Todd English Wants to Be a Singer and More News

Todd English Wants to Be a Singer and More News

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In today's Media Mix, Obama's bear hug from a pizza parlor owner, plus a new lawsuit for Darden Restaurants

Arthur Bovino

The Daily Meal's Media Mix brings you the biggest news around the food world.

Todd English's Music Dreams: Rumor has it the celebrity chef, after playing at The Bitter End with a band this weekend, is looking to front an unnamed band. [New York Post]

Obama's Bear Hug: A local pizza parlor owner in Ft. Pierce, Fla., gave Obama the most warm welcome on the campaign trail yet. [CBS News]

Darden Restaurants' Newest Lawsuit: A lawsuit accuses the company of violating federal labor laws. [Reuters]

Restaurant Owners Set Up Sex Profile for Revenge: Two Canadian restaurant owners sought revenge on a customer who gave the restaurant a bad online review; to get back at her, the two made a scandalous online profile and sent emails in her name. [Business Insider]

Homeless Farming for Upscale Restaurant: Verde Gardens aims to help the homeless by employing them to farm vegetables and produce for an upscale restaurant. [Huffington Post]

Young progressives are an unpredictable new factor in Massachusetts elections. They're ardent and organized, and they don't take orders.

Step into the 'Markeyverse' »

EXPLAINER: How did Hamas grow its arsenal to strike Israel?

In this fourth war between Israel and Gaza's Hamas rulers, the Islamic militant group has fired more than 4,000 rockets at Israel, some hitting deeper in Israeli territory and with greater accuracy than ever before. The unprecedented barrages reaching as far north as the seaside metropolis of Tel Aviv, coupled with drone launches and even an attempted submarine attack, have put on dramatic display a homegrown arsenal that has only expanded despite the choke hold of a 14-year Israeli-Egyptian blockade of the coastal strip. “The magnitude of (Hamas) bombing is much bigger and the precision is much better in this conflict,” said Mkhaimar Abusada, a professor of political science at Al-Azhar University in Gaza City.

A Climate Back Door to Watch

The Editorial Board

If the White House can’t get a 50-50 Senate to break the filibuster, the Biden Administration will push its climate agenda via the administrative state. So train a wary eye on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which oversees wholesale electricity markets.

Worth a gander are dissents last month from two Republican FERC commissioners. At issue were updates to an order, originally issued in September, that paves the way for commercial “aggregators” to sign up homeowners with rooftop solar or electric vehicles, which can act as big storage batteries. The FERC rule says such aggregators generally must be allowed to bid that power into the energy markets.

Encouraging the development of “distributed energy resources,” to use the lingo, “is a good thing,” wrote Commissioner Mark Christie, who was confirmed in November. What’s not good, he said, is “eviscerating the states’ historic authority.” Mr. Christie argued that FERC was “siding with commercial interests” and against “the states and other authorities whose job is to defend the public, not private, interest.”

To accommodate this distributed power, the grid “will inevitably require costly upgrades,” Mr. Christie said. “We all know these costs will ultimately be imposed on retail consumers,” including those who can’t afford a Tesla. Also dissenting was Commissioner James Danly. “This order unnecessarily invades an area best left to the states,” he wrote, “burdening them with another of our Good Ideas, the details of which we leave them to figure out, and the burdens of which we leave to them to bear.”

FERC’s authority in this matter flows through its regulation of Regional Transmission Organizations (RTOs) and Independent System Operators (ISOs), which facilitate electricity markets. The PJM Interconnection touches 13 states, from New Jersey to Illinois. The Southwest Power Pool stretches from the Texas Panhandle to Montana.

Todd English's Olives opens Thursday

Olives has been unofficially feeding people for a few days now, getting back in gear and using guests as guinea pigs to try out dishes new and old. (The food was free, but they paid for their own drinks.) Thursday, the reopening is official.

"So many people have come up and said, 'We're so happy to have you back,'" says chef Todd English.

But don't expect English and crew to be serving the kind of Big Food pictured above, the way Olives served customers circa 1996.

"I find more people want to eat a little less. My generation, we're all watching our figures," English says. "They want to go to the bar and eat a few snacks, have a couple of cocktails or glasses of wine, and go home. People don't sit down at the table and have a whole three or four courses."

The bar at Olives previously sat 15 people. Now, English says, it seats about 45. The restaurant has been renovated, and the bar is right at the center of things. "You can't get a seat at the bar all night long right now, and we're not even open," he says. "I bought more bar stools than I bought regular chairs." There will be plenty of wines by the glass, including some special-blend keg wines from California.

The menu reflects the shift in the way we eat. It features small plates, three or four kinds of bread one can order a la carte, pasta dishes, plenty of sides and salads, and some larger plates for those who want them. The dessert menu follows suit. There will be classics like souffles and chocolate cake, but also bite-size options.

"We are going to have a section on the menu that just says 'feed me,'" English says. "We'll charge $20 and send out small plates. There will be some classic stuff, like the carpaccio that's been on the menu for 20 years, the tortelli that's been on since Day 1, the tartare." But there will also be plenty of new dishes. A few he's especially excited about:

- Duck with Berber spices that's cooked buried in ginger, with duck leg confit and foie gras. "It's so very aromatic."

- Sweet pea panna cotta with morel Parmesan sauce.

- Ceviche with tamarind and soy.

- Tarts topped with classic roasted tomato, mortadella and Fontina, asparagus and duck egg, and more. "The tarts I'm really excited about," English says. "I've been playing around with the dough. I don't want to do pizzas there because we do them down the street [at Figs]. It's kind of like a mille-feuille meets pizza dough for the tarts. We roll butter into it and bake it in the brick oven. It's coming out pretty delicious."

English brought over many Olives staffers from Mohegan Sun, including executive chef James Klewin, who more recently worked at David Burke Prime at Foxwoods. As for English, "I'll be there a lot," he says. "My schedule in the summer dies down a little, so it's not as crazy, and I'll definitely be there to get the place open and make sure it's on the right path." Also staffing the place this summer, his kids: Isabelle, 19, will be at the door, splitting her time between Olives and cupcake spot Curly Cakes. Simon, 16, has been cooking a lot with his father, and perhaps he'll turn up in the kitchen -- "depending on his acting career," English says. He got called back for a part in an Adam Sandler movie that's filming in Marblehead. (Oldest son Oliver is following in his father's footsteps, too. He graduates from Cornell's hospitality program this year and spent last summer in Paris, working for Alain Ducasse. "Hopefully I'll hand him the keys and he can take over," English says.)

And the rest of English's family? The brick-and-mortar kind?

Well, Kingfish Hall appears to be done. "There's a new landlord, and I'm trying to renegotiate, but it's probably not going to happen," English says. "I'll probably just move on from there and look for something else down the road. Right now I want to focus on Olives anyway. Things have to change. Twelve years in Faneuil Hall, that's a good run for a restaurant." The New York Olives, temporarily closed, has been renovated and is open again. In the future, he says, he would think about opening something on Boston's bustling waterfront. (He had first crack at the Del Frisco's space but didn't have the resources to do it at the time.) And, naturally, the casinos would be an option. "I've already been talking to those guys."

