Ellen Shapiro
July 21, 2008 12:00 PM


Dara Torres, 41, has become the oldest American swimmer to ever qualify for the Olympics, winning the 50- and 100-meter freestyle trials only two years after giving birth to her daughter. Torres, who will make her fifth trip to the Olympics, won the first of nine medals in 1984, when she was 17.


Tatum O’Neal pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct July 2 following her arrest for cocaine possession near her Manhattan apartment June 1. The actress, 44, must spend two half-day sessions in a drug-treatment program and pay a $95 fee. “I was relieved by the sentence,” O’Neal told PEOPLE. “Now it’s back to my kids, the 12 steps and work.” • A class-action suit against Manhattan’s 40/40 Club, co-owned by Jay-Z, 38, was given the green light July 1, after a lawyer for a group of present and past employees claimed they weren’t paid overtime or minimum wage. Ron Berkowitz, the club’s spokesman, said the allegations are false and that 40/40 will not settle the case.


David Krumholtz, 30, who plays math whiz Charlie Eppes on CBS’ Numb3rs, popped the question to actress Vanessa Britting, 27. The couple plan to wed next year.


Andrew Firestone, 33, star of ABC’s The Bachelor in 2003, wed publicist Ivana Bozilovic, 30, on July 5. The reception was held at his family’s Santa Ynez Valley estate. “It was a gorgeous wedding,” says a guest. Firestone’s engagement to his Bachelor fiancée, marketing exec Jen Schefft, lasted less than a year.


Rev. Timothy Wright, 61, a Grammy-nominated gospel singer and pastor of Brooklyn’s Grace Tabernacle Christian Center, was critically injured in a head-on car crash July 4 that killed his wife and co-pastor, Betty, 58, and their 14-year- old grandson D.J.


Jesse Helms, 86, Republican senator from North Carolina and conservative stalwart, died on July 4 in Raleigh. Nicknamed “Senator No” for thwarting bills and nominees he considered too liberal, Helms could be surprisingly flexible, most notably when Bono convinced him to support AIDS funding for Africa. He retired in 2003 after serving five terms. • Larry Harmon, 83, who popularized the character Bozo the Clown for more than 50 years, died of congestive heart failure on July 3 in L.A.

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