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In a sudden conclusion to the case that rocked the skating world, Tonya Harding, 23, struck a plea bargain on March 16 concerning the Jan. 6 attack on rival skater Nancy Kerrigan, 24. In exchange for being shielded from any further charges, Harding pleaded guilty to a felony count of conspiring to hinder prosecution. A circuit court judge sentenced Harding to three years of supervised probation and ordered her to pay a $100,000 fine and resign from the U.S. Figure Skating Association, thus making her ineligible to compete at the world championships this week in Chiba, Japan. Harding must also create a $50,000 fund for the Special Olympics, reimburse the District Attorney’s office $10,000 for expenses, serve 500 hours of community service and undergo psychiatric evaluation and treatment. Asked if she had anything to say, Harding replied, “I’m really sorry that I interfered.”…

Actor James Caan, 54, was arrested March 10 for brandishing a semiautomatic pistol during a healed argument outside a North Hollywood apartment complex. Caan, who was in the area visiting his brother, reportedly came to the defense of a friend who had got involved in an altercation with a man whose car had been vandalized. When a resident, Derek Lee, 27, a rap artist who goes by the name Doc Rapper, tried to intervene, Caan allegedly pointed a gun at him. No shots were fired. Caan was released on his own recognizance, and the district attorney has yet to determine if there will be prosecution.

Actor Fernando Rey, 76, best remembered as the smooth-talking narcotics merchant Charnier in the film The French Connection (1971), died of bladder cancer on March 9 at his home in Madrid. Rey, who began acting in 1940, appeared in more than 150 movies, including three of director Luis Bunuel’s—Tristana (1970), The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972) and That Obscure Object of Desire (1977)….

Author Charles Bukowski, 73, the poet, novelist and screenwriter who chronicled his life as an alcoholic amid L.A.’s underclass, died of leukemia on March 9 at a San Pedro, Calif., hospital. In the course of his 50-year career, the German-born Bukowski wrote more than 1,000 published poems, 32 books of poetry, five books of short stories, six novels and the screenplay for the semi-autobiographical Barfly (1987), in which Mickey Rourke played a Bukowski-like character.

Charles Kuralt, 59, the veteran TV newsman and essayist, announced his retirement from CBS effective May 1. Acclaimed for his “On the Road” features, which often chronicled life in small-town America, Kuralt won 11 Emmy Awards during his 37-year career and since 1979 has hosted CBS Sunday Morning. Kuralt said that though it was hard to leave CBS, he wanted more time to work on a book about his 12 favorite locations in America.

Lightning Jack star Cuba Gooding Jr., 26, and his girlfriend of seven years, Sara kapfer, 24, a teacher’s aide, were wed in a sunset ceremony on March 13 in Pacific Palisades, Calif. It is the first marriage for both.

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