"I'm still ambitious," he says. "I'm not retiring by any stretch of the imagination."

Signs of strain in English’s empire

For chef Todd English, who made his name in Boston, “It’s been a year of reinvention.’’ (Dina Rudick/Globe Staff)

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An hour late, Todd English breezes into Olives, the restaurant in Charlestown he opened 20 years ago, the place where he made his name. He is wearing a freshly pressed chef’s jacket, has a BlackBerry in one hand, an iPhone in the other, and a TV crew tailing his every step. He is, as ever, juggling ventures and appearances and texts away furiously as he talks.

“Don’t mind me, I’m ADD,’’ he says, slouching to the table, head in hands, a portrait of mock fatigue.

Todd English tired - an impossibility. The handsome, square-jawed chef who helped put Boston’s food scene on the map now has 21 restaurants, from coast to coast, and more on the way. But while the ageless energy, brash optimism, and love of the spotlight that helped make him a celebrity are still there, fault lines are starting to show in the English empire.

For every splashy restaurant opening, it seems there is a closing - three in the last 18 months. He has had to deal with a court ruling last summer that he and his companies owed $4.5 million in unpaid rent for the space where his Washington, D.C., Olives restaurant operated for almost a decade before closing last year. And there are at least five pending lawsuits against English claiming he or his business enterprises owe more than $280,000 in unpaid bills, including one from his last-minute canceled wedding last September.

English offers explanations for each case and, on Thursday, his publicist issued a bullish statement: “Todd’s restaurant group continues to prosper and grow.’’

On the personal side, it has also been a challenging stretch. Even for someone like English who thrives at center stage, the tabloid-frenzy around his last-minute breakup with Erica Wang last September was unwelcome. Though physically he appears unscathed following the tumultuous breakup during which Wang allegedly slugged him in the face with a heavy watch - leading to stitches for him, an assault charge and anger management program for her - the events did scar him.

“It’s been a year of reinvention,’’ the 49-year-old chef says.

“The way the world economy has gone, people have had to rethink things, their way of thinking about business,’’ he says. “Like music, like fashion, we’re in the entertainment business and need to stay current. It’s very much about staying fresh.’’

But if, as his publicist’s statement concluded, his business figure is bright, how then to explain the recent closings and line of lawyers chasing after him, from New York to Los Angeles?

The publicist, George Regan, says English’s stardom has made him a “celebrity piñata’’ and an easy target for “gossip, rumors, and especially lawsuits.’’

Olives in Aspen and Washington, D.C., and Fish Club in Seattle all shuttered recently. The D.C. closing was forced, after the building owner sued English for failure to pay rent and a judge said he was in default and his business owed $4.5 million. Of that, English personally was held responsible for $813,000, but the final amount he and his companies actually paid was agreed to in a settlement that was not made public.

Other figures, however, are laid out in court documents.

Dan Klores, the public relations titan in New York whose firm has represented Jay Leno, Howard Stern, Jennifer Lopez, Paris Hilton, and Britney Spears, filed a lawsuit last November against Todd English Enterprises, alleging it did publicity work for English in June 2008 for $15,662, and has not been paid a penny of it. English, via Regan, says it was merely a “discrepancy in the hours and services provided’’ and will be resolved.

Limore Shur, the owner of a company that runs high-end, turnkey apartments in New York, says in 2006 he leased to Todd English and an acquaintance, Andrew C. Stranberg, a third-floor loft off Broome Street in SoHo. Shur’s lawsuit alleges that English, Todd English Enterprises, and Stranberg owe $64,242 in unpaid rent, $11,000 to cover damage to the property, and $5,000 in legal fees for the defendant, for a total of $80,242.

“It was $10,000 a month, with bed turn-down service, almost like a hotel,’’ David Katz, the attorney for Shur, said in an interview. “Todd was there for a month or two, maybe three, and just skipped out. . . Nobody ever bothered turning the key in, paying the rent.’’

Stranberg, in a March 17, 2009, profanity-laced deposition obtained by the Globe, lashed out at English.

“I don’t know what Todd English did,’’ Stranberg said. “I’m not in business. I don’t like Todd English. He is a [expletive] loser.’’

In his statement to the Globe, English said he had sublet the apartment and his name was supposed to have been taken off the lease.

And then there’s Avatar Studios, a recording studio in midtown Manhattan whose artist clients include Aerosmith, Paul McCartney, and Billy Joel. Avatar sued English last year for $68,265, alleging that he rented its studio and never paid. English said he is settling that case. The same New York attorney pressing the Avatar case, Amos Weinberg, also represents Building Maintenance Services, a New York cleaning services company that has cleaned everything from the Empire State Building to W Hotels to Radio City Music Hall. It sued for $69,567, for janitorial services at two English restaurants in New York, and his closed one in D.C. English said the matter is still in litigation and his business is not at fault.

More recently, a suit was filed in November in Los Angeles Superior Court against English and Todd English Enterprises LLC, by a consulting firm he hired almost a decade ago to negotiate exclusive restaurant deals. According to the complaint, Fred Bestall brokered deals for English to open restaurants at the Marriott Hotel in Seattle and at Walt Disney World in Florida. The complaint says English paid off $94,948 of the $120,000 he owed, but that payments stopped in August 2007 and he still owes $24,052. English says it’s a dispute over the final amount due and is being settled.

But of all the complaints against English, the smallest one might sting the most.

On Dec. 16, Chestnuts in the Tuileries, a boutique florist hired to do all the flowers for English’s Oct. 3 wedding, sued both English and Wang. The wedding at the opulent St. Regis Hotel in New York never happened, and the florist didn’t get any of the $22,054 it was owed.

“The day of the wedding, Chestnuts delivered all of the flowers to the St. Regis and set up the flowers as ordered by the Defendants,’’ the complaint reads. “On the morning of the wedding, Todd English called the wedding off. After abandoning his nuptials and leaving his fiancée at the altar, Todd English contacted American Express and falsely denied authorizing payment for the flowers.’’

John Crossman, the attorney for Chestnuts, said even though Chestnuts sued both Wang and English, he has no doubt who owes the money.

“When you order flowers, you’re supposed to pay for them,’’ Crossman said. “It seems clear to us Mr. English was supposed to sign. We have his credit card number.’’

English offers a different explanation. Through his spokesman, he says a “third party used his American Express card without his permission, and the florist was told not to deliver the flowers prior to the event.’’

But the economy isn’t his only challenge there have also been some wounding reviews for his food. Of the Fish Club in Seattle, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer restaurant critic wrote: “For that kind of money, I want some or all of the following: great food, great atmosphere, great service, maybe even a view. Yet my three visits to Fish Club can be summarized as follows: lousy, OK, not bad.’’

