Entertainment News from July 1999
Updated February 11, 2017 | Infoplease Staff
- Ally McBeal star Calista Flockhart puts the media in its place, telling its members obsessed with her weight to “kiss my skinny white ass,” on her appearance on David Letterman's Late Show. Let's hope this will be the final chapter in the ongoing saga surrounding her weight.
- Cindy Crawford and her husband, nightclub owner Rande Gerber, welcome their first child, a son, Presley Walker Gerber.
- Mario Puzo, best-selling author of The Godfather, which has sold more than 21 million copies, and The Last Don, dies of heart failure. He was 78. He won screenwriting Oscars for The Godfather and The Godfather II. Puzo penned several other scripts, including Superman, Earthquake, and The Cotton Club.
- Less than a week after Cindy Crawford has her first child, her former husband, Richard Gere, reveals that he and his girlfriend, former Law & Order star Cary Lowell, are expecting a child. Crawford has said that Gere's reluctance to have children was the main reason their marriage failed.
- Emma Thompson announces that she and her partner, actor Greg Wise, are expecting a child.
- Oprah Winfrey and Hearst Magazines announce plans to publish a women's magazine beginning in March 2000. Topics of the upcoming mag include family, work, health, fashion, and spirituality.
- ER's Gloria Reuben, who plays HIV-positive physician's assistant Jeanie Boulet, announces she's leaving the show sometime during the fall season. Ming-Na Wen will bring some new blood to the show, sort of. She played an intern during the show's first season and left the show to star in NBC's failed comedyThe Single Guy. Most recently she voiced the title character in Disney's Mulan.
- Keanu Reeves and directors Andy and Larry Wachowski sign on for two Matrix sequels. No release date has been set.
- New Line commits $190 million to the three-film adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy. Peter Jackson, best known for the early Kate Winslet vehicle Heavenly Creatures, is set to direct the films.
- Will Smith joins the exclusive $20 million club, when he signs on to play Muhammad Ali in a Barry Sonnenfeld-directed biopic of the boxing legend. The lucrative payday makes Smith the highest-paid black actor in history.
- Robert Daly and Terry Semel announce in July they are resigning from the entertainment empire to form a new company. The pair, who have been partners at Warners for almost 20 years, are known for their largesse. They pampered the big-name stars who lured moviegoers to theaters. Recently, however, Warner Bros.' film and music divisions had not been performing well and there was grumbling that the two were out of touch with the most coveted market: audiences aged 15 to 25. In addition to the movie and music divisions, Daly and Semel headed the television division, which includes the WB network and consumer products.
- Christian Slater is taking the maturity thing seriously. He plans to marry Ryan Haddon, the mother of his infant, Valentine's Day 2000.
- The Blair Witch Project opens in limited release to rave reviews and mounting fan anticipation. Directors Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez launched a wildly successful marketing campaign, which included specials on the Sci-Fi Channel, a website that further blurred the line between fact and fiction, and old-fashioned word-of-mouth buzz. The film cost around $30,000 to produce, and Artisan Entertainment bought the film for $1.1 million at January's Sundance Film Festival.
- One of the most anticipated films of the year, Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut, also opens to decidedly mixed reviews.
- Helen Hunt and longtime boyfriend Hank Azaria marry in a small, private ceremony at their Los Angeles home.
- Mick Jagger and Jerry Hall officially end their marriage. A London court annuls their eight-year union, which Jagger claimed wasn't legal because the proper papers weren't filed after the Hindu ceremony. The couple has four children.
- Jerry Springer, king of trash talk shows, mulls a bid for the U.S. Senate. Believe it or not, Springer has held public office in the past. He served as a Cincinnati city councilor and mayor of Cincinnati in the 1970s.
- Director Martin Scorsese marries New York book editor Helen Morris. It is the fifth marriage for Scorsese and the second for Morris.
- Woodstock '99 kicks off in Rome, N.Y. Concertgoers complain that the spirit of the original Woodstock has been compromised and commercialized. Indeed, vendors charged exorbitant prices for food, water, and beer (a small bottle of water cost $4.) Performers at the three-day fest include James Brown, Limp Bizkit, Live, Kid Rock, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jewel, and Rage against the Machine.
- Woodstock '99 ends on a sour note, with fans torching television platforms and vendors' carts and overturning cash machines and vehicles. New York State Police are called in to quell the rioting. Four women come forward claiming they were raped at the concert.
- With the networks taking serious heat for the lack of racial diversity on television's 26 upcoming new shows, ABC promises to add minorities to the casts of Wasteland, Once and Again, and other shows.
- In an attempt to beef up sagging ratings, ER producer Warner Bros. lures Rebecca De Mornay, Maura Tierney, and Alan Alda to the series.
- ER continues to expand its cast for the upcoming season. Homicide's Michael Michelle will play a second-year resident who comes from a long line of African-American doctors. Kyle Secor, another Homicide alum has also found work; he'll appear on Party of Five as the much-older love interest of Neve Campbell's Julia Salinger.
- Keanu Reeves confirms he and his unidentified girlfriend are expecting a child.
- The Hollywood Reporter reports that the three woman friends, played by Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, and Jennifer Aniston, on NBC's hit Friends may bail from the show after the 1999–2000 season and pursue their movie careers. The show's producer, Warner Bros., has committed to NBC through the 2000–2001 season, which would leave the boys girlfriendless for the final season.