Wallace C. Steinberg, 61, chairman of Healthcare Investment Corp., the largest venture capital fund devoted to health care, died in his sleep of an undisclosed cause Wednesday in Rumson, N.J.
Greatly interested in biotechnology, he was among the first to promote gene therapy and to invest in the current studies of animal organs for human transplantation. He was willing to risk millions on untested futuristic notions that held the promise of revolutionizing medicine.
With $378 million available for investment, his firm had the resources and the power to make its chairman's visions a reality.
After earning a bachelor's degree in pharmacology and a master's degree in pharmaceutical chemistry at Rutgers University, he was a technical director for Sterling Drug International, then spent 21 years at Johnson & Johnson, where he eventually was made responsible for venture capital, strategic planning and mergers.
At Johnson & Johnson, one of his ideas was the Reach toothbrush that, marketed as a plaque-reaching devices, became the world's best-selling toothbrush, he said.
He dreamed of living forever, optimistically saying that all the ills and degenerative conditions of aging are, at least in theory, correctable. "I have this theory that death is a genetic disease," he said in an interview several years ago. "There is no religious, preordained reason to die."
Ted Hook, 65, a chorus dancer who said he had appeared in 403 movies and who turned into an impromptu impresario at his New York restaurant, Backstage, died of pneumonia July 19 in Manhattan. Until he opened Backstage on West 45th Street in 1973 for what turned out to be a decade-long run, his greatest claims to fame were that he had set a Las Vegas duration record for a dancer (64 weeks at the Sands Hotel) and had spent five years as Tallulah Bankhead's secretary.
Morris Braunstein, 68, a scientist who invented liquid crystal display -- LCD -- technology used in digital watches, microwave ovens and laptop computers, died Monday of diabetes in Los Angeles.
During his 20-year career at Hughes Research Laboratory, where he worked on the Strategic Defense Initiative, he also patented four other inventions involving laser and optical technology.
He also helped create hypoallergenic cosmetics when he worked for Almay cosmetics in the 1950s.
Eddie Hinton, 50, a musician and songwriter who developed a reputation as a crack session guitarist in Muscle Shoals, Ala., studios during the late 1960s, died Friday at his mother's Birmingham, Ala., home. The cause of death was not known.
He co-wrote "Breakfast in Bed," "Choo-Choo Train" and "You're All Around Me."
Don Carpenter, 64, a novelist and sometime screenwriter whose unflinching examinations of disheveled lives won more critical acclaim than popular favor, killed himself Thursday in Mill Valley, Calif. His family and friends said Carpenter, who had a deep distrust of doctors, had been distressed by mounting medical problems, including diabetes, tuberculosis and allergies. He was hailed as a serious literary figure from the moment his first novel, "Hard Rain Falling," was published in 1966. Carpenter's works included "Blade of Light," "Getting Off," "A Couple of Comedians" and the movie "Payday." The 1973 movie about a day in the life of a country music singer played by Rip Torn is a cult classic that has been described as the best movie about country music ever made.