10/3/98 Roddy McDowall - Los Angeles, Oct. 3 (Bloomberg) -- Actor Roddy McDowall, who performed in theater, television and such films as ``Planet of the Apes'' and ``The Poseidon Adventure,'' died at his home in Los Angeles of cancer at the age of 70, the Associated Press reported, citing a friend who cared for the actor. McDowall, who left Britain for the U.S. after the German bombardment of London began in 1940, made his film debut at age 8 in ``Murder in the Family'' and later grew popular as a child actor in films such as ``Lassie Come Home.'' He appeared on Broadway in the musical ``Camelot,'' and in the 1980s and '90s worked in such television dramas as ``The Martian Chronicles,'' AP said. At age 13, McDowall came to the attention of Hollywood with his role in ``How Green Was My Valley,'' which won the Academy Award for best picture in 1941, as well as an Oscar for its director, John Ford.
10/2/98 Gene Autry -LOS ANGELES (Oct. 2) - Gene Autry, the original singing cowboy, who went from yodeling and strumming a mail order guitar to becoming one of America's richest men, died Friday of cancer. Autry, whose fortune was estimated at more than $350 million, was 91 and died at his home in North Hollywood where he had been bedridden for a month, a family spokesman said. Former President Ronald Reagan, like Autry a former western movie actor who went on to a bigger career, and his wife Nancy issued a statement saying their old friend ''delighted and touched millions.'' The news also saddened the 100 residents of the small town of Gene Autry, Oklahoma, named after the singing cowboy back in 1941. Mayor F.W. Conway said Autry remained a local hero right to the end. ''We just celebrated his 91st birthday this weekend in Gene Autry with a four-day music festival that was real nice. It was one of the best music festivals we've had in this town, we had standing room only last Friday and Saturday night,'' Conway told Reuters. Joanne Hale, co-curator of the Gene Autry Western Heritage Museum in Los Angeles, said Autry died of lymphoma, a form of cancer. ''He had a bout with lymphoma two or three years ago, but it went into remission. Then things started getting real bad about a month ago,'' she said. Autry, the son of a Texas horse trader, began his career as ''Oklahoma's Yodeling Cowboy'' in 1929 and went on to record some of America's most popular songs including ''Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer'' and ''Back in the Saddle Again.'' ''Rudolph,'' recorded on a whim in 1949, has sold more than 30 million copies and is the second-biggest-selling Christmas song behind Bing Crosby's ''White Christmas.'' Autry also rode his horse, Champion, in about 90 movies and became one of the biggest box office draws in the 1930s and 1940s. The profits from his ventures allowed him to buy the then California Angels baseball team in 1960. Although he spent millions buying the best players, the club never fulfilled his dream of winning the World Series. In 1996, Autry sold 25 percent of the team to the Walt Disney Co. in a deal which also gave Disney the operating rights to the franchise. The team was later renamed the Anaheim Angels. He was born Orvon Gene Autry in Tioga, Texas, on Sept. 29, 1907. After a nomadic childhood, at the age of 17 he settled with his family in Oklahoma where he learned to ride and rope. Soon afterward, he went to work as a radio telegrapher. ''When things got slow, I kept a little old guitar around that I would strum on,'' he once told a reporter. ''One night this farmer-looking guy with glasses on the tip of his nose came into the office and gave me some pages to send. Then he spotted the guitar. 'You play that?' he asked. 'Some,' I told him. 'Like to hear you,' he said.'' Autry played a couple of songs and the visitor, famed Oklahoma humorist Will Rogers, said: ''Hey, you do all right. You ought to get yourself a job on the radio.'' Autry took his advice and made his first records in 1929. Later he was invited to appear on the National Barn Dance, a popular country music program, and recorded a million-selling country tune called ''That Silver-Haired Daddy of Mine,'' written with an old friend, Jimmy Long. On his way to Chicago in 1932 he met Long's niece, Ina Mae Spivey, a 20-year-old music student. Three months and four dates later Autry proposed, and they were married. In 1934 the Autrys moved to Hollywood. Westerns were losing popularity and the studios were looking for someone to keep the genre alive. Autry stepped in; three years later he was the top Western star at the box office for Republic studios, a title he held for six years. ''I honestly never considered myself an actor,'' he said later. ''I was more of a personality.'' Perhaps because he had little faith in his own talent, he became a shrewd businessman. He had taken a correspondence course in accounting and when he broke into show business he made it a point to check the ticket window receipts himself. In 1940, he was the fourth biggest box-office attraction behind Mickey Rooney, Clark Gable and Spencer Tracy. In 1941 he was grossing more than $600,000 a year from records, personal appearances, endorsements and films. But in July 1942, at the age of 34, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps, and his income dropped to $135 a month as a sergeant. He was allowed to wear cowboy boots with his uniform, but otherwise was treated as an ordinary G.I. Flying cargo missions in the Far East, he realized the royalties from songs and endorsements would one day dry up, and he decided to make business a full-time pursuit. His first major acquisition came in 1948, when he bought a radio station in Phoenix. That purchase became the cornerstone of a financial empire that at one point included eight other radio stations, a Los Angeles television station, a Palm Springs hotel, a 20,000-acre cattle ranch in Arizona and the California Angels baseball team. He had his own radio show on the CBS network from 1940 to 1957 and enjoyed a friendly rivalry with America's other great singing cowboy, Roy Rogers, who died in July. He also was the first major film star to have his own TV series, ''The Gene Autry Show,'' which began in 1950. He stopped performing in 1964, saying he ''stopped making films when they started making the horses taller.'' There were rumors that he drank heavily. In a 1978 autobiography, he confronted the issue. ''Without realizing it,'' he wrote, ''I had grown dependent on liquor to relax. Drinking was a way to celebrate the end of a day or a deal ... It's a hard habit to resist and, after a while, you really don't want to resist.'' He said his drinking never interfered with his work. When the Angels became available in 1960, Autry moved with customary speed and confidence. The opportunity came about when Los Angeles Dodgers owner Walter O'Malley pulled his team's game broadcasts off Autry's radio station, KMPC, complaining of poor audio quality. Autry immediately tried to tie up radio rights to the American League's California expansion team and found that the prospective owners of the new club had soured on the deal. Three days later he produced a letter of credit for $1.5 million and became the owner.
