Akira Kurosawa, the great Japanese film director Steven Spielberg once deemed "the pictorial Shakespeare of our time," died of a stroke on Sept. 6 in Tokyo. He was 88. Known in the United States to legions of students in cinema appreciation courses, Kurosawa's pictures were as entertaining as they were creative. The Seven Samurai (1954), Kurosawa's "Far East western" featuring 16th-century Japanese warriors instead of cowboys, was a homage to the American movies he adored. Hollywood returned the compliment by remaking it in 1960 as The Magnificent Seven. Kurosawa won three Oscars for his innovative directing, including one for his 1950 classic, Rashomon, which recounted the same tale of a rape and murder from four different perspectives—a storytelling device since copied countless times by other directors, including Oliver Stone (JFK) and Brian De Palma (Snake Eyes). Said director Martin Scorsese, who played Vincent van Gogh in one of Kurosawa's last films, Dreams (1990): "His influence is so profound as to be almost incomparable.... There is no one else like him."
Law & Order
West Hollywood police handcuffed Leonardo DiCaprio's half brother on Aug. 29 and held him briefly on suspicion of battery. Adam Farrar, 26, also an actor and the son of DiCaprio's father, George, and his ex-girlfriend, allegedly attacked a stranger who tried to take the 23-year-old Titanic star's photograph at a bar on Sunset Boulevard. Farrar faces a fine of up to $2,400 if found guilty but no court date has been set.
Author John Berendt, 58, whose Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil has been a fixture on bestseller lists since it was published in 1994, suffered a mild heart attack on Aug. 30 in Savannah. He was released from a local hospital on Sept. 3 and his prognosis is peachy. "I feel very lucky," says Berendt....
Patricia Maris, 63, widow of Yankees slugger Roger Maris and a resident of Gainesville, Fla., suffered an irregular heartbeat aboard an airplane headed to St. Louis on Sept. 6 and entered Barnes-Jewish Hospital there shortly after her arrival. She spent one night under observation, leaving (with some medication) just hours before Cardinal Mark McGwire matched her husband's single-season home-run record on Sept. 7 in Busch Stadium.
On Sept. 2 Manhattan cops collared former Jets player Mark Gastineau, 41, at his home on an assault charge. The 6'5" football star allegedly slapped and choked an unidentified female friend on Aug. 25 in New York City. The rap could land Gastineau in jail for 15 days because it violates a plea he made when he was charged seven months ago with assaulting another woman.
On Sept. 2 in Los Angeles, Arnold Schwarzenegger hit The Globe with a lawsuit, charging libel, invasion of privacy and infliction of emotional distress, and seeking $50 million from the tabloid. In August, 16 months after the actor had elective cardiac surgery to repair a defective valve, the tabloid published an article saying his heart was a "ticking time bomb." The Terminator says the story "is a complete and utter fabrication and fiction."
Country crooner Mark Wills, 25, and his wife, Kelly, 28, a cosmetologist, who married in 1996, are first-time parents. Daughter Mally Ann (7 lbs.) was born on Aug. 26 in Atlanta.