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September 26th, 2012
04:20 PM ET

Grammy award winning icon Cyndi Lauper on her new self-titled memoir and her career

You could say Grammy award winning icon and pop music legend, Cyndi Lauper has lived out the title of her '80's hit song "Girls Just Want To Have Fun." With more than 30 million records worldwide, including "True Colors" "Time After Time", and still recording and performing today after almost 30 years in the music business.

Lauper is now revealing how she made that journey in her new autobiography titled "Cyndi Lauper: A Memoir.” Lauper sits down with Soledad O’Brien to discuss her book.

Filed under: Book • Celebrity
September 25th, 2012
02:04 PM ET

'Laverne And Shirley' star Penny Marshall on her new memoir 'My Mother Was Nuts'

A generation of TV fans remember her as Laverne Defazio from the classic TV sitcom "Laverne and Shirley". Penny Marshall writes candidly about the hit show and her life in front and behind the camera, as well as her childhood, marriages and famous friends in her new memoir entitled "My Mother was Nuts". Defazio discusses the contents of her book with Soledad O’Brien.

Defazio says that as a child she had to form a sense of humor and learn what sarcasm was in order to be around her mother. Defazio describes herself as a Bronx native who is “not a articulate person,” but says she has “a strange combination of insecurity and fearlessness.

Defazio says she is still friends with her former "Laverne and Shirley" co-star. Defazio adds that she did not mind when her co-worker received a lot of dialogue in the scripts because she was ultimately better at business. On the topic of the show’s end, Defazio says her co-worker “got married, she was very happy” and was expecting a baby.

Filed under: Book • Celebrity
September 25th, 2012
01:44 PM ET

New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz on Campbell's ad, salsa and his career

New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz is not just a star in the football field, but in a new ad campaign for Campbell’s Chunky Soup. And while the Superbowl champion holds the team record for most receiving yards in a season, he is happy to describe himself as a “Mama’s Boy” for the ad. Cruz joins Soledad O’Brien live on “Starting Point” this morning to discuss the new Campbell's campaign and his career.

In the ad, Cruz is seen speaking to the “team mascot” who convinces him to have Campbell’s Chunky Soup. A trip-up reveals that his “mom” and “grandma” are underneath the costume. But Cruz reveals that the two women featured in the commercial are not actually his mother and grandmother! Even so, Cruz was excited to be a part of the ad. “Campbell’s Chucky Soup is such a tremendous campaign to be a part of,” Cruz says, “and I’m just humbled to be one of the athletes that they chose to be a part of it.”

O’Brien asks Cruz about his signature salsa dance on the field. The New York Giants wide receiver says it resulted from the advice of one of his coaches who told him to represent his culture when he gets in the end zone. Cruz describes the moment he took that advice during week three of his NFL career. “So, I get my first catch, I’m going up the sideline, I’m about three yards away from the end zone. I look up, and I’m like, ‘Man, I got to do this dance now.’ So I break out the dance.”
The rest is history. “It was a feel good time,” Cruz says.

The obvious next step might have been to compete in “Dancing with the Stars” but Cruz turned it down. Cruz says it is something he feels could hopefully happen down the line. “I wanted to focus on my career.” he explains. “I wanted to focus on football, focus on my craft that I was doing at the time.”

For now, Cruz is just grateful to be a New York Giant. “I’m excited to go to work. I’m thankful that I have a job,” he says. He says if it were not for that week three game a year ago, “Who knows where I’d be?” So I wake up thankful everyday, brushing my teeth, excited to go to work.”

Cruz also shares his thoughts on whether the replacement refs really blew the game for the Green Bay Packers game.

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Filed under: Celebrity • Football
September 24th, 2012
01:54 PM ET

Singer Smokey Robinson raises awareness for clean water charity via Twitter

Singer and songwriter Smokey Robinson is lending his voice to a very important cause in the hopes of helping millions of people around the world. This morning, Robinson joins “Starting Point” to discuss his new clean water charity that he has formed with President Bill Clinton. The partnership was announced on Sunday, as part of the opening session of the Clinton Global Initiative.

Robinson says he and his friends formed “Smoke Alarm” in order to address issues people around the world have and “they’re in position to do nothing about.” The songwriter adds he then says he contacted his friend – Bill Clinton to aid him with his new initiative.

Robinson says “Smoke Alarm” is a “social media thing.” “Rather than me calling on some of my friends in the entertainment business” to do a benefit concert, “it’s very simple. All they have to do is tweet. They tweet to their partners… and its snowballs,” says Robinson.

Some of Robinson’s entertainment business friends who have been helping spread the message are Elton John, Brandy, Eva Longoria and Hillary Duff.

When asked why he chose to front a clean water charity, Robinson replies, “because water is the source of life for everything. There’s nothing alive on earth that does not need water.” Robinson adds, “There are many places in the world where people don’t have clean water…so we thought that would be a good starting point.”

Filed under: Celebrity
September 24th, 2012
01:27 PM ET

Actresses America Ferrera and Alexis Bledel lend support to women in poverty

"One," the anti-poverty group started by musician and humanitarian Bono is launching a new initiative to raise awareness of programs helping women and children in developing countries. This past august actresses America Ferrara, best known for her role in "Ugly Betty" and Alexis Bledel, from "Gilmore Girls' traveled with "One" to Honduras to see how these programs help women escape extreme poverty.

Ferrara says she was attracted to the “One” campaign because “they’re about leveraging your voice, not your money.” Ferrara adds that it was the organization’s interest “in focusing in on issues surrounding women and girls” and also wanting to visit Latin America that drew her in.

