Celebrity news for the week of September 5, 1997

By Dave Karger
Updated September 05, 1997 at 04:00 AM EDT

SENTENCED Former Mouseketeer Darlene Gillespie, 56, to three years’ probation for petty theft, in Ventura, Calif., Aug. 19. Gillespie, a surgical nurse and former cast member of TV’s Mickey Mouse Club, was convicted of stealing clothes and a food processor from a Macy’s department store in Ventura. Gillespie insists she is innocent. ”I felt like, ‘Wow, am I in the recasting of Deliverance?”’ she says. ”It was a real surprise, because I’ve always believed in the integrity of the court system.” Gillespie plans to file an appeal.

ARRESTED Actor Michael Moriarty (Law & Order), 56, for drunken disorderliness, Aug. 15, in Halifax, Nova Scotia. According to police, Moriarty, who lives in Halifax, got into an argument with a waitress in a local bar after she refused to let the actor and his girlfriend, Suzana Cabrita, leave with their drinks as the bar was closing at approximately 2:30 a.m. Moriarty allegedly then shouted a racial slur at one of the arresting officers, who was black. The actor was detained for the night, but no charges were filed. Moriarty can’t be reached for comment but reportedly issued an apology to the officer the next day.

BIRTHS A 6-pound 6-ounce boy, Gulliver Flynn, to actor Gary Oldman, 39, and his wife, photographer Donya Fiorentino, 29, Aug. 20, in L.A. They each have one child from previous marriages.

EXPECTING Supermodels: The Next Generation. Elle Macpherson, 33, and Vendela K. Thommessen, 30, both confirmed that they are expecting children in February. This will be the first child for Macpherson and her financier boyfriend, Arki Busson, 34. (The couple have no plans to marry.) This will also be the first child for Thommessen and her financier husband, Olaf, 31.

RECOVERING Actress Jane Seymour, 46, from swamp fever, a water-transmitted disease she contracted Aug. 15 while on location in Puerto Rico to film a remake of Swiss Family Robinson. ”She apparently suffered horrifically incredible pain,” says her spokesman, Dick Guttman, who adds that Seymour was not hospitalized but is taking antibiotics. The actress’ condition is ”guardedly well,” according to Guttman, but work on the new season of Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, scheduled to start filming Sept. 8, may be delayed.

DEATHS Actor and singer Ray Heatherton, 88, of Alzheimer’s disease, Aug. 15, in Englewood, N.J. Heatherton, father of actress and singer Joey Heatherton, was the host of the popular New York City children’s TV program The Merry Mailman, which was broadcast in New York from 1949 to ’68….Former studio executive Leo Jaffe, 88, of pneumonia, Aug. 20, in New York. Jaffe, who spent his entire 51-year career at Columbia Pictures, served as the studio’s president from 1967 to ’73 and its chairman from 1973 to ’81. Jaffe oversaw the production of such films as Funny Girl, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, and Close Encounters of the Third Kind….Professional wrestler and actor Robert ”Jeep” Swenson, 40, of heart failure, Aug. 19, in L.A. Swenson, who wrestled in 1996 for the WCW under the name ”Jeep the Mercenary,” appeared as Poison Ivy’s burly but nonvocal sidekick, Bane, in this summer’s Batman & Robin. He also acted in three episodes of Walker, Texas Ranger and the film Bulletproof….Singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, 48, of heart failure, Aug. 16, in London. A superstar for decades in his native Pakistan, Khan was his generation’s greatest singer of qawwali, music based on the mystical branch of Islam known as Sufism. Although he released more than 100 albums, Khan was best known to Western audiences for his numerous collaborations with leading rock musicians: Among others, he recorded with Peter Gabriel (for 1988’s film The Last Temptation of Christ) and dueted with Eddie Vedder (on the soundtrack to 1995’s Dead Man Walking). Along the way, Khan influenced many contemporary artists, such as Joan Osborne, who experimented with his brand of trancelike singing and improvisation. ”Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan brought heaven down to earth with his music,” says Walking director Tim Robbins. ”His music was an ecstatic celebration of life. He will be sorely missed.”

— With additional reporting by Maggie Sleger