9/29/98 Tom Bradley - LOS ANGELES (Sept 29) - Tom Bradley, the Texas sharecropper's son who rose from the police ranks to become Los Angeles' first black mayor, died today. He was 80. Bradley, who was mayor from 1973 to 1993, died at 9 a.m., Los Angeles County Supervisor Yvonne Brathwaite Burke announced at a supervisors meeting. Mayor Richard Riordan's office confirmed the death but had no immediate details. Bradley had suffered a paralyzing stroke in April 1996 while recuperating from heart surgery. Tall, athletic, cautious of voice, Bradley forged a multiracial political alliance that lasted for nearly two decades. Late in his tenure came the 1992 rioting that killed more than 50 people. Bradley was credited with opening up city government to minorities and women, expanding social services to the urban poor and spurring economic growth. Under his watch, Los Angeles gained international prominence, overtaking San Francisco as the West Coast's financial capital with its strong ties to Pacific Rim trading. The skyline changed as towering office buildings sprang up downtown. The airport and port became booming successes. But his two tries as the Democratic nominee for governor failed, and the 1991 Rodney King beating and the riots the following year served as a tragic bookend to his career. ''The April unrest tore at my heart, and I will not be at peace until we have healed our wounds and rebuilt our neighborhoods,'' he said when announcing in September 1992 that he would not seek a sixth term. ''Let us all, every one of us, pledge to make Los Angeles a beacon of mutual respect, justice and tolerance from this day forward.'' The Bradley political alliance of inner-city blacks, westside white liberals, labor and, later, business leaders crumbled, allowing for the election of a white Republican, Richard Riordan, in 1993. Still, Bradley left an indelible mark on the city. Even his detractors had praise for him as a coalition builder and unapologetic civic booster. He was a role model for countless black politicians. And he was a political original, calm and pedantic, yet also oddly riveting. His crowning moment was the Olympic Games in 1984. Warned the Olympics would bring economic and logistical crises to Los Angeles, Bradley nonetheless pushed for them and watched as the event, under the leadership of Peter Ueberroth, not only put a positive spotlight on the city, but also turned a profit. Bradley won election to his fourth term a year later with 68 percent of the vote, and he would later call the games ''the major event of my life.'' The final years of Bradley's tenure were marred by political scandal (he had accepted money for advising a bank and a savings and loan), complaints he had become too cozy with the city's economic elite, and the tensions between the races and between minorities and police that exploded in the 1992 riots. Factors beyond Bradley's control were part of the cause - the pressures of Reagan administration cutbacks, the downsizing of the defense industry, lingering problems from Proposition 13 tax breaks and the influx of poor immigrants from other countries and other states. After finishing his last term, Bradley put his law degree at work as a private attorney for a San Francisco-based firm. He was born Dec. 29, 1917, in Calvert, Texas. He recalled later that he once tried to pick cotton ''and decided right there this was not the life for me.'' He was still in grade school when the family moved to Los Angeles. A standout athlete, Bradley attended the University of California, Los Angeles, starring on the university track team. He joined the Police Department and rose to the rank of lieutenant, while earning his law degree at Southwestern University. He won a council seat in 1963 and ran for mayor six years later, losing to Sam Yorty in a bitter election tinged with racist rhetoric. In 1973, Bradley ran again and this time beat Yorty with 56 percent of the vote. In his inauguration speech, Bradley said, ''To the young people of this nation, I suggest that the results of this election helped confirm my faith and confidence in our system and in the democratic process.'' As mayor, Bradley quickly formed an advisory council made up of downtown business people, community leaders, government officials and labor. Early in his first term, Bradley also appointed a Commission on the Status of Women and doubled the number of women and minorities serving on city commissions. But his two attempts at statewide office fell short. In 1982, Bradley lost the governor's race to a white Republican, George Deukmejian, by less than 1 percentage point. Many legal analysts said the deciding issue may have been race. When he lost to Deukmejian again in 1986, the margin was far greater: the incumbent led with 61 percent to 37 percent for Bradley. When he ran for a fourth mayoral term in 1990, Bradley just barely avoided a runoff against an underfunded challenger. A year later, King, a black motorist, was pummeled by white officers following a high-speed chase. Bradley intensified his longtime duel with then-Police Chief Daryl Gates. When a jury outside the city limits acquitted the officers on nearly all state charges in 1992, the city erupted into three days of rioting that claimed 53 lives and did nearly $1 billion in damage. He would later describe the carnage as ''the most painful experience of my life.'' Bradley had appealed for calm, but some said his angry denouncement of the verdicts may have provoked violence. In an interview in 1994, on his first anniversary as citizen Bradley, the former mayor said he missed some of the people he'd encounter as mayor - but not the pressures. ''Everybody who has known me for 20 years says they've never seen me so happy, or smile so much,'' he said.
9/23/98 Mary Frann - LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Actress Mary Frann, best known for her co-starring role as Bob Newhart's wife in the long running TV comedy, ``Newhart,'' died at her Beverly Hills home on Wednesday at the age of 55, her spokesman said. Publicist Jeffrey Lane said Frann died in her sleep, but he did not know the cause of her death. Frann played Joanna Louden opposite Newhart for eight years, from 1982 to 1990. She first appeared as a regular on the TV series ``Return to Peyton Place,'' from 1972 to 1974. In 1974 she moved to daytime TV, appearing on ``Days of Our Lives'' for the next five years. She joined ``Newhart'' after a season with the short-lived series, ``King's Crossing.'' Frann also made guest appearances on several other series including ``The Mary Tyler Moore Show,'' ``Hawaii Five-O,'' ''The Rockford Files'' and ``WKRP in Cincinnati.'' She was born in St Louis, where she began her career as a member of the Gateway Repertory Theater. She is survived by two sisters, Pat and Jackie, and a brother, Harry.
9/21/98 Florence Griffith Joyner - Los Angeles, Sept. 21 (Bloomberg) -- Track star Florence Griffith-Joyner died this morning in Los Angeles after suffering a seizure, USA Track & Field said. She was 38. Her husband, Al Joyner, called the Orange County sheriff's office from their home in Mission Viejo, California, at 6:30 a.m. local time saying his wife was ``unresponsive and not breathing,'' according to Hector Rivera, a lieutenant with the sheriff's office. Paramedics determined that Griffith-Joyner had died in her sleep, although the cause of death is still under investigation, Rivera said. The three-time gold medalist had suffered a seizure at least once before. She spent a day in a hospital in 1996 after suffering a seizure on a flight from Los Angeles to St. Louis. Known as ``Flo-Jo,'' Griffith-Joyner in 1988 set the current world records for the 100 meters and 200 meters and won three gold medals at the Seoul Olympics. ``This is a tremendous shock to the Olympic family in the United States and to the sport of track and field throughout the world,'' Bill Hybl, president of the U.S. Olympic Committee, said in a statement. World Record She won the 100 meters at Seoul, and the 200 meters, establishing a world record of 21.34 seconds in the final. She also won a gold medal as part of the 4x100 meters relay team and a silver in the 4x400 meters relay. She also was remembered for her high-fashion track uniforms during the games and long colorful fingernails. ``She was one of the great characters of track and field, a personality who marked a generation of athletes with her performances and individuality,'' said International Amateur Athletic Foundation President Primo Nebiolo. Born in the Watts section of Los Angeles, Griffith-Joyner was educated at UCLA, where she was the NCAA champion in the 200 and 400 meters. The school planned to induct Griffith-Joyner to its athletics Hall of Fame at a ceremony on Oct. 3. After winning a silver medal in the 200 meters at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, she dropped out of the sport, then returned to win a silver medal at the 1987 World Championship Games in Rome. The seizure in 1996, along with her muscular build, fueled allegations that she was taking performance-enhancing drugs, although Griffith-Joyner continuously denied the claims and never failed a test for them. High Recognition Her performances during the 1988 Olympics and her sense of style made her one of the most famous and recognizable sports figures in the world. Griffith-Joyner was named in 1993 as chairwoman for the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. ``America, and the world, has lost one of our greatest Olympians,'' President Bill Clinton said in a statement. ``We were dazzled by her speed, humbled by her talent and captivated by her style.'' Her husband is a former Olympic triple-jump champion, and her sister-in-law is three-time gold medalist Jackie Joyner- Kersee. Griffith-Joyner retired from track after the 1988 Olympics and continued to coach her husband. She also worked as a clothing designer. Among her clients was the National Basketball Association's Indiana Pacers, whose players from 1990 through 1997 wore uniforms she designed. ``The flair she demonstrated on the track, she showed working with us,'' said Dale Ratermann, senior vice president of marketing for the team. She is survived by her husband and daughter, Mary.
9/9/98 - Leo Penn - Los Angeles, Sept. 9 (Bloomberg) -- Leo Penn, the father of actor-director Sean Penn and an Emmy Award-winning television director, died Saturday of cancer at the age of 77, the Associated Press reported, citing his son's publicist Carol Stone. Leo Penn, who began his career as an actor and had leading roles on stage, won an Emmy Award for directing a two-hour episode in 1973 of ``Columbo, Any Port in a Storm,'' and directed more than 400 hours of prime-time TV, including episodes of ``Little House on the Prairie,'' ``Diagnosis Murder'' and ``St. Elsewhere.'' In addition to his wife of 40 years, actress Eileen Ryan, and son Sean, he is survived by sons Michael and Chris, and three grandchildren, AP said. ``Little House on the Prairie'' and ``St. Elsewhere'' were listed among the top 100 prime-time television series of all time, according to a survey of more than 8,300 TV fans polled by UltimateTV, a TV website.
/7/98 - Akira Kurosawa - Tokyo, Sept. 6 (Bloomberg) -- Akira Kurosawa, the internationally acclaimed Japanese director of such films as ``The Seven Samurai'' and ``Rashomon,'' died today at home, his family said. He was 88. The cause of death wasn't known, the Associated Press reported, citing an official of his film company, Kurosawa Film Production. Born in Tokyo on March 23, 1910, to a family that held samurai rank, Kurasawa made his directorial debut in 1943. He was one of a few Japanese directors to find fame internationally, and his films became more popular in the West than in his native Japan. His movies have influenced such American directors as Francis Ford Coppola and Brian DePalma, and are said to have inspired such legendary movies as the ``Star Wars'' trilogy by George Lucas. ``He had a godlike vision that translated well into American movies,'' Naoko Kimura, an independent film critic in Tokyo, told the AP. ``His philosophy on directing is part of modern filmmaking.'' Kurosawa made his debut with ``Sanshiro Sugata'' (``The Judo Saga''), which became a wartime hit in Japan. His breakthrough film was 1950's ``Rashomon,'' capturing the Oscar for Best Foreign Film in 1951, winning top prize at the Venice Film Festival and exposing Japanese filmmaking to the West. He then made ``Ikiru'' (``Living'') in 1952, and the epic ``Shichinin no samurai'' (``Seven Samurai'') in 1954 -- remade by American filmmakers in 1960 as ``The Magnificent Seven.'' After a lean period in the late 1960s and early 1970s, he went on to make the Russian production ``Dersu Uzala'' in 1974, earning him his second Oscar. In 1980, he made the samurai epic ``Kagemusha'' with the help of American admirers Coppola and Lucas. Known as ``The Emperor'' because of his perfectionism and extravagance, Kurosawa also became known for his adaptation of Shakespeare into feudal Japanese settings in such films as ``Kumonosu jo'' (``Throne of Blood'') in 1957 and ``Ran'' in 1985. Kurosawa, who was 6 feet tall, was married to Japanese actress Yoko Yaguchi from May 1945 until her death in February 1985. He is survived by a son, Hisao, and a daughter, Kazuko.
