updated 01/01/2000 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 01/01/2000 AT 01:00 AM EST

On Dec. 14 in Manhattan, singer-actress Julie Andrews, 64, filed a malpractice lawsuit against Drs. Scott M. Kessler and Jeffrey D. Libin, alleging that she was not informed that a 1997 operation to remove noncancerous nodules in her throat carried the risk of permanent hoarseness and "irreversible loss of vocal quality." Neither doctor has commented.

Victoria's Secret supermodel-turned-actress Frederique Van der Wal {Wild Wild West), 32, and her screenwriter boyfriend Nicholas Klein, 43, are expecting their first child in the spring.

Close Call

On Dec. 14 a 62-lb. mirrored disco ball brushed the shoulder of gender-bender Boy George after it plunged from the ceiling of an auditorium in southern England. Said the 38-year-old Boy, who was treated for shock in his dressing room but still performed: "It would have been both ironic and glamorous to be finished off by a 4-foot glitter ball."

... A C-9 U.S. Navy plane carrying the rock trio Goo Goo Dolls, best known for the 1998 No. 1 hit "Iris," had a rough landing at an air base in Italy and slid off the runway on Dec. 19, causing no injuries to any of the 30 people onboard. The group was on the way back to the U.S. after entertaining military personnel in Bosnia, part of a tour of bases in Europe.


"We are ecstatic...about the fourth addition to our family," said actor Eddie Murphy, 38, and his wife, Nicole, 32, in a statement released after the birth of 7-lb. 13-oz. daughter Zola Ivy, who arrived on Christmas Eve in L.A....

Don Johnson, 50, star of CBS's Nash Bridges, and Kelley Phleger, 31, his wife since April, got their best holiday gift a bit late when daughter Atherton Grace (7 lbs. 15 oz.) was born three days after Christmas. It is his fourth and her first child.


Actor Clayton Moore, who enthralled millions from 1949 to '58 as the Lone Ranger in the ABC series and on film, died of an apparent heart attack on Dec. 28 in an L.A. emergency room. He was 85. In 1979, Moore ran afoul of a licensing conglomerate and was legally forbidden from publicly appearing as the Masked Man, so he wore large aviator-style sunglasses until the court case was dropped in 1984. "I've been the Lone Ranger for 30 years," he said, "and I intend to be the Lone Ranger...until I'm called."

...Canadian-born crooner Hank Snow, 85, who overcame an abusive upbringing in Nova Scotia to conquer the country charts with hits like "I'm Moving On," died on Dec. 20 at his home outside Nashville....

Saxophone virtuoso Grover Washington Jr., 56, whose pop-jazz platinum and gold albums turned millions on to the joy of sax and garnered him a Grammy in 1981 for a collection that included the hit single "Just the Two of Us" (with Bill Withers), died of an apparent heart attack on Dec. 17 in New York City. Washington collapsed just after he taped an appearance for the CBS news program The Saturday Early Show....

Singing cowboy actor Rex Allen, 78, who starred in second-string oaters and was the folksy narrator of numerous Walt Disney nature films, died on Dec. 17 in Tucson when he was accidentally run over by his own Cadillac, driven by a family friend....

Bill Bowerman, 88, who cofounded Nike in the 1960s and, famously, used his wife's waffle iron to create soles that helped make his shoes bestsellers, died on Dec. 24 in Fossil, Ore. Also a coach, Bowerman was played by actor Donald Sutherland in the 1998 film Without Limits, about runner Steve Prefontaine....

Dr. John Lyday, 78, whose Korean War buddy H. Richard Hornberger used him as the model for the Trapper John character in the 1968 novel M*A*S*H, died on Dec. 20 in Greensboro, N.C. Written under the pen name Richard Hooker, the book was the basis for the movie and TV series....

Couturier Louis Féraud, whose confections adorned film goddesses from Bergman to Bardot, died on Dec. 28 in Paris. He was 79 and had been suffering from Alzheimer's....

Light fantastico Douglas Leigh, who, beginning in the 1930s, lit up Times Square with big-as-a-barn signs that featured gargantuan neon steaming coffee cups and Saturn-size smoke rings, died on Dec. 14 in Manhattan at 92. Leigh also designed the nighttime illumination for Big Apple skyscraper monuments like the Empire State Building....

Dapper actor Desmond Llewelyn, 85, who as the character primarily known as Q in James Bond movies outfitted 007 with the latest accoutrements of espionage (lethal fountain pens, booby-trapped briefcases), died in a head-on automobile collision on Dec. 19 hear Firle, England. In real life, Llewelyn claimed he was a klutz in matters mechanical. "Most gadgets expire or explode as I touch them," he said.

Princess Masako, 36, the Harvard-and Oxfordeducated wife of Japan's Crown Prince Naruhito, is believed to be pregnant, although imperial officials have yet to confirm it. If so, the child will likely be the eventual heir to the Chrysanthemum Throne—perhaps even if she's a girl. There is speculation that the royals might be ready to end more than a century of gender bias.

Christa Miller, 35, who plays Kate on ABC's The Drew Carey Show, and Bill Lawrence, 31, a co-creator and former executive producer of ABC's Spin City, tied the knot on Nov. 27 in New York City. The bride wore a white sleeveless scoop-neck Vera Wang gown. Guests included Carey and other cast members from his show.

On Nov. 19 in L.A., the wife of Saving Private Ryan's Tom Sizemore, 38, filed for divorce from him after three years of marriage. Actress Maeve Quinlan, 35, cited irreconcilable differences.

Up in Smoke
In what an insurance official said appears to be "the most expensive single-family-home fire ever," an out-of-control blaze on Dec. 18 completely destroyed the $20 million, 22,000-sq.-ft. megamansion that songbird Mariah Carey, 30, and recording rajah Tommy Mottola, 51, built in Westchester County, N.Y., in the mid-'90s. The couple sold the property in 1998, the year their divorce became final.

Tipper Gore, 51, wife of the Vice President, underwent surgery at Johns Hopkins Medical Center in Baltimore on Dec. 28 for the removal of a nodule on her thyroid gland. Tests will be performed to see if there are signs of cancer.

The End
After a 12-hour negotiation session that began on Dec. 16 and ended in the wee hours of the next morning, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, 56, and his estranged wife, Marianne, 48, reached a divorce agreement ending their 18-year marriage. The terms are confidential and must still be approved by a Cobb County, Ga., judge.

From Our Partners