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Obituaries for June 2005


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Guest Actor on 'Law & Order' Dies at 83


HUDSON, N.Y. (AP) - J.D. Cannon, an actor who appeared in guest roles on television shows such as "Law & Order" and "Murder, She Wrote," died at his upstate New York home. He was 83.

Cannon, who died May 20, had a regular role as a New York detective chief on the series "McCloud," a police drama that ran on NBC from 1970-77.

From 1960 to 1991, he had 85 guest roles on television, including "Remington Steele," "The Fall Guy," "B.J. and the Bear," "Gunsmoke," "Bonanza," "The Mod Squad," "The Fugitive," "The Defenders" and "The Untouchables."

His final on-screen role was in a March 1991 episode of "Law & Order."

Cannon had a few big-screen roles, including one in 1967's "Cool Hand Luke," a prison drama starring Paul Newman and George Kennedy.

A native of Salmon, Idaho, Cannon graduated from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. He served in the Army during World War II.

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Hogan's Heroes' Gen. Burkhalter dies

Associated Press

VIENNA, Austria -- Hollywood actor Leon Askin, whose film career spanned decades and included work in film, theatre and television, has died in a Vienna hospital, Austrian officials said Friday. The actor was 97 and his cause of death was not disclosed.

Askin appeared opposite such luminaries as Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton and Peter Ustinov, but gained wide popularity with the character of Gen. Albert Burkhalter in the 1960s television comedy, Hogan's Heroes.

He appeared in more than 50 films, including Billy Wilder's One, Two, Three and Austrian director Fritz Lang's Das Testament des Dr. Mabuse.

Born into a Jewish family in Vienna, Askin worked as a cabaret artist in the 1930s before fleeing first to France and then to the United States to escape persecution by the Nazis. He served in the U.S. Army during the Second World War.

Unlike many artists who refused to return to Austria after the war, Askin took up residence in Vienna in 1994.

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Actress Anne Bancroft Dies at Age 73

Associated Press Writer


NEW YORK - Anne Bancroft, who won the 1962 best actress Oscar as the teacher of a young Helen Keller in "The Miracle Worker" but achieved greater fame as the seductive Mrs. Robinson in "The Graduate," has died. She was 73. She died of cancer on Monday at Mount Sinai Hospital, John Barlow, a spokesman for her husband, Mel Brooks, said Tuesday. Bancroft was awarded the Tony for creating the role on Broadway of poor-sighted Annie Sullivan, the teacher of the deaf and blind Keller. She repeated her portrayal in the film version.

Yet despite her Academy Award and four other nominations, "The Graduate" overshadowed her other achievements. Dustin Hoffman delivered the famous line when he realized his girlfriend's mother was coming on to him at her house: "Mrs. Robinson, you're trying to seduce me. Aren't you?" Bancroft complained to a 2003 interviewer: "I am quite surprised that with all my work, and some of it is very, very good, that nobody talks about `The Miracle Worker.' We're talking about Mrs. Robinson. I understand the world. ... I'm just a little dismayed that people aren't beyond it yet."

Her beginnings in Hollywood were unimpressive. She was signed by Twentieth Century-Fox in 1952 and given the glamour treatment. She had been acting in television as Anne Marno (her real name: Anna Maria Louise Italiano), but it sounded too ethnic for movies. The studio gave her a choice of names; she picked Bancroft "because it sounded dignified." After a series of B pictures, she escaped to Broadway in 1958 and won her first Tony opposite Henry Fonda in "Two for the Seesaw." The stage and movie versions of "The Miracle Worker" followed. Her other Academy nominations: "The Pumpkin Eater" (1964); "The Graduate" (1967); "The Turning Point" (1977); "Agnes of God" (1985).


Bancroft became known for her willingness to assume a variety of portrayals. She appeared as Winston Churchill's American mother in TV's "Young Winston"; as Golda Meir in "Golda" onstage; a gypsy woman in the film "Love Potion No. 9"; and a centenarian for the TV version of "Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All."

After an unhappy three-year marriage to builder Martin May, Bancroft married comedian-director-producer Brooks in 1956. They met when she was rehearsing a musical number, "Married I Can Always Get," for the Perry Como television show, and a voice from offstage called: "I'm Mel Brooks." In a 1984 interview she said she told her psychiatrist the next day: "Let's speed this process up

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'MacGyver' Actor Dana Elcar Dies at 77


VENTURA, Calif. (AP) - Actor Dana Elcar, whose role as Peter Thornton on ABC's adventure series "MacGyver" depicted his real-life struggle with glaucoma and blindness, has died. He was 77.

He died Monday of complications from pneumonia at Community Memorial Hospital in Ventura, the Los Angeles Times reported Friday.

Richard Dean Anderson, who played MacGyver, recalled working with Elcar. "At a time when I had very little business being called an actor, he made things so easy for me," Anderson told the Times. "It was a learning experience that was very warm and loving for all seven years."

