City of Angels: Anne Heche’s Family Feud, Tyra Banks’s Model Theme Park and More

It’s brother against brother (and ex-boyfriend) in the battle over the late Anne Heche’s estate

NOBODY knows exactly how much Anne Heche left behind after she died, at 53, in that fiery car crash in Mar Vista in August—but family members are fighting over it anyway. In one corner, there’s Heche’s ex-partner, Canadian actor James Tupper, with whom Heche had one child, 13-year-old Atlas Tupper. In the other, there’s Homer Laffoon, Heche’s 20-year-old son with Coleman Laffoon, the cameraman Heche dumped Ellen DeGeneres for in 2001, after meeting that year on DeGeneres’s stand-up comedy tour. Heche and Coleman Laffoon were married in 2001 and divorced in 2009.

Judging from an email that Heche sent to the elder Tupper in 2011, it seems pretty clear what the troubled actress’s last wishes were. “FYI In case I die tomorrow and anyone asks,” she wrote, “my wishes are that all of my assets go to the control of Mr. James Tupper to be used to raise my children and then given to the children. They will be divided equally among our children, currently Homer Heche Leffoon and Atlas Heche Tupper, and their portion given to each when they are the age of 25.”

But shortly after his mom’s death, Homer Laffoon filed a request to be put in charge of Heche’s estate—and given guardianship of his half-brother. In response, Atlas and his dad filed paperwork challenging Laffoon’s request, arguing that he was not “suitable” to look after the estate, let alone the interests of his brother, given that Laffoon is 20, unemployed, and was estranged from his mother when she died. The Tuppers also claim that the day after Heche’s death, Laffoon changed the locks on Heche’s home and has not allowed Atlas inside.

Laffoon’s lawyers have so far remained mum. “We prefer to see the estate administration play out in court and not in the media,” they announced in a statement. A hearing was slated for mid-October, so by the time you read this, the mess may be sorted out. But probably not.

Move over Walt, Tyra Banks opens a theme park

SUPERMODELS HAVE a tough gig. Not only do they have to pose for magazine covers, but they have to fight crime as well!

Now, you too can experience the thrill of sashaying down a catwalk with an attitudinal frown on your face, thanks to Tyra Banks’s ModelLand, which finally flung open its doors at the Santa Monica Pier in September. The 10,000-square-foot indoor “theme park”—originally slated to debut in the spring of 2020 (you know, shortly after the pandemic hit)—allows participants to strike a pose in various fabulous settings, attend modeling school, visit a wig room, and get modeling tips from professionals, all while enjoying one of Banks’s trademarked Smize ice cream treats (because, of course, models eat tons of ice cream).

“For so long, I’ve been describing ModelLand as an immersive experience,” the former Sports Illustrated cover girl and America’s Got Talent judge recently told WWD of her latest venture. “[But] in our final night of rehearsals, someone told me they felt it was beyond an immersive experience; that it was interactive and that they had no idea how much the show is truly about the guests.”

Tickets start at $35, but for the full A-list treatment, you’ll need to splurge for VIP access at $225.

The price paid for the late Betty White’s Golden Girls director’s chair—one of 1,600 items that recently went up for auction in Beverly Hills, fetching a total of $4 million, which is ten times what the auction was originally estimated to bring in.

Anchors away! KTLA’s Mark Mester pulls a Ted Baxter
MAD AS HELL: KTLA’s Mark Mester (right) blew an on-air fuse over the departure of his “best friend” Lynette Romero. (PHOTO: KTLA)

The breaking news at KTLA right now is that there’s hardly anybody left to break any news. On September 18, anchor Mark Mester was booted off the outlet after going rogue on the air with a four-minute, off-book tirade lambasting his own station for being “rude” and “cruel” to his colleague—and “best friend”—Lynette Romero, a longtime anchor who had resigned the week before, reportedly because she no longer wanted to work weekends.

“You did not deserve this,” Mester fumed into the camera, apparently addressing Romero directly. “It was a mistake, and we hope you can find it in your heart to forgive us.” Mester also reportedly hired a plane to fly over the studio with a banner reading “We love you Lynette.”

Exactly why Mester was so upset is a little unclear since Romero’s exit wasn’t exactly ignored by the station. “After nearly 24 years, Lynette Romero, our friend Lynette, has decided to move on from anchoring our weekend morning news,” entertainment reporter Sam Rubin announced on the air, reading a statement drafted by news director Peter Saiers. “KTLA management had hoped she would stay here her entire career, and KTLA worked hard to make that happen. But Lynette has decided to move to another opportunity elsewhere. Lynette, we wish you luck, we miss you, and we thank you for everything you’ve done for KTLA . . .  On behalf of everyone here, we wish you and your family nothing but the best.”

September has been a rough month for L.A. newscasters. A few days after Mester was fired from KTLA, there was a departure over at ABC7, where weekend anchor Veronica Miracle made her own abrupt exit. No reason for that resignation has been revealed.

Air pollution makes L.A. actor a Twitter star
FASTEN YOUR SEAT BELTS Emerson collins scores 1.2 million new fans by posting orgasm and vomiting sounds heard aboard his flight. (PHOTO: TWITTER.COM/ACTUALLYEMERSON)

AS IF FLYING THESE days isn’t annoying enough, a recent American Airlines flight from Los Angeles to Dallas was interrupted by some extremely obnoxious—and yet, oddly amusing—noises coming out of the onboard loudspeakers. One passenger, actor Emerson Collins, had the presence of mind to record the turbulence on his phone, posting the video on Twitter after landing. “Someone on this flight seems to have broken into the intercom system and continues to make a sound that is somewhere between an orgasm and vomiting,” Collins says on the tape, struggling to keep a straight face as flight attendants scramble to find the culprit.

“Ladies and gentlemen, we realize there is an extremely irritating sound coming over the public announcements,” one of the exasperated flight crew can be heard saying on the tape. “The flight deck is trying to troubleshoot, trying to turn it off, so please be patient with us. We know it’s a very odd anomaly, and none of us are enjoying it.”

The noises—which American later tried to attribute to “mechanical issues”—continued for the entire three-hour flight. The good news, though, is that the incident has made Collins a star; his Twitter video has so far been viewed 1.2 million times.

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