Deaths Elsewhere

Deaths Elsewhere

January 01, 2003

Mohammed al-Fassi, 50, a Saudi Arabian sheik who provoked the ire of his neighbors in Beverly Hills, Calif., in the late 1970s when he painted his Sunset Boulevard mansion and its outdoor nude statues garish colors, died Dec. 24 in Cairo, Egypt.

Mr. al-Fassi, who was embroiled with his first wife in a long-running battle over assets that also received wide publicity, died of an infected hernia, according to attorney Marvin Mitchelson, who represents the sheik's ex-wife, Sheika Dena al-Fassi.

In 1983, Mrs. al-Fassi was awarded nearly $82 million, half of the couple's assets. In addition to the Beverly Hills property, the assets included two Boeing 707 jets; 36 cars; a $15 million yacht; 26 horses; a zoo in Saudi Arabia; homes in Switzerland, London, Spain, Florida and Saudi Arabia; and millions of dollars in jewelry, gold coins, carpets, antiques and paintings.

But, except for $7 million from the sale of their Beverly Hills home and another $1 million in insurance, Mr. Mitchelson said, Mrs. al-Fassi has never been able to collect the judgment.

The marriage of Mr. al-Fassi's sister, Hend, to Saudi Prince Turki bin Abdul Aziz in the 1970s made his extravagant lifestyle possible. The tradition of the royal family is to financially support its immediate and extended members, and Mr. al-Fassi directly benefited from his relationship to the royal family, the lawyer said.

In recent years, after controversies here and abroad, Mr. al-Fassi was placed under house arrest in Riyadh and eventually banished from Saudi Arabia -- his money taken, the attorney said.

Joel Buchsbaum, 48, who turned a thwarted childhood interest in sports into a career as a nationally recognized analyst of professional football and its annual draft of college players, died Sunday at his home in New York. The cause of death was not released, but Ellen Borokove, a spokeswoman for the New York medical examiner's office, said Mr. Buchsbaum died of natural causes.

Mr. Buchsbaum, who wrote about football for Pro Football Weekly since 1979 and was a guest commentator on sports radio shows on KMOX in St. Louis and KTRH in Houston, had an encyclopedic knowledge of the sport. He wrote two books each year evaluating college players for the National Football League's spring draft.

Small and frail, with large eyeglasses, Mr. Buchsbaum looked out of place on draft day as the college players he had written about accepted offers worth millions of dollars.

"Draft day is now the second-biggest day of the year behind the Super Bowl," the Giants general manager, Ernie Accorsi, said Monday. "Joel had a lot to do with what became the glorification of draft day. ESPN started putting it on the air live, but Joel helped them get interested in it."

David Richie, 70, who as a National Park Service official played a major role in the development of the Appalachian Trail, died of colon cancer Dec. 20 in Hampstead, N.C.

As the Park Service's Appalachian Trail project manager for 13 years, Mr. Richie oversaw the acquisition program that protected land surrounding the 2,100-mile trail, which runs from Georgia to Maine.

Mr. Richie also worked as assistant superintendent at Mount Rainier National Park, superintendent of Grand Coulee Dam National Recreation Area and the George Washington Parkway, and deputy director of the service's Northeast regional office in Boston.

He was a graduate of Haverford College and George Washington University Law School, and served in the Marine Corps as a jet pilot.

Armand Zildjian, 81, who ran a family-owned company that has been making cymbals for almost 400 years, died of cancer Thursday at his home in Scottsdale, Ariz.

The company, Avedis Zildjian, now based in Norwell, Mass., was founded in 1623 by an ancestor of Mr. Zildjian in Constantinople, now Istanbul, Turkey. The company's founder, Avedis Zildjian, is credited with formulating an alloy of copper, tin and silver that made particularly fine cymbals, now prized by rock musicians and symphonic percussionists alike. The company says it still uses that alloy and the original formula, which remains secret. A family member moved to the United States in 1929.

Armand Zildjian had been president of the company since 1977 and chairman since 1979. He began running the company after his father died in 1979, the same time that a rift developed with his brother, Robert, who left the company and founded a rival company, Sabian, in Canada. In 1999, Mr. Zildjian designated his daughter, Craigie Zildjian, as his successor, the first woman to hold the position in the company's history.

Ian Hornak, 58, an artist whose paintings of flowers, food and tablecloths were infused with a hyper-realism, died Dec. 9 in Southampton, N.Y.

Mr. Hornak exhibited his work frequently at New York art galleries beginning in the early 1970s. The Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, the Indianapolis Museum of Art and the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American Art are among the museums that own his work.

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