To criticism that the food his restaurants serve has suffered as he’s shifted from restaurateur to entrepreneur, the chef says nothing has changed. “Not at all,’’ says English, who is fond of quoting renowned French chef Paul Bocuse. “People would ask him who was cooking when he wasn’t in the restaurant. And he’d say, ‘The same people cooking when I am there.’ ’’

When Olives in Charlestown was his one and only, it was hottest place in town serving, by general acclaim, some of the city’s best food. Replicating that, he concedes, is hard.

“You are always looking for the hottest place in town,’’ he says. “I am, certainly. But I’m also realistic . . . There is an ebb and flow. It’s the business.’’

But still, some raise this question: Can his restaurants truly shine if he’s not actually in them, as he was at the start of his career?

“When a chef himself is not in the restaurant, even if the greatest sous chef in the world is cooking, [the quality] is down 10 percent,’’ said GQ’s wine and food critic Alan Richman. “If the chef is never there, it’s down 30 percent. After that, there is no way to go but down.’’

Richman said of English, “I might be his greatest fan. I thought his food at Olives, when the restaurant was new, was magnificent. Every dish on the plate had too much of everything in it, and you know what? It was great!’’

He said he interviewed English about a year ago at Olives in New York, and after the interview English dashed into the kitchen and “threw together’’ a simple flatbread pizza for him. “It was fabulous!’’ said Richman, who was working on a story about pizza at the time and was sure it would make his top ten list.

But when he went back to the restaurant when English wasn’t there, Richman tried it again and said “it was just so-so.’’

“The man is a near-genius as a chef,’’ he said. “And yet people who are near-geniuses are often the ones whose food is hardest to translate into mass production. I think his restaurants are okay . . . I just get disappointed by seeing a truncated version of what a great chef might do.’’

But Gordon Hamersley, who has presided over Hamersley’s Bistro for more than 20 years, defends English’s desire to expand.

“I have one restaurant,’’ he says. “I go to my restaurant and I stand behind the line and work with 22-, 23- 25-year-olds because that’s what I like and love. But there are other kinds of chefs who happen to be entrepreneurial chefs, who have a love of food and a variety of food ideas they want to explore, and they can’t just do it in one restaurant. And there’s not a darned thing wrong with that.’’

He adds: “The only thing that’s important is: Does the food taste good, and is the food great quality? There are good cupcakes and there are bad cupcakes and my guess is that Todd’s cupcakes will be very high quality.’’

English is sure of it. For all his myriad ventures and challenges, he says he is still driven by the culinary passion that made Olives, Olives.

“I love the entrepreneurial side of the business,’’ he says. “The conceptual side of it, the creative side of it.’’ But then he adds, “I never want to lose my sense that I started out as a chef.’’

Gastronomics: The Hanging Brochette

Recession Special: Brasserie Julien wants to attract budget-minded customers with a vertical skewer of "smaller, more cost-effective pieces" of expensive meats.

According to several recent reports, the abysmal economy, increases in the cost of doing business, and rising food prices are starting to make their impact felt on the restaurant industry and consumer spending on food. As reported in the Wall Street Journal, chefs at premier dining establishments are finding it difficult to strike a balance between quality and cost. Signaling the fluidity of food costs, Chef David Chang has just just raised the price of a prix fixe dinner at his coveted Momofuku Ko from $85 to $100. And, the New York Times brings news of a boom in vegetable gardening by Americans trying to save money on groceries.

Into this changing food environment comes news of the latest in food marketing ploys to targeting current economic conditions: enter the "hanging brochette." According to a press release we received in our inbox yesterday, the restaurant Brasserie Julien is promoting this new menu item as a dining option designed specifically for the budget-minded customer. Can't afford an entire entree of lamb, filet mignon, fish, or game? Then order "smaller, more cost-effective pieces" of these expensive meats served on a skewer dangling before you. Does this PR stunt represent the first in a new wave of "recession specials"? What's coming next?

The complete press release after the jump.

The Olives Table

In The Olives Table, the artistry of one of America&aposs top chefs is on display, with more than 160 dazzling recipes from Olives and from Todd&aposs home kitchen, illustrated with beautiful photographs by Carl Tremblay.

In 1989, Todd English and his wife Olivia opened the original Olives since then the restaurant has moved to larger quarters, and Todd and his bold, inventive Med In The Olives Table, the artistry of one of America's top chefs is on display, with more than 160 dazzling recipes from Olives and from Todd's home kitchen, illustrated with beautiful photographs by Carl Tremblay.

In 1989, Todd English and his wife Olivia opened the original Olives since then the restaurant has moved to larger quarters, and Todd and his bold, inventive Mediterranean-inspired cooking have earned an international reputation. Voted one of the Top Ten Restaurants by Esquire magazine and the Best New Restaurant by Boston magazine, it has also been voted Favorite Restaurant in the Zagat Guide to Boston and Vicinity.

Todd's robust, intensely flavored food begs to be savored and shared with others. And since the complexity of English's cooking comes from the layering of tastes and textures—not exotic equipment or techniques—by following the careful, step-by-step instructions, even the timid cook can recreate the dishes that the patrons of English's hugely popular Boston restaurant enjoy at the Olives table.

Pull out the stops and begin a meal with Todd's signature Olives Tart, baked in a crisp crust and rich with olives and creamy goat cheese, pair Gingered Slow-Braised Lamb Shanks with Apple-Fennel Mashed Potatoes for your main course, and finish with Falling Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Sauce. Or for a lighter repast, try Pan-Fried Cornmeal-and-Cumin-Rubbed Cornish Game Hens served with Arugula Salad with Tomato and Cucumber Juice finish with Mango-Raspberry Granita. Plan a simple but deeply satisfying supper of Roasted Clams with Chicken, Tomatoes, Artichokes, and Bacon served with roasted new potatoes and end with Gingersnap Risotto Pudding. Whatever meal you decide to create from these recipes, you won't be disappointed. . more

This Country Singer Just Shared That She Eats McDonald's Every Month

Terry Wyatt / Stringer / Getty Images

There's a reason McDonald's has served more than a billion burgers since the chain was founded in 1955—for many folks, the lure of those Golden Arches is simply too strong. Even some of the biggest celebs in the world can't resist hitting up the drive-thru from time-to-time. In a new interview with Shape, country star Kelsea Ballerini reveals that she's not only a serious McDonald's fan, she hits up the chain every single month to get her fast-food fix.

"I've always been an 80/20 person as far as food and drinking. I try to do what's good for me 80 percent of the time," Ballerini explains. "The other 20 percent of the time, I just enjoy my life. I run through the McDonald's drive-through once a month, and it's fine."

This isn't the first time Ballerini has sung the praises of the fast-food chain. In 2017, after eating "like a rabbit" to prepare for the Grammys, Ballerini had "one more small little cheat meal" before going on tour. Her order? A 10-piece Chicken McNuggets and large fries. "I regret nothing," she said upon digging in.

