Debora Arango (98) prolific Colombian artist who at first repelled socially conservative Colombia with stark paintings of nudes and social conflict but was later celebrated as one of the country's most inventive, daring artists. Arango's works include a painting of a group of nuns circling a caged bird, a cardinal, and one in which a boxcar is filled with bodies, a reminder of the relentless political violence that marked Colombia for decades. She died near Medellin, Colombia on December 4, 2005.
Milo Dor (82) writer whose multicultural roots were reflected in his writings. Dor's most popular works included the trilogy The Raikov Saga, which focuses on the slow end of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy and the social and political changes bought by the ensuing decades. Having previously suffered a heart attack from which he had not fully recovered, Dor died in Vienna, Austria on December 5, 2005.
Sydney Leff (104) commercial artist and probably the last surviving illustrator of sheet music from the golden age of Tin Pan Alley. In the '20s and '30s Leff designed and drew the covers for nearly 2,000 songs (for songwriters Irving Berlin, Duke Ellington, Harold Arlen, and many others), including the covers for such standards as "Stormy Weather," "Sweet Georgia Brown," and "Blue Skies." He died in Ossining, New York on December 10, 2005.
Leona Nevler (79) prominent book editor who 50 years ago helped to secure the publication of a first novel set in an imaginary town called Peyton Place. Nevler was an executive for much of her career at Fawcett Books and handled the works of many prominent writers including John Updike, Margaret Atwood, James Michener, Amy Tan, and Fanny Flagg. Most recently she was a senior editor at Berkley Books, an imprint of the Penguin Group. She died of a pulmonary embolism after surgery, in New York City on December 10, 2005.
Robert Sheckley (77) writer of science fiction whose disarmingly playful stories pack a nihilistic subtext. Sheckley wrote more than 15 novels and around 400 short stories. Four of his stories were made into films. including The 10th Victim (1965). He died of a brain aneurysm in Poughkeepsie, New York on December 9, 2005.
Boris Taslitzky (94) French Socialist Realist painter best known for his harrowing depictions of life and death in the Nazi concentration camp of Buchenwald. Taslitzky joined the Association of Revolutionary Writers & Artists in 1933 and, in '35, became a member of the Communist Party. In 1971 he was appointed to a chair at the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Arts Decoratifs and in '97 was appointed a chevalier of the Legion d'Honneur. He died in Paris, France on December 9, 2005.
Dr. Ira Black (64) internationally recognized clinical neuroscientist and a founding director of the Stem Cell Institute of New Jersey, who broke new ground in discovering that certain adult bone marrow cells can be converted into transplantable nerve cells. Black was professor and chairman of the Department of Neuroscience & Cell Biology at the University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey. He died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on January 10, 2006.
Richard L. Grimsdale (76) British electrical engineer said to have built the first transistorized computer. Grimsdale collaborated with two engineers from Metropolitan-Vickers Electrical on what is thought to be the first commercial transistor computer, known as the MV950, and later worked at Associated Electrical Industries, where he developed computer-based automation systems. He died of a heart infection in Brighton, England on December 6, 2005.
Ed(ward) L. Masry (73) environmental attorney and a champion of the underdog for decades who hired self-trained legal assistant Erin Brockovich and with her won a $333 million settlement on behalf of more than 600 residents of the town of Hinkley, California, claiming that gas company tanks had leaked carcinogens into the water supply. Masry saw his story depicted in the Oscar-winning film Erin Brockovich (2000), with himself played by Albert Finney and Julia Roberts in the title role. Masry died of diabetes in Thousand Oaks, California on December 5, 2005.
Frederik ("Frits") Philips (100) Dutchman who helped to turn his family's light bulb factory into the mammoth multinational Philips Electronics during 40 years of leadership. Philips oversaw the company's expansion to the Americas and Asia, and technological innovations such as the audio cassette in 1961 and later the first integrated electronic circuits. He was the company's president (1961-71). He died of pneumonia and complications resulting from a fall the preceding week that severely weakened his condition, in The Hague, Netherlands on December 5, 2005.
