EXPECTING Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling, 37, and her husband, Dr. Neil Murray, 31, will welcome their own little Muggle in the spring. Rowling has a daughter, Jessica, 9, from her previous marriage. (On Sept. 18, a New York district court cleared Rowling of three-year-old plagiarism claims leveled by author Nancy Stouffer.)
AILING On Sept. 14, three days after his arrest in Malibu for allegedly driving under the influence, Nick Nolte, 61, checked himself into Silver Hill Hospital, a Connecticut substance-abuse center. A spokesman says the actor is seeking ”advice and counsel he feels he needs at this time.”
COURTS Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman making up? Not quite, but the exes did reteam Sept. 18 to sue beauty chain Sephora for $15 million, claiming a 2001 company brochure featuring the stars falsely implied they had endorsed Bulgari Black cologne and Rouge Hermes perfume. A Sephora spokeswoman defends the use of the photo as ”appropriate,” saying ”We hope to resolve this matter amicably, but if unsuccessful we will vigorously contest the claim.”… On Aug. 26, Godfather of Soul James Brown, 69, was sued by his own daughters, Yamma Brown Lumar, 29, and Deanna Brown Thomas, 33. The offspring seek $1 million in royalties and damages for 23 songs they claim they helped write, including ”Get Up Offa That Thing.” Reps for Brown had no comment…. On Sept. 18, actress Tawny Kitaen, 41, struck a deal with an Orange County, Calif., court that will clear her of spousal abuse and battery charges stemming from an alleged attack last April on estranged husband Chuck Finley, a St. Louis Cardinals pitcher. Under the deal, she must undergo counseling, avoid contact with Finley, and donate $500 to a women’s shelter…. On Sept. 10, a North Carolina judge ordered rap mogul Sean ”P. Diddy” Combs, 31, to pay $2.45 million to Cedrick Bobby Lemon, 32. The Winston-Salem limo driver suffered bruises and multiple ankle fractures at a June 1995 concert in an alleged beating by guards Combs hired to protect soul singer Mary J. Blige. The default judgment cited Combs’ failure to answer the complaint. But his publicist says he was never served with court papers, adding that the verdict ”has no merit whatsoever.”… On Sept. 20, the Directors Guild of America and 16 top helmers sued 13 companies that either rent Hollywood movies edited to delete violence, sex, and profanity or sell devices to make the edits. The suit claims the firms violate intellectual-property laws. In August, a subsidiary of CleanFlicks — one of the firms named in the claim — filed a preemptive suit against the directors. CleanFlicks lawyer Scott Mikulecky says his client provides a service to consumers: ”We aren’t tricking them.” Says DGA rep Andrew Levy, ”Taking a movie, altering it, and selling or renting it with the director’s name on it is ethically wrong and legally wrong.”
DEATHS Actor James Gregory, 90, who played Sen. John Iselin in 1962’s The Manchurian Candidate and loose cannon Inspector Luger on Barney Miller, of undisclosed causes, Sept. 16, in Sedona, Ariz.