People: Movie director Tonie Marshall dies at 68

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Movie director Tonie Marshall dies at 68

French-American filmmaker and actress Tonie Marshall, the only female director to ever win a Cesar award — France's equivalent of the Oscars — has died. She was 68.

France's Equalities Ministry Thursday confirmed the death "with sadness."

Marshall won the top directing prize at the Cesars in 2000 for her movie "Venus Beauty Institute," a romantic comedy starring Nathalie Baye and Audrey Tautou that recounts the quest for fulfillment of three female employees in a Parisian beauty parlor. After that, she became a prominent figure in the fight against sexism in the French film industry.

Despite the accolade, her global renown in cinema remained limited.

Marshall dealt with sexism head-on in work subsequent to her Cesar-winning film, including in 2017's "Number One" that centers on the rise of a top female executive in spite of rampant misogyny. Marshall also appeared as a vocal supporter of the French #MeToo movement on the sidelines of 2018's Cesar Awards, and was a member of the pro-women-in-film group Collectif 50 50.

Before trying her hand behind the camera, she was an actress and had a small role in "A Slightly Pregnant Man" by iconic French director Jacques Demy, in which she played alongside Marcello Mastroianni and Catherine Deneuve. Demy was said to be a strong influence on her later directorial work

Book critics give fiction prize to Danticat

Edwidge Danticat's story collection "Everything Inside" has won the National Book Critics Circle award for fiction. Chanel Miller was awarded in autobiography for "Know My Name," her book about being sexually assaulted by Stanford University student Brock Turner.

The critics circle usually announces its awards during a Manhattan ceremony, but called off the gathering over concerns about the coronavirus outbreak. This year's honors were announced Thursday through a press release.

Danticat's stories — tales of love, family and mortality set partly in her native Haiti — previously won the Story prize for best short fiction. The critics circle praised "Everything Inside" for narratives that have "no forced happy endings, no unearned deliverances."

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For biography, the critics chose Patrick Radden Keefe's "Say Nothing: The True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland. Josh Levin's "The Queen: The Forgotten Life Behind an American Myth" won in biography and Morgan Parker's "Magical Negro" received the poetry award. Saidiya Hartman "Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments: Intimate Stories of Social Upheaval" was the winner in the criticism category.

Among the finalists for autobiography was Ronan Farrow's "Catch and Kill," based on his Pulitzer Prize winning reporting about Harvey Weinstein. The Hollywood producer was sentenced this week to 23 years in prison for rape and sexual assault.

Sarah M. Broom's memoir "The Yellow House" received the John Leonard Award for best first book. An honorary award for criticism was given to The New Yorker's Katy Waldman and the poet and novelist Naomi Shihab Nye received a lifetime achievement prize.

Alex Jones accused of selling phony cures

New York's attorney general is demanding that conspiracy monger Alex Jones stop hawking phony coronavirus treatments.

Attorney General Letita James' office sent a cease-and-desist letter Thursday saying it's "extremely concerned" by Jones' claims that toothpaste, dietary supplements, creams, and other products sold on his website can prevent and cure the disease, known as COVID-19.

Jones, known for pushing conspiracy theories about school shootings and the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, touted the products on his radio show last week, according to the letter.

No treatments or vaccines have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and the National Institutes of Health says there is no scientific evidence to suggest alternative remedies can prevent or cure the illness.

"As the coronavirus continues to pose serious risks to public health, Alex Jones has spewed outright lies and has profited off of New Yorkers' anxieties," said James, a Democrat.

An email seeking comment was sent to a media mailbox on Jones' website, InfoWars.com. The 46-year-old was arrested on Tuesday on a charge of driving while intoxicated.

Today's birthdays: Singer Phil Phillips is 94. Composer-conductor Quincy Jones is 87. Actor Steve Kanaly ("Dallas") is 74. Comedian Billy Crystal is 72. TV and radio personality Rick Dees is 69. Actress Tamara Tunie ("Law and Order: SVU") is 61. Actor Gary Anthony Williams ("Boston Legal," ''Malcolm in the Middle") is 54. Actress Grace Park ("Hawaii Five-0," ''Battlestar Galactica") is 46. Singer-keyboardist Taylor Hanson of Hanson is 37. Actor Ansel Elgort ("Insurgent," ''Divergent") is 26.

— The Associated Press


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