8/26/98 E.G. Marshall - NEW YORK (AP) -- E.G. Marshall's distinctive voice landed him a radio job that launched him in show business, a 66-year run in which he was often cast as a lawyer or politician. He played them so convincingly that people sometimes mistook him for the real thing. The two-time Emmy Award winner, who reprised his role of lawyer Lawrence Preston in a Showtime version of ``The Defenders'' last season, died Monday evening at his home in suburban Mount Kisco. He was 84. His agent, Clifford Stevens, did not disclose the cause of death. Andy Wolk, who directed Marshall in the Showtime series, praised him for freshening a 30-year-old character. ``He's a great actor and a great human being,'' Wolk said. ``The world has lost a great actor and I have lost a wonderful friend,'' said actor Beau Bridges, who played Marshall's son in the Showtime series. In an interview last year with The Associated Press, Marshall pointed out he had worn the same oxfords in the 1990s and 1960s versions of ``The Defenders.'' ``He had the shoes resoled,'' Wolk said. ``Those shoes were maybe the only thing old-fashioned about him. He would come to the set each day ... and come up with a gem that was spot on for the character.'' Marshall's movie credits included ``The Caine Mutiny,'' ``The Silver Chalice,'' ``The Left Hand of God,'' ``Twelve Angry Men,'' ``Cash McCall,'' ``Town Without Pity,'' ``Compulsion,'' ``The Bridge at Remagen,'' and ``Superman 2.'' On Broadway he appeared in ``The Petrified Forest,'' ``The Iceman Cometh,'' ``The Skin of our Teeth,'' ``Jacobowsky and the Colonel,'' ``The Gambler,'' and ``The Crucible. His distinctive voice often was heard on commercials. He narrated ``In Memoriam: J.F.K.'' in 1966 and for several years was host of the annual PBS July 4 production, ``A Capitol Fourth.'' He had a flair for political roles, including his portrayal of President Truman in 1975's TV movie ``Collision Course.'' In 1995's ``Nixon,'' he played former Attorney General John Mitchell. He portrayed senators in 1997's HBO movie ``Miss Evers' Boys'' and the 1986 movie ``Power.'' His powerful persona shone through so convincingly on the screen that people sometimes mistook him for the genuine item. ``I was on the phone in the Senate wing of the Capitol,'' he once recalled. ``A woman asked me how to get to the third-floor Senate gallery. She said, `You must know, you're a senator.''' He had some experience in politics. He formed an environmentalist political party for a local election in 1988. ``It was a civics lesson for me -- what it takes to get elected. Well, I didn't win,'' he recalled. Marshall was born in Owatonna, Minn., to Norwegian parents. Biographies list Marshall's birthday as June 18, 1910. But in a 1997 interview with the AP, Marshall insisted those biographies were wrong, and that he was born in 1914. While attending the University of Minnesota, he considered entering the Episcopal ministry but said he ``gave up on the clergy'' when he discovered his leanings toward agnosticism. He set out on his thespian course in 1932, taking a radio job in St. Paul, Minn., and then moving on to Chicago, where he performed with the Theater Guild on the Air. The following year he joined a touring Shakespearean repertory company and eventually made it to Broadway. His first appearance was in a Federal Theater Project production of ``Prologue to Glory'' in 1938. His film debut came in 1945 when he played a morgue attendant in ``The House on 92nd Street.'' By the time Marshall got the part in ``The Defenders,'' he estimated, he had appeared in more than 400 television shows, including ``Kraft Television Theatre,'' the ``Hallmark Hall of Fame,'' ``Playhouse 90'' and ``Philco Playhouse.'' He played the part of Dr. David Craig in the NBC series ``The New Doctors'' from 1969 to 1973. In the 1970s, Marshall returned to his radio roots as host of the CBS Radio Mystery Theater. He played an aging tycoon in the 1997 Clint Eastwood film ``Absolute Power.'' Marshall married Helen Wolf in 1939; they were divorced in 1953. They had a daughter, Jill, and a son, Degen. Other survivors include his wife, Judy.
8/18/98 Persis Khambatta - 'Trek' Actress Dies Persis Khambatta, a former Miss India and Lt. Ilia of Star Trek: The Motion Picture passed away at the age of 49 on Tuesday, the result of a heart attack. The Bombay, India, Afternoon Dispatch and Courier reported that "the previous night, she complained of feeling uneasy and was admitted into a nursing home at Marine Lines. A niece stayed with her. In the morning, when the doctor arrived, he found she had expired."
8/3/98 Shari Lewis - LOS ANGELES, Aug 3 (Reuters) - Ventriloquist Shari Lewis, who made a sock puppet named ``Lamb Chop'' come alive for generations of U.S. children and devoted half a century to improving TV for young viewers, has died, her publicist said on Monday. Lewis, 65, died on Sunday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre, where she was undergoing chemotherapy treatment for uterine cancer, which was only diagnosed in June. She later developed pneumonia, spokeswoman Maggie Begley said. Lewis's gentle TV programmes in which she played a straight woman to a host of hand puppets including Lamb Chop, Hush Puppy and Charlie Horse were a staple for the baby boom generation who grew up with television. In addition to her TV shows, for which she won 12 Emmy awards, Lewis wrote more than 60 children's books and produced more than two dozen home videos for children. But it was Lamb Chop -- a white knitted sock with sleepy eyes and big lashes, a nasal voice and a sceptical attitude -- with which Lewis will forever be associated. In an interview several years ago in which she was asked how she threw her voice, Lewis -- a magician's daughter -- talked of her puppets as if they were real. ``I don't think of it as throwing my voice,'' she told the New York newspaper Newsday. ``Lamb Chop, Charlie Horse and Hush Puppy have lives of their own and say what they want to say. The fact that I help them is just a coincidence.'' She also recalled how as a child she had used ventriloquism to fool her father into thinking her sister was trapped in a closet. In fact, she credited her father with coming up with the idea of the sheep character. ``When I was a teenager, my father said: 'If Mary has a little lamb, why shouldn't Shari have a little lamb?''' Lewis introduced Lamb Chop in 1956 on the ``Captain Kangaroo'' TV show, and starred in her own show a year later. But she made her debut on the small screen in 1940 on a local NBC shown in New York, pulling a rabbit from a hat. Her 50 years in children's TV was hailed by educators for not just entertaining but also attempting to teach children lessons about life. ``A mother came up to me once and said: 'I want to thank you for keeping our kids kids just a little while longer,''' she said in a recent TV interview. Testifying to Congress, Lewis once said: ``I think television is a fabulous tool both for education and entertainment. However in the field of children's programming, we have allowed it to be used very badly.'' She won a John F. Kennedy Centre Award for Excellence and Creativity and seven Parents' Choice awards. She never spoke down to children, but invited them to enter a creative world of music and song. California Gov. Pete Wilson issued a statement on her death in which he praised Lewis for encouraging children ``to be doers, not just viewers.'' From 1968-76, Lewis had her own weekly TV show in Britain on BBC and appeared at three Royal Command performances, including one at Buckingham Palace. She also performed several times at the White House. Her illness was announced last June by spokeswoman Begley who said at the time that Lewis was continuing work on her latest public television series, ``The Charlie Horse Music Pizza,'' while being treated. Born Shari Hurwitz in New York, Lewis learned the piano from her mother and ventriloquism and magic from her father who was a college professor and ``official magician'' to the city. She is survived by her husband and collaborator of 40 years, Jeremy Tarcher, and her daughter, Mallory Tarcher, a TV producer and writer, who also won an Emmy for her work on Lewis' shows. A private funeral will be held and the family asked that donations be made in her name to the Girl Scouts of America.
