People in the News
Whether taking the helm of a newly-independent South Africa or simply living "La Vida Loca," these were the ones who made the headlines in 1999.
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| Lance Armstrong won the 86th Tour de France in July, only three years after
being diagnosed with aggressive testicular cancer, which spread to
the Texas native's abdomen, lungs, and brain.
|Roberto Benigni, a larger-than-life Italian actor, director, and writer, won the
hearts of millions with his emotional, acrobatic reaction to winning
Best Actor and Best Foreign-Language Film honors at the 1998
Academy Awards in March for Life Is Beautiful.
| George W. Bush, governor of Texas, emerged as the front-runner in a
crowded field of Republican presidential hopefuls. In his first four
months of fund-raising, he amassed an astounding $37 million.
His early platform stressed “compassionate conservatism,”
though his definition of the slogan was intentionally vague.
George W. Bush
| Hillary Rodham Clinton, first lady, launched an exploratory committee in July to
consider a run for the U.S. Senate. If she follows through, Clinton
will become the first first lady to run for public office. She faces a
stiff challenge from New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani.
While she'll have no problem with name recognition, Clinton will
have to face down the carpetbagger issue. The Illinois native and
former Arkansas resident has never lived in New York.
Hillary Rodham Clinton
|Amadou Diallo, West African immigrant, was shot 19 times in February in the
vestibule of his Bronx apartment by four plainclothes police
officers. Diallo, a street peddler, was unarmed. The officers, Sean
Carroll, Edward McMellon, Kenneth Boss, and Richard
Murphy, were all indicted on two counts of second-degree
murder. They all pleaded guilty and were freed on bail.
|Bill Gates, Microsoft chairman, in September pledged $1 billion to send
about 1,000 minorities to college. The scholarships will be
distributed over the next 20 years to black, Hispanic, Native
American, and Asian students who plan to pursue degrees in
engineering, math, science, and education. He was in the news
again in November, when Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson, the
judge presiding over the government's antitrust case against
Microsoft, said the company was indeed a monopoly. In his
findings of fact, Jackson said the software giant exercises
monopoly control over PC operating systems and uses its power to
the detriment of consumers.
|José Gusmão, East Timorese guerrilla leader, was widely expected to lead
the newly independent East Timor through its uneasy period of
transition. He is seen as a conciliator who can work with both
East Timorese and the Indonesian government, which watched
idly as militias launched a campaign of terror on the tiny territory
after it voted in August to separate from Indonesia. He has been
fighting for independence since the 1970s, since Indonesia annexed East Timor after the Portuguese withdrawal. He was
jailed in 1992 and released in September by B. J. Habibie, then
president of Indonesia. Many acknowledge that Gusmão should
have shared the 1996 Nobel Peace Prize with José
Ramos-Horta and Bishop Carlos Ximenes Belo.
|Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, high school students, went on a
shooting rampage on April 20 at Littleton, Colorado's Columbine
High School, killing 12 students and 1 teacher before turning guns
on themselves. The pair, who were members of the school's
"trenchcoat mafia," had been planning the attack for a year and
were armed with sawed-off shotguns, a semiautomatic rifle, and
homemade bombs. They targeted athletes and minorities. The
tragedy led to soul-searching in Washington, with politicians
blaming everything from Ritalin to the entertainment industry to
day care for the deadly spate of school violence.
||Eric Harris & Dylan Klebold
Ages 18, 17
| Lauryn Hill, versatile singer and record producer, fused rap, soul, reggae,
and R&B on her chart-topping, Grammy-winning solo debut The
Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. In February, she walked away
with five Grammys, including Album of the Year and Best New
Artist, the most trophies ever won by a woman. She also won four
1999 MTV Music Video Awards. Hill recorded the album while
on hiatus from the hip-hop band The Fugees.
|Elia Kazan, director, won a controversial Lifetime Achievement Award at
the 71st Annual Academy Awards in March. While no one denied
Kazan's contribution to film, many in the industry were outraged
that the Academy chose to honor the man who, in 1952 before the
House Committee on Un-American Activities, ratted on eight of
his friends who, with him, had been members of the American
Communist Party in the 1930s. His films include On the
Waterfront, East of Eden, and A Streetcar Named Desire.
|Lee Teng-hui, president of Taiwan, nearly set off an international crisis in
July when he announced that he considers Taiwan a state that
would bargain with China only on a "state-to-state" basis. Beijing
and Taipei hammered out an agreement in 1993 that said each
country had its own government but each was part of "one
|Ricky Martin, Latino pop singer, burst onto the music scene in the U.S. after
his hip-shaking performance at the February Grammy Awards.
