On Aug. 16, Pearl Jam lead singer Eddie Vedder, 29, was acquitted by a New Orleans judge of a battery charge stemming from a fight last Nov. 18 outside a French Quarter nightclub. James Gorman, 25, a waiter, had claimed he got into a brawl with Vedder after the rocker allegedly spit in Gorman’s face….
On Aug. 23, drifter Todd Lawrence, 26, who allegedly had been stalking Madonna, 35, was sentenced to a year in jail after he pleaded no contest to misdemeanor charges that he scaled the fences surrounding her estate on July 19 and later assaulted a police officer. Papers filed by Madonna in Los Angeles Superior Court state that at the time, Lawrence appeared to be “drunk and delusional” and that he had claimed to be her husband.
Singer John Denver, 50, was cited for driving under the influence and for careless driving on Aug. 21 after police said he missed a curve in the road near his Aspen home and drove his yellow Porsche into a tree, leaving him with cuts on his face. The Rocky Mountain crooner spent the night in Aspen Hospital and was released the next day. The incident marked the second time in a year Denver has been ticketed for drunk driving. In the first instance, he was sentenced to a $50 fine and had to perform a benefit concert….
Rep. Mel Reynolds, 42, of Illinois, was indicted Aug. 19 on charges of having sex with an underage campaign volunteer, trying to obtain pornographic pictures of a teenager and trying to keep his accuser from telling the truth to a grand jury. Reynolds, a Democrat from Chicago who serves on the House Ways and Means Committee, has denied all charges. Reynolds was released on his own recognizance and will be arraigned on Sept. 12.
Vice President Al Gore, 46, is recovering from surgery after he tore his left Achilles tendon while playing pickup basketball with New York representatives Tom Downey and Jaime Walsh, among others, on Aug. 20 in the House of Representatives gym. He will be in a full leg cast for three months but is expected to make a full recovery….
NASCAR driver Ernie Irvan, 35, remains in critical condition after suffering multiple injuries in a single-car accident Aug. 20 during a practice run at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Mich. Irvan, who was preparing for a competition the next day, hit a wall at an estimated speed of 176 mph and suffered a fractured skull and collapsed lungs.
Actress and performance artist Danitra Vance, 35, died Aug. 21 of breast cancer in Markham, Ill. In 1985, Vance became the first black woman in the cast of Saturday Night Live. She stayed with the show for one season before she returned to her first love, the theater. After her cancer was diagnosed in 1990 and she had a breast removed, she created a solo performance skit, The Radical Girl’s Guide to Radical Mastectomy, which ran for a season off-Broadway….
Benito Agrelo, the 15-year-old boy who won the right to refuse treatment to keep his body from rejecting a transplanted liver, died Aug. 20 at his Coral Springs, Fla., home. Agrelo, who had been born with a malfunctioning liver and had undergone two transplants, decided in October that he no longer wanted to deal with the painful side effects of powerful drugs he had been taking. A circuit court supported his decision.