updated 04/03/1995 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 04/03/1995 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Rapper Eric Wright, 31, who performs as Eazy-E and cofounded the influential gangsta rap group N.W.A., is in intensive care at Los Angeles's Cedars-Sinai hospital, where he is being treated for AIDS. Wright, who learned only weeks ago that he had AIDS, said in a statement, "Now I'm in the biggest fight of my life, and it ain't easy."

Playwright Sidney Kingsley, 88, whose best-known work was Dead End (1935), a drama of life in the slums, died of a stroke on March 20 at his home in Oakland, N.J. Kingsley's nine plays included Mew in White, a medical drama that won the Pulitzer Prize in 1934, and Detective Story (1949). Says playwright-cartoonist Jules Feiffer: "He helped to invent the problem play that dealt fictionally with documentary themes."...

Super retailer James L. "Bud" Walton, 73, who co-founded the Wal-Mart Stores empire in 1962 with his late brother Sam, died of an aneurysm following surgery on March 21 in Miami. His personal fortune was estimated at $1 billion....

Bluesman Sunnyland Slim, 87, born Albert Luandrew, died March 18 in Chicago of renal failure. His booming voice and rollicking piano helped shape the hearty electrified Chicago sound of the '50s. Says B.B. King: "We have lost one of the really great blues piano players."

Patricia Cochran, 55, who says she had a relationship with O.J. Simpson lawyer Johnnie L. Cochran, 58, for nearly 30 years (he was wed twice during that time), filed a palimony suit in L.A. superior court on March 21. She charges that he stopped his $4,000 monthly support payments to her and their son Jonathan Jr., 22, after she appeared on Geraldo. Though never married to him, she took Cochran's name legally in 1976 with his consent....

Actor Christian Slater, 25, will spend three days with the Children's Health Fund, a Manhattan-based group that provides medical care to needy kids. The community-service stint is part of a plea bargain he struck in Queens criminal court on March 17 after admitting to attempted criminal possession of a weapon. He was arrested Dec. 23 at JFK International Airport after an unloaded gun was found in his carry-on bag.

Actor Tony Goldwyn, 34, and his wife, production designer Jane Musky, 40, are cooing over new daughter Tess Frances (9 lbs., 1 oz.), born on March 6 in Summit, N.J. Her sister Anna is 4....

Country singer Suzy Bogguss, 38, and her husband, songwriter Doug Crider, 35, welcomed their firstborn, son Benton Charles (8 lbs., 12 oz.), on March 17 in Nashville.

TV's Marilu Henner, 42, and her producer-director hubby, Robert Lieberman, 47, expect a second baby in November. Son Nicholas is 10 months old.

Actress Mariette Hartley, 54. filed for divorce on March 21 from producer-director Patrick Boyriven, 57, after 16 years of marriage and three kids.

Actress Glenn Close, 48, is engaged to stage carpenter Steve Beers, 40. The two met last spring while working on the musical Sunset Boulevard in L.A. It will be Close's third marriage and Beers's second. No date has been set....

Interview king and suspender addict Larry King, 61, who has been married six times before to five wives, has asked actress Deanna Lund, 57, to be the next Mrs. King. Lund, who has been wed three times herself, said yes.

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