Seymour Melman, 86, a retired Columbia University professor who argued that U.S. military spending compromised the quality of the nation's domestic programs, died Thursday at his home in New York City of an apparent aneurysm.
An outspoken advocate for disarmament during the Cold War and after, he was co-chairman of the Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy and chairman of the National Commission for Economic Conversion and Disarmament.
He opposed the current war in Iraq, and argued against the long-held belief that World War II pulled the United States out of the Great Depression, saying other factors revived the economy. His books included Our Depleted Society (1965), Profits Without Production (1983) and After Capitalism: From Managerialism to Workplace Economy (2001).
Jack Weekly, 73, the chairman and CEO of Mutual of Omaha who ascended from an entry-level data processing job to head one of the insurance industry giants, died Friday in Omaha after being hospitalized following a fall Wednesday.
He joined Mutual of Omaha in 1950, then left in 1969 to help found Omaha-based First Data Resources.
He returned to Mutual five years later, was named president in 1987 and president and chief executive officer in 1996. He was appointed chairman in 1998.
He was chairman of the board of the Health Insurance Association of America in the early 1990s and led efforts to preserve the private health insurance industry at a time the Clinton administration was proposing a major overhaul.
Fernando Poe Jr., 65, a Filipino action film star and presidential candidate who refused to concede May's election, died Tuesday in Manila after suffering a stroke.
He was a hero to millions of poor Filipinos who embraced the fast-punching, straight-shooting underdog hero he typically played in more than 200 action films. He also played true-to-life heroes, including decorated policemen, and appeared in several World War II movies as a soldier or guerrilla fighting Japanese invaders.
Mr. Poe, better known as "Da King" or simply FPJ, started appearing in movies in his teens and never held public office. He was urged by politicians, especially supporters of his close friend and another former actor, ousted President Joseph Estrada, to capitalize on his popularity and seek the presidency in the May 10 election. Despite support from the poor, Mr. Poe lost the election by 1.1 million votes.
Anthony J. McAllister Jr., 75, who helped expand his family's fleet of tugboats and barges to serve ports from New York to Puerto Rico, died on Dec. 9 in Wynnewood, Pa. after heart surgery.
From 1979 to 1984, he was president of the McAllister Towing and Transportation Co., whose boats, known for their red-and-white stacks, have tugged steamships and floating cargo into New York's harbor for almost 140 years. The company is now the East Coast's largest family-owned tugboat company.
In the 1970s, he started the McAllister Feeder Service to transport goods that usually arrived from overseas. Though no longer running, the service once accounted for much of McAllister Towing's business. He then directed the company's acquisition of the Baker-Whitely Towing Co., giving it a presence in the port of Baltimore.
Larry Buchanan, 81, self-declared "schlockmeister" who created such critically panned but highly successful television movies as Mars Needs Women, Curse of the Swamp Creature and Zontar, the Thing from Venus, died Dec. 2 in Tucson, Ariz., of complications from a collapsed lung.
Mr. Buchanan, who also created conspiracy docudramas and quirky biopics, made about 30 pictures over four decades, horrifying critics, delighting fans and gratifying financial backers with his one-man, self-described "guerrilla filmmaking." He wrote, directed, produced and edited most of his films, and even photographed and acted in a few.
Many of his titles landed on "worst movies" compilations, but they all recouped their modest production costs and most made a good profit. One of the first makers of feature films specifically for television, he was philosophical about his reputation, titling his 1996 autobiography: It Came from Hunger! Tales of a Cinema Schlockmeister.
Ray Rude, 88, who went from doing farm work at age 5 to becoming a multimillionaire benefactor after developing the Duraflex diving board, died Thursday at a medical center in Stanley, N.D.
He left Stanley as a teenager and worked as a tool engineer for aircraft companies. In 1948, he developed an aluminum diving board from a discarded airplane wing panel. It led to his Nevada-based Duraflex Co., which has made thousands of the diving boards used in the Olympics since 1960.
He returned to his hometown from Nevada two years ago.
Joseph Beyrle, 81, believed to be the only soldier to fight for both the United States and the Soviet Union during World War II, died Dec. 12 in Toccoa, Ga.
He was one of the first paratroopers to land in Normandy, France, the night before the D-Day invasion on June 6, 1944. The Germans captured him shortly after he landed. He escaped from a prisoner-of-war camp in Poland in January 1945 and joined a Soviet tank unit headed for Berlin. He fought alongside the unit for a month, until he was wounded and arrangements were made for him to rejoin the American forces.
His service to the two countries during the war earned him medals from President Bill Clinton and Russian President Boris N. Yeltsin on the 50th anniversary of D-Day. After leaving the Army, he worked for 28 years at Brunswick Corp., where he retired in 1981 as shipping supervisor.