Stars including Oprah Winfrey, Forest Whitaker, and British royal Prince Charles were among the thousands of mourners who bid a final farewell to Nelson Mandela at his funeral on Sunday (15Dec13). Altogether, 4,500 guests gathered in the village of Qunu, South Africa to remember the country's former president, who passed away on 5 December (13) from a lung infection.
Mandela's family and friends congregated with global leaders and celebrities around the civil rights icon's casket during the service, which was held in a marquee in his ancestral village.
The casket was placed in front of a stage, on which 95 candles, representing each year of his life, were lit and a huge portrait of the former politician was displayed as a backdrop.
The service began with the Mandela family representative, Chief Ngangomhlaba Matanzima, addressing the audience, while the President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, led the tributes to the man widely known by his tribal name of Madiba, describing him as a "beacon of hope".
He said, "It is the end of an extraordinary journey that began 95 years ago. It is the end of 95 glorious years, of a freedom fighter, a dedicated and humble servant of the people of South Africa. Fountain of wisdom, a pillar of strength, and a beacon of hope for all those fighting for a just and equitable world order. Your long walk to freedom has ended in a physical sense. Our own journey continues. We have to continue working to build the kind of society you worked tirelessly to construct. South Africa will continue to rise."
Mandela's granddaughter, Nandi Mandela, also paid tribute on behalf of Madiba's children and grandchildren.
She told the crowd, "(Mandela) was a true leader of the people. We are proud of his achievements and want to make him proud. We have learned some valuable lessons from him. He truly cared. He truly cared for his family and extended family."
Following the service, Mandela's casket was carried to the gravesite by military staff. He was buried as 450 members of his family and friends gathered around the site.
The burial marked the end of a week of special events for Mandela, which included a memorial service in Johannesburg, where the likes of Bono, Charlize Theron and Naomi Campbell mingled with U.S. President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron.
Hollywood actor Morgan Freeman has spoken out to honour Nelson Mandela as a "man of incomparable honour" following the civil rights icon's death on Thursday (05Dec13). Freeman played the former South African president in Clint Eastwood's 2009 drama Invictus, which focused on the political changes in the country in the aftermath of apartheid as the nation hosted the 1995 Rugby World Cup. Mandela passed away on Thursday at the age of 95, and Freeman has now spoken out to honour the man he played on the big screen. He says, "Today the world lost one of the true giants of the past century. Nelson Mandela was a man of incomparable honour, unconquerable strength, and unyielding resolve - a saint to many, a hero to all who treasure liberty, freedom and the dignity of humankind. "As we remember his triumphs, let us, in his memory, not just reflect on how far we've come, but on how far we have to go. Madiba may no longer be with us, but his journey continues on with me and with all of us." British actor Idris Elba is the latest star to play Mandela on the big screen, and news of his death broke while he was attending the London premiere of his biopic Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom. Elba gave a statement in the aftermath of the sad news, and subsequently revealed his feelings in a post on his Twitter.com page, writing, "I'm stunned, crushed, in mourning with you and his family, I feel only honoured to have portrayed him. He's in a better place now. RIP NM."
Actor Idris Elba was rushed to hospital on Saturday (02Nov13) after falling ill on a plane preparing to depart to South Africa. The Wire star was due to attend a press conference in Johannesburg for his upcoming Nelson Mandela biopic, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, but failed to make the journey after suffering an asthma attack on the aircraft.
The actor was immediately rushed to hospital from London's Heathrow Airport, but is now reportedly recovering well.
Producer Anant Singh says on Sunday (03Nov13), "Idris is in hospital after an asthma attack on the plane last night."
2004 had its fair share of highs and lows. Celebrities like to live life in the fast lane so there's been no shortage of wild entertainment news to report.
Right from the beginning of the year, major stories continually rolled in. Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck ended their turbulent engagement in January, while the following month Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman announced their marriage was over. But, like the silver lining of every cloud, some of Hollywood's finest tied the knot this year: Kevin Costner, Dennis Quaid and Robert Evans all walked down the aisle with their loved ones, while Diane Lane and Josh Brolin married each other. Clearly believing there's no time like the present, J.Lo secretly wed Marc Anthony in June.
2004 also saw the passing of several legends, including Sir Peter Ustinov, Ronald Reagan, Fay Wray, Russ Meyer, Janet Leigh, Rodney Dangerfield and Superfly star Ron O'Neal. But it was Marlon Brando's death in July that garnered the most headlines.
Away from the big screen, three of television's most popular shows all ended within the space of a few weeks of each other. Many fans were left fearing the world would be a lonelier place without the likes of Friends, Frasier and Sex and the City.
But it's difficult to sum up a year in a few sentences, so read on and reminisce on the eventful 12 months that made up 2004.
The year began with the heart-warming announcement that Dawson's Creek actress Katie Holmes and American Pie star Chris Klein became engaged over the 2003 Christmas break. At the time, the couple had been dating for four years and decided not to set a date for their nuptials.
Actress Chloe Sevigny had a more pressing start to her year, which she began by rubbishing reports she was dumped by the William Morris Agency after performing a sex act on screen--saying it was she who ended their association. The 29-year-old star shocked critics and audiences alike with her performance in Vincent Gallo's movie Brown Bunny, in which she is seen giving the controversial filmmaker oral sex. But Sevigny insists that, despite the media storm, she made the decision to end her eight-year business relationship with the firm.
Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin escaped a public rebuke from Australia's child welfare officials after dangling his one month-old baby dangerously close to a crocodile in a stunt on New Year's Day. The incident at Australia Zoo prompted a storm of controversy, but Irwin insists his son, Bob, was never in danger. The animal expert-turned-TV star was interviewed by the Office of Workplace Health and Safety, who concluded there wasn't enough evidence to suggest he violated any safety regulations.
Angelina Jolie started 2004 by angrily hitting out at claims her adopted Cambodian son Maddox may have been illegally taken from his birth mother. American police shut down the Seattle international Adoptions Inc agency--which the Tomb Raider star used to adopt--following concerns it paid mothers as little as $119 to give up their children, rather than "rescuing" them from orphanages, as claimed. Jolie said, "I would never rob a mother of her child. I can only imagine how dreadful that would feel. If a parent survived then I would want Maddox to meet them--but I have not seen any evidence."
Love was in town for Stuck on You co-stars Matt Damon and Eva Mendes, who ended months of media speculation over their relationship when they joined pals Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez to see in the New Year in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Orlando Bloom began 2004 in a similar manner--by confirming he was dating actress Kate Bosworth. At the time, The Lord of the Rings hunk had been dating 21-year-old Bosworth for some months, but had refused to discuss their romance. But, Bloom announced, "I'm in love with love. It's heavenly when you're falling for someone and you can't stop thinking about her."
