Actor Liam Neeson, 44, underwent emergency surgery in Padua, Italy, on Sept. 2 to relieve a minor intestinal blockage. Neeson became ill after attending the Venice Film Festival screening of Michael Collins, a movie about the 20th-century Irish revolutionary, in which he plays the title role. “The actor is already feeling a lot better,” said Dr. Fabrizio Meggiolaro, of the Padua hospital. Neeson’s condition was reported as stable….
Brandon Call, 19, who plays J.T. on ABC’s Step by Step, was in good condition after being shot and wounded in both arms during a car chase Sept. 3 in Los Angeles, police said. Call told police he was driving down Venice Boulevard around 6 p.m. when he realized he was being followed by a man and a woman in a blue Datsun. Call said the pair chased him into a cul-de-sac, opened fire, then sped away. Despite his injuries, Call was able to drive to a nearby police station. He was treated at the UCLA Medical Center and released the next day….
Edward Woodward, 66, the British actor who played avenging angel Robert McCall on CBS’s The Equalizer (1985-’89), was hospitalized after suffering a heart attack on Aug. 26 at his home in Calstock, England. Woodward, who had a major heart attack in 1987, was moved to a hospital in London for observation….
Chicago’s Joseph Cardinal Bernardin, 68, announced on Aug. 30 that the pancreatic cancer he was treated for last year has spread to his liver and that his doctors have told him he probably has less than a year to live. “I can say in all sincerity that I am at peace,” said the cardinal, who will receive chemotherapy and plans to continue working. “I think I have a number of good months,” he said.
New York Yankees pitcher David Cone, 33, who had surgery to remove an aneurysm from his right armpit in May, pitched seven innings of no-hit ball in a stunning return to the mound against the Oakland A’s on Sept. 2.
Helen Kushnick, 51, the manager who guided Jay Leno from club comic to host of The Tonight Show, died Aug. 28 in New York City after a nine-year battle with breast cancer. Kushnick served as executive producer of Tonight for the first four months of Leno’s reign in 1992, but was fired after being accused of trying to bar guests from appearing on rival shows. Kathy Bates played her in the 1996 HBO movie The Late Shift. Tragedy marked Kushnick’s life. She and her husband, lawyer Jerrold Kushnick, lost their son Samuel, 3, to AIDS in 1983 after he received a tainted blood transfusion. In 1989, Jerrold himself died of cancer. Kushnick is survived by Samuel’s twin, Sara, 16. Leno, whose break with Kushnick was bitter, had no comment on her death.
Eraser’s Vanessa Williams, 33, and her husband and former manager, Ramon Hervey, 45, have “officially separated,” according to her spokesman. When Williams, the first black Miss America, was deprived of her title in 1984 after nude photos of her were made public, Hervey charted her comeback as a pop singer. The couple, married nine years, have two daughters, Melanie, 9, and Jillian, 7, and a son, Devin, 3.