Plus Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Pryor, and other celebrities making news the week of Feb. 14, 1997

AILING Elizabeth Taylor, 64, was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor, Feb. 3, in L.A. An operation has been scheduled to remove the tumor on Feb. 17, the day after her AIDS benefit birthday bash (which will be televised on ABC)…. Antwan Banks Jr., 2, the great-grandson of Richard Pryor, 56, after being hospitalized for smoke inhalation. The child was injured in a Jan. 27 fire that gutted the Peoria, Ill., home of his grandfather, Richard Pryor Jr., 34, who sustained minor injuries.

DEALS Crime doesn’t pay. But being unjustly accused…now, there’s a jackpot. Former Olympic Park bombing suspect Richard Jewell has settled a potential libel suit with NBC for a reported $500,000, reached a similar agreement with CNN for an undisclosed sum, and signed a film deal in the low six figures with Twentieth Century Fox. By conservative estimates, Jewell has already cashed in a little more than $1 million — or more than $11,000 a day for his 88 days of infamy. Says Jewell attorney Lin Wood, ”For what he’s been through, no amount of money can compensate for how he’s suffered.”

WINNERS Legendary singer Vic Damone, 68, returned to Brooklyn’s Lafayette High to receive his diploma, Feb. 3 — 52 years after he dropped out. ”Without that diploma, you really feel inadequate,” says Damone, who resolved two years ago to return to school. ”That is, if you have any brains.”

BIRTHS A girl, Isabel Ira Ashley (weight unavailable), to glam couple Warren Beatty, 59, and Annette Bening, 38, Jan. 18, in L.A. She joins siblings Kathlyn, 4, and Ben, 2.

DEATHS Famed acting teacher Sanford Meisner, 91, Feb. 2, in Sherman Oaks, Calif. Meisner was an early proponent of Method acting but later repudiated that approach in favor of a more instinctual and intuitive process. His students included Diane Keaton, Peter Falk, Jon Voight, Robert Duvall, and Tony Randall. In 1995 he appeared in his last role, playing a patient on ER…. Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Herb Caen, 80, of lung cancer, Feb. 1, in San Francisco. Caen penned a long-running column in the San Francisco Chronicle and wrote several books about the city. Among his contributions to the language are ”beatnik” and ”Baghdad by the Bay.”