LAWSUITS Everybody must get sued even Bob Dylan, who has been slapped with a $5 million suit (plus palimony) by ex-lover Ruth Tyrangiel. She claims she was just like a wife to Dylan for almost 20 years, and that their pillow talk included promises of financial support. ''The complaint is wholly without basis and is categorically denied,'' says a Dylan spokesman.
DEATHS Former MC5 band member and Patti Smith's husband, Fred ''Sonic'' Smith, 45, of a heart attack. Noah Beery Jr., 81, costar of The Rockford Files, in Tehachapi, Calif. Says costar James Garner: ''His artful portrayal of Rocky gave the series its stature.''
RETIRING Stalwart ABC newscaster David Brinkley, 74, plans to retire just after the 1996 elections. Although Brinkley hasn't said how he'll spend his free time, Walter Cronkite offers this advice: ''If he seriously wants to put his feet up ... he better get away from telephones and any form of communications.''
SPLITTING The perception, at least according to the press bio accompanying Bon Jovi's new album, Cross Road: ''Bon Jovi is still the same five guys who got together in 1983. And that's how Jon likes it.'' The reality: Bass player Alec John Such is suddenly out of the band, and even the record label is at a loss as to why. ''I'd have to find out for you,'' says a Mercury spokeswoman, ''but I do know that on Letterman (Oct. 28) they had someone else playing with them.'' Branford Marsalis is taking a leave from The Tonight Show beginning in January to tour with his band Buckshot LeFonque and reportedly to spend more time with his 8-year-old son, Reese. ''Branford likes Jay [Leno], respects Jay, and doesn't have a problem with Jay,'' says Marsalis' spokeswoman. Guitarist Kevin Eubanks will take his place.
INDISCRETIONS NYPD Blue cocreator and executive producer David Milch apologized for making a series of racially charged statements at a writers' seminar last month. ''Even though my comments were distorted and taken out of context,'' said Milch, ''I apologize to anyone who now interprets them as offensive or hurtful. I have never conducted business in a racist manner.'' Among the reported comments, Milch had suggested that black writers lacked the social sensibilities needed to succeed in Hollywood.