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Metro Digest / Local News in Brief

Man Pleads Guilty to Threatening Actress

August 31, 1990

A man described by psychologists as a sexually obsessed fan pleaded guilty Thursday to seven counts of mailing threatening letters to actress Stephanie Zimbalist.

Michael L. Shields, 42, also sent copies of his letters to Zimbalist's father, actor Efrem Zimbalist Jr., to her brother, to her talent agency, and to singers Rosemary Clooney and Patrice Munsel. As part of a plea bargain in which 13 other counts will be dropped, Shields faces a maximum of a year in prison when he is sentenced in Los Angeles on Oct. 22.

The Plymouth, Mich., resident also will be ordered to undergo psychiatric treatment and to turn over his vast collection of Zimbalist memorabilia to the behavioral science unit of the FBI, Assistant U.S. Atty. Carol Gillam said. Gillam said psychologists determined Shields had an "eroto-manic" fixation on the actress and one expert said Shields "displays almost all the characteristics of those who have attacked and killed public figures."

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