His self-titled English-language debut album hit stores in May and
immediately shot up the charts. The single Livin' la Vida Loca
sent millions of women swooning. Martin was a member of
Menudo, the Puerto Rican boy band. He also did a stint on
| Thabo Mbeki, South African politician, was elected president in June,
succeeding Nelson Mandela. Mbeki eased into his new role,
having already assumed many of Mandela's governing
responsibilities shortly after Mandela won South Africa's first
democratic election in 1994.
|Slobodan Milosevic, president of Yugoslavia, balked at repeated warnings from
NATO to withdraw Yugoslav troops and weapons from
Albanian-dominated Kosovo, which had been fighting for full
independence from Serbia. NATO-led air strikes began in late
March and continued through early June, until Milosevic finally
relented and withdrew his troops. Reports of atrocities against
Albanian civilians were widespread, and in May the United
Nations International War Crimes Tribunal formally indicted
Milosevic and four other Yugoslav officials for crimes against
humanity. They were accused of deporting 740,000 ethnic
Albanians from Kosovo in 1999 and murdering more than 340
Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer, wove together fact and
fiction and inserted himself as a character in his authorized
biography of Ronald Reagan, Dutch: A Memoir of Ronald
Reagan. Morris claimed that despite unprecedented access to the
president, he never got to know the real Reagan.
retired general, was elected president of Nigeria in February,
becoming the first civilian ruler in 15 years for Africa's most
populous nation. His victory was overshadowed by allegations of
fraud and ballot-box tampering.
British artist, received hordes of free publicity when his
collage, The Holy Virgin Mary, which featured a black Virgin
Mary with elephant feces on one breast and cutouts from
pornographic magazines glued in the background, was part of the
Brooklyn Museum of Art's October exhibit, "Sensation: Young
British Artists from the Saatchi Collection." New York City
mayor Rudolph Giuliani announced the city would withdraw its
funding of the museum and evict it from its space, which is leased
from the city, unless the museum canceled the exhibit. The
museum then filed a lawsuit saying the mayor was violating its
First Amendment rights.
teen pop sensation, burst onto the music scene with the release
of her vaguely promiscuous single, ". . . Baby One More Time."
Early in her career, Spears appeared on The Mickey Mouse Club
and in several television commercials and stage productions.
|The U.S. Women's Soccer Team won the World Cup in July in a 5-4 win on penalty kicks over
China. More than 90,000 fans packed the Rose Bowl for the final
game. Though all eyes were on Mia Hamm, who's considered
the world's best female soccer player and has scored more goals
in international soccer history than any other female or male
player, Brandi Chastain and Michelle Akers proved
indefatigable players. More people attended and tuned into the
matches than any other women's sports event in history.
U.S. Women's Soccer Team
governor of Minnesota who was formerly known as
boa-wearing professional wrestler "the Body," gained political
credibility as the Reform Party's highest-ranking elected official.
Though Minnesotans think he's doing a fine job as governor, they
don't consider him a role model. He got himself in trouble when he
called organized religion a "sham and a crutch for weak-minded
people" in the November issue of Playboy.
|Venus and Serena Williams, professional tennis players, made
history when they met in the finals of Florida's Lipton
Championships in March, the first time in 115 years that sisters
faced off in the finals and the first such pairing of African
Americans. Serena went on to win the U.S. Open in September,
beating rival Martina Hingis.
||Venus and Serena Williams
Age 19, 18
|Naomi Wolf, feminist writer, was paid $15,000 a month as a consultant to
Vice President Al Gore during his presidential campaign. She
suggested that Gore reinvent himself as an Alpha male (a leader)
to replace his Beta male (a follower) tendencies. Gore was
mocked for ostensibly needing a woman to tell him how to be a
man. After the story broke in November, Wolf's salary was
reduced to $5,000 a month.