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Monitor

Celebrity news for the week of June 18, 1999

LAWSUITS
Sultry body slammer Sable filed a $110 million breach-of-contract suit against the World Wrestling Federation, June 3, in Bridgeport, Conn. In court papers, Sable (real name: Rena Mero) alleges that after she refused to bare her breasts during a bout, she was stripped of her championship belt and ”deliberately disparaged” on national television. (She had posed for Playboy magazine in April.) WWF lawyers did not return calls…. Attorney Richard A. Nixon filed suit in L.A., May 28, against feisty arbitratrix Judy Sheindlin, 56, and her syndicated Judge Judy show. In court papers, Nixon alleges that when he appeared on the program as a witness in May 1998, Sheindlin slandered him by questioning his legal abilities with such phrases as ”Where did you go to law school?” (The show never aired.) Nixon seeks $200,000 in damages. A spokeswoman for the defendants declined to comment.

RECOVERING
Prince Michael Jackson Jr., 2, son of Michael Jackson, from a febrile seizure, in New York. A media frenzy erupted June 1 when it was announced that the King of Pop had canceled an appearance in Italy due to his child’s health. In a statement, Dr. Allan Metzger, medical spokesman for Jackson, described early reports as ”completely fictitious” and said that Prince is making ”significant improvement.”… Frat-rocker Dave Matthews, 32, after fracturing two ribs, May 28, in Boston, while goofing around in a hotel room. Matthews, on tour with his band, tried to catch a grape in his mouth and fell from a chair. He was treated in New York June 1; no tour dates were canceled.

DEATHS
Romance novelist Nancy Richards-Akers, 45, of gunshot wounds to the head, June 5, in Washington, D.C. Police found her body behind the wheel of her car, which was parked outside her home. The killer is presumed to be her estranged husband, attorney Jeremy Akers, 57, who fatally shot himself in the head on the National Mall near the Vietnam Veterans Memorial later that night. Richards-Akers wrote 16 historical romances, including 1997’s Wild Irish Skies…. Singer Mel Torme, 73, of complications from a stroke, June 5, in L.A….. Singer Junior Braithwaite, 52, of gunshot wounds to the head, June 2, in Kingston, Jamaica. An original member of Bob Marley’s Wailers, Braithwaite was in the home of a local musician when assailants shot and killed both men. The police are investigating…. Comic-book king Paul S. Newman, 75, of a heart attack, May 30, in Columbia, Md. With over 4,000 stories published, including scripts for Superman and Mighty Mouse, Newman was history’s most prolific comic-book writer…. Artist-actress Mary Allen Rowlands, 94, of heart failure, May 28, in Woodland Hills, Calif. Rowlands appeared with her daughter Gena in three films directed by son-in-law John Cassavetes, including Opening Night…. Actress Hillary Brooke, 84, of unknown causes, May 25, in Fallbrook, Calif. A veteran of over 40 films, including The Philadelphia Story, Brooke starred on the ’50s TV show My Little Margie.