Scott's World

By VERNON SCOTT, United Press International  |  Dec. 31, 2001 at 3:59 PM
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HOLLYWOOD, Dec. 31 (UPI) -- The evil terrorist attack of Sept. 11 marked that date 2001 among the greatest tragedies of American history.

Like Dec. 7, it will be forever remembered for the loss of life and the inhumanity of man.

It overshadowed and trivialized other occurrences in this country -- and perhaps the world -- a catastrophe that changed this planet for all time to come.

Still, there was heartbreak in show business of a closer, more personal nature that made mourners of millions of people worldwide who somehow looked upon entertainers as members of larger extended families.

The number of Beatles -- the Fab Four -- was reduced to two: Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr.

The loss of lead guitarist George Harrison to cancer at age 58 was brought sadness to music lovers everywhere.

Gone too was Perry Como, he of the magically soft crooning voice and incandescent charm.

Other members of the musical community who died during the year were John Philips, 65, singer and composer for the Mamas and Papas; singer/guitarist Chet Atkins, 77, and R-and-B singer Aaliyah, 22, who perished in a plane crash.

One of the most beloved television actors of them all, Carroll O'Connor, died at 76. But Archie Bunker lives on in the memory of all who ever saw "All in the Family," and their numbers are legion.

Another beloved Hollywood superstar, Jack Lemmon, 76, lost his life only a year after the death of his close friend and frequent co-star, Walter Matthau, leaving a legacy of classic comedies for posterity.

Actors Anthony Quinn, 86, Ray Walston, 86, and Whitman Mayo, 70, died as did actress Imogene Coca, 92, who starred with Sid Caesar in the TV series "Your Show of Shows."

Death also claimed actor Troy Donahue, teen heartthrob of '60s romantic films; Gardner McKay, 69, a '60s movie hunk who became a writer, and Eugene Jackson, 84, a member of the silent "Our Gang" movies.

Among others who lost their lives in 2001 were actresses Kim Stanley, Jane Greer and Dorothy McGuire, 83, Ann Sothern, 92, Lani O'Grady, 24, of TV's

"Eight Is Enough," and Dale Evans, 88, singer and co-star with her husband Roy Rogers.

Actress Barbara Eden was stunned by the death of her son, Michael Ansara, 35, to an accidental overdose of heroin.

As always, Hollywood provided its share of marital breakups and divorces, most noisy of which was the divorce of box-office champion Tom Cruise and his wife of 10 years, Nicole Kidman.

Cruise stayed in the news by proclaiming his love for actress newcomer Penelope Cruz, while Kidman maintained a dignified demeanor and, incidentally, proved herself an Oscar candidate for two movies "The Other" and "Moulin Rouge."

More startling was the divorce of box-office star Harrison Ford, the Han Solo of the "Star Wars" epic, who is going solo since wife Melissa filed for divorce after 18 years of marriage.

Also split were TV numbers-turner Vanna White and her restaurateur husband

George Santopietro after a decade of marriage.

English actress Kate Winslet saw her marriage to Jim Threapleton founder like "Titanic" in which she starred with Leonardo DiCaprio.

Seeking a record for short Hollywood marriages, Drew Barrymore, of the acclaimed family of actors, married and split from comedian Tom Green faster than anyone else in 2001.

Actress Andie MacDowell surprised friends by marrying Rhett Hartzog, her high school heartthrob 25 years earlier.

Liza Minnelli, following the footsteps of her much-married mother Judy Garland, announced she will wed David Gest this spring.

Anne Heche dropped her lesbian ways -- after parting from longtime partner Ellen Degeneres -- to marry cameraman Coleman Laffoon.

Teetering on the brink of marriage is Jennifer Lopez, aka J.Lo, and her intended, dancer Chris Judd, who announced their engagement. So did actress Carmen Electra and Dave Navarro, a guitarist for Red Hot Chili Peppers.

The unexpected is always expected in Tinseltown and not the least of the surprises is the rumor that former President Bill Clinton will become television's next big talk-show host.

Insiders say Clinton will star in a daily talk show at a salary of $25 million, which exceeds what he earned as President.

And no, Monica Lewinsky is not expected to be among his first guests. But the junior senator from New York is said to be a prospect for an early visit.

Austrian immigrant Arnold Schwarzenegger, 54, who still has trouble with English pronunciations, has been given an honorary doctorate in business administration from Vienna's Imadec University for his life achievements and for helping his country economically.

Multimillionaire Schwarzenegger couldn't make the ceremony but tipped his mortarboard in thanks.

Oscar winners of 2001:

Best picture: "Gladiator"

Best actor: Russell Crowe ("Gladiator")

Best actress: Julia Roberts ("Erin Brockovich")

Best director: Steven Soderbergh ("Traffic")

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