Singer Melvin Franklin, 52, one of the five original members of the Temptations, died of heart failure on Feb. 23 in Los Angeles. Franklin’s bass voice anchored the harmonies for the popular Motown group since its formation in 1961 in such Temps hits as “My Girl” and “The Way You Do the Things You Do.” Otis Williams, 53, is the sole living member of the original group….
Playwright and actor Michael V. Gazzo, 71, who played Mafia lieutenant Frank Pentangeli in The Godfather, Part II (1974), died in L.A. on Feb. 14 following a stroke. As a playwright, Gazzo was best known for A Hatful of Rain (1955), a bleak drama made into a 1957 movie about a Korean War vet’s struggle with drug addiction….
Ed Flanders, who played the compassionate Dr. Donald Westphall on St. Elsewhere, NBC’s 1982-88 hospital drama, died Feb. 22 at age 60 at his home in Denny, Calif….
British director Jack Clayton, 73, whose films included Room at the Top (1959) and The Great Gatsby (1974), died of heart and liver problems in Slough, England, on Feb. 25.
After being told that a grand jury in Bridge-water, N.J., had decided on Feb. 23 not to Charge him with sexually assaulting a teenage girl, Frasier’s Kelsey Grammer, 40, said, “I look forward to putting this all behind me.” The unnamed teen, now 17 and living in Phoenix, claimed that Grammer had sex with her in a New Jersey hotel when she was 15 and had been babysitting for his daughter. Grammer has dismissed the allegations as an attempt to extort money….
Jeff Gillooly, 26, Tonya Harding’s ex-husband, who wants a fresh start when he completes a six-month sentence at a North Bend, Ore., prison on March 13, petitioned the Multnomah County Circuit Court in Portland on Feb. 16 to change his name to Jeff Stone. A hearing on his request is set for March 7.
Country crooner Lyle KSA Lovett, 37, broke his collarbone in a motorcycle accident in Baja California two weeks ago. “He’s doing fine. As far as I know, it’s not very serious,” says his agent—but it has forced the postponement of three Canadian concerts until May.
Iolanda Quinn, age unavailable, declaring she is tired of being “publicly humiliated,” filed for a separation from Anthony Quinn, 79, her husband of 29 years, in Manhattan Supreme Court on Feb. 28. Quinn, who has admitted to fathering a daughter, Patricia, with his former secretary, Kathy Benvin, 32, in September 1993, recently returned from a trip to Europe with Benvin. The Quinns have three grown children.
Actor-screenwriter Chazz Palminteri, 41, who has been nominated for a supporting actor Oscar for Bullets Over Broadway, and his wife, actress Gianna Ranaudo, 29, are expecting their first child in October.
Engagement revealed: After driving more than six hours through a blinding snowstorm from the St. Louis airport to Waterloo, Iowa, Today show newsman Matt Lauer, 37, proposed to Kristen Gesswein, 25, a TV reporter for Waterloo station KWWL. The couple—who met in 1990 when Lauer and his ex-wife, a TV producer (from whom he had split in 1988 after a seven-year marriage), had dinner at a Manhattan restaurant where Gesswein worked as a hostess—plan to marry in June 1996….
Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle’s Martha Plimpton, 24, and actor Jon Patrick Walker, 27, are engaged. No wedding date has been set.