Two of jazz’s luminaries, Jimmy McPartland, 83 (left), a crisp, crackling cornetist, and Bud Freeman, 84, a silky tenor saxophonist, put down their instruments for good. McPartland died of lung cancer on March 13 in Port Washington, N.Y.; Freeman died of cancer on March 15 in Chicago. Together they helped create “Chicago jazz,” a rough, nervous, driving form of Dixieland that they began playing in the early 1920s as members of Chicago’s Austin High (School) Gang, a teenage jazz ensemble that included such legendary clarinetists as Benny Goodman and Frank Teschemacher. In their later, separate careers, McPartland and Freeman blew horns in smoke-filled joints around the world, playing with such greats as Louis Armstrong and Gene Krupa. “They were young white kids who listened to the sound of New Orleans and emulated the music of the great black jazzists,” says jazz historian Dan Morgenstern. “It’s a sad and strange coincidence that they died within two days of each other.” McPartland is survived by his wife, jazz pianist Marian McPartland, 71, whom he married for the second time just two weeks before his death.
Actress Valerie Bertinelli, 30, and her husband, virtuoso heavy-metal guitarist Eddie Van Halen, 33, welcomed their first son on March 16 in Santa Monica. Sharing a name with another music heavy, little Wolfgang Van Halen weighed in at 7 lbs., 13 oz. The couple, married since 1981, had been trying to have a baby for five years.
Negro Leagues baseball star James “Cool Papa” Bell, 87, considered the fastest man ever to run the bases, died of a heart attack on March 2 in St. Louis. “Cool Papa was so fast that he could turn out the light and jump in bed before it got dark,” claimed pitcher Satchel Paige, Bell’s fellow black baseball immortal. After retiring from baseball in 1946—one year before Jackie Robinson broke baseball’s color barrier—Bell worked as a custodian and watchman for 21 years at St. Louis City Hall. He was elected to baseball’s Hall of Fame in 1974.
A man unintimidated by hurdles, ex-Olympic decathalon champ Bruce Jenner, 41, will marry for the third time this spring, to homemaker Kris Kardashian, 35. Now a professional car racer, Jenner also coowns a business that enables people to store their blood for emergencies. Both Jenner and Kardashian have four kids each from previous marriages…CNN’s gulf war correspondent Charles Jaco, 40, is engaged to CNN’s Cairo correspondent, Pat Neal, mid-30s. Proving that love can bloom anytime, the two met in 1984 while covering serial killer Ted Bundy’s execution.
Silicon superman Steven Jobs, 36, who became one of America’s richest and most eligible bachelors after successfully cofounding Apple Computer in 1976, finally found his female-compatible when he married the apple of his own eye, Laurene Powell, 27, a Stanford MBA student, in Yosemite National Park on March 18. Jobs now heads NeXT Inc., another computer company.
L.A. Law’s Corbin Bernsen, 36., and his wife, British actress Amanda Pays, 31, already the parents of 2-year-old Oliver (below, with the folks), expect their second baby this September. (Pays’s pregnancy will not be written into her role as scientist Tina McGee on The Flash.) Corbin’s younger brother, actor Collin (Mr. Destiny) Bernsen, 32, and his wife, ex-model Cheryl Horton, 28, also expect their second baby in September. (Their son, Weston, is 1.) “I never thought I’d be a grandma,” jokes the Bernsen brothers’ mom, soap star Jeanne Cooper of The Young and the Restless. “I thought I’d have to lease some. But now I’ll have to rent mine out.”
Lyricist Jerome “Doc” Pomus, 65, who with partner Mort Shuman wrote “Save the Last Dance for Me” and other classic rock songs, died of lung cancer on March 14 in New York City. The Drifters, Ray Charles, Fabian and Elvis Presley were among those who performed his rhythm-and-blues-inspired songs…Howard Ashman, 40, who won an Oscar in 1989 for “Under the Sea,” his calypso song from The Little Mermaid movie, died of AIDS on March 14 in New York City.