February 03, 2003 12:00 PM

Engaged

Saturday Night Live alum Molly Shannon, 38, and her artist boyfriend Fritz Chesnut, 29, will wed later this year. It will be the first marriage for both.

Legal Matters

On Jan. 15 a lawyer for Tom Cruise, 40, announced that the actor won a $10 million default judgment in a lawsuit against gay porn actor Chad Slater, 35, who claimed he had had a homosexual encounter with the Minority Report star. In August 2001 Slater said he would not defend himself in the $100 million lawsuit (which was later lowered to $10 million). Cruise plans to donate any money he receives from the judgment against Slater to charity….

On Jan. 14 country singer Linda Gail Lewis, 54, the sister of rock and roll legend Jerry Lee Lewis, 67, withdrew sexual harassment allegations against Van Morrison, 57, the Irish singer with whom she once toured. Lewis had claimed that Morrison made unwanted sexual advances toward her. Morrison, who reached a settlement with Lewis, “remains very disappointed that the legal process has taken almost two years to reach this stage,” said his lawyer. “He has now accepted a full apology.”

Law & Order

On Jan. 17 R&B singer Bobby Brown, 35, the husband of Grammy winner Whitney Houston, 39, entered the DeKalb County Jail in Decatur, Ga., after pleading guilty to a 1996 drunk-driving charge. He was sentenced to eight days and ordered not to drive for a year. On Jan. 21, a spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office said Brown, who was expected to be released the next day for good behavior, was admitted to an Atlanta hospital for undisclosed reasons.

Arrested

Grammy-winning blues singer Lou Rawls, 67, was arrested and charged with battery on Jan. 15 in Albuquerque, after getting into a fight with flight attendant Nina Inman, 32, at an area hotel. Rawls, who later posted $2,500 bail and was released, said, “I made a mistake.”

Births

L.A. Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, 24, and his wife, Vanessa, 20, welcomed their first child, Natalia Diamante, on Jan. 19 in Newport Beach, Calif.

Deaths

Actor Richard Crenna, 76, who appeared in more than 70 movies during a 66-year showbiz career, died of pancreatic cancer on Jan. 17 in L.A. Among Crenna’s better-known roles were lovable Luke McCoy in the TV series The Real McCoys (1957-63), Col. Samuel Trautman in the Rambo movies and most recently, Jared Duff on CBS’s Judging Amy….

Actor Richard Simmons, 89, best known for playing the Canadian officer who tracked down bad guys in the 1950s TV series Sergeant Preston of the Yukon, died on Jan. 11 of undisclosed causes in Oceanside, Calif.

Close Call

TV news veteran David Brinkley, 82, was rescued from his burning Jackson, Wyo., townhouse by sheriff’s deputy Chad Sachse on Jan. 14. The fire, which started in the chimney while Brinkley was asleep, caused an estimated $100,000 worth of damage.

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