More recently, Ballerini gave the brand a shout-out on Twitter. On Oct. 14, 2020, Ballerini noted that she'd like to "casually throw [her] name in the hat for the next collab" with the iconic fast-food brand. "I've been working on my rendition of the 'I'm lovin it' theme for years," she joked.

When she's not headed to the drive-thru, Ballerini sticks to a primarily plant-based diet, thanks to her husband, who's a vegetarian.

"We cook a lot of lentil Bolognese, or we'll do Mexican bowls with tempeh instead of chorizo. I've found a good groove with healthy meatless alternatives for some of our favorite stuff, which is fun. When we go out, I'll get my fix of whatever I'm craving," she explains.


Owens was born on a farm in Sherman, Texas, to Alvis Edgar Owens Sr. and Maicie Azel (née Ellington) Owens. [3]

In the biography About Buck., [4] Rich Kienzle writes: "'Buck' was a donkey on the Owens farm." "When Alvis Jr. was three or four years old, he walked into the house and announced that his name also was "Buck." That was fine with the family, and the boy's name became "Buck" from then on." [5] He attended public school for grades 1–3 in Garland, Texas. [6]

Owens' family moved to Mesa, Arizona, in 1937 during the Dust Bowl and Great Depression. [7] While attending school in Arizona, Owens found that while he disliked formal schoolwork, he could often satisfy class requirements by singing or performing in school plays. [8] As a result, he began to take part in such activities whenever he could. [8]

Early career Edit

A self-taught musician and singer, Owens became proficient on guitar, mandolin, horns, and drums. [9] When he obtained his first electric steel guitar, he taught himself to play it after his father adapted an old radio into an amplifier. [10] Owens quit school in the ninth grade in order to help work on his father's farm and pursue a music career. [11] In 1945, he co-hosted a radio show called Buck and Britt. [10] Co-host Theryl Ray Britten and Owens also played at local bars, where owners usually allowed them and a third member of their band to pass the hat during a show and keep ten percent of the take. [10] They eventually became the resident musicians at a Phoenix bar called the Romo Buffet. [10]

In the late 1940s, Owens became a truck driver, a job which took him through the San Joaquin Valley of California, where he first experienced and was impressed by the town of Bakersfield. He and his first wife eventually settled there in 1951. [12] Soon, Owens was frequently traveling to Hollywood for session recording jobs at Capitol Records, playing backup for Tennessee Ernie Ford, Wanda Jackson, Tommy Collins, Tommy Duncan, and many others. [13]

Using the pseudonym "Corky Jones" to prevent the recording of a rock 'n' roll tune from hurting his aspiring Country Music career, Owens recorded a rockabilly record called "Hot Dog" for the Pep label. [14] Some time in the 1950s he lived with his second wife and children in Fife, Washington, where he sang with the Dusty Rhodes band.

In 1958 Owens met Don Rich in Steve's Gay 90s Restaurant in South Tacoma, Washington. [15] Owens had observed one of Rich's shows and immediately approached him about collaborating, after which Rich began playing fiddle with Owens at local venues. They were featured on the weekly BAR-K Jamboree on KTNT-TV 11. In 1959, Owens' career took off when his song "Second Fiddle" hit No. 24 on the Billboard country chart. Soon after, "Under Your Spell Again" made it to No. 4 on the charts and Capitol Records wanted Owens to return to Bakersfield, California.

Following their success, Owens tried unsuccessfully to convince Rich to accompany him to Bakersfield. Instead, Rich opted to go to become a music teacher at Centralia College. While there, he tutored on the side but continued playing local venues. In December 1960, however, he left to rejoin Owens in Bakersfield.

"Above and Beyond" hit No. 3. On April 2, 1960, Owens performed the song on ABC-TV's Ozark Jubilee. [16]

Career peak Edit

In early 1963, the Johnny Russell song "Act Naturally" was pitched to Owens, who initially didn't like it. His guitarist and longtime collaborator Don Rich, however, enjoyed it and convinced Owens to record it with the Buckaroos. Laid down on February 12, 1963, it was released on March 11 and entered the charts of April 13. By June 15 the single began its first of four non-consecutive weeks at the No. 1 position, Owens' first top hit. The Beatles recorded a cover of it in 1965 with Ringo Starr as lead singer. Starr later recorded a duet of it with Owens in 1988. [17]

The 1966 album Carnegie Hall Concert was a smash hit and further cemented Buck Owens as a top country band. It achieved crossover success on to the pop charts, [ citation needed ] reinforced by R&B singer Ray Charles releasing cover versions of two of Owens' songs that became pop hits that year: "Crying Time" and "Together Again". [18]

In 1967, Owens and the Buckaroos toured Japan, a then-rare occurrence for a country act. [19] The subsequent live album, Buck Owens and His Buckaroos in Japan, was an early example of a country band recording outside the United States. [20]

In 1968 Owens and the Buckaroos performed for President Lyndon Baines Johnson at the White House, which was later released as a live album.

Between 1968 and 1969, pedal steel guitar player Tom Brumley and drummer Willie Cantu left the band, replaced by Jay Dee Maness and Jerry Wiggins. Owens and the Buckaroos had two songs reach No. 1 on the country music charts in 1969, "Tall Dark Stranger" and "Who's Gonna Mow Your Grass". In 1969, they recorded a live album, Live in London, where they premiered their rock song [ citation needed ] "A Happening In London Town" and their version of Chuck Berry's song "Johnny B. Goode".

During this time Hee Haw, starring Owens and the Buckaroos, was at its height of popularity. The series, originally envisioned as a country music's version of Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, went on to run in various incarnations for 231 episodes over 24 seasons. Creedence Clearwater Revival mentioned Owens by name in their 1970 single "Lookin' Out My Back Door".

Also between 1968 and 1970, Owens made guest appearances on top TV variety programs, including The Dean Martin Show, The Ed Sullivan Show, The Jackie Gleason Show and seven times on The Jimmy Dean Show.

In the early 1970s, Owens and the Buckaroos enjoyed a string of hit duets with his protege Susan Raye, who subsequently became a popular solo artist with Owens as her producer.

In 1971, the Buckaroos' bass guitarist Doyle Holly left the band to pursue a solo career. Holly was known for his booming deep voice on solo ballads. His departure was a setback to the band, as Doyle had received the Bass Player of the Year award from the Academy of Country Music the year before and served as co-lead vocalist (along with Don Rich) of the Buckaroos. [ citation needed ] Holly went on to record two solo records in the early 1970s, both were top 20 hits.

Owens and Rich were the only members left of the original band, and in the 1970s they struggled to top the country music charts. However, the popularity of Hee Haw was allowing them to enjoy large crowds at indoor arenas.

After three years of not having a number one song Owens and the Buckaroos finally had another No. 1 hit, "Made in Japan", in 1972. The band had been without pedal steel since late in 1969 when Maness departed. In April he added pedal steel guitarist, Jerry Brightman, and Owens returned to his grassroots sound of fiddle, steel, and electric guitars, releasing a string of singles including "Arms Full of Empty", "Ain't it Amazing Gracie" and "Ain't Gonna Have Ole Buck (to Kick Around no More)". Owens' original version of "Streets of Bakersfield" was released in 1972.

