Two days before Christmas, with sportscaster husband Frank Gifford, 62, at her side, Kathie Lee Gifford announced on Live with Regis & Kathie Lee that she is expecting again this summer. (Kathie Lee, 39, suffered a miscarriage last August.) The couple have a son, Cody, 2½.
Clemency granted: To Jean Harris, 69, the former girls’ school headmistress who in 1980 fatally shot Dr. Merman Tarnower. author of The Complete Scarsdale Medical Diet. The decision of New York’s Gov. Mario Cuomo, who had rejected previous appeals, was announced Dec. 29. just before Harris underwent quadruple-bypass surgery six days after suffering a heart attack. Harris, who had been serving a 15-years-to-life sentence, has written three books and taught fellow inmates during her nearly 12 years behind bars….
Awaiting trial for allegedly torturing and sexually assaulting a woman in 1991, the King of Funk, Rick James, 45, and Tanya Hijazi, 22, who bore his son Tazman in May, surrendered in L.A. on Dec. 14 to face charges that they assaulted a second woman in November. The new complainant claims she was beaten by them alter being invited to discuss James’s new recording label. At year’s end, James and Hijazi, who deny all allegations, were still trying to make bail ($175,000 for her, $250,000 for him)….
Chessmaster Bobby Fischer, 49, was indicted Dec. 15 by a federal grand jury for defying U.S. economic sanctions against Yugoslavia playing there against Boris Spassky last fall. If Fischer returns to the U.S., he could face forfeiture of his $3.35 million purse, a $250,000 fine and 10 years in prison….
Parole denied: On Dec. 17, to Robert Chambers, dubbed the Preppy Killer, for the 1986 death, in Manhattan’s Central Park, of student Jennifer Levin, 18. Chambers, now 25, has served 4½ years of his 5-to 15-year sentence for first-degree manslaughter. Parole officials decreed he should remain behind bars after prison officials cited him for infractions including possessing marijuana and fighting.
Nathan Milstein, the violin virtuoso described by a critic as “one of the wonders of our age,” died of a heart attack Dec. 21 in London at 87. Born in Odessa, Russia, he left his homeland in 1925 to tour with pianist Vladimir Horowitz and became a U.S. citizen in l942….
Belgian cartoonist Pierre Culliford. 64, creator of the Smurfs, those lovable—and inescapable—blue, four-fingered forest creatures, died in Brussels on Dec. 24. Under the pen name Peyo, Culliford drew his first Smurf in 1957; its descendants’ never-ending battles against the evil sorcerer Gargamel became the basis of an animated TV series and a movie, and their likeness was licensed to more than 2,000 companies….
Clara Hale, 87, a grandmother who nurtured more than 1,000 babies horn to mothers addicted to drugs or infected with AIDS, died in New York City on Dec. 18 of stroke complications. Known as Mother Hale, in 1975 she founded the not-for-profit Hale House, located in a Harlem brownstone. Singled out in 1985 as an American hero by President Ronald Reagan, Hale insisted she was “simply a person who loves children.”…
Ricky Kay, the eldest of three hemophiliac brothers who all became infected with HIV, presumably through blood transfusions, died of AIDS Dec. 13 in Orlando at age 15. In 1986 the Arcadia, Fla., school board barred the three boys from attending classes; alter the family’s home was torched, the Rays left town. In 1991, Ricky, then 14, was in the news again when he was engaged for a while to a 16 year-old neighbor….
Game show impresario Mark Goodson, 77, died of cancer Dec. 18 in Manhattan. With partner Bill Todman, the Sacramento native began producing a slew of low-prize-money programs that were untainted by the quiz-show scandals of the ’50s. Among their popular chestnuts: What’s My Line, I’ve Got a Secret, To Tell the Truth, The Price Is Right and Family Fend….
Steve Ross. whose business acumen enabled him over 38 years to party a family funeral business in New York City into the 1990 creation of Time Warner, the world’s largest media and entertainment company (whose magazine holdings include PEOPLE), died in L.A. on Dee. 20 of prostate cancer; he was 65. Through personal charm and financial largess, the Brooklyn native attracted and retained both key corporate managers and such bankable artists as Clint Eastwood and Quincy Jones….
Blues guitarist extraordinaire Albert king, 69, died in Memphis of a heart attack on Dec. 21. A lefty who played a right-handed guitar upside-down (pulling rather than pushing the strings), his fluid licks influenced the likes of Erie Clapton, Steve Ray Vaughan and Jeff Beck….
Stella Adler, 91, one of America’s most influential acting teachers, died of heart failure on Dec. 21 in L.A. Making her stage debut at age 4 in a Yiddish theater production, she became a proponent of Russian director Konstantin Stanislavski’s Method technique. Among Adler’s students: Marlon Brando, Shelley Winters, Robert De Niro and Candice Bergen….
Pioneering white antiapartheid activist Helen Joseph died in Johannesburg on Christmas Day of stroke complications; she was 87. Born in England. Joseph moved to South Africa in 1931. When apartheid became the law of the land in 1950, she took up the fight for the rights of blacks and people of mixed race. For her efforts. Joseph was tried for treason (but acquitted), then placed under an oppressive house arrest from 1962 to 1971….
Baseball’s Sal Maglie, 75, a master control pitcher who could put his curveball wherever he wanted—often just under the chins of wary batters (a tactic that earned him the nickname the Barber)—died of pneumonia Dec. 28 in Niagara Falls. Maglie spent most of his 10-year major-league career with the New York Giants.
Actress Virginia Madsen 31, whose credits include Candyman and TVs A Murderous Affair: The Carolyn Warmus Story, filed for divorce on Dec. 15 in Los Angeles from director Danny Huston, 30. whom she wed in 1989. Huston, a son of the late John Huston, directed Madsen’s latest movie. the current bioflick Becoming Colette.
At a dinner party in Manhattan on Dec. 24, Judd Hirsch (Taxi, Dear John) and fashion designer Bonni Chalkin surprised 35 guests by unexpectedly exchanging vows before a rabbi. Both Hirsch, 57, and Chalkin, 34, have been married previously.