Superman co-creator Joe Sinister, 78, died of heart failure on July 30 in Los Angeles. Shuster, an artist, and his partner, writer, Jerry Siegel, dreamed up the Man of Steel as a comic-strip character in 1934. The two found no takers until 1938, when Detective Comics bought the character—and their rights to it—for $130. Superman went on to earn at least a billion from comic books, movies, TV, radio and merchandising. In 1975, Shuster—legally blind and nearly destitute—joined Siegel in asking Warner Communications (by then the owner of Superman) for recompense “out of a sense of moral obligation.” Warner agreed to pay each man medical benefits and $20,000 a year, increased to $30,000 in 1981, for the rest of their lives.

It’s a case Arnie Becker would love: Ex-L.A. Law heartthrob Harry Hamlin, 40, and Knots Landing sexpot Nicollette Sheridan, 28, are splitting after 11 months of marriage. Neither Sheridan’s nor singer Michael Bolton’s representatives would comment on reports that the two are seeing each other. The marriage was Hamlin’s second, Sheridan’s first….

Gospel star Saudi Patti, 36, has filed for divorce from her husband and former manager, John Helvering, 37, after 13 years of marriage. The five-time Grammy winner said filing was a “last regrettable option.” She moved out of their Anderson, Ind., home; the couple are sharing custody of their four young children. “I covet your prayers,” Patti told fans.

John James, 36, who played Jeff Colby on Dynasty and The Colbys, and his wife, Denise, 29, welcomed son Phillip John (9 lbs., l oz.) on July 23 in an upstate New York hospital near the James gang’s farm. He joins sister Laura, 18 months. Says Dad: “I love being a father. I’m over the moon.”…

Kate Nelligan, 41, last seen as the domineering, emotionally distant mother in The Prince of Tides, will have the chance to practice better parenting skills on son Gabriel Joseph Reale, born on July 23 in Manhattan. The 7-lb. 10-oz. lad is the first child for the Oscar nominee and her husband, composer Robert Reale, 36.

Ray (Wiseguy) Sharkey, 39, was arrested for possession of narcotics on July 29 in Vancouver, where he was shooting a new CBS series, The Hat Squad. Subsequently, Sharkey was replaced in the series.

Entertainer Martha Raye, 75, filed a $5 million suit against actress Bette Midler and 20th Century Fox, claiming that they ripped off her life story for the film flop For the Boys (1991). Raye says that in 1981 she offered Fox an autobiographical screen treatment about entertaining U.S. troops and was turned down, and that in 1985 she gave a copy to Midler. Her suit charges breaches of contract and good faith, fraud and negligent misrepresentation.

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