To wed or not to wed? Opting for the former, British actor Kenneth Branagh, 42, married art director Lindsay Brunnock (whom he met on the set of Shackleton in 2001) in late May. Branagh and his former wife, actress Emma Thompson, split in 1995.
On May 29, the two-year marriage of Oscar-winners Billy Bob Thornton, 47, and Angelina Jolie, 28, was officially dissolved. While Jolie has asked for custody of their 21-month-old son, Maddox, no word on who’ll keep the blood vials.
On May 28, Hollywood fund-raiser Aaron Tonken filed suit against the Elton John AIDS Foundation and the Sharon Osbourne Colon Cancer Foundation, claiming he’s owed over $105,000 for organizing a March event held in Osbourne’s California home. A rep for EJAF denies any relationship with Tonken…. On June 2, British Crown Prosecution Service threw out the case against five people accused of plotting to kidnap ex — Spice Girl Victoria ”Posh” Beckham (right), 29, wife of soccer star David Beckham. CPS dropped the charges upon determining a key witness’ testimony to be unreliable because of an alleged payment by a British newspaper…. Here’s to papier-mache fests in the big house! On June 3, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia announced that federal prosecutors intend to seek a criminal indictment against the domestic goddess, 61, for the ongoing ImClone insider-trading investigation. A lawyer says that if indicted, Stewart will ”declare her innocence and proceed to trial.”
And Rupert Murdoch’s mmwaa-a-aa was heard round the world. On June 2, the FCC voted 3 to 2 to ease media ownership rules, facilitating further consolidation in the TV, radio, and newspaper sectors. The regulations, known as the Powell Rules after Republican FCC chairman Michael K. Powell, divided members along party lines.
Actress Martha Scott (right), 90, of natural causes in Van Nuys, Calif., May 28. She earned an Oscar nod for 1940’s Our Town and appeared in The Ten Commandments, Ben-Hur, and TV’s Dallas…. Mars Volta band member Jeremy Ward, 27, of undisclosed causes, May 25, in Los Angeles…. Music producer Mickie Most, 64, of cancer, in London, May 30. A major figure in the ’60s British Invasion, Most produced such acts as the Animals, Lulu, and Donovan…. Actor and screenwriter Richard Cusack, 77, father of Joan and John, of pancreatic cancer, in Evanston, Ill., on June 2. Cusack, who left a successful advertising career for the film industry in the 1970s, wrote HBO’s 1999 film The Jack Bull, starring John, and acted with Joan in ’80’s My Bodyguard…. Film and TV composer Albert Sendrey, 83, of congestive heart failure, on May 18, in Woodland Hills, Calif. While at MGM in the 1940s and ’50s, he penned the tune for Fred Astaire’s ceiling dance in Royal Wedding and wrote for ’60s TV series Bonanza…. Saxophonist Allen Eager, 76, of liver cancer in Daytona Beach, Fla., April 13. A regular in NYC’s jazz clubs in the 1940s, he was one of the few white sax players to perform with such bandleaders as Charlie Parker. — Missy Schwartz (Additional reporting by Will Keck)