Elcar told producers he was going blind after four seasons with "MacGyver," but they simply adapted his character to match his medical condition. "The fact that you are losing your eyesight does not mean you have forgotten how to act," Elcar, in a speech to the National Federation of the Blind in 1991, recalled producers telling him.

The show ended a year later, when he had become almost completely blind.

Elcar's television career spanned 50 years. He played in other drama series, including "Baretta" opposite Robert Blake and the Robert Conrad series "Black Sheep Squadron."

The actor also appeared in at least 40 films, including "The Sting," "2010," "All of Me" and "The Learning Tree."

"'The Learning Tree' was a big turning point for him, and a good performance in his mind," said his son, Dane Elcar. "He played a really bad guy really well."

Elcar also starred in off-Broadway plays, including the first American productions of Harold Pinter's "The Dumb Waiter" and "The Caretaker," Dylan Thomas' "Under Milk Wood" and Samuel Beckett's "Waiting for Godot."

Running away from home in Ferndale, Mich., at age 13 may have led Elcar to an acting career.

He and a friend tried to catch a ride on a train to Detroit, but Elcar missed it because he couldn't run fast enough. So he spent the night in a town far from home, watching "Citizen Kane" at an all-night theater. "That kind of sparked him to be an actor. He watched it four or five times in one night," his son said.

In addition to his son, Elcar is survived by three daughters, Nora Elcar Verdon, Chandra Elcar and Marin Elcar; a stepdaughter, Emily Prager; a sister, Marie E. Hewitt; a half-sister, Janet K. Melville; longtime companion Thelma M. Garcia; and a granddaughter.


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Jon Clarke, Dead at 54;

Original Member of Loggins & Messina Band

(AP) Times Staff Writer

Jon Clarke, an original member of the Loggins & Messina band and a veteran studio and recording musician, has died. He was 54. Clarke died of kidney cancer Friday at his home in Kauai, Hawaii, said one of his sisters, Sally Stevens of Los Angeles.

Classically trained, Clarke played several instruments, specializing in oboe and saxophone. He began performing in his teens in the rock band California Earthquake and in a Los Angeles Valley College jazz quartet. He later toured with Don Ellis' jazz orchestra.

After Jim Messina of Buffalo Springfield and Poco met and joined Kenny Loggins as Loggins & Messina in 1970, Messina recruited a five-piece band that included Clarke. The group performed and recorded together through the 1970s. Clarke has a memorable baritone saxophone solo on "Your Momma Don't Dance," from the 1972 album "Loggins & Messina." After the group dissolved, Clarke became a studio musician and played with the Academy Awards orchestra for 17 years. He performed on hundreds of television and motion picture soundtracks, including the HBO series "Six Feet Under" and the 2002 film "My Big Fat Greek Wedding."

His other credits include "Fried Green Tomatoes," "Scent of a Woman," "The Green Mile" and "The Road to Perdition."

Clarke is survived by his wife, Miriam Sosewitz Clarke; two sons, Ian and Colin; three sisters, Vickie Paulsen, Lydia Hoenninger and Sally Stevens; and two brothers, Michael and Charles. Memorial donations may be sent to the Amicus Foundation, 4217 Waipua St., Kilauea, HI 96754. Stevens said a memorial is planned for August in Los Angeles.

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Lane Smith, 69;

Character Actor Gained Fame Playing Nixon in 'The Final Days'

By Myrna Oliver, Times Staff Writer


Lane Smith, the actor who portrayed President Nixon in the 1989 docudrama "The Final Days" and apoplectic Daily Planet editor Perry White in the 1990s television series "Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman," has died. He was 69. Smith died Monday at his Los Angeles home of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly called Lou Gehrig's disease, his family said.

A veteran stage actor with scores of character parts in film and television, Smith achieved instant fame when he took on the role of Nixon in the production based on the book "The Final Days" by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. Smith's performance earned him a Golden Globe nomination.

Although he had been acting for three decades when he was cast as Nixon, Smith told Newsday when the show aired that he considered the role "a tremendous career break." "It's an actor's dream to play something like this," he said. "I consider this my masterwork."

The program itself generated controversy with Nixon supporters labeling it a "smear," and Nixon critics saying it was too sympathetic to the fallen leader. But Smith won critical praise for capturing the physical gestures, mannerisms and what he considered the Greek tragedy of the only U.S. president forced to resign in disgrace.

Newsweek called Smith's portrayal "a towering performance" and said: "This docudrama is a one-man show, and perhaps the most incandescent ever to ignite the tube." And Newsday said Smith "is such a good Nixon that his despair and sorrow at his predicament become simply overwhelming." "The Final Days" greatly enhanced Smith's reputation. "Playing Nixon gave me tremendous recognition," Smith told United Press International a year after the docudrama aired. "I'd long been known in the business, but it pulled everything together. Finally people could put the name Lane Smith with my face."

