Coolio, the Compton-raised rapper with the trademark braids who won a Grammy in 1996 for his No. 1 smash “Gangsta’s Paradise” from the soundtrack of the Michelle Pfeiffer-starring film Dangerous Minds, died Wednesday in Los Angeles, his manager Jarez Posey told Deadline. He was 59.
No cause of death has been determined. Posey told TMZ that Coolio went to the bathroom at his friend’s house, but when he didn’t come out after a while he went in and found the rapper on the floor.
Coolio had been playing concerts over the summer in South America and in Europe and as recently as last week in Chicago.
Born Artis Leon Ivey Jr. in Pennsylvania, Coolio was a volunteer firefighter for a time before turning to music. Coolio released a few non-charting singles in the early 1990s before hitting it big in 1994 with “Fantastic Voyage,” a rap remake of the 1979 Lakeside song. It spent five long weeks at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and pushed his Tommy Boy LP It Takes a Thief into the Top 10. The album and single, which also made the Top 10 in New Zealand, both went platinum.
“Gangsta’s Paradise,” the title track from the late-1995 album, was an international smash. The song was a rap take on “Pastime Paradise,” a track from Stevie Wonder’s Grammy-winning 1976 album Songs in the Key of Life, and topped the Billboard Hot 100 and other charts around the world, including the UK. It also won the Grammy for Best Rap Solo Performance and scored a pair of MTV Video Music Awards.
“Gangsta’s Paradise” was featured in the 1995 movie Dangerous Minds, whose soundtrack spent a month at No. 1 in the U.S. In the Disney pic, Pfeiffer played an ex-Marine teaching at an inner-city school. Based on the real life of LouAnne Thompson and adapted from her book, the film directed by John N. Smith bowed in August 1995 and would gross $195.5 million at the global box office.
He followed that success with another hit single, “1, 2, 3, 4 (Sumpin’ New),” which reached No. 5 in the U.S. That same year, Coolio wrote and performed “Aw, Here It Goes,” the theme song for Kenan & Kel, the Nickelodeon comedy starring Kenan Thompson and Kel Mitchell. It played over the credits for more than 60 episodes.
Coolio continued to write, record and tour, but would not match his earlier chart success. His 1996 single “It’s All the Way Live (Now)” — which sampled another Lakeside hit — dented the top 30, and the following year’s “C U When U Get There” with 40 Thevz peaked at No. 12.
Coolio would eventually add reality TV star to his repertoire. He appeared as a housemate on Big Brother in 2009, and a year later appeared on Ultimate Big Brother, ultimately leaving the house after numerous conflicts with others in the house. He also was one of eight celebrities who appeared on the Food Network reality show Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off representing the Music Saves Lives Organization; he later became known for his cooking and wrote several cookbooks, including Cookin’ with Coolio: 5 Star Meals at a 1 Star Price in 2009, which would be a bestseller.
He also was featured on ABC’s Wife Swap and guest starred as himself in an episode on the first season of Sabrina the Teenage Witch, where he helped Sabrina Spellman (Melissa Joan Hart), Zelda Spellman (Beth Broderick) and Hilda Spellman (Caroline Rhea) to look for their cat Salem, who was kidnapped by a little boy. His other credits include Gravity Falls, The Nanny and the Adult Swim show Black Jesus in an episodes titled “Gangsta’s Paradise.”
He was most recently cast in a recurring role on 2020 HBO Max pilot Vegas High. The 1990s-set coming-of-age story followed a girl (Hyanna Simpson) who’s caught between two worlds: the fast-paced lifestyle of Las Vegas and her strong Mormon faith and community. Coolio played the businessman uncle of Simpson’s character. The pilot was not picked up to series.
Coolio’s film credits as an actor include Batman & Robin and Dear God.
Erik Pedersen and Denise Petski contributed to this report.
Netflix & Paramount+ To Profile ‘Strip Search Caller’ ; TVOKids Spotlights Down Syndrome With Toon Series; ‘One Piece Film Red’ London Takeover — Global Briefs
Netflix & Paramount+ UK To Profile ‘Strip Search Caller’
Netflix and Paramount+ have struck a first of its kind-of-deal over a true crime documentary telling the story of the strip search caller in the U.S. Paramount+ has taken UK rights to Pervert: The Hunt for the Strip Search Caller and Netflix has rest of world on the doc, which it will be calling Don’t Pick Up the Phone. The deal is believed to be the first time two streamers have worked in such a way in the UK and rest of world. The doc tells the shocking story of a hoax caller who targeted fast food restaurants across the U.S. – posing as a police officer investigating a theft, the caller instructed managers to strip-search the young female employees he said were suspects. For many victims, what began as a humiliating strip search escalated into sexual abuse.
