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Harry Anderson, magician and star of ‘Night Court,’ dies at 65

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Harry Anderson, the magician-turned-comic-turned-actor best known for playing a lightly disguised version of himself as a judge on the TV sitcom “Night Court,” was found dead Monday morning at his home in Asheville, North Carolina, police told NBC News.

Anderson was 65. The cause of death wasn’t disclosed, but police said foul play wasn’t suspected.

 Harry Anderson at Comic Relief in Universal City, California, in March 1986. Ron Galella / WireImage file

Anderson, who often said he was inspired to pursue magic by Harry Blackstone Sr., the famed stage magician of the last century, grew up in Southern California and began performing at clubs like Dante Magic Club and the Magic Castle while he was still in high school. His stage name was Harry the Hat for the fedora he habitually wore.

Anderson appeared numerous times on Johnny Carson’s version of “The Tonight Show” and “Saturday Night Live” during the 1980s and soon became a recurring guest star on “Cheers,” playing a swindler and grifter called, not surprisingly, Harry the Hat.

That led to his starring role beginning in 1984 on “Night Court,” in which he played Harry Stone, a judge in New York’s Criminal Court 2 who traded jokes with a naïve public defender played by Markie Post, a slimy prosecutor played by John Laroquette and three regular bailiffs (Selma Diamond, Richard Moll and Marsha Warfield). Occasionally, they tried a case or two.

Anderson was nominated for Emmy awards three times during the show’s nine-season run. Harry the Hat, meanwhile, returned occasionally to “Cheers,” explaining his extended absences with throwaway lines like “Two to 10, with time off for good behavior.”

Anderson moved straight from “Night Court” to “Dave’s World,” playing Dave Barry, the Pulitzer Prize-winning humor columnist for The Miami Herald. The series ran for four years on CBS.

Barry said on Twitter that Anderson “was a very talented guy, and, more important, a genuinely nice guy.”

Anderson made guest appearances on several TV shows and appeared in several pilots after “Dave’s World” ended. He ran a magic shop and a nightclub in New Orleans before he and his wife, Elizabeth, moved to Asheville in 2006 after Hurricane Katrina. He told The New York Times at the time that the depression that gripped the city after the hurricane had depressed both his audience and his outlook on life.

“I had more people in my car last night,” The Times quoted him as telling his piano player during a performance.

Anderson had a devoted following among fellow performers. An early fan was the actor and writer Judd Apatow, who interviewed Anderson in 1983, before “Night Court” went on the air, for his book “Sick in the Head: Conversations About Life and Comedy.” He described Anderson as “this demented, semi-famous magician whom I happened to find hilarious.”

Apatow said Monday on Twitter that Anderson was “a kind talent who made millions so happy.”

J. Elvis Weinstein, a co-founder and star of “Mystery Science Theater 3000,” called Anderson “one of the few guys to ever make my ‘magicians I like’ list.”

For all his TV success, Anderson always remained a magician and illusionist at heart. In 1988, he was honored as Magician of the Year by the Academy of Magical Arts, which operates the Magic Castle, following in the footsteps of Blackstone, his idol.



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Coronavirus: Trump says 200,000 US deaths is ‘a shame’ | US News

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Donald Trump has referred to the death of 200,000 people from coronavirus in the US – the highest figure of any country in the world – as “a shame”.

The president insisted the number of Americans who had died from COVID-19 could have been far higher had it not been for the actions of his administration, without providing evidence for his claim.

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Mr Trump leaves Washington for an election rally in Pennsylvania
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Mr Trump leaves Washington for an election rally in Pennsylvania

Mr Trump had initially ignored a question from the media about the US death toll as he was leaving the White House for an election rally in Pennsylvania.

He then said: “I think it’s a shame. I think if we didn’t do it properly and do it right, you’d have 2.5 million deaths. You could have a number that would be substantially more.

