In a similar scenario, actor Tom Cruise, 35, who recently completed filming the psychosexual thriller Eyes Wide Shut, had his baby blues wide-open on Feb. 17. While driving with daughter Isabella, 5, in Santa Monica to pick up son Connor, 3, from nursery school, he observed three suspicious vehicles following him. Cruise, who was quick to publicly denounce the paparazzi after the death of Princess Diana, called 911 and supplied law enforcers with license plate data. Although Santa Monica police say there is no indication that the pursuers were photographers, they are searching for them "to ascertain their identities and intentions."
Henny Youngman, the king of well-worn one-liners, died on Feb. 24 in Manhattan of complications from the flu. He was 91. Youngman continued to use his trademark catchphrase, "Take my wife...please!" (dating from the 1930s), long after his cherished mate, Sadie, passed away in 1987. He summed up his philosophy this way: " Life should be like a one-liner—good to the last word."...
Grandpa Jones, the beloved banjo-plucking fixture at the Grand Ole Opry, died on Feb. 19 in Nashville following a series of strokes. Born Louis Marshall Jones 84 years ago, he served up corny quips on TV's Hee Haw from 1968 to '93...
Abraham A. Ribicoff, 87, the Connecticut congressman, governor and senator who also served as the Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare under JFK, died in the Bronx on Feb. 22 of heart failure. In 1956, Ribicoff pushed Catholics in the Democratic party to tap Kennedy for the vice presidency. "They did not think the nation was ready for a Catholic," he told The New York Times in 1993. "I never thought I'd see the day when a man of the Jewish faith had to plead before a group of Irish Catholics about allowing another Irish Catholic to be nominated for the position."...
Prolific Tin Pan Alley tunesmith Bob Merrill, whose lyrics for "People" and "Don't Rain on My Parade" helped propel Barbra Streisand to super-stardom in Funny Girl, took his own life with a pistol in Culver City, Calif., on Feb. 17. He was 74 and had been suffering from depression. A composer who used a dime-store xylophone to plink his melodies to perfection, he made the whole country wonder (along with singer Patti Page) how much that "Doggie in the Window" cost in 1953.
Comedian Ray Romano, 40, the star of CBS's Everybody Loves Raymond, and his wife, Anna, welcomed a fourth child, Joseph Raymond, to their family on Feb. 16 in L.A.
On Feb. 18, in Los Angeles, Boogie Nights Oscar nominee Burt Reynolds, 62, announced his honorable intentions to wed Pam Seals, 42, an ex-cocktail lounge manager—a bit warily. "I'm terrified of marriage," Reynolds told Entertainment Tonight. "We've only known each other nine years." No wedding date is set for what will be his third marriage.
Britain's Princess Margaret, 67, had a mild stroke on Feb. 23 while vacationing on the island of Mustique and was hospitalized. Buckingham Palace issued a statement saying that her condition is stable.
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