Ray Brown, 75, a legendary jazz bassist who played with...

Deaths Elsewhere

July 04, 2002

Ray Brown, 75, a legendary jazz bassist who played with Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker and his one-time wife Ella Fitzgerald in a career that spanned a half century, died in his sleep Tuesday in Indianapolis.

He was in Indianapolis for an engagement at the Jazz Kitchen at the time of his death.

Mr. Brown, whose fluid sound helped define the bebop era, started his career in the 1940s and performed during jazz's Golden Age with Mr. Gillespie, Mr. Parker and Bud Powell.

He was a founder of bebop and appeared with Mr. Gillespie in the 1946 film Jivin' in Be-Bop. Mr. Brown later became musical director and husband of singer Ella Fitzgerald, whom he later divorced.

Mr. Brown played with an early edition of what became the Modern Jazz Quartet, recording with the Milt Jackson Quartet in 1951. He subsequently was a founding member of the Oscar Peterson Trio, which ranked among jazz's most popular groups of the 1950s and 1960s.

After leaving the Oscar Peterson Trio in the mid-1960s, he moved to California. He co-founded the group L.A. Four and appeared on the Merv Griffin Show.

Among his recordings is the solo effort Something for Lester.

Henry J. "Buddy" Cianfrani, 79, a former Pennsylvania state senator who served prison time on corruption charges in the 1970s, died Wednesday in Philadelphia. He suffered a stroke in late May.

Mr. Cianfrani was a fixture of Philadelphia politics for decades who remained a Democratic ward leader until his death, winning re-election just three weeks ago.

He took over his father's seat in the state House of Representatives in 1962 and in 1966 moved to the Senate, where he became chairman of the powerful Appropriations Committee.

In 1977, at the height of his power, Mr. Cianfrani was convicted of racketeering, mail fraud and related charges for putting two ghost employees on the Senate payroll. He served 27 months of a five-year federal prison sentence.

Robert I. Friedman, 51, an award-winning journalist whose investigative reporting provoked death threats from the Russian mob, died in New York on Tuesday of heart complications resulting from a rare disease.

Mr. Friedman was primarily a free-lance writer who spent time on staff at The Village Voice and New York magazine and built his reputation as a Middle East reporter.

He wrote two books about the region, including a 1990 biography of Jewish Defense League founder Meir Kahane, titled The False Prophet. Four years later, while working in Israel, Mr. Friedman was assaulted by militant Jewish settlers who claimed that his work had tarnished Mr. Kahane's reputation.

Mr. Friedman, whose grandparents had left Russia for the United States because of religious persecution, was one of the country's foremost experts on the Russian mob's infiltration of America. Mr. Friedman's book Red Mafiya was published in 2000 -- but only after he had received death threats, including one from the United States' most powerful Russian mobster, Vyacheslav Ivankov.

James Lee, 79, a stage, film and television writer honored with the Humanitas Award and an Emmy nomination for his work on Roots, died in Los Angeles on Tuesday after suffering from emphysema.

Mr. Lee wrote four of the 12 Roots episodes and co-wrote four others. The television miniseries was watched by 75 million people in 1977.

Mr. Lee was a 1944 graduate of Harvard University. He acted on the New York stage in plays including Desk Set and Seven Year Itch. He decided to write his own plays to create roles for himself, and his fifth play, Career, became a hit in 1957. He also wrote the screenplay for Career, filmed in 1959 and starring Dean Martin and Shirley MacLaine.

Mr. Lee and William Blinn shared the 1977 Humanitas Prize for "humanizing achievement in television," and also shared a Television Critics Circle Award as co-writers of Roots.

Elliott Wilk, 60, a wry, iconoclastic state judge who presided over the custody fight between Woody Allen and Mia Farrow, died Tuesday in New York. He had brain cancer.

Mr. Wilk was known for rulings in favor of the homeless, tenants and foster children, among other groups.

He ruled in 1980 that a landlord could not force out a tenant for sharing her home with a man who was not her husband. The ruling helped lay the groundwork for similar rights for gays and lesbians.

When he presided over the 1993 Allen-Farrow custody case, Mr. Wilk chided the filmmaker for his relationship with one of Farrow's adopted children -- Soon-Yi Previn. The judge granted custody of the couple's three children to Ms. Farrow. In gratitude two years later, she named one of her adopted children Gabriel Wilk Farrow. Mr. Allen later married Previn.

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