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Speaking of MacLaine, she was a frequent target for celebrity jokes on Tiny Toons and every show afterward. Other frequent targets were Christopher Walken, the late Bob Hope and Jerry Lewis....Since all these people have been around a while, the theory I've had is that your legal department felt older actors were less likely to sue. Am I wrong?

The legal department didn't distinguish between old actors and new actors.  In general, they didn't want us to lampoon anyone.  We just went ahead and did it anyway.  And the lawyers quite often freaked out. 

But Warners'  top attorney John Schulman was very patient with us.  He laid out a few ground rules...if the celebrity appears on screen, try to avoid referring to him or her by name.  And if the celebrity speaks on screen, try not to rip off the celebrity's whole act.  BTW, most of the celebs you mentioned above appeared (in cartoon form) mainly in Animaniacs rather than Tiny Toons.