Entertainment News from June 1998

It's a boffo season for Broadway, with record-setting box office and attendance figures for the 1997–1998 season. Mega-hits such as Ragtime and The Lion King propel ticket sales to $557.26 million, an 11.6 percent increase from last season's record $499.4 million take and attendance to 11.28 million, a 9.4 percent jump from last year's 10.32 million.
Bob Denver, best known as Gilligan on Gilligan's Island is busted on charges of marijuana possession in West Virginia after receiving pot in the mail. And in an even stranger turn of events, fellow castaway Mary Ann, played by Dawn Wells, may have initiated in the transaction.
USA Today reports that Lisa Marie Presley, daughter of the King and former wife of the King of Pop, has signed a record deal with Java Records and will begin recording an album in January. Glenn Ballard, who produced Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill will produce and co-write the record.
Sure, politicians have been known to put their feet in their mouths, but Rep. Bob Stump (R-AZ) got his wedged in there pretty far when he announced on the House floor and live on C-SPAN that Bob Hope had died. “It is with great sadness I announce that Bob Hope has died,” he said. Stump said House majority leader, Dick Armey, asked him to make the speech after reading the news on the Internet. Rest assured, Bob Hope is alive and as well as any 95 year old can be.
The lion roars. The Lion King takes six Tony Awards, including Best New Musical, Director — Musical (Julie Taymor) and Best Choreographer (Garth Fagan). Ragtime Cabaret and The Beauty Queen of Leenane win four awards each. Art earns the Best Play honor.
The three surviving Beatles, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and George Harrison, make their first public appearance together in 30 years. They reunite at London's St. Martin-in-the-Fields church for an emotional, tear-filled memorial service for Linda McCartney.
Charlton Heston is named president of the National Rifle Association, vowing to clean up the group's sullied image. “Too many gun owners think we've wandered to some fringe of American life and left them behind,” he said. “We will win back our rightful place in the mainstream of American political debate.”
Paul Simon, Berry Gordy, writing team Fats Domino and Dave Bartholomew, Larry Stock, John Williams and John Barry are inducted into the Songwriters' Hall of Fame at a ceremony at the Sheraton New York.
The American Film Institute announces its list of the top 100 films of all time during a prime-time broadcast on CBS. Citizen Kane takes the top honor, with Casablanca, The Godfather, Gone With the Wind, Lawrence of Arabia and The Wizard of Oz following. The AFI asked more than 1,500 screenwriters, directors and critics, as well as President Clinton and Vice President Gore to pick the 100 best films of all time from a list of 400 nominees. The criteria included historical significance, critical recognition and awards and popularity. See coverage and full list.
Daily Variety reports that Steven Spielberg and Tom Cruise have agreed to make a movie together, though the nagging details, including what type of film, have yet to be worked out. A true dream team.
Steven Spielberg can rest a little easier now that Jonathan Norman, 31, who was convicted in March of stalking the director and his family, is sentenced to 25 years to life in prison. Norman allegedly planned to handcuff and rape Spielberg. “I truly believe in my heart of hearts that I could have been raped, maimed, or killed, and the same could have happened to my wife and kids,” Spielberg said. “If he's out on the street, I will live in fear.”
Steven Bochco is no fool, but one has to question his latest move. Rick Shroder, 28, of Silver Spoons fame, signs on with NYPD Blue, replacing the sultry Jimmy Smits. “Rick Schroder is a wonderful young actor who will bring tremendous energy to NYPD Blue and allow us as writers to approach our sixth season, and beyond, with fresh ideas,” Bochco said. If cancer, his son's death and the bottle didn't kill Andy Sipowicz, his new partner just might.
Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie will forever be etched in our memories, thanks to their induction to the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Other 1999 inductees to the famed walk include Wesley Snipes, Dennis Franz, Samuel L. Jackson, Reba McEntire, Jamie Lee Curtis, Bob Newhart, Jane Seymour, James Woods, John Fogerty, Alex Trebek, Patsy Cline, Robert Vaughn, Charley Pride, Buffalo Bob Smith, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, and Michele Lee.
Moppet Macauley Culkin is no longer a single man, uh, boy. The 17-year-old formerly successful actor marries sweetheart Broadway actress Rachel Miner, also age 17. Contrary to rumors, the couple claims Miner is not expecting a child.
Demi Moore and Bruce Willis's publicists confirm what has long been rumored: the couple is splitsville. No word on custody (they have three daughters) or how the former superpair will split their holdings, which include an Idaho ranch, a Manhattan apartment and a Malibu home. They are also partners in the Planet Hollywood chain.
CBS announces that Susan Molinari, the former U.S. Congresswoman who abandoned her political career for television, is finished as co-host of CBS News Saturday Morning. She lasted less than a year in the anchor seat and endured dismal ratings and a critical drubbing. Though CBS said the decision was mutual, Molinari said she is “disappointed that I will not be continuing my duties as co-host of CBS News Saturday Morning.”
After much debate, CBS decides to launch a second night of 60 Minutes, beginning in March 1999. None of the current anchors, who have said a second night of the revered show would compromise quality, will participate in the show's clone. CBS executives hope another installment of the newsmag will help the network's sagging ratings.
Julia Roberts and Richard Gere are reportedly set to team up again in the romantic comedy The Runaway Bride, about a woman who has a reputation for leaving men at the alter and the reporter who's writing about her. Their last outing together, Pretty Woman,cleaned up at the box office and established Roberts as a leading lady.
Katie Couric has good reason to flash her trademark toothy grin. The Today show co-host signs a contract with NBC that puts her in the salary league with Tom Brokaw and Dan Rather. She'll earn a reported $7 million for the next four years.
NBC is certainly feeling generous these day. The peacock network signs a 5-year deal with Dateline co-host Jane Pauley worth a reported $5.5 million a year.
Mark your calendar: Universal Pictures announces the third installment of Jurassic Park will storm into theaters the summer of 2000. Steven Spielberg will produce but not direct.