Gary Coleman's assault and battery lawsuit made news the week of Aug. 14

SPLITS Actor Kyle MacLachlan, 39, and sloe-eyed model Linda Evangelista, 33, ”decided to go their separate ways” several months ago, according to a statement released by his publicist July 29. The couple had been engaged for three years.

LAWSUITS Bus driver Tracy Fields, 30, filed a $1.25 million assault and battery suit against Diff’rent Strokes survivor Gary Coleman, 30, now a security guard, Aug. 3, in L.A. Coleman turned himself in to Hawthorne, Calif., police on July 31, the day after allegedly raining punches and racial slurs on Fields, who’d approached Coleman for an autograph. ”He said he hated black people,” says Fields’ lawyer, Robert McNeill Jr. Coleman’s lawyer, Adam London, didn’t return calls … I love you, you don’t love me: A trademark-infringement suit, filed last year by Lyons Partnership, owner of TV’s Barney, against Ted Giannoulas, a.k.a. The Famous Chicken of San Diego, was thrown out of court, July 29, in Fort Worth. In a statement, Lyons says that it still believes Giannoulas’ routine of attacking a Barney look-alike ”confuses and upsets young children.” The company is considering an appeal. ”It’s an important victory for the First Amendment,” says Giannoulas’ lawyer, Ken Fitzgerald … Country singer Tanya Tucker, 39, filed a $300,000 breach-of-contract suit against her label, Capitol Records, July 24, in Nashville. In court papers, Tucker blames the poor sales of her 1997 album Complicated on Capitol’s alleged ”decision to devote its [promotional] efforts to another artist.” ”It certainly caught us by surprise,” says Capitol-Nashville president Pat Quigley, who declined to say if the other artist is Garth Brooks, as is widely believed. ”It’s a worthless lawsuit.”

DEATHS Choreographer Jerome Robbins, 79, of a stroke, July 29, in New York City (see Legacy on page 68) … Musician Dave ”Chico” Ryan, 50, of heart failure, July 26, in Beverly, Mass. Ryan sang and played bass for the ’50s-revival group Sha Na Na, which had a syndicated TV show from 1976 to ’81 and was in 1978’s Grease … British playwright and screenwriter John R. Hopkins, 67, of a head injury caused by a fall, July 23, in Woodland Hills, Calif. Hopkins cowrote the 1965 James Bond film Thunderball … Children’s author and illustrator Lillian Hoban, 73, of heart failure, July 17, in New York City. First known for her drawings of Frances, the bread-and-jam-loving badger created by her then husband, Russell Hoban, in a ’60s book series, she went on to create another popular character, Arthur the chimp, before the couple divorced in 1975.