Death of Don Rich Edit

On July 17, 1974, Owens' best friend and Buckaroos' guitarist Don Rich was killed when he lost control of his motorcycle and struck a guard rail on Highway 1 in Morro Bay, where he was to have joined his family for vacation. Owens was devastated. "He was like a brother, a son and a best friend," he said in the late 1990s. "Something I never said before, maybe I couldn't, but I think my music life ended when he died. Oh yeah, I carried on and I existed, but the real joy and love, the real lightning and thunder is gone forever." [21] Owens would never fully recover from the tragedy, either emotionally or professionally.

Business ventures Edit

Before the 1960s ended, Owens and manager Jack McFadden began to concentrate on Owens' financial future. He bought several radio stations, including KNIX (AM) (later KCWW) and KNIX-FM in Phoenix and KUZZ-FM in Bakersfield. During the 1990s, Owens was co-owner of the country music network Real Country, of which, the Owens-owned station KCWW was the flagship station. [22] [23] In 1998, Owens sold KCWW to ABC/Disney for $8,850,000 [24] and sold KNIX-FM to Clear Channel Communications, but he maintained ownership of KUZZ until his death.

Owens established Buck Owens Enterprises and produced records by several artists. He recorded for Warner Bros. Records, but by the 1980s he was no longer recording, instead devoting his time to overseeing his business empire from Bakersfield. He left Hee Haw in 1986.

Later career Edit

Country artist Dwight Yoakam was largely influenced by Owens' style of music and teamed up with him for a duet of "Streets of Bakersfield" in 1988. It was Owens' first No. 1 single in 16 years. In an interview, Yoakam described the first time he met with Owens:

We sat there that day in 1987 and talked about my music to that point, my short career, and what I'd been doing and how he'd been watching me. I was really flattered and thrilled to know that this legend had been keeping an eye on me. [25]

Owens also collaborated with Cledus T. Judd on the song "The First Redneck On The Internet" in 1998, in which Owens also appears in the music video.

The 1990s saw a flood of reissues of Owens' Capitol recordings on compact disc, the publishing rights to which Owens had bought back in 1974 as part of his final contract with the label. His albums had been out of print for nearly 15 years when he released a retrospective box set in 1990. Encouraged by brisk sales, Owens struck a distribution deal with Sundazed Records of New York, which specializes in reissuing obscure recordings. The bulk of his Capitol catalog was reissued on CD in 1995, 1997 and in 2005. Sometime in the 1970s, Owens had also purchased the remaining copies of his original LP albums from Capitol's distribution warehouses across the country. Many of those records (still in the shrinkwrap) were stored by Owens for decades. He often gave them away as gifts and sold them at his nightclub for a premium price some 35 years later.

In August 1999, Owens brought back together the remaining members of his original Buckaroo Band to help him celebrate his 70th birthday at his Crystal Palace in Bakersfield. Owens, Doyle Holly, Tom Brumley, and Wille Cantu performed old hits from their heyday including "Tiger by the Tail" and "Act Naturally."

Long before Owens became the famous co-host of Hee Haw, his band became known for their signature Bakersfield sound, later emulated by artists such as Merle Haggard, Dwight Yoakam, and Brad Paisley. Buck inspired indie country songwriter and friend Terry Fraley, whose band "The Nudie Cowboys" possessed a similar sound. This sound was originally made possible with two trademark silver-sparkle Fender Telecaster guitars, often played simultaneously by Owens and longtime lead guitarist Don Rich. Fender had made a "Buck Owens signature Telecaster," and after his death paid tribute to him. [26] In 2003, Paisley blended creative styles with this guitar and his own Paisley Telecaster, creating what became known as the Buck-O-Caster. Initially, only two were made one for Paisley himself and the other presented to Owens during a New Year's celebration that Paisley attended in 2004.

Following the death of Rich, Owens' latter trademark became a red, white and blue acoustic guitar, along with a 1974 Pontiac convertible "Nudiemobile", adorned with pistols and silver dollars. A similar car, created by Nudie Cohn for Elvis Presley and later won by Owens in a bet, is now enshrined behind the bar at Owens' Crystal Palace Nightclub in Bakersfield.

Owens would hand out replicas of his trademark acoustic guitar to friends, acquaintances, and fans. Each would contain a gold plaque with the name of the recipient. Some of these guitars cost $1000 and up.

Owens was married four times, three ending in divorce and one in annulment. He married country singer Bonnie Campbell Owens in 1948. The couple had two sons, separated in 1951, and later divorced. [27]

Owens married Phyllis Buford in 1956, with whom he had a third son. [27] In 1977 he wed Buckaroos fiddle player Jana Jae Greif. Within a few days he filed for annulment, then changed his mind the couple continued the on-and-off marriage for a year before divorcing. [28] In 1979 he married Jennifer Smith. [27]

Owens had three sons: Buddy Alan (who charted several hits as a Capitol recording artist in the early 1970s and appeared with his father numerous times on Hee Haw), Johnny, and Michael Owens.

Owens successfully recovered from oral cancer in the early 1990s, but had additional health problems near the end of the 1990s and the early 2000s, including pneumonia and a minor stroke in 2004. These health problems had forced him to curtail his regular weekly performances with the Buckaroos at his Crystal Palace. Owens died in his sleep of an apparent heart attack on March 25, 2006, only hours after performing at his club.

Owens was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1996. He was ranked No. 12 in CMT's 40 Greatest Men of Country Music in 2003. In addition, CMT also ranked the Buckaroos No. 2 in the network's 20 Greatest Bands in 2005. [ citation needed ] He was also inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.

The stretch of US Highway 82 in Sherman is named the Buck Owens Freeway in his honor.

In November 2013, Buck Owens' posthumous autobiography Buck 'Em! The Autobiography of Buck Owens by Buck Owens with Randy Poe was released. The book has a foreword by Brad Paisley and a preface by Dwight Yoakam.

