Entertainment News from May 1998

Updated August 5, 2020 | Infoplease Staff

Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke marry in a candlelit ceremony at New York's Cathedral of St. John the Divine. They are expecting their first child in July. It is the first marriage for Hawke and the second for Thurman, who was once married to actor Gary Oldman.
While dining at a New York restaurant, Quentin Tarantino gets into a brawl with a group of African Americans who are eating at a nearby table. Tarantino apparently made racist comments to the party and fisticuffs followed, with the director reportedly popping both a man and a woman in the face.
Rosie O'Donnell, Bernadette Peters and Peter Gallagher announce the Tony Award nominations, and Ragtime takes 13 nods, including Best Musical, Book of a Musical and Best Director of a Musical. The Lion King is close behind with 11 nominations. The Tony Awards ceremony is scheduled for June 7 at Radio City Music Hall. O'Donnell will host for the second year in a row. See The Tony Awards, 1998 Tony Awards
Charlton Heston, NRA vice president, attacks the NBC miniseries The Long Island Incident and calls Barbra Streisand, the movie's executive producer, “Hanoi Jane of the Second Amendment.” The movie was based on the true story of Carolyn McCarthy, the New York woman whose husband and son were shot on a New York commuter train in 1993. Her husband and five others were killed in the tragedy. She went on to win a seat in Congress after campaigning on an anti-gun platform. Heston claims the movie misrepresented the right-to-bear-arms amendment. “We are talking about a sacred document in America and to distort it and misstate its reality is a very serious error,” he said.
Singer Carly Simon announces she's undergoing elective chemotherapy for breast cancer. She's expected to make a full recovery.
Adrian Lyne's film adaptation of Nabokov's Lolita finally lands a U.S. distribution deal. Showtime buys rights to the controversial movie, starring Jeremy Irons as Humbert Humbert, a professor who's obsessed with his adolescent stepdaughter, played by Dominique Swain. Steamy sex scenes between the two stars scared off distributors. Showtime and the Sundance Channel plan to air the film in August.
The Hollywood Reporter reports that there's not enough room on the beach for Baywatch's growing crew of Lycra-clad lifeguards. The show's cast has been downsized, with five lifeguards getting the heave-ho. Casualties include Carmen Electra, Donna D'Errico, Traci Bingham, Marliece Andrada, and Angelica Bridges.
After 11 seasons on the air, Geraldo Rivera tapes the last episode of his self-titled daytime talk show. Rivera set the (low) standard of daytime talk with outrageous antics by his guests, the most famous being the chair-thrower who broke the host's nose. We can thank Rivera for ushering in the likes of Jerry Springer. As part of his deal with CNBC, which has him hosting a legal-affairs show, Rivera agreed to end his syndicated program.
Friends's Lisa Kudrow gives birth to a 6 pound, 12 ounce baby boy, Julian Murray Stern. She's married to French advertising executive Michel Stern. Her pregnancy was written into the show, with the flighty Phoebe carrying triplets for her brother and his wife.
Country-pop singer Eddie Rabbit dies of lung cancer at age 56. He will be best remembered for his hits “I Love a Rainy Night” and “Every Which Way but Loose.”
USA Today reports that Linda Hamilton, wife of “King of the World” James Cameron, director of Titanic, is overheard confirming reports that her husband has dumped her. “My husband left me for another woman,” she reportedly told a friend at a charity event. “It's too bad, 'cause I like my husband.” Hamilton is Cameron's fourth wife.
Gene Siskel, half of film-critic team Siskel and Ebert and the Chicago Tribune's movie critic, has an unspecified growth removed from his brain.
Larry King inks a deal with Time Warner, the parent company of CNN, to host Larry King Live for another five years. He'll make roughly $7 million a year, including salary, a signing bonus and stock options. He tells the New York Times, “With everything that's included in the deal, I'll be in the same ball park as the network guys.”
Primary Colors opens the 51st Cannes Film Festival. The usually serene Riviera town is besieged by more than 5,000 film buyers, 3,700 members of the press, scores of celebrities and tourists. See The 51st Cannes Film Festival
Few expected it to live up to all the hype, but who would've thought that Seinfeld would go out on such a low note? The show's finale, after nine years of nothing — and everything — is a huge disappointment, though 76 million viewers did tune in to see the four self-absorbed Manhattanites get their just desserts after years of self-indulgent behavior. The four wind up with a one-year prison sentence for violating a Good Samaritan law. They watched and joked as an obese man was carjacked without offering an iota of help. During their trial, the prosecution paraded in a series of witnesses the “New York Four” screwed in episodes past, including Baboo, the bubble boy and the woman with the Jewish rye. See Leaving as Masters of Their Domain
America loses one of its beloved icons when Frank Sinatra dies of a heart attack at age 82. The Chairman of the Board had been in ill health for more than a year and he hadn't been seen in public since January 1997. See Frank Sinatra
George Michael gets an $810 fine, 80 hours of community service and two years of informal probation for committing a “lewd act” in a Beverly Hills public restroom last month.
