Game’s over: Basketball superstar Larry Bird, 35, the sure-shooting, slick-passing forward who played for the Boston Celtics for all 13 years of his professional career and was thrice selected as the NBA’s most valuable player, retired on Aug. 18, citing chronic back problems. “I would have liked to play a little longer…but there’s no way I can do that,” said Bird, who plans to continue with the Celtics in an administrative post.
Travails of two cities: Interview queen Barbara Walters, 60, formally filed for a divorce in Los Angeles on Aug. 17 from second husband Merv Adelson, 62, a business executive. The couple wed in 1986 but separated four years later after deciding their bicoastal marriage—he lives in L.A., she in New York City—just couldn’t work. Walters has been linked of late with Virginia Sen. John Warner, 65, ex-husband of Elizabeth Taylor.
Television journalist David Kaplan, 45, a producer at ABC News, was killed on Aug. 13 by a sniper in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia. Kaplan was on assignment for Prime Time Live with correspondent Sam Donaldson, with whom he had worked for 20 years. “David did the work, and I got the credit,” Donaldson said….
Vocalist Tony Williams, 64, who sang lead for the Platters during the pop group’s prime in the mid-’50s, died in his sleep in his Manhattan home on Aug. 14. Five years after the Platters scored hits in l955 with “Only You” and “The Great Pretender,” Williams went solo….
Avant-garde composer John Cage, 79, whose minimalist approach revolutionized American music and influenced musicians and artists around the world, died of a stroke on Aug. 12 in Manhattan. Cage’s several hundred pieces included one calling for complete silence and others composed for such nontraditional instruments as electric blenders and flowerpots….
Stockcar racer Clifford Allison, 27, a member of one of auto racing’s premier families, died in a crash while taking a practice run on Aug. 13 in Brooklyn, Mich. His father, Bobby, won the NASCAR title in 1983 and his brother Davey won the most recent Daytona 500….
Watergate judge John Sirica, 88, who precipitated Richard Nixon’s fall from grace when he ordered the President to hand over to him the incriminating White House tapes in 1973, died on Aug. 14 of cardiac arrest in Washington, D.C. “I was being asked to decide the fate of the Nixon presidency,” said Sirica, a federal judge, some years after Nixon’s 1974 resignation.
Actress Susan Anton, 41, married actor Jeff Lester, 37, on Aug, 15 in Montecito, Calif. It’s Anton’s second walk down the aisle, Lester’s first.
Billy Jayne, 21, who plays Mikey on Fox’s Parker Lewis, and wife April Wayne, an actress, had their first child, son Miles Joseph (7 lbs., 1 oz.), on Aug. 8 in L.A.
Wayne Newton, 50, who reportedly made $7-plus million last year for singing at the Las Vegas Hilton, where he continues to perform, is seeing red—ink, that is. Claiming debts estimated at $20 million, mostly from bad investments, the singer filed for bankruptcy in Reno, Nev., on Aug. 14.