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'Harry Potter' Scribe J.K. Rowling Casts a Wedding Spell

Plus Steven Seagal, Scott Weiland, and more celebrities making news the week of Jan. 11, 2002

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WEDDINGS Who cast the spell on whom? Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling, 36, married physician Neil Murray, 30, Dec. 26, in Perthshire, Scotland. It’s the second marriage for both.

COURTS Did she shave her legs for this? Country spitfire Deana Carter, 35, was charged with drunken driving Dec. 21 in Nashville. Carter was also socked with an ”implied consent violation” charge for allegedly refusing to take a breath test. She’ll return to court Jan. 29….Steven Seagal, 50, is no longer under siege. Although an L.A. jury said Dec. 21 that he had slandered record producer Patricia Nichols, with whom he worked on a never-released album in 1999, jurors ruled Seagal owes no money for damages. Nichols had claimed Seagal accused her of embezzlement. Nichols reportedly will appeal; her lawyer couldn’t be reached….On Dec. 18 in Las Vegas, Stone Temple Pilots singer Scott Weiland, 34, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor domestic battery; he’s accused of pushing his wife, model Mary Weiland, 27, against a hotel-room wall several times Nov. 19. As part of a plea agreement, says Weiland’s lawyer, the charge will be dropped if the rocker attends 26 court-mandated counseling sessions and no further incidents are reported in the next six months….Now our heads are spinning: On Dec. 20, director William Friedkin, 62, and screenwriter William Peter Blatty, 74, sued Warner Bros. (a division of EW parent AOL Time Warner) for the second time in 12 months. In their ongoing squabble over royalties from the 2000 rerelease of their 1973 classic, The Exorcist, they claim the studio registered the new version’s copyright without giving them credit. They seek unspecified damages and a ban on the film’s further distribution. Warner Bros. didn’t return calls.

DEATHS Stage and screen star Eileen Heckart, 82, an Oscar winner for 1972’s Butterflies Are Free, of cancer, Dec. 31, in Norwalk, Conn….Jazz pianist Ralph Sutton, 79, a master of the ragtime-influenced ”stride piano,” of a heart attack, Dec. 30, near Denver….Oscar-nominated actor Nigel Hawthorne (The Madness of King George), 72, of a heart attack, Dec. 26, in Hertfordshire, England….Entertainment scribe Lance Loud, 50, whose family was featured in the 1973 PBS documentary series An American Family, of hepatitis C, Dec. 22, in L.A. Loud revealed his homosexuality to his parents during the show’s 12-part run and joined the rock group the Mumps in the late ’70s….Pretend tippler Foster Brooks, 89, whose ”Lovable Lush” was a TV and Vegas staple in the ’70s and ’80s, of undisclosed causes, Dec. 20, in Encino, Calif….Cartoonist Dan DeCarlo, 82, who drew the Archie comics gang and created Josie and the Pussycats, of pneumonia, Dec. 18, in New Rochelle, N.Y….Trumpeter Conte Candoli, 74, who joined the Tonight Show orchestra in 1972 and played until Johnny Carson’s 1992 farewell, of lung cancer, Dec. 14, in Palm Desert, Calif. Also a studio musician, he and trumpeter brother Pete, 78, backed performers including Frank Sinatra.