Oscar-nominated actor Joaquin Phoenix (Gladiator, Walk the Line), 33, arrived at Nov. 1’s AFI Fest in L.A. with Good and Bye! written on his knuckles, commemorating his retirement from acting. Phoenix — who was promoting his Feb. 13 film Two Lovers — plans to focus exclusively on music. ”It’s just moving on,” he told a reporter. ”It’s rediscovering something else.” Phoenix has directed a few music videos, and did his own singing as Johnny Cash in 2005’s Line; he’ll also reportedly cut an album with U.K. rockers the Charlatans. The actor first announced his retirement on Oct. 27 at a benefit in San Francisco.
On Nov. 3, Amy Winehouse, 24, returned to the London Clinic for ongoing treatment of a chest infection. It’s the singer’s second trip to the hospital in two weeks; she had checked in on Oct. 25 for tests on her chest and lungs and was released Oct. 31.
On Nov. 3 in L.A., a jury dismissed a suit against actor Keanu Reeves, 44. Photographer Alison Silva had alleged the actor hit him with his car in 2007, and had asked for some $700,000 in damages…. On Oct. 31 in L.A., former One Day at a Time star Mackenzie Phillips, 49, pleaded guilty to cocaine possession stemming from an Aug. 27 arrest at Los Angeles International Airport. Phillips, who’s currently in rehab, must also complete an 18-month drug treatment program.
Shakir Stewart, 34, executive vice president of Def Jam, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound Nov. 1 in his home in Marietta, Ga. Stewart succeeded Jay-Z in June 2008 as the head of Def Jam, and signed such artists as Young Jeezy and Rick Ross. In a statement, the label called Stewart ”an inspiration to not only our artists and employees, but to his family and the many people who had the privilege of counting him as a friend.”… Actress Estelle Reiner, 94 — wife of comedian Carl and mother to director Rob — passed away Oct. 25 in Beverly Hills of natural causes. Estelle is best known for delivering When Harry Met Sally‘s infamous line ”I’ll have what she’s having.” She also began a career as a jazz singer at age 65…. National Book Award winner William Wharton, 82 — who penned the 1979 novel Birdy — died Oct. 29 in Encinitas, Calif., of an infection contracted while he was hospitalized for a blood-pressure-related illness…. Producer John Daly (Platoon, The Terminator), 71, passed away Oct. 31 in L.A. of cancer. — Additional reporting by Stewart Allen
Studs Terkel (1912-2008) The Pulitzer Prize-winning author — known for acclaimed oral histories like 1970’s Hard Times and his 45-year radio gig as the host of The Studs Terkel Program — died of natural causes on Oct. 31 in his Chicago home. His latest collection of interviews, P.S. Further Thoughts From a Lifetime of Listening (out Nov. 11), was at his bedside. Comic-book writer Harvey Pekar, who’s releasing a graphic-novel version of Terkel’s Working in May, considers himself a fan: ”He created his own genre. Let people tell their own stories and transcribe them,” says Pekar. ”He was a profound guy.” — Kate Ward