7/30/98 - Buffalo Bob Smith - HENDERSONVILLE, N.C., July 30 (Reuters) - ``Buffalo Bob'' Smith, the kindly cowboy who with the help of a freckle-faced wooden puppet named Howdy Doody pioneered children's television, died Thursday. He was 80. Smith, who lived in Flat Rock, North Carolina, about 90 miles west of Charlotte, died of lung cancer at Margaret R. Pardee Hospital in nearby Hendersonville, a hospital spokeswoman said. ``Say kids, what time is it?'' Buffalo Bob cried out to open his show. ``It's Howdy Doody time,'' the lucky 40 kids in the studio ``Peanut Gallery'' screamed. And with that, hundreds of thousands of kids watching from home were off to Doodyville to spend the next half hour with Howdy Doody, Clarabell the clown, the cantankerous Phineas T. Bluster, Chief Thunderthud and a lyrical world of other characters. ``The Howdy Doody Show'' was the first nationally televised children's television show and the first NBC show to air five days a week, Monday through Friday. Debuting on December 27, 1947, the show ran 2,543 episodes before going off the air on September 23, 1960. On the show, Buffalo Bob mixed songs, stories and slapstick comedy with the practical lessons of life, reminding a generation of baby boomers to brush their teeth, look both ways before crossing the street and be kind to their pets. ``We never, ever tried to con kids. We never took unfair advantage, we never sold a product that could hurt a child,'' Smith said in his autobiography. ``We avoided violence in our stories and our commercials. We aimed for parental approval.'' Born Robert Schmidt on November 27, 1917, Smith was the son of a coal miner urged by his father to develop his musical talents. He began playing the piano professionally at age 15, and sang with a trio, the ``Hi Hatters'' that toured with singer Kate Smith. He joined NBC Radio in New York in 1946 to host a morning show on WNBC, and soon, as Big Brother Bob, was hosting ``The Triple B Ranch,'' a radio quiz show for children. One of the characters on that show, a country bumpkin named Elmer, greeted the kids with a warm ``howdy doody.'' A year later, Smith was asked to create a similar live programme for a new medium, television. Elmer was renamed Howdy Doody, and television history was made. In 1954, Smith suffered a heart attack and took a year off from the show to recover. Six years later, the ever-silent Clarabell spoke his first words, ``Good-bye kids,'' and ``The Howdy Doody Show'' was off the air. In 1970, students at the University of Pennsylvania asked Smith to make an appearance at the school, and Buffalo Bob spent the next few years on a revival tour that included more than 500 campus appearances, long-time friend and road manager Bert Dubrow said. Dressed in his trademark cowboy outfit with the Buffalo stitched to the back -- and with the original Howdy Doody wooden puppet safely at his home in North Carolina -- Smith hit the road to entertain Howdy Doody ``alumni,'' a legion of fans -- now aged 42 to 62 -- who had grown up with his show. ``It always took him back,'' Dubrow said of the nostalgia. ``The truth is he never realised the success and what a role he played in our lives until we went out and did the college tour.'' Smith is survived by his wife, Mildred, children Robin, Ronald and Christopher, and three grandchildren. The family plan a private memorial service.
7/29/98 Jerome Robbins - NEW YORK, July 29 (Reuters) - Jerome Robbins, the legendary choreographer of ballet, Broadway musicals and movies, died at his home in New York City on Wednesday at age 79, a spokesman for the New York City Ballet said. He suffered a stroke on Saturday, the spokesman said. Robbins, whose style, flair and intensity transformed American musical theatre, was perhaps best known for his choreography in ``West Side Story'' in 1957. The original idea for ``West Side Story'' is attributed to Robbins, who wanted to stage a modern-day version of ``Romeo and Juliet,'' and his tough, swaggering steps for the musical's gang members, set to the music of Leonard Bernstein and the lyrics of Stephen Sondheim, broke new ground. Robbins also won two Academy Awards for the 1960 movie version of the musical. His work was hailed by President Bill Clinton, who issued a statement saying he and the first lady were saddened by the choreographer's death. ``Like so many Americans, our lives were enriched immeasurably by his artistic genius,'' Clinton said. ``Through his brilliant choreography, he brought the joy and passion of the human experience to millions, lifting American theatre and dance to new heights.'' Other Broadway hits by Robbins include ``High Button Shoes'' (1947), ``The King and I'' (1951), ``Peter Pan'' (1954), ``West Side Story'' (1957), ``Gypsy'' (1959) and ``Fiddler on the Roof'' (1964). His energetic creativity found few limits, and Robbins worked in stage musicals, ballet, opera, television and movies in a prolific career that spanned several decades. Born Jerome Rabinowitz in New York, he studied ballet, modern dance, Spanish dance and Asian movement and started his career dancing in musical comedy in 1937, joining Ballet Theatre in 1940. He became a soloist the following year and in 1949 joined George Balanchine's New York City Ballet. Robbins served as associate artistic director of the New York City Ballet with Balanchine from 1949. In 1983, upon Balanchine's death, he and Peter Martins became co-ballet masters-in-chief until 1990. Robbins created more than 50 ballets in his lifetime. His first, ``Fancy Free,'' written in 1944 when he was just 25 about three sailors on wartime leave in New York City, with a Bernstein score, was expanded into the musical hit ``On the Town.'' After choreographing ``Fiddler on the Roof,'' Robbins wrote ballets for the New York City Ballet, including ``In the Night'' in 1970, ``The Goldberg Variations'' in 1971, ``Watermill'' in 1972 and ``Brandenburg'' just last year. ``Jerome Robbins' death truly represents the end of an era, and leaves us in deepest grief,'' Martins said. ``He was the last of the titans in the world of dance.'' Although he underwent heart surgery in recent years, Robbins remained actively involved in the ballet company, which this past season performed a number of his works. To dancers, Robbins was known as stern and demanding, with an eye to detail and a reputation for holding long and relentless rehearsals. Robbins won the National Medal of Art, an award from the Kennedy Centre, the Screen Directors' Guild Award, the New York Drama Critics Circle Award, an Emmy Award for a 1955 television version of ``Peter Pan'' and several Tony Awards.
7/22/98 Robert Young - LOS ANGELES (July 22) - Robert Young, loved by millions of viewers as television's all-knowing dad on ''Father Knows Best'' and the compassionate ''Marcus Welby, M.D.,'' has died. He was 91. Young died Tuesday evening at his home in Westlake Village, his physician, Dr. John Horton, said today. ''He just stopped breathing, basically,'' Horton said. ''It was basically related to age, and he had had heart surgery and his heart was not so good.'' After a prolific career in films, where Young appeared in such well-remembered movies as ''Sitting Pretty,'' ''Northwest Passage'' and ''Journey for Margaret,'' he went on to even greater success in two long-running television shows that were among the most popular of their respective decades. ''Father Knows Best,'' which Young originated on radio in 1949, was moved to television in 1954 and, after a rocky start in the ratings, finished its run in 1959-60 as No. 6. It was so popular that CBS continued it in primetime reruns for two seasons after the original run ended in 1960. In contrast to the shows where the comedy came largely from a blundering character, ''Father Knows Best'' aimed for chuckles more than belly-laughs as Jim and Margaret Anderson thoughtfully soothed the growing pains of their Betty, Bud and Kathy. Answering latter-day criticism that the show wasn't realistic, Young said that adding a subplot about illness or drugs ''would have been like taking a beautiful painting and obliterating it with black paint - and that really would have turned the audience off. We never intended the series to be more than a weekly half-hour of fun and entertainment.'' He recalled telling a producer friend, in the process of creating the original radio show, ''I'd like to be the father, but not a boob.'' He said they strove to create ''what we thought would be representative of a middle-class American family, if there was such a thing. There probably isn't, but that was what we were looking for.'' ''Marcus Welby, M.D.,'' which ran on ABC from 1969 to 1976, got even larger audiences with a similarly thoughtful, compassionate lead character. It was the highest-rated show in the 1970-71 season - the first ABC show to be so rated - and was in the top 15 shows for four seasons, 1969-73. Young's role as the general practitioner who strove to understand patients' hopes and fears as well as their diseases brought him praise from medical groups. ''He's understanding and dedicated,'' Young once said of his character. ''These