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B.J. Baker, 74, a backup singer who...


B.J. Baker, 74, a backup singer who worked on hits with Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Sam Cooke and Bobby Darin, died April 2 of complications from a stroke.

Ms. Baker also appeared on several 1960s television shows, provided voices for cartoons and was a regular on Dean Martin and Judy Garland's TV variety shows.

She caught actor Mickey Rooney's eye when she competed in the 1944 Miss America contest. They were married later that year, but divorced a few years later. She married Buddy Baker, who directed the Walt Disney Co. music department, in 1950, and was married to jazz guitarist Barney Kessel from 1961 to 1980.

Beverly Bower, 76, a soprano who sang in the first public performance at the new Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center, died March 24 of cancer.

Ms. Bower began her career singing on radio and television, and joined the New York City Opera in 1956.

Albert Mokheiber, 90, a Christian legislator and outspoken opponent of Syrian influence in Lebanon, died yesterday.

As word of his death spread, President Emile Lahoud awarded him the Order of Merit.

A physician, Dr. Mokheiber was known for treating patients free of charge in his Beirut clinic.

He came from a prominent Greek Orthodox family in Beit Meri, a town in the mountains east of Beirut. He first entered parliament in 1957 and rose to hold several ministerial posts.

An independent spirit, he refused to join Christian legislators who rallied behind the right-wing presidential candidate Bashir Gemayel in 1982 at the height of Lebanon's civil war.

Dr. Mokheiber won a seat with an overwhelming majority in the 2000 elections, representing his home district of Metn, a mountainous area east of the capital.

Safet Zhulali, 59, Albania's defense minister when the country fell into anarchy after fraudulent investment schemes collapsed in 1997, died yesterday of a heart attack.

Mr. Zhulali was defense minister from 1992 to 1997 under former President Sali Berisha of the Democratic Party.

Mr. Zhulali had to give up his post in 1997 when the Berisha government was overthrown after pyramid schemes collapsed, causing tens of thousands of investors to lose their life savings.

Enraged rioters stormed army depots, and street violence killed about 2,000 people.

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