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Deaths Elsewhere


Jack Newfield,66, a muckraking reporter and newspaper columnist who wrote books on Robert F. Kennedy and boxing impresario Don King, died of cancer Monday night at a New York City hospital.

Mr. Newfield's career included stints at the Village Voice, the Daily News and New York Post. He won numerous awards, including the George Polk Award and an Emmy. Most recently, he was a columnist at the New York Sun.

A native of Brooklyn, N.Y., Mr. Newfield was drawn to the civil rights movement after college, and his first book, A Prophetic Minority, dealt with his experiences in the South. He was arrested at a sit-in in 1963 and spent two days in jail with Michael Schwerner, one of three civil rights workers killed in Mississippi the next year.

After joining the Voice, Mr. Newfield traveled with Robert Kennedy during his presidential campaign in 1968 and was present when he was assassinated in Los Angeles. His book Robert Kennedy: A Memoir came out the next year.

Later books included Only in America: The Life and Crimes of Don King and The Full Rudy: The Man, the Myth and the Mania, about former New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani.

He worked on several television documentaries as a writer and producer, and won an Emmy in 1991 for Don King: Unauthorized, which aired on PBS.

Frank "Son" Seals, 62, a blues singer and guitarist who electrified the Chicago blues scene with his gritty performances, died Monday at a nursing home in Richton Park, Ill., of complications from diabetes.

His death was announced by Bruce Iglauer, president and founder of Alligator Records, and the producer of Mr. Seals' nine albums for the label. He also recorded two albums for other labels.

Mr. Seals began his musical career as a drummer, but switched to guitar and was leading his own band at age 18. He moved to Chicago in 1971 and found regular work in South Side clubs.

In 1973, Alligator released Mr. Seals' debut album, The Son Seals Blues Band. He was part of a group of emerging Chicago blues musicians that included Hound Dog Taylor and Lonnie Brooks.

Rolling Stone magazine called Mr. Seals' 1976 Midnight Son album "one of the most significant blues albums of the decade."

He toured at home and in Europe, sharing stages with B.B. King, Johnny Winter and the jam band Phish. A lifelong diabetic, he kept performing even after part of his lower leg was amputated five years ago. He played his last live show in October.

John W. Culligan, 88, who rose from the mailroom to the chairmanship of American Home Products Corp., maker of familiar medications such as Advil, Anacin and Preparation H, died Dec. 11 of pulmonary fibrosis at his home in Franklin Lakes, N.J.

Mr. Culligan helped American Home begin its transformation from a holding company of unrelated consumer products, such as Chef Boyardee and Black Flag ant killer, to the prescription drug maker now known as Wyeth.

During his tenure as chairman and chief executive, from 1981 to 1986, American Home acquired Ives Laboratories and Sherwood Medical and began divesting itself of product lines that were unrelated to medicine.

Previously the company's president for eight years, Mr. Culligan oversaw Advil's conversion in 1984 from a prescription drug to the first over-the-counter ibuprofen in the United States.

Princess Kikuko, 92, the Japanese emperor's aunt and an outspoken supporter of allowing women to assume the throne, died Saturday, the Imperial Household Agency said.

Also known as Princess Takamatsu, she had been a champion of cancer research in Japan since the 1930s. Using money donated by the public, she established a cancer research fund in 1968, organizing symposiums and awarding scientists for groundbreaking work.

She was seen as one of the most progressive members of Japan's tradition-bound royal family, the world's oldest hereditary monarchy.

She had no children. Her husband - a philanthropist and adviser to Hirohito in the 1940s - died in 1987 of lung cancer.

Many Japanese were shocked by her 1995 decision to publish his diaries - written before and during World War II and containing criticism of Japan's wartime military - despite opposition from the Imperial Household Agency.

In 2002, after Crown Prince Naruhito and Princess Masako had a daughter, Princess Kikuko was the first royal to publicly call for changes to a postwar law that allows only male heirs to assume the Chrysanthemum Throne.

Renata Tebaldi, 82, an Italian soprano renowned for her angelic voice, her stardom at New York's Metropolitan and Italy's La Scala and her media-fueled rivalry with Maria Callas, died Sunday at her home in San Marino.

Miss Tebaldi was considered to have one of the most beautiful Italian voices of the 20th century, relying on rich, perfectly produced tones. Conductor Arturo Toscanini once said she had "the voice of an angel."

