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Marty Pasetta dies at 82; directed 17 Oscar shows, Elvis satellite concert

Marty Pasetta, a veteran director of live TV extravaganzas, including 17 Academy Awards shows and inaugural galas for Presidents Carter and Reagan, has died. He was 82.

Pasetta died Thursday from injuries sustained in a single-car accident in La Quinta, where he lived.

According to the Riverside County coroner's office, the driver of the car in which the director was riding had left the engine on after they left the vehicle. The car struck Pasetta and another passenger. Pasetta died at the scene.

The operator of the vehicle, Keith Stewart, 75, was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence.

During four decades in television, Pasetta directed and produced specials for many of Hollywood's biggest names, including Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby, and oversaw star-studded tributes to Elizabeth Taylor, Fred Astaire and Alfred Hitchcock.

He was credited with convincing Elvis Presley to suspend his drug use and lose weight for the 1973 special "Elvis: Aloha from Hawaii," which has been...

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Envelope Screening: Less is more with music for 'American Crime'

"American Crime," ABC's drama about the racial and cultural impact of a brutal home invasion of a suburban white couple, is surprisingly quiet. Creator and executive producer John Ridley wanted to convey his story without a lot of music.

That doesn't mean the music wasn't a key factor. The show's composer, Mark Isham, said the series presented a unique challenge in terms of conveying emotion through music.

"I've always said the most important thing a composer can do is start and stop," said Isham, who has composed scores for more than 100 films. "That entrance can be the most impactful thing a piece of music can do."

Isham said Ridley had a "pretty rigorous aesthetic" about when to use music. "Consequently, we really milk it when we use it."


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Envelope Screening: 'American Crime' team felt 'emotional responsibility'

"American Crime," ABC's drama about the racial and cultural tensions surrounding the brutal assault of a young white couple, covered delicate and racially sensitive territory. But creator and executive producer John Ridley said he and his colleagues knew the series also had to be entertaining without being preachy.

"Everybody here felt a responsibility to have an emotional honesty to what we were doing," said Ridley. "I also think that to everybody's credit, this was obviously subject matter in and of itself, whether it's race, faith or class, are not traditional in terms of what we consider entertainment."

Ridley added, "But how it's delivered, through the language of cinema, which everyone used in presenting it, that can be — and there's no reason why it can't be — entertaining. And engaging. That's the operative perspective that everyone here was working with."

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Emmy Contender: Amanda Peet of 'Togetherness' is on 'Game of Thrones' campaign

Amanda Peet took a break from shooting the second season of the HBO comedy "Togetherness" to stop by The Times recently to discuss her work on the show and her loose-cannon character, Tina.

We talked about how wardrobe informs the 40ish character (Tina — not Peet, just to be clear — likely shops at Forever 21 and Abercrombie) and learned that it's actually possible to find an outfit that's too over-the-top for even Tina to wear (a swimsuit with a "lot of holes" failed to make the cut last week).

And though the show's creators, Mark and Jay Duplass, encourage improvisation, there is apparently a line that you can cross.

"They have told me, 'Can you swear just a little bit less?' " Peet reveals. "My husband gives me that note too."

And while we're on the subject of swearing and Peet's husband, "Game of Thrones" co-creator David Benioff, Peet had much to say about her continued campaign to land a role on the show.

"I will tell you that I was just recently in the car with D.B. Weiss, David's...

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Emmy Contenders: Angela Bassett goes behind the camera for 'Whitney'

Angela Bassett has been in the acting game long enough to have played a wide range of characters: protective mothers, doctors, and who can forget her Tina Turner? What does a performer do after that? If you're Bassett, you take all that industry experience and put it behind the camera for the Lifetime film "Whitney," a bio pic of the late Whitney Houston.

"Directing was something that I toyed with in my mind, but, of course, it felt daunting," Bassett said when she dropped by The Times studio for a chat. But when she was out to lunch with the movie's producer and he asked her for director recommendations, well, she couldn't help but pitch herself. And to her great surprise, the production was eager to have her come aboard.

She asked to read the script, "because it all starts on the page, for me, if it's worth doing because you give everything as an artist -- you give part of your spirit, your soul -- to make this world come alive."

And the very next day after wrapping her directorial debut...

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Emmy chat: Let's talk 'Togetherness' with Amanda Peet on Thursday

Amanda Peet will be stopping by The Times studio on Thursday at 2 p.m. PDT to talk about her work on HBO's first-year series "Togetherness." And that's a good thing for many reasons, not the least of which being we've been stewing over the show's finale -- and her character Tina's decisions on said episode -- for the past couple of months now and we need to talk it out. Who better to help us, right?

Peet's Tina is a 40ish woman who relocates to Los Angeles, moving in with her  married sister Michelle Pierson (Melanie Lynskey) and brother-in-law Brett Pierson (Mark Duplass) and their kids. She's a party planner specializing in bouncy houses and a little challenged on the relationship front. However, by season's end, she must choose between an empty, easy life with rich Hollywood producer Larry (Peter Gallagher) or broke good guy Alex (Steve Zissis), a friend who seems to love her. Guess who she goes with?

"Tina's tragic, but she's also kind of funny," Peet told The Times in a January interview....

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