January 27, 1997 12:00 PM

Actor, TV producer I and director Sheldon Leonard, 89, a three-time Emmy winner who helped create some of the most popular TV shows of the 1960s, died of undisclosed causes on Jan. 11 in Beverly Hills. A New York City native, Leonard went to Hollywood in 1940, playing a succession of tough guys in films including Guys and Dolls and It’s a Wonderful Life. By the ’50s he was a TV regular, first as a director, producer, writer and guest star of The Danny Thomas Show, then as a producer of such favorites as The Dick Van Dyke Show; Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.; and I Spy….

Veteran character actor Jesse White, 79, who played the underworked washing-machine repairman in Maytag TV commercials from 1967 to ’89, died of a heart attack on Jan. 9 in Los Angeles….

Former women’s professional baseball player Carol Habben, 63, a center fielder and catcher whose team, the Rockford (Ill.) Peaches, was chronicled in the 1992 film A League of Their Own, died after a lengthy but undisclosed illness on Jan. 11 in Ridgewood, N.J.

Stone Temple Pilots lead singer Scott Weiland, 29, has checked himself into an undisclosed drug treatment center for heroin addiction and is expected to remain there about a month. Last year, Weiland spent five months in rehab in Southern California under court order after Pasadena, Calif., police found cocaine and heroin in his wallet, forcing the Pilots to cancel their summer tour….

Golfer Arnold Palmer, 67, underwent surgery for prostate cancer on Jan. 15 in Rochester, Minn. According to his doctors, the surgery was a success. Palmer, who has won seven major pro tournaments in his career, learned he had cancer on Jan. 10, while he was in Carlsbad, Calif., for an awards dinner.

Mother Teresa, 86, plans to step down in February as Superior General of her order, the Missionaries of Charity, due to ill health, her aides say. The 1979 Nobel Peace Prize winner was hospitalized five times last year, most recently in November with heart and respiratory problems, and has remained bedridden with arthritis and osteoporosis….

Marcia Clark, 43, co-prosecutor of the criminal case against O.J. Simpson, announced on Jan. 8 that she is leaving the L.A. district attorney’s office after 14 years as deputy DA. Clark is completing a book about the Simpson trial and is set to host LadyLaw, an upcoming syndicated TV series that will focus on real stories of female police officers and prosecutors.

Actor Pierce Brosnan, 144, and his girlfriend, Unsolved Mysteries correspondent Keely Schaye Smith, 33, welcomed a 9-lb. boy, Dylan Thomas, on Jan. 13 in Los Angeles. Brosnan has two stepchildren—Charlotte, 23, and Christopher, 22—and a son, Sean William, 13, from his marriage to the late actress Cassandra Harris.

Basketball player Sheryl Swoopes, 25, who was to play in the premiere season of the Women’s National Basketball Association starting June 21, will have to sit out about half of the season because she is expecting her first child in June with husband Eric Jackson (age unavailable). Swoopes helped lead the U.S. women’s team to a gold medal in the 1996 Olympics….

Erstwhile Growing Pains star Alan Thicke, 49, and his wife, former Miss World Gina Tolleson, 27, are expecting their first child in July. Thicke has two children from his first marriage, to actress-singer Gloria Loring.

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