updated 03/16/1998 AT 01:00 AM EST
•originally published 03/16/1998 AT 01:00 AM EST
Scholar Henry Steele Commager, 95, who was praised by his peer Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. as "one of the century's notable historians," died on March 2 of undisclosed causes in Amherst, Mass. Despite vision problems that eventually rendered him almost blind, Commager produced a stream of influential biographies, textbooks, anthologies, essays and histories. In 1970 he spurred the antiwar movement on the campus of Amherst, where he taught, with his remark, "Having the United States in Vietnam is like having the Chinese invade the shores of Long Island!"...
J.T. Walsh, 54, a character actor who was a perennial presence in films since 1983, died of a heart attack on Feb. 27 while vacationing near San Diego. Among his 40 some-odd film roles were the foul-mouthed mental patient in 1996's Sling Blade, the suicidal officer in 1992's A Few Good Men and the duplicitous villain in last year's Breakdown....
Cartoonist Antonio Prohias, the mastermind behind Mad magazine's "Spy vs. Spy" series, died of cancer in Miami on Feb. 24. He was 77....
Zydeco virtuoso Sidney Simien, 59, best known for his Creole ditty "(Don't Mess with) My Toot Toot," died of lung cancer in Lake Charles, La., on Feb. 25.
Elizabeth Taylor fell in her Bel Air home and fractured one of her lower vertebrae just hours before she was to celebrate her 66th birthday on Feb. 27. It was the latest in a string of maladies to send the actress to the hospital. She was expected to remain at Cedars-Sinai in L.A. through the week.
Drs. Sunil and Deborah Eappen, the Newton, Mass., couple whose 8-month-old son, Matthew, was killed by au pair Louise Woodward, are expecting their third child in May. On Feb. 24, the couple helped dedicate a hospital playroom in Matthew's memory.
Jay Ramras, 33, the Jewish bachelor businessman from Fairbanks, Alaska, who sought a bride in New York City, returned home—stag—on March 2. Late last year the press picked up on Ramras's mission to court women of his faith willing to settle down in Alaska, where single Jewish women are scarce. Ramras reportedly fell for a 28-year-old marketing exec but, alas, she's not yet willing to relocate. Now Ramras might move to Manhattan. "For the right woman," he said, "I would turn my life inside out."
Psychiatrist Kiki Kennedy, 38, gave birth to a son on Feb. 25 in New Haven. Edward M. Kennedy III, 7 lb. 13-oz., is the namesake of dad Ted Jr., 36, a lawyer, as well as of grandpa, the Massachusetts senator. Sister Kiley is 3.