ROCKER DEATH UPDATE: Death by hanging. That's the official cause of death in the Michael Hutchence case as determined by coroners today in Australia. But that determination doesn't shed light on how or why the INXS frontman ended up in a noose. Reports from London and New York, citing police sources, say Hutchence accidentally killed himself while playing a kinky masturbation game. But another official tells the Associated Press that the 37-year-old rocker's death is a "straight case of suicide." Hutchence's naked body was found in a Sydney hotel room on Saturday.

HUTCHENCE ADD: Michael Hutchence's lover, meanwhile, is blaming her former husband, Live Aid organizer Bob Geldof, with provoking the INXS singer to take his own life. "That bastard killed Michael," Paula Yates sobbed to passengers on a weekend flight from London to Sydney. Hutchence was said to be depressed by Yates' constant battles with her ex.

SLY ONE: Tough-guy movie star Sylvester Stallone is reportedly going to be a papa again. Stallone and new bride, model Jennifer Flavin, are said to be expecting their second child together next May. (That would be Sly's fourth overall.) Flavin suffered a miscarriage last July.

DON'T FORGET ALEXIS CARRINGTON: At the Hunter Tylo trial in Los Angeles, TV producer Aaron Spelling has called in sick (again)--and won't testify today in the actress' wrongful termination suit. This means Tylo's attorneys are going to Plan B: Calling in Melrose vixen Heather Locklear.

BAD RAP: More bad news for former Death Row Records mogul Marion "Suge" Knight. The ex-rap kingpin was sentenced Monday to an additional six months in federal prison for probation violations. He'll serve the time after he finishes his current nine-year stint in the slammer for similar offenses.

TOUCHDOWN! NBC got a record $1.3 million per 30-second spot for Super Bowl commercials this year--up $100,000 over last year. Advertisers apparently considered that a bargain. All the slots sold out about three weeks ago, says the Peacock, way earlier than last year.

TASTY TOONS: In the mood for a Rasputin Rib-B-Cue on a Bartok Bun? Fox hopes so. Part of the studio's multimillion-dollar marketing campaign for its first feature cartoon, Anastasia, includes a full assault on Amercian schools. Anastasia-themed menus are available in more than 300 school districts in 40 states. How 'bout some finger-lickin'-good Pooka Bits? Mmmm.

DRY DOCKED? Hold everything: The court hearing that could hold up the release of Steven Spielberg's Amistad has been pushed up again to December 8--two days before the Oscar wannabe is to open in New York and Los Angeles. Spielberg's DreamWorks is being sued by an author who claims Amistad is based on her historical-fiction novel.

OH, CANADA: Radio officials deny a Canadian newspaper report that says Howard Stern's Great White North experiment is about to end. Stern's love-it-or-hate-it radio show debuted on two stations in that nation last September to high ratings--and predictable controversy.

RAP SHEET: Rapper Coolio and seven others have been arrested in Germany, accused of trying on clothes at a boutique and wearing them out of the store--sans payment. There's also the matter of the shop owner who claims he got punched in the stomach during the incident.

KILLER PERFORMANCE: Quintessential boy movie, Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, was a surprise winner at the weekend box office, earning an estimated $17.5 million. The action flick trumped the girl-friendly animated fable, Anastasia, which took in a respectable $15 million.

GETTING FRANK: GoodFellas star Ray Liotta has reportedly been cast as Frank Sinatra in HBO's planned telepic on the Rat Pack. For all the latest casting news, see The Dotted Line.

OBITUARY: Robert Lewis, who co-founded the famed Actor's Studio (home of the so-called "method") and counted Marlon Brando and Faye Dunaway among his pupils, died Sunday in New York of a heart attack. He was 88.

GOING GROOM: Eightysomething Anthony Quinn will wed thirtysomething Kathy Benvin December 7, it has been reported. Benvin, the veteran movie star's former secretary, has two children with the prolific Quinn. (He's got 11 others.)

SHE'S HAVING HER BABY? If...if...Ellen DeGeneres and Anne Heche were to have a kid, Heche would probably do the birthing honors, DeGeneres tells ABC News' Barbara Walters. ("I don't like pain.")

SURVEY SAYS...: Dolly Parton, seemingly famous for being famous these days, will go the way of other personality talents and become a game-show host. This, according to gossip maven Liz Smith, who says the country great is reportedly talking about doing a new version of Family Feud.

WHO IS...NOAH? Producers have unveiled plans for a Bible-oriented TV quiz show, called In the Beginning. The syndicated program, described as nondenominational, would launch in fall 1998.

WHEN MAGICIANS ATTACK: Abracadabra types would like to make tonight's Fox special, Breaking the Magician's Code: Magic's Biggest Secrets Revealed, disappear. The network's Website has been flooded with angry email from Harry Houdini-ites who say the show is going to ruin their fun.

BIG BUBBLE: The creators of VH1's trendy Pop-Up Video have inked a deal to work their caption magic in prime time with ABC. (The original series will continue to run on the music network.)

GAME OVER: The Sega Channel, cable TV's first on-demand video-game service, is being zapped. The network will fold next June 30.

SICK BAY: Some good news on country legend Johnny Cash. The original Man in Black is now listed in good condition at a Nashville hospital where he's being treated for pneumonia. Cash previously disclosed he's suffering from a form of Parkinson's disease.

PRETTY PICTURES: Cartoon Network--the 24-hour cabler devoted to animation both classic and cheesy--expects to have 55 million American subscribers by the fall of 1998, according to the network president. The Time-Warner company will end this year with 50 million subscribers, up 15 million from '96.

SAM, HE WAS: A weekend tribute to indie film icon Sam Fuller (The Big Red One) drew the likes of Tim Robbins to Director's Guild headquarters in Hollywood. Fuller died October 30 at age 86.

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