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Stars That Died

Monday, March 22, 2010

Who is Starlet Marie Jones?

Who is Starlet Marie Jones. The world knows her as Star Jones (previously Star Jones Reynolds). Jones is an American lawyer and television personality, best known for her role as a co-host of the ABC weekday morning talk show The View.

Jones was born March 24, 1962 in Badin, North Carolina, Star moved to New Jersey as a small child where she graduated from Notre Dame High School in Lawrenceville, New Jersey.[1] She earned a B.A. degree in The Administration of Justice at American University and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Houston Law Center. She is also a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha

Sorority. She was initiated in the Lambda Zeta Chapter at American University.

Jones was recruited by Court TV in 1991 as a commentator for the William Kennedy Smith rape trial, and spent several years as a legal correspondent for NBC's Today and NBC Nightly News.

She left NBC in 1994 to host her own court show Jones & Jury. Although the show was canceled after one year, Jones quickly was signed up as chief legal analyst on Inside Edition, where she was assigned to lead the coverage of the O.J. Simpson murder trial and was the only reporter to interview Simpson during his civil trial.

In 1997, Jones joined The View as a co-host, a role that increased her public exposure significantly. She was The View's first African-American co-host.

On June 27, 2006, Jones officially reported that she would be leaving The View after nine seasons as co-host. She told People Magazine that the decision to leave was not her own. "What you don't know is that my contract was not renewed for the 10th season ... I feel like I was fired." She found out her contract would not be renewed just days before Rosie O'Donnell's addition to the show was announced.[2]

The following day, Barbara Walters, claiming she had been "blindsided"[3] announced that effective immediately Jones Reynolds no longer would appear on The View, except for segments that had already been pre-taped—which proved to be minimal. When the series went into summer reruns, only programs in which she had been absent from the panel were rebroadcast. Jones was removed from the opening credits, leaving only Walters, Joy Behar, and Elisabeth Hasselbeck. In addition to being removed from the credits, Jones was immediately removed from the website. After June 27, her only appearances on The View were on the Friday June 30, 2006 episode, which was taped prior to her departure, and then replayed on Tuesday July 4, 2006.

Shortly after, Jones joined Larry King on his talk show to defend her position and respond to questions about why ABC had refused to renew her contract. The network claimed that not only did Jones's excessive reports about her wedding plans alienate viewers, but her acceptance of clothing and merchandise for the event, in exchange for mentions on The View, was in violation of network policy. When questioned about these issues by King, Jones adamantly stated that every mention of her wedding and those connected to it on The View was specifically approved and negotiated by the network themselves, clearly not in violation of any policy. She also reminded viewers that the ratings during that time were the highest ratings The View had in the nine years she was a co-host.[4]

Media reports on March 7, 2007 stated that Star Jones would return to truTV (formerly Court TV) as the new Executive Editor of their Daytime Programming and would host a live weekday talk show based on the law and pop culture. It premiered on August 20.

On January 31, 2008, it was announced that Jones and truTV has mutually decided to end their relationship as the network made changes in their programming selection. The final episode of the Star Jones program aired on February 1, 2008. "[Jones'] show averaged 186,000 viewers and, by its final telecast, was down in the neighborhood of 85,000." (Washington Post, Feb. 2008) She will remain a legal expert contributor to "In Session" trial coverage. She was making $8 million a year from Court TV.[5]

From September 2004 to September 2005, Jones was a red-carpet host for the E! television network, conducting interviews at awards shows. Jones and E! declined to renew her contract after one year. [6]

In July 2006, Jones hosted a week of the HGTV program House Hunters, in New York City. Her appearance on the program "scored the largest household ratings in the cable channel's history." [7]

In December 2006, for three days, Jones sat in for Michael Eric Dyson to guest host his radio show in his absence. Also that month, she produced for the Cathy Hughes-owned TV-One cable station The Star Jones-Reynolds Report, which reported on events that tremendously affected the African American community the previous year.

On April 2, 2007, she sat in as host of Larry King Live, interviewing Beyoncé Knowles while Larry was on vacation.

She appeared in "Screwed," the eighth season finale of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. While her character was also named Star Jones, she was not playing herself, but rather a prosecutor from Brooklyn—a position she held earlier in her career.

She hosted Oxygen Network's hit reality television show The Bad Girls Club Season 2 reunion episode, which aired on May 20, 2008.

On April 22, 2009 Jones appeared on the syndicated talk show Dr. Phil. As a former Brooklyn, NY Homicide Prosecutor, Jones sat on a legal panel to discuss the alleged murder of Sandra Cantu by Melissa Huckaby.

On July 17, 2009, Jones appeared on a celebrity version of Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader?, where she won $25,000 to benefit The East Harlem School at Exodus House, a New York City middle school for underserved populations.

Jones has written two books. The first, You Have to Stand for Something, or You'll Fall for Anything, is a collection of autobiographical essays published in 1998. In January 2006, Jones published her second book, Shine: A Physical, Emotional, and Spiritual Journey to Finding Love, detailing changes she made to re-shape her life, including her marriage and dramatic weight loss.

