Celebrity news for the week of May 28, 1999

By Will Lee
Updated May 28, 1999 at 04:00 AM EDT

Starship TroopersCasper Van Dien, 30, to Dynasty vixen Catherine Oxenberg, 37, May 8, in Las Vegas. It’s the second marriage for both. Last year, Oxenberg was married for 12 days to film producer Robert Evans. Van Dien has two children from a previous marriage to actress Carrie Mitchum (granddaughter of the late Robert Mitchum)…. Star Trek: Voyager captain Kate Mulgrew, 43, to former Cuyahoga County, Ohio, commissioner Tim Hagan, 54, April 19, on Sanibel Island, Fla. The two met last year while vacationing in Ireland. It’s the second marriage for both.

It’s gotta be the uniforms. Director-provocateur Spike Lee, 42, has been enlisted by the U.S. Navy and BBDO Advertising to helm a series of six 30-second commercials aimed at increasing Navy enlistment, which last year plunged to 48,000 recruits, 7,000 short of target. The documentary-style spots, featuring actual sailors, will debut in cinemas Memorial Day weekend. Though neither the Navy nor BBDO will discuss Lee’s paycheck, a Navy spokesperson cites the director’s ”unique, urban viewpoint” as a reason for its choice.

Self-proclaimed ”Queen of Trash” Bette Midler, 53, stepped forward at the 11th hour to help save 51 New York City community gardens. The gardens, created out of vacant city-owned lots by neighborhood volunteers, had been scheduled for auction to developers May 13, when Midler’s New York Restoration Project pledged $1.2 million to help buy the land for nonprofit groups. Midler said in a statement: ”This is a joyous occasion and means that these gardens will stay in perpetuity.”

On May 17, freelance journalist Eric Ford, 27, was fined $3,000 and sentenced to six months in a halfway house and three years’ probation for intercepting a cell-phone call between Tom Cruise, 36, and Nicole Kidman, 31. Ford sold the tape for $2,500 to the Globe tabloid, which printed parts of the conversation in June 1998, portraying the exchange as a marital spat. After the story ran, Cruise and Kidman’s representatives alerted authorities, which led to Ford pleading guilty in March to federal wiretapping charges. The Globe has no comment. Ford’s lawyer says the sentence ”is fair.” Cruise and Kidman have no comment.

Cartoonist Saul Steinberg, 84, of natural causes, May 12, in New York. Steinberg’s genius, expressed in a spare draftsmanship often compared to that of Picasso and Miro, was seen on 85 covers and in 642 other drawings for The New Yorker, including the famous ”View of the World From Ninth Avenue,” Steinberg’s take on Manhattanites’ self-involved vision…. Jazz singer Leon Thomas, 61, of heart failure as a result of leukemia, May 8, in the Bronx. Thomas is best known for developing a wordless yodeling technique known as soularphone, which he used while singing with Pharoah Sanders and the band Santana.