MICHAEL BRECKER, 57 Jazz saxophonist
Michael Brecker, a tenor saxophonist who won 11 Grammy Awards and was among the most influential musicians in jazz since the 1960s, died of leukemia Saturday at a hospital in New York City.
He and his brothers led a successful jazz-rock fusion group called the Brecker Brothers. Throughout his career, he recorded and performed with numerous jazz and pop music leaders, including Herbie Hancock and Joni Mitchell.
His technique on the saxophone was widely emulated and taught. Jazziz magazine once called him "inarguably the most influential tenor stylist of the last 25 years."
BRADFORD WASHBURN, 96 Explorer and museum founder
Bradford Washburn, a renowned mountain photographer, explorer and cartographer who founded the Boston Museum of Science and directed a 1999 effort that revised the official elevation of Mount Everest, died Wednesday of heart failure in Lexington, Mass.
He climbed some of the world's most challenging mountains and is particularly known for his photography of Alaska's Mount McKinley and his exploration of the mountain with his wife, Barbara Washburn.
The effort to remeasure Everest, the world's tallest peak, determined its altitude to be 29,035 feet - 7 feet higher than previous measurements. He and his wife produced in 1988 the first highly detailed, comprehensive relief map of Everest.
Mr. Washburn ran the Boston museum for 41 years, beginning in 1939. He transformed what was then known as the New England Museum of Natural History from a facility with 12 staffers, a handful of volunteers and about 35,000 visitors a year into the contemporary Museum of Science, which attracts more than 1.4 million people annually and has 300 staff members and 700 volunteers.
BONG SOO HAN, 73 Martial arts master
Korean martial arts master Bong Soo Han, who helped revolutionize Hollywood's understanding of martial arts by creating fight sequences for modern American films, died Jan. 8 at his home in Santa Monica, Calif.
Mr. Han, who held a ninth-degree black belt and the title of grand master in hapkido, dedicated his life to spreading the martial art, which combines the kicking and punching of tae kwon do and the joint locks and graceful throws of judo.
He was discovered by Hollywood in 1969, shortly after he arrived in the United States, while giving a hapkido demonstration at a park near Malibu. Actor Tom Laughlin saw him perform and asked for help with his action film Billy Jack. He choreographed fight scenes for the film, now a cult classic, and served as a stunt man, demonstrating a level of martial arts skill rarely seen before.
Mr. Han also worked on the 1988 thriller The Presidio and was featured in Wesley Snipes' 1998 documentary Masters of the Martial Arts. He was the founder and president of the International Hapkido Federation, which has affiliate schools in California, Hawaii, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas and Indiana.
STEVE KRANTZ, 83 TV, film producer
Steve Krantz, the husband of novelist Judith Krantz who produced the X-rated animated movie Fritz the Cat and created successful TV miniseries out of his wife's potboilers, died Jan. 4 of complications from pneumonia.
During his TV career, he wrote for Milton Berle and Arthur Godfrey; was executive producer for Steve Allen's Tonight Show; and helped create several comedies, including Dennis the Menace and Bewitched as head of creative development at Columbia Pictures Television.
He later turned to features such as Fritz the Cat, based on the Robert Crumb underground comic.