The story of the month had to be the news Affleck and Lopez were ending their high-profile romance. The stars, who cancelled their September 2003 wedding blaming an intrusive press made their privacy impossible, split amid persistent rumours they were growing apart.
Kate Hudson and her rocker husband Chris Robinson were celebrating on Jan. 7 after becoming first-time parents. The actress gave birth to baby boy Ryder Russell in Los Angeles. Elsewhere, Cameron Diaz categorically denied she would wed lover Justin Timberlake in 2004, hoping her comments would end the media circus surrounding the couple's relationship.
Actor and writer Spalding Gray went missing on Jan. 11. The Killing Fields star's body was found washed up on the Brooklyn side of New York's East River on Mar. 7. He had committed suicide by jumping off the city's Staten Island ferry.
An ex-boyfriend of Halle Berry stepped forward to accuse Wesley Snipes of being her abusive ex-lover, who struck the Catwoman star so hard, she lost most of the hearing in her right ear. R&B singer Christopher Williams--who dated Berry in the early 1990s--made the startling accusation against the Blade star after getting upset with the number of people who assumed it was him who dealt the screen beauty the damaging blow.
Nicole Kidman ditched her lover Lenny Kravitz amid reports of his infidelity. The Cold Mountain beauty had been dating the rock wildman for eight months but was horrified to hear he had been spotted romancing Brazilian artist Isis Arruda and actress Michelle Rodriguez behind her back.
Veteran actor Carmine Caridi admitted lending his screener copies of
February's Oscar contenders to a friend who put them online. The Godfather:
Part III star, 70, later told investigators he sent VHS copies of approximately
60 films per year to pal Russell Sprague who converted them onto the DVD
format. Caridi insists he had no idea that Sprague would distribute the films
via the internet and had sent them to him because he believed they were for the
51-year-old's personal entertainment. Caridi became the first person to be
expelled from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences for his part in
the affair. In November he was fined $300,000. The US District Court
in Los Angeles imposed two fines of $150,000 each on Caridi, one for
The Last Samurai and one for Mystic River, after studio Warner Bros filed a
Animation giants Pixar and Walt Disney ended their record-breaking
partnership this month, despite the international success of films including
Finding Nemo, Toy Story and Monsters Inc. Pixar chief executive Steve Jobs said
the company decided to end its distribution deal with Disney, after its request
for a greater percentage of the profits was declined.
January saw the passing of Superfly star Ron O'Neal, who died after a long
battle with cancer. The blaxploitation legend was 66. Renowned fashion
photographer Helmut Newton also died this month, in a car crash in Los Angeles.
He was 83. Newton reportedly lost control of his Cadillac car after leaving
Hollywood's Chateau Marmont hotel and crashed into a wall.
February began with Jamie Foxx being placed on two years probation after
pleading guilty to charges of fighting with security guards at a New Orleans,
Louisiana, casino in April 2003. The actor and comedian entered a disturbing
the peace plea on and also received a $1,500 fine. It was to be a
good year for Foxx, however, with movie hits in Collateral and Ray.
A new biography claimed four-times Oscar winner Katharine Hepburn had affairs
with Judy Garland, Greta Garbo and other A-list ladies. Author Darwin Porter
wrote in the book Katharine The Great that Hepburn, who died in June 2003, was
busy romancing both men and women during her younger years.
Meanwhile, Mel Gibson was slammed as "ignorant" and "insensitive" for
defending his dad over his view that the Holocaust has been exaggerated. Gibson
stated his unwavering support for Hutton Gibson during a magazine interview,
even though his father has previously rubbished the belief six million Jews
were exterminated by Nazi Germany during World War II. Gibson acknowledged the
Holocaust happened, but said, "I love (my dad). So I'll slug it out, until my
heart is black and blue, if anyone ever tries to hurt him." But it was Gibson's
The Passion of the Christ which caused the most controversy for the Lethal
Weapon star in February. In the weeks leading up to its release, The Passion was criticized by many religious leaders for supposedly blaming Jews
for Jesus' crucifixion. However, on its release, the film--about the final 12
hours of Jesus' life--went on to become a surprise box office smash, taking
$23.6 million on its opening day alone.
Actor and murder suspect Robert Blake's ongoing legal problems continued this
month, when his third attorney, Thomas Mesereau, quit because of
"irreconcilable differences". The news was unwelcome for Blake, standing trial
for the murder of his actress wife Bonny Lee Bakley, who was fatally shot while
sitting in a car outside Studio City, California eatery Vitello's following a
meal with her husband in 2001. Mesereau ended 2004 by representing Michael
Jackson in another one of the most high-profile legal battles of the year.
It came to light in February that Nicole Kidman had been given the all-clear
following a breast cancer scare the previous month. The Oscar-winning beauty,
36, was sent for further tests after doctors spotted a suspicious area during a
routine check-up, but fortunately was found to be in perfect health.
Liza Minnelli's and David Gest's divorce became increasingly bitter
throughout February. First, Gest asked Minnelli to take a lie detector test, in
a bid to prove she beat him up during drunken rages. Then, he appeared on
news show Dateline and showed interviewer Stone Phillips 'claw' marks
he claimed Minnelli had left on his stomach, and asked, "See those finger
Hotel heiress Paris Hilton filed a $28.8 million lawsuit
against an internet company for showing her explicit sex-tape on the web. The
22-year-old slapped the lawsuit on Kahatani Ltd, claiming a violation of
privacy over the film which shows her having sex with former boyfriend Rick
Salomon. The tape--which surfaced on the website in November 2003--was made
when Hilton was 19.
Kiefer Sutherland was rushed to hospital to receive six stitches after his
face was slashed during a bar fight. The 24 star was left disfigured following
the brawl in Los Angeles--forcing the show's bosses to delay filming while his
face heals. Sutherland's publicist said the star was "defending himself".
Also this month, Ethan Hawke confirmed his marriage to Uma Thurman was over
for good and that they'd filed for divorce. The couple split in 2003.
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger ordered officials to stop granting
gay wedding licences in San Francisco. The Terminator star ordered
the clampdown after a judge decided not to impose a restraining order on
same-sex marriages. Before he could, though, Rosie O'Donnell married her lesbian
lover Kelli Carpenter in the city.
Former boxing champ Mike Tyson agreed to plead guilty to disorderly conduct
instead of assault for his part in a New York hotel brawl in 2003. Tyson agreed
to 100 hours of community service--lecturing, training and instructing at
Gleeson's boxing gym in Brooklyn--and to undergo counselling.
Hit medical drama ER axed a two-second slot featuring an elderly woman's bust
following the outrage sparked by Janet Jackson's Super Bowl breast exposure.
Jackson caused a nationwide scandal when she revealed one of her bosoms during
her performance with Justin Timberlake at American football final on Feb. 1. ER wasn't the only victim of censorship as the result of the 'nipplegate' furore. The Oscars, which took place on Feb. 29, were broadcast with a five-second delay. However, ceremony producer Joe Roth promised nominees the planned delay in the telecast would not be used to cull any controversial political remarks.
