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Comedy creator dies at 69

Snooki's pregnant

Oh, snap. The world better start bracing itself for the arrival of another mini Snooki. Page Six reports that 26-year-old Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi is pregnant with baby No. 2. The former Jersey Shore star and fiance Jionni LaValle welcomed son Lorenzo in August 2012. Word is Snooki's a few months along but has been keeping the pregnancy under wraps so she can keep making public appearances. Snooki and Jionni are planning a Great Gatsby-themed wedding for this year (jealous!), and Hollywood Life has confirmed that the televised wedding will go on as scheduled, despite the baby bump. "She doesn't mind being a pregnant bride," a source said. "Even though this wasn't planned, she's so excited to expand her family!"

Pharrell to auction The Hat

Pharrell Williams' uber famous Grammys hat can soon be yours! All you need is a ton of cash and the Internet. Pharrell is selling in the Vivienne Westwood "Mountain" topper that he wore on his big night, and the proceeds will benefit From One Hand to Another, a charity he founded to help underserved youth. As of late Monday, the highest bid was $14,500. Did we mention the lid comes with a letter of authenticity? Bonus! Pharrell alerted the public of the auction via Twitter: Hey @Arbys, you want my hat? Now's your chance, the Happy singer tweeted — referring to the fast-food chain's tweet about wanting its hat back on Grammys night. Bidding ends Sunday, so get on it, rich people.

Robin Thicke, Paula Patton split

Oh, Miley, you home wrecker, you. Okay, that's a little unfair. Nevertheless, Robin Thicke, the subject of Cyrus's MTV twerk/grindfest is splitting up with his wife of eight years, Paula Patton. Seems she may not have been as cool with the VMAs sitch — and perhaps all the infidelity rumors — as the adoring public were led to believe. "We will always love each other and be best friends, however, we have mutually decided to separate at this time," the longtime couple told People on Monday. The pair, who had been together for over two decades, first met when the Blurred Lines singer was 14 in 1991. They married in 2005 and welcomed son Julian Fuego, 3, in April 2010.

Every time a happy-hour table starts zipping off lines from Caddyshack or Animal House, whenever a new generation of smartalecks discovers Stripes, Ghostbusters and Groundhog Day, they have Harold Ramis to thank.

Ramis, who had a hand in writing, directing and acting in some of the most influential movies in the comedy canon — and who was lucky enough to work with some seriously funny friends — died in his native Chicago on Monday from autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis, a rare disease involving swelling of the blood vessels. He was 69.

For a lot of people born in the '60s, '70s and '80s, the films on Ramis' resume, which also include Meatballs and National Lampoon's Vacation, are ingrained in our pop-cultural DNA. That may sound like heavy sentiment for motion pictures that involve John Belushi impersonating a zit or Chevy Chase tying his mother-in-law to the top of the Family Truckster, but hey, they defined us nonetheless.

Among those influenced by Ramis is comedy maven Judd Apatow, who honored his hero by casting him as Seth Rogen's dad in 2007's Knocked Up. "When I was 15, I interviewed Harold for my high school radio station, and he was the person that I wanted to be when I was growing up," Apatow told the Chicago Tribune. "His work is the reason why so many of us got into comedy."

Perhaps best identified as Bill Murray's bespectacled buddy Russell "Willing to learn" Ziskey in Stripes and Dr. Egon "I collect spores, molds and fungus" Spengler in the Ghostbusters franchise, Ramis blended brainy and silly, the geek with a sly grin and big hair. He was always ready to tweak authority, be it the U.S. Army, a snooty country club or the uptight jerks in Omega Theta Pi.

It was a profitable blend of humor Ramis first developed as a joke writer for Playboy magazine and then as a player in Chicago's Second City comedy troupe, a hall-of-fame factory that has also produced, to name just a few bold-faced luminaries, Belushi, Murray, Gilda Radner, Stephen Colbert, Tina Fey and Ghostbusters co-star and writing partner Dan Aykroyd.

"Deeply saddened to hear of the passing of my brilliant, gifted, funny friend, co-writer/performer and teacher Harold Ramis," Aykroyd said in a statement. "May he now get the answers he was always seeking."

After scoring writing credits on Animal House, Meatballs and SCTV (a.k.a. Canada's televised answer to Saturday Night Live), Ramis made his directorial debut with 1980's Caddyshack, displaying a gift not just for pacing but also giving brilliant comedic actors (Murray, Chase, Ted Knight and Rodney Dangerfield) the freedom to improvise. He'd team with Murray on six movies, including 1993's Groundhog Day ("Don't drive angry!"), which in 2006 was added to the U.S. National Film Registry as a "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant" work of cinema. Contributing: Chicago Tribune

Comedy creator dies at 69 02/24/14 [Last modified: Monday, February 24, 2014 10:33pm]
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