Zachary Breaux, 36, a jazz guitarist, died of a heart...


February 25, 1997

Zachary Breaux, 36, a jazz guitarist, died of a heart attack Thursday after trying to save a swimmer caught by a riptide in Miami Beach, Fla.

His latest album, the funk- and jazz-influenced "Uptown Groove," reached No. 14 on Billboard's contemporary jazz chart after its release last month, with heavy airplay for the "Never Can Say Goodbye" single.

Mr. Breaux, who saved a man from drowning while on tour in Italy in 1988, was vacationing on Miami Beach with his family when he went to help a female swimmer who was caught by a powerful riptide. He, too, was caught by the current and suffered a heart attack after he was pulled ashore. The woman he tried to save, Eugenia Poleyeff, 66, of New York City, also died.

Mr. Breaux, the youngest of seven children, was raised on Southern blues in Port Arthur, Texas, and studied jazz greats John Coltrane and Wes Montgomery before making his way to New York's club scene.

Frank J. Delfino, 86, who played the Hamburglar in McDonald's TV commercials for more than 20 years, died Wednesday of complications from bone marrow cancer in San Diego. The 4-foot-3-inch actor began playing the Hamburglar, a hungry thief, around 1971.

The character evolved from a scraggly, sinister villain into a more lovable but mischievous character over the years.

His first movie role was as a forest elf in "The Court Jester," which starred Danny Kaye in 1956. He also appeared in "The Incredible Shrinking Woman," "Please Don't Eat the Daisies" and "Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory."

Eric Fenby, 90, whose admiration for Frederick Delius led him to help the composer complete his last work, died Feb. 18 in London.

A precocious musician, Mr. Fenby was appointed organist of Holy Trinity Church in Scarborough when he was 12. The decisive moment in his life was a chance encounter, 10 years later, with the music of Delius. He was deeply moved by the music and by the plight of the composer, who was blind and paralyzed.

He wrote to Delius, first to express his admiration, then to offer his services in helping Delius resume composition. The offer was accepted, and Mr. Fenby spent much of the next six years working with Delius at his home in the French village of Grez-sur-Loing.

Dictating to Mr. Fenby, Delius completed "Songs of Farewell" for double chorus and orchestra in 1930. The following year, he dedicated "Fantastic Dance," an orchestral piece, to Mr. Fenby. Other fruits of the partnership included "A Late Lark," "Third Violin Sonata," "Caprice" and "Elegy" for cello, "Irmelin Prelude" and "Idyll."

Pub Date: 2/25/97

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