In 1991, he landed regular roles in two short-lived television series, as cable television mogul R.J. Rappaport in "Good Sports" starring Farrah Fawcett and Ryan O'Neal, and as suitor for star Teri Garr's mother in "Good and Evil." In short order, he also played a hockey coach in the highly popular "The Mighty Ducks," a politician in Eddie Murphy's "The Distinguished Gentleman" and a lawyer in "My Cousin Vinny," all released in 1992.

And then along came Superman. Smith had been a regular on other series, including the title character's mentor in the 1986 medical drama "Kay O'Brien" and a corrupt industrialist aiding menacing aliens in the 1985 sci-fi series "V." But "Lois and Clark," which starred Dean Cain and Teri Hatcher and ran on ABC from 1993 to 1997, would be his most enduring employer. In the updated take on the caped crusader from Krypton, White's favorite expression changed from "Great Caesar's ghost!" to "Great shades of Elvis!" and the editor spewed Elvis trivia.

Smith was born in Memphis, Tenn., on April 29, 1936, and grew up wanting to act. He studied drama for two years at what is now Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh before dropping out for a two-year Army hitch. He later moved to New York to study at the Actors Studio. Smith made his off-Broadway debut in 1959 and acted in several plays on and off Broadway. Notwithstanding the Nixon role, his real career break came in the late 1960s when he played Randle Patrick McMurphy for 650 off-Broadway performances of "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest."

Better roles followed, and he went on to play characters as diverse as artist Modigliani, writer Jack Kerouac and dictator Adolf Hitler.

Smith earned a Drama Desk Award for his role in David Mamet's Pulitzer Prize-winning play "Glengarry Glen Ross" in 1984.

The actor made his motion picture debut in 1970 in Norman Mailer's "Maidstone," and in 1978, he moved to Los Angeles to concentrate on film and television work. His first motion picture starring role came in 1988 when he played the warden in "Prison" with Viggo Mortensen.

Smith is survived by his wife of four years, Debbie, and his son from a previous marriage, Robertson.

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Robert I. Clarke, 85;

Familiar Face from Monster Movies and Myriad TV Shows

By Myrna Oliver, Times Staff Writer


Robert I. Clarke, a versatile character actor who appeared in scores of television programs, including "The King Family Show," and more than 85 motion pictures, specializing in such horror films as "The Hideous Sun Demon," has died. He was 85. Clarke died Saturday in Valley Village of natural causes.

An actor whose face was more familiar than his name, he became a cult favorite for his work in so-called monster films of the 1950s, including "The Man from Planet X," "The Astounding She-Monster," "The Incredible Petrified World" and "Sun Demon," the last of which he wrote and produced. Clarke, alluding to his starring roles in such movies, titled his 1996 autobiography, written with Tom Weaver, "To 'B' or Not to 'B.' " The 1959 "Sun Demon," reissued over the years as a comedy cult film under various titles, was featured in the 1982 sendup "It Came From Hollywood," starring Dan Aykroyd and John Candy. Clarke portrayed Dr. Gilbert McKenna, a radioactively contaminated scientist who turns into a lizard-like monster when exposed to the sun.

He said in his autobiography that the film was made for less than $50,000, including $500 for the rubberized lizard suit. As a producer, Clarke said he shot the movie over 12 weekends to get two days' use of rental camera equipment for one day's fee.

The prolific actor became a regular on the King family's musical variety show, not for his musical ability, but through marriage. The series, which ran on ABC from 1965 to 1969, featured the King Sisters

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Phil Ford, 85;

Entertainer, Half of Popular Show-Biz Couple With Mimi Hines


Phil Ford, 85, a comedian who with singer Mimi Hines created one of the more successful husband-and-wife teams in show business, died Wednesday at his home in Las Vegas. The cause of death was not reported.

Ford and Hines first performed in Las Vegas after a breakthrough appearance in 1958 on "The Tonight Show," hosted by Jack Parr. The duo toured as a nightclub act and appeared in "Funny Girl" on Broadway; Hines played Fanny Brice after Barbra Streisand left the play in 1965, and Ford had a supporting role in the cast. They also appeared in the 1965 movie comedy "Saturday Night Bath in Apple Valley."

Born in San Francisco, Ford began performing dance numbers in vaudeville at 12. He served in the Army during World War II and saw combat duty in Europe. He met Hines while he was playing a club date in Alaska in 1952, and they married two years later but divorced in 1972. However, they reunited professionally several times.

"We had an awful lot of fun together," Hines told the Las Vegas Review-Journal this week. "He lit up the stage like sunshine. He had a lot of charisma, a lot of sparkle."

