Jim Exon,

83, a Democrat who served two terms as governor and three terms in the U.S. Senate for Nebraska, died Friday at Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital in Lincoln, Neb. A cause of death was not given, but he had been treated for cancer several years ago.

The broad-shouldered senator once dubbed "Big Jim" started in the Nebraska Democratic Party as a precinct worker and was its chairman Democratic Party when he made his first bid for public office, winning the governor's seat in 1970. He was elected to the Senate in 1978, serving through 1996.

He was the only Nebraskan besides George Norris, the architect of the state's one-house Legislature, to win five consecutive statewide elections.

After retiring, Mr. Exon served on the Deutch Committee, which was created by Congress to study the threat of weapons of mass destruction. He warned of terrorism in the committee's 1999 report and recommended the creation of a federal agency like the Department of Homeland Security.

Dana Elcar,

77, the round-faced, balding actor whose real-life struggle with blindness was written into his role on the TV adventure series MacGyver, died Monday of complications from pneumonia in Ventura, Calif.

MacGyver ran on ABC from 1985 to 1992. Mr. Elcar played the best friend and boss of the crime-fighting title character, played by Richard Dean Anderson. Mr. Elcar, who suffered from glaucoma, told producers he was going blind after four seasons with MacGyver, so they adapted his character to match his medical condition. By the end of the show's run, he had become almost completely blind.

Curtis Pitts,

89, who created the popular aerobatic biplane known as the Pitts Special, died Friday in Miami of complications from a heart valve replacement.

In 1943, Mr. Pitts built the first Pitts Special. The Pitts Special was "revolutionary because of its small size, lightweight, short wingspan, and extreme agility," the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum says on its Web site.

Each part of the plane can be broken down and shipped in pieces as a kit, reassembled at home by the owner.

Kenneth Taylor,

88, the founder of a leading Christian publishing house, died Friday at his home in Wheaton, Ill. The cause of death was not given.

He was best known as the creator of The Living Bible, published by his Tyndale House Publishers. The Living Bible, which put Scriptures into easy-to-understand English, has sold more than 40 million copies to date, according to a statement from Tyndale.

He founded Tyndale House Publishers in 1962, naming the company after 16th-century Christian reformer William Tyndale, who was burned at the stake for translating the Bible into English. Mr. Taylor was president of Tyndale House Publishers until 1984 and served as chairman of the board from 1984 until his death.

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