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Obituaries

Richard Beebe; Local Radio Broadcaster

September 03, 1998

Lord Rothermere, 73, the last of the English press barons who built his family firm into a billion-dollar media empire. The third Viscount Rothermere, scion of a newspaper dynasty founded by his father and great-uncle, was owner of the London Daily Mail, the Mail on Sunday and London's Evening Standard. In 1971, he made Fleet Street history by relaunching the ailing broadsheet Daily Mail as a tabloid and turning it into a mass-selling paper for the middle market. Eleven years later, he launched the Mail on Sunday. The Rothermere empire now includes regional newspapers throughout Britain, magazines, specialist financial publications and the annual Daily Mail Ideal Home Exhibition. Born Vere Harold Esmond Harmsworth, he was schooled at Eton and tutored in the family business at a Canadian paper mill learning how newsprint was produced. He worked in every department of his family firm, Associated Newspapers. The company was formed in 1896 by his great-uncle, Alfred Harmsworth, later Lord Northcliffe, and later passed to his father, Esmond Harmsworth. Rothermere is the last of Britain's publishing families--once including the Beaverbrooks, Astors and Hartwells--to retain control of its publishing business. On Tuesday in London of a heart attack.

Philip Sammeth; Pioneer in Disney Character Merchandising

Philip Sammeth, 88, pioneer in character merchandising at Walt Disney Productions. Sammeth joined Disney in 1954 and became director of the studio's merchandising division in 1967. He also served as vice president and chief operating officer of its music and record companies. Among the merchandising programs Sammeth created were those for the television series "Mickey Mouse Club," "Zorro" and "Davy Crockett." One of the best-known items he marketed was Crockett's ubiquitous coonskin cap. As an original toy licenser to Elliott and Ruth Handler, Sammeth provided a major boost for what would become Mattel Toys. After his retirement from Disney in 1977, Sammeth worked on San Francisco's 50th anniversary celebration for the Golden Gate Bridge and supervised merchandising for Donny and Marie Osmond. On Aug. 27 in Los Angeles of respiratory failure.

Harriette Carr von Breton; Political Activist, Author

Harriette "Hattie" Carr von Breton, 88, political activist, art collector, architectural historian and author. Born in Porterville, Calif., Von Breton studied art at Scripps College, Stanford and UC Berkeley. But instead of art, she moved into politics and civic endeavors, first doing an ABC public service radio show, "Parlor Politics." She was a leader of the Los Angeles chapter of the League of Women Voters, president of the Women's Democratic Forum here and for 16 years served on the California Democratic State Central Committee. She also took an active part in city politics, once spearheading recall action against a Los Angeles city councilman she dubbed "Malfeasance Mac." She served on the boards of the city's Child Guidance Clinic, Assistance League and YWCA, and on the Committee to Investigate Juvenile Detention Homes, Parks and Recreation Committee for Teenage Activities, the Family Service Committee and Booth Memorial Home for Unmarried Mothers. After moving to Santa Barbara in 1959, Von Breton wrote articles about art, taught art at the Happy Valley School in Ojai and collected Rajasthani miniatures from India that she later exhibited at such museums as Pasadena's Pacific Asia Museum. As an architectural historian, Von Breton lectured at UC Santa Barbara, served on the board of the National Society of Architectural Historians and, with David Gebhard, co-authored the well-received 1975 book "L.A. in the Thirties." On Aug. 15 in San Anselmo, Calif.

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