Astrid Lindgren, a writer whose freethinking character...

Deaths Elsewhere

January 29, 2002

Astrid Lindgren, a writer whose freethinking character Pippi Longstocking has been cherished by youngsters around the world for decades, died yesterday in Stockholm, Sweden. She was 94.

Drawing on her childhood memories, Lindgren wrote more than 100 works, including novels, short stories, plays, song books and poetry. Her works were translated into dozens of languages, ranging from Azerbaijani to Zulu, and sold more than 130 million copies worldwide. Some 40 films and television series were based on Lindgren's stories.

Her most popular character was the freckled Pippi Longstocking, with her unmistakable braided red hair and mismatched stockings.

The writer was immensely popular in her homeland, where Swedes recall her soothing, gentle voice reading tales that became part of the culture. A theme park with settings from her books opened in 1989 in southern Sweden and attracts about 300,000 visitors yearly.

Lindgren won dozens of prizes for her books, among them the Hans Christian Andersen medal in 1958, considered the ultimate accolade for a children's writer.

James Usry, 79, the first African-American mayor of Atlantic City, N.J., died there Friday. He had suffered from diabetes and cancer. A longtime educator, principal and school official, Mr. Usry was elected mayor in 1984 and served until 1990, when he was defeated by James Whelan.

Mr. Usry's career was marred by his 1989 arrest in a corruption probe called COMSERV. He pleaded guilty to a campaign finance law violation and was spared a jail term.

Harvey Matusow, 75, a former aide to Sen. Joseph McCarthy who was sent to prison for perjury and later starred in a children's television show, died Jan. 17 at a hospital in Lebanon, N.H., from injuries suffered two weeks earlier in a car accident.

Mr. Matusow, who had launched a career as an actor in New York theater, joined the Communist Party in 1948. He later went to work for Mr. McCarthy and provided evidence for the senator's anti-communist blacklisting campaign against fellow actors and others. He testified against 244 men and women before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1952, then admitted he had lied on the stand.

While serving a four-year prison term, he came up with the idea for the Magic Mouse Television show, which appeared on an Arizona station in the early 1980s. In the 1990s, he moved to Utah, where he created and ran the state's first public access television station. Mr. Matusow -- who was married 11 times -- moved to New Hampshire last year and was working on restoring a commune in Wendell Junction, Mass., for use as a homeless shelter and community center.

Ron Taylor, 49, an actor and singer who created and starred in the hit Broadway musical "It Ain't Nothin' but the Blues," died of an apparent heart attack Jan. 16 in Los Angeles. The veteran actor had recurring roles in City of Angels and appeared in more than 30 other TV shows, including Ally McBeal and Twin Peaks. He was the voice of saxophonist "Bleeding Gums" Murphy on The Simpsons.

Mr. Taylor's more than 20 film credits include Trading Places, A Rage in Harlem and Rush Hour 2. He sang with such stars as Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen and Etta James, and toured with his blues band The Nervis Bros.

"It Ain't Nothin' but the Blues" traced the history of blues from its African roots to American pop. It received four Tony nominations in 1999. The native of Galveston, Texas, also appeared in the off-Broadway hit "Little Shop of Horrors" as a man-eating plant.

Jerry Hulse, 77, the gentleman traveler who introduced millions of Californians to the wider world through his weekly articles as editor of the Los Angeles Times travel section from 1960 through 1991, died Friday of complications after hernia surgery.

In the course of a career that took him around the world more times than he could count on conveyances from cruise ships to the Concorde, he won honors from admirers ranging from the proprietors of Gray Line bus tours to French President Francois Mitterrand. And in the process, travel industry veterans said, Mr. Hulse played a crucial role in the shaping of American thinking about travel.

John H. D'Arms, 67, president of the American Council of Learned Societies, died of brain cancer Jan. 22 in New York. A classicist whose work focused on the history of ancient Roman cities, culture and society, he had been president of the council -- a nonprofit federation of 64 national scholarly organizations -- since 1997.

He was named by President Bill Clinton to the National Council on the Humanities, where he served from 1994 to 1997.

Robert Nozick, 63, a philosopher who dazzled liberal and conservative thinkers with his daringly original critique of the welfare state more than 25 years ago, died of complications from stomach cancer Wednesday in Cambridge, Mass.

Once described as an academic bomb thrower for his ability to provoke intense discourse on fundamental questions, the Harvard professor was celebrated for his 1974 book, Anarchy, State and Utopia. The work won a National Book Award and established Mr. Nozick as a major contemporary philosopher.

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