Monitor: April 24, 1998 | EW.com

News

Monitor: April 24, 1998

George Michael, Mary Bono, and Tommy Lee made headlines this week

Arrested

Former Wham!ster George Michael, 34, on April 7, for engaging in an unspecified lewd act in a public rest room at Will Rogers Park in Beverly Hills, Calif. Michael was apprehended by a special police unit that was patrolling the area after locals complained that the park was being used as a gay pickup spot. The singer was charged with a misdemeanor, posted $500 bail, and was released that night. A spokesman for Michael declined to comment, but three days later in a CNN interview, the singer confirmed rumors about his sexuality by announcing that he is gay. ”At the end of the day, part of me has to believe that some of the kick was that I might get found out,” Michael said to CNN’s Jim Moret. Michael will be arraigned May 5.

Winner

First-time politico Mary Bono, 36, widow of Sonny Bono, won the congressional seat held by her late husband, in a special election in Palm Springs, Calif., April 7. Bono, who ran as a Republican, defeated five other candidates, including Democrat and actor Ralph Waite (best known as Pa in the ’70s series The Waltons). Sonny ”would think it was great,” Chastity Bono says of her stepmother’s victory. ”She just brings something different from the average politician. She’s a woman, a single mother, very bright, and she adds a level of diversity to the House.”

Lawsuits

It was not one but two legal finales for bad-boy musician Tommy Lee, 35. After he pleaded no contest to felony spousal-abuse charges April 7, in Malibu, Calif., the court dismissed two additional charges against Lee, who was arrested in February for attacking his actress wife, Pamela Anderson, 30. The Mötley Crüe drummer faces up to six months to a year in prison; sentencing is scheduled for May 20. And April 9, in another L.A. court, Lee settled an assault lawsuit brought by photographer Henry Trappler, after Trappler allegedly was injured in a scuffle with the rocker outside a Hollywood nightclub in 1996. The terms were not disclosed.

Deals

He’s baaack! Former Disney president Michael Ovitz, 51, will become chairman of the executive committee of Livent Inc., the Toronto-based theatrical group responsible for such Broadway musicals as Ragtime and Show Boat. Ovitz is partnering with investment banker Roy Furman, 59, who will become chairman-CEO of the hit-laden (but money-losing) company; impresario Garth Drabinsky, 49, will remain chief creative director. Ovitz, who left Disney with an estimated $100 million in severance in ‘96, will contribute $20 million and get a 36 percent stake in Livent’s future productions.

Deaths

Best-selling New Age author Frederick Lenz III, 48, of undetermined causes, April 13, near his home in Old Field, N.Y. The body of the self-styled guru, whose books include Surfing the Himalayas and Snowboarding to Nirvana, was discovered floating in Conscience Bay, according to police. An unidentified, incoherent woman was found inside the author’s home and taken to a nearby hospital. The death is under investigation.

Singer Kasey Cisyk, 44, of breast cancer, March 29, in New York City. Once an aspiring opera singer, Cisyk became one of the most familiar voices in American advertising, after singing jingles for American Airlines, Coca-Cola, and Ford. Cisyk’s ”Have You Driven a Ford…Lately?” was heard by an estimated 20 billion people worldwide.

Drummer Cozy Powell, 50, from injuries sustained in a car crash, April 5, near Bristol, England. Powell played with such bands as Black Sabbath, Whitesnake, and Rainbow.

Punk-rock diva Wendy O. Williams, 48, of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, April 6, in Storrs, Conn. Reportedly despondent over her faded career, the former Plasmatics lead singer was living at the house of ex-manager Rod Swensen when she shot herself. Famous for onstage antics — she performed once covered only in shaving cream — Williams was nominated for a best female rock vocalist Grammy in 1985.

Goth rocker Rozz Williams, 34, of suicide by hanging, April 1, at his home in West Hollywood, Calif. The singer-songwriter, whose real name was Roger Alan Painter, formed the band Christian Death in 1980 when he was in high school. Williams’ record label, Triple X, plans to release two new albums later this year.