are words that for some reason have fallen into disuse. I knew from the start that I had to come back to play this man.'' Young won two Emmys for ''Father Knows Best'' and a third for ''Marcus Welby M.D.'' After Young stepped down from ''Welby,'' he wasn't away from the screen long. Among his television work after that were a ''Father Knows Best'' Christmas reunion movie; ''All My Darling Daughters,'' where he was the father of the brides; and that TV movie's sequel, in which he got married. In 1987, he played a man who went to prison for killing his ailing wife, ''Mercy or Murder.'' ''I enjoy acting,'' Young once remarked. ''Whenever anyone says 'retire' I say, 'Retire to what?''' He was married to the same woman for more than 60 years, and they had four daughters. But his life had its valleys as well. He had a history of alcoholism and depression, and in 1991 he made a suicide attempt. Young was born Feb. 22, 1907, in Chicago, fourth of five children of an Irish immigrant building contractor. The family moved to Los Angeles when he was 10. He said he found the make-up he wore for high school plays a shield for much of his natural shyness. After graduation he worked as a bank clerk by day and a student actor nights at the Pasadena Community Playhouse. His theater work eventually drew Hollywood interest, and a screen test brought his first film role in ''The Black Camel.'' Signed by MGM, he began appearing in such films as ''The Sin of Madelon Claudet,'' 'Hell Divers,'' ''Strange Interlude,'' ''Hell Below,'' ''Tugboat Annie,'' ''The House of Rothschild,'' ''West Point of the Air'' and ''Today We Live.'' Gradually he escaped the shadow of flashier stars and won top roles for himself. Among his notable films during his long MGM contract where ''H.M. Pulham, Esq.,'' ''Navy Blue and Gold,'' ''Three Comrades,'' ''The Shining Hour,'' ''Northwest Passage,'' and ''Joe Smith, American.'' ''Journey for Margaret,'' in which he played a war correspondent who befriends a British orphan, made a star of little Margaret O'Brien. After his tenure with MGM his film career continued with ''Claudia,'' ''The Enchanted Cottage,'' ''Crossfire,'' ''Sitting Pretty,'' ''Lady Luck,'' ''Those Endearing Young Charms,'' and ''Goodbye, My Fancy.'' His costars included Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford, Myrna Loy, Katharine Hepburn, Greer Garson, Norma Shearer and Jean Harlow. ''I am a plodder,'' Young once said. ''My career never had any great peaks. But producers and directors knew I was reliable. So when they couldn't get the really big stars, they'd say, 'Let's get Bob.' As a result, I always kept working, each time climbing a little higher.'' Then came ''Father Knows Best'' on radio, then TV, and after that another TV series, ''Window on Main Street,'' in 1961-62. He spent seven years in semiretirement, then was offered ''Welby'' - ''and when I read that script I got very excited.'' Young was 17 and Betty Henderson 14 when they met at Los Angeles Lincoln High School. They married in 1933. She died in 1994. Young is survived by daughters Betty Lou Gleason, Carol Proffitt, Barbara Beebe, and Kathy Young; six grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. ''The world has lost one of its last real leading men, and I have lost my father,'' Ms. Gleason said in a statement. ''When I saw Dad a couple of days ago, we had a wonderful visit. He was alert and joking, so it came as a real shock to learn he'd gone so fast.''
7/21/98 Alan Sheppard - WASHINGTON (July 21) - Astronaut Alan Shepard, the first American to fly in space and the fifth human to walk on the moon, has died at age 74. Shepard, one of the revered original seven Mercury astronauts named by NASA in April 1959, died Tuesday night at Community Hospital near Monterey, Calif., said Howard Benedict, executive director of the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation in Titusville, Fla., who had talked to Shepard's wife. The former Navy test pilot made a 15-minute suborbital flight - five of those minutes in space - on May 5, 1961, aboard the Freedom 7 spacecraft. Ten years later, after overcoming a serious ear infection that lingered for six years, Shepard returned to space for his second and last flight as commander of Apollo 14 on Jan. 31, 1971. He was one of only a dozen people to walk on the moon. ''Those of us who are old enough to remember the first space flights will always remember what an impression he made on us and on the world,'' President Clinton told an audience after being passed word of the astronaut's death. ''So I would like to express the gratitude of our nation and to say that our thoughts and prayers are with his family.'' Only four of the original seven Mercury astronauts are still living: Gordon Cooper, John Glenn, Scott Carpenter and Walter Schirra. Shepard spent 33 hours on the moon during the third lunar landing mission and became the only lunar golfer, playfully whacking golf balls with a six-iron. On that flight, Shepard, Edgar Mitchell and Stuart Roosa spent nine days in space; Mitchell and Shepard stayed on the moon for two days. Although Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin beat Shepard into space by 23 days, Shepard's 1961 flight marked the beginning of the infant U.S. space program. He prophetically called that first flight ''just the first baby step, aiming for bigger and better things.'' On the historic launch morning, Shepard - and the nation - waited impatiently for more than four hours as NASA corrected problems with an electrical system, a ground computer and the rocket's fuel pressure. It was the second launch attempt; the first one three days earlier was foiled by storms. The Redstone rocket finally ignited at 9:34 a.m. and lifted Shepard 116 miles high and 302 miles downrange from Cape Canaveral, reaching a speed of 5,100 mph before plopping into the Atlantic Ocean. ''Everything is A-OK!'' an excited Shepard said after the flight as his capsule bobbed in the Atlantic Ocean. Less than three weeks later, on May 25, 1961, President Kennedy set forth the goal of landing a man on the moon by the end of the decade. Known for his cocksure determination and ready wit, Shepard also could be perceived as icily distant and stubborn. He had been characterized as the most eager to be picked from among three astronauts who were finalists for the famous first flight. ''There are lots of answers why I want to be the first man in space, but a short answer would be this: the flight obviously is a challenge and I feel that the more severe challenge will occur on the first flight and I signed up to accept this challenge,'' he said before his selection from the trio in early 1961. Thirty years later, in an interview, Shepard looked back on his historic Mercury flight - which he said he considered the most exciting point of his career - and marveled that the U.S. space program had encountered only two fatal accidents: the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger on Jan. 28, 1986, which claimed seven lives; and the burning of the Apollo I cabin Jan. 27, 1967, on the Kennedy Space Center launch pad, which killed three astronauts. ''Thirty years ago, the large percentage of population thought we were crazy sitting on the top of a rocket and allowing ourselves to be thrust into space,'' Shepard recalled. ''There was a lot of doubt ... especially from some of the more learned members of the medical community who thought that man shouldn't be in space; it wasn't his place to be there. ''Had we said 30 years ago that we were going to put man in space for 30 years and we're only going to have two accidents, we would have said, 'Boy, we'll take that right now.' Certainly, pushing out the frontiers as we did and still are doing, and having one accident in flight, the other on the ground, really is remarkable.'' In the years between the two flights, Shepard headed NASA's astronaut office and began investing - in banks, oil wells, quarter-horses and real estate. Retiring from the space agency and from the Navy as a rear admiral in 1974, he became a millionaire as a developer of commercial property, a partner in a venture capital group, a director of mutual fund companies and president of a beer distributorship, among other interests. Shepard also was president of the Mercury Seven Foundation, which raises money for science and engineering scholarships. Shepard was a native of Derry, N.H, and son of a banker. He showed an early interest in airplanes and started working at a nearby airport while in high school. He was graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1944 and saw World War II action in the Pacific aboard the destroyer Cogswell. He earned his aviator's wings after the war and became a test pilot before his astronaut selection. After his second flight, Shepard served as a delegate by presidential appointment to the 26th United Nations General Assembly in 1971. He continued as chief of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration astronaut office from June 1971 until August 1974, when he retired. His awards include the Medal of Honor, for space, in 1979.
