News + Notes

Monitor

ENGAGED

Robert Downey Jr., 38, will wed Gothika producer Susan Levin, 30. It will be Downey's second marriage and Levin's first.

EXPECTING

Rock Me Baby's Dan Cortese, 36, and his wife of nine years, Dee Dee, will welcome a girl in March. She will join sib Roman, 2.

SWORN IN

It's official! Arnold Schwarzenegger, 56, took the oath of office as California's 38th governor Nov. 17 in Sacramento.

INVESTIGATIONS

Santa Barbara County investigators started somethin' with Michael Jackson, 45, when they searched his Neverland Ranch Nov. 18 as part of an ''ongoing criminal investigation.'' At press time, police would not specify reasons for the raid. Jackson has declined to comment.

COURTS

Jennifer Lopez's ''I'm Glad'' video is making someone else mad. On Nov. 12, Maureen Marder, 49, who claims to be the inspiration for 1983's Flashdance, filed a copyright-infringement and invasion-of-privacy suit against J. Lo and Sony Music, saying Lopez, 33, didn't have permission to use her life story for the video.... Former Milwaukee cop Laurie Bembenek filed suit against Dr. Phil McGraw Nov. 10, claiming that the Oprah protege and his show are responsible for the loss of her leg after she tried to escape from an L.A. apartment where she was being held by Dr. Phil producers in 2002. She was to appear on a show about her involvement in the 1981 murder of her then-husband's ex-wife.... Wynonna Judd (right), 39, was arrested for alleged drunk driving Nov. 13 in Nashville. Reps did not return calls.... In response to David Gest's $10 million suit in which he alleges she beat him in drunken rages, Liza Minnelli, 57, filed a $2 million-plus suit Nov. 13, claiming Gest stole money from her and berated her in public. Gest could not be reached for comment.

RECOVERING

Jerry Lewis, 77, entered a Las Vegas hospital Oct. 13 to kick a steroid used to combat pulmonary fibrosis.... Meat Loaf, 56, collapsed on stage Nov. 17 in London. The rocker has had a prolonged, non -- life-threatening viral infection.

DEATHS

Power Station drummer Tony Thompson, 48, of renal cell cancer, Nov. 12, in Encino, Calif.... Former CBS CEO and cofounder of the Loews Corporation, Laurence Tisch, 80, of cancer, Nov. 15, in NYC.... Kellie Waymire, 36, Seinfeld's ''smoked-meat girl,'' of an apparent aneurysm, Nov. 13, in Venice, Calif.... Country Music Hall of Famer Don Gibson, 75, who wrote ''I Can't Stop Loving You,'' Nov. 17, in Nashville.... Penny Singleton (below), 95, Blondie in 28 films (and the voice of Jane Jetson), Nov. 12, in L.A.... Tony-winning actress Dorothy Loudon, 78, who originated Miss Hannigan in 1977's Annie, of cancer, Nov. 15, in NYC.... Oscar-nominated composer Michael Kamen, 55, (X-Men) of complications due to multiple sclerosis, Nov. 18, in London. -- Karyn L. Barr

COURTS

Rosie O'Donnell's legal kerfuffle with publishers Gruner + Jahr USA was anything but nice. But after two weeks, NYC judge Ira Gammerman suggested Nov. 12 that the former daytime yapper, 41, did not cause the publishers financial harm when she walked away from Rosie in September 2002. Though neither side is likely to win damages, O'Donnell announced post-verdict: ''I'm simply happy about the fact that it is finally over.''

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