Susan Lucci comes up a loser — again — at the 25th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards. The trophy for Outstanding Actress in a Drama eludes her for the 18th time. Guiding Light's Cynthia Watros took the honors. Rosie O'Donnell and Oprah Winfrey tie for Outstanding Talk Show Host and O'Donnell's eponymous show wins in the talk-show category. All My Children wins the Best Drama category. See 1998 TV Daytime Emmy Awards
Today's Matt Lauer tells TV Guide he's no longer one of the country's most eligible bachelors. He proposed to Dutch model Annette Roque in Venice on April 28 while he was shooting Today's globe-trotting segment, “Where in the World is Matt Lauer?”
Rolling Stone Keith Richards takes a nasty spill from a ladder in his library, injuring his ribs and chest. The Stones must reschedule several shows in the European leg of their Bridges to Babylon tour.
There'll be a few more doctors in the house on NBC on Thursday nights. NBC announces that Frasier will succeed Seinfeld in the coveted Thursday at 9 p.m. timeslot. Early rumors had Friends and Just Shoot Me! filling Must See TV's prime spot.
Celebrities turn out en masse for Frank Sinatra's funeral. More than 500 mourners pack Beverly Hills's Good Shepherd Catholic Church to say good-bye to the legend. Joining Sinatra's family were his ex-wife Mia Farrow, Jack Nicholson, Bruce Springsteen, Tony Curtis, Kirk Douglas, Nancy Reagan, Sophia Loren, Sidney Poitier and other showbiz luminaries.
Charlie Sheen is admitted to Thousand Oaks, California's Los Robles Regional Medical Center for a drug overdose. He's expected to make a full recovery and enter a rehab program, according to his spokeswoman.
Paul Reiser and Michael J. Fox testify before a House Judiciary Committee in support of a law to rein in invasive tactics of the paparazzi. “I strongly disagree with those who would argue that some sort of Faustian bargain has been struck whereby public figures are fair game, any time, any place, including within the confines of their homes,” Fox said. There are several bills before Congress that would make it a federal crime to threaten or injure someone while pursuing a photograph or video footage intended for sale.
Eternity and a Day, Theo Angelopoulos's drama about a dying poet who is befriended by a young boy, wins the Palm d'Or at the 51st Cannes Film Festival. Roberto Benigni's Life is Beautiful, about a father who will do just about anything to protect his son from the atrocities of the death camps of World War II, takes second prize, the Grand Prize. See 1998 Cannes Film Festival Winners
Godzilla brings in a disappointing $55.5 million at the box office in its four-day opening weekend. Boffo record-breaking figures were expected. Steven Spielberg's The Lost World: Jurassic Park holds the record with a $90.2 million opening last Memorial Day. Godzilla's $55.5 million ranks third, behind The Lost World and Mission: Impossible. See Godzilla
Actor Phil Hartman is found dead in his Encino, California, home. Police responded to a report of gunshots at approximately 6 a.m., where they found Hartman's 9-year-old son on the front porch. While they were escorting the boy from the house and looking for his 6-year-old sister, they heard another shot. Hartman's wife, Brynn, turned the gun on herself after shooting her husband several times in the head as he slept. Phil Hartman gained fame as an impersonator on Saturday Night Live. He recently starred on NBC's NewsRadio.
Manhattan Theater Club's artistic director Lynne Meadows reverses her decision to pull Terrence McNally's controversial play Corpus Christi, about a gay Christ-like figure who has sex with his disciples, from the theater's fall schedule. Last week, she scuttled plans to produce the play after receiving bomb threats and death threats to McNally. “After information about the play appeared prematurely in the press, we received numerous death threats to Mr. McNally, and finally, a threat to exterminate the author, the staff (of MTC) and our audiences, and 'burn the building to the ground,'” Meadows said. But she said after consulting with the New York City Police Department, she had received the “reasonable assurances we need to produce this play responsibly and safely.”
Cindy Crawford and hipster club owner Rande Gerber marry in a small, private ceremony on Paradise Island in the Bahamas. Gerber owns New York's Whiskey and LA's Skybar. The couple has been dating on and off since Crawford's marriage to Richard Gere ended in 1994.
The MTV Movie Awards take a somber turn this year, as many award winners use their acceptance speeches to remember slain actor Phil Hartman. Leonardo DiCaprio finally wins an award for his performance in Titanic. The film also takes Best Movie. Other winners include Jim Carrey, Best Comedic Performance (Liar, Liar), John Travolta and Nicolas Cage, Best Onscreen Duo (Face/Off) and Neve Campbell, Best Female Performance (Scream 2).
Say it ain't so. The fab five become four. Ginger Spice (Geri Halliwell) announces she has split from the Spice Girls. “Sadly, I would like to confirm that I have left the Spice Girls,” Halliwell said. “This is because of differences between us. I'm sure the group will continue to be successful and I wish them all the best.” Ginger was a no-show for a Wednesday television appearance and again on Thursday and Friday for concerts in Helsinki. There have been reports of bad blood in the band and public skirmishes. The other spices will continue to tour and record.

Sources +