Kalman Ruttenstein (69) one of the fashion industry's most powerful retailers and a keen trend spotter. Ruttenstein was the face of Bloomingdale's for 30 years as its senior vice president of fashion design and was instrumental in establishing the retail chain's reputation as a leader. He championed young designers and mentored many, including Ralph Lauren, Donna Karan, Perry Ellis, Zac Posen, Marc Jacobs, and Sean ("P. Diddy") Combs. Ruttenstein died of cancer in New York City on December 8, 2005.
Marvin A. Schwam (63) designer and founder of American Christmas Decorations Inc., one of the country's biggest suppliers of holiday displays of all kinds, whose company has designed and installed decorations at malls, department stores, theaters, film and TV studios, and at Radio City Music Hall and Saks Fifth Avenue. Schwam also started Gay Entertainment Television in 1988, an early effort on cable to create a national network aimed at gay viewers. He died of bladder cancer in New York City on December 10, 2005.
Joseph Walther (93) Indiana physician who used the proceeds from the sale of a hospital he founded to fund ground-breaking research on cancer. Walther was founder of the defunct Winona Memorial Hospital and the Walther Cancer Institute at the Indiana University Medical Center, both in Indianapolis, and was regarded as a visionary, encouraging collaboration among researchers at different institutions and, for patients, regular physical examinations and attention to factors such as smoking and weight control. He died in Indianapolis, Indiana on December 10, 2005.
James Bastien (71) pianist and educator whose instructional books have been used for more than 40 years by millions of eager and some not-so-eager piano pupils worldwide. With his wife, Bastien wrote more than 300 books of piano repertory and technique. He died of Alzheimer's disease in La Jolla, California on December 7, 2005.
Norman Black (79) Texas historian and Gregg County Historical Chairman for more than 18 years. Black was honored by the Texas Historical Commission for his outstanding accomplishments in preserving Texas history. He died in Texas on December 10, 2005.
Samuel Dinin (103) Russian immigrant who played a central role in shaping Jewish education in Los Angeles. Dinin launched the Bureau of Jewish Education of Greater Los Angeles to promote Jewish learning and brought together resources of the bureau and the Jewish Theological Seminary to organize the University of Judaism to train teachers in Jewish education. He helped to found Los Angeles Hebrew High School, wrote widely on Jewish learning, and was editor for many years of Jewish Education, a national professional journal. He died in Westwood, California on December 8, 2005.
Stephen Mosko (57) composer, conductor, and mentor to several generations of new music performers who taught at CalArts in Valencia, California for more than 30 years. Mosko was music director of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Arts Festival's Contemporary Music Festival and of the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players and principal conductor of the Griffin Ensemble of Boston. He was a leading expert on the folk music of Iceland and won a National Endowment for the Arts Composers Fellowship, two Broadcast Music Inc. awards, and a Fromm Foundation award. He died in Green Valley, California on December 6, 2005.
David Patterson (83) scholar of Jewish life in Europe who established a center for Hebrew and Jewish studies at Oxford University to help revive a discipline virtually destroyed during the Holocaust. Patterson's contributions to Jewish studies were recognized by Queen Elizabeth II in 2003, when she named him a Commander of the British Empire (CBE). He died of prostate cancer in Oxford, England on December 10, 2005.
David S. Saxon (85) physicist, one of 31 faculty members fired from the University of California in 1950 for refusing to sign an oath required by the UC Board of Regents declaring that they were not members of the Communist Party. Faculty objected to the oath on the grounds it violated academic independence. Saxon was later reinstated and rose to become executive chancellor and UC president and later chairman of the MIT Corporation, the governing body of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He died in Los Angeles, California on December 8, 2005.
