Former Charmed actress Alyssa Milano, 40, is mourning the death of her beloved 13-year-old Australian shepherd Diesel. He passed away from cancer after being diagnosed in late January. “Rest in peace, my beautiful Diesel,” the star of ABC’s upcoming series Mistresses tweeted on Feb. 10. “I hope you’re playing frisbee at the dog park in the sky. I love you forever.”
• Stuart Freeborn, the British makeup artist who created iconic Star Wars characters such as Yoda, Chewbacca and Jabba the Hutt, died on Feb. 5 in London. He was 98. Freeborn’s other credits include the apes for the “Dawn of Man” sequence in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey and Peter Sellers’s multiple characters in Dr. Strangelove. Freeborn was “a makeup legend,” said Star Wars creator George Lucas. “He brought with him not only decades of experience but boundless creative energy.”
BABY ON BOARD
Emmy award-winning actor Alec Baldwin, 54, is going to be a father again. He and his wife, yoga instructor Hilaria Thomas, are expecting their first child together this summer. “We’re so thrilled and we can’t wait to meet our baby!” Thomas announced to People on Feb. 11. This will be her first child and the 30 Rock star’s second. Baldwin has a 17-year-old daughter, Ireland, from his previous marriage to actress Kim Basinger.
• Swimming sensation Amanda Beard (inset), 31, is pregnant with her second child. The seven-time Olympic medalist and her husband, photographer Sacha Brown, 38, are “excited to add to our family,” Beard told People. Soon-to-be big brother Blaise Ray, 3, is also ecstatic. “He keeps telling me how he is going to hug and kiss the baby and help me take care of [him or her],” said Beard. She is due in June.
Feline lovers around the world will be happy to know that a new cat token will be added to the Monopoly board game. On Feb. 6 the makers of the popular game announced that fans from more than 185 countries voted on Facebook to replace the iron game piece, which has circled the game board since the 1930s, in favor of a cat statuette. The real-estate trading game with the new cat token will be available later this year.
NBC’s Go On actor and former star of the Harold & Kumar films John Cho is on diaper duty once again. Cho, 40, and his wife, actress Kerri Higuchi, 41, welcomed a daughter recently, his rep confirmed to People on Feb. 11. The baby girl is the second child for the couple, who are also parents to a 4-year-old son.
POPE BENEDICT XVI RESIGNS
After nearly eight years as the head of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Benedict XVI, 85, surprised the world on Feb. 11 by announcing he would step down as pontiff on Feb. 28 due to declining health. It is the first time a pope has resigned since Gregory XII in 1415, who quit in the midst of a leadership crisis. “I have come to the certainty that my strengths due to an advanced age are no longer suited” for leading the church, Benedict said. He added that his mind and body have deteriorated in the last few months. Born Joseph Ratzinger, he became the first social-media pope, tweeting in eight languages. A new pope is likely to be elected before Easter.