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1997 Timeline

We break down this year's events from January through December

JAN 7: A Star Is Porn
Caustic New York Times op-ed piece by Gloria Steinem slams Hollywood for glorifying Hustler publisher in The People vs. Larry Flynt and is later credited with igniting Oscar backlash.

JAN 9: Cruise Missive
Letter to Chancellor Helmut Kohl in International Herald Tribune signed by 34 celebs and studio execs compares Germany's treatment of Scientologists to the Holocaust. Abstaining: Disney's Joe Roth, who opines that some signers may be ''whores for Tom Cruise and John Travolta.''

JAN 19: Inaugural Gall
Friend of Bill Barbra Streisand and beau James Brolin are no-shows at the gala. One rumored reason: People who need people violated White House policy on separate bedrooms.

JAN 21: Technical Knockouts
Kevin Costner donates equipment from Costner Industries Nevada Corp. to clean up Japanese oil spill; other technology (i.e., a paternity test) confirms that he fathered a son born to socialite Bridget Rooney.

JAN 22: Roar Meat
ABC ordered to pay Food Lion chain $5.5 million (later pared to $315,000) in punitive damages for 1992 hidden-camera expose that showed employees selling rat-gnawed cheese and bleaching meat.

JAN 23: Rump Roast Romp
Hardcore porn interrupts late-night airing of Food Network show Too Hot Tamales during instructions for juicy flank steak. One Ohio mayor later commented, ''You'll never get back to sleep after seeing that, I imagine.''

JAN 26: Filthy Lucre Fred Astaire's digital pas de deux with Dirt Devil cordless vac causes dustup when the spot debuts on Super Bowl Sunday. ''Fred did commercials when he was alive,'' sniffs his widow, Robyn, who oversaw production.

FEB 9: Homeric Feat
The Simpsons overtakes The Flintstones as television's longest-running animated prime-time series.

FEB 10: Mirage Vows Oasis singer Liam Gallagher abruptly cancels wedding to actress Patsy Kensit because ''intrusive media attention has removed any dignity.'' (In April, they quietly get hitched in London.)

FEB 12: Junk Justice
Confusing Ewan McGregor with his heroin-addicted character in Trainspotting, customs agent at Chicago airport orders actor strip-searched.

FEB 13: Baby Glove
Michael Jackson and wife Debbie Rowe welcome son Prince, and after stating he wants child to have a ''normal life,'' Jackson sells baby pictures to the National Enquirer and Britain's OK!

FEB 14: Duped Cupid
In setup prearranged by the Today show, man goaded by Al Roker proposes on air to girlfriend. Her embarrassing reply: ''I don't know.''

FEB 19: Waltersgate
ABC admonishes Barbara Walters for forgetting to mention in profile of producer Andrew Lloyd Webber that she had invested $100,000 in his money-losing Sunset Boulevard.

FEB 24: The Sum'll Come Up
''I just gotta try and remember...I'm the real Annie,'' says Joanna Pacitti, 12-year-old fired as Broadway's Little Orphan Annie. Hard knocks eased by filing Daddy Warbucks-size lawsuit (still in litigation).

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