Former Good Morning America host Joan Lunden, 52, and her husband of almost three years, Jeff Konigsberg, 42, who runs summer camps for kids, are expecting twins in June. An unnamed surrogate mother is carrying the babies. Lunden has three adult daughters from her previous marriage to TV producer Michael Kraus….
Media mogul Rupert Murdoch, 71, and his wife, Wendi Deng, 35, are expecting their second child this summer. The couple, who wed in June 1999, have a 1-year-old daughter, Grace. Murdoch, whose empire includes the FOX network, has four adult children from two previous marriages.
On Feb. 11 in L.A., actor Sean Penn, 42, and producer Steve Bing, 37, filed lawsuits against each other in a dispute over whether Penn would star in the proposed film Why Men Shouldn’t Marry. Penn, who is seeking more than $10 million, alleges that Bing pushed him out of the starring role because the actor publicly declared his opposition to war in Iraq. Penn called Bing’s actions “a page from the dark era of Hollywood blacklisting.” Bing, who is seeking in excess of $15 million, alleges that Penn, whom he calls “irrational and irresponsible,” lost interest in the role and charges him with extortion for threatening to publicly embarrass him.
On Feb. 13 in Houston, dentist Clara Harris, 44, who ran over her orthodontist husband with her Mercedes last July after finding him at a hotel with his mistress (PEOPLE, Aug. 19, 2002), was convicted of murder. The next day Harris was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
TV writer-producer Joe Connelly, 86, the co-creator of the 1957-63 family comedy Leave It to Beaver, died on Feb. 13 in L.A. of complications from a stroke he suffered last month. Connelly also cowrote and produced The Munsters…. Actor Stacy Keach Sr., 88, who appeared in dozens of movies and TV shows, including a recurring role in the ’60s spy spoof Get Smart and more recently in Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, died of congestive heart failure on Feb. 13 in L.A. Keach is the father of actors Stacy Jr. and James (who is married to actress Jane Seymour).
…Baltimore Orioles pitcher Steve Bechler, 23, died Feb. 17 in a Fort Lauderdale hospital of multiple-organ failure due to complications from heatstroke. Earlier Bechler complained of dizziness during a spring-training workout and subsequently collapsed. His wife, Kiley, is due to deliver the couple’s first child in April. The medical examiner said that Bechler was taking a weight-loss drug that contains ephedra, a substance suspected of causing heart problems.
Dolly, the 6-year-old sheep who in 1996 became the world’s first cloned adult animal, was euthanized on Feb. 14 in London after being diagnosed with progressive lung disease—a common ailment among older sheep who often live for 11 or 12 years. The sheep, named after country singer Dolly Parton, produced four healthy offspring.