star Patrick Dempsey
, 42, has opened a cancer center to honor his mother, Amanda Dempsey, 73, who successfully battled ovarian cancer three times since 1997. The Patrick Dempsey
Center for Cancer Hope & Healing is set to open March 31 at the Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston and will educate cancer patients and their families. "I wanted to make a difference," Dempsey said. "To give back to the community that helped my mom." • Action star Jackie Chan, 53, honored his father March 9 by funding the Jackie Chan Science Center at the Australian National University, a new cancer research center in his home of Canberra. Chan's father, Charlie, 93, died Feb. 26 from prostate cancer.
Dawn Wells, 69, who played Mary Ann on Gilligan's Island
, was sentenced to six months' probation Feb. 29 after pleading guilty to reckless driving, stemming from a DUI arrest last October. Police pulled her over in Teton, Idaho, and found marijuana, which Wells blamed on hitchhikers she claimed to have just dropped off. • Lou Pearlman, 53, the onetime music mogul responsible for the Backstreet Boys and 'N Sync, pleaded guilty March 6 to federal conspiracy charges. Prosecutors allege Pearlman bilked investors of more than $300 million in phony business ventures. • Girls Gone Wild
creator Joe Francis, 34, was released from jail in Reno March 10 after posting $1.5 million bond. Francis, who spent nearly a year in prison on federal tax evasion charges, will travel to Florida to face allegations of using minors in a sexual performance. • Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, 42, is appealing the dismissal of a lawsuit she filed last year to ban further publication of a photograph of her son David, 4, citing his right to privacy. Rowling settled with the Sunday Express
, which published the 2004 photo. In August a judge said the law does not allow celebrities to "carve out a press-free zone for their children."
FAREWELL DICK DURRELL (1925-2008)
We at PEOPLE are saddened by the loss of one of our own: founding publisher Richard Durrell, who died at his Fairfield, Conn., home of lung cancer on March 7 at 82. When PEOPLE launched in 1974, the idea of a personality-driven weekly, broadly covering the world of popular culture, was an untested concept. Founding editor Richard B. Stolley created the magazine's editorial style, and Durrell, a true believer from day one, sold it to an initially skeptical advertising community. This magazine, which just celebrated its 34th anniversary, is a tribute to his success.