Blake Edwards kicked off March by slamming Academy Awards bosses for placing a
five-second delay on the live TV broadcast. The Breakfast at Tiffany's
filmmaker, who picked up an honorary Oscar on Feb. 29 for his
long-standing movie career, was irritated America's moral guardians had reacted
to Janet Jackson's breast-baring at the previous month's Super Bowl. Edwards
said, "It's such hypocrisy. I really don't see how you can run Sex and the
City, and then turn around and raise this kind of fuss."
The legal woes of troubled actor Robert Blake continued unabated in March as
he appeared with his fourth lawyer, M. Gerald Schwartzbach, at a preliminary
hearing to answer charges he murdered his wife, Bonnie Lee Bakley.
Steven Seagal's lawyers wanted to be released from representing him this
month. The attorneys defending the Under Siege star from a $60 million civil suit brought by former business partner Julius Nasso filed papers in New York asking to be let loose from the case.
Elsewhere, a judge threw out a claim by Sony Pictures that it be
allowed to use remarks by a non-existent critic to promote films including A
Knight's Tale. The argument, presented by Sony's lawyers--that adverts with
fake quotes are protected by freedom of speech--was dismissed. The
controversial case was filed by filmgoers against the Hollywood studio after a
2001 Newsweek article uncovered fake critic David Manning, who'd written
favourable 'reviews' for movies including Vertical Limit and Hollow Man.
Oscar winner Charlize Theron broke down in tears after former South African
President Nelson Mandela praised her for putting their country on the map. The
actress, who picked up the Best Actress Oscar for her role as a
serial-killing prostitute in Monster in February, was guest of honour at the
Nelson Mandela Foundation in Johannesburg.
Scottish actor Alan Cumming slammed President George W Bush's stance on
gay marriage--branding him "out of step" with public opinion. The openly
bisexual X2:X-Men United star, who lives in America, was horrified to hear Bush's plans
to outlaw the practice and urged liberal-minded Americans to use their vote
this year to oust him in November's presidential election.
Pamela Anderson was celebrating after being paid staggering $250,000
advance to pen her first novel, Star.
Newlywed Kate Winslet stunned Inside The Actor's Studio host James Lipton by
breaking down in tears while talking about life with husband Sam Mendes and their new son, Joe. In an interview broadcast in March, but recorded weeks after giving birth to the couple's first child together in December 2003, Winslet was clearly overcome by her emotions as she talked about how happy the American Beauty director had made her. She gushed, "I had a baby. His father is Sam Mendes. He is a wonderful... I will start crying in a minute because I'm so emotional because we just had the baby."
The Passion of the Christ star Jim Caviezel had a private meeting with Pope
John Paul II on Mar. 15. The religious Caviezel, who plays Jesus Christ in the
controversial Mel Gibson-directed epic, was reportedly blessed by the pontiff
during a brief meeting at the Vatican in Rome, Italy.
A Canadian man accused of stalking German supermodel Claudia Schiffer was
deported from Britain. Louis Alexandre Brisette, 21, was arrested after
repeatedly calling at the mansion Schiffer shares with filmmaker husband
Matthew Vaughn and their one-year-old son Caspar in Bury St Edmunds, England.
Unemployed Brisette appeared in court on Mar. 13 to face harassment charges
but returned to Schiffer's house just hours later, police said. On Mar. 14,
cops arrested Brisette at the hotel he was staying at in Bury St Edmunds and
handed him over to immigration officers.
Catherine Zeta-Jones failed in her bid to prevent a businessman from running
his company close to her new home in Swansea, Wales. The Oscar winner was
furious when she discovered Steve Gwynn planned to run his telecommunications
business near her lavish property, and had gained permission to use a garage
which is situated on the same estate as her house.
Actor Paul Reubens agreed to register as a sex offender for three years as
part of a plea bargain to remove charges of child pornography from his record.
The child porn charges against Pee-Wee Herman's alter-ego were dismissed after
the actor confessed to a separate misdemeanour obscenity charge. Under the
terms of the plea agreement, Reubens also agreed to pay a $100 fine and
to enter a counselling program for a year. He launched an appeal to clear
this name in April.
Hollywood beauty Sharon Stone became a single woman again in March when her
divorce from newspaper editor Phil Bronstein was finalized. The Basic Instinct
actress, 46, and the San Francisco Chronicle editor split in July 2003, with
Bronstein citing "irreconcilable differences".
The entertainment world was in shock this month, when Tom Cruise and Penelope
Cruz announced they'd split up after less than three years together. The
glamorous pair met on the set of the 2001 film Vanilla Sky as Cruise's marriage
to Nicole Kidman fell apart, and they began dating publicly in July 2001.
Cruise's sister and publicist Lee Anne DeVette confirmed the couple "broke up
at the end of January and it's amicable".
Hollywood actor Jason Patric was arrested after a drunken encounter with
police in Austin, Texas, at the end of the month. Patric was booked on
misdemeanour charges of public intoxication and resisting arrest. He was taken
to the Travis County Jail and released five hours later. A few days later
Patric launched a blistering counterattack on police, claiming he was assaulted
without motive. The charge of resisting arrest was dropped in May.
Acting legend Peter Ustinov died in Switzerland on Mar. 28. He was 82.
Ustinov's acting career spanned more than 60 years--including Academy Awards
for two supporting roles in Spartacus (1961) and Topkapi (1965).
Not an April Fool's joke, but the month started with the news California
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger had enrolled on a training course which teaches
attendees how to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace. Schwarzenegger,
who at the time still faced 16 accusations of sexual harassment from women, had
voluntarily attended the two-hour seminar along with many of his senior staff
shortly after taking office, his spokesperson said.
Jennifer Lopez mother Guadalupe won a staggering $2.4 million on a Wheel of Fortune gambling machine in an Atlantic City, New Jersey, casino. The elder Lopez scooped the prize from just a $3 stake at the city's Borgato Casino.
Will & Grace star Debra Messing became a mother on 8 April, when she gave birth to a baby boy.
New York radio disc-jockey Howard Stern was dropped by Clear Channel Communications in
April, after the American media giant was fined $495,000 fine for indecency following a foul-mouthed interview with Paris Hilton's ex-lover Rick Salomon. Stern had been suspended from broadcasting on the network's six stations following the "vulgar and insulting" February interview, but was removed as a result of the size of the fine. Stern found an ally in comedian Chris Rock, who launched a furious attack on the indecency craze sweeping America this month, labeling the furor "sad". Rock criticized the harsh laws that have took Stern off the air, and believes America overreacted to Janet Jackson's nipple flashing stunt at the Super Bowl in February.