Roger Shattuck (82) leading authority on 20th-century French literature and a National Book Award winner for his 1975 book Marcel Proust. Shattuck was professor emeritus at Boston University. His best-known work was The Banquet Years: The Origins of the Avant-Garde in France, 1885 to World War I (1958). He died of prostate cancer in Lincoln, Vermont on December 8, 2005.
John Yesulaitis (89) former band director known as Major Y to scores of students who passed through the University of North Carolina's band program during his 25 years at its helm. Yesulaitis expanded a football marching band into a musical cheering squad for basketball, soccer, volleyball, and other sports at the university. He was founder and director of the Strolling Strings, a musical ensemble that performed regularly at the White House during the Eisenhower and Kennedy administrations, and was named one of the 10 most outstanding musical educators in North America by Teacher magazine in 1975. He died iafter having been hospitalized in recent weeks for a variety of complications from a fall, in Chapel Hill, North Carolina on December 7, 2005.
Adrian Biddle (53) one of the most respected cinematographers in Britain whose career took him to the top in Hollywood, where he worked for directors such as Ridley Scott, James Cameron, Ron Howard, Rob Reiner, and Kathryne Bigelow. Biddle died of a heart attack in London, England on December 7, 2005.
Liu Binyan (80) leading Chinese dissident writer who spent the last 17 years in exile in the US. Liu began his journalism career as a reporter and editor for China Youth News, the leading newspaper for young people, and developed a reputation for exposing corruption and for his critiques of the government of the new People's Republic. He died of colon cancer in New Brunswick, New Jersey on December 5, 2005.
Mike Botts (61) musician best known as the drummer for the '70s rock band Bread, who also recorded and toured with Linda Ronstadt, Dan Fogelberg, Eddie Money, and Tina Turner. Botts died of cancer in Burbank, California on December 9, 2005
R. W. ("Bill") Bradford (58) journalist and publisher who founded the magazine Liberty! in 1987 to explore libertarianism, the political philosophy that favors small government and cherishes individual freedom above all. Bradford's magazine became one of the most influential publications of the libertarian movement. He died of kidney cancer in Port Townsend, Washington on December 8, 2005.
Michael Davie (81) British deputy editor of The Observer, editor of the Age in Melbourne, and author of several books, including biographies of US President Lyndon B. Johnson and Lord Beaverbrook. Davie covered the Melbourne Olympic Games in 1956 and an England cricket tour (1958-59). He died in Ewelme, Oxfordshire, England on December 6, 2005.
Loomis Dean (88) Life magazine photographer who captured famous images of Ernest Hemingway, British playwright Noel Coward, and Pope Paul VI. Dean shot 52 covers for Life during a 60-year career and worked as a still photographer on film sets, including James Bond films starring Sean Connery. He died of a stroke in Sonoma, California on December 7, 2005.
Nick Douglas (40) Irish writer and photographer who wrote an entertainment column for Big Buzz, a Belfast entertainment magazine. Douglas was suspended in August 2004 by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (the organization behind the Golden Globes awards) for several violations including selling a photo of himself and Tom Selleck to a tabloid magazine. He had become despondent over his inability to find other work in journalism after his suspension. He committed suicide by hanging in a charity resale shop in Belfast, Northern Ireland on December 8, 2005.
Tommy Hanneford (78) member of the Royal Hanneford Circus and known as the funniest man on horseback, who, with his wife and sister in 1965, cofounded the circus, which performed at Shrine Temples and toured the country for about 40 weeks a year. Hanneford was also a technical adviser for TV productions and appeared in the 1986 TV movie Barnum. He died in Sarasota, Florida on December 5, 2005.
Constance L. Hays (44) reporter for the New York Times for nearly 20 years where she covered business news for the last eight years. Hays wrote on subjects from magazine publishing to the food and beverage industry to advertising and most recently covered the Martha Stewart trial and conviction. She also wrote The Real Thing: Truth & Power at the Coca-Cola Company (2004). Hays died of cancer in the Bronx, New York on December 5, 2005.
