March 23, 1998 12:00 PM

On March 5, Hillary Rodham Clinton announced the appointment of Air Force Lt. Col. Eileen Collins, 41, as the first female space shuttle commander. She and her crew of four are scheduled to blast off in December aboard the Columbia.

On March 4 an L.A. jury convicted Jonathan Norman of stalking Stephen Spielberg, 51. Norman, 31, who was caught lurking outside the director’s Pacific Palisades, Calif., residence last July, faces 25 years to life at his sentencing on April 22.

Prince Charles, 49, who recently suffered a cracked rib while hunting, had surgery on March 9 to repair cartilage in his right knee, damaged by years of exercise and sports. His operation was at the same London hospital in which his aunt Princess Margaret, 67, was recuperating from a stroke.

Former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson, 31, filed a lawsuit in Manhattan on March 5 against his onetime promoter and mentor Don King, 66, seeking at least $100 million in damages and lost earnings. Tyson, who has earned more than $125 million since his 1994 release from prison, claims the controversial showman funneled most of it to himself and to his relatives.

Former CBS News president Fred Friendly, 82, one of the founding fathers of broadcast journalism, died on March 3 in New York City following a series of strokes. A producer and collaborator with legendary newsman Edward R. Murrow on early television documentaries, Friendly once observed that “TV is bigger than any story it reports. It’s the greatest teaching tool since the printing press.”…

Savings and loan proprietor Jim McDougal, 57, a Whitewater business partner of President and Mrs. Clinton’s, died on March 8 of a heart attack in a Fort Worth prison. McDougal, who was convicted of fraud and conspiracy in the Arkansas land deal, had been helping independent counsel Kenneth Starr investigate the President’s involvement in the matter….

Eleanor Shuman, 87, one of the last seven survivors of Titanic’s 1912 disaster, died March 7 in Elgin, Ill., after a sudden illness. She did, however, see the hit film. “I did a lot of crying,” said Shuman, who was 18 months old that tragic night.

In L.A., doctors removed the remainder of the right lung of talk show host Morton Downey Jr., 65, on March 4, after finding a small tumor. The former four-pack-a-day smoker kicked his habit in 1996 after he was diagnosed with lung cancer.

The wife of veteran character actor Ned Beatty, 60, filed for divorce on March 2 in L.A., citing irreconcilable differences. Dorothy “Tinker” Beatty, 45, the actor’s spouse of 17 years, is asking for joint custody of their children, Thomas, 16, and Dorothy, 14….

Songbird Mariah Carey, 28, obtained a divorce on March 5 in the Dominican Republic from Sony Music Entertainment president Tommy Mottola, 49, after nearly five years of marriage. The pop star has recently been linked with New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, 23.

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