Deaths Elsewhere


Luther Henderson,

84, a prolific orchestrator and arranger well known in the jazz world and on Broadway, died Tuesday of cancer at a hospice in New York City.

Valued in the world of musical theater for bringing a jazz sensibility to show music, Mr. Henderson was an orchestrator, dance arranger and music supervisor for more than 40 Broadway or off-Broadway shows, many of which went on to be hits.

He orchestrated and co-composed the music for Jelly's Last Jam and was nominated for a Tony Award. For Ain't Misbehavin' he was the original pianist as well as orchestrator, arranger and musical supervisor. As a dance arranger and/or orchestrator, his credits include Flower Drum Song, Do Re Mi, Funny Girl and No, No, Nanette.

His other Tony nomination came for orchestration in Play On!

From the 1950s on, Mr. Henderson also worked extensively in television on such programs as The Ed Sullivan Show and The Bell Telephone Hour.

Dr. Howard Payne House,

95, a groundbreaking ear specialist and founder of the internationally renowned House Ear Institute, died Friday of heart failure at a Los Angeles hospital.

Dr. House dedicated his 64-year career to the advancement of hearing research. He established the Los Angeles-based institute in 1946 to develop treatments for hearing problems.

He treated thousands of patients at the institute and abroad, including Bob Hope, Howard Hughes and former President Ronald Reagan.

He perfected the wire loop technique, a procedure to correct a common hearing problem in which the three bones of the inner ear become calcified and stick together. By surgically inserting a wire loop into the middle ear, the innovative procedure allows for the transmission of sound from the middle ear to the inner ear. Dr. House performed the surgery on thousands of hearing-impaired patients.

He was also instrumental in the development of the cochlear implant, a tiny device that is surgically inserted behind the ear and, when used in conjunction with a small external receiver, can pick up sounds and help compensate for hearing impairments.

Appointed chairman of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration Subcommittee on Noise in 1947, Dr. House was influential in the earliest efforts to establish the guidelines for industrial hearing protection, directing a national study on industrial noise. This study set the OSHA hearing conservation standards that are still in use today.

Leonard C. Burch,

69, the longtime chairman of the Southern Utes credited with helping to lead the tribe out of poverty, died Friday in Durango, Colo., after a heart attack.

For three decades, Mr. Burch led the tribe's struggle out of obscurity to become, by the mid-1990s, one of America's richest and most sophisticated Indian nations and a major power in the Four Corners. He retired as chairman last year.

Under Mr. Burch, the tribe parlayed its energy resources and ties with non-Indian neighbors into an empire with assets of at least $1.5 billion.

Mr. Burch guided the tribe in its battle with the Bureau of Indian Affairs and other federal agencies to run its own enterprises.

One such enterprise, Red Willow Production Co., is among the state's largest natural gas producers.

Walter Taussig,

95, a conductor and vocal coach who worked with such opera greats as Placido Domingo and Birgit Nilsson, died Thursday in New York City.

Mr. Taussig, who liked to start from scratch when preparing singers for a role, coached Ms. Nilsson for Elektra and Domingo for Parsifal.

Born in Vienna, Mr. Taussig studied with composer Franz Schmidt and conductor Robert Heger at the Music Academy in Vienna. His training included harmony, composition, piano and oboe.

He joined the Metropolitan Opera in 1949 as an assistant chorus master and went on to become an associate conductor.

Mr. Taussig was also an assistant conductor at the Salzburg Festival for 18 years and worked as a coach for the record company Deutsche Grammophon.

Dr. Lazarus Astrachan,

78, a geneticist who conducted a famous experiment in the field of molecular biology, died of cancer July 27 while visiting Israel.

Dr. Astrachan's experiment, performed with Dr. Elliot Volkin at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, at first greatly puzzled biologists, but it eventually led to the discovery of messenger RNA, a pivotal actor in the operation of living cells.

At the time of his experiment, in 1957, the foremost problem in biology was to figure out how the hereditary information encoded in DNA was used by living cells to synthesize the proteins that are their working parts.

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