Gregg Hoffman (42) film producer who with his partners turned a $1 million horror movie called Saw (2004) into a $102 million hit. Hoffman also produced Saw II (2005) and was involved with a third movie in the series (currently in production). He previously worked at Disney where he helped to develop a roster of live-action children's films including Inspector Gadget, 101 Dalmatians, and The Parent Trap and earned a production credit on George of the Jungle. He died in Los Angeles, California on December 4, 2005.
Mary Jackson (95) character actress best remembered for portraying Miss Emily Baldwin on the CBS-TV series The Waltons, Jackson's TV and movie career spanned 50 years and included dozens of roles, including Jane Fonda's mother in Fun with Dick & Jane (1977), one of the nuns in Airport (1970), and the great-grandmother on NBC’s Parenthood (1990). She died of Parkinson's disease in Hollywood, California on December 10, 2005.
Gloria Lasso (83) Spanish singer who made her name recording romantic ballads in Latin America and Paris. Lasso's 1956 recording of the French tune "Padre" was later recorded in English by Elvis Presley (who said in a 1958 interview that it was his favorite song). Lasso's career skyrocketed in the '50s and '60s when she performed for former French President Charles deGaulle, former US President John F. Kennedy, and Britain's Queen Elizabeth II. She had one platinum and three gold albums. She died in her sleep in Cuernavaca, Mexico on December 4, 2005.
Donald Martino (74) Pulitzer Prize-winning American composer widely respected for atonal works that combine intellectual rigor with expressive freedom. Martino's 1981 piano work "Fantasies & Impromptus" has been called a landmark of American piano music. He won the 1974 Pulitzer for his chamber work "Notturno," and taught at Harvard, Princeton, Yale, the New England Conservatory in Boston, and Brandeis University. He died of cardiac arrest complicated by diabetes, aboard a cruise ship in the Caribbean en route to Antigua, on December 8, 2005.
Richard Pryor (65) legendary, groundbreaking comedian whose blunt, confrontational, politically influenced style of comedy made him one of the country's most successful comedians and one of Hollywood's highest-paid stars, with a series of hit comedies in the '70s and '80s, including Stir Crazy, Uptown Saturday Night, and Silver Streak. Pryor blazed a trail for black performers, earning enough clout to negotiate his own deals in Hollywood and profoundly influencing such artists as Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, Chris Rock, Damon Wayans, Robin Williams, Richard Belzer, David Letterman, and many others. Pryor battled a cocaine dependency that almost claimed his life when he set himself on fire while freebasing some years earlier. He recorded more than 20 albums, appeared in more than 40 films, and won five Grammys, an Emmy, and the first-ever Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. He died of a heart attack after suffering almost 20 years with multiple sclerosis, in Encino, California on December 10, 2005.
Ramanand Sagar (87) veteran filmmaker who produced one of the most popular TV series in India, Ramayana. Sagar started out as a film technician in Mumbai (home to Bollywood) and later became a prolific filmmaker, producing more than 25 films and more than a dozen TV serials. He died in Mumbai (Bombay), India on December 10, 2005.
Gyorgy Sandor (93) classical pianist who studied with composer Bela Bartok and remained a champion of his music throughout a long career as a performer and teacher. Sandor taught at Julliard, wrote the 1981 book On Piano Playing: Motion, Sound & Expression, and recently completed the manuscript of a book on Bartok and his music. Sandor died of heart failure in New York City on December 9, 2005.
Kurt Singer (94) World War II anti-Nazi activist and spy who became a prolific and eclectic journalist and biographer. Singer helped to found a pro-Allies newspaper and a committee to free anti-Nazi leader Carl von Ossietzky from a concentration camp while a journalist for Swedish and Swiss publications. He wrote numerous books on espionage and crime and biographies of subjects ranging from Danny Kaye to President Lyndon B. Johnson. He died in Santa Barbara, California on December 9, 2005.
