Melvin Belli, 88, the flamboyant attorney whose clients included Lee Harvey Oswald’s killer, Jack Ruby, Mae West and televangelist Jim Bakker, died July 9 at his San Francisco home following a stroke. Married six times, Belli was dubbed the King of Torts for his success in getting big bucks for clients ($600 million, he claimed). A showman in or out of court, he appeared in movies and an episode of TV’s Star Trek. In recent years, Belli faced allegations of malpractice and filed for personal bankruptcy in December….
Former Ladies Professional Golf Association player Kathy Ahern, 47, who won the 1972 LPGA championship, died of breast cancer on July 6 at her mother’s home in Fountain Hills, Ariz. Ahern was diagnosed with the disease in 1991.
E! Entertainment Television confirms that Kathleen Sullivan, 43, was terminated as a coanchor of E! News Daily but won’t say why. In a statement released on July 10, Sullivan says she is surprised and saddened by the recent turn of events at E!
Author-astronomer Carl Sagan, 61, was readmitted to Seattle’s Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center on June 28 after tests indicated a possible relapse into myelodysplasia, a blood condition that can lead to leukemia.
Sister Act’s Kathy Najimy, 39, and her companion, actor Dan Finnerty, 26, are expecting their first child at Christmas time.
Actor Harry Morgan, 81, was arrested at his Brentwood home on July 2 after West Los Angeles police, responding to a call of spousal abuse, said they found injuries to Morgan’s wife, Barbara, 70. Morgan posted $50,000 bail and is due back in court July 24.
The Price is Right’s Bob Barker, 72, is being sued by Holly Hallstrom, 43, a former spokesmodel for the popular game show. Filed July 2 in L.A. superior court, Hallstrom’s suit claims she was fired after 19 years because she had gained 15 pounds. Barker denies it.
Actor Anthony Quinn, 81, and companion Kathy Benvin, 34, had Ryan Nicholas (7 lbs. 11 ozs.) on July 5 in Rhode Island. He joins sister Antonia, 2.
George Franklin, 57, was released from a San Luis Obispo, Calif., prison on July 3, six years after he received a life sentence for the 1969 murder of 8-year-old Susan Nason. A jury convicted the former fireman of her murder in 1990 after his daughter, Eileen Franklin-Lipsker, then 29, testified that she suddenly remembered her father’s molesting and killing Nason more than two decades earlier (PEOPLE, Nov. 4, 1991). An appeals court threw out the conviction in 1995 because Franklin-Lipsker had been hypnotized before she gave testimony, a practice banned under California law. Prosecutors kept Franklin in prison until they decided not to retry the case.
Actor Mickey Rooney, 75, and his wife, Jan, 57, filed for bankruptcy in U.S. federal court in San Fernando Valley, Calif., on July 9. Rooney said he owes the IRS about $1.75 million dating back to 1974.