Chipper Deborah Norville, 32, cohost of NBC’s Today show, had her first child, a 7-lb., 5-oz. boy, Karl Nikolai, on Feb. 27. Norville said she expects “Nicky” to remain a blond like his father. Swedish businessman Karl Wellner, 37. “He is a truly exceptional child,” says the proud mother, “I know I’m prejudiced, but he is truly beautiful. We looked at him and said he is going to lead the world in great things.” Norville returns to” Today in mid-April….
Tennis ace Chris Evert, 36, and her husband, ex-Olympic skier Andy Mill, 38. expect their first baby in the fall.
Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, 41, a TV-newscast fixture during the gulf war, celebrated its end by marrying child psychologist Sarah Ben-Arzi, 32, on March 3 in a Jewish ceremony (at left, he stomps on a glass) in Jerusalem.
Dance king Arthur Murray, 95, who taught Rockefellers. Vanderbilts and countless regular joes to shuffle their feet to the beat, died of pneumonia on March 3 in Honolulu. Born Arthur Murray Teichman, the son of an Austrian baker in New York City. Murray had by the mid-1920s waltzed his way from life as a 15-cents-a-dance instructor to being America’s preeminent dance master. Millions of Americans, footstep diagrams in hand, learned to rumba, fox-trot and bunny hug at his chain of Arthur Murray dance studios, which at its height, in 1964, numbered more than 300. (Murray had sold them for $5 million in 1952.) He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Kathryn Kohnfelder (at right, with Murray), who costarred on his popular TV show. The Arthur Murray Party (1950-60). In recent decades Murray, whose favorite dance was the bossa nova, showed little enthusiasm for rock and roll, explaining, “I don’t like dancing alone, and I feel silly flailing my arms around.”
“I feel good!” exclaimed God-father of Soul James Brown, 57 (right, with wife Adrienne), after his Feb. 27 release from a South Carolina prison. Now looking fit, with his trademark pompadour intact, he had served two years of a six-year sentence for aggravated assault, not stopping for police and carrying a gun. The singer, whose parole and probation run through 1998, plans a comeback world tour.
Inventor Edwin Land, 81, who revolutionized photography by developing the instant color camera for Polaroid in 1959, died on March 1 in Cambridge, Mass. Land said his instant-photography epiphany came in 1943 after he snapped a picture of daughter Jenny. 3. Informed that she’d have to wait to see her photo, Jenny asked, “Why?” So did her father….
Howard Head, 76, creator of metal skis and the oversize tennis racquet, died of complications after heart surgery, on March 3 in Baltimore.
After posting a $13,000 bail, actress Dana Plato, 26, was released from a Las Vegas jail on March 4 but still faces a trial for armed robbery, which carries a 30-year maximum sentence. Police say that Plato, who played sweet-natured Kimberly Drummond on TV’s Different Strokes from 1978 to 1984, wore a black hat and wraparound sunglasses and carried a pellet gun when she robbed a video store of $164 on Feb. 28. She was arrested after being recognized by a policeman who spotted her behind the same store 15 minutes later. Plato last made headlines in 1989 when she posed nude in Playboy. “She was always talking about getting back to Hollywood,” says a friend.
Actor Marlon Brando, 66, was in court on Feb. 28 when a California judge sentenced his eldest son. Christian Brando, 32, to 10 years in prison for the May 16 shooting death of Dag Drollet, 26, the lover of Christian’s half sister. Cheyenne, 21. Christian pleaded guilty last month to voluntary manslaughter but said it was an accident. Cheyenne, who had witnessed the shooting at Brando’s Los Angeles hilltop house, didn’t testify. Following several suicide attempts, she has been staying at a Paris psychiatric hospital since January. “Perhaps I failed as a father,” a ponytailed Marlon told the court during a rambling, tearful plea for mercy for his son. “There were things I could have done differently. I did the best I could.”