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BIRTHS

Laura Dern, 36, and musician fiancé Ben Harper, 35, welcomed a baby girl Nov. 28. As yet unnamed, she joins brother Ellery Walker, 3.

PREMIERE

''Basically, by taking this part, I got to pretend I was married to Selma Blair and make out with Scarlett Johansson,'' marveled In Good Company's bad boss, Topher Grace, on the red carpet Dec. 6. ''How's that for endgame?''

HIRED

Looks like they'll only have to scratch out the last name on the dressing room door. CBS announced Dec. 7 that Scottish actor Craig Ferguson will replace Craig Kilborn as host of the Late Late Show beginning Jan. 3. Ferguson, the boss on The Drew Carey Show, bested three better-known comedians in a series of test-hosting gigs over the past few weeks. Apparently, he was as surprised as the rest of us at his appointment. ''I thought I was the three-legged mule in the derby.''

UPDATES

Santa Monica police and probation officials are investigating whether rap producer Marion ''Suge'' Knight, 39, was ''involved in any possible parole violations'' when he attended the Nov. 15 Vibe Awards, during which Dr. Dre was attacked and a man was stabbed. Knight has denied any participation in the incident. His reps did not return calls for comment.

COURTS

The parents of a teenage girl filed suit Nov. 29 in L.A. against actor Nick Nolte, 63, and several other defendants, seeking unspecified damages. They allege that their daughter was drugged and sexually assaulted at a January 2003 party at Nolte's Malibu house. One defendant received a felony conviction in March for having sex with the then-15-year-old girl. Reps for Nolte said in a statement, ''Mr. Nolte was not at the property. It is our understanding that the individual responsible has been held accountable.''... Nichole C. Mallette, 24, filed a wrongful-termination and defamation suit against radio host Don Imus, 64. The former nanny claims that on Nov. 29, 2003, Imus became angry about a pocketknife and cap gun Mallette brought to his New Mexico ranch, had her escorted off the property, then went on the air and called her a ''dangerous criminal'' and a ''terrorist.'' Reps for Imus say the allegations are baseless.

AILING

Former Law & Order star Jerry Orbach, 69, has been receiving treatment for prostate cancer since April. His agent says Orbach ''has been working and vacationing and playing golf. We hope he'll make a full recovery.''... Mary Travers, 67, of the folk group Peter, Paul & Mary, is undergoing chemotherapy for a form of leukemia. Reps say ''a full remission of the disease is expected within a few months.''... Actress Elizabeth Taylor, 72, is suffering from congestive heart failure, though her reps say, ''She's in great shape and is moving on.''... Singer Marianne Faithfull, 57, was forced to cancel her European tour after collapsing with a seizure before her concert in Milan on Dec. 1.

DEATHS

Albert A. Dorskind, 82, a former MCA exec who created the Universal Studios tour, of prostate cancer, Nov. 28, in L.A.... Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Mona Van Duyn, 83, the nation's first female poet laureate, of bone cancer, Dec. 2, in St. Louis.... Marion Shilling, 93, a star of 1930s B-movie Westerns, of unspecified causes, Nov. 6, in Torrance, Calif.... Screenwriter Charles G. Lang Jr. (The Magnificent Matador), 89, of undisclosed causes, Nov. 20, in Pineville, Pa.... Dame Alicia Markova, 94, cofounder of the English National Ballet, of unspecified causes, Dec. 2, in Bath, England.... Mystery novelist Joseph Hansen (Troublemaker), 81, who created the genre's first major gay protagonist, of heart failure, Nov. 24, in Laguna Beach, Calif.... Emmy-award-winning TV and film producer William Sackheim (Gidget, The Flying Nun), 84, of Pick's disease, Dec. 1, in L.A.... Producer Jerry Bick (The Long Goodbye), 81, of complications from Parkinson's disease, Nov. 22, in L.A.

Originally posted Dec 13, 2004 Published in issue #797 Dec 17, 2004 Order article reprints
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