Crocodile Dundee star dies of coronavirus
Actor Mark Blum, who starred alongside Paul Hogan and Linda Kozlowski in Crocodile Dundee has died at the age of 69 from coronavirus.
New York-based theatre company Playwrights Horizons revealed the News Jersey-born star had died via a tribute on social media.
"With love and heavy hearts, Playwrights Horizons pays tribute to Mark Blum, a dear longtime friend and a consummate artist who passed this week.
"Thank you, Mark, for all you brought to our theatre, and to theatres and audiences across the world. We will miss you."
Blum also starred alongside Madonna in the legendary 1985 comedic film, Desperately Seeking Susan.
According to the New York Post, Blum also appeared on a string of TV series, including NYPD Blue, The Sopranos, The West Wing and recently the cult Netflix hit You, playing bookseller Mr. Mooney.
His onscreen wife in Desperately Seeking Susan, Rosanna Arquette, also expressed her sadness at Blum's passing, after being told of it by author Sharon Waxman.
I am so devastated by Mark Blum’s passing. His performances in the dozens of plays I saw him in were unfailingly deep, subtle, hilarious and moving in equal measure. Seeing his name in the Playbill always meant you were in for a treat. Also just one of the loveliest humans ever. pic.twitter.com/vC5rlpRJtq— Cynthia Nixon (@CynthiaNixon) March 26, 2020
"Sharon Waxman informed me of this very hard news today," wrote Arquette. "I'm so deeply sad for his family and for his fans. he was a wonderful actor and a very good and kind man. May you Rest In Peace and power, Mark. God bless you."
Blum is recalled by his colleagues and critics for the intensely high quality of his work. He was particularly beloved in the theatre community.
"There are actors whose names appear in the announcement of a play, and you instantly think, without knowing any details: This will be work worth seeing," Washington Post theatre critic Peter Marks posted. "Mark Blum was of that wonderful caliber. Made me believe, every time I saw him. It's terrible to read of his death."
Playwright Christopher Shinn also took to Twitter to salute Blum's life and kindness.
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So terribly sad to report that Mark Blum, who was Gary Glass in an early film role in "Desperately Seeking Susan" (1985), has died of COVID-19. He was just 69. Blum was a widely respected stage and screen actor, and a wonderful guy. Pictured: Inset, he cuts a rug with Madonna in Danceteria, and the main image is Susan Seidelman (director), Blum, Rosana Arquette and Aidan Quinn in 2010 at a 25th-anniversary celebration of "Susan," taken by me. #markblum #desperatelyseekingsusan #garyglass #madonna #gr8erdays #obituary #covid19 #coronavirus #ripmarkblum #theater #broadway #offbroadway #aidanquinn #susanseidelman #rosannaarquette
"In 2011 Mark Blum starred in my play Picked @vineyardtheatre, in a tricky role - a narcissistic filmmaker whose more human instincts collide with the desire to protect himself from emotional risk," Shinn wrote.
"Mark's performance took huge risks. He was magnificent. And the kindest man. RIP."
Blum leaves behind his wife and fellow actor, Janet Zarish, also 69, whose credentials include guest appearances on Law & Order, Seinfeld and Blue Bloods.
GRIFFIN SLAMS TRUMP
Meanwhile, Kathy Griffin has accused Donald Trump of lying over the rates of coronavirus testing in the US, after a medical emergency that saw her confined to a COVID-19 isolation ward.
The stand-up comedian posted a picture of herself wearing a mask from her hospital bed, together with a tweet from Trump in which he boasted that the US was testing "more … than any other nation, by far!".
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He’s lying. I was sent to the #COVID19 isolation ward room in a major hospital ER from a separate urgent care facility after showing UNBEARABLY PAINFUL symptoms. The hospital couldn’t test me for #coronavirus because of CDC (Pence task force) restrictions. #TESTTESTTEST
"He's lying," Griffin wrote on her Instagram. "I was sent to the COVID-19 isolation ward in a major hospital ER from a separate urgent care facility after showing UNBEARABLY PAINFUL symptoms. The hospital couldn't test me for #coronavirus because of CDC (Pence task force) restrictions."
She ended her post with the message: "#TESTTESTTEST".
Griffin's medical drama comes after the death of her mother Maggie on March 17.
OLYMPIC SWIMMER SERIOUSLY ILL
An Olympic gold medallist has revealed he has contracted coronavirus and described the illness as "by far the worst virus I have ever endured."
Retired South African swimmer Cameron van der Burgh, 31, said he has been struggling with the disease for the past two weeks, reports the New York Post.
"By far the worst virus I have ever endured despite being a healthy individual with strong lungs (no smoking/sport), living a healthy lifestyle and being young (least at risk demographic)," he tweeted.
Although his worst symptoms, like severe fever, have eased, Van der Burgh said he's still grappling with serious fatigue and an unshakeable cough.
"Any physical activity like walking leaves me exhausted for hours," said the 2012 Olympic 100-metere breaststroke champion.
He addressed athletes specifically, writing, "The loss in body conditioning has been immense and [I] can only feel for the athletes that contract COVID-19 as they will suffer a great loss of current conditioning through the last training cycle."
6/ Please, look after yourself everyone! Health comes first - COVID-19 is no joke!— Cameron van der Burgh (@Cameronvdburgh) March 22, 2020
"Athletes will continue to train as there is no clarification re summer Games and thus are exposing themselves to unnecessary risk," wrote Van der Burgh, who retired in 2018.
"And those that do contract will try rush back to training most likely enhancing/extending the damage/recovery time," he added.
"Please, look after yourself everyone! Health comes first - COVID-19 is no joke!"
The International Olympic Committee just this week agreed to postpone the summer games in Tokyo, which had a July starting date.
