David Wayne, 81, who won Broadway's first Tony Award for supporting actor in a musical as the leprechaun in the 1947 fantasy Finian's Rainbow, died of lung cancer on Feb. 9 at his home in Santa Monica. Wayne, whose career on stage and in TV and film spanned 50 years, also played the precocious Ensign Pulver in the 1948 stage version of Mister Roberts, the foppish composer Kip Lurie in the 1949 Tracy-Hepburn film Adam's Rib, the Mad Hatter in the campy '60s Batman TV series and the addled Dr. Amos Weatherby in the 1979-82 sitcom House Calls.
Actor Eric Roberts, 38, was booked for spousal battery after he allegedly pushed his wife, Eliza, 42, into a wall at their home in the Silverlake section of Los Angeles on Feb. 8. Police who responded to her 911 call arrested Roberts, who was later released on $50,000 bail. In 1988, Roberts was placed on probation for six months after pleading guilty to harassing a woman he met at a party.
Baseball's Darryl Strawberry, 32, pleaded guilty on Feb. 9 to tax evasion in federal court in White Plains, N.Y., admitting that he failed to report more than $350,000 in income he had earned from signing autographs and making personal appearances at memorabilia shows from 1986 to 1990. The onetime New York Mets-Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder will be sentenced on March 15. Strawberry was released by the San Francisco Giants on Feb. 6 after he failed drug tests....
The family of stuntwoman Sonja Davis filed a $50 million negligence suit on Feb. 7 in L.A. Superior Court against Paramount Pictures, director Wes Craven, Eddie Murphy and eight other production staffers on the upcoming film Vampire in Brooklyn. The family maintains that Davis, 26, who was a stunt double for actress Angela Bassett on the film last November, died because the defendants showed reckless disregard for her safety by refusing to adequately cushion her fall from an apartment building.
Movie dance master Gene Kelly, 82, suffered a stroke, his second in seven months, on Feb. 7 and was listed in fair condition at UCLA Medical Center. Doctors say Kelly is now neurologically stable and that this stroke was much less severe than the one he had last July, which left him hospitalized for seven weeks....
Michael Kennedy, 36, fourth son of the late Robert F. Kennedy, checked into an alcohol-rehabilitation facility, Father Martin's Ashley in Havre de Grace, Md., on Jan. 22. "I have come to recognize I had a dependence on alcohol," said Kennedy, who runs the nonprofit Citizen's Energy Corp. in Boston. (Two older brothers also had substance-abuse problems. In 1984, David, 28, was found dead in a Palm Beach, Fla., hotel room, with cocaine and Demerol in his bloodstream. That same year, Robert Jr., now 41, received two years' probation for heroin possession.)
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