BIRTHS On Dec. 15, Norman ”Fatboy Slim” Cook, 37, and his wife, British TV personality Zoe Ball, 30, welcomed their first child, 8-pound 5-ounce son Woody Fred, in London.
ENGAGEMENTS Who knew Bob Newhart was such a matchmaker? According to Variety, wedding bells will ring in May for actress Suzanne Pleshette (Bob’s wife in his ’70s series), 63, and Tom Poston (the dim handyman on Bob’s ’80s show), 79….
WEDDINGS In an unusually private event for the very public pop goddess, Madonna, 42, and kilt-fancying British director Guy Ritchie, 32, tied the knot Dec. 22 in a ceremony in Skibo Castle in Dornoch, Scotland. The bride, who was formerly married to actor Sean Penn, reportedly wore a Gothic-style dress by Stella McCartney and a diamond tiara once owned by the late Princess Grace. It was the first trip down the aisle for Ritchie, the father of the couple’s 4-month-old son, Rocco. Madonna also has a daughter, Lourdes, 4, from a previous relationship. Guests at the nuptials included maid of honor Gwyneth Paltrow, Sting, and Rupert Everett. Classy!
RECOVERING TV waif Calista Flockhart, 36, fainted Dec. 13 on the set of Fox’s Ally McBeal. Her spokeswoman says the actress received six hours’ treatment for ”dehydration and exhaustion” at a Torrance, Calif., hospital and returned to the set Dec. 15. Asked if the collapse was connected to Flockhart’s much-discussed thinness, the publicist said, ”On the record, one thing has nothing to do with the other.”
SPLITS So much for Me, Myself & Irene: Jim Carrey, 38, and Renee Zellweger, 31, who started dating in October 1999 after meeting on the Irene set, broke up in mid-December…. Ending months of rumors about marital strife, omnipresent Oscar winner Helen Hunt, 37, filed for divorce Dec. 18 from actor and Simpsons voice Hank Azaria, 36, citing ”irreconcilable differences.” The couple wed 16 months ago after dating for five years.
REUNITED Family counselors of the world rejoice! Eminem, 27, and his wife, Kim Mathers, 25, are back together. The rapper filed for divorce Aug. 16, but lawyers for Mrs. Em (the muse for some of his most violent musical fantasies) announced Dec. 14 that the couple have ”set their differences aside” and called off divorce proceedings, partly for the sake of their daughter, Hailie Jade, 5.
DEATHS Veteran actor Jason Robards, 78, after a long battle with cancer, Dec. 26, in Bridgeport, Conn. Arguably the greatest interpreter of Eugene O’Neill’s plays, Robards appeared in more than 50 films, and achieved the rare feat of winning back-to-back Oscars, for All the President’s Men (1976) and Julia (1977)…. Diminutive actor Billy Barty, 76, who acted in vaudeville, TV, and films since age 3, of heart failure, Dec. 23, in L.A. The 3-foot-10-inch actor is best known for roles in The Day of the Locust (1975) and Willow (1988) and for forming the Little People of America, an advocacy group for people with dwarfism…. Pianist Victor Borge, 91, who brought new meaning to the expression ”tickling the ivories” with his comic sketches based on musical quirks, of heart failure, Dec. 23, in Greenwich, Conn. The Danish musician, who made a career of falling off piano stools and getting tangled up in sheet music, had a record-breaking run on Broadway in the 1950s with Comedy in Music and received a Kennedy Center award in 1999…. Emmy winner Thomas Yohe, 63, who cocreated Schoolhouse Rock, of pancreatic cancer, Dec. 21 in Norwalk, Conn. With his partner George Newall, Yohe produced more than 40 three-minute animated features, including Conjunction Junction and Figure Eight, which ran from 1973 to 1985, sandwiched between Saturday-morning cartoons on ABC…. Actor Nick Stewart, 90, who played Lightnin’ on Amos ‘n’ Andy in the early 1950s, of natural causes, Dec. 18, in L.A. He and wife Edna founded L.A.’s Ebony Showcase Theatre in 1950, where performers like John Amos (Good Times), Nichelle Nichols (Star Trek), and Isabel Sanford (The Jeffersons) cut their acting teeth…. Grammy winner Roebuck ”Pops” Staples, 85, patriarch of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame-inducted gospel family the Staples Singers (”I’ll Take You There,” ”Respect Yourself”), after a concussion from a fall, Dec. 19, in Dolton, Ill…. Jazz bassist Milt Hinton, 90, who anchored recordings by the likes of Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, and Frank Sinatra, of undisclosed causes, Dec. 19, in Queens, N.Y…. Brit singer-songwriter Kirsty MacColl, 41, after being hit by a speedboat while swimming, Dec. 18, during a vacation in Cozumel, Mexico. The daughter of late folksinger Ewan MacColl is best known for songs like ”They Don’t Know” and her vocals on the Pogues’ Christmas anti-classic ”Fairytale of New York.”… Playwright N. Richard Nash, 87, who wrote 1954’s The Rainmaker, of natural causes, Dec. 11, in New York City…. Revolutionary comics publisher Jack Liebowitz, 100, who cocreated Detective Comics and had a hand in popularizing Superman and Wonder Woman, of natural causes, Dec. 11, in Great Neck, N.Y…. Tunesmith Hoyt Curtin, 78, who penned the theme songs for The Flintstones, The Jetsons, and Scooby-Doo, after a long illness, Dec. 3, in L.A.
— Rob Brunner, Tricia Johnson, and Troy Patterson