BIRTHS

Singer Elton John, 65, and husband David Furnish, 50, welcomed another boy, Elijah Joseph Daniel, via surrogate on Jan. 11 in Los Angeles. He weighed in at 8 lbs. 4 oz. John and Furnish are already parents to 2-year-old son Zachary Jackson Levon. "The birth of our second son completes our family in a most precious and perfect way," the couple said in a statement.

ON THE MEND

Journalist Barbara Walters, 83, was hospitalized Jan. 19 after falling on a step and cutting her forehead at the residence of British ambassador Peter Westmacott in Washington, D.C. "Barbara is alert and telling everyone what to do, which we all take as a very positive sign," said Jeffrey Schneider, senior vice president of ABC News. Walters had been scheduled to cover the second-term inauguration of President Barack Obama.

ENGAGED

Country crooner Brantley Gilbert popped the question to girlfriend, singer and One Tree Hill actress Jana Kramer, 29, in Nashville on Jan. 20-his 28th birthday. "He asked my mom for permission before he proposed, which meant a lot to me," said Kramer. The pair have been dating for about a year.

EXPECTING

Former American Idol judge Kara DioGuardi (inset), 42, and her husband, Mike McCuddy, 38, a general contractor, are expecting the arrival of their first child in the coming weeks via gestational surrogate. "We are eagerly awaiting the healthy and happy birth of our son Greyson James Carroll McCuddy," DioGuardi told PEOPLE.

DEATHS

Conrad Bain, the actor who played the adoptive father to Gary Coleman and Todd Bridges' characters on the hit 1978-85 sitcom Diff'rent Strokes, died Jan. 14 of natural causes in Livermore, Calif. He was 89. "My father really was a lot like his character in Diff'rent Strokes," his daughter Jennifer Bain told PEOPLE. "He had that warmth and stability. He was an open-hearted man."• James Hood, one of the first African-American students to enroll at the segregated University of Alabama in a key moment of the Civil Rights movement, passed away in Gadsden, Ala., on Jan. 17. He was 70. On June 11, 1963, after a U.S. court ordered Alabama to desegregate, Hood and Vivian Malone attempted to register for classes at the university, but were blocked by Governor George Wallace and state troopers. Later that day, President John F. Kennedy ordered the National Guard to the school, where they forced Wallace to stand aside and allow Hood and Malone to enroll.

'DEAR ABBY' COLUMNIST DIES

After a long battle with Alzheimer's, Pauline Friedman Phillips, adviser to millions of readers worldwide on every topic from annoying in-laws to premarital sex, died in Minneapolis Jan. 16 at the age of 94. She began her life as a columnist in the San Francisco Chronicle in 1956-under the pen name Abigail Van Buren-after catching the counseling bug from her identical twin sister Esther Pauline Friedman, (who was known as columnist Ann Landers and died in 2002). "She had an irreverent sense of humor," daughter Jeanne Phillips, who took over her mother's column in 2002, told People. "She left an amazing legacy."