Entertainment News from August 1998

Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger host a star-studded soiree at their New York home in the Hamptons to raise money for the Democratic party. Just hours before the festivities begin, Baldwin demands that the Democratic National Committee remove foie gras from the menu, finding it offensive to serve the animal unfriendly delicacy. Both Baldwin and Kim Basinger are outspoken animal-rights advocates.
Puppeteer Shari Lewis dies at age 65. She had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer in June and had been undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatments. She died after developing pneumonia. Lewis used socks to bring Lamb Chop, Charlie Horse and Hush Puppy to life and with them taught millions of children how to share and be kind to one another. She won 12 Emmy awards, a Peabody Award, a John F. Kennedy Center Award for Excellence and Creativity, seven Parents' Choice Awards and the Action for Children's Television Award. Her television shows include the recent Charlie Horse and the Music Pizza and Lamb Chop's Play-Along.
Daily Variety reports that Luke Perry plans to return to Beverly Hills, 90210 for at least 12 episodes next season. That's not all we'll see of him, though. Fox Broadcasting and Twentieth Century Fox have promised him his own series, a made-for-tv movie and a feature film.
Home Improvement's Jonathan Taylor Thomas announces he's putting his acting career on hold to concentrate on his education. The 16-year-old actor, a junior in high school, hopes to attend an Ivy League college and resume acting and possibly directing later.
Hot ER docs Anthony Edwards and Noah Wyle hit paydirt, both signing lucrative contracts with the medical drama's producer, Warner Bros. Edwards will earn $400,000 per episode for the next four seasons for a total of $35 million. Wyle signs a similar deal, though details are not available.
Jerry Seinfeld serves up an hour's worth of yuks during his sold-out show at the Broadhurst Theater. The 10-performance I'm Telling You for the Last Time wraps on August 9. The performance will be broadcast live on HBO.
Magic Johnson's low-rated, critically drubbed talk show, The Magic Hour, is canceled after only two months on the air.
In a move that begs the question, “What on earth was he thinking,” Jay Leno participates in a tag-team wrestling match, live on pay-per-view. Leno and Diamond Dallas Page squared off and beat Hulk Hogan and World Championship Wrestling president Eric Bischoff.
Further blurring the line between fact and fiction, news and entertainment, 60 Minutes executive producer Don Hewitt tells the Hollywood Reporter that he has approached Candice Bergen, who played broadcast reporter Murphy Brown for 10 years, with an offer to be an occasional correspondent for the venerable newsmag.
Citing increased production costs and foundering ratings, CBS shuts down Bryant Gumbel's newsmagazine, Public Eye, which debuted last September. This isn't the last we'll see of Gumbel on the eye network, though. He still has four years left on his five-year contract, worth roughly $5 million a year.
Madonna celebrates her 40th birthday. Hard to believe, isn't it? Instead of a wild night of partying, the material mom spends a quiet night at home with a few close friends and her daughter, Lourdes.
More than 67.6 million viewers tune in to President Clinton's less-than-contrite admission to an “inappropriate” relationship with former intern Monica Lewinsky.
Armageddon, the latest pre-millennium disaster flick, becomes Walt Disney's highest-grossing film of all time, having grossed $180 million. Pretty Woman previously held the record, with a $178 million box office take.
Bill Cosby, Shirley Temple Black, Willie Nelson, Andre Previn and Broadway composers John Kander and Fred Ebb are named the 1998 Kennedy Center honorees. According to Kennedy Center chairman James A. Johnson, the celebrities were chosen “for the unique and invaluable contribution they have made to the cultural life of our nation.” They will be honored December 5 with a State Department dinner followed by a White House presentation and a televised extravaganza at the Kennedy Center.
The Spice Girls will soon be a quintet again. Well, sort of. Word from London is that Posh Spice, aka Victoria Adams, is three months pregnant. She's engaged to soccer star David Beckham. Posh plans to continue touring and recording with the band. The happy couple plans to marry after the baby is born.
It appears there's something in the Spice Girls' water. Scary Spice, aka Melanie Brown, and fiancé, dancer Jimmy Gulzar, are reportedly expecting their first child. They will reportedly beat Posh and David Beckham down the aisle as well as into the maternity ward. The girls are reportedly having “crisis” talks to decide how to handle the two pregnancies. Could the Spice Girls become the Spice Moms?
It's finally official: Leonardo DiCaprio will not be starring in the indie American Psycho, about a yuppie serial killer. DiCaprio had been on and off the film, which is based on Bret Easton Ellis' controversial novel, for months. There had been quite a bit of speculation that DiCaprio would tarnish his squeaky-clean image and jeopardize losing a huge chunk of his audience, teenage girls, if he had taken the role.
Film, television and stage actor E.G. Marshall dies at age 88. He is best remembered for his Emmy-winning role as Lawrence Preston, the senior lawyer in television's The Defenders. He started his career on the stage, gaining fame with his appearance in the 1948 world premiere of The Iceman Cometh. His films include The Caine Mutiny, Twelve Angry Men and the recent Absolute Power. His other television credits include Playhouse 90.
As if his schedule isn't full enough, actor/director/musician/father Kevin Bacon is adding another profession to his résumé: disc jockey. Beginning Labor Day weekend, the uberstar will host a weekly program, The Guitar Show With Kevin Bacon, for AMFM Radio Networks. Upcoming scheduled guests include Bonnie Raitt, Carlos Santana and Joe Satriani.
Gilligan's Island's Bob Denver walks away with six months of unsupervised probation after pleading no contest to charges of marijuana possession. He was arrested in June on charges of possession of more than 15 grams of pot after signing for a package that contained the weed. The delivery person was an undercover cop. After the arrest, there were rumors that fellow castaway Dawn Wells, who played Mary Ann on the show, had sent Denver the package. The rumors were never substantiated, however.