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The Baltimore Sun

Claudia Cohen, 56, gossip columnist

Claudia Cohen, a New York gossip columnist who became the subject of gossip herself when she married into the city's elite, died of ovarian cancer Friday at a Manhattan hospital, said Christine Taylor, a spokeswoman for her ex-husband, the billionaire Ronald Perelman.

By the time of her death, Ms. Cohen was a millionaire socialite renowned for her contacts and East Hampton parties, but she had her start 30 years earlier as one of the first reporters for the New York Post's Page Six.

Two years after her 1977 start at Page Six, she become the column's second editor, overseeing the coverage of such legendary locales as Studio 54.

In the early 1980s, while writing a gossip column for the Daily News, Ms. Cohen began dating Mr. Perelman. She became a boldface name herself when she became the second of his four wives. When they divorced, she left with an $80 million settlement and a permanent place in New York's socialite circles.

LEONARD F. PICKELL JR., 53 Foundation president

Leonard F. Pickell Jr., the former James Beard Foundation president who served more than a year in prison for stealing $1.1 million from the organization, died Wednesday, a lawyer for Mr. Pickell and his family told The New York Times.

Jonathan C. Reiter told the newspaper that a private autopsy determined the cause of death was embolisms in both lungs.

Mr. Pickell grew actively involved with the James Beard Foundation in 1988, and became the foundation's president in 1995, but the organization's spending practices soon became an issue.

An investigation eventually led to Mr. Pickell pleading guilty in January 2005 to second-degree grand larceny, admitting he stole money by writing checks to pay personal credit card debts, stealing petty cash, and fraudulently claiming reimbursements.

SAMUEL WEISSMAN, 94 Helped develop atomic bomb

Samuel Isaac Weissman, a professor and chemist who helped develop the first atomic bomb, died Tuesday, said his wife, Jane Loevinger.

Mr. Weissman's work with lasers and resonant energy transfer methods at the University of California, Berkeley was cut short when he became one of the first scientists to arrive in Los Alamos, N.M., to work on the Manhattan Project during World War II.

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