On Sept. 2 in Santa Monica, cancer specialists reportedly operated on Flip Wilson to remove a malignant tumor near his liver. The 64-year-old comedian is said to be now undergoing chemotherapy.
Actor and director Leo Penn, 77, whose sons Chris and Sean Penn followed him into showbiz, died of lung cancer on Sept. 5 in Malibu. Beginning his career on the stage in the '40s, the elder Penn went on to direct more than 400 hours of prime-time television, including episodes of Kojak, Columbo and Matlock....
Character actor Leonid Kinskey, 95, the last surviving cast member of Casablanca, died on Sept. 8 in Fountain Hills, Ariz., following complications from a stroke. In the 1942 film, Kinskey played bartender Sascha at Rick's Café Américain and kissed Humphrey Bogart on both cheeks after the embittered ex-patriot arranged exit visas for a desperate young couple. Snarled Bogie: "Get away, you crazy Russian."...
Culture maven Juan Metzger, 79, the former president of Dannon yogurt who figured out how to make the somewhat off-putting aliment (milk curdled by bacteria) more palatable by sweetening it with fruit, died of heart failure on Sept. 6 in Manhattan....
Actor Dane Clark, 85, who worked solidly in films from the '40s to the '80s playing tough-guy parts in the John Garfield mold, died on Sept. 11 in Santa Monica of throat cancer.
Actor Mel Gibson, 42, and his wife of 18 years, Robyn, 42, have a seventh child on the way. Their current brood numbers one girl and six boys, ages 8 to 17.
Singer Fabian, 55, plans to marry Andrea Lynn Patrick, 37, a former Miss Pennsylvania, on Sept. 19. It will be the erstwhile teen idol's third marriage and the bride's first.
For the first time since he was captured in 1979, killer whale Keiko—he of Free Willy fame—is swimming in ocean waters. The 4½-ton screen cetacean was flown from Oregon, where he had been living in an aquarium, to a huge pen off the coast of Iceland. If trainers become convinced that Keiko, 21 (or so), has learned to hunt and communicate well enough to survive in the open sea, he'll become the first killer whale ever returned to the wild.
On Sept. 5 in Maui, Waiting to Exhale author Terry McMillan, 46, married Jonathan Plummer, 23, a student she met three years ago while vacationing in Jamaica. McMillan used this romance as a basis for her 1996 novel How Stella Got Her Groove Back....
Newly rehired MSG Network sportscaster Marv Albert, 56, married his unfaltering fiancée, Heather Faulkiner, 40, an ESPN producer, on Sept. 9 in Manhattan.
Boxer Jake LaMotta, 77, filed a $125 million negligence lawsuit against Swissair on Sept. 9 in Brooklyn. LaMotta's son Joe, 49, en route to Europe to promote his father's line of tomato sauce, died in the Sept. 2 crash of Flight 111. LaMotta's other son, Jack, died of cancer earlier this year.
Jonathan Schmitz, sentenced to 25 to 50 years for murdering a gay admirer who aired his crush on The Jenny Jones Show in 1995, had his conviction overturned by an appeals court in Detroit on Sept. 14. The court ruled that attorneys for Schmitz had the right to object to a juror before the 1996 trial began. Schmitz, 28, will remain in jail until a new trial is scheduled.