In a 2007 authorized biography Buck, historian Kathryn Burke gives a positive account of Owens. [29]

In Buck Owens: The Biography (2010) investigative journalist Eileen Sisk offers a critical account of Owens and the shortcomings in his private life. [30]


Adam Spiegel was born in New York City, [2] the son of Arthur H. Spiegel III and Sandra L. Granzow. [3] [4] His father was of German-Jewish ancestry. [5] Jonze is the grandson of Arthur Spiegel and the great-great-grandson of Joseph Spiegel, founder of the Spiegel catalog. [3] Arthur H. Spiegel III was the founder of a healthcare consulting firm. [3] [6] Jonze's parents divorced when he was a young child and his father remarried. [3] [7] Jonze was raised by his mother in Bethesda, Maryland, [8] where she worked in public relations, [3] along with his brother Sam "Squeak E. Clean" Spiegel, who is now a producer and DJ, [9] and his sister Julia. [7] While studying at Walt Whitman High School, Jonze spent much of his time at a Bethesda community store, where owner Mike Henderson gave him the nickname "Spike Jonze" in reference to the satirical bandleader Spike Jones. [3]

A keen BMX rider, Jonze began working at the Rockville BMX store in Rockville, Maryland, at the age of 16. A common destination for touring professional BMX teams, Jonze began photographing BMX demos at Rockville and formed a friendship with Freestylin' Magazine editors Mark Lewman and Andy Jenkins. [10] Impressed with Jonze's photography work, the pair offered him a job as a photographer for the magazine, and he subsequently moved to California to pursue career opportunities in photography. [10] Jonze fronted Club Homeboy, an international BMX club, alongside Lewman and Jenkins. [11] The three also created the youth culture magazines Homeboy and Dirt, [12] the latter of which was spun off from the female-centered Sassy and was aimed towards young boys. [13]

1985–1993: Photography, magazines, and early video work Edit

While shooting for various BMX publications in California, Jonze was introduced to a number of professional skateboarders who often shared ramps with BMX pros. [10] Jonze formed a close friendship with Mark Gonzales, co-owner of the newly formed Blind Skateboards at the time, and began shooting photos with the young Blind team including Jason Lee, Guy Mariano and Rudy Johnson in the late 1980s. [10] Jonze became a regular contributor to Transworld Skateboarding and was subsequently given a job at World Industries by Steve Rocco, who enlisted him to photograph advertisements and shoot promotional videos for his brands under the World Industries umbrella. [14] Jonze filmed, edited and produced his first skateboarding video, Rubbish Heap, for World Industries in 1989. [15] His following video project was Video Days, a promotional video for Blind Skateboards, which was released in 1991 and is considered to be highly influential in the community. [16] The video's subject, Gonzales, presented a copy of Video Days to Kim Gordon during a chance encounter following a Sonic Youth show in early 1992. [17] Impressed with Jonze's videography skills, Gordon tracked down the young filmmaker and approached him to direct a music video featuring skateboarders. The video, co-directed by Jonze and Tamra Davis, was for their 1992 single "100%", which featured skateboarding footage of Blind Skateboards rider Jason Lee, who later became a successful actor. [17] In 1993, Jonze co-directed the "trippy" music video for The Breeders song "Cannonball" with Gordon. [18]

Along with Rick Howard and Mike Carroll, Jonze co-founded the skateboard company Girl Skateboards in 1993. [19] The following year, he directed the video for the Weezer song "Buddy Holly", which featured the band performing the song interspersed with clips from the sitcom Happy Days. [20] The video became immensely popular and was shown frequently on MTV. [21] A 2013 Rolling Stone readers' poll ranked it as the tenth best music video of the 1990s. [22] Also in 1994, Jonze directed the videos for the Beastie Boys' songs "Sure Shot" and, more famously, "Sabotage". [23] The latter parodies 1970s cop shows and is presented as the opening credits for a fictional show called Sabotage, featuring the band members appearing as its protagonists. [22] As with "Buddy Holly", the video attracted great popularity and was in "near-constant rotation on MTV." [24] In the same year, Jonze also directed videos for the hip hop group Marxman, The Breeders, Dinosaur Jr., and another Weezer song, "Undone – The Sweater Song". [25] Jonze made his film debut as an actor in a bit part in the drama Mi Vida Loca (1994). [26]

1995–1999: In demand video director and Being John Malkovich Edit

Jonze collaborated with Björk for the video for her 1995 single "It's Oh So Quiet", a cover of a 1951 Betty Hutton song. The video is set in an auto shop and sees Björk dancing and singing to the song in the style of a musical, inspired by Jacques Demy's The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. [27] in the same year, he also directed a television commercial titled "Guerrilla Tennis" for Nike featuring tennis players Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras participating in a match in the middle of an intersection in Manhattan, the "rapid-paced" title sequence for the sitcom Double Rush and worked on videos for R.E.M., Sonic Youth and Ween. [28] [29] Jonze sole video directing credit of 1996 was for The Pharcyde's "Drop", which was filmed backwards and then reversed. [30] In 1997, Jonze made a short film called How They Get There, starring Mark Gonzales as a man who is playfully imitating a woman's actions on the other side of a sidewalk before running into danger. [31] Jonze worked with the electronic music duo Daft Punk on the music video for the instrumental song "Da Funk" in 1997. The clip, titled Big City Nights, follows an anthropomorphic "man-dog" wandering the streets of New York City. [32] His video for The Chemical Brothers's "Elektrobank" (1997) starred his future wife Sofia Coppola as a gymnast. [33] Throughout 1997, he also worked on videos for R.E.M., Pavement, Puff Daddy, and The Notorious B.I.G.. [34] [35] [36] He made a cameo appearance as a paramedic in David Fincher's film The Game (1997). [37]

Jonze filmed a short documentary in 1997, Amarillo by Morning, about two Texan boys who aspire to be bull riders. [38] He was also one of the cinematographers for the documentary Free Tibet, which documents the 1996 Tibetan Freedom Concert in San Francisco. [39] His 1998 commercial for Sprite is considered an example of subvertising for its spoof take on the brand's mascot. [40] Jonze developed an alter ego named Richard Koufey, the leader of the Torrance Community Dance Group, an urban troupe that performs in public spaces. [3] The Koufey persona appeared when Jonze, in character, filmed himself dancing to Fatboy Slim's "The Rockafeller Skank" as it played on a boom box in a public area. [41] Jonze showed the video to Slim, who appears briefly in the video. [42] Jonze then assembled a group of dancers to perform to Slim's "Praise You" outside a Westwood, California, movie theater and taped the performance. [3] [43] The resulting clip was a huge success, and "Koufey" and his troupe were invited to New York City to perform the song for the 1999 MTV Video Music Awards. [44] The video received awards for Best Direction, Breakthrough, and Best Choreography, which Jonze accepted, still in character. [44] Jonze made a short mockumentary about the experience called Torrance Rises (1999). [15]

The first feature film Jonze directed was Being John Malkovich in 1999. It stars John Cusack, Cameron Diaz, and Catherine Keener, with John Malkovich as himself. The screenplay was written by Charlie Kaufman and follows a puppeteer who finds a portal in an office that leads to the mind of actor John Malkovich. Kaufman's script was passed on to Jonze by his father-in-law Francis Ford Coppola and he agreed to direct it, [45] "delighted by its originality and labyrinthine plot". [46] Being John Malkovich was released in October 1999 to laudatory reviews the Chicago Sun-Times critic Roger Ebert found the film to be "endlessly inventive" and named it the best film of 1999, [47] [48] while Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly called it the "most excitingly original movie of the year". [49] At the 72nd Academy Awards, the film was nominated for Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and Best Supporting Actress for Keener. [50] Jonze co-starred opposite George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg and Ice Cube in David O. Russell's war comedy Three Kings (1999), which depicts a gold heist by four U.S. soldiers following the end of the Gulf War. Jonze's role in the film, the sweet, dimwitted, casually racist PFC Conrad Vig, was written specifically for him. [51] Jonze also directed a commercial for Nike called "The Morning After" in 1999, a parody of the hysteria surrounding Y2K. [52]

