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Dennis Ritchie, who created software that helped shape the digital era, dies at 70

Dennis M. Ritchie, 70, who helped shape the modern digital era by creating software tools that power everything from search engines like Google to smart phones, was found dead on Oct. 12 at his home in Berkeley Heights, N.J. He was the principal designer of the C programming language for computers. He named his creation C because programming language that came before it was called B.

Elouise Cobell, 65, the treasurer of the Blackfeet tribe who pursued a lawsuit that accused the U.S. government of cheating Native Americans out of more than a century's worth of royalties, resulting in a record $3.4 billion settlement, died of cancer on Oct. 16 in Great Falls, Mont.

Robert W. Galvin, 89, the retired chairman and chief executive of Motorola who guided his family's business into a dominant force in the communications field, died on Oct. 11 in Chicago. In the 1950s, before he became chief executive, Motorola had 6,000 employees and sales of $250 million. When he retired as chairman in 1990, it had more than 100,000 workers and sales of $10.8 billion.

Derrick Bell, 80, a civil rights scholar who was the first tenured black professor at Harvard Law School, died of cancer on Oct. 5 in New York. He was a pioneer of "critical race theory," a body of legal scholarship that explored how racism is embedded in laws and legal institutions.

Sue Mengers, 79, an unapologetically brash talent agent who blazed a path for women in Hollywood and represented some of its biggest stars, died Oct. 15 in Beverly Hills. Among her clients were Barbra Streisand, Faye Dunaway, Steve McQueen, Nick Nolte, Burt Reynolds, Cybill Shepherd and Brian De Palma.

J. Willis Hurst, 90, the cardiologist for Lyndon B. Johnson from the time of his first heart attack in 1955 and the principal editor of The Heart, a widely used textbook on cardiovascular disease, died of complications of a stroke on Oct. 1 in Atlanta.

Norman Corwin, 101, who wrote, produced and directed scores of award-winning radio dramas for CBS in the 1930s and 1940s and came to be known as the "poet laureate of radio," died on Tuesday in Los Angeles.

Diane Cilento, 78, the dusky-voiced stage and film actress whose forthright sensuality was best displayed as the wench Molly in Tom Jones and who endured a tempestuous marriage to actor Sean Connery, died on Oct. 6 in Queensland, Australia. On screen she also appeared with Charlton Heston in The Agony and the Ecstasy and with Paul Newman in Hombre.

Carl Lindner Jr., 92, a Cincinnati billionaire whose range of businesses over the years included baseball, insurance and banks, died of natural causes on Monday. He was chairman of the American Financial Group.

Dennis Ritchie, who created software that helped shape the digital era, dies at 70 10/22/11 [Last modified: Saturday, October 22, 2011 7:11pm]
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