- The premiere of the sophomore season of The West Wing lands record ratings, with an estimated 25 million viewers tuning in to the Emmy-winning drama.
- Oscar-nominated actor Richard Farnsworth dies of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was 80. Farnsworth began his career as a stunt man and turned to dramatic roles at age 57. He was nominated for two Academy Awards, first for Comes a Horseman in 1978 and again in 1999 for The Straight Story.
- Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones set a wedding date: Nov. 18 at New York City's Plaza Hotel. The couple has also reportedly put access to their wedding photos out to bid, with the price tag expected at around $2 million. Their first child, Dylan, was born on Aug. 8., and photos of the newborn were sold for a rumored $1 million. Not a bad way to start a college fund.
- Actor David Dukes dies after collapsing on the set of the Stephen King miniseries Red Rose. He was 55. He appeared in the 1998 film Gods and Monsters and the TV series Dawson's Creek and Law & Order.
- The New York Post reports that actress-model Elizabeth Hurley may be expelled from the Screen Actors Guild for shooting a commercial for Estée Lauder during the five-month-long TV commercial actors' strike. Hurley said through a spokeswoman that she wasn't aware of the situation because she lives in London, an ocean away from the U.S. strike. “She was completely unaware of the situation because she doesn't live in this country,” said her agent, Tracey Jacobs. “And she is extremely apologetic about it. Had she known it was struck work, she would have never done it. She is very supportive of her union.” In addition to the apology, Hurley donated $25,000 to the guild.
- Controversial radio talk-show host Dr. Laura Schlessinger takes out a full-page ad in Variety and apologizes for her homophobic statements. She has called gays and lesbians a “biological error” and “deviants,” and has labeled gay sex a “violation of Scripture.”The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation dismissed her apology, saying she continuously refuses “to take responsibility for her precisely chosen, scientifically inaccurate descriptions of gay and lesbian lives.”
- British actress Kate Winslet gives birth to a girl. It is the first child for her and her husband, director Jim Threapleton.
- Cher joins the cast of Will & Grace during shooting and will appear on the Nov. 16 show, conveniently during the November sweeps.
- Macaulay Culkin returns to the limelight, appearing in the London stage production Madame Melville. He plays an American teenager who's seduced by a 30-year-old literature teacher, played by Irene Jacob, in 1960s Paris. This is his first acting gig since 1994's Getting Even with Dad.
- Liz Hurley is in hot water not only the Screen Actors Guild, but also with England's acting union, Equity. The union announces that neither Hurley nor former boyfriend, Hugh Grant, have been members since late 1998, when they stopped paying dues.
- Variety reports that Spike Lee has signed a deal with Studios USA to develop television dramas. “I've always wanted to do television. It's a frontier I've never been able to crack,” Lee said. “There's a whole wide world outside of the sitcom, and it seems like African-Americans are ghettoized into [TV sitcoms].”
- Model-actress Lauren Hutton crashes her motorcycle in the Nevada desert during a celebrity motorcycle convoy to Las Vegas. Her injuries include a concussion, a broken right wrist, a fractured sternum, and multiple cuts and bruises. She is expected to make a full, yet long, recovery.
- Chris O'Donnell and wife Caroline Fentress have their second child, a 7-pound, 9-ounce boy named Christopher Eugene O'Donnell, Jr.
- In other baby news, actor Jude Law and his wife, Sadie Frost, welcome their second child, Iris.
- Steve Allen, versatile comedian, prolific composer, and actor who, as the first host (1954–1956) and creator of The Tonight Show, popularized the late-night variety show, dies at age 78. His Steve Allen Show (1956–1964) was a major influence on a generation of comedians and launched the careers of Tom Poston, Louis Nye, and others. Film credits include The Benny Goodman Story (1956) and The Comic (1969).
- A Halloween party in Los Angeles ends tragically when actor Anthony Dwain Lee is shot and killed by police. Police were reportedly called to the scene on a noise complaint. Lee, 39, who appeared in the film Liar, Liar and on NYPD Blue, allegedly pointed a gun at the officers, who shot at him. It was later discovered that the gun was a fake.