Star Jones

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Star Jones
StarJonesApr2011.jpg
Jones in 2011
Born Starlet Marie Jones
(1962-03-24) March 24, 1962 (age 52)
Badin, North Carolina, U.S.
Alma mater American University
University of Houston
Occupation Lawyer, journalist, talk show host, writer, women’s advocate, fashion designer
Years active 1991 – present
Notable credit(s)

The View (1997–2006)

The Star Jones Show
(2007–2008)
Spouse(s) Al Reynolds (m. 2004–08)

Star Jones (previously Star Jones Reynolds; born March 24, 1962) is an American lawyer, journalist, writer, television personality, fashion designer, and women's and diversity advocate. She is most well known as one of the original hosts of the ABC weekday morning talk show The View, on which she appeared from 1997 to 2006. She was also one of sixteen contestants of the fourth installment of Celebrity Apprentice, coming in fifth place.[1]

Early life[edit]

Born Starlet Marie Jones in Badin, North Carolina, Jones grew up in Trenton, New Jersey with her mother, a human services administrator, and her stepfather, a municipal security chief.

Jones graduated from Notre Dame High School in Lawrenceville, New Jersey.[2] She earned a B.A. degree in Administration of Justice at American University, where she was initiated into the Lambda Zeta chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority.[citation needed]. Jones earned a J.D. degree from the University of Houston Law Center in 1986, and was admitted to the New York state bar in 1987.

Television career[edit]

From 1986 to 1991, Jones was a prosecutor with the Kings County District Attorney's Office in Brooklyn, New York. In 1992, she was elevated to senior assistant district attorney.

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. In 1994, she was given her own court show, Jones & Jury, which mimicked the arbitration-based reality format of The People's Court. Though the show was canceled after only one year, Jones became the first Black person to serve as a television judge of a courtroom series.[citation needed] Jones then became chief legal analyst on Inside Edition, where she led the coverage of the O.J. Simpson murder case. She was the only reporter to interview Simpson during his civil trial, which she covered for American Journal.

The View[edit]

In 1997, Jones joined The View as one of its original four co-hosts.

Jones's nine-season tenure on The View was marked by controversy at times. Jones, who had been diagnosed as morbidly obese,[3] began to undergo dramatic weight loss beginning in 2003. Jones never addressed her changing body with her fans, and viewers suspected that she had had gastric bypass surgery. In a 2006 appearance on a Raleigh, North Carolina radio station, she denied ever having such surgery.[citation needed] However, in a September 2007 essay in Glamour magazine, she revealed that she had indeed undergone gastric bypass surgery in August 2003, resulting in a loss of 160 pounds (73 kilograms) over three years.[4] Many criticized Jones for her initial dishonesty, and for claiming that she had lost weight via diet and exercise.[5] Barbara Walters told Oprah Winfrey in May 2008 that she had kept Jones' gastric bypass surgery a secret because Jones had asked her to, and that lying on the show turned the audience off.[6]

Additionally, when she married investment banker Al Reynolds in 2004, Jones reported her wedding plans on The View for months beforehand, including "plugs" (public mentions) for her suppliers, such as the wedding invitations, clothing, and airlines. It was later revealed that Jones had pushed product-placement in exchange for receiving those products and services for free.[7] ABC claimed that her excessive self-promotion alienated viewers, and that her acceptance of clothing and merchandise for her wedding, in exchange for mentions on The View, was in violation of network policy, which prohibited on-air mentions in exchange for products.

In February 2006, Jones discovered that her contract would not be renewed for the following season, and that Rosie O'Donnell would replace her on The View.[8] 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." Jones was told to finish out the 2006 season and to remain quiet about her impending departure.

However, on June 27, 2006, Jones announced, during a live segment of The View, that she would be leaving. The following day, Barbara Walters announced that she had been "blindsided" by Jones' public announcement, and that effective immediately Jones no longer would appear on The View. 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. She was also immediately removed from the ABC.com website.

