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Robin Williams suffered from Lewy body dementia, a brain disorder thought to affect 1 million Americans

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Robin Williams

For the first time since Robin Williams' death, his widow Susan Williams spoke out about her husband's dementia in an exclusive interview with ABC News, a portion of which aired Tuesday on "Good Morning America."

Williams had been diagnosed with early stages of Parkinson's disease before he died by suicide August 2014. But an autopsy revealed he also suffered from Lewy body dementia (LBD), a brain disorder that affects more than a million Americans.

According to The Alzheimer's Association, LBD is a type of progressive disease that causes a decline in thinking, reasoning and independence, linked to the buildup of microscopic deposits — so-called Lewy bodies — in the brain, which damage the cells over time. It's the third most common type of progressive dementia after Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia.

LBD shares similarities with Parkinson’s and Alzheimers, and scientists think all three disorders may have a common cause.

The symptoms of LBD include changes in thinking or reasoning, day-to-day confusion, hunched posture and rigid movements, hallucinations, and other problems.

"Lewy body dementia is what killed Robin," Susan Williams told ABC News. "It's what took his life and that's what I spent the last year trying to get to the bottom of, what took my husband's life."

The week of Williams' death, his doctors were planning to check him into a facility where he would undergo neurocognitive testing.

The complete interview airs tonight on "World News Tonight with David Muir" and "Nightline," and again Friday on "The View."

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Disney just released never-before-seen footage of Robin Williams as the Genie in 'Aladdin'

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aladdin genie

Robin Williams played a lot of roles, one of the most memorable being the Genie from "Aladdin"— one of Disney's most classic animations.

Now, Disney has released footage and never-before-seen stills of the late Williams in this iconic role from the 1992 film, which will be released on Blu-ray on October 13.

On a segment with "Good Morning America," John Musker, the co-director and co-writer of "Aladdin" said the writers had Robin Williams in mind while they wrote the part of the Genie — though they had no idea if he'd agree to play the role. 

Here's the whole segment:

Here are some of the stills and footage:

Aladdin

Aladdin

Aladdin

"We were totally walking down the plank," Musker admitted on GMA. "If he said no, we were going to be in big trouble because the whole concept [of the Genie] was built around Robin."

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Robin Williams' widow says 'we were living a nightmare' in first interview about his death

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susan williamsRobin Williams' widow, Susan, has publicly spoken about her husband's suicide for the first time in an exclusive interview with ABC News, part of which aired today on "Good Morning America."

Susan Williams spoke candidly with ABC's Amy Robach about Robin's battle with anxiety, depression, and paranoia. She emotionally described her final evening with her husband and revealed that she doesn't blame her husband for his suicide. 

"And I got to tell him, ‘I forgive you 50 billion percent, with all my heart. You're the bravest man I've ever known.’ You know, we were living a nightmare,” she said.

Robin was diagnosed with early stages of Parkinson's disease in May, but the couple was unaware that he was also suffering from Lewy body dementia, which is the third most common type of progressive dementia after Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia, according to the Alzheimer's Association.

"Lewy body dementia killed Robin. It's what took his life, and that's what I've spent the last year trying to get to the bottom of," she said. Though he was fighting against the symptoms, Susan said he was losing control. "It was like the dam broke,” she said of his last month.

Robin and his doctors had been planning on checking him into a facility to undergo neurocognitive testing the week of his death.

The full interview will air tonight on “World News Tonight with David Muir” and “Nightline.” It will also air in its entirety Friday on “The View.”

Watch part of the interview below: 

 

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Robin Williams suffered from Lewy body dementia, a brain disorder thought to affect 1 million Americans

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Robin Williams

For the first time since Robin Williams' death, his widow Susan Williams spoke out about her husband's dementia in an exclusive interview with ABC News, a portion of which aired Tuesday on "Good Morning America."

Williams had been diagnosed with early stages of Parkinson's disease before he died by suicide August 2014. But an autopsy revealed he also suffered from Lewy body dementia (LBD), a brain disorder that affects more than a million Americans.

According to The Alzheimer's Association, LBD is a type of progressive disease that causes a decline in thinking, reasoning and independence, linked to the buildup of microscopic deposits — so-called Lewy bodies — in the brain, which damage the cells over time. It's the third most common type of progressive dementia after Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia.

LBD shares similarities with Parkinson’s and Alzheimers, and scientists think all three disorders may have a common cause.

The symptoms of LBD include changes in thinking or reasoning, day-to-day confusion, hunched posture and rigid movements, hallucinations, and other problems.

"Lewy body dementia is what killed Robin," Susan Williams told ABC News. "It's what took his life and that's what I spent the last year trying to get to the bottom of, what took my husband's life."

The week of Williams' death, his doctors were planning to check him into a facility where he would undergo neurocognitive testing.

The complete interview airs tonight on "World News Tonight with David Muir" and "Nightline," and again Friday on "The View."

SEE ALSO: There's a debilitating illness that makes you feel exhausted all the time — and we know very little about it

NOW READ: People with these rare brain disorders have a disturbingly skewed perception of reality

Join the conversation about this story »

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A myth about Robin Williams was just destroyed

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robin williamsWhen someone famous dies, the rest of the world scrambles to make the death feel meaningful by building a narrative around it.

And when Robin Williams died, our narrative of choice was the Sad Clown myth. Funny people are actually sad— their humor is a mask, a crutch, a coping mechanism. Media coverage hastened to portray Williams’ death as the result of depression.

We saw his death as a suicide in which Williams lifted his playful mask to reveal his true, sadder self.  

But we've since learned that it was wrong and premature to apply the Sad Clown myth to Williams.

He did not just commit suicide because he was depressed; he actually suffered from a horrifying disease whose symptoms are pulled from the dark playbooks of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, dementia, and schizophrenia.

His wife went on record saying that “depression was one of, let’s call it, 50 symptoms, and it was a small one.”

