Ethyl Eichelberger, below, a wildly versatile actor and playwright, committed suicide at age 45 in New York City, A friend and frequent co-star, actress Black-Eyed Susan said Eichelberger had AIDS. Born James Roy, he played both male and female roles, always with a uniquely androgynous twist. For example, he turned King Lear into Leer, a one-man parody of Shakespeare’s tragedy in which he played the King, the Fool and Cordelia. Eichelberger will appear as a publicist in Oliver Stone’s forthcoming film, The Doors.
Sara Seegar, the actress best known as the gracious neighbor Mrs. Wilson in the CBS series Dennis the Menace, died of a cerebral hemorrhage in Langhorne, Pa., at age 76. Seegar was the show’s second Mrs. Wilson, appearing from 1962 to 1963 as the sweet-voiced counterpart to grouchy Mr. Wilson. “She was very affectionate and loving towards me,” says Jay North, who played Dennis. “She made me feel very secure.”
Actor Richard Dreyfuss, 42, and his wife, Jeramie, right, have a new baby. He’s Harry Spencer Dreyfuss, who weighed in Aug. 9 in Los Angeles at 6 lbs., 12 oz. Harry joins sister Emily, 7, and brother Benjamin, 4. “He is beautiful and perfect, and we are thrilled.” his parents said objectively….
And Jack Lemmon became a grandpa for the first time when his son, actor Chris (Knots Landing) Lemmon, 36, and Chris’s wife, actress Gina Raymond Lemmon, became parents to daughter Sydney Noel Lemmon (7 lbs., 9 oz.) Aug. 10 in Los Angeles. Her proud father says that as soon as Sydney was born, “She looked up and smiled at her mother and then shot me the bird. She lifted her little hand up, and the third finger was extended, and the other ones were curled up. I don’t know whether she did it on purpose or not, but I figure it was an apt statement.”
B. Kliban, right, the cartoonist whose absurdly funny sketches of cats captured their enigmatic feline personalities and a nation of cat lovers’ hearts, died at age 55 in San Francisco on Aug. 12, following complications from surgery. Born Bernard (a name he detested) Kliban in Norwalk, Conn., he was an art school dropout who made his living as a free-lance cartoonist until, in 1975, he hit it big with the publication of his first feline book, Cat. An immediate best-seller, it was followed by Never Eat Anything Bigger than Your Head and eight other books. By the mid-’80s, manufacturers were selling $50 million worth of coffee mugs, stationery, calendars and other merchandise featuring Kliban’s bewhiskered four-legged creatures. Sally Kovalchick, an editor at Workman Publishing who worked with Kliban, says he was “an unself-conscious genius.”
A toxicology report by the county coroner’s office in Contra Costa, Calif., revealed that Grateful Dead keyboardist Brent Mydland died of a drug overdose on July 26 at his home (PEOPLE, Aug. 13). Although no drug paraphernalia was found at the time of his death, the report indicated Mydland had injected himself with a “speedball,” a combination of morphine and cocaine. According to the band’s publicist, members of the group would have no comment on the report until “each gets a chance to absorb the information.”
Rocker Kenny (“Danger Zone”) Loggins, 43 (above), one half of the ’70s singing duo Loggins & Messina, has filed for divorce from his Swedish-born wife, Eva Ein Loggins, after 13 years of marriage, citing “irreconcilable differences.” The couple have three children: sons Crosby, 9, Cody, 8, and daughter Isabella, 2.
Hector Barrantes, right, the Duchess of York’s polo-playing stepfather, died at age 51 in Buenos Aires on Aug. 10 after battling lymphatic cancer for the past six months. Fergie had returned to England only a day before his death after a week-long final visit with Barrantes and her mother, Susan (right). A professional polo star, the dashing Argentinian shocked England back in 1972 when his romance with Fergie’s mother, then married to Maj. Ronald Ferguson, became public. The two ran off together and wed in 1974. Fergie, then 15, remained in her father’s custody. The Barranteses, who raised cattle and polo ponies on a ranch in Argentina, often summered in Greenwich, Conn., hobnobbing and talking polo with local socialites. A royal source says of Fergie and her stepfather, “They were extremely close, and she is quite distraught.” It’s expected that Susan Barrantes will return to England to live.
Harry-Cookie” Lavagetto, left, the former Brooklyn Dodger whose ninth-inning double ruined New York Yankees pitcher Bill Bevens’s no-hitter in the 1947 World Series, died in his sleep at age 77 in Orinda, Calif. Lavagetto, a .269 lifetime hitter, missed Bevens’s first pitch but connected with the second, sending it over the head of Yankee outfielder Tommy Henrich and winning the game, 3-2. He retired the same year but went on to coach and manage three teams, the Washington Senators, the Minnesota Twins and the New York Mets, in the late ’50s and early ’60s. Lavagetto always kept his famous stroke of the bat in perspective. “If it [the ball] had been a half a foot lower,” he once said, “nobody would have remembered me.”
Ralph E. Harrison, 83, the man who created every kid’s favorite thirst quencher, Hawaiian Punch, died of a heart ailment on Aug. 10 in Visalia, Calif. Harrison developed the red seven-fruit-based drink in 1938. Today Procter & Gamble sells $130 million worth of Hawaiian Punch annually.