Shortly after her dismissal, Jones appeared on Larry King Live to respond to questions about why ABC had refused to renew her contract. Regarding her wedding controversy, Jones insisted that every mention of her wedding had been specifically approved and negotiated by the network, and not in violation of any policy. She also denied that she had caused a ratings drop, and claimed that the ratings during the 2004-05 season were the highest The View had had in the nine years she was a co-host.

Jones' departure caused a rift between her and Walters that lasted nearly six years. In May 2008, in response to allegations in Barbara Walters's autobiography, Audition, Jones told US Magazine: "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. It speaks to her true character." Walters did not respond.[9]

However, on February 22, 2012, Jones returned to The View as a guest and was greeted warmly by her former co-hosts Hasselbeck and Behar, as well as Walters and new hosts Whoopi Goldberg, and Sherri Shepherd.

truTV[edit]

In March 7, 2007, Jones announced that she would return to her original network, Court TV—now rebranded truTV—as its new executive editor of daytime programming, and that she would host an eponymous live weekday talk show based on the law and pop culture. Star Jones premiered on August 20, 2007, as a guest-driven live broadcast (with taped segments) covering recent stories from the worlds of pop culture, entertainment, crime, and justice.

Just six months later, her show was canceled, and it was announced that Jones was leaving truTV due to "changes in their programming selection." The final episode of Star Jones aired on February 1, 2008. Jones received the balance on her $24 million, three-year contract, and the network stated that Jones was eliminated from the channel's lineup because it deemed Jones "too serious" for its tabloid-focused coverage.[10] However, according to The Washington Post, "[Jones's] show averaged 186,000 viewers and, by its final telecast, was down in the neighborhood of 85,000."[11][12] In January 2011, the talk show was featured among "10 Notable Talk Show Failures" by CNBC.com.[13]

Other appearances[edit]

From September 2004 to September 2005, Jones was a red-carpet host for the E! television network, conducting interviews at awards shows. E! declined to renew her contract after one year.[14]

Jones has hosted or guest-hosted numerous cable programs, including the HGTV program House Hunters in New York City (which "scored the largest household ratings in the cable channel's history"),[15] the Michael Eric Dyson radio show, Larry King Live (where she interviewed Beyoncé Knowles while King was on vacation), and the The Bad Girls Club Season 2 reunion on the Oxygen Network.

In addition, she has made acting appearances on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (where she played a former incarnation of herself—a Brooklyn prosecutor named Star Jones—in the eighth-season finale), and as a judge in Drop Dead Diva in August 2012.

She has also served as a legal analyst for The Insider and Dr. Phil, and often appears on The Wendy Williams Show.

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

Jones was also a contestant on the fourth season of The Celebrity Apprentice. She placed fifth on the show, eliminated after her brand messaging efforts in a TV commercial for OnStar were not well received by the OnStar executives.

Books[edit]

Jones is the author of You Have to Stand for Something, or You'll Fall for Anything, a collection of autobiographical essays published in 1998. Her second book, Shine: A Physical, Emotional, and Spiritual Journey to Finding Love (2006), detailed changes she made to reshape her life, including her marriage and dramatic weight loss. Her most recent book, Satan's Sisters, a work of fiction, was released in March 2011.

National Association of Professional Women[edit]

Jones is the President of the National Association of Professional Women (NAPW). She created the organization's philanthropic endeavor, NAPW Foundation, to benefit the American Heart Association, of which Jones is also a National Volunteer; the Breast Cancer Research Foundation; Dress for Success and Girls, Inc. Jones also conducts regular visits to NAPW Local Chapters and hosts the organization’s annual National Networking Conference.

Professional Diversity Network[edit]

Jones is also the President of Professional Diversity Network (NASDAQ: IPDN). She is also a member of its Board of Directors, becoming the youngest of a small circle of African-American women in the US leading a public company.

