Karen Valby
November 24, 2000 AT 05:00 AM EST

Actress Melanie Griffith, 43, announced Nov. 14 that she had checked into a hospital in Marina del Rey, Calif., to ”step down” from the use of a painkiller prescribed for a neck injury. Neither her publicist nor the hospital would confirm when she checked in or the duration of her treatment.

There goes the neighborhood. After 33 years of hosting the PBS staple Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, Fred Rogers, 72, announced Nov. 11 that he will hang up his TV cardigan to focus on websites and book projects. The last new episode will air in August, though PBS will continue to air repeats…. CNN’s principal anchorman, Bernard Shaw, 60, announced Nov. 10 he will leave the network when his contract expires in February. The 20-year CNN vet, who helped put the net on the map with his coverage of the Persian Gulf War, plans to write books, including a memoir, and spend time with his family.

After 14 years of marriage, country giant Garth Brooks, 38, filed for divorce Nov. 6 from his wife Sandra, 35, citing ”irreconcilable differences.” They share three daughters, Taylor, 8, August, 6, and Allie, 4.

Aging glam rockers Kiss were hit with a lawsuit Nov. 9 from fan Carly Miller, 27, who claims her hand was injured by a guitar that lead singer Paul Stanley threw into the crowd at a concert last May in Grand Rapids, Mich. She seeks unspecified damages. The band had no comment…. On Nov. 8, Martha Hart, 34, widow of pro wrestler Owen Hart (a.k.a. the Blue Blazer), was awarded $18 million to settle her wrongful death suit against World Wrestling Federation Entertainment, Inc. In a botched stunt during a May 1999 pay-per-view match in Kansas City, Mo., Owen Hart plummeted about 75 feet to his death when a quick-release mechanism allegedly failed. ”We were glad that we could reach an amicable settlement with the Hart family,” says a WWF lawyer. The company, whose insurance covered $11 million, is suing other parties allegedly involved in the incident…. On Nov. 6, Frasier star Kelsey Grammer, 45, was ordered by a U.S. District Court judge to pay $2,034,391 in back commissions to his former representatives at the Artists Agency, which he left in 1998. ”We’ve already filed an appeal and we expect to be vindicated,” says Grammer’s lawyer.

TV and radio journalist Robert Trout, 91, a news veteran of seven decades credited with christening FDR’s radio addresses ”fireside chats,” of congestive heart failure, Nov. 14, in Manhattan…. Pioneering Broadway director Mary Hunter Wolf, 95, who helped stage Mary Martin’s Peter Pan, of pneumonia, Nov. 3, in Hamden, Conn.

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