George Walsh (88) longtime newsman and announcer for the Gunsmoke radio and TV programs. Walsh became the announcer for the live weekly radio series in 1952 and was a longtime fixture at KNX-AM radio in the Los Angeles area, where he was an interviewer, sports reporter, newscaster, and announcer (1952-86). His voice was used in the Smokey the Bear forest fire prevention campaign. He also broke the story about a UFO landing while working at a radio station in Roswell, New Mexico. He died of congestive heart failure in Monterey Park, California on December 5, 2005.
Danny Williams (63) British singer who recorded what many regard as the definitive version of "Moon River," the ballad that became a Christmas hit and spent 19 weeks at No. 1 on the British charts in 1961. Williams also had hits with "Jeannie" (1962), "Wonderful World of the Young" (1962), and "My Own True Love" (1963), among others. He toured with the Beatles in the '60s and earlier in the year toured the country in a tribute show to Nat ("King") Cole and in his own cabaret show. He died of cancer on December 6, 2005.
Georgy Zhzhenov (90) prominent Russian film and theater actor who survived torture and years of hard labor in the Stalinist Gulag on trumped-up charges of spying for the US. Zhzhenov shot to stardom after starring in a movie at age 17, but saw his film career come to an abrupt halt in 1938 when he was arrested by the Russian secret police and sentenced to five years in prison camps on charges of being an American spy. He later received the title of the People's Artist of the Soviet Union, the highest Soviet award for actors and numerous other prizes. He died in a Moscow, Russia hospital after breaking his hip, on December 8, 2005.
Gene Bruce (98) last known survivor of the Tragedy at Honda Point, the worst peacetime disaster in US naval history, which took place in 1923 and saw 23 sailors die when nine destroyers misjudged their navigation patterns and crashed into a rocky shoreline near Lompoc, California. Bruce participated in 1998 in a 75th-anniversary ceremony organized by a group called Point Honda Watch, created to pay tribute to the victims and heroes of the almost-forgotten disaster. He died in North Hollywood, California on December 6, 2005.
Carroll Campbell Jr. (65) former South Carolina governor who helped to turn the state into a Republican stronghold and recruited major industry. When Campbell took office in 1987, he became only the second Republican governor in the state since Reconstruction. He may be best remembered for his focus on economic development and as an instrumental force in helping George W. Bush to win South Carolina's 2000 Republican Presidential primary, which saved Bush's faltering campaign after a loss in New Hampshire. Having suffered from Alzheimer's disease for four years, Campbell died of a heart attack in Columbia, South Carolina on December 7, 2005.
Paolo Sylos Labini (85) Italian economist whose scathing political commentary often targeted conservative Premier Silvio Berlusconi. Labini taught political economics at La Sapienza University in Rome and was considered very influential in advancements in developmental economics. He died in Rome, Italy on December 7, 2005.
Eugene J. McCarthy (89) former US senator (D-Minn.) whose insurgent campaign for President in 1968 forced the Democrat Party to take seriously his message against the Vietnam War. McCarthy challenged President Lyndon B. Johnson for the 1968 Democrat nomination with the intention of influencing the federal government to curtail its involvement in the war, a challenge that led Johnson (inextricably tied to the war) to withdraw from the race. McCarthy later ran for President a total of five times but never won. He died of Parkinson's disease in Washington, DC on December 10, 2005.
Devan Nair (82) former president of Singapore who led that country's fight for independence from Britain (1981-85) but resigned in the '80s amid claims by the Prime Minister that he was seeking treatment for alcoholism (which he denied). Nair was credited with helping the country to develop one of the strongest economies in Asia. He died after suffering from several ailments, in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada on December 6, 2005.