2000–2008: Adaptation and Jackass Edit

Jonze returned to video directing in 2000, helming the video for the song "Wonderboy" by the comedy duo Tenacious D. [53] Along with Johnny Knoxville and Jeff Tremaine, Jonze co-created, executive produced and occasionally appeared in the television series Jackass in 2000, which aired on MTV for three seasons until 2002. [54] The show featured a group of people performing dangerous stunts and pranks on each other. At the request of Al Gore's presidential campaign in 2000, Jonze directed a short video about Gore at his home. The video was shown at the Democratic National Convention. [55] He collaborated with Fatboy Slim for a second a time in 2001, directing the video for "Weapon of Choice", starring Christopher Walken dancing around a deserted hotel lobby. [56] The video won multiple awards at the 2001 MTV Video Music Awards and the 2002 Grammy Award for Best Music Video. [57] [58] Jonze's second film, the comedy-drama Adaptation, (2002), was partially based on the non-fiction book The Orchid Thief by Susan Orlean and was written by Charlie Kaufman. [59] The metafilm starred Nicolas Cage in a dual role as Kaufman and his fictional twin brother, Donald, as he attempts to adapt The Orchid Thief into a film and features dramatized events from the book. It co-starred Meryl Streep as Orlean and Chris Cooper as the subject of The Orchid Thief, John Laroche. [59] Adaptation. was met with widespread critical acclaim from critics, who praised it for its originality whilst simultaneously being funny and thought-provoking. [60]

Jackass: The Movie, a continuation of the television show, was released in October 2002. [61] Jonze co-produced, contributed to the writing of the segments, and made a cameo appearance in the film. [61] [62] Jonze directed a 60-second commercial called "Lamp" for the furniture store IKEA in 2002, [63] which won the Grand Prix at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival, considered a prestigious award in the field of advertising. [64] Also in 2002, Jonze directed the Levi's commercial "Crazy Legs" [64] and the videos for Beck's "Guess I'm Doing Fine", [18] Björk's "It's in Our Hands" (filmed in night vision), and one of two versions of Weezer's "Island in the Sun". [65] Jonze co-directed the Girl Skateboards video Yeah Right! in 2003, which featured extensive use of special effects and a cameo by Owen Wilson. [66]

Jonze co-founded Directors Label – a series of DVDs devoted to music video directors – in September 2003 with filmmakers Chris Cunningham and Michel Gondry. Jonze's volume, The Work of Director Spike Jonze, was released in October and comprises his videos, as well as photographs, drawings and interviews. [67] Jonze made a faux documentary called The Mystery of Dalarö in 2004 as part of an advertising campaign for the Volvo S40. The film was credited to a fictional Venezuelan director named Carlos Soto, but was later revealed to have been directed by Jonze. [68] He directed a commercial for Adidas titled "Hello Tomorrow" in 2005, featuring the music of his brother Sam "Squeak E. Clean" Spiegel and Jonze's then-girlfriend Karen O of the band Yeah Yeah Yeahs. [69]

After directing videos for Ludacris and Yeah Yeah Yeahs' "Y Control" (which caused some controversy over its graphic images), [70] Jonze collaborated with Björk for a third time on the playful music video for "Triumph of a Heart" (2005), in which her husband was played by a housecat. [27] The second Jackass film, Jackass Number Two, was released in 2006 and saw Jonze dress as an old lady whose breasts "accidentally" keep becoming exposed while wandering around Los Angeles. [71] Along with Dave Eggers, he had a speaking part in the Beck song "The Horrible Fanfare/Landslide/Exoskeleton" from his 2006 album The Information. [72] In 2007, he became the creative director of VBS.tv, an online television network supplied by Vice and funded by MTV. [73] Jonze hosted his own interview show on the service. [74] He directed ads for GAP and Levi's, [75] and co-directed the skateboarding video Fully Flared with Ty Evans and Cory Weincheque in the same year. [16] Jonze directed the music video for Kanye West's single "Flashing Lights" in 2008. Filmed entirely in slow-motion, [36] the video stars West and model Rita G, and sees her driving around the Las Vegas, Nevada desert in a Ford Mustang before stopping to repeatedly stab West, who is tied up in the trunk. [76] Jonze produced Charlie Kaufman's directorial debut Synecdoche, New York in 2008, which Jonze originally intended to direct. [77]

2009–2019: Where the Wild Things Are, short films, and Her Edit

Where the Wild Things Are (2009), a film adaptation of Maurice Sendak children's picture book of the same name, was directed by Jonze and co-written by Jonze and Dave Eggers, who expanded the original ten-sentence book into a feature film. [78] Sendak gave advice to Jonze while he adapting the book and the two developed a friendship. [79] The film stars Max Records as Max, a lonely eight-year-old boy who runs away from home after an argument with his mother (played by Catherine Keener) and sails away to an island inhabited by creatures known as the "Wild Things," who declare Max their king. [79] The Wild Things were played by performers in creature suits, while CGI was required to animate their faces. [80] James Gandolfini, Lauren Ambrose, Chris Cooper, Forest Whitaker, Catherine O'Hara, Paul Dano, and Michael Berry Jr. provided the voices for the Wild Things, and Jonze voiced two owls named Bob and Terry. [81] The film's soundtrack was performed by Karen O and composer Carter Burwell scored his third film for Jonze. [82] Where the Wild Things Are was released in October 2009 to a generally positive critical reception but did not perform well at the box office. Some reviewers were unsure whether the film was intended for a younger or adult audience due to its dark tone and level of maturity. [83] Jonze himself said that he "didn't set out to make a children's movie I set out to make a movie about childhood". [84] A television documentary, Tell Them Anything You Want: A Portrait of Maurice Sendak, co-directed by Jonze and Lance Bangs, aired in 2009 and features a series of interviews with Sendak. [85] Jonze wrote and directed We Were Once a Fairytale (2009), a short film starring Kanye West as himself acting belligerently while drunk in a nightclub. [86]