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Ron Randell, 86;

Actor Who Appeared in 'It Had to Be You,' Dozens of Films


(AP) -Ron Randell, 86, an Australian-born actor whose long career included movies, television, radio and Broadway, died June 11 of complications from a stroke at a care facility in Los Angeles, a spokesman for the family said.

Born in Sydney, Randell was 17 when he began a career in radio. He moved into theater and in 1946 played the lead in "Smithy," about real-life Australian aviation pioneer Sir Charles Kingsford-Smith.

That led to a Hollywood movie contract, and the following year Randell appeared in "It Had to Be You."

He went on to appear in dozens of films over the next 35 years, including "Follow the Boys," "The Longest Day," "King of Kings" and "The She-Creature." He played Cole Porter in "Kiss Me, Kate." Randell also had starring roles as fictional detectives Bulldog Drummond and Lone Wolf in several 1940s films and starred in the short-lived TV spy series "O.S.S." in 1957.

He made dozens of guest appearances on British and American TV shows, including "Bewitched," "Mission: Impossible," "Bonanza" and "Gunsmoke." On stage, he appeared on Broadway in such productions as "Bent" and "The World of Susie Wong."

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Lon McCallister, 82;

Actor Had Brief but Busy Career Before Becoming Investor


(AP) - Lon McCallister, who began his career as a teenage actor in the 1930s with small roles in "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" and other family films and later played supporting roles in such popular movies as "Winged Victory," has died. He was 82. McCallister died June 11 of heart failure at his home in the Lake Tahoe area, his brother, Lynn, told The Times. He had been in declining health for some months.

The actor had a brief but prolific Hollywood career, appearing in more than 40 movies before he left the business by choice at age 30. He used his money to make investments in Los Angeles real estate, his brother and friends said. "Being a movie star was great, but I never considered doing it for a lifetime," McCallister said in an interview for "Who's Who in Hollywood" by David Ragan (1992). "I wanted to be myself, to go where I pleased without causing a traffic jam. I've succeeded in this, and I'm happy."

Born Herbert Alonzo McCallister Jr. in Los Angeles, he was known as Buddy to his family and friends. He attended high school at Marken Professional School, a training ground for the entertainment industry. McCallister began his acting career playing small parts in movies that starred the biggest names in the business. At 13, he had an uncredited role in "Romeo and Juliet" (1936), with Norma Shearer and Leslie Howard as the leads. The film's director, George Cukor, became a close friend and later cast McCallister in a supporting role as a pilot in "Winged Victory" (1944), based on the Broadway production.

The dimpled McCallister usually played the wholesome type. At 15, he was one of the schoolboys in the Tom Sawyer film starring Tommy Kelly (1938). The same year, he had a small role in "Judge Hardy's Children," starring Mickey Rooney.

McCallister gave a standout performance as a shy GI in "Stage Door Canteen" (1943), about a wartime romance between a soldier and a canteen hostess. The film, featuring Katharine Hepburn, Harpo Marx and many other stars of the day, boosted McCallister into bigger roles, including starring opposite Jeanne Crain in "Home in Indiana" (1944).

The actor was drafted into the Army in 1944 and went back to Hollywood after he was discharged. On the set of the dark thriller "The Red House" (1947), he met actress Allene Roberts. They played friends who fell in love, and they remained close friends in real life. "Lon was one of the most caring men

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Soul Asylum co-founder Mueller dies

By Barry A. Jeckell

NEW YORK (Billboard) - Karl Mueller, bassist and founding member of the Minneapolis-based rock act Soul Asylum, died Friday at his home, according to the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune. He was 41.

Diagnosed with throat cancer in May 2004, Mueller underwent radiation treatment and was said to have been in and out of the hospital in recent months.

In the early 1980s, Mueller formed Loud Fast Rules with singer/guitarist Dave Pirner and drummer Dan Murphy, a band that became Soul Asylum three years later. After a period of underground notoriety, the band achieved mainstream success with its 1992 breakthrough, "Grave Dancers Union" (Columbia).

The album peaked at No. 11 on The Billboard 200 and has sold 2.14 million copies in the United Stated, according to Nielsen SoundScan. The set featured the single "Runaway Train," which peaked at No. 5 on the Hot 100.

Mueller's cancer was in remission in October when such veterans of the Minneapolis music scene as the Replacements' Paul Westerberg and Husker Du's Bob Mould staged a benefit concert to help with spiraling medical costs. Mueller also joined his bandmates for a Soul Asylum performance at the show.

The Star Tribune reports that Mueller, Pirner and Murphy recorded a new Soul Asylum album earlier this year and had been "negotiating with a major label" for its release.

A memorial service will be held at noon Wednesday at Lakewood Cemetery Chapel in Minneapolis.

In Mueller's paid obituary in the Star Tribune, Pirner, Murphy and former Soul Asylum road manager Bill Sullivan are listed as "bandmates and brothers," even though the bassist was an only child. He is survived by his wife, Mary Beth, and his mother, Mary.