Quentin Tarantino was reprimanded by producers of hit TV talent show American
Idol on April 13, when he used a swear word to describe his thoughts about a
contestant. Red-faced TV bosses had to reshoot guest judge Tarantino's reaction
to singer Latoya London's performance so the show didn't feature his expletive
when it aired on April 14. The usually live telecast was cancelled at the last
minute when chiefs at Fox TV decided to air a live broadcast by President
George W. Bush's instead. Regular judge Paula Abdul says, "He said 'I have three
words for you LaToya: F**king power house.'"
Mystery surrounded Kevin Spacey's "mugging" in a south London park at 4.30 a.m.
on April 17. The Usual Suspects star told police he had been attacked and had
his mobile phone stolen while walking his dog. However, after reporting the
crime and receiving hospital attention for a minor head injury, Spacey returned
to the police station to withdraw his claim. Spacey explained, "I fell for a
con and I was, I think, incredibly embarrassed by it. Some sob story about
someone needing to call their mother and could they use my phone. This kid
took off and I ran after him and it was 4 a.m. and I tripped up over my dog and I
ended up falling onto the street and hitting myself in the head."
And basketball star Dennis Rodman was placed under heavy restriction on the
road, after pleading no contest to a drunk driving charge in a Las Vegas court.
A judge fined Rodman $1,000, ordered him to serve 30 days of home
detention, and required him to use a device in Nevada which will measure his
blood-alcohol content before he can start his car for the next year--to
prevent him from driving after drinking alcohol.
Cosmetics impresario Estee Lauder died of a heart attack on April 24. She was 97.
The actors who voice Homer and Bart on The Simpsons were delighted at the
beginning of May, when they were awarded a huge pay rise. Dan Castellaneta and
Nancy Cartwright--who voice Homer and Bart respectively--won their battle
with TV bosses at 20th Century Fox Television to be paid $8 million each for the 22-episode 2004-05 season.
Anna Nicole Smith was banished from shock jock Howard Stern's New York radio
studio on May 4 after turning up with a TV crew and demanding an apology. The
busty blonde had hoped to film the DJ's apology after he poked fun at her
weight during a 2002 interview. But, not only did Stern refuse to say sorry, he
kicked Smith and her reality TV crew out of his studio.
The same day, supermodel Heidi Klum gave birth to a baby girl called Leni.
Klum split with the child's father, Formula One boss Flavio Briatore earlier in
the year, and later hooked up with her current beau, Seal.
Supermodel Naomi Campbell was celebrating after the British High Court ruled
her privacy was invaded when the Daily Mirror newspaper published photographs
of her leaving a Narcotics Anonymous meeting. The London-born catwalk queen's
lawyers claimed the article breached her confidence and was an invasion of
Tough guy actor Tom Sizemore's legal problems swarmed around him this month.
Firstly, a former assistant sued the actor for allegedly forcing her to hide
his drugs and trying to have sex with him. Then, the Saving Private Ryan star
was accused of violating his probation terms, imposed for abusing his former
fianceé Heidi Fleiss, after reportedly tested "dirty" for methamphetamine in
March. His spokesperson immediately dismissed claims he'd tested positive for
the drug as "bogus".
Two of America's most beloved sitcoms came to an end in May. For many, both
Friends and Frasier left a hole that couldn't be filled. Frasier enjoyed an
hour-long finale with a show of stars. The regular cast was joined by Robbie
Coltrane, Richard E Grant, Laura Linney, Wendy Mallick, Jennifer Beals and
Anthony LaPaglia. But while Frasier drew a total of 25.2 million viewers when
it aired on May 13, this couldn't compare to the 52.5 million fans the
final Friends drew on May 6.
French film legend Brigitte Bardot faced up to a year in jail when she
appeared in court to deny charges of inciting racial hatred in a book. Bardot,
69, has been defending herself in court over her best-seller A Cry in the
Silence, in which she opposes the "Islamisation of France". In June, a French
court fined her $5,400 for the offence.
British actress Kate Beckinsale wed director Len Wiseman in Los Angeles, in
front of guests including Ben Affleck and Christian Slater.
Canadian-born actress Pamela Anderson was officially sworn in as an American
citizen this month. The former Baywatch star, who moved to California from her
native British Columbia 15 years ago, passed a citizenship test and was sworn
in at a private ceremony.
Australian super couple Heath Ledger and Naomi Watts officially ended their
turbulent on/off romance, with close friends blaming the 10-year age gap for
Good news for Gwyneth Paltrow and her Coldplay singer husband Chris Martin
when their first born, a girl called Apple Blythe Alison Martin, was born in a
London hospital on May 14.
The spotlight was on Michael Moore at the Cannes Film Festival in France,
when his Fahrenheit 9/11 was given an unprecedented 15-minute standing ovation.
The controversial film--which looks at the links between President George W.
Bush and the Bin Laden family, as well as the mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners
of war by American servicemen--took home the Palme D'Or best movie award at
the event, which was chaired by Quentin Tarantino. While in France, Tarantino
was made an Officer of Arts and Letters by the French government. The Kill Bill
filmmaker was presented with the honor by French Culture Minister Renaud
Donnedieu De Vabres, leaving Tarantino uncommonly "speechless".
Meanwhile, Bush received further criticism from Superman actor Christopher
Reeve, who blasted the president for failing to increase federal spending on
embryonic stem cell research. Reeve, who was paralyzed from the neck down
following a horse-riding accident in 1995, told 625 graduates at Middlebury
University in Vermont that Bush's "inaction is unacceptable".
Halle Berry won a restraining order against a former Navy SEAL stalker who
made threats against her life and those of her manager and publicist. In June,
Greg Broussard, who insisted he was destined to marry the actress, was
ordered to stay at least 100 yards away from her and two of her associates.
Blaxploitation movie legend Lincoln Kirkpatrick died after a long battle with
lung cancer in May. The 73-year-old actor appeared in more than 40 movies,
including Uptown Saturday Night and Hoodlum. He earned his acting break by
understudying for Sidney Poitier in the play A Raisin in the Sun. Emmy-winning
actor Tony Randall died on May 17at the age of 84. Randall,
most famous for playing photographer Felix Unger in TV spin-off series The Odd
Couple, died in New York after developing pneumonia following heart-bypass
surgery in December 2003. Soap and sci-fi star Richard Biggs died of a
reported stroke at his home in California on May 22. He was 44. The actor was
best known for playing Dr. Stephen Franklin in cult hit Babylon 5.
June started with the news Julia Roberts was nine weeks pregnant with twins,
reportedly a boy and a girl. Roberts had spent the preceding two years trying
to conceive with husband Danny Moder.
Lucky Ben Affleck scored a big hit at the California State Poker
Championship, scooping up a $360,000 first prize. The actor now
plans to join the likes of pop star Robbie Williams at the European Poker
Series in March.