MERKEL NEGATIVE AFTER FIRST VIRUS TEST
Meanwhile, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is "doing well" in self-imposed quarantine and awaiting further coronavirus testing after a first result came back negative, her spokesman said Monday.
The veteran leader decided to self-isolate as a precaution after learning on Sunday that a doctor who vaccinated her last Friday was infected with the novel coronavirus.
"The result of today's test was negative," her spokesman Steffen Seibert told DPA news agency.
He had earlier told reporters in the capital that Ms Merkel "is doing well and working from home".
Further tests will follow in the coming days, Mr Seibert explained, since the initial test at such an early stage may not be conclusive.
In the meantime, the chancellor is getting on with the job from the comfort of her Berlin flat.
The 65-year-old dialled into a Monday morning (local time) cabinet meeting that clinched a major rescue package for virus-stricken companies and employees in Europe's top economy.
Seibert thanked everyone on Merkel's behalf for "the many, many well wishes and messages for the chancellor to stay healthy".
The spokesman declined to say whether Ms Merkel's chemistry professor husband Joachim Sauer was quarantining with her, saying he would not share information about family members.
Asked if he himself, as a close Ms Merkel staffer, should self-isolate, Mr Seibert said he last met with the chancellor on Sunday afternoon but had stuck to the advice of keeping a safe physical distance from people.
News that Ms Merkel was going into quarantine came shortly after she gave a press conference in Berlin where she showed no symptoms of ill health.
She used the press conference to announce fresh curbs on social interactions to contain a pandemic that has infected over 22,600 people in Germany and killed 86.
SA SENATOR TESTS POSITIVE
A South Australian Senator has tested positive for coronavirus after sitting in an inquiry with another politician who was unknowingly infectious after attending a NSW wedding where a "cluster" outbreak began.
Centre Alliance Senator Rex Patrick confirmed on Monday afternoon he had contracted COVID-19 almost two weeks after he sat through a hearing with NSW Senator Andrew Bragg when he had the virus.
Mr Patrick said he did not have any symptoms, but had been isolating since he was made aware of Mr Bragg's positive test on March 17.
The Daily Telegraph understands while Mr Patrick did meet the criteria for 14 days of self-isolation due to his close contact with Mr Bragg on March 9, he did not technically meet the criteria for a test because he had no symptoms.
It is believed Mr Patrick only took a test on Sunday after being referred by a GP last week as a precaution.
He had been isolating the entire time.
"SA Health has advised me that, despite being asymptomatic, my COVID-19 test has returned positive," Mr Patrick said on Twitter.
"I have assisted them with comprehensive contact tracing and they'll call anyone considered a) t risk."
Mr Bragg contracted COVID-19 as a guest at a friend's wedding in Stanwell Tops in NSW on March 6.
There have been 35 confirmed cases of the coronavirus among attendees at that wedding.
Two Labor Senators - Tony Sheldon and Jenny McAllister - have also self-isolated because they attended the same senate hearing on March 9 with Mr Bragg.
In a joint statement Ms McAllister confirmed she had self-quarantined and been tested for the coronavirus and had a negative result, while Mr Sheldon did not meet testing criteria but had also isolated.
The senate hearing went from about 9am to 4pm on March 9.
None of the four senators attended the current sitting week in Canberra.
PENNY WONG IN SELF-ISOLATION
Labor Senator Penny Wong has announced she is self-isolating in Canberra after waking up this morning "feeling unwell".
In a statement on Tuesday, Senator Wong said: "This morning I woke feeling unwell. Consistent with advice to all Australians, and recognising that my Parliamentary colleagues will return to their home states and communities, as a responsible precaution I will self-isolate, pending medical advice. As a result I will not be attending Senate today."
Federal parliament is meeting to deal with legislation governing the economic response to the coronavirus pandemic.
WEINSTEIN IN ISOLATION
Harvey Weinstein has reportedly been put into isolation in prison after testing positive for the coronavirus.
An upstate New York newspaper quoted unnamed officials confirming the diagnosis of Weinstein and two other prisoners.
Weinstein's spokesman told The Daily Beast "our team … has not heard anything like that yet".
There have been a number of COVID-19 diagnoses in New York's jails.
The Niagara Gazette quoted Mike Powers, the head of the New York State Correctional Officers and Police Benevolent Association saying: "There is no better breeding ground for this virus than a closed environment such as a correctional facility."
Weinstein, 68, was this month sentenced to 23 years prison for rape and sexual assault.
He has alternated between spending time in Rikers Island jail and a Manhattan Hospital, where he was being treated for chest pains and other ailments.
CNHI newspapers reported that Weinstein had been isolated in the Wende Correctional Facility, in the west of New York State.
SPANISH OPERA SINGER TESTS POSITIVE
Placido Domingo has announced that he has tested positive for the coronavirus.
The 79-year-old opera singer made the revelation in a post on his personal Facebook account.
RIP Peter Myles. ❤️— Sophia Myles (@SophiaMyles) March 21, 2020
My dear Dad died only a few hours ago. It was the Corona Virus that finally took him.
Originally published as Crocodile Dundee star dies of coronavirus
Mark Blum was my brother’s first boss in NYC when we moved there. He was full of hilarious stories about this insane business & was always so kind to my brothers & me, back when we had nothing. Thank you, Mark. RIP. ❤️ https://t.co/5xkCbLmUdq— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) March 26, 2020
When I was in drama school Mark Blum was exactly the kind of actor I aspired to be: constantly employed, deeply respected, total mensch. Gutted to hear of his passing. His wife Janet Zarish was my acting teacher at NYU. They were the loveliest couple. My heart breaks for her. https://t.co/J7MvHutdge— Josh Radnor (@JoshRadnor) March 26, 2020