Tom Cassidy, 41, the CNN business anchor who went public with his struggle against AIDS last summer, died of the disease on May 26 in New York City. Cassidy, who was gay, had been with CNN since 1981. “Straight people don’t know enough about AIDS, and I’m going to make them know,” he said. “It only takes one mistake, and you’re dead.” (PEOPLE, Sept. 17, 1990)…Nicholas Dante, 49, who won a Tony and a Pulitzer prize in 1976 as coauthor of the exuberantly innovative musical A Chorus Line, died of AIDS on May 21 in New York City. He based the show’s Paul character—a Puerto Rican drag queen turned Broadway chorus boy—on himself…Tom Eyen, 50, who won a Tony award for writing the book for Dreamgirls, the 1981 hit pop-musical, died of cardiac arrest on May 26 in Palm Beach, Fla….
Gene Clark, 49, the tambourine man of the Byrds, a seminal ’60s folk-rock group, died of natural causes on May 24 in Sherman Oaks, Calif, Clark left the band in 1966 (his fear of flying made touring difficult) and spent the next 25 years playing with numerous bands and, most recently, working on a film score…Rumors of her death had been greatly exaggerated: Actress Edwina Booth, 86, who for years was reported to have died after catching a mysterious jungle fever while in Africa shooting Trader Horn (1931), really did die of heart failure on May 18 in Long Beach, Calif. Indeed, Booth had come down with a series of debilitating illnesses while making Trader Horn, but she later recovered her health, though not her career. She spent much of the rest of her life working for the Mormon Church in Los Angeles.
On May 25 Paul David Crews, a 38-year old drifter, was sentenced to death for the Appalachian Trail double murder of hikers Molly LaRue, 25, and boyfriend Geoffrey Hood, 26. The two were found dead last September in a log shelter near Harrisburg, Pa. (PEOPLE, June 3, 1991).
Mark May 22, 1992, on your calendar. That’s the last night that quip-meister supreme Johnny Carson, 65, will be behind the desk at The Tonight Show, a seat he will have occupird at NBC for nearly 30 years. Once dubbed “history’s most effective contraceptive,” Carson announced late last month that he will be leaving. The smart money is on Jay Leno, 41, Carson’s current fill-in host, to take over the mike full-time. Eternal foil Ed McMahon, 68, will also step down. No word yet on the fate of Doc Severinsen, 63, and The Tonight Show band.
Erstwhile consigliere Robert Duvall, 60, wed Sharon Brophy, 30ish, a tango instructor the actor met five years ago when he signed up for dance lessons. They were married on May 1 in Leesburg, Va., near the groom’s country home. A week later the nimble-steppin’ couple had a second marriage ceremony in Buenos Aires, the world’s tango capital. It was Duvall’s third marriage.