The upcoming release of Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 was on the mind of
former President George Bush at the start of the month, when he blasted
Moore over the film which questions his son's presidential actions after the
Sept. 11 atrocities in 2001. Bush senior said, "I have total disdain for
Moore. His film is a vicious attack on our son. My son served with honor, and
to get knocked down by this guy. Why should we hear about body bags, and
deaths? Why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that? To have to
answer anything about what that slime ball says is just too much."
Comic-book giant Marvel settled its legal dispute with film studio Sony
Pictures over Spider-Man merchandise, after accusing the firm of wrongfully
using the character for promotional purposes. Marvel sued Sony in February
2003, claiming it had violated an agreement by using the super-hero--played by
Tobey Maguire in the hit movie--to advertise other Sony products. Sony
countersued, saying Marvel had itself breached their licensing deal. But Marvel
announced on June 1 it had reached an agreement that would give it "additional
Jennifer Lopez surprised many when news of her secret wedding to boyfriend
Marc Anthony leaked out. The actress-singer married Anthony on June 5, just
five months after splitting from fiancé Ben Affleck.
Recovering alcoholic and Baywatch creator David Hasselhoff was arrested on
drunk driving charges when he was pulled over by Los Angeles police. When his
case was heard in court in late October, Hasselhoff was ordered to attend 50
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings, fined $200, placed on probation for
36 months and ordered to complete 200 hours of community service after pleading
"no contest" to driving with excess alcohol.
DJ Howard Stern's indecency case ended after the biggest American radio chain
agreed to pay out in a record settlement. Clear Channel Communications--who
dropped Stern earlier in the year after he conducted a sexually explicit
interview live on air--will pay $1.75 million in a deal with the
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the largest ever negotiated by the FCC
and a broadcaster.
Good news arrived for Friends star Courteney Cox and husband David Arquette
when they became parents for the first time. Baby girl Coco was born in Los
Angeles on June 13.
Michael Moore slammed the American censor's decision to give his acclaimed
documentary Fahrenheit 9/11 an R rating, making it unsuitable for under-17s to
view alone. The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) cited the "violent
and disturbing images" contained in the film, as well as instances of bad
language for their decision--but distributor Lion's Gate blasted the ruling as
"totally unjustified". Moore said, "It is sadly very possible that many 15 and
16-year-olds will be asked and recruited to serve in Iraq in the next couple of
years. If they are old enough to be recruited and capable of being in combat
and risking their lives, they certainly deserve the right to see what is going
on in Iraq." Moore and Lion's Gate lost their appeal.
Sharon Stone headed to a Los Angeles court to fight for lost cash she claimed
she was owed after producers of a Basic Instinct sequel scrapped the project.
Stone said she was owed more than $100 million by Rambo producers
Andrew Vajna and Mario Kassar after they promised her a $14 million salary to make the follow-up and a healthy cut of the profits. Stone dropped the lawsuit in July and agreed to appear in the sequel after all.
Legendary actor Ryan O'Neal was hailed a hero when he saved a boy from
drowning, after spotting him struggling while swimming in the sea near his
home. The brave 63-year-old star of classic movies including Paper Moon and The
Driver ran into the waves when he noticed the youngster having difficulties.
Winona Ryder returned to court in Beverly Hills to discuss her shoplifting
arrest and it was all good news. A Los Angeles judge reduced criminal theft
charges against her to misdemeanors after noting she had served 480 hours of
community service at a California hospital after being sentenced for
shoplifting in December 2001. Ryder, who was in court for her latest hearing,
thanked the judge for his time. She was placed on unsupervised probation.
Former President Bill Clinton's autobiography My Life broke records after
fans bought more than 400,000 copies of the book in America on its first day of
release. The huge opening sales figures made it the best-selling non-fiction
book of all time. Sales doubled that of the previous record holder, Clinton's
wife Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton's book Living History.
June saw the deaths of movie star and former President Ronald Reagan, who
died from pneumonia at his home in Hollywood, aged 93, and screenwriter Robert
Lees, whose severed head was discovered in his murdered neighbor's Hollywood home.
Lees, 91--whose credits include episodes of the western Rawhide and Alfred
Hitchcock Presents--was found murdered with his neighbor Dr. Morley Hal
Engleson after an airline agent heard a commotion while Engleson booked a
flight by phone. Suspect Keven Lee Graff was arrested near the gates of
Paramount Studios--two miles from the victims' homes--after a studio guard
recognized his picture from a recently aired TV news conference. He was later
charged with the killings.
Ewan McGregor was "delighted" after winning damages in a settlement over photos
of him and his children. The Moulin Rouge star was furious when British
newspapers published snaps of him holidaying with daughters Esther Rose and
Clara Mathilde in Mauritius in 2002. Tabloid newspapers the Daily Record and
The Sun, photographer Jason Fraser and his company Fraser Woodward Ltd. all
contributed to the undisclosed sum. It was a great month overall for McGregor
who completed a three-and-a-half month motorbike trek around the world with pal
Charley Boorman. Ewan McGregor roared into New York City on July 29 after
completing his "very, very long" journey. The stars left London in April and
drove 20,000 miles through eastern Europe, Mongolia,
Siberia and Alaska.
Independence Day was made extra special for Dennis Quaid, when he married
fiancee Kimberley Buffington in Montana. Jack Henry Ryan, Quaid's 12-year-old
son with ex-wife Meg Ryan, was best man at the low-key ceremony.
Gossip columns around the globe were filled with the story of Hugh Grant
romancing British socialite Jemima Khan this month, just weeks after Jemima's
divorce from Pakistani politician and former criketer Imran Khan. The pair
vigorously maintained a media blackout on the subject of their relationship,
before finally admitting they were a couple later in the year.
Socialite Paris Hilton's $30 million lawsuit against an
internet company that distributed her infamous sex tape, was thrown out of
court on July 9. A Los Angeles judge dismissed the invasion of privacy suit
filed by The Simple Life reality TV star against Panama City, Florida-based
Kahatani Ltd. The video, suggestively titled "One Night in Paris," made Hilton,
who claimed it was "intended only for personal use", and her ex-boyfriend Rick
Salomon household names. The tape was leaked onto the internet in November 2003--over two years after it was filmed in May 2001. Meanwhile, Hilton split from her boyfriend of seven months, boy-band star Nick Carter. A spokeswoman for the hotel heiress blamed her busy schedule for the breakup, but
insisted it was amicable.
Hollywood couple Kirsten Dunst and Jake Gyllenhaal split up in July after two
years together. The stars blamed "filming commitments" for the separation.
Lifestyle queen Martha Stewart was sentenced to five months in
prison and a further five months of home confinement after being convicted of
lying to a court about the sale of shares in 2001. The 62-year-old
billionairess was also placed on probation and fined $30,000. She
began her jail sentence in October.