7/6/98 Roy Rogers - LOS ANGELES, July 6 (Reuters) - Roy Rogers, the clean-living, guitar-strumming ``King of the Cowboys'' who galloped into America's heart riding Trigger across movie and TV screens, died on Monday at age 86. An older generation of Americans immediately recalled a handsome, heroic and happy singing cowboy who helped make going to the movies on Saturday afternoon a national pastime. But a younger generation had only vague memories of those halcyon days and recalled instead a man who lent his name and fame to a popular fast-food chain. President Bill Clinton led the country in mourning the former peach-picker who defied the Depression to carve a unique niche in movies, saying, ``I really appreciate what he stood for, the movies he made and the kind of values they embodied and the good-natured spirit that he exhibited.'' Gene Autry, Rogers' screen rival for the affections of a generation of young buckaroos, mourned the loss of a man he called ``a close friend for half a century .... I considered him a great humanitarian and an outstanding American. He was, and always will be, a true western hero.'' Evangelist Billy Graham called Rogers one of the best friends he ever had, saying, ``Roy had all the fame and fortune anyone could ever want, and yet he never forgot his roots or lost sight of what is really important in life.'' He added, ``He was a giant of a man -- in his character, his love for his family and for others, and his faith .... Roy's unswerving hope of Heaven has now been realised.'' Rogers died of congestive heart failure at his home in Apple Valley, about 60 miles (96 km) northeast of Los Angeles, with his children and wife of 51 years, Dale Evans, at his side, a family spokeswoman said. A family friend said Rogers had been released from a hospital two weeks ago to spend his last days at home. For nearly three decades in movies and later on TV, he reigned as Hollywood's ``King of the Cowboys'' -- all thanks to his sneaking into the lot of Republic Pictures and getting hired on the spot as a singing cowboy for $75 a week. He was famed for his signature tune ``Happy Trails to You'' and for films in which he played a clean-cut cowboy who never got to kiss the girl although sometimes he kissed his horse. In films that began in the late 1930s and continued until the 1950s, Rogers became famed throughout the land for having the smartest horse (Trigger), the bravest dog (Bullet) and the best outfits -- white hat included. He also had a girlfriend -- Dale Evans -- whom he later married, who could ride, rope and sing with the best of them and a sidekick who had the scraggliest beard, Gabby Hayes. While Rogers' fame as a cowboy star waned with the disappearance of his TV show in 1963, his name lived on thanks to the fast-food chain developed with the Marriott Corp. and later sold to Hardee's bearing his name, and to a series of appearances in which he sung his classic cowboy tunes. Evans and Rogers last performed together at a charity benefit at which they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on May 17, 1997. Rogers introduced Cole Porter's hit song ``Don't Fence Me In'' in the 1941 film ``Hollywood Canteen.'' He appeared in 87 films for Republic Pictures and was the number one Western box office star from 1943 to 1954. Born Leonard Slye in Cincinnati, Ohio on Nov. 5, 1911, Rogers dropped out of high school to help support his family and struck out for California in 1929 in the Great Depression. He learned to sing and play guitar and formed a singing group, ``The Sons of the Pioneers,'' that toured the West. Rogers' big break came in 1938 as Autry's replacement in the movie ``Under Western Stars.'' By the end of 1938, Rogers had partnered with his golden palomino Trigger and was on his way to becoming a star. His other big movies included ``Billy the Kid Returns,'' ``King of the Cowboys,'' the title of which became his trademark, and ``Springtime in the Sierras'' in 1947. He and Evans, his second wife, made 35 movies together and starred in a TV show that ran from 1951-57. An attempt at a new programme lasted only from 1962 to 1963. With his wholesome image and shrewd business sense, Rogers was second only to Walt Disney in souvenir sales and licensing. Nearly 600 restaurants bear his name. At the peak of his fame, the Sears catalogue carried 400 products bearing his name and his picture appeared on 2.5 billion boxes of Post cereals. Roy Rogers comic books sold 25 million copies a year and almost every boy in America during the 1940s seemed to go to school with a Roy Rogers lunchbox. He met Evans in 1944 on the set of her first Roy Rogers feature ``The Cowboy and the Senorita.'' He was already married and had two small daughters, Cheryl and Linda. But in 1946, Rogers' wife Arlene died after the birth of their third child, Roy Jr., and the following year Rogers proposed to Evans on horseback as they were waiting to be announced at a stadium. Evans and Rogers lost a two-year-old daughter to illness, adopted four children and fostered a fifth. Two of the adopted children died in accidents, prompting Rogers, a deeply religious man, to seek strength in the Billy Graham Crusades. Rogers is survived by Evans, his children, 15 grandchildren and 33 great-grandchildren. Trigger died in 1965 but can be seen stuffed and mounted at the Roy Rogers museum in the Mojave Desert.
6/23/98 Maureen O'Sullivan - PHOENIX, Ariz., June 23 (Reuters) - Irish-born actress Maureen O'Sullivan who achieved fame playing Jane in 1930s Tarzan movies before retiring to raise a family that included daughter Mia Farrow, died on Tuesday at age 87. Felicia Thomas, a spokeswoman for the Scottsdale Healthcare-Osborne hospital, said O'Sullivan died there during the night. A friend of the family said she died of a heart attack. Born in the small town of Boyle, County Roscommon, Ireland, in 1911 and educated at convent schools in London, O'Sullivan was discovered by Hollywood director Frank Borzage at a horse show in Dublin and lured to Hollywood where she began a lengthy career in films and on the stage. Her first film was opposite the famous Irish tenor John McCormack in the 1930 musical ``Song o' My Heart.'' That film flopped, ending McCormack's brief flirtation with films, but O'Sullivan went on to star opposite Will Rogers in ``A Connecticut Yankee.'' But O'Sullivan's main claim to fame was as the scantily clad but thoroughly proper Jane in six ``Tarzan'' films starring Johnny Weissmuller, the Olympic swimmer turned actor. Edgar Rice Burroughs, who created the noble ape man character, thought the two made a lovely couple and sent her a complete collection of his Tarzan books. O'Sullivan also appeared in the cult classic 'The Devil- Doll'' and in a supporting role in ``The Barretts of Wimpole Street'' and in the first of the ``Thin Man'' series. She was the love interest in the Marx Brothers film ``A Day at the Races'' and appeared opposite Robert Taylor in ``A Yank at Oxford.'' She retired in 1942 to raise seven children she had with director John Farrow, including actresses Mia and Tisa Farrow. She returned to acting in 1948, appearing in Farrow's ``The Big Clock'' and in 1950 she appeared in his ``Where Danger Lives.'' In the late 1980s, she appeared in such films as ``Hannah and her Sisters,'' directed by Mia Farrow's then-boyfriend Woody Allen and in Francis Ford Coppola's ``Peggy Sue Got Married.'' She made more than 60 films from 1930 to 1986. O'Sullivan stood by her daughter Mia in the nasty custody battle she had with Allen and was frequently by her side. John Farrow died in 1963 and she married businessman James Cushing, who survives her along with six children, 32 grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren.
5/28/98 Phil Hartman - LOS ANGELES (May 28) - Actor Phil Hartman, who portrays radio newsman Bill McNeal in the NBC sitcom ''NewsRadio,'' and his wife were found dead in an apparent murder-suicide in their Encino home this morning. Police were in the home, removing two children from the home when Hartman's wife, Brynn, 40, killed herself, police Lt. Anthony Alba said. ''We are investigating this as a possible murder-suicide,'' Alba said. ''We know for sure that the female inflicted her own gunshot wound. She shot herself as police were removing a child from the home,'' Lt. Anthony Alba said. ''Mr. Hartman had been dead for awhile.'' Alba would not confirm that Mrs. Hartman was the one who shot the actor.
5/22/98 Robert W. Morgan - LOS ANGELES (AP) - Robert W. Morgan, a fixture on KRTH-FM and other Los Angeles radio stations for more than three decades, died Friday after a two-year battle with lung cancer. He was 60. Morgan, born in Mansfield, Ohio, was best known for being one of the original ``Boss Jocks'' at 93-KHJ. After 15 years at KRTH, he left last year to fight his illness, which he blamed on a 35-year, two-pack-a-day smoking habit. Prior to coming to KRTH, Morgan was the host of morning drive shows on stations K100-FM, KMPC-AM, and Magic 106FM. Among the honors Morgan received were a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame, two Billboard magazine Air Personality of the Year awards and the Gavin Professional Programmers Award. Morgan is survived by his wife Shelly, a daughter and brother.
5/22/98 John Derek - SANTA MARIA, Calif. (AP) - John Derek, the actor-director reputed to have been the force behind the meteoric career of his wife, Bo Derek, died Friday. He was 71. With family members present, Derek died at 12:45 p.m., said Marian Medical Center spokeswoman Stephanie Grogan. Derek, who had a history of heart trouble, was found unconscious at his Santa Ynez Valley home Wednesday afternoon and underwent lengthy heart surgery. Dr. Luke Faber said Derek had suffered a catastrophic problem with his aorta and heart. The Hollywood-born Derek began as a movie actor in the 1940s, and despite roles in such notable films as ``All the King's Men,'' ``The Ten Commandments'' and ``Exodus,'' his acting career stalled and he turned to still photography, film directing and producing. Ultimately, he was best known for marrying a series of beautiful actresses, French film starlet Pati Behrs, Ursula Andress, Linda Evans and finally Bo Derek, who was a teen-ager named Mary Cathleen Collins when they met. They wed in 1974 after she turned 18. His reputation as a Svengali stuck - despite her protests - after she starred as the object of Dudley Moore's fantasies in Blake Edwards' 1979 film ``10'' and she became an instant sex symbol. Derek was credited with masterminding her role, which created a rage for his wife's cornrow hairstyle and made ``She's a 10'' part of the language. But the success was never to be repeated. There was controversy when Derek directed his wife in ``Bolero,'' which ran into trouble over the extent of the her sex scenes as well as ridicule of lovemaking that reportedly provoked audiences into fits of laughter. Mrs. Derek was the producer; Derek was also the screenwriter. He also directed his wife in 1981's ``Tarzan the Ape Man'' and 1990's ``Ghosts Can't Do It,'' both of which she produced. Derek had two children with Behrs, son Russell and daughter Sean.
