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February 1998



3
Best-selling novelist Tom Clancy, along with several other investors, agrees to buy the Minnesota Vikings for more than $200 million, a record price for an NFL team. “It gives me heartburn to think about it. Writing the check is going to make my hand shake,” Clancy said. The author of Patriot Games and The Hunt for Red October already owns 20 percent of the Baltimore Orioles.
6
Beach Boys guitarist Carl Wilson dies of lung cancer. He was 51. Wilson started the surf band in 1961 with his brothers Dennis and Brian and his cousin, Mike Love.
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For the eighth week in a row, Titanic sinks the competition at the box office. This week, the unstoppable epic brings in $23 million and overtakes Forrest Gump as the fourth-highest-grossing film of all time, amassing a $337.4 million domestic gross. It seems as if the film is only weeks away from ousting Star Wars as the all-time highest grosser.
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Historical author Barbara Chase-Riboud settles her plagiarism suit against Steven Spielberg. She had accused the director of lifting plot, characters and dialogue from her 1989 novel Echo of Lions. “After my lawyers had a chance to review DreamWorks's files and other documents and evidence, my lawyers and I concluded that neither Steven Spielberg nor DreamWorks did anything improper, and I instructed my lawyers to conclude this matter in a timely and amicable fashion,” she said. No word on terms of the settlement.
10
The frenzy begins. Nominations for the 70th Annual Academy Awards are announced, with Titanic taking a record-tying 14 nods, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress. Other Best Picture noms include As Good as It Gets, The Full Monty, Good Will Hunting and L.A. Confidential. The awards will be handed out March 23.
Buddy the Wonder Dog, the star of Air Bud, dies of complications from synovial cell sarcoma, a rare form of cancer. The golden retriever's legacy will live on, however, with one of his offspring starring in the upcoming sequel to the film about a hoop-shooting canine.
Paris police question Robert De Niro for nine hours as part of their investigation into a high-priced international prostitution ring. De Niro denies ever paying for sex and says he was questioned as a prosecution witness because he knows one of the women under investigation.
14
Sharon Stone marries Phil Bronstein, executive editor of the San Francisco Examiner, at her Beverly Hills home. Isn't it romantic?
Winona Ryder, Glenn Close, Calista Flockhart, Whoopi Goldberg and Rosie Perez gather in New York to talk about vaginas. The actresses give a fund-raising performance of The Vagina Monologues, an Obie Award-winning play. Proceeds from the show will go to several organizations that fight violence against women.
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This is becoming redundant. For the ninth week in a row, Titanic comes out on top at the box office. This week, the $250-million film earns $27.5 million and zooms past Jurassic Park to become the third-highest-grossing film of all time. The film's current box office take stands at $370.9 million.
23
Ellen DeGeneres tells Entertainment Tonight that the current season will be the last for her show, Ellen. “It's pretty safe to say this is it for the Ellen show. I'm getting every indication that [ABC is] not picking the show up,” she said.“ It's sad. I'm very sad.” Ellen's ratings have been in steady decline, and the show has not been able to hold viewers who tune in to The Drew Carey Show, which precedes Ellen. ABC would not confirm or deny DeGeneres's prediction, though the network is pulling Ellen for six weeks to try out Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place.
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Add another page to the Titanic record book. The epic romance surpasses Jurassic Park as the world's highest-grossing film, with an estimated international take of more than $919.8 million. Jurassic Park held the record with global revenues of $913.1 million.
Today co-host Katie Couric returns to the top-rated morning show a month after her husband, Jay Monahan, a lawyer and NBC News legal analyst, died of colon cancer.
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Folkies come out on top at the 40th Annual Grammy Awards. Bob Dylan takes Best Album honors for his Time Out of Mind and Shawn Colvin wins the Song and Record of the Year prizes for her “Sunny Came Home.”
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Oprah Winfrey's beef with Texas cattlemen ends when a federal jury in Amarillo, Texas, rules that the talk-show host did not slander the beef industry with a show about mad cow disease and dangerous foods. “Free speech not only lives, it rocks,” she said.
Pamela Anderson Lee, of home-video and Baywatch fame, files for divorce from Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee, citing the old standby, irreconcilable differences. Tommy was arrested on February 24 on charges of spousal abuse, child abuse and illegal firearm possession. Pamela is seeking custody of her two sons, toddler Brandon and infant Dylan. This is the second time Pamela has filed for divorce from Tommy.
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Character actor J. T. Walsh dies from a heart attack. The 54-year-old actor was best known for his roles in A Few Good Men, Sling Blade and Breakdown.
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The February sweeps leave ABC smarting, with a fourth-place finish. For the first time, Fox lands more viewers during a sweeps period than one of the Big Three. As expected, CBS wins the sweeps, with a big boost from the broadcast of the Olympics. NBC took second. The month-long sweeps, typically held in February, May, July and November, help networks determine how much to charge advertisers for commercials.

Information Please® Database, © 2007 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.

January 1998The Year in Entertainment: 1998March 1998

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