Hollywood producer Robert Evans was granted a divorce from his sixth wife,
Versace model Leslie Ann Woodward. The 74-year-old Rosemary's Baby mogul's
marriage to Woodward, 35, lasted just seven months--they tied the knot in
August 2003, but the model filed for divorce in March citing "irreconcilable
differences". Evans previous wives include Love Story star Ali MacGraw, former
Miss America Phyllis George and Dynasty actress Catherine Oxenberg.
On a happier note, Harry Potter author J.K.Rowling announced she was pregnant
with her third child this month. The 38-year-old writer will give birth to her
second child with second husband Neil Murray in 2005. Rowling also has a
daughter, Jessica, with first husband Jorge Arantes.
Teen actress Mary-Kate Olsen was released from a health facility on the July 23
after undergoing six weeks of treatment for an eating disorder. Olsen headed
off for her first semester at New York University in August.
Veteran character actor Robert Sorrells was hit with a murder charge after
witnesses told police he walked into a California bar and shot two patrons,
killing one. The 74-year-old actor, who appeared in popular TV western
Gunsmoke, was arrested close to the Simi Valley ba--called The Regency Lounge--shortly after the shooting on the 24th. He was booked for investigation of murder and attempted murder.
Pierce Brosnan announced his retirement from the role of movie spy James
Bond, starting an endless bout of speculation as to who would replace him.
British actors touted for the dream role have included Clive Owen, Ioan
Gruffudd, Colin Firth, Hugh Grant, Gerard Butler, Jude Law and Ewan McGregor,
as well as Australians Hugh Jackman, Heath Ledger and Eric Bana.
Sad news flew around the world on July 2, when it was announced movie legend
Marlon Brando had died from lung failure the previous day on his private South
Pacific island, Tetiaroa. He was 80. Brando--best known for a series of
era-defining film roles including A Streetcar Named Desire, On the Waterfront,
The Godfather and Apocalypse Now--was cremated at a family ceremony in Los
Angeles on July 3. And the body of Michael Douglas' troubled half-brother Eric
was discovered inside a Manhattan, New York, apartment on July 6. New York
authorities ruled Eric, who was the youngest son of screen legend Kirk Douglas,
was killed accidentally by alcohol and prescription drugs.
Snatch star Jason Statham vowed to give actor Billy Zane "a good slap" this
month, when he found out he was dating his actress girlfriend, Kelly Brook.
Statham was left fuming after seeing photos of Brook in a passionate embrace
with Titanic star Zane. Zane and Brook emerged as an inseparable couple later
in the year.
Hollywood stars Diane Lane and Josh Brolin married at a secret ceremony on
the west coast of America. The Oscar-nominated Unfaithful actress and her
Hollow Man beau exchanged marital vows on Aug. 14.
News emerged this month that superstar couple David and Victoria Beckham were
expecting their as-yet-unborn third child, amid rumors their marriage was
floundering, following allegations the Real Madrid ace had an affair with his
personal assistant Rebecca Loos.
Lethal Weapon star Danny Glover was arrested outside the Sudan Embassy in
Washington D.C. during a heated protest march on Aug. 25. Glover was charged
with disorderly conduct and unlawful assembly after he spoke to a crowd calling
for a peace-keeping force to stop violence in western Sudan.
Meanwhile, tough guy actor Russell Crowe confessed he fought with his
bodyguard on the Canadian set of Cinderella Man. In a letter to an Australian
newspaper, the Oscar-winner confirmed recent reports of a brawl with long-term
pal Mark "Spud" Carroll during a party on the set of the film--in which Crowe
plays a boxer--in July. He wrote, "Spud and I had a push around after work on
a Friday night. The misunderstanding arose when Spud came over to tell me what
he thought other people in the room might have been thinking of my
conversation. I thought he was accusing me specifically of something and I took
offence to it. Spud was passing on other people's 'perceptions' and I shot the
Oscar-winning actress Charlize Theron suffered an injury to her neck while
shooting stunts for her upcoming movie Aeon Flux in Germany on Aug. 30. The
production was shut down while Theron recovered at home in Los Angeles.
Legendary photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson died at the age of 95 on Aug. 3, after a successful career snapping leading figures of the mid-20th century. Cartier-Bresson--whose work appeared in leading American publications Vogue, Life and Harper's Bazaar--died at his home in the south western Luberon
region of France. Other August deaths included film editor Geraldine Peroni who died at her New York home on Aug. 3 after reportedly committing suicide. She was 51. The city's medical examiner's office ruled Peroni--who frequently worked with director Robert Altman, most spectacularly on his 1993
masterpiece Short Cuts--had killed herself, however, her family are disputing that finding. And actress Fay Wray--best known for her role in 1933 movie King Kong--died on Aug. 8. She was 96. In tribute to the famous scene from King Kong that featured Wray hanging in the giant ape's grasp from the top of the Empire State Building, officials at the skyscraper dimmed the building's lights for 15 minutes on Aug. 10.
Former President Bill Clinton underwent heart surgery in a New York
hospital on Sept. 6, and went on to make a full recovery. After complaining
of chest pains and tiredness, medics discovered he had four clogged arteries
that needed to be bypassed.
Gorgeous Italian actress Monica Bellucci and her actor husband Vincent Cassel
were celebrating on Sept. 12 when their first child, Deva, was born.
Terminator 2 star Edward Furlong was arrested after attempting to free live
lobsters from a grocery store while drunk. The 27-year-old, a longtime animal
rights supporter, was caught with pals trying to help the creatures escape from
a store in Florence, Kentucky, on Sept. 15. Furlong was on location
shooting Jimmy & Judy.
Former child star Macaulay Culkin was arrested and charged with two
misdemeanor drug counts in Oklahoma City. Culkin and a friend were in a rental
car on Sept. 17, when police pulled them over and discovered marijuana and
a dangerous controlled substance without a prescription. On Sept. 21,
Oklahoma City prosecutors charged the troubled star, who was freed on bail
after posting a $4,000 bond.
Kevin Costner wed fianceé Christine Baumgartner on Sept. 25. The Dances
With Wolves star, 49, rode in on a horse-drawn carriage while handbag designer
Baumgartner, 30, traveled in a pick-up truck to the Aspen, Colorado, wedding.
Cult filmmaker Russ Meyer died in Los Angeles from dementia and complications
of pneumonia on Sept. 18. He was 82. Meyer made 23 films in total, but he
is most famous for his saucy 1960s and 1970s movies, featuring scantily-clad
buxom women--most notably Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! and Beyond The Valley
of the Dolls.
Golf superstar Tiger Woods married Swedish beauty Elin Nordegren on Oct. 5
in an extravagant Barbados ceremony.