The Sad Clown myth is false and destructive. It promotes a worldview that understands humor as a form of escape from a bleak reality that will inevitably triumph in the end.

It provides a rationale for mentally ill comedians not to seek help. It’s a misunderstanding of comedy that can cost comedians their lives, or at the very least cause them unneeded daily suffering. 

When you’re told that you’re funny because you’re mentally ill, you have a strong incentive not to seek help for your depression, your anxiety, your obsessive-compulsive behavior. Your illness becomes its own redemption, your redemption, your superpower.

There’s dysfunctional solace to be taken by a depressed comic when she reads, in Andrew Solomon’s moving elegiac essay about Robin Williams: “The same qualities that drive a person to brilliance may drive that person to suicide.” If you’re depressed and feel your only value is being funny, then suicidal worthlessness is what you pay for this super-power.

sad old clown

As a stand-up and a member of a sketch group, I’ve heard other comics express these sentiments backstage. I’ve had my own backstage panic attacks triggered by these sentiments. So it’s worth viewing Williams’ diagnosis as a reminder that you don’t have to be mentally ill to be funny, and seeking help won’t rid you of your gift.

In fact, many comedians say that their comedy got better as they engaged in psychological healing. Marc Maron has said: “I got less angry, more accepting of myself, [it] definitely helped my comedy.”

Paul Gilmartin, on his podcast The Mental Illness Happy Hour, offers this antidote to the myth: “You can change your coping mechanism and still be funny. The funny just comes from a different place...funny isn’t keeping people at distance, it’s celebrating how crazy life is.” I’ve found this true for myself. As I’ve gotten to know myself better, engaged in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy as well as Zen practice, and consciously developed my mindfulness, I’ve gotten funnier and much more comfortable being funny.

The Sad Clown Myth can also be used to distance the creators of comedy from “normal” people by depicting comedy as the symptom of an abnormal psyche. The rest of us are serious and normal people who live in the real world; the comic is not able to handle this same serious and normal world, and thus resorts to a funny perversion of reality.

Robin Williams

Andrew Solomon’s elegy makes Williams’ death a reminder that “that we are all prisoners of our own flawed brains; that the ultimate aloneness in each of us is, finally, inviolable.” But comedy teaches us that nothing is inviolable. And so Solomon leaves behind the one weapon with which he might’ve attacked aloneness: comedy.

According to Solomon, comedy is an outlet that we should, and ultimately will, abandon when it comes time to face the music. And I agree with him that the music will be sad, but I also think that it will funny. The violins will harmonize with the clown-horns. Comedy does not exist in opposition to suffering. It’s not a respite, an escape, or a mask. Funny and serious are interdependent forces, not dueling ones.

It’s time to replace the Sad Clown myth with the Clown Myth: funny people are funny because the world is funny, not because it’s so inescapably sad.

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Disney isn't allowed to use Robin Williams' voice in an 'Aladdin' sequel for 25 years

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aladdin genie

"Aladdin" is one of those animated classics that could never be replicated, and a good part of that fact is due to the fact that the voice and performance of Robin Williams is so iconic and irreplaceable that it can't be duplicated. According to a clause in the late actor's will, Disney will have no means of even trying, as a treasure trove of outtakes are off limits for any future usage.

The New York Post broke the details, as a former Disney executive dropped the knowledge that there was enough excess material from Williams' 1991 recording sessions to constitute a fourth performance as the Genie in a new "Aladdin" film. Unfortunately for the powers that be, Williams' estate had a prohibition on such activity for at least 25 years after his death. The reason is that any future sequels would have generated financial penalties for his family – as any posthumous earnings are subject to such technicalities. Though looking back on the comedian's history with Disney, we're not sure finances were the only reason.

When Robin Williams worked on the original "Aladdin," he had one major stipulation to ensure his participation: he didn't want his work to be used in shilling any sort of merchandising or tie-in products, such as fast food advertisements. Disney agreed with this stipulation, only to turn around and do exactly the opposite of what Williams asked them to honor – and that left some hurt feelings between the actor and the studio. Though apparently, time and a Picasso peace offering are enough to heal old wounds, as Williams eventually returned to Disney for one more film – the direct-to-video sequel "Aladdin and the King of Thieves."

Despite the "Aladdin" series closing itself off with that final film, the clause in Robin Williams' will has us wondering if this was the reason the studio decided to move forward with the prequel / re-imagining of the series, "Genie." With a fresh take on the character coming into play, we would assume that Disney's endgame is to eventually introduce everyone's favorite blue wise-cracker to a new generation, with his street rat of a best friend by his side. As the studio has taken this tack with many of their other franchises, this could be written off as just an action that fits with the business model, so this could be just a coincidence.

Even if the restrictions on the deleted material from the original film were non-existent, crafting a fourth "Aladdin" film out of Robin Williams' legacy wouldn't be a move forgiven by the fans of both animated films and Williams' comedic stylings. However, after the 25-year clause expires, don't be surprised if some enterprising Disney executives decide to resurrect the materials in question and make good on their plans to give the world one last ride on the magic carpet. Let's just hope that whoever this hypothetical person may be goes through the right channels, so as not to alienate any fans or descendants of Williams' family down the line.

In the meantime, you can enjoy the original "Aladdin" on Diamond Edition Blu-ray, as it's available in stores now.

SEE ALSO: Robin Williams' widow says 'we were living a nightmare' in first interview about his death

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Robin Williams’s daughter talks about everyone’s reaction after her father’s death: It's 'sweet, but also alienating and difficult'

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Zelda Williams Robin Williams

Zelda Williams has been busy since her father, Robin Williams, died two months ago. But she always has him in mind.

After his death, Zelda received an outpouring of support. It was an emotional time, as she told Entertainment Weekly.

"I was really appreciative of the fact that everyone loved Dad so much, but [I] did get looked at like a butterfly that you were going to damage, and that’s in its own way sweet, but also alienating and difficult," she told EW. "I had an enormous amount of time to myself."