Jonze wrote and directed the science fiction romance short film I'm Here in 2010, based on the children's book The Giving Tree. The film stars Andrew Garfield as a robot with a head shaped like an old PC who falls in love with a more sleekly-designed female robot, played by Sienna Guillory. [87] Jonze produced and provided his voice to a character in the short film Higglety Pigglety Pop! or There Must Be More to Life (2010), based on Maurice Sendak's book of the same name. [88] He co-directed the video for LCD Soundsystem's "Drunk Girls" with the band's frontman James Murphy [89] and directed the video for Arcade Fire's "The Suburbs" in 2010, the latter being an edited version of Jonze's short film Scenes from the Suburbs (2011), a dystopian vision of suburbia in the near-future and an expansion of the themes of nostalgia, alienation, and childhood found in the song. [90] [91] A third Jackass film, Jackass 3D, premiered in 2010. [92] He was part of the main cast for the black comedy series The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret as the supervisor to David Cross' character for the first two seasons in 2010 and 2012, before being replaced by Jack McBrayer in the third season. [93] Jonze resumed his longtime collaboration with the Beastie Boys in July 2011, directing the video for their song featuring Santigold, "Don't Play No Game That I Can't Win", in which the band members are portrayed as action figures. [23] He then directed the video for Kanye West and Jay-Z's 2011 single "Otis", which saw the pair driving a customized Maybach 57 around an industrial lot. [94] Along with Simon Cahn, Jonze co-directed the stop-motion animated short film Mourir Auprès De Toi (2011), which is set in the Shakespeare and Company bookstore in Paris. Jonze voiced a skeletal Macbeth in the film. [95] Also in 2011, Jonze played a small supporting role in the sports drama Moneyball as the husband of Robin Wright's character, who is the ex-wife of Billy Beane (played by Brad Pitt). [96] In 2012, Jonze co-directed the feature-length skateboarding film Pretty Sweet with his Fully Flared co-directors Ty Evans and Cory Weincheque. [97]

Jonze's fourth feature film, the romantic science fiction drama Her, was released in December 2013. The film was his first original screenplay and the first he had written alone, inspired by Charlie Kaufman by putting "all the ideas and feelings at that time" into the script. [98] It stars Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Rooney Mara, Olivia Wilde, and Scarlett Johansson. The film follows the recently divorced Theodore Twombly (Phoenix), a man who develops a relationship with a seemingly intuitive and humanistic female voice, named "Samantha" (Johansson), produced by an advanced computer operating system. [98] Samantha was originally voiced by Samantha Morton during its production, but was later replaced by Johansson. [98] Jonze provided his voice to a video game character in the film, Alien Child, who interacts with Theodore. [99] The film's score was composed by Arcade Fire and Owen Pallett. [100]

Her was met with universal acclaim from critics. [101] Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter praised Jonze for taking an old theme "the search for love and the need to 'only connect'" and embracing it "in a speculative way that feels very pertinent to the moment and captures the emotional malaise of a future just an intriguing step or two ahead of contemporary reality." [102] Scott Foundas of Variety opined that it was Jonze's "richest and most emotionally mature work to date". [103] At the 86th Academy Awards, Jonze was nominated for three Academy Awards for Her, winning for Best Original Screenplay and receiving further nominations for Best Picture and Best Original Song for co-writing "The Moon Song" with Karen O. [104] Jonze won the Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay at the 71st Golden Globe Awards. [105]

Jonze co-wrote, co-produced, and appeared in Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa (2013), a hidden camera comedy film starring Johnny Knoxville as the vulgar grandfather Irvin Zisman. Jonze played his wife late Gloria, but was cut from a majority of the film. [106] Jonze served as the creative director of the YouTube Music Awards on November 3, 2013. At the ceremony, he directed the live music video for Arcade Fire's "Afterlife", documented Lady Gaga's live performance of "Dope" with Chris Milk, and premiered a short film written by Lena Dunham that Jonze directed called Choose You. [107] [108] Jonze had a small role in Martin Scorsese's 2013 film The Wolf of Wall Street as a stockbroker who teaches Jordan Belfort (played by Leonardo DiCaprio) the ins and outs of penny stocks. [96] Jonze got the part as the film shared the same casting director as Her, who asked Jonze if he wanted to appear in the film. [96] He directed the video for Kanye West's "Only One" in 2015, which was filmed on his iPhone in a foggy field and featured heartfelt interactions between West and daughter. [109] Jonze made a guest appearance in the fourth season of Lena Dunham's television series Girls in March 2015. [110] Jonze directed the short commercial film Kenzo World to promote a fragrance by Kenzo in 2016. The film starred Margaret Qualley as a woman erratically dancing around a large mansion, with choreography by Ryan Heffington. [111] Jonze is the creative director of multinational television channel brand Viceland, which launched in February 2016. [112]

In 2017, Jonze directed Frank Ocean's summer festival tour, which included 8 shows which took place in different cities around the US and Europe. Jonze also produced and decorated, alongside Ocean and artist Tom Sachs among others, an elaborate stage with a runway and central platform for the same concert. [113] Jonze wrote and directed the stage show Changers: A Dance Story, starring Lakeith Stanfield and Mia Wasikowska. Featuring dance choreography by Ryan Heffington, the show premiered at an Opening Ceremony fashion week presentation in September 2017 before opening to the public for a four-night run at the La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club. [114] Jonze produced the documentary Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond (2017), which documents the production of the film Man on the Moon (1999). [115] The following year, he directed the short commercial film Welcome Home for Apple's HomePod devices, starring FKA Twigs dancing inside her apartment as its transforms into a surreal space and engages in a dance off with her doppelgänger. [116] In 2019, Jonze directed a commercial and accompanying short film for the website building service Squarespace starring Idris Elba, [117] as well a short film titled The New Normal advocating for marijuana legalization in partnership with the cannabis company MedMen. [118] In that year, Jonze also filmed the Aziz Ansari stand-up special Right Now, operating close-up shots himself onstage. [119] He won two consecutive Directors Guild of America Awards for his commercial work in 2018 and 2019. [120] [121]

2020-present: Beastie Boys Story Edit

Jonze directed the Beastie Boys Story: As Told By Michael Diamond & Adam Horovitz stage show, which took place in Philadelphia and Brooklyn for three nights in 2019 and saw the band's two remaining members tell the story of the Beastie Boys and their friendship. [122] A feature-length documentary, Beastie Boys Story, was also directed by Jonze and features footage from the shows. [122] It was released on Apple TV+ in 2020 to positive reviews. [123]

In 2019, film scholars Kim Wilkins and Wyatt Moss-Wellington published ReFocus: The Films of Spike Jonze, a collection of academic essays on Jonze's oeuvre.

On June 26, 1999, Jonze married director Sofia Coppola, whom he had first met in 1992 on the set of the music video for Sonic Youth's "100%". [3] [124] On December 5, 2003, the couple filed for divorce, citing "irreconcilable differences". [124] The character of John, a career-driven photographer (played by Giovanni Ribisi) in Coppola's Lost in Translation (2003), was rumored to be based on Jonze, though Coppola commented "It's not Spike, but there are elements of him there, elements of experiences." [125]

Jonze dated singer Karen O throughout 2005, although the couple broke up shortly after. [126] People magazine reported that Jonze dated actress Drew Barrymore in 2007. [127] Jonze was reported to have begun dating Japanese actress Rinko Kikuchi in 2010 and the couple briefly lived together in New York City, but have since broken up. [128] [129]

Watch the video: Behind The Scenes: Alice Eduardo for December 2018 (August 2022).