SHEILA van DAMM, 65, Britain's top woman racing driver in the 1950s and a former owner of London's Windmill Theater, which was famous for its nearly nude showgirls, died Aug. 23 in London. The cause of death was not reported.

Miss van Damm won the Coupe des Dames -- the highest award for women drivers -- in the 1953 Alpine Rally. She also won the Women's European Touring Championship in 1954 and the Coupe des Dames in the 1955 Monte Carlo Rally.

She inherited ownership of the theater from her father when he died in 1960, and remained in charge until it closed in 1964 as audiences declined. It was a training ground for young comedians, including Peter Sellers.

RICHARD HARRIS, 59, an author and former staff writer of The New Yorker magazine, died Aug. 23 after plunging from his 12th-floor apartment on the Upper West Side of New York City. Police said his death was an apparent suicide. Mr. Harris had been under treatment for depression.

Mr. Harris worked for The New Yorker from 1952 to 1978 and specialized in legal and political commentary. He was the author of six books on law and politics as well as two suspense novels.

CARDINAL STEPHANOS SIDAROUSS, 83, patriarch emeritus of the Coptic Catholic Church in Egypt, who had held office from 1958 to 1985, died Aug. 23 in Cairo. The cause of death was not reported.

There are about 200,000 Coptic Catholics in Egypt. Unlike Orthodox Copts, they recognize the Roman Catholic pope.