Actor Ralph Waite, 69, who played the father on TV’s The Waltons (1972-81) will run against Sonny Bono’s widow, Mary Bono, 36, and several others for the late California congressman’s seat. The election will take place April 7.

On Feb. 4, Prime Minister Tony Blair announced that Queen Elizabeth will confer an honorary knighthood on Bob Hope. The 94-year-old comedian won’t be known as Sir Bob since the title is reserved for British and Commonwealth subjects. “I’m speechless,” Hope said from his home in Palm Springs, Calif. Well, not quite: “What an honor and what a surprise for a boy who was born in England, raised in Cleveland and schooled in vaudeville,” Hope added.

Singer and infomercial doyenne Dionne Warwick, 57, might say a little prayer for her Psychic Friends Network. Turns out the telephone telepathy service really does have ESP (Extremely Slim Prospects): It filed for bankruptcy in Baltimore on Feb. 2.

Jennifer Flavin, 29, the former model and third wife of actor Sylvester Stallone, 51, is in the family way. Their first child, Sophia Rose, is 17 months. Stallone has sons Sage, 21, and Seargeoh, 18, from his first marriage.

The death of INXS lead singer Michael Hutchence, 37, was suicide, an Australian coroner officially ruled on Feb. 6. The rocker hanged himself in a Sydney hotel room on Nov. 22.

Charlotte Hornets basketball forward Anthony Mason, 31, was charged with statutory rape, sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of a child on Feb. 8 in New York City. His alleged victims were two girls, aged 14 and 15. Mason’s lawyer denied the allegations, and the athlete was freed after posting $20,000 bail. He is scheduled to appear in court on March 9….

On Jan. 30 the L.A. superior court ordered a New York mailorder company to pay The X-Files heartthrob David Duchovny, 37, the sum of $366,400 for peddling autographed photographs of the actor without his permission. Duchovny filed the suit against J.P. Productions in 1996.

Paris police talked to actor Robert De Niro, 54, for several hours on Feb. 10 as part of an ongoing French inquiry into an international call-girl ring. De Niro, who was in the City of Light to film the spy thriller Ronin, was questioned after officials reportedly seized an address book with his name in it during the course of the investigation. De Niro’s spokesman Stan Rosenfield said the actor voluntarily “submitted to some questions as a minor witness in an investigation that has nothing to do with him.” The same day, the actor was said to have filed a complaint against Judge Frédéric N’Guyen, citing a “violation of secrecy in an investigation” and obstructing his freedom of movement.

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