Zelda and her father were close. Growing up, the two bonded over movies, comic books, and video games. She was even named after the Zelda in the game series"The Legend of Zelda." Without him, Zelda said she felt unmoored.

"Maybe out of stubbornness, but also out of independence, I never asked him for a road map — I didn’t want the curiosity to be dampened for me," she told EW. “I had to figure this out before he was gone, and now I definitely have to figure it out on my own. But I’m enjoying that process."

Since Robin's death, Zelda has been working in independent movies. She's now starring in a horror drama TV series "Dead Summer," where she plays a transgender counselor at the summer camp where the show is set.

She's excited about playing the role of the type of person who's often underrepresented in media, even though she isn't a trans actor herself. Zelda told EW that she spoke with trans men to inform how she plays her character, believing the trans community "deserves an honest portrayal."

"He missed out on me being proud of myself by about a year and a half," she said. "That’s the one thing that’s really sad for me, because I know he was always proud of me. I think he would’ve loved that I was happy.”

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Matt Damon remembers his incredibly emotional scene with Robin Williams

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robin williams matt damon

In a new interview, Matt Damon gave a moving recollection of a famous scene from "Good Will Hunting" that he acted in with Robin Williams, who died two years ago on August 11, 2014. 

Speaking with JOE.ie, Damon recalled Williams' performance in the emotional park-bench scene.

"I had probably one or two lines in that. It was Robin's scene," Damon said. "And when he was just crushing it on the first take, I just went, 'This is gonna be really good.'"

Damon went on to describe how he recently took his family to Boston Commons to visit the same bench where the scene was filmed. 

"I walked over there with my family and we sat on the bench," he said. "The kids didn't know, they've never seen the movie, they're too young. But it was nice to go back and think about him back there."

"Good Will Hunting" received nine Academy Award nominations in 1998. Damon and Ben Affleck won for best original screenplay, and Williams won for best supporting actor, his first and only Oscar. 

Watch the interview and a clip from the scene below:

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Robin Williams' wife explains how dementia gripped the actor before his death, as he 'experienced himself disintegrating'

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Robin Williams

In the months before his death, Robin Williams was besieged by paranoia and so confused he couldn't remember his lines while filming a movie, as his brain was ambushed by what doctors later identified as an unusually severe case of Lewy body dementia.

"Robin was losing his mind and he was aware of it. Can you imagine the pain he felt as he experienced himself disintegrating?" the actor's widow, Susan Schneider Williams, wrote in a wrenching editorial published this week in the journal Neurology.

The title of her piece: "The terrorist inside my husband's brain."

Susan Williams addressed the editorial to neurologists, writing that she hoped her husband's story would "help you understand your patients along with their spouses and caregivers a little more."

Susan Williams has previously blamed Lewy body dementia for her husband's death by suicide in 2014. About 1.3 million Americans have the disease, which is caused by protein deposits in the brain. Williams was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease a few months before he died; the telltale signs of Lewy body dementia in his brain were not discovered until an autopsy.

The editorial chronicles Williams's desperation as he sought to understand a bewildering array of symptoms that started with insomnia, constipation, and an impaired sense of smell and soon spiraled into extreme anxiety, tremors, and difficulty reasoning.

"My husband was trapped in the twisted architecture of his neurons and no matter what I did I could not pull him out," Susan Williams wrote.

For nearly a year, in a painful odyssey that will be familiar to many patients, Williams tried to find out what was wrong with himself — and fix it. He underwent tests and scans, tried new medications, did physical therapy, worked out with a trainer, and sought out alternative treatments like self-hypnosis and yoga.

"He kept saying, 'I just want to reboot my brain,'" his widow recounted.

Nothing worked.

Robin Williams Wife and Kids

Signs of trouble

Susan Williams traced the first signs of trouble to a celebration of their wedding anniversary, about 10 months before her husband died, when "gut discomfort" made him fearful and anxious. That set off months of escalating problems.

Williams struggled particularly while filming "Night at the Museum 3" in the spring of 2014. He had a panic attack and had trouble remembering "even one line" in his role as Teddy Roosevelt. By contrast, Susan Williams wrote, he had remembered hundreds of lines without error while performing on Broadway three years before.

Another heartbreaking hallmark of the disease: Frequent shifts in and out of clarity.

"I experienced my brilliant husband being lucid with clear reasoning 1 minute and then, 5 minutes later, blank, lost in confusion," she wrote.

Dr. James Leverenz, a behavioral neurologist at Cleveland Clinic, told STAT that reading the editorial "brings back memories of many different patients I've seen with very similar experiences."

Robin Williams' frequent moments of lucidity, he said, illustrate what sets the condition apart from advanced Alzheimer's, where such flashes are rarer. "I've had patients with fairly severe Lewy body dementia that will sit in clinic and make actually nuanced jokes with me," Leverenz said.

After her husband's death, Susan Williams wrote that she had many long conversations with doctors to retrace and understand what had happened to him. All four doctors who had reviewed his records, she said, "indicated his was one of the worst pathologies they had seen."

Though she and her husband both craved a diagnosis during those bewildering months before his death, Susan Williams said in retrospect she is "not convinced that the knowledge would have done much more than prolong Robin's agony" and turn him into "one of the most famous test subjects of new medicines and ongoing clinical trials."

There are no approved drugs to treat the disease, but Leverenz said that early diagnosis can allow patients to access off-label medications that can be very helpful, atypically so for dementia, to manage their disease. Roughly half of patients get diagnosed while they're still alive, he said.

Susan Williams has joined the board of the American Brain Foundation, a nonprofit that funds research on neurological illnesses.

"Hopefully from this sharing of our experience," she wrote, addressing neurologists, "you will be inspired to turn Robin's suffering into something meaningful through your work and wisdom."

She added: "Do not give up."

