Wedding bells will be ringing for Katrina Bowden, 23. The 30 Rock actress was so excited when her boyfriend, rock musician Ben Jorgensen, 28, popped the question on Jan. 28 that she hugged him and exclaimed, “Oh my God!” but didn’t answer yes or no. Still not quite sure if she had agreed to walk down the aisle, Jorgensen asked, “Is that a yes?” It was.
After braving 1,084 miles of blinding snow, near-total solitude and weather that she described as “really very cold,” English adventurer Felicity Aston, 34, became the first woman to ski solo across Antarctica. Upon completing her 59-day trek on Jan. 23, Aston tweeted that she is looking forward to “a very long, very hot shower.”
Former Bachelor and Bachelorette star Jen Schefft (inset), 35, and her husband, Joe Waterman, 38, are going to have another child this summer, and daughter Mae Elizabeth, 15 months, is excited about becoming a big sister. • The Big Bang Theory’s Simon Helberg, 31, is going to be a dad. He and his wife, actress Jocelyn Towne, 35, are looking forward to their first bundle of joy this spring. • Rascal Flatts’ vocalist-bassist Jay DeMarcus, 40, and his wife, Allison, 35, are adding to their family. The couple announced on Jan. 25 that daughter Madeline, 1, will soon have a little sibling to play with, and Allison said that she and Jay are bracing themselves “for the many sleepless nights ahead.”
Actress Lindsay Sloane, 34, and her husband, Dar Rollins, 38, welcomed daughter Maxwell Lue on Jan. 19, and the couple said, “We thought we knew what love was until we met her.”
Ian Abercrombie, the British actor who played Justin Pitt, Elaine Benes’s demanding and eccentric boss on Seinfeld, died Jan. 26 in L.A. of complications from kidney failure. He was 77. During a five-decade-long career, Abercrombie worked in such movies as Wild Wild West, The Lost World: Jurassic Park and Rango. • Actor James Farentino, who appeared in films including The Final Countdown and the TV miniseries Evita Peron, died of heart failure in L.A. on Jan. 24 at age 73. • Academy and Grammy Award-winning designer Eiko Ishioka, the creator of the costumes for the 1992 film Bram Stoker’s Dracula and more recently for the Broadway musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, as well as the design for Miles Davis’s album Tutu, died in Tokyo on Jan. 21 at age 73 of pancreatic cancer.
‘SWEATHOG’ ROBERT HEGYES DIES
Robert Hegyes, who played the wisecracking Juan Epstein, a street-savvy Brooklyn student always ready with a scheme on the hit ’70s sitcom Welcome Back, Kotter, died Jan. 26 of a heart attack in Edison, N.J., at age 60. Hegyes (inset, far right), who starred in the show with fellow “Sweathog” John Travolta (inset, second from left), 57, took his inspiration from Marx Brother Chico Marx. Hegyes felt fortunate to be on the show. “My life exceeded my wildest dreams,” he wrote. After Kotter he appeared in such programs as Cagney & Lacey.