Martin Agronsky, 84, a voice from radio's golden age who...

Deaths Elsewhere

July 26, 1999

Martin Agronsky, 84, a voice from radio's golden age who created the "talking heads" television news format, died Sunday.

David Agronsky said his father died at his home in Washington of congestive heart failure.

Mr. Agronsky began his career in newspaper journalism, then became a radio war correspondent. From 1943 until he retired in 1988, he was a Washington correspondent, foreign correspondent and commentator for U.S. television.

"You've been one of the few people who fought the battle for the news and for seriousness against commercialism and schlock," commentator Tom Oliphant, a permanent panelist, told Mr. Agronsky as he ended his syndicated television program "Agronsky & Company" at the beginning of 1988 after an 18-year run.

The show, which began as a newscast on Washington's WTOP-TV, now WUSA-TV, was considered the first to use the informal format of reporters talking among themselves rather than interviewing news makers. Mr. Agronsky described it as a bull session among first-class reporters.

The format, generally with news makers participating, became the stock-in-trade of today's Sunday talk shows.

"Agronsky & Company" was the nation's top-ranked public affairs program when he retired.

David N. Myers, 99, a philanthropist whose college alma mater was renamed in his honor, died Thursday in Cleveland. He helped keep the books for his father's barrel-making business until he went to work for an asphalt business where he became president in 1931. He later bought the company.

He graduated in 1922 from Dyke College in Cleveland and became a major benefactor. The school was renamed David N. Myers College in 1995.

Trudi Schoop, 95, regarded as the female Charlie Chaplin for her comic dance performances and a pioneer in using dance to treat mental illness, died July 14 in Los Angeles.

Shoukry Ayyad, 78, one of the Arab world's most respected poetry critics, died Friday of a heart attack in Cairo, Egypt. He wrote 20 books on Arabic poetry, language and theater, including "The Hero in Literature and Fables," "Music of Poetry" and "Language and Creativity."

Paul E. Flato, 98, a retired jeweler whose clients included movie producers and stars, died July 17 in Fort Worth, Texas. He opened a jewelry shop in the early 1920s, becoming one of the foremost designers of his era.

Emma Tenayuca, 82, a labor organizer who led pecan shellers in a 1938 strike, died Friday. She was among Communist Party members targeted by rioters during a 1939 disturbance in her hometown of San Antonio.

Kevin Wilkinson, 41, a rock drummer who played with such groups as the Squeeze and China Crisis, died in an apparent suicide July 17 in London.

Anne Woolliams,72, a British ballet director who was instrumental in establishing the international reputation of Germany's Stuttgart Ballet, died July 8 of cancer in London.

Pub Date: 7/26/99

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