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Most 'blockbuster' treatments for diseases like Alzheimer's fail, but here's why researchers aren't giving up hope

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Susan Schneider Williams

While treatments for diseases like cancer have had an innovation gold rush, neurological diseases haven't seen the same kind of development.

In November, the field faced another setback after an Alzheimer's disease drug failed a critical late-stage trial. But other drugmakers seem to still have hope, even if the odds are stacked against them. 

At the Forbes Healthcare Summit on Thursday, two CEOs from companies in the neurodegenerative space spoke with Susan Schneider Williams, whose husband Robin Williams was diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia (LBD) after his death in 2014. The condition is the second most common form of dementia, next to Alzheimer's.

Only four approved drugs are in use to treat Alzheimer's; on average about 99% of all drugs in clinical trials never actually make it to approval. There are no approved treatments for Lewy Body disease.

Axovant is developing drugs for Alzheimer's and LBD, while Denali Therapeutics is exploring treatments for Alzheimer's and ALS.

Speaking with Denali Therapeutics CEO Ryan Watts and Axovant CEO Vivek Ramaswamy, Schneider Williams expressed frustration about not knowing the kind of dementia her husband had.

"It wasn’t until three months after Robin left that I found out the name of what took him," she said. Based on his symptoms, Williams had previously been diagnosed with Parkinson's, a neurodegenerative disease characterized by problems with movement, but it wasn't until later that a doctor diagnosed him with LBD after discovering the presence of Lewy bodies in his brain.

Combining drugs

Both Ramaswamy and Watts expressed interest in combining different therapies to treat complex conditions such as LBD.

"We can just give up," Watts, who admitted initially being himself hesitant about combinations in neurodegenerative diseases, said. "But that's not what we should do. We should try these other novel approaches."

Ramaswamy said people working in the neurodegenerative space should take a similar approach to the one that cancer researchers have taken over the past decade. "The drugs all come step-by-step, without a single silver bullet," said Ramaswamy.

Axovant's Alzheimer's compound, RVT-101, is being tested in combination with Aricept, an available widely-used drug that is used to treat Alzheimer's symptoms including memory loss and confusion. Together, the two drugs appeared to slow people's loss of cognition and improve their ability to perform daily tasks — and these results were better than when Aricept was taken alone. The company's phase 2b trial was promising, and it launched its phase 3 trial in October 2015. Data from that trial should be coming out in 2017.

Two of the main targets Alzheimer's drugs have been going after are called tau and amyloid (solanezumab, the most recent drug to fail a phase 3 trial, was going after the amyloid deposits in the brain to clear them out and treat the disease). Drugs going after both targets have had setbacks in the last year. Axovant's compound goes after a different mechanism, a receptor in the brain called 5-HT6, though drugs going after this receptor have also had setbacks.

So the best way to turn things around? Take it slow and get more drugs approved, even if they may only help incrementally.

"This, more than any other, needs to turn cycle of failure into success," Ramaswamy said. "All it will take is a single success to be a catalyst for change."

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Why Robin Williams was rejected for the role of Hagrid in the 'Harry Potter' movies

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robin williams hagrid harry potterPretty much every Harry Potter fan out there absolutely loves Hagrid. He was an incredibly central character to the book series and was brought to life magnificently by Robbie Coltrane in the movies. It turns out things could have been a whole lot different, because Robin Williams really wanted the role for himself, but he was ultimately rejected for it.

Janet Hirshenson, who served as the casting director for the Harry Potter movies, was recently interviewed by The Huffington Post and revealed that Robin Williams did indeed reach out to the team behind the movie about the part. Unfortunately, due to a "Brits-only" rule during the casting process, he wasn't really considered seriously for the part of Hagrid. Here is what she had to say about it:

"Robin had called because he really wanted to be in the movie, but it was a British-only edict, and once he said no to Robin, he wasn't going to say yes to anybody else, that's for sure. It couldn't be."

 You would be hard-pressed to find a Harry Potter fan who wasn't happy with the way the casting worked out for the movies, especially in hindsight. For many, it would probably be very difficult to picture anyone but Robbie Coltrane in the role of Hagrid, who just so happened to be author J.K. Rowling's first choice for the part. That said, it would be equally hard not to see Robin Williams absolutely crushing it in a role like that. It is the type of thing he was truly great at doing. Even though it was an animated character, just look at what he was able to bring to the role of Genie in Aladdin. Couple that with his ability to do truly grounded, serious drama in something like Good Will Hunting and it is hard to argue against, in many ways.

The first entry in the franchise, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone was released in 2001 and the final installment, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, was released in 2011. During that decade-long run, Robin Williams worked plenty, but he didn't do anything nearly as significant in terms of critical acclaim or financial success as the Harry Potter movies. The closest thing would be the Night at the Museum trilogy, but that is simply dwarfed by the success of the Harry Potter. Not counting Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the Harry Potter movies made a grand total of $7.72 billion worldwide, making it one of the most successful franchises ever. Robin Williams talked a little bit about getting passed over for the part in 2001 in an interview with the New York Post. Here is what he had to say.

"There were a couple of parts I would have wanted to play, but there was a ban on [using] American actors."

Sadly, we lost Robin Williams in 2014 but he remains a truly beloved actor and so much of his work is still celebrated regularly. It is hard to imagine how his legacy would have been shaped had he appeared as Hagrid in Harry Potter. It certainly would have had a major impact on his career in some way. Putting anyone, let alone someone as beloved as Robin Williams, in a hugely successful movie franchise can bring a lot of opportunity someone's way. Things ultimately worked out well the way they did and at the very least, this is something interesting for fans of the Harry Potter franchise to think about.

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Robin Williams mercilessly trolled Sepp Blatter at the 1994 World Cup draw

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Robin Williams

  • Robin Williams stole the show at the 1994 World Cup draw, making numerous jokes at the expense of the former FIFA administrator Sepp Blatter.
  • The 2018 draw took place on Friday.

 

On Friday, soccer fans witnessed the latest version of one of the most surprisingly fun events in sports: the World Cup draw.

