Passages

UPDATED 01/13/2003 at 01:00 AM EST Originally published 01/13/2003 at 01:00 AM EST

Engaged
Actress Tia Carrere, 36, who stars in the syndicated series Relic Hunter, and British photojournalist Simon Wakelin plan to wed in a private ceremony on New Year's Eve. The couple, who live in L.A., met in London a year ago. It will be the second marriage for the Wayne's World vixen, who is divorced from film producer Elie Samaha.

Expecting
Canadian model-actress Rachel Roberts, 24, and New Zealand filmmaker Andrew Niccol (Gattaca), 38, are expecting their first child this summer. The couple met two years ago when Niccol directed Roberts and Al Pacino in the 2002 comedy Simone.

Sued
Britney Spears, 21, filed a $1.5 million breach of contract suit against Skechers U.S.A. on Dec. 24 in L.A. Spears alleges that the footwear company, which signed a three-year endorsement contract with the pop star in September 2000, failed to adequately market her own brand of skates and instead used her presence in ads to increase sales of its own skating products. A rep for Skechers says that the company plans to file a countersuit because Spears is the one who failed to approve designs and manufacturers for the skating line.

Update
Felony drug charges against The West Wing creator Aaron Sorkin, 41, were dropped Dec. 18 in Burbank, Calif., after the Emmy-winning producer satisfactorily completed a six-month drug rehabilitation program. Sorkin pleaded guilty in June 2001 to possession of cocaine and hallucinogenic mushrooms (PEOPLE, July 2, 2001).

Deaths

Punk pioneer Joe Strummer, 50, lead singer of the British band the Clash, died of a heart attack Dec. 22 at his Somerset, England, home. Strummer's socially conscious lyrics changed the face of the punk movement and paved the way for other politically-minded groups like U2. The Clash, whose London Calling was voted the best album of the '80s by Rolling Stone, disbanded in the mid-'80s. Strummer had recently been touring with his new band the Mescaleros....

Director George Roy Hill, 81, who created one of Hollywood's most celebrated buddy teams by pairing Paul Newman and Robert Redford in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) and The Sting (1973), for which he won an Academy Award, died of complications related to Parkinson's disease on Dec. 27 in Manhattan. Hill's other movies include The World According to Garp....

Playwright Frederick Knott, 86, whose Broadway thrillers Dial M for Murder and Wait Until Dark became hit films, died of undisclosed causes in New York City on Dec. 17.

Arrested
Former child actor Adam Rich, 34, who played Nicholas on the 1970s TV show Eight Is Enough, was charged with suspicion of DUI Dec. 18 after he drove onto a closed freeway lane in L.A. Rich, who entered a drug rehab program in 1992 after pleading no contest to felony burglary and drug charges, denied any wrongdoing. "I've been sober for 10 years," he said.

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