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Petro Vlahos, special-effects innovator, dies at 96

Petro Vlahos, 96, a special-effects pioneer who developed the blue-screen and green-screen process that allowed Dick Van Dyke to dance with penguins in Mary Poppins, the blue-skinned Na'vi to live among floating mountains in Avatar, and TV weather reporters to point at sun and rain symbols that only their viewers can see, died on Feb. 10 in Los Angeles. The technology he perfected earned Oscar and Emmy awards.

Donald Richie, 88, an American expatriate who became a leading authority on Japanese film and culture, and whose many books explained Japan to the rest of the world, died on Tuesday in Tokyo.

Tony Sheridan, 72, the British guitarist, singer and songwriter who was the star on the Beatles' first commercial recording in 1961 — they were the backup band — died on Feb. 16 in Hamburg, Germany. His recordings with the Beatles were regularly reissued after the band became famous.

Pat Derby, 69, a former Hollywood trainer for Flipper, Lassie and other performing animals who later devoted her life to protecting them after seeing widespread abuse, died of throat cancer on Feb. 15 in San Andreas, Calif.

Keiko Fukuda, 99, who learned judo from its inventor and went on to become the sport's highest-ranked woman, died on Feb. 9 in San Francisco. She taught in many countries and wrote two autobiographical books on judo.

Martin E. Zweig, 70, who predicted the 1987 stock market crash and whose newsletter the Zweig Forecast influenced U.S. investors for a quarter century, died on Monday. He also was a regular guest on the PBS television show Wall Street Week With Louis Rukeyser.

Petro Vlahos, special-effects innovator, dies at 96 02/23/13 [Last modified: Saturday, February 23, 2013 8:47pm]
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