Francois Billetdoux, 64, man of letters and author of popular and prize-winning plays, died in Paris Tuesday. In 1989, he won the Moliere prize for best playwright for his last play, "Wake Up, Philadelphia." The play also won prizes from the Academie Francaise, a drama critic's prize and an award from the City of Paris. He began his career as a journalist. His best-known works included "Chin Chin" (1959), "So, Go to Thorpe's" (1961) and "How Goes the World, Mossieu?" (1964). His plays fill eight volumes.
Anton Furst, 47, the Oscar-winning production designer who created the haunting sets and extravagant Batmobile of the movie "Batman," jumped to his death Sunday afternoon from the eighth level of a Los Angeles parking garage, police said. As a production designer, he worked on "Company of Wolves" and "Full Metal Jacket" and the 1989 movie "Batman," which garnered him an Academy Award for his work as an art director. He shared the trophy with set decorator Peter Young. "The whole look of a movie would be up to him," said Columbia Picture studio spokesman Mark Gill. "He designed all the sets of Batman, the streets of New York, the home of Batman and his car."
Eric Carr, 41, drummer of the hard-rock group Kiss, died Sunday in New York of complications from cancer. He had a malignant tumor removed from his heart earlier this year, then underwent chemotherapy for cancer in his lungs. The cancer appeared to go into remission, and he attended the MTV music video awards program in September, but two days later he suffered a cerebral hemorrhage. Soon afterward he suffered another hemorrhage and never regained consciousness. He joined Kiss in 1980. Formed in 1972, Kiss was known for outrageous stage antics -- like a fire-breathing bass player -- and their black and white painted faces. Each member of the group was supposed to be an animal. Mr. Carr's character was a fox.
Mildred Washington Calhoun Wick, 94, who became an author at age 89 and wrote a history of her family that included John C. Calhoun, died Wednesday at her home in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. She published three books: "Living With Love," a collection of family stories; "Living Through Time," about growing up in Cleveland, San Francisco and New York; and "Family Fun," a collection of observations and adages. Born in Cleveland Heights, she attended Miss Porter's School in Farmington, Conn., and was a volunteer nurse during World War I and a Red Cross volunteer during World War II. She was a great-granddaughter of Calhoun, a U.S. senator from South Carolina who was twice vice president, under John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson.
Edward H. Heinemann, 83, an aircraft designer whose pioneering dive bomber was credited with helping turn the tide of World War II, died in San Diego Tuesday of kidney failure. Among the aircraft he created were the A-4 Skyhawk, which for years was the plane of choice for the Navy's Blue Angels precision flying team, and the Skyrocket, the first plane to go twice the speed of sound. Military historians say his Dauntless dive bomber, which he developed at Douglas Aircraft Co., helped turn the tide of World War II in the air-sea battles of the Coral Sea and Midway. During the Korean War, 80 percent of the Navy's carrier-based aircraft were of his design. Among them was the A-3D Skywarrior, an attack plane. In 1983, he received the nation's highest scientific honor, the National Medal of Science, from President Reagan.
Peary Rader, 82, founder and former publisher of the bodybuilding magazine Iron Man, died in Alliance, Neb., Sunday. Iron Man began as a 15-cent mimeographed sheet called Your Physique. During the 51 years he published the magazine, its circulation grew to 40,000 worldwide. It was later sold to a California publisher. Mr. Rader was chairman of the National Body Building Association and a member of the Power Lifting Hall of Fame and Body Building Hall of Fame.