Bill Robertson (89) onetime bartender and bouncer who rose to become a major labor leader and power broker in Los Angeles and played a key role in bringing the Raiders football team and the 1984 Olympics to the city. Robertson was a former executive secretary-treasurer of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, and was a close ally of the late Mayor Tom Bradley. Robertson demonstrated a lifelong affinity for bettering the lot of the poor, the aged, disadvantaged children, and minorities and gained far greater clout in the community than many other labor leaders. He died of pneumonia in Los Angeles, California on December 9, 2005.
Lt. Gen. William P. Yarborough (93) early leader of the Army's Airborne forces who gained President John F. Kennedy's blessing for special forces soldiers to wear green berets. Yarborough led paratroopers into battle in North Africa, Salerno, and Anzio in Italy and southern France during World War II. He died in Southern Pines, North Carolina on December 6, 2005.
Dame Rose Heilbron (91) one of the most celebrated British defense barristers of the postwar years, only the second woman to be appointed a High Court judge. Heilbron died on December 8, 2005.
Randy Jones (56) past superintendent of Rocky Mountain National Park and former deputy director of the National Park Service, where he worked for more than 30 years. Jones was working at Everglades National Park in Florida in 1992 when Hurricane Andrew ripped through the park and the home he shared with his wife. He died of cancer in Estes Park, Colorado on December 5, 2005.
Mary Aiken Littauer (93) leading expert on horses of ancient times whose first article, entitled "The Function of the Yoke Saddle in Ancient Harnessing," appeared in the British journal Antiquity in 1968. Littauer wrote two books, Wheeled Vehicles & Ridden Animals in the Ancient Near East (1970) and Chariots & Related Equipment from the Tomb of Tutankhamen (1985). She died in Syosset, New York on December 7, 2005.
Robert ("Bob") Richardson (77) fashion photographer of the '60s and '70s who transmitted the excitements and regrets of a generation of free spirits and had work published in French Vogue and Harper's Bazaar. Richardson had a long relationship with actress Anjelica Huston. He was later diagnosed with schizophrenia and disappeared for a time into a shadowland of mental illness and homelessness before receiving some new assignments in the '90s. He died in New York City on December 5, 2005.
Leo Cardinal Scheffczyk (85) conservative German theologian and writer elevated to the rank of cardinal in 200. Scheffczyk was noted for his contributions to the study of theology, which include 80 published books. He was a professor of theology and taught for 20 years at Munich University. He died in Munich, Germany on December 9, 2005.
Bud Carson (75) former defensive coordinator for the Pittsburgh Steelers and the architect of the famous Steel Curtain defense that made the defensive line for that team (led by Joe Greene, Jack Ham, and Jack Lambert) one of the best in NFL history. Carson also was defensive coordinator for the Los Angeles Rams and coached the Cleveland Browns. He died of emphysema in Sarasota, Florida on December 7, 2005.
Alvin Gambonini (83) beloved rancher and racer who started in the '50s racing hardtops (souped-up coupes or sedans from the '30s) at the Santa Rosa and Petaluma speedways. Gambonini quit the sport for a while after wrecking a stock car in 1975 but returned to the track in the early '90s. He also had a longtime association with the Marin County Motorcycle Association, whose members had maintained tracks on the Gambonini family ranch for more than 30 years. He died in Novato, California on December 4, 2005.
Charly Gaul (72) one of the great climbers in bicycle racing history and winner of the Tour de France and the Giro diItalia nearly half a century ago, whose nickname was the "Angel of the Mountains." Gaul was king of the mountains twice in the Giro in 1956 and '59 (winning that race in both those years) and the top climber in the Tour de France in 1955-56 (winning that race in 1958). He died after suffering from Alzheimer's disease for several years, in his native Luxembourg on December 6, 2005.
Ernest Schwiebert (74) architect and planner whose lifelong passion for fishing led him to write influential books on piscatorial matters like how trout perceive insects, all the better to make lures to catch them. Schwiebert died of renal cancer in Princeton, New Jersey on December 10, 2005.