Robert Schimmel, 60, a critically acclaimed comedian who made audiences squirm and then laugh with X-rated explorations of sexuality and vulnerability usually drawn from his own life, died Sept. 3 in a Phoenix hospice from injuries sustained in an Aug. 26 car accident. He made regular appearances on Howard Stern's radio show and was a frequent guest on Late Night with Conan O'Brien. He also starred in comedy specials for Showtime and HBO.
Ronald W. Walters, 72, a longtime political analyst and scholar at Howard University and the University of Maryland who was a leading expert on race and politics, died of cancer on Friday. In 1984, he was a key adviser to the presidential campaign of Jesse Jackson, and he had been a force behind the Congressional Black Caucus.
Virginia B. Smith, 87, a lawyer and economist who helped shape the contours of higher education as president of Vassar College, as a high public official in Washington and as a member of influential private research groups, died Aug. 27 in Alamo, Calif. She worked to increase public support for higher education and to extend its benefits beyond traditional elites, goals that have been addressed by steady increases in federal and state financial aid.
Irwin Silber, 84, a founder and the longtime editor of the folk-music magazine Sing Out!, who was one of the prime movers behind the folk-music revival of the 1950s and 1960s and, on a famous occasion, treated Bob Dylan to a public scolding for abandoning his political songs, died of complications of Alzheimer's disease on Wednesday in Oakland, Calif. He founded the magazine in 1950 with legendary folk singer Pete Seeger and musicologist Alan Lomax.
Allen Dale June, 91, one of the 29 original Navajo Code Talkers who confounded the Japanese during World War II by transmitting messages in their native language, died of natural causes Wednesday in Prescott, Ariz. The Code Talkers took part in every assault the Marines conducted in the Pacific from 1942 to 1945. They sent thousands of messages without error on Japanese troop movements, battlefield tactics and other communications critical to the war's ultimate outcome. With his death, only two of the 29 are still living.
David Dortort, 93, a TV writer and producer whose idea to create a western drama based not on shoot-'em-ups but instead on the travails of a loving family resulted in Bonanza, one of the most popular shows in history, died Sept. 5 in Los Angeles. Bonanza ran for 14 seasons, including three years, from 1964 to 1967, when it was the most-watched TV show in the country. He also created a second western drama, The High Chaparral.
Seymour Pine, 91, the New York deputy police inspector who led the raid on the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in Greenwich Village, died Sept. 2 in Whippany, N.J. The raid, which took place in June 1969, was a moment that helped start the gay liberation movement. He later apologized for his role in the raid.
Edward M. Swartz, 76, a flamboyant personal injury lawyer and consumer-safety activist whose annual list of the top 10 most dangerous toys helped force parents, government regulators and manufacturers to pay more attention to the hidden perils of playthings, died of congestive heart failure Sept. 3 in Chestnut Hill, Mass.