Johnny Depp's arrest and Jay Leno's ''Popular Mechanics'' writing deal made news the week of February 5, 1999


Camera-shy actor Johnny Depp, 35, for allegedly chasing away a group of paparazzi with a wooden plank, Jan. 31, in London. The photographers were waiting for Depp when he left a restaurant around 1:30 a.m. with French singer-actress Vanessa Paradis, who’s reportedly pregnant with his child. Police detained Depp for threatening behavior and released him four hours later. No charges were filed.

Michael Jackson‘s son, Prince, 2. He was taken by ambulance to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in L.A., Jan. 28, where he was treated and released for a viral infection. Two days earlier, Jackson, 40, was treated for a fractured wrist in Miami during a stopover between South Africa and L.A. ”His injury will not impair him,” says Jackson’s spokesman, who won’t comment on the health of Prince…. Director Robert Altman, 74, from knee surgery, Jan. 27, in L.A. Altman had just flown back from Park City, Utah, where his film Cookie’s Fortune opened the Sundance Film Festival. At press time, the director was still in the hospital and in good humor, according to a spokesman…. Daredevil Evel Knievel, 60, from a liver transplant, Jan. 27, in Tampa. Knievel suffers from hepatitis C, which he blames on blood transfusions from his many injuries, and had been on a waiting list for a liver transplant for several months. A hospital spokesman says Knievel remains in stable condition.

Tonight Show host Jay Leno, 48, was named a contributing editor of Popular Mechanics magazine, for which he’ll write a bimonthly car column, ”Jay Leno’s Garage.” The comic will take his first spin in the March issue.

Actor Huntz Hall, 78, of cardiac disease, Jan. 30, in L.A. In the 1930s, the rubber-faced Hall played the slow-witted sidekick of Leo Gorcey, along with Gabriel Dell, Billy Halop, and Bobby Jordon (all now deceased) in more than 80 Bowery Boys, Dead End Kids, and East Side Kids movies. The films spun off their characters from the 1935 Broadway hit Dead End. (The play was made into a 1937 film with Humphrey Bogart.) After the Bowery Boys, Hall continued to act in TV and movies, including 1977’s Valentino…. Radio announcer and actor Ed Herlihy, 89, Jan. 30, in New York City. Herlihy was the voice of Kraft foods for more than four decades beginning in the 1940s. He later became a stage and film actor, and was featured in Pee-wee’s Big Adventure and several Woody Allen films, including Zelig and Radio Days…. Writer Robert L. Duncan, 71, of pneumonia, Jan. 28, in Norman, Okla. The author of over two dozen books, Duncan also wrote for TV and documentaries, and shared producing credits on TV’s Dr. Kildare and Bonanza…. Pedal-steel guitarist Jimmy Day, 65, of cancer, Jan. 22, in Houston. Day gained fame when he performed with Ray Price on the 1956 country hit single ”Crazy Arms.”