Entertainment News from December 1999
- Madeline Kahn, film, theater, and television actress known for her childlike voice, ditsy persona, and razor-sharp wit, dies of ovarian cancer at age 57. The Oscar-nominated actress won a 1993 Tony Award for her performance in The Sisters Rosensweig. Until her death she co-starred on CBS' Cosby. Her films include Paper Moon and Blazing Saddles.
- Emma Thompson and Greg Wise welcome their first child, a 7-pound, 8-ounce baby girl.
- Oscar ceremony producers Richard and Lili Fini Zanuck promise that there will be no dance numbers at the 2000 gala.
- Joseph Heller, surreal novelist whose 1961 classic Catch-22 remains a seminal antiwar novel, dies of a heart attack at age 76. More than 10 million copies of the book have been sold in the United States alone, and much of its popularity was sparked by word-of-mouth. Heller, known for his black humor and mordant wit, based the book on his own experiences as a bombardier in the Mediterranean during WWII. The term “catch-22,” meaning, “any illogical or paradoxical problem or situation,” has become part of the American vernacular. His other books include Something Happened and Good as Gold. As a struggling writer, Heller also tried his hand at writing screenplays and plays. His film credits include the spoofs Casino Royale and Dirty Dingus Magee. Mike Nichols directed the film adaptation of Catch-22. In 1994 Heller published Closing Time, a sequel to Catch-22.
- Exhibitor Relations reports that moviegoers spent an unprecedented $7.5 billion at the box office in 1999, up 8 percent from the 1998. Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace tops the list with an astounding $430 million gross. Rounding out the top five are The Sixth Sense ($274.4 million), Toy Story 2 ($208.7 million), Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me ($205.4 million), and The Matrix ($171 million).
- Iconoclastic French film director and screenwriter Robert Bresson, known for his austere, spiritual films that often dealt with redemption and were driven by emotion rather than dialogue or plot development, dies at age 98. His films include Angels of the Streets (1943), Diary of a Country Priest (1950), and Pickpocket (1959).
- American Beauty leads the pack with six Golden Globe nominations, including nods for best drama, director, and screenplay. The Talented Mr. Ripley and The Insider each earned five nominations. On the television front, HBO garnered best series nods for both The Sopranos and Sex and the City. Newcomers Once and Again and The West Wing were also nominated for best series. The awards, administered by the Foreign Press Association, will be announced on January 23. For a full list of Golden Glove nominees, see movie awards and TV awards.
- Jerry Seinfeld and Jessica Sklar marry in a small, New York ceremony. Seinfeld, 45, and Sklar, 28, met last summer. At the time, she was newly married to Broadway producer Eric Nederlander.
- Sean “Puffy” Combs and his girlfriend, actress-singer Jennifer Lopez are arrested in Manhattan following a shooting at a club that left three people injured. Charges against Lopez were dropped, but Combs was charged with illegal possession of a firearm. An associate of Combs', Jamal Barrow, fired a gun after Combs and another club patron exchanged barbs. Barrow was charged with two counts of attempted murder and one count of reckless endangerment. When shots were fired, Combs and Lopez fled the club and got into the backseat of an SUV and the truck then sped away, with the police in pursuit. After the chase, police found a loaded, unlicensed gun in the vehicle. Combs was freed on bail and a hearing is set for Feb.14, 2000.
- Clayton Moore, actor who played the eponymous character in 169 episodes of television's The Lone Ranger (1949–1957), as well as in two films, dies at age 85. When his screen career ended, Clayton continued to don the mask, appearing at malls and in rodeos. He'll be remembered for his trademark call, “Hi-yo Silver, away!”
- Former Beatle George Harrison and his wife, Olivia, are attacked by an intruder in their Henley-on-Thames, England, home. George is stabbed in the chest and suffers a collapsed lung, but manages to fight off the attacker. Olivia sustains minor injuries. The intruder, Michael Abram, 33, said to be haunted by voices, is arrested. Only a week earlier, Harrison's home in Hawaii was also burgled.