Former child star Mark Everett was placed on America's most wanted list in early October, after being accused of beating his girlfriend to death and then kidnapping their son Benjamin. The star of Pee Wee's Big Adventure and Stand & Deliver is accused of murdering Stephanie Spears in her Hawthorne, California, apartment and remains on the run.
Rape charges against Barbershop star Anthony Anderson were dismissed on
Oct. 6. A woman seeking a job as an extra on the set of the actor's movie
Hustle and Flow in Memphis, Tennessee, had claimed Anderson and director Wayne
Witherspoon attacked her in a trailer on the set. The unnamed plaintiff also
alleged she had forced sex with both men over a period of several days before
the reported rape took place in July. But in court, a Tennessee judge said the
accuser's testimony did not produce probable cause to let the charges stand and
that the woman's testimony was the most "incredulous" he had ever heard.
American lifestyle guru Martha Stewart began serving her five-month jail
sentence in West Virginia, after being found guilty of lying about a suspicious
stock sale. Stewart entered Alderson Prison Camp in the early hours of
Oct. 8, sneaking by the photographers and reporters who had been posted there
for more than a week.
Billy Bob Thornton had further reason to celebrate on Oct. 7, when he
received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The actor, who has
been married five times, and girlfriend Connie Angland had their first child
together in September, when daughter Bella was born.
Lisa Bonet was awarded a restraining order against an alleged stalker who the
The Cosby Show actress claims regularly performs voodoo rituals outside her
Californian home. Bonet, who once dated Lenny Kravitz and has starred in a
string of films including Enemy of the State, claims Francesca Jacobs Assandri
has also sent her over 100 letters and packages. A Santa Monica, California,
judge ordered Jacobs to remain at least 24,100 yards away from Bonet, her home,
her place of work and her car.
Teen actress Lindsay Lohan was hospitalized in Los Angeles with a mystery
fever. The Mean Girls star, who spent "a relaxing" five nights at Cedars Sinai
hospital recovering later claimed she was overworked and exhausted. The
actress' family problems didn't help matters--her father Michael claimed he
did not approve of his daughter's partying lifestyle and the friends she chose
to hang out with. The young Lohan later released a statement blasting her father for
his insensitive comments upon her release. The hospital stay topped a troubling
year for the actress. Her father was arrested after beating up her uncle at a
family party in the summer and her ended the year in police custody again after
violating a restraining order filed by his estranged wife Dina--Lindsay's mum.
Meanwhile, upon her release from hospital, she ended her six-month romance with
fellow pin-up Wilmer Vanderrama.
Former French movie siren Brigitte Bardot was celebrating after a Paris court
threw out a defamation lawsuit against her. Radio Courtesy host Marc-Olivier
Fogiel infuriated the actress during a May 12, 2003
broadcast, when he insisted she talk about her controversial best-selling book
Un Cri Dans Le Silence (A Cry In The Silence). Bardot, 70, was convicted in
June of inciting racial hatred in her 2003 book with her comments comparing
Muslims to "invaders, cruel and barbaric". The Parisian court ruled Bardot had
been provoked into calling Fogiel "a little jerk". Judge Nicolas Bonnal agreed
that "the expression little jerk seemed injurious" toward the presenter.
News circulated around Tinseltown that longtime couple Goldie Hawn and Kurt
Russell had split. Hawn was reported to be romancing Pakistani cricket legend
Imran Khan. The couple seemed to have patched up their differences in November
when they bought a house together in Pacific Palisades, California.
Actor Rip Torn was cleared of drunk driving charges by a New York court at
the end of the month. The Emmy-winning star, real name Elmore Torn, had stood
accused of driving under the influence of alcohol after crashing into the back
of a taxi in Greenwich Village, Manhattan, in January.
Psycho star Janet Leigh died on Oct. 2 at the age of 77. The actress had
been suffering from vasculitis, an inflammation of the blood vessels, for a
year and died peacefully at her Beverly Hills, California, home with her
husband, Robert Brandt, and her daughters, actresses Kelly and Jamie Lee, at
her side. Leigh was best known for her Oscar-nominated part as Norman Bates'
first victim in Alfred Hitchcock's notorious shower scene, but also starred in
classic movies Little Women, The Manchurian Candidate and Touch of Evil. On Oct. 5 comedian Rodney Dangerfield died in a Los Angeles hospital. He was 82.
The funnyman slipped into a coma following a heart-valve operation in August
and never recovered. Nearly 400 mourners turned out to pay their respects at
the Caddyshack star's funeral, including Adam Sandler, Jim Carrey, Chris Rock,
Jay Leno and Tim Allen. And Hollywood mourned the loss of paralyzed Superman
actor Christopher Reeve, who died of heart failure on Oct. 10. He was 52.
Reeve had been receiving treatment from the hospital for several weeks for a
pressure wound--a common complication for people living with paralysis--which
had become infected. He fell into a coma after suffering a heart attack in his
Kiefer Sutherland's troubled year continued when he was sentenced to serve 50
hours of community service after pleading no contest to a drunk driving charge
in Los Angeles. The 24 star was arrested by police in late October. As well as
the community service, Sutherland was also ordered to pay a $500 fine.
Supermodel Claudia Schiffer gave birth to her second child with husband
Matthew Vaughn, a baby girl named Clementine, on Nov. 11. The tot, a sister
for the couple's 22-month-old son Caspar, was born at London's exclusive
Greek lawyers attempted to force maverick movie maker Oliver Stone to admit
his Alexander The Great epic, Alexander, was a pure work of fiction by filing a
class lawsuit against him. The proud Greeks were upset that Stone had focused
on the historic hero's bisexuality in the film. The Greeks later dropped the
lawsuit after seeing the film in its entirety. They were, it seems, among the
few who actually liked the epic, which was one of the year's big flops at the
when it opened in November.
Hollywood legend Elizabeth Taylor admitted she was suffering from congestive
heart failure to W magazine. The 72-year-old actress was hospitalized
with the condition, but told fans she hopes to recover.
Meanwhile, Johnny Depp was so keen to explain himself after Germany's Stern
magazine misconstrued a comment he made about America in a 2003 interview, he
chose to personally call the patriots who had bombarded him with hate emails.
Depp was nationally blasted as being unpatriotic when a reporter quoted him as
saying America was "an ignorant puppy dog", but he insists the quote was taken
out of context. He told Vanity Fair, "I called them, three or four people, and
I said, 'It's very easy for a publication to print whatever they want to print
as a representation of me, but it's not me. If you would allow me just a moment
to represent myself...if you still feel like I'm a s**thead or a schmuck
afterwards, then fine. But at least hear me out.' These were heavy, right wing,
military people: one was a cop, one had a nephew who'd been wounded in Iraq. I
told them, 'What was printed was ugly, but this is what I meant...' And each
one of them said, 'I understand.'"
Movie legend Omar Sharif proved he still had his hell-raising ways intact at
72, after he became involved in a drunken brawl with a fellow actor in India.