Jones married investment banker Al Reynolds on November 13, 2004. The much-publicized wedding was held at Saint Bartholomew's Church in New York City in front of five hundred guests, and featured three matrons of honor, twelve bridesmaids, two junior bridesmaids, three best men, twelve groomsmen, three junior groomsmen, six footmen, four ring bearers and four flower girls. More than thirty corporate "sponsors" donated wedding attire and merchandise for the event, in exchange for mentions in the media and on Jones' website.[8] WE: Women's Entertainment named Jones Reynolds the top bridezilla of 2004.

Immediately after the wedding, Jones added her husband's last name to her own and began using Star Jones Reynolds professionally. In an interview in the August 24, 2007 issue of Entertainment Weekly, she explained she reverted to Star Jones professionally in order to keep her public persona separate from her private self.

Among the issues that emerged while Jones was a host on The View was her weight loss, which seemed to occur fairly suddenly, after her years of weight struggles. Viewers and commentators suspected that she had had gastric bypass surgery. However, in 2006, when Jones was a guest on Bob and the Showgram on WDCG 105.1 FM in Raleigh, North Carolina and was asked whether she had had such surgery, she denied it.

However, in a September, 2007, interview in Glamour magazine, she revealed she had, indeed, undergone gastric bypass surgery in August of 2003, resulting in a loss of 160 pounds over three years.[9] A number of commentators criticized Jones for refusing to be honest and for claiming, for some time, that she had lost weight via diet and exercise.

On March 9, 2008, MSNBC reported that Jones and Reynolds were "calling it quits."[10]. Fueling the fire about the circumstances around the divorce were pictures posted online of Jones with Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade, sparking rumors of an affair. [11]

Three years after her marriage to banker Al Reynolds, Jones filed divorce papers March 26, 2008 in New York Supreme Court in Manhattan.[12]

On March 17, 2010, Star underwent cardiac surgery from a surgery she had three decades ago from a thoracic tumor.[13]

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  • In June 2003, Jones was sued by a landscaping company, which alleged she had agreed to ensure that the firm would receive credit for their work on a rooftop garden for her Upper East Side penthouse duplex in a quid pro quo exchange. The work was done in advance of an article about her home in the October 2003 issue of Architectural Digest. The Smoking Gun website published a copy of a letter she signed which agreed to the deal. The lawsuit was eventually dismissed in Jones' favor.[14]
  • Jones was named to PETA's "Worst Dressed" List four years in a row. [15] An anti-fur ad from PETA featured drag queen Flotilla DeBarge dressed as Jones in a spoof. Jones threatened to sue PETA and DeBarge as a result of the ad. [16]
  • Rosie O'Donnell, who was hired to replace Meredith Vieira on The View, has criticized Jones Reynolds for not publicly admitting to having gastric bypass surgery. Joy Behar also made a small joke on The View after guest co-host Kathy Griffin asked "Where's Star?" and Behar replied, "No one knows, because she got so skinny, she disappeared."
  • A non-profit Detroit women's group, Full and Fabulous, invited Jones Reynolds to speak at their "Health, Beauty and Self-Esteem" conference during the 2006 Super Bowl in Detroit. The group claimed Jones Reynolds demanded a first-class airfare, a suite at a five-star hotel, and $30,000 to show up. On November 2, 2007, she [was] accused of "stealing" from a Michigan non-profit organization after accepting plane tickets from them to party during the 2006 NFL Super Bowl. Jones allegedly changed the flight by moving the departure up two hours, doubling the cost of the flight, without the approval of the organization. The group then told Detroit TV station WXYZ that Jones Reynolds elected to party during the Super Bowl weekend and to plug her book rather than attend the conference. However, Jones Reynolds' representative refutes the group's claims, branding them "distorted." According to the spokesperson, Jones honored all contractual terms of the deal, and the organization fabricated a fascinating story to make a meaningful name for themselves.[17] But neither Jones nor her spokesman have provided any evidence to support their claims. Full and Fabulous took Star to small claims court in Detroit. Jones never showed up for the hearing nor did she respond to any of the court papers. The judge ordered Jones to pay back Full and Fabulous US $20,000. Jones has yet to obey the court order and pay the group back.
  • Jones wrote an open letter to Bill O'Reilly in response to comments made towards Michelle Obama. O'Reilly was quoted as saying, "I don't want to go on a lynching party against Michelle Obama unless there's evidence, hard facts, that say this is how the woman really feels. If that's how she really feels — that is a bad country or a flawed nation, whatever — then that's legit. We'll track it down."
  • On September 16, 2001, Star Jones declared on The View that she "would not vote for an atheist" for president, although an atheist "could babysit her kid—possibly".[18] She refused to apologize for her comments,[19] ultimately resulting in a call for a boycott against Payless ShoeSource who signed her on as a spokeswoman during the midst of the controversy.[20]
  • Various rumors have been circulating about the sexual orientation of Star's then husband. In 2005 a radio station retracted a claim that Al Reynolds patronized Las Vegas gay bars,[3] and more recently the couple sued the National Enquirer for falsely claiming that Al Reynolds is gay.[4]
  • In May 2008, in response to the publication of her former boss Barbara Walters' autobiography Audition, Star released a statement: "It is a sad day when an icon like Barbara Walters, in the sunset of her life, is reduced to publicly branding herself as an adulterer, humiliating an innocent family with accounts of her illicit affair and speaking negatively against me all for the sake of selling a book," Jones told US Magazine. "It speaks to her true character." [21]

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