On Jan. 22 the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal by 47-year-old singer Michael Bolton to overturn a Los Angeles jury verdict that he copied the Isley Brothers 1966 song "Love Is a Wonderful Thing" for his 1991 hit of the same name. The jury awarded the group $5.4 million in damages in 1994.
On Jan. 12 Actors' Equity Association fined 46-year-old Brady Bunch alum Barry Williams approximately $50,000 for appearing as Capt. Von Trapp in a non-Equity national tour of The Sound of Music. Williams, who played oldest son Greg in the family sitcom, says he assumed a "reduced membership status before taking the role." He will appeal the ruling.
George Richey, 65, widower of country queen Tammy Wynette, married Sheila Slaughter, 34, an independent-TV producer, in College Grove, Tenn., on Jan 16. Wynette died on April 6, 1998.
San Francisco mayor Willie L. Brown Jr., 66, and Carolyn Carpeneti, 38, his chief fund-raising coordinator, are expecting their first child, a girl, in late April or early May. The mayor and his wife, Blanche, have been separated for about two decades and have three grown children.
Actress Virginia O'Brien, 81, who was Judy Garland's singing sidekick in the'40s MGM musical The Harvey Girls, died of natural causes on Jan. 16 in Woodland Hills, Calif....
Actor Michael Cuccione, who played Jason "Q.T." McKnight on the MTV boy-band spoof 2gether and who for the past few months battled respiratory problems, died on Jan. 13 in Vancouver. He was 16....
Piano player and chanteuse Emma Kelly, 82, who was made famous in the bestseller Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil for mastering the words and music to some 6,000 songs, died on Jan. 17 of a liver ailment in Statesboro, Ga. Kelly played herself in the 1997 film based on the book and directed by Clint Eastwood....
Byron De La Beckwith, 80, the white supremacist who assassinated civil rights leader Medgar Evers in 1963 but was not convicted until 1994, died in a Jackson, Miss., hospital on Jan. 21 of undisclosed causes. Actor James Woods earned an Oscar nomination for his portrayal of De La Beckwith in the 1996 film Ghosts of Mississippi.
Producers of the low-rated syndicated talk show Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus announced on Jan. 22 that they are replacing its solo star Cybill Shepherd, 50, with a panel of five hosts.
Marina French, 59, who lives a floor below megamodel Cindy Crawford, 34, and her hubby, restaurateur Rande Gerber, 38, sued them for silence in New York City, contending she is forced to listen to "intimate sounds of daily life," including "telephones ringing, closet doors opening...toilets flushing and baths running."
After almost nine years of marriage, singer Deborah Falconer, 35, wife of actor Robert Downey Jr., 35, filed for divorce from him on Jan. 23 in L.A., citing irreconcilable differences. The couple have been separated since 1996 and have a son, Indio, 7.