Charles Brown, 76, the silky-smooth blues singer and pianist who will be been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in March, died in his sleep Thursday in Oakland, Calif. He had been suffering from congestive heart failure.
Brown's suave, sophisticated music deeply influenced artists such as Ray Charles and Bonnie Raitt. He was best known for his songs "Driftin' Blues" and "Merry Christmas Baby."
Brown's gentle, nuanced approach fell out of favor with the rock 'n' roll explosion of the mid-1950s, though he had a hit in 1961 with "Please Come Home for Christmas."
Jules Lederer, 81, founder of Budget Rent-A-Car and former husband of columnist Ann Landers, died Thursday at his home near London of a heart attack.
Susan Strasberg, 60, daughter of renowned acting coach Lee Strasberg, a close friend of Marilyn Monroe and an actress, died Thursday in New York of cancer. After making her Broadway debut playing Anne Frank in 1955, Ms. Strasberg appeared in such films as "Picnic," with William Holden and Kim Novak, in 1954, and "Stage Struck," with Henry Fonda, in 1957.
Pub Date: 1/23/99