Plus Milton Berle, Ol' Dirty Bastard, and more celebrities making news the week of Aug. 13, 1999

By Troy Patterson
Updated August 13, 1999 at 04:00 AM EDT

BIRTHS A nine-pound boy, Mason Tru Estes, to former Melrose Place tenants Josie Bissett, 28, and Rob Estes, 36, July 21, in L.A. It’s their first child.

SPLITS Actor Robert De Niro, 55, filed for divorce from his second wife, Grace Hightower, 44, Aug. 2, in New York City. No reason was given. The couple, who wed in ’97, have a son, Elliott, 1.

DEALS On Aug. 2, Time Warner chairman and CEO Gerald M. Levin announced that Barry Meyer, 55, will become chairman and CEO of Warner Bros., and Alan Horn, 56, will become Warner’s president and COO. The appointments end weeks of speculation about who’d succeed Bob Daly and Terry Semel as studio heads. (Time Warner is EW’s parent company.) Meyer is a low-key lawyer who’s worked on Warner’s TV side for 28 years; Horn is a cofounder of Castle Rock Entertainment. Meyer and Horn will head film and TV operations, but won’t run Warner Music, as Daly and Semel had done. Levin said a music chief will be named shortly.

LAWSUITS Comic Milton Berle, 91, filed suit against the publisher of a gay resource guide and Century 21 Real Estate, June 4, in L.A. Berle alleges that without his permission, the guide ran an ad showing a photo of him in Carmen Miranda drag, wrongly implying that he endorses Century 21 and is gay. Berle seeks damages in excess of $6 million. The defendants’ lawyers have no comment…. On July 23, wrestling vixen Sable (a.k.a. Rena Mero) settled a $110 million breach-of-contract suit against the WWF. Mero claimed she was disparaged after refusing to remove her top at a bout. Mero’s lawyer says she received ”nonmonetary compensation.” Mero, who this month appears for the second time on the cover of Playboy, must reportedly give up her rights to the ”Sable” name and take a three-year hiatus from the ring.

ARRESTED And now, the Ol’ Dirty Bastard update. On July 28, ODB (born Russell Jones), 30, was in a Santa Monica court for a hearing stemming from a Sept. ’98 arrest for allegedly threatening to kill a club bouncer. There, says the DA, he was jailed for allegedly missing a bail payment (a check to his bondsman apparently bounced). Then, while out on bail, he was pulled over in New York on July 31 for allegedly running a red light. Police claim they found crack and marijuana in his car. ODB’s rep has no comment; his lawyers couldn’t be reached.

DEATHS Southern journalist and author Willie Morris, 64, of heart failure, Aug. 2, in Jackson, Miss. A legendary wunderkind editor of Harper‘s magazine in the 1960s, Morris wrote of his Mississippi upbringing in the esteemed 1967 memoir North Toward Home…. Country star Anita Carter, 66, of complications from rheumatoid arthritis, July 29, in Goodlettsville, Tenn. As a member of country’s famed Carter family, she sang and played bass…. Trumpeter Harry ”Sweets” Edison, 83, of cancer, July 27, in Columbus, Ohio. Edison, who blew with the Basie band for 12 years, also played with Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra.