HAPPENINGS TEN YEARS TIME AGO
March 12 to 18, 1997
Jermaine Stewart, the 80s soul star whose biggest hit was “We Don’t Have To Take Our Clothes Off”, dies of AIDS-related liver cancer, aged 39. Initially finding fame as a dancer on the long-running TV show Soul Train, Stewart also sang backing vocals for the likes of The Temptations, Tavares, Shalamar and Culture Club.
U2’s Pop album is dislodged from the top of the American albums chart after just one week by rapper Scarface’s Untouchable, which out-sells Bono and the boys by three copies to one.
Jennifer Lopez receives rave reviews for her first top-billing movie, Selena, in which she plays Selena Quintanilla Perez, the Mexican singer known as the “Latina Madonna”, who was shot dead by the president of her fan club.
Home Alone star Macauley Culkin, now aged 16, wins a legal battle against his parents to get access to his estimated $17 million fortune.
David Lynch boldly instructs the distributors of his slated movie Lost Highway to include negative press quotes in future advertising. A full-page ad in the New York Times declares that the film is “guaranteed to repel”, while a Los Angeles Times ad boasts that renowned reviewers Siskel & Ebert have given it “two thumbs down!”.
Fred Zinnemann, the Austrian-born director of High Noon, From Here To Eternity and The Day Of The Jackal, dies, aged 89.
The family of the late Louisiana district attorney Jim Garrison files suit against Warner Brothers and the makers of Oliver Stone’s JFK over accounting discrepancies concerning the movie’s profits. Stone’s script was partly based on two books by Garrison, who was played by Kevin Costner in the movie.
The special edition of Return Of The Jedi tops the US box office chart. The revamped versions of Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back are still in the Top Ten.
Hollywood legend Hedy Lamarr, aged 82, is honoured by the Electronic Frontier Foundation for her 1942 patent of “frequency-hopping” technology which is still used today in cellular phones.
Police in Los Angeles charge Mikael Markashev with the murder of Bill Cosby’s 27-year-old Ennis, who was gunned down the previous month.
Michael Manley, the charismatic former Prime Miniser of Jamaica once celebrated in song by Bob Marley, dies after a long battle with cancer, aged 72. He served between 1972 and 1980, during which time he nationalised farming and other industries and was openly criticial of US policy over neighbouring Cuba. He returned to office in 1989, only to step down three years later due to ill health.
Prime Minister John Major calls a general election for May 1. “I think we’ll win,” he tells reporters outside Downing Street.
A ruling by the US Supreme Court clears the way for the State of Florida to take legal action against tobacco companies to recoup more than $800 million spent treating patients with smoking-related diseases.
Levi’s pay an estimated $25,000 for a pair of miner’s jeans, believed to be more than 100 years old, thus making them the most vintage item in the clothing manufacturers’ planned museum.