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ED BISHOP and MICHAEL BILLINGTON, the two lead actors in Gerry Anderson's 1969 series UFO have both died within days of each other.

Michael Billington Dead at 63

Actor "UFO"


British TV and film actor Michael Billington died of cancer in Margate, England June 3. He was 63. Billington starred in 1970s British sci fi series "UFO" and played James Bond's would-be assassin in "The Spy Who Loved Me."

Born in Blackburn, Lancashire, he started his showbiz career inWarner's distribution department, then danced in West End shows, appeared in cabaret and served as Danny La Rue's straight man before securing more prominent acting roles.

He played a footballer in BBC series "United!," and a brief appearance in an episode of cult series "The Prisoner" in 1967 led to the role of Colonel Paul Foster in "UFO." "UFO" was made by the creators of puppet series "Thunderbirds" and "Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons," who wanted to branch out into live action. It fell between children and adult audiences, but now has a cult following.

He appeared in British TV series "The Onedin Line" and "Spearhead," but reached his biggest international audience as Sergei Barsov, the Soviet agent who pursues Bond and is killed by 007 at the beginning of "The Spy Who Loved Me." He reputedly screen-tested for the role of Bond himself more often than any other actor, and was close to replacing Roger Moore in "Octopussy" when the star's salary demands looked like they might prove too high.

He also wrote the story for the David Essex motorbike-racing film "Silver Dream Racer." After the Bond role, he moved to Hollywood and appeared in "KGB: The Secret War," "Magnum P.I.," "Hart to Hart" and "Fantasy Island." On stage, he appeared in shows in England including "Death of a Salesman," "The Merchant of Venice" and "A Streetcar Named Desire."

He is survived by a son. Donations may be made to the Macmillan Fund (macmillan.org.uk) or Marie Curie Cancer Care

Ed Bishop Dead at 72

Actor James Bond Films" UFO"


American born actor Ed Bishop died on June 8, 2005, aged 72. He spent 50 years working in London, where he appeared in TV, radio, films and West End theatre. He was much in demand for commercial voiceovers and was the voice of Captain Blue in the cult puppet TV series Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons.

Born George Bishop in New York on June 11, 1932, he served in the US Army in St John

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Clive Clerk Dead at 59;

Actor and Professional Artist


Actor/dancer turned painter Clive Clerk has died at age 59 in Los Angeles. Mr. Clerk was part of the original Broadway cast of "A Chorus Line," Clerk played Larry, assistant of Zach, in the original company of A Chorus Line. After A Chorus Line, Clerk changed his name to Clive Wilson and began working professionally as an artist. His work was displayed at many California and New York galleries.

His many film and TV credits include "Send Me No Flowers," "Dear Brigitte," "Happy Days," "Days of Our Lives," "The Mod Squad," "The Rat Patrol," "I Spy" and "Combat!"

No further details of Mr. Clerks death have been announced.

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Actor Charles White Dead at 87


Character actor Charles White died June 20 in Sarasota, Fla. He was 87.

Born in Perth Amboy, N.J., White appeared on Broadway and in movies and TV. After graduating from Rutgers University and serving in WWII, he studied acting under Sanford Meisner at the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York. He was the brother of the Emmy-award winning actress Ruth White(Mrs. DuBose from To Kill a Mockingbord), who died in 1969.

On Broadway, White played Sheriff Hartman in "The Front Page."

He appeared in movies including "Airport 1975," "Serpico" and "Child's Play"; and in TV shows including "Maude," "The Patty Duke Show" and "Kojak." Mr. White was a regular on the soap opera "Love of Life" for ten years.

He is survived by two nieces.

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Shana Alexander Dead at 79,

of 60 Minutes 'Point/Counterpoint'


(AP)Shana Alexander, who broke ground as the first woman staff writer at Life magazine and gained pop-culture status in the 1970s as the liberal voice on the "Point/Counterpoint" segment on "60 Minutes," died yesterday. She was 79. Alexander died of cancer in an assisted living facility in Hermosa Beach, Calif., said her sister, Laurel Bentley. Alexander had for many years lived in the Hamptons.

A 1945 graduate of Vassar College, she worked as a freelance writer before going to work at Life as a $65-a-week researcher in 1951. After becoming Life's first female staff writer, she wrote the magazine's award-winning column "The Feminine Eye" in the 1960s. In 1969, Alexander became the first female editor of McCall's, where she was known for restyling the magazine to appeal to women's interests beyond domestic issues.

She was a columnist for Newsweek magazine in 1975 when she was teamed with columnist James J. Kilpatrick on the "Point/Counterpoint" segment of CBS' "60 Minutes." Over the next four years, the duo debated the topics of the day - he a conservative, she a liberal - and famously traded barbs and phrases such as "Oh, come on, Jack" and "Now see here, Shana."

