03/30/1992 at 01:00 AM EST
Director-screenwriter Richard Brooks, 79, whose 35 movies included The Blackboard Jungle, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Looking for Mr. Goodbar and who was nominated for eight Academy Awards, died of congestive heart failure on March 11 at his home in Beverly Hills. A journalist turned screenwriter, Brooks got his big break when he cowrote Key Largo (1948), the atmospheric melodrama directed by John Huston and starring Humphrey Bogart and Edward G. Robinson. He was wed from 1961 to 1976 to actress Jean Simmons, who starred in two films for him....
Theme-park developer C.V. Wood Jr., 71, who oversaw the design and construction of Disneyland, which opened in 1954, died of lung cancer on March 14 in Houston. Wood, an entrepreneur with a gift for self-promotion, was also famous for having bought London Bridge for $8 million in 1968 and having moved it piece by piece (25,000 of them in all) to Lake Havasu City, Ariz., to attract tourists. Additionally, he was the enthusiastic founder of the International Chili Society. Wood is survived by his second wife, '50s movie star Joanne Dru, whom he married in 1970.
Former teen idol Shaun Cassidy, 32, and wife Ann, 35, are divorcing after nearly 12 years of marriage and two children, Caitlin, 10, and John, 7. Shaun, the star of TV's Hardy Boys (1977-79), most recently coproduced and wrote the USA Network made-for-cable movie Strays.
On March 18, after three years of court appeals and claims that incarceration would fatally aggravate her heart disease, hotel queen Leona Helmsley, 71, was sentenced to four years in federal prison for tax evasion. Helmsley must surrender to authorities on—appropriately enough—April 15, and will be eligible for parole in August 1993....
An L.A. judge awarded $150,000 to syndicated columnist Art Buchwald, 66, and $750,000 to his production partner, Alain Bernheim, in their breach of contract suit against Paramount Pictures. Buchwald contended that Paramount took the plot for its 1988 Eddie Murphy comedy, Coming to America, which grossed $145 million, from a 2½-page outline he submitted to the studio in 1983....
Tennis star Martina Navratilova, 35, and her former live-in companion, Judy Nelson, 45, settled Nelson's "galimony" case out of court on March 13. Although the complete terms of the settlement are secret, Nelson received one of Navratilova's three Aspen houses, which she promptly put on the market for more than $2 million.
Kurt Cobain, 24, pink-haired guitarist and singer for Nirvana ("Smells Like Teen Spirit") and Courtney Love, 24, peroxided front woman for the L.A. band Hole, were secretly married in Hawaii on or around Feb. 22.
Kevin Bacon, 33, and wife Kyra Sedgwick, 27, had a baby, daughter Sosie Ruth, on March 15 in Connecticut. The couple also have a son, Travis, 3.