5/14/98 Frank Sinatra - LOS ANGELES (May 15) - Frank Sinatra, the brash young idol who became the premier romantic balladeer of American popular music and the ''chairman of the board'' to millions of fans, has died of a heart attack. He was 82. Sinatra, who had not been seen in public since a heart attack in January 1997, was pronounced dead at 10:50 p.m. Thursday in the emergency room of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, said his publicist, Susan Reynolds. Earlier in the evening, Sinatra had been taken to the hospital by ambulance with an unspecified distress, said a source who spoke on condition of anonymity. It was not immediately clear where he suffered the heart attack. But his wife, Barbara, was with him when he died and the rest of his family arrived a short time later, the source said. A private funeral was planned, Reynolds said. ''Ol' Blue Eyes'' was a master craftsman and ranked as one of the most influential singers in this country's history. With more than 200 records, his music led the evolution from Big Band to vocal American music. ''Frank Sinatra was a true original,'' entertainer Mel Torme said today. ''He held the patent, the original blueprint on singing the popular song, a man who would have thousands of imitators but who, himself, would never be influenced by a single, solitary person.'' ''He just had a natural grace,'' added Betty Garrett, an actress who appeared with Sinatra in the films ''Take Me Out to the Ball Game'' and ''On the Town.'' President Clinton paid tribute from Birmingham, England, where he is attending an economic summit. ''I was an enormous admirer of his,'' Clinton said. ''I think every American would have to smile and say he really did do it his way.'' And a fan who knelt this morning outside Sinatra's house, Damon Cook, said Sinatra ''made you believe what he's saying. ... I listened to Sinatra three to four hours a day and he's a humongous influence in my life. His songs will live forever.'' The blunt, often aggressive son of Italian immigrants communicated across generational lines with love songs filled with a rare mix of vulnerability and verve - from ''Strangers in the Night'' to ''One for My Baby.'' He refused to compromise - ''I'm going to do as I please,'' he once said - and his trademark song was ''My Way.'' Sinatra made almost as much news off-stage as on. Through his Rat Pack and organized crime associations, he was a cultural phenomenon who endured setbacks and scandals to become a White House intimate. His hairline receded and his waist thickened over the years, but Sinatra's light baritone only grew deeper and richer. He had a lavish lifestyle, four wives and some associates whose names could be found in FBI crime files. But for each story of Sinatra's punching someone, there was another of loyalty and generosity to friends and strangers. He always thanked his audiences for listening to him. Once, in the early 1950s, his career appeared to be over, and he came back with a movie performance in ''From Here to Eternity'' that brought him an Oscar for supporting actor. He retired to much fanfare in 1971, but found himself unable to stay away from the microphone. Sinatra said he never took voice lessons except to extend his range, and never learned to read music. In his performances late in his career, he would read lyrics. Yet his phrasing and timing rarely faltered. His signature songs included ''Night and Day,'' ''Young at Heart,'' ''One for My Baby,'' ''How About You?'' ''Day by Day,'' ''Ol' Man River,'' ''New York, New York,'' ''Come Fly With Me,'' ''Strangers in the Night,'' and, with daughter Nancy, ''Somethin' Stupid,'' a No. 1 smash during the rock era. Twyla Tharp choreographed a program called ''Nine Sinatra Songs.'' His movie credits include musicals - ''Anchors Aweigh,'' ''On The Town,'' ''Guys and Dolls,'' ''The Tender Trap,'' ''High Society,'' ''Pal Joey'' - and grittier fare, such as ''The Manchurian Candidate,'' ''Von Ryan's Express'' and ''The Man With the Golden Arm,'' which brought him his other Oscar nomination. He received the Kennedy Center honor in 1983 and was awarded the Medal of Freedom by his friend President Reagan in 1985. ''Sinatra's endurance has become a rallying point for many people who feel that their sacrifices and hard work are no longer honored, their values demeaned, their musical tastes ignored and sneered at,'' Pete Hamill wrote in New York magazine in 1980. ''They don't care that Sinatra got fat; so did they. They don't care that Sinatra moved from the New Deal to Ronald Reagan; many of them did the same thing, for the same basic reason: resentment at being ignored by the Democratic Party. They had overcome poverty and survived two world wars; they had educated their children and given them better lives; and sometimes their children didn't even care. But it should never be forgotten that Frank Sinatra was the original working class hero. Mick Jagger's fans bought records with their allowances; Sinatra's people bought them out of wages.'' Sinatra had new success in the '90s with his ''Duets'' album and its Grammy-winning sequel, ''Duets II.'' They combined him with a wide array of fellow singers, including rocker Bono of U2, Barbra Streisand and Julio Iglesias. Bono paid tribute to Sinatra, saying, ''Rock 'n' roll people love Frank. He has what we want: swagger and attitude.'' Francis Albert Sinatra was born Dec. 12, 1915, in a tough, working-class neighborhood of Hoboken, N.J. In the difficult delivery, his left earlobe was torn off and his throat was scarred by forceps; the doctor thought him stillborn. His grandmother shoved the 13-pound baby under cold running water and signs of life quickly emerged. Sinatra's father, Martin, was a boxer and member of the fire department. His mother, Dolly, was a nurse who became a power in local Democratic politics. Francis, their only child, spent much of his early life with his maternal grandmother but was spoiled by the entire family and lavished with gifts and fine clothes. He soon learned to fight off the envious kids in the neighborhood and became the leader of a gang that specialized in petty thievery until his mother moved to a nicer neighborhood. In 1933, Sinatra went to hear Bing Crosby and left the theater determined to be a singer, but not a Crosby copycat. ''What I finally hit on was more the 'bel canto' Italian school of singing,'' involving the smooth connection of notes, he wrote for Life magazine in 1965. ''It was more difficult than Crosby's style, much more difficult.'' He picked up what jobs he could, and as a member of a quartet won the Major Bowes Amateur Hour in 1935. By 1939, he was singing with bandleader Harry James, for $65 a week, but soon joined trombonist Tommy Dorsey, who had a reputation for showcasing singers. Sinatra, free to experiment with style, became fascinated with Dorsey's breath control. ''He would take a musical phrase and play it all the way through seemingly without breathing, for eight, 10, maybe 16 bars.'' Sinatra finally discovered that Dorsey snatched quick breaths through the side of his mouth, and he vowed to learn to play his voice like an instrument. He began swimming and running to improve his lungs, and learned to breathe in the middle of a note without breaking it. He was the first popular singer to use breathing for dramatic effect, and learned to use his microphone to enhance his voice. It also was important, he would say later, for a singer to realize he was telling a story, and place his pauses accordingly. Like Crosby, Sinatra was influenced by jazz. However, his phrasing, hitting certain words to make them more meaningful, was more like jazz phrasing - and was more exciting and appealing to young people. Dorsey's new singer quickly attracted a following, and by the end of 1941 Sinatra replaced Crosby at the top of the ''Down Beat'' poll. He broke from the band in 1942 and, with a series of concerts at New York's Paramount Theater, burst into the nation's awareness in a way unmatched until the arrival of Elvis Presley in the '50s and the Beatles in the '60s. His appearances created such hysteria and fits of swooning that newspapers turned to psychiatrists for explanations. Fans smeared lipstick on the home of the hollow-cheeked, bow-tied singer. The Paramount, and New York City's police, came in for an even bigger dose of Sinatramania in 1944, when 10,000 kids jammed the ticket line and an estimated 20,000 others piled into Times Square, breaking windows in the crush. ::::Funeral & Burial Update:::: Frank Sinatra's funeral will be held on Wednesday, May 20th at Good Shepard Catholic Church in Beverly Hills. This is by invitation only. It will be presided over by Cardinal Roger Mahoney of the Los Angeles Archdiocese. Burial will most likely be at Desert Memorial Park, in Cathedral City, CA. He will most likely be buried next to his mother, Natalie.