Alexander once called the "60 Minutes" segment the news magazine's "modern reincarnation of Punch and Judy." The popular segment was parodied on "Saturday Night Live."

Born in New York City in 1925, Alexander was the daughter of Milton Ager, a Tin Pan Alley composer whose songs included "Happy Days Are Here Again." Her mother, Cecilia Ager, was a columnist for Variety. She and her sister Laurel grew up in high style in Manhattan, where their parents' friends included famous names such as George Gershwin and the Marx brothers.

She fell into writing when she took a summer job during college as a copy clerk at the New York tabloid newspaper PM. Alexander quickly became a cub reporter, her first assignment being an interview with stripper Gypsy Rose Lee. Alexander wrote 10 books, including ones on Patty Hearst ("Anyone's Daughter"); Jean Harris, the headmistress convicted of murdering Scarsdale diet doctor Herman Tarnower ("Very Much a Lady"), and former Miss America Bess Myerson ("When She Was Bad").

Alexander was twice married and twice divorced. Her daughter predeceased her.

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'Godfather of beach volleyball' dead at 69

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Charlie Saikley, the "godfather of beach volleyball" who popularized the sport by launching its leading tournament, the Manhattan Beach Open, has died at age 69 of cancer, friends said on Thursday.

Saikley, a special education teacher for 40 years who also ran a number of recreation programs for the city of Manhattan Beach near Los Angeles, died last Friday at his home in the oceanfront town, said parks and recreation director Richard Gill.

Gill said Saikley co-founded the Manhattan Beach Open in the 1960s as an amateur beach volleyball competition and ran the event for many years. The tournament went professional in the 1980s.

"He shaped this tournament called the Manhattan Beach Open, which became legendary as the tournament to win and to experience, both as a competitor and a fan," said Leonard Armato, commissioner of the Association of Volleyball Professionals, which now oversees the event.

Before Saikley, volleyball was largely an indoor sport. Volleyball on the beach existed then as a subcultural phenomenon unique to Southern California, Armato said.

"It was people like Charlie who helped take it from a Southern California-focused sport to something that reached national and ultimately international prominence," he said. "Now, it's one of the hottest sports at the Olympic Games."

Beach volleyball became a separate Olympic sport in 1996.

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Paul Winchell, voice of Tigger, dies in Calif.


LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Paul Winchell, a famed ventriloquist best remembered as the voice of the irrepressible Tigger in the Winnie the Pooh series, has died, an associate said on Sunday. He was 82.

Winchell died on Friday in the Los Angeles area, according associate Johnny Blue Star and a Web site operated by Winchell's daughter, the actress April Winchell.

Winchell was a fixture in American children's television in the 1950s and 1960s in a string of shows featuring him giving voice to the sidekicks he created and made famous, the dummies Jerry Mahoney and Knucklehead Smiff.

But it was his voice work on a wide range of cartoons and animated features that captivated a later generation of viewers, including turns as Gargamel of "The Smurfs," Dick Dastardly of "Wacky Races" and Fleegle on "The Banana Splits Adventure Hour."

Winchell was most famous for his voicing to the hyperkinetic Tigger in a series of appearances in Walt Disney Co. Winnie the Pooh productions for over three decades beginning in 1968.


He won a Grammy in 1974 for "Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too," including the movie's signature song "The Wonderful Thing about Tiggers."

On the award-winning soundtrack, Winchell gives a throaty, bouncy rendition to the memorable lyric: "The wonderful thing about tiggers, is tiggers are wonderful things! Their tops are made out of rubber, their bottoms are made out of springs!"

Jerry Mahoney, who began with an appearance in a 1936 radio audition, was inspired by ventriloquist Edgar Bergen and his sidekick, Charlie McCarthy, Winchell said.

In 1986, Winchell won a nearly $18 million verdict against Metromedia Inc., which he claimed destroyed the only surviving tapes of his "Winchell Mahoney Time" children's show from the mid-1960s after a dispute over ownership rights.

Born in New York City in 1922, Winchell devoted energy in his later years to pursuits like publishing on Christian theology and promoting fish farming in Africa, said Johnny Blue Star, who collaborated in a screenplay based on the autobiography "Winch."

Winchell was also an inventor with a patent for a prototype artificial heart he built in the 1960s in the same workshop in which he created his ventriloquist dummies, Blue Star said. He also created an "invisible" garter belt, a flameless cigarette lighter and an early version of the disposable razor.

"He was more or less a self-taught renaissance man," he said.

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British TV host Richard Whiteley dies

By Peter Griffiths

LONDON (Reuters) - British television presenter Richard Whiteley, host of the long-running gameshow "Countdown," died in hospital on Sunday after being treated for pneumonia, a spokesman said. He was 61.