“It’s a horrible thing. Should have never, ever happened.”

He also repeated his previous criticisms of China, where the coronavirus first emerged at the end of 2019.

He said: “China should have stopped it at their border. They should have never let this spread all over the world. It’s a terrible thing.”

Mr Trump has been criticised for his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, having repeatedly sought to downplay the disease as it began to spread through the US.

There are continuing fears among health experts that the high level of infections in the country will make the virus more difficult to control during the winter months.

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According to Johns Hopkins University, the US has seen nearly 6.9 million cases and 200,818 deaths.

The figures account for more than 20% of the cases worldwide, despite the US having just over 4% of the world’s population.

Brazil has the second worst toll with 138,105 recorded deaths. The global figure for deaths from the coronavirus is 971,483.

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Ex-traffic cop who claims to be reincarnation of Jesus arrested in Russia | World News

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A former traffic police officer who claims to be the reincarnation of Jesus has been arrested by Russian security forces.

Prominent mystic Sergei Torop and other leaders of the Church of the Last Testament sect were held in a remote part of Siberia on Tuesday.

They are accused of “damaging their followers’ health”.

Russia’s Investigative Committee said in a statement that the religious group had used psychological pressure to extract money from its followers and caused serious harm to their health.

Sergei Torop
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The cult leader is a former traffic policeman

Torop, known to his followers as Vissarion, set up the Church of the Last Testament in the Krasnoyarsk region in 1991, the year the Soviet Union broke up.

The operation to detain him, as well as group leaders Vadim Redkin and Vladimir Vedernikov, involved the police as well as members of the Federal Security Service.

The men could face up to 12 years in jail if found guilty, the RIA news agency reported.

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Luis Suarez faces investigation after ‘cheating’ on Italian citizenship test | World News

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Police in Italy have opened an investigation after Luis Suarez, one of the most controversial players in world football, was accused of cheating on his Italian citizenship test ahead of a move to the country.

The Uruguayan, who has previously faced bans for biting opponents and making racist remarks, took the exam in Perugia last week to facilitate a transfer from Barcelona to Juventus.

But prosecutors allege the former Liverpool striker, 33, knew what was going to be in the paper and that his mark had already been decided.

Luis Suarez leaves the University for Foreigners in Perugia after taking an Italian citizenship test
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Luis Suarez leaves the University for Foreigners in Perugia after taking an Italian citizenship test

The Perugia public prosecutor’s office said in a statement: “Some irregularities have emerged in the exam of certification of Italian, sat on September 17 by Uruguayan football player Luis Alberto Suarez Diaz, needed to obtain the Italian citizenship.

“From the investigation, it emerged that the topics in the exam had been agreed in advance with the applicant and that the relative mark had been attributed even before carrying out the exam, regardless of the fact that an elementary proficiency of the Italian language had been verified during remote classes carried out by lecturers of the University for Foreigners.

Suarez (left) was handed an eight-match ban over the incident
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Luis Suarez was banned for eight matches ban for racially abusing Manchester United’s Patrice Evra (R)

“Today, the Italian financial police are moving forward to capture the documents at the university offices, to verify the actions described beforehand and notify the information assurances for the crimes of revelation of professional secrecy, false representation committed by public officials in official documents and other acts.

Juventus have no places left in their squad for non-EU players, meaning Suarez had to obtain Italian citizenship to join the club.

And the proposed move appears to have fallen through, with the Italian champions now set to re-sign Alvaro Morata from Atletico Madrd.

Suarez, who has been told he can leave Barcelona, now seems set to replace Morata in the Spanish capital.

Luis Suarez battles for possession
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Luis Suarez is a Uruguayan international

Republicca reported a local official as saying on Monday: “He [Suarez} does not speak a word of Italian.

“He does not conjugate verbs, he only speaks using the infinitive. If journalists would ask him some questions, he’d be lost. He earns €10million a year, he needs to pass this exam.”

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