Harry M. Wachtel, 79, a Manhattan lawyer who for many...

Deaths Elsewhere

February 06, 1997

Harry M. Wachtel, 79, a Manhattan lawyer who for many years was a confidant and legal counsel to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., died of Parkinson's disease Monday in New York City.

Mr. Wachtel joined others to establish the Ghandi Society for Human Rights as a fund-raising arm of Dr. King's civil rights efforts. He traveled with Dr. King and helped arrange meetings for him, including with President Lyndon B. Johnson.

After Dr. King's death, Mr. Wachtel was an attorney for Coretta Scott King. He also was vice president and counsel for the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change from 1969 to 1982.

Wilcomb E. Washburn, 72, a longtime Smithsonian Institution executive and authority on North American Indians, died of prostate cancer Saturday in Washington. Dr. Washburn retired from the Smithsonian Jan. 1 after 30 years as director of its American studies program. He previously had posts at Smithsonian museums.

Bohumil Hrabal, 82, whose novel of romance under Nazi occupation inspired the Oscar-winning film "Closely Watched Trains," died Monday in a fall from a hospital window in Prague, Czech Republic. He accidentally fell from a fifth-floor window, apparently while feeding birds, Jaroslav Dvorak of Prague's Bulovka Hospital told private Nova Television. Police had no immediate report on his death. He had been a hospitalized for some time with pain in his joints.

Sanford Meisner, 91, an actor and teacher whose students included Gregory Peck, Grace Kelly and Robert Duvall, died Sunday in Sherman Oaks, Calif. Although weakened from cancer, glaucoma and other illnesses, Mr. Meisner continued to teach until 1994. His last performance was at age 90 on "ER," the NBC television series.

Vladimir Yamnikov, 56, director of Russia's best-known distillery and a maker of Stolichnaya vodka, died Jan. 19 in Moscow. The cause of death has not been released. He had been an employee of Kristall since 1962 and its director for 17 years. He helped it weather Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev's war on alcoholism in the late 1980s.

Pub Date: 2/06/97

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