Whiteley was admitted to hospital with pneumonia last month and died on Sunday at Leeds General Infirmary, West Yorkshire, a spokesman for his co-host Carol Vorderman said. "It's a complete shock," John Miles told Reuters. "He was such a lovely guy; a caring, loving character." He added that Vorderman was "devastated beyond belief."

Whiteley, who had presented the words and numbers quiz since the launch of Channel 4 in 1982, was in hospital for a heart operation, Miles said. He was the first face to appear on Channel 4 and became one of its best known presenters. The program was intended to run for five weeks.

Channel 4 said no decision had been made on the show's future. Plans to film new episodes with guest presenters while Whiteley was in hospital have been scrapped. "We are shocked and saddened to hear of Richard's death," a spokesman said. "Our thoughts are with his family and friends."

The bespectacled host was known for his love of garish ties and suits and for his jovial on-screen banter with Vorderman. His fondness for word games, jokes and often tortured puns drew both groans and laughter from studio audiences.

He once said Queen Elizabeth watched his show, telling an interviewer: "When I met Princess Margaret she told me her sister watched it after the racing on television," he said.

He earned the nickname "Twice Nightly Whiteley" after a stint presenting the regional news in his native Yorkshire while also hosting "Countdown."

Educated at Cambridge University, Whiteley worked as a journalist and was one of the first on the scene of the 1984 Brighton bombing, when Irish republicans tried to kill former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

He was awarded the OBE in June 2004. He leaves a partner, the actress Kathryn Apanowicz.

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NEW YORK (AP) -- John Fiedler, a stage actor who won fame as the voice of Piglet in Walt Disney's Winnie-the-Pooh films, died Saturday, The New York Times reported in Monday editions. He was 80.

Fiedler served in the Navy during World War II before beginning a stage career in New York. He performed in supporting roles alongside Sidney Poitier on Broadway, John Wayne in Hollywood and Bob Newhart on television.

With Newhart, on "The Bob Newhart Show," he was Mr. Peterson, the meek patient who was often a target for Jack Riley's sarcastic Mr. Carlin.

Fiedler also appeared in the films "12 Angry Men," "The Odd Couple," "True Grit," "The Fortune" and "Sharky's Machine," and was a cast member on the TV show "Buffalo Bill."

But he was best known for the squeaky voice of the ever-worrying Piglet that he landed when someone noticed his naturally high-pitched voice.

"Walt Disney heard it on a program and said, 'That's Piglet,' " his brother James Fiedler told The Times.

In addition to his brother, Fiedler is survived by a sister, Mary Dean, The Times reported. The newspaper did not report the cause or location of his death.

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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Novelist, War Historian Shelby Foote Dies

By WOODY BAIRD, Associated Press Writer

MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Novelist and Civil War historian Shelby Foote, who became a national celebrity explaining the war to America on Ken Burns' 1990 PBS documentary, has died at 88.

Foote died Monday night, said his widow, Gwyn.

The Mississippi native and longtime Memphis resident wrote a stirring, three-volume, 3,000-page history of the Civil War, as well as six novels. "He had a gift for presenting vivid portraits of personalities, from privates in the ranks to generals and politicians. And he had a gift for character, for the apt quotation, for the dramatic event, for the story behind the story," said James M. McPherson, a Pulitzer Prize-winning Civil War historian. "He could also write a crackling good narrative of a campaign or a battle."

On Burns' 11-hour PBS series "The Civil War," Foote became an immediate hit with his encyclopedic knowledge of the war, soft Southern accent and easy manner. With his gray beard and gentlemanly carriage, he seemed to have stepped straight out of a Mathew Brady photograph.

Later he would say that being a celebrity made him uneasy, and he worried it might detract from the seriousness of his work.

Foote worked on the Civil War history for 20 years, using his skills as a novelist to write in a flowing, narrative style. "I can't conceive of writing it any other way," he once said. "Narrative history is the kind that comes closest to telling the truth. You can never get to the truth, but that's your goal."

Though a native Southerner, Foote did not favor South in his history or novels and was not counted among those Southern historians who regard the Civil War as the great Lost Cause.

He publicly criticized segregationist politicians and abruptly abandoned a move to the Alabama coast in the 1960s because of the racist attitudes he found there. "He was a Southerner of great intellect who took up the issue of the Civil War as a writer with huge sanity and sympathy," said Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Richard Ford, a friend and fellow Mississippi native.

Foote attended the University of North Carolina for two years and served in World War II, though he never saw combat.

His first novel, "Tournament," was started before the war and published in 1949. Then came "Follow Me Down" in 1950, "Love in a Dry Season" in 1951, "Shiloh" in 1952 and "Jordan County" in 1954.

That same year, Random House asked him to write a single-volume history of the Civil War. He took the job, but it grew into a three-volume project finally finished in 1974.

In 1999, the Modern Library ranked Foote's "The Civil War: A Narrative" as No. 15 on its list of the century's 100 best English-language works of nonfiction.