With celebrities, performers, and legends of the game in attendance, as well as plenty of competitive intrigue, we've seen some truly memorable moments occur at draws over the years. But the 1994 event, which featured a funny back-and-forth between Robin Williams and the then-FIFA general secretary Sepp Blatter, may take the cake as the most entertaining.

Williams was invited onstage to select the teams out of Pot 4, and he wasted no time in poking fun at his host. The comedian made jokes about Blatter's name ("Funny, I met you in the men's room just a minute ago!"), the color of the blue balls being selected, and just about anything else he could think of.

Take a look:

It's clear that Blatter wasn't quite prepared for the Williams treatment, but at least the crowd was into it. The late comedian got the best reception of anyone in attendance, beating out fellow stars like Beau Bridges and Mario Andretti.

All the while, Williams' shtick is juxtaposed with straight-laced commentary on the newly completed groups from the ESPN broadcaster Bob Ley. It all makes for a bizarre and hilarious seven minutes, especially in light of this week's draw in Moscow.

The toughest groups for 2018 appear to be D and F — check out our coverage of the action here.

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How the new 'Jumanji' sequel pays homage to Robin Williams' character

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jumanji 2

Warning: Spoilers ahead for "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle."

"Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle" (starring Dwayne "The Rock Johnson," Kevin Hart, and Nick Jonas) is a wild and surprisingly not terrible sequel to Robin Williams' 1995 movie about a sentient board game.

"Welcome to the Jungle" pays tribute to Williams, who committed suicide in 2014, by mentioning his original "Jumanji" character Alan Parrish.

In case you've forgotten, the original "Jumanji" opens by showing a pair of kids in the 1800s burying a mysterious chest in the forest of Brantford, New Hampshire. Then we jump to 1969, where the young Alan Parrish finds the chest and opens it to reveal a board game called Jumanji.

Jumanji board game 1995 movie

Alan and his friend Sarah play the game together, and Alan is literally sucked inside the game after he rolls a five. The game says, "In the jungle you must wait until the dice read five or eight." 

Sarah is rightfully terrified after witnessing this supernatural phenomenon (and being attacked by bats immediately afterwards), so she runs away and never attempts to keep playing the game. The meant Alan was trapped inside Jumanji for 26 years, until a new pair of kids find the game and begin playing in 1995.

Alan Parrish Jumanji 1995 Robin Williams

When one of them rolls a five or eight, Alan returns to the real world and we realize he's been living in the Jumanji jungle the whole time. After he and the kids (and adult-Sarah) finally finish their game of Jumanji, Alan is transported back to 1969 and becomes a kid again. 

How the "Jumanji" sequel nods to Alan Parrish

So, cut to "Welcome to the Jungle." The new sequel opens with a man finding the Jumanji board game washed up on a beach in 1996. Apparently this beach is also near Brantford, New Hampshire, because the house the man lives in is near a Brantford High School. 

The man gives the board game to his teenage son Alex — a metalhead kid who loves video games. Alex dismisses the game, saying "Who plays board games anymore?"

Alex Jumanji Welcome to the Jungle

Jumanji, being the sentient device that it is, apparently hears Alex's scoff and decides it needs to adapt. Overnight, the board game magically produces a video game console and cartridge. Using the telltale drum sounds, the game wakes up Alex. 

He finds the cartridge and decides to play. Upon choosing his avatar, Alex gets sucked into the game — just like Alan Parrish all those years ago.

"Welcome to the Jungle" then jumps to 2017, where a group of high schoolers in detention find the Jumanji console and plug it in. They all get sucked into the game too, and eventually run into Alex. 

Alex is unrecognizable, because the game transformed him into the avatar he chose — Jefferson Seaplane McDonough. He looks like Nick Jonas instead of the metalhead teen we saw in the '90s. 

Nick Jonas Alex Jumanji Welcome to the Jungle

Unlike Robin Williams' Alan Parrish, Alex seems unaware that a significant amount of time has passed. He thinks he's been in Jumanji for several weeks, when really it's been about 20 years. 

Alex takes the rest of the characters to the treehouse where he's been staying. Scratched onto a wooden post is the simple note: "Alan Parrish was here." 

When asked about the name, Alex says it must be the name of the person who built his hideout. Alan's handiwork keps Alex alive by providing shelter. 

Alan Parrish's hideout Nick Jonas Alex Jumanji sequel

This small mention of the name Alan Parrish is the only connection "Welcome to the Jungle" makes to the original "Jumanji." Virtually everything else about the movie stands on its own with no context needed from the 1995 movie. 

Alex/Jefferson Seaplane helps the rest of the teens (disguised as their own avatars) navigate the jungle of Jumanji. We won't spoil all the fun for you, though. You'll have to see "Welcome to the Jungle" to learn how their story ends.

"Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle" is in theaters now. For our spoiler-free thoughts on the movie, read our full review here

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NOW WATCH: Super-Earths are real and they could be an even better place for life than Earth

Robin Williams has been accused of sexual misconduct by a former co-star, who said she 'never took offence'

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Robin Williams

  • Robin Williams repeatedly groped and flashed his "Mork & Mindy" costar, a new book claims.
  • Pam Dawber, who played Mindy, said he did the "grossest things," but "could get away with it."
  • Williams killed himself in 2014 after battling severe depression.
  • The claims come from an upcoming biography of Williams.


The late Robin Williams repeatedly groped and flashed his "Mork & Mindy" co-star, a new book has revealed.

Pam Dawber, who played Mindy to Williams' Mork in the 1970s sitcom, recalled what is clearly sexual misconduct, saying he groped, grabbed, and flashed her on set.

However, Dawber said Williams' "magic" personality meant that she never minded the behaviour, and even enjoyed it. She added: "It was the 70s, after all."

The claims, based on interviews with his former colleagues, appear in an upcoming biography of Williams by New York Times journalist Dave Itzkoff, and were reproduced by DailyMail.com.

