Poet, author and critic James Dickey. 73, who wrote the bestselling novel Deliverance and the screenplay for the 1972 movie based on it, died of complications from lung disease on Jan. 19 in Columbia, S.C. An Army pilot in World War II, Dickey was an avid outdoorsman and musician who produced some 20 volumes of poetry….
Former St. Louis Cardinals center fielder Curt Flood, 59, who fought one of the most significant legal battles in sports history, died of throat cancer on Jan. 20 in Los Angeles. Though Flood’s challenge to baseball’s “reserve system,” which bound players to their teams unless traded or sold, was rejected by the Supreme Court in 1972, it led eventually to free agency….
Theo Wilson, 78, who in her heyday with the New York Daily News became one of the nation’s best-known trial reporters—covering, among others, the Charles Manson and Sirhan Sirhan murder trials—died of a cerebral hemorrhage on Jan. 17 in L.A. Her memoir, Headline Justice, was published Jan. 15….
Songwriter Irwin Jesse Levine, 58, whose “Tie a Yellow Ribbon ‘Round the Old Oak Tree” is second in the Guinness Book of World Records to the Beatles’ “Yesterday” as the most recorded song in history, died of complications from kidney failure on Jan. 21 in Livingston, N.J. “Yellow Ribbon,” a 1973 No. 1 hit for Tony Orlando and Dawn, became an unofficial anthem during the 1979-81 Iran hostage crisis….
Adriana Caselotti, 80, the voice of Snow White in Disney’s classic 1937 cartoon Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, died of cancer on Jan. 19 at her L.A. home.
Nina Shahravan, 23, the former topless dancer who in December accused Dallas Cowboys Michael Irvin and Erik Williams of sexually assaulting her at gunpoint, then allegedly recanted her story on Jan. 10, has been charged by Dallas police with perjury Shahravan could face up to a year in jail and a $4,000 fine.
Christopher Reeve, 44, paralyzed from the neck down in a 1995 horseback riding accident, was admitted Jan. 16 to an undisclosed East Coast hospital for treatment of a small blood clot behind his left knee. He was released on Jan. 22….
Jazz singer Anita O’Day, 77, is in a Hollywood hospital suffering from pneumonia and septicemia resulting from surgery on Dec. 18 to repair multiple fractures of her right arm caused by a fall at home. According to her publicist, O’Day is conscious and talking.
Former Diff’rent Strokes star Todd Bridges, 31, was arrested on Jan. 19 in L.A. for allegedly ramming a friend’s car twice after an argument at an L.A. shopping mall. The actor, who has had several arrests in recent years, has been charged with assault with a deadly weapon.
Figure skater Tai Ba-bilonia, 37, and her husband, music producer Cary Butler (age unavailable), are divorcing. The couple, who married in 1991 and separated in 1995, have a son, Scout Gabriel, 2.
Frank Sinatra, 81, returned to his Beverly Hills home on Jan. 17 after spending eight days in an L.A. hospital. The singer was admitted on Jan. 9 after suffering what his doctors called an “uncomplicated heart attack.” Sinatra’s publicist says, “His prognosis continues to be good.”
Lauralee Bell, 28, who plays ace attorney Christine Williams (formerly known as Cricket Blair) on the CBS serial The Young and the Restless, is engaged to marry photographer Scott Martin, 28. It will be the first marriage for both.