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Jon Stone,65, who help create Big Bird...


Jon Stone,65, who help create Big Bird and Cookie Monster as the co-creator and Emmy Award-winning writer, producer and director of "Sesame Street," died Sunday in New York of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

He wrote the pilot script for "Sesame Street" and was the head writer and one of the three original producers of the program, which first aired on PBS on Nov. 10, 1969. He remained the principal director of the children's show until last year.

Mr. Stone was also an author of children's books, including "The Monster at the End of This Book," which was published by Little Golden Books in 1971.

Nancy Woodhull,52, a founding editor of USA Today and a former president of Gannett News Service, died yesterday in Rochester, N.Y., after a four-month struggle with lung cancer, according to J. Ford Huffman, a managing editor at Gannett News Service.

From 1990 until early last year, she was a trustee of the Freedom Forum, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that focuses on First Amendment and media-related issues. A former director of the Freedom Forum's Media Studies Center in New York, she recently was named senior vice president for communications at the Freedom Forum, which is based in Arlington, Va.

Otto John,88, the first head of West Germany's intelligence service who was later jailed for treason, died Wednesday at a sanitarium in Innsbruck, Austria, the hospital said.

In 1954, while he was president of the West German Federal Bureau for the Protection of the Constitution, Mr. John disappeared. When West German officials learned he was in East Germany, they believed he had changed allegiance to communism.

He returned to West Germany in December 1955, insisting he had been abducted. He was charged with treason and, in 1956, was convicted and sentenced to four years in prison. For nearly four decades, he sought to clear his name, but a Berlin court in December 1995 rejected his fifth attempt to be exonerated.

Josephine Butler,77, a community activist who co-founded the District of Columbia's Statehood Party, died Saturday of congestive heart failure and complications from diabetes. She went to Washington from Brandywine in Prince George's County in 1934 and worked as a laundress. Later she organized a union for female laundry workers.

She was a former District of Columbia council member and Statehood Party nominee for mayor.

Pupul Jayakar,81, popularly known as India's cultural ambassador, died Saturday after a brief illness in Bombay. She advised prime ministers and presidents on art and culture and wrote several books, including biographies of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and philosopher J. Krishnamurthi. Tom Heidlebaugh,55, an author and poet who worked to revive and preserve American Indian traditions, died of cancer March 26 in Tacoma, Wash.

Pub Date: 4/02/97

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