Both actresses who have co-starred in “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” movies speak Spanish fluently and were recently named to the Hollywood Reporter's list of 35 hottest young Latinos in entertainment.

In Honduras, Bledel says she and her former co-star saw “a lot of incredible programs that are funded by the U.S. government that aid with immunization and teach women new farming methods. Bledel adds, “we saw a lot of programs that are doing incredible things that just need to be… to have continued funding and be supported.”

Ferrara says she and Bledel witnessed first hand how giving the women of Honduras better tools changed the community. “Just giving mother’s the tools to fortify tortillas with better vitamins made the children’s development stronger, it cut stunting. It made boys and girls more alert and better in the classroom so theta they could learn better.”

To help, Bledel says “it’s easy to become a member. Just go to and you sign up.” “The way that you support them is really not by making donations… it’s just by lending your voice…You can sign petitions, you can twitter politicians, you can just …support the campaign that way,” says Bledel.

Filed under: Celebrity
August 23rd, 2012
10:54 AM ET

Disney darling Bridgit Mendler helps kick off nationwide 'Give with Target' campaign for schools in need

As Teddy Duncan in the Disney Channel's "Good Luck Charlie," Bridgit Mendler spends her time preparing her younger sister Charlie for what she has to look forward to as she grows up. In real life, Mendler is just as committed to helping the younger generation. The Disney Channel actress and Hollywood Records recording artist has teamed up with Target to help kick-off a $5 million back-to-school giving campaign.

Mender says, “I’ve been so excited to be working with Target for their Give With Target campaign. They approached me this summer and since then we’ve been going to schools around the country and giving out grants.” The Disney starlet adds that “the campaign has already reached $2.5 million in donations” through Facebook. 

And if being an actress, singer, and philanthropist is not good enough, the 19-year-old is prepping for college at the University of Southern California this fall and working on a new album set to debut Oct. 22.

Filed under: A little fun • Celebrity
July 12th, 2012
01:05 PM ET

Sexual exploits of Mick Jagger revealed in new unauthorized tell-all 'Mick, The Wild Life and Mad Genius of Jagger'

In his new book titled, "Mick, The Wild Life and Mad Genius of Jagger," best-selling author Christopher Anderson focuses on the off stage life of superstar Mick Jagger. Andersen says he has been working on this project for the last 43 years and chose to release the book because Jagger is still "more relevant than ever, when so many of his peers and contemporaries have self-destructed."

Andersen talks about the superstar's alleged 4,000 sexual escapades, particularly Jagger's relations with both sexes and David Bowie. Andersen says that "people forget that in the '70s, it was...androgyny and bisexuality were 'in' for rock stars...they trumpeted it."

The newly released unauthorized tell-all also includes new details about the backstage drama of the The Rolling Stones and the likelihood of an upcoming tour.

Filed under: Book • Celebrity • Music
July 10th, 2012
02:41 PM ET

Stephen Baldwin on acting, forgiveness, faith and politics

Stephen Baldwin talks about his role in the movie, "Loving the Bad Man" about a woman who gives birth to a baby conceived during rape. A born-again Christian, Baldwin discusses his personal path to forgiveness and why he felt drawn to a movie centered around faith.

Baldwin also talks with the Starting Point team about his teenage daughters, heated political discussions at the family table and whether he thinks his brother Alec should run for Mayor of New York City.

Filed under: A little fun • Celebrity • Religion
June 7th, 2012
11:47 AM ET

Miss USA 2012 Olivia Culpo sets record straight on pageant fixing accusations, says 'I know it's not rigged'

In an interview on "Starting Point with Soledad O'Brien," Miss USA 2012 Olivia Culpo tells Soledad she doesn't think the contest is rigged, and says Miss Pennsylvania Sheena Monnin's claims sound 'kind of funny.'

In a written statement, Monnin says she "witnessed another contestant who said she saw the list of the top five before the show ever started."

Culpo says the list in question was confirmed to be the rehearsal list, not a final top five list. She adds that the story didn't seem to stand up to scrutiny.

"It was just kind of funny because originally, Sheena had resigned because she didn't agree with the transgender community now being part of the Miss Universe organization community,” Culpo says. “Then, the story changed that it was rigged when she saw a rehearsal list. So, it’s kind of iffy.”

When asked if the recent accusations have stolen the thunder from her win, Culpo says it doesn’t get her worked up. "I'm not very dramatic...I know that it’s not rigged so I'm happy and it’s not taking away anything from me," she says.

Culpo tells the "Starting Point" team she looks forward to working towards increasing breast and ovarian cancer awareness, and hopes to use her cello skills to help music education programs in New York City.

Filed under: Beauty • Celebrity • Entertainment • Fame
June 4th, 2012
11:57 AM ET

Ledisi is 'Better Than Alright' – she talks about her new book and what it means to be 'beautiful'

Multiple grammy-nominated singer Ledisi is loved by her fans not just for her music, but for her honesty and inspiration.

In her music video, "Bravo," she applauds people who reject negative stereotypes and celebrate positive self-images, singing:

"Stand up for yourself. Celebrate life. It don't matter who you are. You've been working hard. Give yourself a round of applause. Clap for yourself now."

Now she's taken that message and written about it in a new book called "Better Than Alright: Finding peace, love and power" which was written in collaboration with "Essence" magazine. She talks with Soledad about the book and shares her thoughts on the current standards of beauty.

Filed under: Beauty • Celebrity
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