Andy Whitfield died
Actor Andy Whitfield died of cancer Sunday in Australia at the age of 39, following his 18-month battle with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, his family said in a statement.
The Welsh-born Whitfield became a star in January 2010 when his physical and emotional portrayal of the title character during the first season of Starz's "Spartacus: Blood and Sand" earned him and the epic action series an immediate and rabid following.
During the show's first episodes, Whitfield's Spartacus loved and lost his wife, Sura, who was played by former "Detroit 1-8-7" star Erin Cummings.
"Andy Whitfield was a treasure. Our friendship will be one of the greatest blessings of my life and his joy and light will be forever missed by those he touched," the Mittens for Detroit founder Cummings told Names & Faces on Monday.
"My heart aches for his children, affectionately referred to as 'the littles,' and the unbreakable spirit of his wife, the wonderful Vashti," Cummings added. "He was a talented actor who only got the chance to show the world a small fraction of his magic onscreen. A great loss of an amazing talent at such a young age."
"Spartacus: Vengeance," which will star Liam McIntyre in Whitfield's role, is scheduled to debut in January. The TV series is produced by former Michiganders Rob Tapert, who's married to series star Lucy Lawless, and Sam Raimi, among others.
The multi-talented entertainer Mandy Patinkin, who starred on CBS's "Criminal Minds" in 2005-07, is scheduled to play Sept. 22 at the new Berman Theater for the Performing Arts in West Bloomfield.
Patinkin's concert is part of the Stephen Gottlieb Fall Festival of the Arts, which runs Sept. 17-25 at the Jewish Community Center.
The fest includes many events at the Berman Theater and other venues at the center's West Bloomfield campus and at the JCC in Oak Park, including a Sept. 20 lecture in which Oscar Andrew Hammerstein (no relation to the Hammerstein writing this column) will share stories about his grandfather, the famous lyricist behind timeless classics like "The Sound of Music" and "Oklahoma!"
Tickets for Patinkin's "Dress Casual" performance are $50 for JCC members and $60 for nonmembers.