivens (Betty White) and ditzy but sweet Georgette Franklin Baxter (Georgia Engel). Moore and Asner were each Emmy-nominated for every season, and each ended up with three wins. With a collective 33 acting nominations and 15 wins, the cast dominated much of the Emmy acting categories in the 1970s; Engel was the only one to have never won, but more astonishing is the MacLeod never even received a well-deserved nomination.

Mary is one of the first single career women portrayed on television, and the first major one whose career becomes more important to her than her love life. Rhoda and Sue Ann are also single career women, and all three women have active dating lives, including references to men staying the night. Less than a decade before, sitcoms rarely addressed controversial issues, and stuck to mainly lighter topics. “MTM” addressed topics such as discrimination, equal pay for women, infidelity, divorce, sex education. The award-winning writing team of “MTM” managed to turn such heavy topics into comedy gold, and we laugh along with Mary and her friends as they struggle to work their way through difficult situations which are timeless – which is why the show remains relatable today.

There were also episodes which were strictly for fun, and there were quite a few recurring themes, including Mary and friends stuck somewhere due to a snowstorm, resulting in people getting on each other’s nerves, and the annual Teddy Awards, around which there was usually a mishap or misunderstanding. Some of the best moments, however, occur during Mary’s infamous dinner parties. Mary wants so much to give a good party, but something disastrous always happens – a husband takes home another woman, Phyllis despairs over her brother dating her archenemy Rhoda, Lou reveals he hates surprises right before his surprise birthday party, the lights go out before Johnny Carson is to make an appearance at one of her dinners. People hate Mary’s parties, but she still hosts them and people still come – I guess just to see what’s going to happen next!

And what is a great show without a memorable opening? The theme song “Love Is All Around,” the logo, the clips of Mary handling life, the famous hat toss at the end – it all comes together to show us a single gal can make it on her own after all.

“The Mary Tyler Moore Show” is one of my personal favorite shows. I watched her in reruns during my growing-up years, and she was a huge positive influence on me. I wanted to grow up and live in her iconic apartment, and although that didn’t happen, I like to think that her independent spirit and forward-thinking rubbed off on me. There’s really not a bad episode out of the 168, so it was really difficult to narrow it down to 25, but here are some of the best of the best.

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Ratched: What’s in Mildred’s Past? Spoilers

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In Netflix’s Ratched, nurse Mildred Ratched (Sarah Paulson) is a mysterious character who is hard to get a good read on. Is she decent? Is she bad? The truth is, she’s a little bit of both, and once you learn her backstory, it makes a little more sense why she does some of the things she does at Lucia State Hospital in California.

Toward the end of the first season, Mildred starts to open up about her past. While at a children’s puppet theater with Gwendolyn Briggs (Cynthia Nixon), Mildred starts to see a different puppet show than what’s actually happening, and this is when we learn of her sad past. Mildred grew up during the Great Depression and was born to a mother who didn’t want her. Her mom, who was an alcoholic, gave Mildred up, and she ended up in foster care. It was while she was in a foster home that she met Edmund Tolleson (Finn Wittrock). The children were beaten by their foster parents and were eventually removed from the house.

A social worker forged the children’s paperwork to make them appear as blood siblings in an effort to keep them together. They were placed in foster home after foster home, but all of the parents beat them or didn’t take care of them. Finally, the social worker placed them in a home that she thought would work, with parents who were excited and well off.

At first Mildred and Edmund thought things were going to be OK at this house. They were showered with gifts in the beginning, but soon they realized their parents were exploiting them and forcing them to perform inappropriate acts in front of an audience in their basement. When they couldn’t take it anymore, Edmund killed their parents, and while he and Mildred tried to escape, he got caught. Mildred ran away but lost track of Edmund.

A few years later she discovered him at a home for troubled boys, but he felt betrayed by her running away and escaped her this time. Fast forward to when Edmund kills the four Catholic priests and ends up at Lucia State Hospital, and that’s when Mildred tracks him down again to reconnect. She had to lie her way into her nurse’s job — she has no nursing license and lied about being a nurse in the Army as well — but she was able to reconnect with Edmund once there. Alas, the end of the season finds the two at odds again, and we’ll have to wait for a season two before we find out what happens.

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