By Evan Serpick and Bob Cannon
Updated April 11, 2003 at 04:00 AM EDT


Veteran news reporter Peter Arnett, 68, was fired by NBC and National Geographic March 31, after he appeared on Iraqi TV March 30 and suggested that the U.S. war plan had failed. Arnett, who earned a Pulitzer for his coverage of the Vietnam War and reported from Baghdad for CNN during the first Gulf War, appeared on NBC’s Today (above) to apologize, calling his Iraqi TV appearance ”a stupid misjudgment.” Britain’s Daily Mirror hired the reporter the day after he was let go by NBC…. Geraldo Rivera, 59, was escorted from Iraq by the U.S. military April 2 after allegedly revealing too much about troop positions on Fox News. A Fox spokesperson says ”he did not knowingly violate the rules.”


So that’s why he wasn’t with her at the Oscars: Alias star Jennifer Garner, 30, and fellow Felicity alum Scott Foley, 30, announced April 1 that they are separating after two years of marriage.


A New York lawyer who claims she had the idea for Bringing Down the House is suing the film’s makers, including exec producer Queen Latifah, for $15 million. In the suit, filed March 28 in Los Angeles, Marie Flaherty says the movie co-opts her script about a lawyer who encounters a prison inmate online. Latifah could not be reached for comment… Snoop Dogg (ne Calvin Broadus), 31, is being sued in Los Angeles by a man who says the rapper used a message he left on Snoop’s answering machine without permission on ”Pimp Slapp’d,” from Snoop’s latest CD. The caller identifies himself as Jim Bob and expresses support for Snoop in his feud with rap exec/ convicted felon Suge Knight. The plaintiff, whose real identity is secret, asks that his voice be removed from the song and for unspecified damages. Snoop had no comment.


Two months after a fire at a Great White concert in West Warwick, R.I., killed 99 people including guitarist Ty Longley, 31, the surviving members, led by Jack Russell (pictured), will reunite to play a benefit in West Hollywood April 29.


Playwright Paul Zindel, 66, whose autobiographical tale of a dysfunctional family, The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds, won an Obie and a Pulitzer, of lung cancer on March 27 in NYC. Zindel is also known for his teen novels, including The Pigman and My Darling, My Hamburger…. Aussie playwright-screenwriter Nick Enright, 52, who earned an Oscar nod in 1993 for Lorenzo’s Oil, of skin cancer, March 30, in Sydney…. Cantonese star Leslie Cheung, 46 (Farewell My Concubine), reportedly jumped to his death at a Hong Kong hotel April 1. Cheung, who broke barriers as one of the few Asian men to play openly gay characters, left a suicide note. — Evan Serpick


Tony- and Emmy-winning actor Michael Jeter, 50, who appeared on TV (Evening Shade), in movies (The Green Mile), and on Broadway (Grand Hotel), was perhaps most beloved as Sesame Street’s Mr. Noodle (above). At the time of his March 30 death, of undetermined natural causes (he was HIV-positive), Jeter was filming Robert Zemeckis’ The Polar Express.