EXPECTING Crossing Jordan star Jill Hennessy, 34, and actor husband Paolo Mastropietro (Exit Wounds), 37, will welcome their first child in October.
ENGAGED Lights…camera… diamond ring! Model-actress Milla Jovovich, 27, plans to wed her Resident Evil director, Paul W.S. Anderson, 38. A date has not been set. It will be the first marriage for Anderson and the third for Jovovich…. The Sopranos’ Uncle Junior, Dominic Chianese, 72, will walk down the aisle with Jane Pittson, 56, a U.N. program officer.
ANNOUNCEMENTS Oscar officials won’t be rolling out the red carpet for this year’s March 23 ceremony. In anticipation of a war with Iraq, stars will forgo grand entrances to achieve a ”more sober preshow,” telecast producer Gil Cates announced March 18.
AILING His Spidey senses must be really tingling: On March 18, Spider-Man’s Tobey Maguire, 27, confirmed reports of back injuries likely caused by the rigors of shooting the 2002 superhero film and his upcoming racehorse movie, Seabiscuit. Maguire’s condition is apparently serious enough to fuel rumors that Jake Gyllenhaal (Moonlight Mile) might replace him in the next Spider-Man film, set to begin shooting April 12. (Studio officials at Sony declined to comment.)… On March 10, country legend Johnny Cash, 71, was hospitalized in Nashville with pneumonia. At press time, he was recovering and expected to be released shortly…. Former Dire Straits frontman Mark Knopfler, 53, broke his collarbone and six ribs when his motorcycle collided with a car March 17 in London. He was treated and released the same day.
COURTS Baretta star Robert Blake, 69, has been ordered to stand trial for the 2001 shooting death of his wife, Bonny Lee Bakley. An L.A. judge issued the ruling March 13, and set bail at $1.5 million, allowing the actor to return home — where he’ll be electronically monitored — after spending nearly 11 months in jail. Blake is due back in court March 27…. Erstwhile King of Pop Michael Jackson, 44, must pay $5.3 million in a breach-of-contract suit over two nixed concerts, a jury ruled March 13. German concert promoter Marcel Avram had sought $21 million, claiming Jackson pulled out of end-of-the-millennium shows in Australia and Hawaii on only three months’ notice; Jackson claimed it was Avram who pulled the plug on the Dec. 31, 1999, gigs…. Shock jock Howard Stern, 49, sued ABC March 13, claiming the network’s new reality show Are You Hot? is a copy of one of his own regular segments. He also alleges that Hot judge Lorenzo Lamas copies his use of a laser pointer. Stern is asking for $10 million. Lamas calls the suit ”ludicrous.”
DEATHS Producer Paul Stojanovich, 47, who worked on the Emmy-nominated reality series COPS, after falling from an oceanside cliff while hiking, March 15, near Cannon Beach, Ore…. First-time novelist Amanda Davis, 32, whose Wonder When You’ll Miss Me was published Feb. 18, in a private-plane crash that also killed her parents, March 14, near Asheville, N.C…. Author Howard Fast, 88, who wrote 1951’s Spartacus, of undisclosed causes, March 12, in Old Greenwich, Conn…. Pioneering experimental filmmaker Stan Brakhage, 70, of cancer, March 9, in Victoria, British Columbia. His 1964 avant-garde creation Dog Star Man: Part IV is included in the National Film Registry alongside other more traditional cinematic masterpieces. — Jennifer Armstrong, with additional reporting by Brian Hiatt and William Keck