5/9/98 Alice Faye - HOLLYWOOD (Variety) - Alice Faye, perhaps the brightest musical comedy light at 20th Century Fox during the 1930s and '40s, died of cancer Saturday. She was 83. Faye died at Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage, where she underwent surgery last month to remove two stomach tumors. Her daughters, Alice Regan and Phyllis Harris, were at her bedside when she died, according to Jewel Baxter, Faye's spokeswoman. Faye introduced such classic popular tunes as ``You'll Never Know'' (the 1943 Oscar-winning song from ``Hello Frisco, Hello''), ``Goodnight, My Love'' and ``I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm,'' which helped make her a top box-office attraction. ``Actually, all those films were the same script,'' she once joked about the parade of musicals she did at Fox. ``All they did was change Don (Ameche) over here and Ty (Power) over there. They were fun, though, and it was a good way to make a living.'' However, after her relationship with studio head Darryl Zanuck soured (she referred to the studio as Penitentiary Fox) Faye walked out on her contract and largely retired from show business to devote herself to husband Phil Harris and raising a family. She was born Alice Jeanne Leppert on May 5, 1915, in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood of New York City. After trying unsuccessfully to join the Ziegfeld Follies at the age of 13, Faye briefly belonged to the Chester Hale dance group, which played at Manhattan's Capitol Theater and East Coast resorts. A job in the chorus of George White's ``Scandals'' (during which she officially changed her name) led to a radio singing engagement on the weekly show of Rudy Vallee, who was starring in ``Scandals.'' When Fox bought the film rights to the Broadway show in 1933, Vallee was asked to star and persuaded the studio to let Faye sing one number in the film. When the movie's female star, Lilian Harvey, withdrew, complaining that her role was too small, Vallee promoted Faye to replace her. Though never a great beauty, she epitomized the girl next door: attractive and spunky but non-threatening and warm. Her vivacious, wholesome style persuaded Fox to sign her and give her a publicity build-up. For a time, Faye was just another blond starlet, thrown into a succession of indifferent movies such as ``Now I'll Tell'' opposite Spencer Tracy. It wasn't until 1935 and the film ``King of Burlesque'' that Faye was able to cut loose and introduce the first of her most memorable songs, ``I'm Shooting High.'' Thereafter she was paired with another rising Fox star, Shirley Temple, in such films as ``Poor Little Rich Girl'' and ``Stowaway'' (which featured her hit rendition of ``Goodnight, My Love''). Faye's projects, if not better material, began to be better produced. By 1936 she was earning $2,000 a week. The film that made her a star contained a part originally set to be played by Jean Harlow. ``In Old Chicago'' was a bogus but widely popular drama with music about the great Chicago fire. It featured two of Faye's perennial co-stars, Power and Ameche, as did the successful ``Alexander's Ragtime Band,'' which featured 20 Berlin songs including one especially written for Faye, ``Now It Can Be Told.'' It remained her favorite film. By the end of the decade Faye was a top 10 box-office attraction, appearing in stuffy costume musicals such as ``Rose of Washington Square.'' In 1941, after her divorce from singer Tony Martin, Faye married orchestra leader Phil Harris in a union that was naysayed by industry wags, but which lasted until his death. Also in 1941, she starred in one of the first of the Fox romantic musical comedies set in ``exotic'' locations, ``Weekend in Havana,'' with Carmen Miranda and another popular Fox leading man, John Payne. After having her first child in 1942, Faye starred in the popular ``Hello Frisco, Hello,'' introducing her signature tune ``You'll Never Know.'' It was followed by the campy ``The Gang's All Here,'' also with Miranda. In an attempt to retool her image, Faye starred in a murder mystery, ``Fallen Angel,'' which was recut to more prominently feature her co-star, Linda Darnell. Faye was so incensed that she refused to do ``The Dolly Sisters'' opposite Fox's other reigning queen, Betty Grable. She repeatedly turned down good roles and spent more time with her family. From 1946-54 she appeared on ``The Phil Harris-Alice Faye'' show on radio and occasionally on television, including specials put on by her friend Bob Hope. Faye did not return to films until 1962 in a poor remake of ``State Fair'' and later in cameos in ``Won Ton Ton, the Dog Who Saved Hollywood'' and a featured role in ``The Magic of Lassie.'' In 1974 she starred in a Broadway revival of the musical ``Good News'' opposite Gene Nelson and toured with the show for two years. Faye is survived by her two daughters, four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Funeral arrangements were pending.
5/8/98 Eddie Rabbitt - NASHVILLE, Tenn. Eddie Rabbitt, a country-pop singer who topped the charts with bouncy hits like ''I Love A Rainy Night,'' has died. He was 53. A source close to Rabbitt's family, speaking on condition of anonymity, said today that Rabbitt died but had no details. Rabbitt had lung cancer and part of his left lung removed last May. Rabbitt, a singer-songwriter-guitarist with a tenor voice, had 26 No. 1 country singles. Besides ''I Love a Rainy Night'' in 1980, they included ''Drivin' My Life Away,'' ''Every Which Way but Loose,'' ''Step by Step,'' ''Someone Could Lose a Heart Tonight'' and ''Two Dollars in the Jukebox.'' He also had a No. 1 duet with Crystal Gayle, ''You and I,'' in 1982. His ''American Boy'' tune was popular with U.S. troops during the Gulf War. Rabbitt wrote most of his hit songs. In 1990, he said songwriters should never get complacent. ''I think if you start to feel secure, you don't do as well,'' he told The Associated Press. ''A writer has to keep one foot in the street and one pocket empty and be hungry for it.'' Rabbitt was a straight-arrow in an industry with many renegades. He took pride in doing a clean show with no off-color humor. In the early 1990s he criticized music videos for constantly picturing ''a bunch of girls with nothing on and a bunch of rock 'n' rollers singing about sex.'' MTV, he said at the time, ''distorted our youth mentally so that science and math are now so far away from a child's mind that anyone thinking about it is a nerd.'' At the height of his career, Rabbitt scaled back to spend more time with his son, Timothy Edward, who died in 1985 at 23 months. Timothy had been born with a bad liver. Rabbitt and his wife had two other children. Rabbitt was born in New York and raised in East Orange, N.J. In 1968, with $1,000 in his pocket and no music business contacts, he took a bus from New Jersey to Nashville. He began writing songs and got his break in 1970 when Elvis Presley recorded his song ''Kentucky Rain.'' Rabbitt was diagnosed with cancer in March 1997 and began radiation treatment.
5/3/98 Gene Raymond - HOLLYWOOD (Variety) - Gene Raymond, a handsome blond film star of the 1930s, died of pneumonia Sunday nightat Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. He was 89. In his later years, Raymond was best known as the husband of Jeanette MacDonald. He was married to the singing star from 1937 until her death in 1965. Beginning at the age of 5, Raymond's career spanned theater, films, radio and television. His most notable films in the 1930s were ``Red Dust'' with Clark Gable and Jean Harlow, ``Ex-Lady'' with Bette Davis, ``Zoo in Budapest'' with Loretta Young, ``Sadie McKee'' with Joan Crawford, ``Brief Moment'' with Carole Lombard and ``Seven Keys to Baldpate.'' He also played the romantic lead opposite Dolores Del Rio in ``Flying Down to Rio,'' the first film to feature Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Born Aug. 13, 1908, in New York City, Raymond began his acting career playing children's roles in stock companies. He attended New York's Professional Children's School and made his Broadway debut in 1920 under his real name, Raymond Guion. His longest run was two years in ``The Cradle Snatchers,'' with Humphrey Bogart. Raymond was one of the legion of New York actors who came to Hollywood with the advent of talkies. His first film was ``Personal Maid'' with Nancy Carroll in 1931, under his new name, Gene Raymond. He worked at several studios until he began a contract with RKO in 1935. His films there included: ``Hooray for Love'' with Ann Sothern, ``The Bride Walks Out'' with Barbara Stanwyck, ``That Girl from Paris'' with Lily Pons and ``Life of the Party'' with Harriet Hilliard, later of ``Ozzie and Harriet'' fame. Following three years in the Army Air Corps as a first lieutenant during World War II, Raymond returned to Hollywood, but found his career on the wane, appearing in only a handful of films through the 1960s. His last major film was the Henry Fonda-Cliff Robertson starrer ``The Best Man'' in 1964. He worked in summer stock and appeared on TV shows such as ``Robert Montgomery Presents'' and ``The Ed Sullivan Show.'' Raymond and MacDonald appeared in one film together, ``Smilin' Through,'' in 1941. Their marriage was considered one of Hollywood's most idyllic. Following her death, Raymond made regular appearances at conventions of the Jeanette MacDonald Fan Club. In 1974 he married Nel Bentley Hees, who died in 1995. A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Thursday at the Sanctuary of the Heritage, Forest Lawn in Glendale. Note from the Underground Gene Raymond was buried with his wife, Jeanette MacDonald at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale, CA in the Sanctuary of Heritage in the Freedom Mausoleum.