01/21/1991 at 01:00 AM EST
Christian Brando, 32, son of Marlon Brando, 66, pleaded guilty on Jan. 4 to voluntary manslaughter in the May 1990 shooting of Dag Drollet, 27, the boyfriend of Christian's half sister, Cheyenne, 20. Los Angeles prosecutors had been stymied in their efforts to force Cheyenne, who is in Paris recovering from depression that resulted in two reported suicide attempts, to return to testify against Christian. "We would have preferred to proceed on the murder charge," said the DA's spokesperson, "but without Cheyenne, we can't prove it." Christian, whose mom is Calcutta-born actress Anna Kashfi, faces up to 16 years in jail when his sentence hearing begins on Feb. 26.
Baseball Hall-of-Famer Luke Appling, 83 (above), a superbly talented batter who played his best when he felt his worst—hence his nickname, Old Aches and Pains—died during emergency surgery for an abdominal aneurysm in Cumming, Ga., on Jan. 3. Appling, who began as a shortstop for the Chicago White Sox in 1930, racked up 2,749 hits during his 20-year career....
T.S. Matthews, 89, a former editor of TIME and the author of 15 books, died at his home in Cavendish, England, on Jan. 4 of lung cancer.
Entertainer Liza Minnelli, 44, and her third husband, sculptor Mark Gero, 38 (right), have "mutually decided to separate" after 11 years of marriage, according to her publicist, who would not say when, or if, divorce papers will be filed....
Actor Ken (The White Shadow) Howard, 46, and author Margo Howard, 50, have split after 13 years of marriage. It was his second marriage and her third. Margo is the daughter of Eppie Lederer (better known as Ann Landers).
NBC Entertainment Chief Brandon Tartikoff, 41, and his daughter, Calla Lianne, 8, were seriously injured in an car accident near Lake Tahoe on Jan. 1. Tartikoff, who is credited with pushing NBC to the top of the ratings heap with such hit shows as Hill Street Blues, Cheers and The Cosby Show, was reported by Washoe Medical Center in Reno to be in satisfactory condition with broken ribs and a fractured pelvis. Calla was in serious condition with a head injury. "It's wait-and-see, hour-by-hour," an NBC spokesperson said of the child.
Since shortly after Christmas, Growing Pains' Chelsea Noble, 26, has been sporting a diamond engagement ring given to her by teen dream Kirk Cameron (right), 20, her co-star on the ABC sitcom. Kirk announced the relationship on Sally Jessy Raphael last fall, saying their first date, on Valentine's Day, had been the "start of something really special." No wedding date set yet....
L.A. Law's Harry Hamlin, 39, and Knots Landing's Nicollette Sheridan, 27, secretly became engaged in early December. His rep confirmed that the couple plan to marry in June. The stars, whose dueling shows run during the same Thursday 10 P.M. time slot—his on NBC, hers on CBS—met while filming the steamy cable-TV movie Deceptions for Showtime in 1989. At the time, Hamlin was married to Heartbeat's Laura Johnson, 34. He also has a son, Dimitri, 10, from an earlier romance with Swissborn actress Ursula Andress, 54.
G.G. "Jeri" Campbell, 84, one of two surviving FBI agents who helped ambush legendary bank robber John Dillinger at a Chicago movie theater in 1934, died of a heart attack in Palo Alto, Calif., on Jan. 1. During his 31-year G-man career, Campbell helped track down such major bad guys as Baby Face Nelson, Machine Gun Kelly, and Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow. After retiring in 1965, he sold guns and police equipment....
Steve Clark, 30, guitarist for Def Leppard, died Jan. 7 of reported drug and alcohol overdose in London.