Here are the relevant quotes from Dawber:

"I had the grossest things done to me — by him. And I never took offence. I mean I was flashed, humped, bumped, grabbed. I think he probably did it to a lot of people... but it was so much fun.

"Somehow he had that magic. If you put it on paper you would be appalled. But somehow he had this guileless little thing that he would do — those sparkly eyes.

"He'd look at you, really playful, like a puppy, all of a sudden. And then he'd grab your t**s and then run away. And somehow he could get away with it.

"It was the 70s, after all."

According to Howard Storm, the "Mork & Mindy" producer, Williams also groped Dawber for no reason during rehearsals.

He told Itzkoff: "He'd be doing a paragraph and in the middle of it he would just turn and grab her a**. Or grab a breast. And we'd start again. I'd say, 'Robin, there's nothing in the script that says you grab Pam's a**.' And he'd say: 'Oh, OK.'"

Another producer, Gerry Marshall, also said Williams "would take all his clothes off, he would be standing there totally naked and she was trying to act. His aim in life was to make Pam Dawber blush."

Storm added that he once "goosed" an actress playing Mindy's grandmother in the show in the buttocks with a cane.

"There was nothing lascivious about it, in his mind. It was just Robin being Robin, and he thought it would be funny," Storm said. "He could get away with murder."

robin williams pam dawber

"Mork & Mindy" ran from 1978 to 1982, meaning Williams was between 27 and 31 at the time. He previously admitted to abusing cocaine and alcohol around this time.

Williams hanged himself in 2014 after being diagnosed with dementia and battling severe depression. He was 63.

SEE ALSO: This graphic celebrates Robin Williams' most memorable characters

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'It's a rough world out there people': David Spade posted a touching tribute to his sister-in-law Kate Spade

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kate spade david spade

  • The fashion designer Kate Spade died Tuesday in an apparent suicide.
  • Her brother-in-law, David Spade, paid tribute to her in two social-media posts. One said: "It's a rough world out there people. Try to hang on."
  • The comedian also said, "I don't think everyone knew how f---ing funny she was."
  • Kate Spade's sister also said she had mental illness and seemed fixated on Robin Williams' death by hanging in 2014.

The comedian David Spade has paid tribute to his sister-in-law Kate Spade, who died Tuesday morning in what authorities believe was suicide. Around the same time, Spade's sister said her death was "not unexpected."

David Spade posted two photos of himself with Kate on Twitter and Facebook, also remembering her wit and warning of a "rough world out there."

Kate was married to David's brother Andy Spade, who was also her business partner.

David Spade wrote on Instagram:

"Fuzzy picture but I love it. Kate and I during Christmas family photos.

"We had so much fun that day. She was so sharp and quick on her feet. She could make me laugh so hard. I still cant believe it. Its a rough world out there people, try to hang on."

The messages appear to allude to mental illness, with celebrities, fashion-industry figures, and fans also reacting to the designer's death with messages about mental health.

A housekeeper found Kate Spade hanging from a red scarf on a bedroom door in her Park Avenue apartment, the Associated Press reported, citing law-enforcement officials.

Kate Spade

'Not unexpected'

Spade had mental illness for years, her sister Reta Saffo said. She suggested that the designer may have been thinking about killing herself as early as 2014, when the comedian Robin Williams died.

Saffo told The Kansas City Star in an email:

"I will say this was not unexpected by me. I'd flown out to Napa and NYC several times in the past 3-4 years to help her to get the treatment she needed (inpatient hospitalization).

"She was always a very excitable little girl and I felt all the stress/pressure of her brand (KS) may have flipped the switch where she eventually became full-on manic depressive."

Saffo added that she and Spade were at a hotel together in Santa Fe, Mexico, when they saw reports of Williams' death in August 2014.

"We were freaked out/saddened, but she kept watching it and watching it over and over," Saffo said. "I think the plan was already in motion even as far back as then."

If you or someone you know is struggling with depression or has had thoughts of harming themselves or taking their own life, get help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) provides 24/7, free, confidential support for people in distress, as well as best practices for professionals and resources to aid in prevention and crisis situations.

Remembering Kate Spade:

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Robin Williams' daughter Zelda finally dressed up as Link from the Nintendo game for Halloween

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Zelda Williams Robin Williams

Robin Williams' daughter Zelda finally dressed up as a character from "The Legend of Zelda" for Halloween.

Zelda shared pictures and videos of her as the game's lead protagonist Link — who people often think is the game's titular Princess Zelda — to her Twitter account on Thursday. 

Zelda's Halloween costume saw her decked out in the character's signature green garb, pointed ears and blonde hair with one post captioned: "30 years. It finally happened." 

In another post, she shared a video of her emulating Link throwing chickens around, and another showing off her full outfit saying: "Swiggity swooty, Im coming for that rupee." 

Robin Williams, who died in 2014 at age 63, was an avid "The Legend of Zelda" player, appearing in promotional commercials for the game with one even discussing the origins of his daughter's name called, "The Mystery Behind Zelda's Name."

"From what I've been told they were playing Zelda when they were pregnant with me. I think both my parents liked the name and it stuck,"said Zelda in the Nintendo video back in 2011. 

Williams then adds: "We thought because we were playing The Legend of Zelda at the time and we bought one of the first Nintendo systems ... it's amazing because it's addicting, I was playing it for hours and hours." 

Her Twitter profile also acknowledges her namesake with "videogame legend" written in her bio. 

Naturally, the fans on Twitter went into a frenzy with followers commenting on Zelda's Halloween costume posts. 

One fan wrote:"Zelda dresses as Link. Welp. Everyone pack it up. She won Halloween."

Another tweeted:"This is the wholesome halloween content i want." 

Zelda Williams, who largely lives a very private life, also excited fans for using her Twitter account. 

But the 30-year-old said she's not back on the platform for good:"I'm not. Just for the Halloweiners. Then back to work tweets, charity and gift. My life is much calmer/kinder without it."

