Paramount Chief Letuli Olo Misilagi, 84, a ranking traditional leader of American Samoa who was a former territorial senator, businessman, entertainer and father of the fire knife dance, died July 22 in a Honolulu hospital.
Most people referred to him as Olo, the high talking chief title from Leone village he held for 37 years. In 2001, he was bestowed the paramount chief title of Letuli - one of only five in American Samoa.
As High Talking Chief Olo of Leone, he served a four-year term as the village senator in 1977 and was re-selected to the Senate in 1993. He also served seven years as an associate judge on the High Court.
Letuli began dancing in 1934, when he was 15, during school song and dance demonstration day. He was the first Samoan to order tap dance shoes from the Sears Catalog, which included an instruction booklet from Fred Astaire and a board. He practiced so often that friends started to call him Freddie.
He was instrumental in organizing American Samoa's first World Fire Knife Competition, held two months ago. The organizers, Flaming Sword of Samoa Association, paid tribute to Letuli then and honored his contribution to the art of fire knife dancing. He shared his fire knife dancing expertise and appeared in several Hollywood movies, including Adventure in Paradise.
Emily Bavar Kelly, 88, a former reporter and editor for the Orlando Sentinel who broke the story that Walt Disney was buying thousands of acres in Central Florida for a theme park, died Monday in Orlando.
Mrs. Kelly reported in 1965 that Walt Disney Productions was the mysterious buyer using dummy corporations to purchase land in southwest Orange and northwest Osceola counties.
She went to Anaheim, Calif., and questioned Walt Disney in his office about whether his company was buying the land. "He looked like I had thrown a bucket of water in his face," she later said. "I have never seen anyone look so stunned. He was too surprised, but then he recovered and said 'no.'"
But Mrs. Kelly's reporting showed otherwise and the Sentinel ran her article Oct. 21, 1965.
Norma McClure, 69, an actress who appeared in the 1973 cult blaxploitation comedy The Mack, died Saturday in Palmdale, Calif., of congestive heart failure.
She had been working to revive her career and was designing dolls she planned to give to Iraqi children.
She was best known for her appearance in The Mack, and one of her scenes was reprised for True Romance, a 1993 film scripted by Quentin Tarantino, a blaxploitation aficionado.
Harold C. Bennett, 78, who led the Southern Baptist Convention during an era when conservatives seized control from moderates, died of pancreatic cancer Sunday in Brentwood, Tenn.
Mr. Bennett was president-treasurer of the Nashville-based SBC from 1979 to 1992. During his tenure, the SBC grew from 13.2 million to 15.2 million members, and its budget increased 87 percent, according to the Baptist Press.
Born in Asheville, N.C., Mr. Bennett graduated from Wake Forest University before earning a master of divinity from Southern Theological Seminary. He served as a Navy pilot during World War II and was a pastor at churches in Kentucky, Arkansas and Louisiana.