June 13, 2014 at 5:31 pm

Grapevine: Jazz great Jimmy Scott dies

Jimmy Scott was a hit singer in the '50s. (Lawrence Lucier / Getty Images)

The jazz/R&B world lost an icon with the death of singer Jimmy Scott on Thursday at his Las Vegas home, where he lived with his wife, Jeanie. He was 88. The Cleveland native was known for his distinctly high voice, which was due to a genetic condition. It gave him a unique sound, which proved to be an asset in his singing career, which started in the 1940s with Lionel Hampton. He recorded a hit single with Hampton in 1950, “Everybody’s Somebody’s Fool,” and then spent the 1950s recording as a solo artist for Savoy. He gave up music in the early ’60s and worked outside of the industry. Scott was cited as an influence by a wide range of artists, including peers such as Little Willie John, as well as Lou Reed and Frankie Valli. He was “rediscovered” in the 1980s, thanks to his music being used in “Twin Peaks” by David Lynch, as well as in movies. Since then, Scott had been performing in clubs, recorded several acclaimed albums and was named an NEA Jazz Master in 2007.

Lauer signs new NBC contract

NBC extended “Today” show host Matt Lauer’s contract to a new, multiyear contract, just before his current one was due to expire. The new deal will ensure that he’s there for another two years, at least. The “Today” show’s ratings have been up a bit since they took a beating in the wake of the botched firing of former co-host Ann Curry. Since then, Lauer has done yeoman work for the network, filling in when an eye ailment sidelined Bob Costas during the Winter Olympics.

Casey Kasem may be in his final days

According to TMZ.com, the Santa Monica police are investigating charges of elder abuse against Jean Kasem, wife of ailing radio legend (and Detroit native) Casey Kasem. Kasem’s daughter, Kerri, who has been at odds with her stepmother over her father’s care, reportedly handed over documents showing that her father had been taken out of a convalescent home by Jean, and transported to several cities out of state, causing his health to deteriorate to the point where the bedsore he developed may be the cause of his death — which sadly, appears imminent. Kasem is 82. He started his career in Detroit in the ’50s, at Top 40 radio station WJBK-AM (1500), and went on to national fame with the syndicated “America’s Top 40” franchise.

Eastwood in a new romance

“Dirty Harry” didn’t stay on the market very long. Clint Eastwood, 84, who split from wife Dina last year, is reportedly living with Christina Sandera, an attractive blonde hostess at his Mission Ranch Hotel in Carmel, California. Eastwood, who’s worth a reported $350 mil, is resisting efforts by Dina to get any part of his fortune, claiming that they signed a pre-nup before marrying 17 years ago.

Today's birthdays

Donald Trump, 67

Lucy Hale, 24

Boy George, 52

swhitall@detroitnews.com

Casey Kasem got his start in Detroit. (Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images)