Leo McKern, 82, the veteran stage and screen actor who...

Deaths Elsewhere

July 24, 2002

Leo McKern, 82, the veteran stage and screen actor who became best known for his television role as the shrewd and exasperating British barrister "Rumpole of the Bailey," died yesterday at a nursing home near his home in Bath, England.

Rumpole, a curious and popular mix of comedy and courtroom drama, ran intermittently for 44 episodes from 1975 to 1992. The series appeared on public television in the United States.

In the words of John J. O'Connor, the former television critic of The New York Times, Mr. McKern was the defense barrister Horace Rumpole "down to the very last wheeze."

"Looking like a sack of slightly soiled laundry," Mr. O'Connor wrote in 1984, "Horace growls constantly and puffs away on dreadful little cigars, scattering ashes recklessly, while periodically reverting to the Great Poets to underscore his more profound points."

As played by Mr. McKern, Rumpole had a love for claret, interior monologues and a wife, Hilda, whom he referred to as "she who must be obeyed." Mr. McKern became so identified in the public mind with legal traditions that in 1987, Smith Barney used him as the voice of authority in its television ads, replacing the late John Houseman.

Leo McKern was born in Sydney, Australia, on March 16, 1920. At the age of 15, while working as an engineer's apprentice, he lost his left eye. The glass eye that replaced it added to his distinctively preoccupied appearance.

After years on the British stage, Mr. McKern made his screen debut with Murder in the Cathedral (1952) and went on to play substantial roles in A Tale of Two Cities (1958), The Mouse that Roared (1959) and Scent of Mystery (1960), among others. He was especially memorable as Clang, the head of a sacrificial cult, in the Beatles' movie Help! (1965) and as Cromwell, the prosecutor of Sir Thomas More, in A Man for All Seasons (1966).

He also had major roles in Ryan's Daughter (1970), The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother (1975), The Omen (1976), The Blue Lagoon (1980), The French Lieutenant's Woman (1981) and Molokai: The Story of Father Damien (1999).

Mr. McKern also played numerous television roles, including the bungling train robber in Disney's The Horse Without a Head (1963), David Ben-Gurion in House on Garibaldi Street (1979), Gloucester in King Lear (1984) and Duke Phillip in Good King Wenceslas (1994).

Gus Dudgeon, 59, a respected music producer who worked on many of Elton John's hit recordings, died Sunday when his car veered off a major highway and overturned near Reading, west of London.

Mr. Dudgeon and a woman traveling in the car, believed to be his wife, were pronounced dead at the scene. The woman's identity could not immediately be confirmed.

Mr. Dudgeon produced "Rocket Man," "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road," "Your Song," "Daniel" and "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me."

"He was an incredibly talented producer and a very dear friend for many years. I will miss him terribly," Elton John said.

Mr. Dudgeon also produced David Bowie's "Space Oddity" and worked with other stars, including Chris Rea and Joan Armatrading.

William Pierce, 68, a white supremacist leader whose book The Turner Diaries is believed to have inspired Oklahoma bomber Timothy McVeigh, died of cancer yesterday in Mill Point, W.Va.

The novel, which some have called a grisly blueprint for a bloody race war, includes a chapter titled "Day of the Rope." It describes white corpses hung from every street corner with placards reading, "I defiled my race."

Mr. Pierce was leader of the white supremacist group National Alliance, which operates from a two-story steel building on 400 acres deep in the Appalachians, about four hours southwest of Washington.

Dave Carter, 49, a singer and songwriter who with partner Tracy Grammer had one of the fastest-rising acts in contemporary folk music, collapsed Friday morning at a hotel in Northampton, Mass., and died later at a hospital, apparently from a heart attack.

Among the Oregon-based duo's albums was Tanglewood Tree, which came out in 2000 and featured songs ranging from the ebullient "Happytown" to the traditional-sounding "Hey Conductor" and the haunting "Farewell to Bitterroot Valley." They followed it up with another album, Drum Hat Buddha, released last year.

The Los Angeles Times called Mr. Carter "a major lyrical talent," and the British magazine Folk Roots said his songs were "destined to become the stuff of legend."

Joan Baez had embraced Mr. Carter's music and planned to record several of his songs.

Thomas Jacobsen,

62, who led Mercantile Bancorporation to become one of the Midwest's largest banking companies before it merged with Firstar, died in St. Louis on Saturday of leukemia.

When it joined Firstar Corp. in 1999, St. Louis-based Mercantile had $36 billion in assets and operated banks in nearly 500 locations in Missouri, Iowa, Kansas, Illinois, Arkansas and Kentucky.

Marion Montgomery, 67, a jazz singer who frequently performed on British television and was known for her smooth, versatile voice, died of cancer Monday in London.

Ms. Montgomery was well known to television audiences as a resident singer on the British Broadcasting Corp. talk show Parkinson through the 1970s and was widely praised for her smooth voice and intimate, relaxed singing style.

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