His final novel, "September, September," published in 1978, tells the story of an ignorant white couple who kidnap the son of a rich black businessman in the 1950s. It became the basis for a TV move starring fellow Memphis resident Cybill Shepherd.

Foote was born Nov. 7, 1916, in Greenville, Miss., a small Delta town with a literary bent. Walker Percy was a boyhood and lifelong friend, and Foote, as a young man, served as a "jackleg reporter" for the crusading editor Hodding Carter on The Delta Star. As a young man, Foote got to know William Faulkner.

During World War II, he was an Army captain of artillery until he lost his commission for using a military vehicle without authorization to visit a female friend and was discharged from the Army. He joined the Marines and was still stateside when the war ended.

He tried journalism again after World War II, signing on briefly with The Associated Press in its New York bureau.

Early in his career, Foote took up the habit of writing by hand with an old-fashioned dipped pen, and he continued that practice throughout his life. Foote said writing by hand helped him slow down to a manageable pace and was more personal than using a typewriter.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by a daughter, Margaret Shelby, and a son, Huger Lee. A graveside service is planned in Memphis on Thursday.

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Barbara LeMond, Dead at 87;

Performed With Sister as the Brewster Twins


Barbara Brewster LeMond, 87, the remaining member of the Brewster Twins, who had a brief career on screen in the late 1930s and early '40s, died of congestive heart failure and pneumonia Tuesday in an Oceanside hospital.

Brewster and her twin, Gloria, were under contract to 20th Century Fox in the late 1930s when they were dubbed "the Most Beautiful Twins in America" and appeared in nine films. They included "Little Miss Broadway," starring Shirley Temple; "Wife, Doctor and Nurse," starring Loretta Young; "Hold That Coed," starring John Barrymore; and "Ditto," a comedy short starring Buster Keaton.


Barbara Brewster went on to perform on the New York stage with Sophie Tucker, among other stars, and as an ingenue lead with Montgomery Clift in "Foxhole in the Parlor."

During World War II, she performed in USO shows in the South Pacific, where she met her future husband, Bob LeMond, a radio and television announcer to whom she was married for 58 years. She retired from show business in 1946 and later moved to Bonsall, Calif.

Barbara and Gloria Brewster were born Naomi and Ruth Stevenson in Tucson in 1918 and were raised in Encinitas. Gloria Brewster Stroud died in 1996.

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Jazz Trumpeter Chris Griffin Dies at 89



DANBURY, Conn. - Chris Griffin, a member of the acclaimed trumpet section in Benny Goodman's big-band orchestra, has died.

Griffin, 89, died June 18 at Danbury Hospital. The cause was melanoma, according to his fiancee, Louise Baranger.

Griffin was a member of what critics called "The Biting Brass" trumpet threesome in Goodman's orchestra, playing alongside Harry James and Ziggy Elman. Duke Ellington once called the three "the greatest trumpet section that ever was."

Griffin played with the orchestra from 1936 to 1939 and performed in the famous 1938 concert in Carnegie Hall. The concert was a critical moment for swing music, because it was the first time the music, popular with youth, played in a hallowed music hall.

Born in Binghamton, N.Y., on Oct. 31, 1915, Griffin learned to play the horn at age 12 and moved to New York City as a teen to become a musician.

After leaving Goodman's orchestra, he went on to play lead trumpet in television orchestras, including the "Ed Sullivan Show" and the "Jackie Gleason Show."

In the final years, he dictated his memoirs, "Sitting in with Chris Griffin." His wife, Helen, died in 2000, and he became engaged to Baranger, a jazz trumpeter and arranger.

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  • 12 years later...
On 6/3/2005 at 6:30 AM, Jem said:

Guest Actor on 'Law & Order' Dies at 83


HUDSON, N.Y. (AP) - J.D. Cannon, an actor who appeared in guest roles on television shows such as "Law & Order" and "Murder, She Wrote," died at his upstate New York home. He was 83.

Cannon, who died May 20, had a regular role as a New York detective chief on the series "McCloud," a police drama that ran on NBC from 1970-77.

From 1960 to 1991, he had 85 guest roles on television, including "Remington Steele," "The Fall Guy," "B.J. and the Bear," "Gunsmoke," "Bonanza," "The Mod Squad," "The Fugitive," "The Defenders" and "The Untouchables."

His final on-screen role was in a March 1991 episode of "Law & Order."

Cannon had a few big-screen roles, including one in 1967's "Cool Hand Luke," a prison drama starring Paul Newman and George Kennedy.

A native of Salmon, Idaho, Cannon graduated from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. He served in the Army during World War II.

Wasn't he the guy who witnessed the One Armed Man murder Helen Kimble and finally help Richard Kimble end his days as The Fugitive? If so he's an iconic figure in a legendary show?

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