Fans will have to wait until next Halloween to see if she goes as the titular princess herself.

Read more:

Nintendo just released the latest 'Legend of Zelda' for the Nintendo Switch, and it's a remake of a classic Game Boy adventure

Robin Williams has been accused of sexual misconduct by a former co-star, who said she 'never took offence'

Robin Williams's daughter talks about everyone's reaction after her father's death: It's 'sweet, but also alienating and difficult'

Join the conversation about this story »

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THEN AND NOW: This Dutch artist photoshops celebrities meeting their younger selves

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Keanu Reeves

Dutch artist Ard Gelinck has been posting photo edits online for about 10 years but told Insider he wanted to "challenge" himself by creating a series of celebrity "Then and Now" comparisons.

"The ideas suddenly came up and the celebrities that I choose are often random. Sometimes an extra when I know when it is someone's birthday, for example," he told Insider.

Showing some spellbinding Photoshopping skills, Gelinck said he spends between one and four hours editing each side-by-side, which varies depending on the color, lighting, tones, and scale of each individual image. 

But the artist masterfully merges the two before-and-after comparisons to look as if each celebrity is meeting their younger self for the first time.

And he's even got the tick of approval from the sources of inspiration themselves. 

Gelinck said he's been flattered to see Madonna, Ricky Gervais, Sylvester Stallone,Michael Douglas, and Lionel Richie, to name a few, reshare his work via their own Instagrams.

While the Dutch artist isn't interested in exhibiting or profiting from his images, he said he is "enjoying that I can create something that other people like.

"It's nice to see that you can entertain people and show something that makes them laugh and make them think."

From Keanu Reeves to the cast of "Friends," check out 26 highlights from Gelinck's "Then & Now" series below.

Leonardo DiCaprio



Lady Gaga



Amy Winehouse



Bruno Mars



Courteney Cox



Neil Patrick Harris



Elton John



George Clooney



Ricky Gervais



Keanu Reeves



Jennifer Aniston



Jimmy Fallon



Angelina Jolie



Lisa Kudrow



Madonna



Matt Le Blanc



Matthew Perry



Michelle Obama



Mick Jagger



P!nk



Reese Witherspoon



Richard Gere



Robin Williams



Roger Federer



David Schwimmer



Will Smith



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These are the top Google searches of the past decade: From Disney Plus to Whitney Houston and the World Cup (GOOG, GOOGL)

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Whitney Houston

  • Google has shared the top 10 trending searches from each year of the past decade.
  • Google puts out an annual list of the search terms that saw spikes in traffic for a sustained period during the year.
  • It also recently announced the top searches of 2019, and "Disney Plus" topped the list. 
  • Since 2010, Google's top searches lists have included celebrity deaths, major news events, and key moments in pop culture.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

As 2019 — and another decade — comes to a close, Google has shared the top trending searches of the past 10 years.

These are the people, places, things, and news events that saw the biggest spikes in traffic for a continuous period of time compared to the previous year, providing a glimpse into the topics that dominated the public interest over the past decade.

The 2010s brought the tragic deaths of celebrities like Whitney Houston, Robin Williams, and Paul Walker, major news events included Hurricane Irma and the trial of Casey Anthony, and two FIFA World Cups. Nearly every year, a hurricane dominated the search terms.

Here's a look back at the top 10 trending Google searches from each year of the past decade.

SEE ALSO: A look at the most valuable tech companies from 10 years ago shows how much has changed — and that Microsoft and Apple still dominate

2010: World Cup

In 2010, Spain won its first FIFA World Cup title by defeating the Netherlands in extra time, becoming the eighth nation to win the tournament. Hundreds of millions of fans watched the 64 matches, which were played across nine cities in South Africa and marked the first time an African country hosted the tournament.

Also that year: A massive trove of classified communications between US diplomats was given to Julian Assange's organization Wikileaks by Chelsea Manning, then a soldier in the US Army. A devastating earthquake left hundreds of thousands dead in Haiti. Chatroulette, a website that randomly connects users in webcam chats, launched and quickly became popular. Former child actor Corey Haim died of pneumonia after struggling with prescription drug abuse.

Top 10 trending searches in 2010:

  1. World Cup
  2. Wikileaks
  3. Haiti
  4. iPad
  5. Inception
  6. Justin Bieber
  7. Chatroulette
  8. Avatar
  9. Bing
  10. Corey Haim


2011: Casey Anthony

Following the tragic death of 2-year-old Caylee Anthony in 2008, her mother, Casey, stood trial in what became one of the most widely televised cases of the decade. The nation tuned in for drama-fueled testimony and people literally fought to get into the courtroom to watch live. A jury ultimately found Anthony not guilty of first degree murder in 2011.

Also that year: Image-sharing website Pinterest took off. Google entertained users by letting them search "do a barrel roll" to make the website do a 360-degree spin and "let it snow" to blanket the page in snowflakes. Hurricane Irene hit the Caribbean and parts of the eastern United States, leaving dozens dead and causing billions of dollars in damage.

Top 10 trending searches in 2011:

  1. Casey Anthony
  2. Do a barrel roll
  3. Let it snow
  4. Steve Jobs
  5. Pinterest
  6. Ryan Dunn
  7. iPhone 5
  8. Amy Winehouse
  9. Hurricane Irene
  10. Osama Bin Laden


2012: Whitney Houston

Legendary singer Whitney Houston, the "Queen of Pop,"died in 2012 at the age of 48. Houston won six Grammy awards and was nominated for 25 for her vocal performances, and remains one of the best-selling artists of all time

Also that year: Mexican-American Banda singer Jenni Rivera died in a plane crash. 27 people, most of them children, were killed in a mass shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.

