Astronomer and author Carl Sagan, 60, announced he was taking a leave of absence from his teaching job at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., on March 12 after learning that he has a rare bone marrow disease, which he would not identify. A statement issued by the Cosmos series host said the disease is curable, though it could develop into cancer if untreated. Sagan has moved temporarily to Seattle where he is planning to undergo a bone marrow transplant. He expects to return to teaching next fall.
Freshman Rep. Enid Waldholtz, 36 (R-Utah), and her husband, Joe, 31, who volunteers in her office, are expecting their first child on Sept. 21, just in time for the big debates on the budget. Waldholtz, a lawyer from Salt Lake City, is the second congresswoman ever to be pregnant while in office. The first was Yvonne Brathwaite Burke (D-Calif.), who had a girl in 1973.
A magistrate in Aiken County, S.C., on March 9 dropped a criminal domestic violence charge against soul singer James Brown, 61, that had been filed last December following a scuffle with his wife, Adrienne, 44. A spokesman for the Godfather of Soul said the couple were trying to make amends, but that, as of now, a divorce is still pending. Brown remains on probation after serving two years in jail for an aggravated assault charge in 1988....
Actress Nastassja Kinski, 34, under the corporate name of her production company, Cardamom Productions Inc., filed suit against director-producer-screenwriter James Toback, 50, on March 7 in L.A. superior court, claiming that Toback failed to repay two loans, totaling $23,000, she made to him in 1982 and '83. Kinski starred in Toback's 1983 box office bomb, Exposed.
Publicity guru Edward Bernays, 103, who helped to bolster the role of public relations and corporate communications in business, died on March 9 at his home in Cambridge, Mass. During his 70-year career, Bernays, a nephew of Sigmund Freud, had an impressive and wide-ranging client list that included every President from Calvin Coolidge through Dwight Eisenhower, as well as Enrico Caruso, Thomas Edison and Henry Ford....
Comedy writer Edward James, 87, who created the radio version of Father Knows Best in 1949 and, in 1954, helped move to television the classic sitcom about a nearly infallible dad, died of complications of emphysema on March 6 in Escondido, Calif. James's other credits include writing for My Three Sons, The Addams Family and Leave It to Beaver....
Cheese manufacturer Victor Dorman, 80, who in the mid-1950s figured out how to sell sliced cheese in prepackaged form by slipping a sheet of paper between slices, died on March 4 of complications from muscular dystrophy at his home in Delray Beach, Fla. Before the Dorman Cheese Co. began selling presliced cheese, grocers or consumers did the slicing themselves from large chunks or full wheels....
Newscaster Frank Blair, 79, a mainstay on NBC's Today show for 23 years, died of an undisclosed cause at his home in Hilton Head, S.C., on March 14—exactly 20 years to the day after he last delivered a Today newscast. "The wonderful thing about Frank, whom I knew first as a viewer when I lived in South Dakota, was that he was like this uncle in your family that you could trust," says NBC's top newsman and Today show veteran Tom Brokaw. "He always had dignity and read the news wonderfully well." Blair appeared on Today's very first show on Jan. 14, 1952, as its Washington correspondent, moved to New York City the next year as news anchor and continued with the show until he retired in 1975.
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