- Robert Downey Jr. is released from California state prison and immediately checks himself into a residential drug rehabilitation center.
- Helen Hunt and Hank Azaria announce that they're separating after one year of marriage.
- Sir Alec Guiness, versatile British stage, television, and film actor known for his gifts of mimicry and characterization, dies at age 86. His broad range of performances, widely hailed as flawless and unforgettable, include the modern-dress stage adaptation of Hamlet (1938), the film Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949), in which he performed eight roles, and The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), for which he won an Academy Award.
- Macaulay Culkin and Rachel Miner announce that they have separated. Culkin, 19, and Miner, 20, married in 1998.
- Catherine Zeta-Jones gives birth to a son, Dylan Michael Douglas. It's the first child for Jones, and the second for proud papa, Michael Douglas, who has a son from a previous marriage.
- USA Today reports that Survivor's Kelly Wiglesworth was arrested in 1997 for “battery domestic violence” for allegedly biting and scratching her then-husband. It was not her only run-in with the law. There's a warrant for her arrest in North Carolina, where she allegedly used a stolen credit card in 1995.
- Survivor's Sean Kenniff has lined up several media gigs, and will appear on Fox News, Extra!, and Guiding Light. He joins Gervase Peterson, who has joined the cast of The Hughleys.
- Madonna gives birth to a son, Rocco Ritchie, three weeks premature. He's the second child for Madonna, and the first for her boyfriend, director Guy Ritchie.
- Just a week after he was released from prison, Robert Downey Jr. confirms that he'll have a recurring role on Ally McBeal.
- Loretta Young, vivacious actress who began acting at age four and appeared in more than 100 films, including The Farmer's Daughter, for which she won an Academy Award, dies at age 87. She also starred in her own eponymously titled television series, which ran from 1953 to 1961.
- Sally Field signs on to appear in six episodes of ER. She'll play the estranged mother of Maura Tierney's Abby Lockhart.
- David Bowie and wife Iman announce the birth of daughter, Alexandria Zahra Jones, their first child together. Bowie has a 29-year-old son, and Iman has a 22-year-old daughter.
- Ellen DeGeneres and Anne Heche announce their breakup. “Unfortunately, we have decided to end our relationship. It is an amicable parting, and we greatly value the 3 1/2 years we have spent together,” they said in a joint statement. The same day, Heche was hospitalized after wandering disoriented to a southern Fresno County, California, house. No word on what prompted the behavior.
- Warner Bros. announces it has cast 11-year-old British actor Daniel Radcliffe to play Harry Potter in the upcoming Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone. The film is due out next Thanksgiving.
- Richard Hatch, the overweight “Island Machiavelli,” outwits and outlasts the other Survivor cast members and walks off the island in the South China Sea with $1 million. Rounding out the final four were river guide Kelly Wigelsworth, former U.S. Navy SEAL Rudy Boesch, and truck driver Susan Hawk. An estimated 51 million viewers tune into the final episode of the summer phenomenon.
- Chris Lamon, 35, a stuntman working on Exit Wounds, starring Steven Seagal, dies on the set in Toronto.
- The New York Daily News reports that Woody Allen and wife Soon-Yi Previn have adopted a 6-month-old girl named Manzie Tio Allen. Manzie is the couple's second adopted child.
- Teen actor Brad Renfro is arrested in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on charges of attempting to steal a yacht.
- Several New York newspapers report that Anne Heche and Ellen DeGeneres have parted ways because Heche has been seeing a man.
- Jackie Chan is reportedly set to portray Stretch Armstrong in a film based on an action figure.