The soprano, who was at her peak in the 1950s, was recalled for her renditions of Puccini and Verdi with a voice praised for its purity of timbre and exceptional range of color and shadings.

For years, opera fans devoured details of what they perceived as a prima donna duel between her and Ms. Callas. But much of the supposed rivalry with the Greek-American diva was actually whipped up by the media. After her retirement, Miss Tebaldi told an interviewer she had never considered Ms. Callas a rival.

Miss Tebaldi made her debut in 1944 as Elena in Boito's Mefistofele in the northern Italian town of Rovigo. Soon after, she began performing in some of the world's most noted opera houses and sang in a concert of arias conducted by Mr. Toscanini at the 1946 reopening of Milan's La Scala, which had been damaged by World War II bombs.

In all, she had 270 performances at the Met, invited back season after season as one of the opera house's most popular singers. The Metropolitan's late general manager, Rudolf Bing, called her "dimples of iron," a reference to a sweet appearance that belied an iron will.

She retired from performing publicly in 1976, devoting much of her time to teaching.

Tom Wesselmann, 73, a prominent pop artist best known for modernizing the classic female nude into a flat, enigmatic, billboard-friendly silhouette, died Friday at New York University Medical Center of complications after heart surgery.

Along with Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Claes Oldenburg, James Rosenquist and Jim Dine, Mr. Wesselmann belonged to a generation of artists who gave American art and culture a new sense of itself. They found inspiration, source materials and even working methods in areas beyond art - in advertising, movies, food labels, household appliances, newspaper front pages and in commercial art techniques like silkscreen, Benday dots and billboard painting. The changes they wrought continue to reverberate through contemporary art and life.

Mr. Wesselmann's sleek, hard-edge, mostly pink silhouettes of reclining female torsos or big cutout lips exhaling clouds of cigarette smoke were distinguished from his fellow pop artists by a sensuous heat and close-up intimacy that were one part sex and four parts astutely considered color and scale.

The images were distant relatives of pinups, filtered through the billboard genre but with a formal infrastructure developed from careful attention to the paintings of de Kooning, Matisse and Mondrian. His goal was an image that was "aggressive," as he once put it, and that he experienced for the first time at the Museum of Modern Art in 1958 in front of a large canvas by the abstract expressionist Robert Motherwell.

Herbert C. Brown, 92, a retired Purdue University chemist who won a 1979 Nobel Prize for his pioneering work in organic chemistry, died of a heart attack Sunday in West Lafayette, Ind.

Dr. Brown was regarded as a 20th-century giant in the field of organic chemistry, said Felix Haas, a retired Purdue professor of mathematics.

In 1979, he shared the Nobel Prize for chemistry with German chemist Georg Wittig of the University of Heidelberg for work with boron- and phosphorus-containing compounds.

He held dozens of U.S. patents, as well as two in Canada and one in Europe. The Herbert C. Brown Laboratory of Chemistry at Purdue is named for him.

Although he officially retired in 1978, Dr. Brown continued to work at the university, giving lectures, writing and continuing his research.

Mamdouh Edwan, 63, a renowned Arab poet and playwright, died of cancer Sunday in Damascus, Syria, the state newspaper Al-Thawra reported. He was 63.

Al-Thawra, which once employed Mr. Edwan, described him as a "teacher for anyone who wants to learn about theater, novels, journalism, translation, drama, political essays and the art of life."

A Syrian, he wrote more than 80 works, including 17 collections of poetry, 26 plays, 16 TV series and two novels. He also translated Homer's Iliad and Odyssey from English into Arabic.

Rodney Kennedy-Minott, 76, a scholar, Democratic Party activist and former U.S. ambassador to Sweden, died Dec. 15 in Monterey, Calif., from acute pancreatitis.

Dr. Kennedy-Minott was an early backer of former President Jimmy Carter, chairing his 1976 northern California campaign committee. As president, Carter named him ambassador to Sweden, where he served from 1977 to 1980.

Until his retirement in 2002, Dr. Kennedy-Minott was a senior lecturer in national security affairs at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey. He was also a senior research fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution.

He received his bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees from Stanford. He wrote several books, including The Sinking of the Lollipop: Pete McCloskey versus Shirley Temple and the Politics of California Suburbia.

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