Entertainment News from January 2001

Updated February 11, 2017 | Infoplease Staff

Ray Walston, versatile, eccentric actor who won a Tony Award for his role as the Devil in Broadway's Damn Yankees, dies at age 86. He may have in fact sold his soul to Satan when he signed on to play the titular extraterrestrial in television's My Favorite Martian solely for the paycheck. Other credits include TV's Picket Fences and the films The Apartment and Kiss Me, Stupid.
The 2000 box office gross squeaks past the final take of 1999, with Americans spending $7.7 billion for movie tickets. Late entries, such as Dr. Suess' How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Cast Away, undoubtedly fueled the previously lackluster year at the multiplexes. The Grinch led the way, taking in $253 million in 2000, with Gladiator second at $215 million. For a list of the top 100 movies of 2000, see Exhibitor Relations Top 100.
Britney Spears earns the dubious distinction of Worst-Dressed Woman of 2000, topping the annual list compiled by fashion guru Mr. Blackwell. Liz Hurley, Courtney Love, Madonna, Christina Aguilera, Bjrk, and Angelina Jolie are also cited.
Frasier's Jane Leeves gives birth to a 9-pound, 12-ounce baby girl, Isabella Kathyrn Coben. It's the first child for Leeves and her husband, TV executive Marshall Coben.
The American Film Institute announces its picks for the top 10 films of the year, citing the movies that ?best advanced the art of the moving image; enhanced the rich cultural heritage of America's art form; inspired audiences and artists alike; and/or made a mark on American society in matter of style or substance.? The AFI is a national arts organization that works to promote and preserve the art of the moving image. The films include Almost Famous, Erin Brockovich, Traffic, and Wonder Boys. See AFI Top 10 for a full list.
Britney Spears signs on to play a studious high-school student in an upcoming, untitled film directed by Tamra Davis. Davis's other credits include Guncrazy and Billy Madison.
Calista Flockhart acknowledges that she has adopted a days-old baby boy. She said in a statement, ?I have always wanted to adopt a child and I am overjoyed that I have been blessed with a beautiful and healthy son.?
Kim Basinger and Alec Baldwin confirm that they are separated and plan to divorce. The pair, who have been married for seven years, cited the oft-used irreconcilable differences as the cause of the split. They have a 5-year-old daughter, Ireland.
Concerned about the looming ratings battle between Friends and CBS's Survivor II: The Australian Outback, NBC has decided to run ?Super-sized? episodes of Friends during the February sweeps periods. The half-hour sitcom will run 40 minutes. The network will fill the remaining 20 minutes of the hour with outtakes of the show for two weeks and truncated episodes of Saturday Night Live for the other weeks.
Actress Lauren Holly announces that she's engaged to New York investment banker Francis Greco. They are planning a spring wedding. It will be Holly's third marriage. She was married to Danny Quinn, the son of Anthony Quinn, and Jim Carrey.
Madonna and Britney Spears are enthusiastic about performing together. At a press conference in Rio de Janeiro the younger diva said, ?The duet with Madonna is going to happen.? Madonna has voiced interest in joining the 19 year old on stage.
No one film dominates the Golden Globe Awards, with Gladiator, Almost Famous, and Traffic sharing the top awards. Gladiator takes the Best Drama Award, while Almost Famous nabs the Best Comedy honor. See Golden Globes for a full list of movie winners. In the television awards, The West Wing and Sex and the City each take two major awards, as The West Wing is named Best Drama and its star, Martin Sheen Best Actor in a Drama. Sarah Jessica Parker wins the Best Actress in a Comedy for Sex and the City, which is chosen as Best Comedy. See Golden Globes for a full list of television winners.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, trouble-prone actor Robert Downey, Jr. has signed a contract to star in an additional 11 episodes of Ally McBeal. Downey won a Golden Globe Award for his recurring role as a lawyer and Ally's boyfriend on the show. He's currently awaiting trial on drug charges from a November arrest.
In other Robert Downey, Jr. news, his estranged wife, actress Deborah Falconer, files for divorce. The couple, who married in 1992 and separated in 1996, has a son, Indio.
Anthony Edwards announces that the 2001?2002 will be his last on ER, NBC's mainstay for the past eight years. This season, Edwards was diagnosed with brain cancer, though there hasn't been any word about how he will make his final exit.
Al Pacino and partner Beverly D'Angelo welcome twins, Anton and Olivia. They are the first children for D'Angelo, 46. Pacino, 60, has a daughter from a previous relationship.
Survivor II: The Australian Outback debuts following the Super Bowl. The newest contestants are a buff group of mostly twenty- and thirtysomethings, with a few from the grizzled set thrown into the mix. The players scheme and form alliances from the get-go.
The Believer, a gritty film about a Jewish boy who turns to fascism, wins the Dramatic Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival. Hedwig and the Angry Inch, a transsexual musical, takes the audience award and the directing award for John Cameron Mitchell, who also starred in the film. See Sundance winners for a full list of winners.
Steven Spielberg adds another title to his hyphenate: honorary knight. He was given the title for his contribution to film in the U.K. He was honored at a ceremony at the British Embassy in Washington, D.C.

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