Tough-guy character actor Harry Guardino, 69, whose more than 30 film roles included parts in Houseboat (1958) and Dirty Harry (1971), died of lung cancer on July 17 in Palm Springs, Calif. Guardino first found fame in the 1950s on the Broadway stage and in recent years was a frequent guest star on CBS’s Murder, She Wrote….

Writer Sir Stephen Spender, 86, died on July 16 after collapsing at home in London. Spender, with college friends including W.H. Auden, was one of the so-called Oxford poets of the 1930s, who, moved by war and declining social conditions, merged literature and radical politics.

Rodney King, 30, victim of a 1991 beating by L.A. police, was booked for assault with a deadly weapon (his car) and domestic violence in Alhambra, Calif., on July 14. Police say King argued with a woman as she left his car. He then sped away, knocking her down as she reached into the car for her purse.

Actress Sharon Stone, 37, and jeweler Harry Winston Inc. settled a $12 million lawsuit she filed last year after Winston forced her to return a $400,000 diamond necklace she had worn while promoting the movie Sliver. The company said the necklace was a loan; she said it was a gift. As part of the settlement, Winston will donate an unspecified sum to the American Foundation for AIDS Research….

On July 13 in London, pop star George Michael, 32, settled a more than two-year dispute with Sony Music, during which he had demanded his release from a 15-year, $12 million contract. On the same day, it was announced that he had signed a new North American contract with DreamWorks SKG….

Actor Timothy Busfield, 38, announced a private settlement on July 11 with a Minneapolis woman (identified in court papers only as R.W.) who sued him for sexual assault last year. She said that in October 1993, when she was a 17-year-old extra on his film Little Big League, he tried to coerce her into having sex….

Prostitute Divine Brown, 23, whose real name is Stella Marie Thompson, pleaded not guilty on July 18 in Hollywood Municipal Court to charges that she engaged in lewd conduct in a public place with actor Hugh Grant on June 27. Thompson will return to court on Aug. 18 for a pretrial hearing….

On July 17 a Fort Worth judge dropped indecent exposure charges against country singer Ty Herndon, 33, in exchange for a plea of guilty to felony drug possession. Herndon, arrested on June 13 for allegedly exposing himself to a male undercover cop and for possession of methamphetamine, will serve five years probation, pay a $1,000 fine and perform 200 hours of community service….

A Pontiac, Mich., circuit court judge dismissed a June 30 lawsuit that Saks Fifth Avenue had brought against singer Aretha Franklin, 53, for $262,851.15 in unpaid bills after Saks and Franklin settled the disagreement privately.

Six-time Wimbledon champ Steffi Graf, 26, is under investigation, with her father and manager Peter Graf, 56, for tax evasion in Germany. The tennis star, whose fortune is estimated at $70 million, expressed confidence in her father’s business acumen.

Former Dallas star Larry Hagman, 63, is on a liver-transplant waiting list. On July 19 doctors determined that a tumor discovered on his liver during a June 22 checkup in L.A. is malignant.

Singer Sinéad O’Connor, 28, is expecting a child in February. She will not reveal the father’s name. O’Connor, who has left this summer’s Lollapalooza tour for health reasons, has Jake, 8, from an earlier marriage.

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