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April 16, 2014 | By David Ng
Phillip Hayes Dean, the theater actor, director and playwright whose stage biography of Paul Robeson is currently being performed in Los Angeles, has died at age 83. Dean died Monday in L.A. of an aortic aneurysm, according to a spokeswoman for the play. Dean wrote "Paul Robeson," and the drama opened in 1978 on Broadway in a production starring James Earl Jones. The playwright recently directed the drama in a production starring Keith David that is running at the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center in L.A. through April 27. The play, which features just one actor and a musician, follows the life of the pioneering black stage and screen actor.
April 15, 2014 | By Houston Mitchell
Former pro wrestling star Ultimate Warrior, who collapsed while walking to his car last week and pronounced dead at a hospital in Scottsdale, Ariz., died of cardiovascular disease. Maricopa County spokeswoman Cari Gerchick announced the finding Monday after an autopsy was conducted by the county medical examiner's office. There was no alcohol or drugs in his system. Warrior, 54, died last Tuesday. Witnesses say he clutched his chest before collapsing. Born James Hellwig, he legally changed his name to Warrior several years ago. ALSO: Manny Pacquiao's mom was, um, intense during fight [Video]
April 15, 2014
Gil Askey Arranger for top Motown acts Gil Askey, 89, a trumpeter, conductor and arranger for top Motown acts, including the Supremes, the Temptations and the Four Tops, died April 9 in Melbourne, Australia. He had lymphoma, according to his family. Askey's work with Motown began in 1965 when he was hired to produce and arrange several tracks on Billy Eckstine's "Prime of My Life. " Motown founder Berry Gordon later assigned Askey to work with the Supremes. He produced "The Supremes Sing Rodgers & Hart," a 1967 album of show tunes, and was musical director for their live shows.
April 15, 2014 | By David Colker
Cuban-born drummer Armando Peraza, a self-taught musician who transformed himself from a homeless orphan in Havana to a world-recognized bongo and conga expert who performed with Carlos Santana for nearly two decades, died Monday in a South San Francisco hospital. The cause was pneumonia, said his wife, Josephine Peraza. Peraza had also battled diabetes for many years. Officially, Peraza was 89, but he admitted that he made up a birth date to give to authorities when he came to the United States in the late 1940s and was never sure of his exact age. Peraza, who also played with George Shearing and other jazz greats, was known for combining a blindingly fast drumming technique with a flamboyant style that audiences loved.
April 14, 2014 | Hailey Branson-Potts
In so many ways, the paths of Dr. A. Richard Grossman and firefighters crossed. When firefighters pulled badly burned people out of the flames, they took them straight to Grossman, a plastic and reconstructive surgeon who pioneered the comprehensive care of burn patients. When the firefighters themselves were burned on the job, they went to him too. On Sunday, hundreds of uniformed firefighters, nurses and former patients gathered beneath the burning flame of the Los Angeles Fire Department's Fallen Firefighters Memorial in Hollywood to honor the doctor's life.
April 14, 2014
Patrick Seale Patrick Seale, 83, a veteran British journalist whose books established him as the leading expert on modern Syria, died Friday in London, according to family and friends. He had been diagnosed with brain cancer last year. Seale is best known for his authoritative biography of the late Syrian President Hafez Assad, "Assad of Syria: The Struggle for the Middle East. " Published in 1988, the book is considered the definitive work on Assad, the father of Syria's current leader.
April 14, 2014 | By Mike Boehm
A 42-year-old member of a choral group from Philadelphia died late Monday morning while warming up for a noon rehearsal at Walt Disney Concert Hall - the first time a performer has died at the venue since its 2003 opening. Jeff Dinsmore and seven other members of the Crossing chamber choir had arrived early for the session at Choral Hall, a rehearsal room at Disney Hall, when Dinsmore was taken ill, said Lisa Bellamore, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles Philharmonic. A fire department spokesman said he was pronounced dead after emergency responders arrived.
April 14, 2014 | By Joseph Serna and Melanie Mason
A student who died in last week's fiery bus crash in Orland, Calif., spent his last moments helping other passengers to safety, officials at his Inglewood charter high school said in a statement. Ismael Jimenez, 18, would have been the first in his family to go to college. He was killed Thursday when a FedEx truck steered across a median and into a charter bus carrying him and 47 others to Humboldt State University for spring introductions. Jimenez and another victim, Denise Gomez, 18, were students at Animo Inglewood Charter High School.
April 14, 2014 | By Steve Chawkins
Charles F. Farthing, a physician who was at the forefront of care for HIV/AIDS patients and who drew attention to the need for an AIDS vaccine by announcing his willingness to inject himself, has died. He was 60. Farthing, who collapsed in a Hong Kong taxi April 5, had a heart attack, family members said in an announcement. Farthing was chief of medicine for the Los Angeles-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation from 1994 to 2007. He was planning to return to the foundation in June as director of treatment programs in the 32 countries outside the U.S. where it provides services.
April 13, 2014 | By David Colker
Talking toys have been around since at least 1960, when pull-the-string Chatty Cathy debuted. But Teddy Ruxpin, a cuddly teddy bear that hit stores in late 1985, marked a technological leap forward. Created by then-Granada Hills resident Ken Forsse, the talking Teddy moved his mouth in sync, making him seem much more lifelike. The effect was both delightful and a bit creepy, and kids loved him. "1986 and 1987 were insane; you could hardly find Teddy Ruxpin in stores, it was so popular," said toy expert Jim Silver.
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