On Nov. 30, ending weeks of speculation, Universal Pictures chairman and CEO Casey Silver, 43, resigned under pressure. His departure — which comes two weeks after Universal parent company Seagram ousted his boss Frank Biondi Jr. — follows a year of dismal box office returns, including the recent disappointments Meet Joe Black and Babe: Pig in the City. Universal Studios president Ron Meyer will assume Silver’s responsibilities. ”Both Casey and I felt this was the appropriate time to make a change,” Meyer said in a statement.
American History X director Tony Kaye, 46, filed a $275 million breach-of-contract suit against the Directors Guild of America and New Line Cinema, Nov. 23, in Washington, D.C. In court papers, Kaye claims the studio and the DGA violated his rights by not allowing him to replace his credit on History with a pseudonym — he requested ”Humpty Dumpty” — after star Edward Norton made substantial changes to the film. ”The right to a pseudonym is not absolute,” said DGA president Jack Shea in a statement. New Line declines to comment…. Pop diva Celine Dion, 30, filed an invasion-of-privacy suit against the French tabloid Voici, Nov. 25, in Toulouse, France, for publishing a story in July that suggested she is unable to have children. ”All we’ve done is publish info that’s been published elsewhere,” says Marc Rassat, a spokesman for Prisma Presse, which owns Voici. Dion and her husband/manager, Rene Angelil, are seeking about $35,000.
Spin City star Michael J. Fox, 37, announced Nov. 25 that he has been suffering from Parkinson’s disease, a gradual degeneration of the central nervous system. Fox, who first experienced a twitch in his left hand while shooting Doc Hollywood in 1991, underwent brain surgery last March to eliminate the most severe of the bodily tremors that accompany the illness. Currently, he takes medication for his condition.
Comedian Flip Wilson, 64, of cancer, Nov. 25, in Malibu…. Veteran character actor Dick O’Neill, 70, of heart failure, Nov. 17, in Santa Monica. The paternal O’Neill appeared as Sharon Gless’ father on Cagney & Lacey, as Christine Baranski’s dad on Cybill, and as Cliff Clavin Sr. in an episode of Cheers. His film work included 1974’s The Taking of Pelham One Two Three and the 1979 Steve Martin comedy The Jerk.