The Doctor Zhivago star was quarrelling with The Lord of the Rings: The
Return of the King villain John Noble in a Jodhpur hotel--before reportedly
hitting him with a lamp. The two stars, in India filming One Night with the
King with Sharif's Lawrence of Arabia co-star Peter O'Toole, stopped fighting
as soon as the lamp smashed.
Gossips found the possibility of a romance between Nicole Kidman and Liz
Hurley's ex, Steve Bing, mouth watering. The pair were spotted out and about
together in New York and Los Angeles as insiders buzzed about the prospect of
another high-profile love match.
Two Los Angeles photographers launched legal proceedings against Cameron Diaz
and Justin Timberlake for assault and battery. The snappers claim the pair
attacked them as they tried to take pictures of them in the street outside a
Los Angeles hotel on Nov. 6. Saul Lazo and Jose Gonzalez allege the couple
taunted and threatened them before Diaz took Lazo's camera after beating him.
The alleged attack was caught on camera by another snapper, who sold his
pictures to Us Weekly. Diaz later handed Lazo's camera over
to police, insisting she only took it so she could find out who the snapper
was. In a lawsuit filed on Nov. 12, the photographers blasted allegations
from Diaz and Timberlake's publicists that they harassed the couple and jumped
out of bushes on them in a bid to stir up an angry reaction. The snappers
insist they did nothing to harass the couple and stood more than three feet
away from them at all times. The photographers claim they suffered emotional
distress and physical harm.
In a clampdown, Hollywood film studios began a legal assault on Internet
pirates across America, after announcing their quest to sue anyone caught
swapping or downloading digital copies of films. The Motion Picture Association
of America (MPAA) pledged to take perpetrators to court in an effort to abolish
the threat posed to future film production. Officials said the civil suits
would seek damages of up to $30,000 per movie, to combat the billions
of dollars piracy is costing film studios every year.
Bridget Fonda and her composer husband Danny Elfman were celebrating after
discovering the actress was pregnant with her first child. The latest member of
the famous Fonda clan is due to arrive next February.
Shelley Long suffered an alleged drug overdose this month, prompting mass
media reports the former Cheers actress was struggling with depression. The
55-year-old actress' spokesman Martin Mickelson later denied, an American newspaper
reports, the star took an overdose following the break-up of her 22-year
marriage. Mickelson said Long merely took one pain pill too many to combat a
Dustin Hoffman confessed to Playboy magazine that he had enjoyed sexual
threesomes in his youth and once had sex in the DJ booth at New York's famed
Studio 54 nightclub.
Actress Julia Roberts gave birth to twins on Nov. 28--more than a month
before they were due. The actress is now a proud mother to a boy
and a girl, named Phinnaeus Walter and Hazel Patricia. The babies' safe
delivery came after Roberts had a pregnancy scare in October, when she was
confined to bed after suffering early contractions.
TV star Robert Conrad was sentenced to six moths house arrest for a
2003 car accident that left another driver seriously injured.
A Paris court ruled Jean-Pierre Jeunet's new film A Very Long Engagement is not French enough to qualify for funding from the country's film agency. The Amelie filmmaker was furious
about The Centre National De La Cinematographie's (CNC) claims the drama was
not Gallic, despite having a French cast speaking their native language,
directed by a Frenchman in a Paris setting. The CNC argued the film had partial
backing by Warner Bros and therefore was not French. The Paris
administrative court ruled it was too American to compete in French film
festivals, including Cannes and Deauville.
Drew Barrymore's actor father John D. Barrymore died in Los Angeles at the age
of 72 near the end of the month. In a statement issued by her publicist, Drew
said, "He was a cool cat. Please smile when you think of him." Meanwhile, Dutch
film-maker Theo Van Gogh was shot dead in Amsterdam on Nov. 2 by a radical
Islamist. Van Gogh, 47--who was related to legendary artist Vincent Van Gogh--
had received death threats since his controversial film Submission, which
depicted violence against women in Islamic societies, was broadcast on Dutch
television. After the attack, police arrested a man in a nearby park but,
before they restrained him, there was a vicious exchange of gunfire that left a
policeman and the suspect with bullet wounds. Both were taken to hospital. A
26-year-old man was arrested by Dutch police investigating the killing.
Other deaths in November included that of French movie maker Phillipe De
Broca, who lost his battle with cancer at the age of 71. And Dallas star Howard
Keel lost his battle with colon cancer on Nov. 7 He was 85. The
Illinois-born actor launched to fame in 1950 as Betty Hutton's love interest in
musical film Annie Get Your Gun. Keel went on to play the romantic lead in MGM
classics Kiss Me Kate, Show Boat, Calamity Jane and Seven Brides For Seven
Brothers. Author and screenwriter Arthur Hailey also lost his life in November.
The 84-year-old novelist died in his sleep.
An interview Will Smith gave to a German newspaper in which he downplayed the
effect Sept. 11, 2001 had on black Americans prompted angry activists to
call for a boycott of his films at the start of December. The I, Robot star had
unleashed his controversial comments in Frankfurter Allgemeine four months
previously, when reporter Johanna Adorjan asked Smith if the events had
personally changed him. He'd replied, "No. Absolutely not. When you grow up
black in America you have a completely different view of the world than white
Americans. We blacks live with a constant feeling of unease. And whether you
are wounded in an attack by a racist cop or in a terrorist attack, I'm sorry,
it makes no difference."
New mother Julia Roberts was given an extra reason to celebrate when she
topped The Hollywood Reporter's annual list of highest-paid actresses yet
again. The Oscar-winning star pulled in a salary of $20 million per picture. Others named in the Women In Entertainment issue included Cameron Diaz, who also takes in $20 million, and Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon and Drew Barrymore, who each earn $15 million.
Natalie Portman wrote a letter to style magazine Allure to explain
herself for comments she made in an interview in which she empathized with
being a black American. The star insisted the attributed quote, "I'm not black,
but I know what it feels like," was "personally offensive" when she read the
article in August's Allure. She said, "If I had spoken more articulately, I might
have conveyed what I truly feel: I could never know what it is like to be a
Not such good news for Catherine Zeta Jones and her husband Michael Douglas, whose legal woes continued unabated when British showbiz magazine Hello! decided to appeal the damages awarded to its rival OK! after it printed photographs of the couple's wedding. However, Hello! doesn't dispute the $27,740 awarded to Zeta Jones and Douglas for breach of confidence, but insisted the $1,982,197 awarded to OK! was "far too high."
Luscious Liv Tyler and her rocker husband Royston Langdon became first-time
parents on Dec. 14, after she gave birth to a boy called Milo.
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Biographical documentary of Nelson Mandella, who became the leader of South Africa after his release from prison, where he served 27 years of a life sentence for his involvement in the anti-apartheid movement.