Plus Oprah Winfrey, Sean Connery, and more stars making the news the week of March 13, 1998

Prolific romance novelist Danielle Steel, 50, to venture capitalist Thomas Perkins, 65. A date and location have yet to be set. It will be Steel’s fifth marriage, Perkins’ second.

Actor Ned Beatty, 60, from his wife of 18 years, Dorothy, 45, in L.A., Feb. 27. They have two children.

Matt Drudge, 31, whose unverified Drudge Report of celebrity gossip is E-mailed to thousands of subscribers a day, is going legit. Drudge signed with Fox News Channel Feb. 26 to host a still-untitled weekend show. ”We’re not putting him out there as a TV journalist,” says Fox’s VP of News Editorial John Moody, referring to Drudge’s nontraditional practices, ”but as a gossip columnist bringing his unique product to the air.” The show is set to debut in late May.

Oprah Winfrey, 44, in the defamation case brought against her by Texas cattlemen. On Feb. 26 a jury in Amarillo, Tex., rejected the $11 million suit.

Sean Connery, 67, for knighthood. The rejection led to wide speculation in the media, since details of the selection process were not revealed. The prevailing opinion: Scottish secretary of state Donald Dewar, of the Labor party, sabotaged the honor because Connery is a staunch supporter of Dewar’s opposition, the Scottish National party. In a statement, Dewar denied any involvement: ”None of this is my doing…and I regret that it has happened.”

Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee, 35, for spousal abuse, child abuse, and unlawful possession of a firearm, Feb. 24, in L.A. (Lee denies the charges.) According to police reports, Lee assaulted his wife, Pamela Anderson Lee, 30, in their Malibu home as she cradled their 2-month-old son, Dylan. Lee posted $50,000 bail Feb. 27 and was freed, provided he not contact his family and stay at least 100 yards from the house. Pamela Lee has filed for divorce, requesting custody of Dylan and the couple’s 20-month-old son, Brandon.

Actor J.T. Walsh, 54, of a heart attack, Feb. 27, in La Mesa, Calif. (See Legacy on page 75.)… Cartoonist Antonio Prohias, 77, creator of Mad magazine’s ”Spy vs. Spy,” of lung cancer, Feb. 24, in Miami. His strip about rival black and white espionage agents won international acclaim…. Actor Philip Abbott, 74, of cancer, Feb. 23, in L.A. He was best known for TV’s The F.B.I., which aired from 1965 to 1974.

— Suna Chang and Shirliey Fung