Top 10 trending searches in 2012:

  1. Whitney Houston
  2. Pinterest
  3. Hurricane Sandy
  4. Election results
  5. Jenni Rivera
  6. Hunger Games
  7. Jeremy Lin
  8. Adam Lanza
  9. Olympics
  10. Michael Clarke Duncan


2013: Paul Walker

Actor Paul Walker, best known for his role as Brian O'Conner in the popular "Fast and the Furious" movie series, passed away in 2013 in a car crash at age 40. Walker's death prompted an outpouring of support, especially from fellow cast and crew members, who had grown incredibly close over the years.

Also that year: Glee start Cory Monteith died of a drug overdose. The U.S. government temporarily halted most of its operations after Congress failed to approve its budget. Jodi Arias was found guilty of murdering her ex-boyfriend in a trial that became a cable television spectacle.

Top 10 trending searches in 2013:

  1. Paul Walker
  2. Boston Marathon
  3. Cory Monteith
  4. iPhone 5S
  5. Government shutdown
  6. Aaron Hernandez
  7. iOS 7
  8. Jodi Arias
  9. Harlem shake
  10. Nelson Mandela


2014: Robin Williams

Academy Award-winning actor and comedian Robin Williams committed suicide in August 2014 at age 63 after struggling with "severe depression" as well as dementia. Williams starred in a number of well-known films such as "Mrs. Doubtfire,""Dead Poets Society,""Good Will Hunting," and Disney's "Aladdin."

Also that year: mobile game Flappy Bird went viral, earning its creator, Dong Nguyen, $50,000 per day before Nguyen abruptly pulled the plug. Protests erupted in Ferguson, Missouri, over law enforcement's treatment of African-American residents after police officer Darren Wilson, who is white, fatally shot Michael Brown, an unarmed teenager. Russia controversially invaded and annexed the Crimean peninsula, a region of Ukraine, prompting criticism from the international community.

Top 10 trending searches in 2014:

  1. Robin Williams
  2. World Cup
  3. Ebola
  4. Malaysia Airlines
  5. Flappy Bird
  6. ALS ice bucket challenge
  7. ISIS
  8. Ferguson
  9. Frozen
  10. Ukraine


2015: Lamar Odom

Two-time NBA Championship winner Lamar Odom was hospitalized after being discovered unconscious in a Nevada brothel in 2015, an incident that left him fighting for his life at the time and dominated the news cycle that year. Odom, who was also previously married to the reality TV star Khloe Kardashian, made headlines more recently for his newly announced engagement to personal trainer Sabrina Parr. 

Also that year: Terrorist attacks shocked Paris: attacks in November that killed 130 and injured more than 400, and a shooting in January at the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. A mobile game called Agar.io skyrocketed in popularity after Frank Underwood, the main character from Netflix's "House of Cards" played by Kevin Spacey, was seen playing it in the show's fourth season.

Top 10 trending searches in 2015:

  1. Lamar Odom
  2. Jurassic World
  3. American Sniper
  4. Caitlyn Jenner
  5. Ronda Rousey
  6. Paris
  7. Agar.io
  8. Chris Kyle
  9. Fallout 4
  10. Straight Outta Compton


2016: Powerball

The Powerball jackpot hit a record $1.6 billion in 2016 and went to three lucky winners in Tennessee, California, and Florida. The odds that they would land on all of the winning numbers — 4, 8, 19, 27, and 34 as well as Powerball 10 — were 1 in 292.2 million. 

Also that year: A new take on the classic mobile game "Snake" called "Slither.io" topped App Store charts. Most of the year's other search trends were dominated by the 2016 US presidential election.

Top 10 trending searches in 2016:

  1. Powerball
  2. Prince
  3. Hurricane Matthew
  4. Pokemon Go
  5. Slither.io
  6. Olympics
  7. David Bowie
  8. Trump
  9. Election
  10. Hillary Clinton


2017: Hurricane Irma

Hurricane Irma was the most powerful storm outside the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean when it hit Florida and the Caribbean in 2017. It reached maximum sustained wind speeds of 185 miles per hour, and maintained that intensity for a record 37 hours.

Also that year: Fidget spinners became the year's hottest toy, a rare solar eclipse was visible in parts of the United States, and a gunman opened fire and killed 58 people at a country music festival in Las Vegas.

Top 10 trending searches in 2017:

  1. Hurricane Irma
  2. Matt Lauer
  3. Tom Petty
  4. Super Bowl
  5. Las Vegas shooting
  6. Mayweather vs McGregor fight
  7. Solar eclipse
  8. Hurricane Harvey
  9. Aaron Hernandez
  10. Fidget spinner


2018: World Cup

France emerged as the victor among the 32 countries that competed in the 2018 FIFA World Cup in what has been perceived as being the best tournament yet. France took the coveted title after a landmark match against Croatia, winning by two points. 

Also that year: Iconic fashion designer Kate Spade was found dead in her New York City apartment at age 55, renowned chef and TV host Anthony Bourdain died by suicide, the Marvel film "Black Panther" topped the box office. 

Top 10 trending searches in 2018:

  1. World Cup
  2. Hurricane Florence
  3. Mac Miller
  4. Kate Spade
  5. Anthony Bourdain
  6. Black Panther
  7. Mega Millions Results
  8. Stan Lee
  9. Demi Lovato
  10. Election Results


2019: Disney Plus

Disney's highly-anticipated streaming service debuted in November 2019, offers movies and TV shows from Walt Disney Studios and Walt Disney Television properties for $7 per month. That means you can get classic Disney movies, Pixar films, Marvel content, and more in one app.  

Also this year: Cameron Boyce, the Disney channel star known for his role in the TV show "Jessie," died at age 20 after suffering an epileptic seizure, and the HBO phenomenon "Game of Thrones" finally came to an end.  

Top 10 trending searches in 2019:

  1. Disney Plus
  2. Cameron Boyce
  3. Nipsey Hussle
  4. Hurricane Dorian
  5. Antonio Brown
  6. Luke Perry
  7. Avengers Endgame
  8. Game of Thrones
  9. iPhone 11
  10. Jussie Smollett