Canada’s TVOKids Spotlights Down Syndrome In Animated Series ‘Griffin And Turner’
EXCLUSIVE: Ontario, Canada’s TVOkids and Big Jump Entertainment are working on 2D-animated series Griffin and Turner. Based on real Canadian brothers who a significant online following, the show follows the supportive pair as they, their friends and family undertake personal challenges but focus on the journey rather than winning. Turner has Down syndrome, and TVOKids executive producer Kirsten Hurd noted the series has been developed in consultation with the Down syndrome community. Producer Big Jump is behind shows such as Shutterbug and Big Words, Small Stories.
London Gets ‘One Piece Film Red’ Takeover After Record Haul
To celebrate the record-breaking haul of One Piece Film Red in the UK, the Straw Hat Pirates are set for a takeover of iconic London locations on November 26. Via local distributor Anime Limited and Toei Animation, the cast and memorable scenes from the series will be projected onto the County Hall of London, opposite the London Eye as well as other key locations. One Piece Film: Red has grossed over £800,000 in the UK and Ireland since it released earlier this month, making it the biggest of the long-running franchise. A phenomenon in Japan, One Piece Film Red has grossed $162M to date worldwide
‘All Quiet On The Western Front’, ‘Belfast’ Top 2022 EFA Arts & Crafts Awards
Edward Berger’s All Quiet On The Western Front and Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast top the European Film Academy’s Excellence Awards honoring achievement in the arts and crafts categories, the winners of which were announced on Wednesday.
Belfast won best European Production Design for Jim Clay, whose credits include Children Of Men, for which he won a Bafta in 2006, and Murder On The Orient Express.
The drama, set against the backdrop of the beginnings of “The Troubles” in Northern Ireland in 1969, also won best European Costume Design for Charlotte Walter (Blithe Spirit, Misbehaviour)
Netflix-backed German WWI drama All Quiet On The Western Front won best European Make-up & Hair for Heike Merker, and Best European Special Effects for Frank Petzold, Viktor Müller and Markus Frank.
In other categories, best European Cinematography was won by Kate McCullough for her work on Colm Bairéad’s Irish-language drama The Quiet Girl.
Best European Editing went to Özcan Vardar and Eytan İpeker for Turkish director Emin Alper’s drama Burning Days.
Polish composer Paweł Mykietyn won best European Original Score went for Jerzy Skolimowski’s EO.
Best European Sound went to Simone Paolo Olivero, Paolo Benvenuti, Benni Atria, Marco Saitta, Ansgar Frerich & Florian Holzner for Michelangelo Frammartino’s cave exploration drama The Hole.
The winners, which are decided by a special expert jury, will receive their awards at the European Film Awards ceremony on 10 December in Reykjavík.
Jennifer Lopez’s Social Media Mysteriously Goes Dark
EXCLUSIVE: The actress, producer and top-selling performing artist’s social media channels including Instagram, Facebook, Tik Tok and Twitter have suddenly gone dark in their featured/cover images.
Reps for Jennifer Lopez were unavailable for comment, but we hear from others that The Hustlers and Marry Me actress is on the verge of announcing a new project.
Here’s a look at her Instagram tonight:
While Lopez’s Instagram had erased all posts, a trail of her previous postings remained on Facebook, Tik Tok and Twitter. Across all four social media portals, Lopez counts close to 347M followers, the majority of that coming from her Instagram.
Lopez’s Nuyorican Productions in June 2021 signed a multi-year first-look deal with Netflix spanning feature films, TV series and unscripted content, with an emphasis on projects that support diverse female actors, writers and filmmakers. Lopez co-runs Nuyorican Productions with her producing partner Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas.
Lopez scored her best opening for a live-action movie at the domestic box office with STX’s 2019 stripper caper Hustlers which debuted to $33.1 million, and grossed $105M stateside, $157.6M worldwide. As a recording artist, Lopez has sold over 70 million albums, with J.Lo became her bestselling album with 3.8M copies sold in the U.S. and 12M global. Her Netflix thriller The Mother from director Niki Caro is set to debut in May. Her romantic comedy Shotgun Wedding with Josh Duhamel will hit Prime Video on Jan. 27.
On Facebook, one of her followers, Steffany Merino wrote, “What’s happened? Hope you and your wonderful family are ok. I’ll pray for your health and safety.”
Again, we hear something special is in the works in the next few days.
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