British soccer standout David Beckham, 26, and his wife, Victoria, 27, formerly Posh Spice of the Spice Girls, await the birth of their second child in September. Son Brooklyn is 3.
After doctors discovered a cancerous growth in his thyroid gland, Chicago Sun-Times film critic Roger Ebert, 59, had the entire gland, as well as selected lymph nodes in his neck, removed on Feb. 22 in Chicago. He is expected to make a full recovery.
Malcolm in the Middle star Jane Kaczmarek, 46, failed to return to the set of the hit FOX sitcom on Feb. 11, forcing the show to juggle filming of the last few episodes of the season. A network insider said that the Emmy-winning actress has been asking for a big pay raise. But a rep for Kaczmarek said that the star's absences are due to migraine headaches, adding, "We believe that her health issues are short-term, and she will resume work soon."
On Feb. 15 in L.A., TV producer James Veres, 52, and his wife, actress Ursula Karven, filed a wrongful-death suit against rocker Tommy Lee, 38, for the accidental drowning of their 4-year-old son Daniel in Lee's Malibu pool last summer (PEOPLE, July 2, 2001). The couple claim that Lee, who was hosting a birthday party for his son Brandon, 5, was negligent in failing to provide proper supervision. A representative for Lee had no comment....
Alleging that they are owed additional royalties for hit songs like "Take It Easy" and "Best of My Love," songwriters Jackson Browne, 53, J.D. Souther, 56, and Jack Tempchin, 54, sued Warner/Chappell Music for $10 million on Feb. 25 in L.A. The songwriters created many hit tunes for the Eagles in the 1970s.
British TV and stage actor John Thaw, 60, best known as the crusty, ale-loving detective in the PBS series Inspector Morse, which ran from 1987-2000, died of cancer of the esophagus on Feb. 21 at his home in Wiltshire, England....
Award-winning children's author Virginia Hamilton, 65, whose books sought to make the African-American experience part of mainstream life, died of breast cancer in Dayton on Feb. 19.
Defrocked Boston priest John Geoghan, 66, was sentenced on Feb. 21 to nine to ten years in prison for indecent assault on a 10-year-old boy in 1991 (PEOPLE, Feb. 4, 2002). Since 1995 more than 130 people have claimed that Geoghan molested them. He faces two additional criminal trials involving allegations of abuse against youngsters....
On Feb. 26 in San Diego, David Westerfield, 50, pleaded not guilty to the kidnapping and murder of his neighbor Danielle van Dam, 7, who was last seen on Feb. 1 (PEOPLE, Feb. 25, 2002). Westerfield, a self-employed engineer, was arrested four days earlier after DNA tests confirmed that blood found on an article of his clothing belonged to the girl, whose body has not been found....
After admitting that he tampered with chemotherapy drugs (Taxol and Gemzar) given to 34 cancer patients, pharmacist Robert R. Courtney, 49, pleaded guilty to 20 federal counts of dispensing diluted drugs on Feb. 26 in Kansas City, Mo. (PEOPLE, Sept. 10, 2001). Under this plea agreement, prosecutors will recommend a sentence of 17 to 30 years.