Plus James Redfield, Victor Willis, and more celebrities making news the week of March 7, 1997

SPLITS Ryan O’Neal, 55, and Farrah Fawcett, 50, have decided to separate after 15 years together. The couple, who never wed, didn’t give a reason, but according to a source close to them, they have had a rocky relationship for years. In a statement, the two said they will share responsibility for raising their son, Redmond, 12.

DEALS Author James Redfield, 44, has inked a multimillion-dollar deal with CBS to executive-produce a miniseries based on his best-selling The Celestine Prophecy. He had refused numerous offers to make a feature based on the book because he wanted creative control and more than two hours of screen time, both of which he gets from CBS. Production begins in late summer.

ARRESTED Former Village People lead singer Victor Willis, 45, the voice behind such male-bonding anthems as ”In the Navy” and ”Y.M.C.A.,” was arrested for possession of 45 grams of rock cocaine, Feb. 16, in Reno. Ironically, Davis played the group’s cop.

DEATHS Former NBC president and RCA chairman Robert Sarnoff, 78, of cancer, Feb. 22, in New York City. The son of legendary ”Father of Television” David Sarnoff, Robert headed NBC from 1955 to 1965, when he became RCA president. Under his watch, NBC introduced color broadcasts and aired the first televised presidential debates…. Raise a Big Mac in memory of Frank Delfino, 85, who for the past two decades played the Hamburglar in McDonald’s commercials. Delfino, who made his film debut as an elf in 1956’s The Court Jester, died of complications from bone-marrow cancer, Feb. 19, in San Diego…. Actor Don Porter, 84, of undisclosed causes, Feb. 11, in L.A. A film and TV veteran, Porter is best remembered as Sally Field’s widowed father in the ’60s series Gidget…. Actor Robert Ridgely, 65, of bone-marrow cancer, Feb. 8, in Toluca Lake, Calif. Ridgely, who appeared in many movies, played the lawyer in Philadelphia who first notices signs of Tom Hanks’ illness…. Actress Marjorie Reynolds, 79, of congestive heart failure, Feb. 1, in Manhattan Beach, Calif. After beginning in silent films in the ’20s, she starred with Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire in 1942’s Holiday Inn. She later played William Bendix’s long-suffering wife in the ’50s sitcom The Life of Riley.