Dame Peggy Ashcroft, 83, the versatile actress considered by many to be the first lady of the English stage, died on June 14 after suffering a stroke in London. During her 65-year career, Ashcroft played opposite the great leading men of her day, ranging from Sir Laurence Olivier to Paul Robeson (with whom she had an affair). She was familiar to American audiences most recently for her performances in TV’s The Jewel in the Crown and the film A Passage to India….
Jean Arthur, 90, the street-smart blond with the husky voice and innocent eyes, died of heart failure on June 19 in Carmel, Calif. Born Gladys Georgianna Greene in the Bronx, Arthur, who stage-named herself after Jeanne d’Arc and King Arthur, achieved her greatest fame in Frank Capra’s Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (opposite Gary Cooper) and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (with Jimmy Stewart). A recluse offscreen, she left Hollywood in 1953 after filming Shane, only to return 13 years later for one shortlived TV series, The Jean Arthur Show. Twice married and divorced, she briefly taught acting at Vassar before retiring for good to her Big Sur estate, Driftwood.
Rock and roll elder statesman Mick Jagger, 47, and Texas tall Jerry Hall, 34, have announced they’re expecting a third child in January….
Leggy Entertainment Tonight hostess Mary Hart, 40, and her husband, businessman-producer Burt Sugarman, 52, are expecting their first child in January.
Buss Stop: Country music singer Lorrie Morgan, 31, has become engaged to Brad Thompson, 31, bus driver for singer Clint Black. The couple met last year when Black and Morgan toured together. “I had my eye on him for a while,” says the singer of Thompson. “But I had to make the first move. I’m the one who asked him out.” The nuptials will be in Nashville on Oct. 27. Morgan is the widow of country singer Keith Whitley….
Comic actor Gene Wilder, 56, plans to marry Karen Webb, 40ish, a former administrator for the New York League for the Hard of Hearing, but has yet to set a date. The two met in 1988 on the set of See No Evil, Hear No Evil, where Webb, who is not deaf, helped Wilder prepare for his role as a deaf newspaper vendor. It is the third marriage for Wilder, whose second wife, Gilda Radner, died of ovarian cancer in May 1989.
Fitness king Jack LaLanne, 76, was arrested on June 9 in San Luis Obispo, Calif., on suspicion of drunken driving. According to the highway patrol, he crossed a divider and failed a sobriety test. His lawyer says LaLanne will plead not guilty at his July 3 hearing.