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April 1999



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The BBC reports that Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, and Angeline Jolie have signed on to star in the big-screen adaptation of Charlie's Angels, the 1970s Aaron Spelling camp classic that had the good girls chase the bad guys, mostly in slow motion. Kate Jackson, Jaclyn Smith, and Farrah Fawcett starred in the original and may make cameo appearances in the Sony film.
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The “Queen of Off Broadway,” Lucille Lortel, dies at age 98. The former actress made her acting debut in 1925's Caesar and Cleopatra, which also starred Helen Hayes. Lortel's husband didn't approve of her acting career, so she turned to sponsoring plays. She went on to be one of theater's most generous patrons and prolific producers, having staged the works of David Mamet, Sam Shepard, Wendy Wasserstein, Marsha Norman, Terrence McNally, and other playwrights. Her husband bought her a Greenwich Village theater, which was renamed the Lucille Lortel in 1981. The annual theater awards, which recognize excellence in Off and Off-Off Broadway productions, are named in her honor.
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Miramax chiefs Harvey and Bob Weinstein announce they have personally purchased the rights to Dogma, the latest film by writer-director Kevin Smith, because Miramax's parent company, Disney, would not release the controversial film that satirizes the Catholic church and its tenets. The Weinsteins plan to sell U.S. distribution rights to a third party and handle international distribution themselves. The film features an A-list cast, with Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Chris Rock, Linda Fiorentino, and Salma Hayek.
Dennis Rodman and Carmen Electra announce, finally, that they have agreed to end their short-lived, ill-fated marriage.
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Neve Campbell tells Jane magazine she plans to leave Party of Five after the 2000 television season. “[Any] job, if you've been doing it for a while, can become monotonous,” she said. “I've been playing the character for the last five years.” Campbell can't say that her character's life has been dull, however. Her Julia Salinger has suffered the loss of her parents, faced one brother's cancer and another's alcoholism, and endured an abusive relationship. Julia's latest drama is a lesbian affair with guest star Olivia d'Abo.
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In other split-up news, Brooke Shields and Andre Agassi announce plans to divorce. Shields issued a statement, saying, “We have the utmost love and respect for each other and will remain the best of friends.” The couple's second anniversary would have been April 19.
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Xena star Lucy Lawless announces she's pregnant. The baby, due in October, is the second for Lawless and the first for she and her husband, Xena executive producer Rob Tapert.
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Pamela Anderson Lee confirms that — gasp — she has had her breast implants removed! She says she wanted her body to go back to “its natural state.”
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Rocker-actress Courtney Love has added another component to her hyphenate status: movie producer. With her music manager, Janet Billig, Love has established Epitome Productions. Her first release will be the teen romantic comedy I Think We're Alone Now.
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CNN correspondent Peter Arnett won't be covering any more wars for the cable news outlet. The network is reportedly using an exit clause to oust Arnett halfway through his five-year contract. The reporter was involved in the June 1998 disaster of a story that inaccurately reported that the U.S. used a deadly nerve gas in 1970 to locate Vietnam defectors. CNN apologized, retracted the story, and fired two producers.
MTV announces the nominees for the annual movie awards, and not surprisingly, There's Something About Mary leads the pack. The film's nominations include Best Picture, Best Female Performance (Cameron Diaz), Best Comedic Performance (Diaz and Ben Stiller), Best Villain (Matt Dillon), Best Onscreen Duo (Diaz and Stiller), Best Kiss (Diaz and Stiller, again), and Best Fight (Stiller and Puffy the Dog).
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A day after two students opened fire on their Littleton, Colorado, high school, MGM announces it will pull from video stores copies of The Basketball Diaries, in which a black trenchcoat-clad Leonardo DiCaprio, playing poet-musician Jim Carroll, imagines himself gunning down fellow students and teachers. However, MGM had to retract the statement, learning that PolyGram Videos owns distribution rights to the video.
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David Duchovny and wife Téa Leoni welcome the arrival of the daughter, Madelaine West Duchovny. In other baby news, Woody Allen and wife Soon-Yi Previn are seen strolling about Manhattan with their new child, Bechet. The couple reportedly adopted the child.
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Fans got more than they bargained for when Julia Roberts waved to them at the London premiere of Notting Hill — a peak at her hairy armpits! Her “people” wouldn't say if it was an oversight or a fashion statement.
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Benjamin Bratt announces he's leaving Law & Order after this season. Bratt has played Det. Ray Curtis for four seasons and decided to call it quits to spend more time with his family and loved ones. (He and Julia Roberts are romantically involved.) Jesse L. Martin will replace Bratt in the fall. Martin appeared on Ally McBeal this season as the title character's boyfriend and was an original cast member of Broadway's Rent.
Don Johnson takes his fifth trip down the aisle, marrying 30-year-old Kelley Phleger, a nursery-school teacher.

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March 1999The Year in Entertainment: 1999May 1999

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