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Obituaries

Chris Haney, 59, a former Canadian journalist whose fascination with entertaining, barely useful tidbits of information led him to co-create the bestselling board game Trivial Pursuit, died Monday (May 31, 2010) in Toronto. He had been in poor health the past two years with kidney and circulatory problems, said Scott Abbott, who created the game with Haney more than 30 years ago. Before data hounds had Google, there was Trivial Pursuit, a board game that elevated the acquisition of a wide range of arcane knowledge to a coveted social skill.

Peter Orlovsky, 76, a writer best known as a longtime muse, inspiration and companion of Beat poet Allen Ginsberg, died May 30, 2010, of lung cancer in Williston, Vt. Mr. Orlovsky and Ginsberg were partners for more than 40 years until Ginsberg's death from liver cancer in 1997. They met in San Francisco in 1954 and committed to each other in a ceremony the next year. Encouraged to write by Ginsberg, Mr. Orlovsky became a poet in his own right. He won a $10,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1979 and published several books.

Ralph Emerson McGill Jr., 65, the son of a 1959 Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who was encouraged by his father to choose a different career and became a leading writer of ad copy instead, died of a heart attack Tuesday (June 1, 2010) in Atlanta. "He could make you cry in five words or just make you laugh," said Mary Welch McGill, his wife of 21 years. "It was obvious the talent had been passed on, but with a twist."

Bob Ellison, 67, a radio reporter who was the first black journalist to serve as president of the White House Correspondents' Association, died May 24, 2010, in Washington, D.C. He had emphysema. Mr. Ellison spent 14 years as the White House correspondent, covering the Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Clinton administrations.

Yvonne Stevens, 104, who appeared in silent-film comedies and melodramas, died of a heart ailment May 27, 2010, in Hollywood. She was a "bathing beauty" for slapstick comedy innovator Mack Sennett in the 1920s and had supporting roles in a handful of films under the name Yvonne Howell. They included the drama Fashions for Women (1927) and the western Somewhere in Sonora (1927).

Andrei Voznesensky, 77, one of the most daring and popular poets of the Soviet era, died Tuesday (June 1, 2010) in Moscow. A cause of death was not given, but some Russian media reports said the poet had suffered a second stroke earlier this year. He was one of the so-called "children of the '60s," a generation of thinkers who tasted intellectual freedom during the post-Stalin thaw. His unusual rhymes and bold metaphors contrasted sharply with other Soviet poetry.

Louise Bourgeois, 98, the French-born American artist who gained fame only late in a long career, when her psychologically charged abstract sculptures, drawings and prints had a galvanizing effect on the work of younger artists, died of a heart attack Monday (May 31, 2010) in Manhattan. Her sculptures in wood, steel, stone and cast rubber, covered many stylistic bases. But from first to last they shared a set of themes centered on the human body and its need for nurture and protection in a frightening world.

Sherwin Sloan, 72, who experienced the 15-hour musical drama The Ring by Richard Wagner 90 times, died Monday (May 31, 2010) in Los Angeles, two days after the L.A. Opera began a performance of his favorite piece. He died of pneumonia and was unable to attend the event. "He was a true friend to L.A. Opera, one of the company's most enthusiastic supporters since our earliest days," Placido Domingo, the opera company's general director, said in a statement.

Obituaries 06/05/10 [Last modified: Saturday, June 5, 2010 9:15pm]
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