Personal life[edit]

Jones married investment banker Al Reynolds on November 13, 2004. Reynolds proposed to Jones during the 2004 NBA All-Star Game. Amid much publicity, the 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's website.[16] After the wedding, Jones began using the name "Star Jones Reynolds" professionally, but reverted to "Star Jones" in 2007, telling Entertainment Weekly that she wanted to keep her public persona separate from her private self. On March 9, 2008, Jones and Reynolds announced they were divorcing.[17]

On March 17, 2010, Jones underwent cardiac surgery related to a surgery she had three decades earlier for a thoracic tumor.[18]

Controversies and legal troubles[edit]

In June 2003, Jones was sued by a landscaping company that alleged she had agreed to give it credit for its 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 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, but the lawsuit was dismissed in Jones' favor.[19]

A nonprofit Detroit women's group, Full and Fabulous, accused Jones of theft after they invited her to speak at its "Health, Beauty and Self-Esteem" conference during the 2006 Super Bowl. Full and Fabulous alleged that Jones made changes to her flight itinerary that doubled the travel expenses the group was paying for, and that she spent the bulk of her time attending Super Bowl parties to promote her book rather than the conference. Jones insisted that she honored all contractual terms of the deal and that the organization fabricated the allegations for the sake of publicity.[20]

Jones was named to PETA's "worst dressed" list four years in a row.[21] 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.[22]

In July 2012, Jones accused daytime talk show host Anderson Cooper of using his coming-out story to generate higher ratings, to which Cooper responded: "As memory serves, in terms of boosting ratings, I seem to recall [Jones] hawking her wedding every single day to get free products when she was on The View and I seem to recall her lying about her gastric bypass surgery and making everybody else lie about it as well. So for her to suddenly emerge out of the shadows and suddenly attack me for this, I couldn't believe it."[23]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Star Jones : Celebrity Apprentice 2011 Contestant
  2. ^ Star Jones profile, The New York Times, accessed April 6, 2007.
  3. ^ [1] Star Jones' Weight Loss Journey, Oprah.com
  4. ^ Reynolds, Star Jones (July 31, 2007). "Star Jones Reynolds on Gastric Bypass Surgery: 'I'm Ready to Open Up'". Glamour. Retrieved May 21, 2013. 
  5. ^ Dagostino, Mark (July 10, 2006). "'I Was Fired' – By Revealing the Real Reasons She's Leaving The View, Star Jones Reynolds Ignites a Feud with Barbara Walters, and Gets Her Walking Papers Even Sooner Than She Expected". People. Retrieved May 21, 2013. 
  6. ^ Star Jones on Barbara Walters on The View, [Oprah.com]
  7. ^ Star Jones says 'I do' to wedding freebies, USA Today, November 10, 2004
  8. ^ "Star Jones: 'I Feel Like I Was Fired'". CBSnews.com. Retrieved 25 April 2011. 
  9. ^ "Star Jones Slams Barbara Walters As An "Adulterer" In The "Sunset Of Her Life;" Barbara "Will Not Dignify" Comment With Response", The Huffington Post, May 7, 2008
  10. ^ Star Jones Axed from truTV New York Magazine, February 1, 2008
  11. ^ The Washington Post, February 2008[volume & issue needed]
  12. ^ "SAY IT LOUD" The New York Post, February 15, 2008
  13. ^ "10 Notable Talk Show Failures", CNBC, January 2011
  14. ^ Tv.zap2it.com
  15. ^ Knoxnews.com
  16. ^ Entertainment.myway.com
  17. ^ Tidbits: Star Jones tells Al Reynolds it's over
  18. ^ Caplan, David (2010-03-17). "Star Jones recovering from cardiac surgery". People.com. Retrieved 2010-03-20. 
  19. ^ Star Jones In Roof Garden Flap - December 14, 2004
  20. ^ "Star Jones Accused of 'Stealing' From Detroit Organization". The San Francisco Chronicle. November 2, 2007. 
  21. ^ Fur Is Dead > Features > Star Jones Named Biggest Fur Offender
  22. ^ "Fur Is a Drag," Says Star Jones in PETA's New Parody Ad
  23. ^ Anderson Cooper Freaks Out At Star Jones For Saying He Came Out To Boost Ratings | October 4 2012

External links[edit]

Media offices
Preceded by
none
The View third co-host
1997–2006
Succeeded by
Sherri Shepherd