Rudolf Serkin, 88, the avuncular concert pianist whose dazzling technique kept classical music audiences rapt for more than 60 years, died after a long illness in Guilford, Vt. A native of Austria, Serkin was more a musician made than a musician born. Only through sheer will and long hours of practice (he always claimed that he spent five hours just warming up) was he able to overcome the handicap of hands and fingers so thick they barely fit between a piano’s black keys. “Rudolph was a master,” says pianist Alicia de Larrocha. “He brought truth to music. I will miss him very much.” Serkin is survived by his wife, Irene, son Peter, also a world-class pianist, and five other children….
James B. Lile, 57, the keenly innovative knifesmith whose loyal clientele included John Wayne and Presidents Nixon, Ford and Reagan, died of a heart attack on May 5 in Russellville, Ark. Sylvester Stallone brandished Lile knives in the first two Rambo movies. “He was one of the last great American craftsmen, a purist extraordinaire,” says Stallone. The Smithsonian includes a Lile knife in its permanent collection….
Fashion forecaster Bernie Ozer, 60, who used his seemingly Delphic eye to predict future shopping trends for the nation’s clothing manufacturers, died of heart disease on May 12 in New York City. Ozer, who typically attired his own Falstaffian figure in excessively loud pinstripes and brazenly colorful neckties, regularly trolled for fashion trends at both the fanciest four-star Parisian restaurants and the seediest Manhattan flea markets. Among his discoveries: plastic “jelly” sandals and sweatshirt dresses.
South African civil rights leader Winnie Mandela, 56, was sentenced to six years after being found guilty on May 13 of kidnapping four youths in 1988 and of being an accessory when her personal guards assaulted the youths at her Soweto home. Mandela, wife of anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela, 72, was dubbed Mother of the Nation for her staunch resistance to government harassment during the 27 years her husband was in prison….
Ciao, Bella: Laura Antonelli, 49, the Italian former love goddess whose curvaceous chest and backside graced such sensual ’70s films as Wifemistress and The Innocent, was sentenced to three years and six months in jail and fined $19,000 for possession of cocaine on May 9. Police had arrested her a week earlier after finding Antonelli, clad only in a nightie, with 35 grams of cocaine in her villa in Cerveteri, Italy.
Three on a match: Tennis star John McEnroe, 32, and his wife, actress Tatum O’Neal, 27, had their third child—and first daughter—on May 10 in Malibu. Little Emily Katherine McEnroe weighed in at 7 lbs., 3 oz. She joins brothers Kevin, 5, and Sean, 3….
Model and commercial spokeswoman Cheryl Tiegs, 43, and her husband, actor Tony (Hollywood Detective) Peck, 34, expect their first child in early October. (Peck is the son of actor Gregory Peck.) The parents-to-be are “ecstatic,” says Tiegs’s manager, Barbara Shapiro, who adds that being pregnant has “actually made Cheryl more beautiful.”