Deaths Elsewhere

Deaths Elsewhere

January 28, 2003

Robert Rockwell, 82, an actor whose dozens of television roles included Philip Boynton, the shy biology teacher and love interest of Eve Arden in the 1950s sitcom Our Miss Brooks, died of cancer Saturday at his home in Malibu, Calif.

He is the second cast member from the show to die this month. Richard Crenna, who played the squeaky-voiced student Walter Denton, died Jan. 17.

Our Miss Brooks, which began as a radio sitcom, was the most celebrated role of Mr. Rockwell's career. He was part of dozens of radio programs and appeared in more than 350 television shows spanning 50 years. Among them were sitcoms Growing Pains and Diff'rent Strokes, daytime series Search for Tomorrow and Days of Our Lives, and westerns, including his own series, Man From Blackhawk.

He guest-starred on The Lone Ranger, The Loretta Young Show, Perry Mason, Lassie, Newhart and Beverly Hills 90210, and performed in scores of commercials. He also acted in more than 30 films, including War of the Worlds.

Kinji Fukasaku, 72, a Japanese director hailed as one of his country's living masters of cinema - whose 60 films ranged from outrageous cult hits such as Black Lizard and a series of violent yakuza gangster movies to the Japanese scenes in the 1970 World War II epic Tora! Tora! Tora! - died of prostate cancer Jan. 12 in Tokyo.

Heralded by such directors as Quentin Tarantino and John Woo, Mr. Fukasaku was best known in the United States for a handful of sci-fi films, including The Green Slime and Message From Space. But in Japan the prolific director was respected for a broad range of adventuresome, edgy works that often used violence to make statements about social control, authority and individual freedom.

His last film was the provocative and graphic Battle Royale, released in late 2000, about a class of high-school students coerced into killing one another in a bizarre game of survival. Nearly banned by the government, it was an indictment of Japan's competitive education system and other aspects of societal deterioration.

It set box-office records in Japan, packing theaters with adolescents despite an unusual R-15 rating, barring viewers younger than age 15. At his death he was working on a sequel, Battle Royale II, which will be completed by his son, Kenta.

Another powerful movie was Battles Without Honor and Humanity (1973), which showed Japanese soldiers during the post-World War II American occupation banding together in gangs to salvage their pride by stealing food from street markets and murdering for a bowl of rice. It was voted one of the 20 best Japanese films of all time in a 1990 poll of Japanese film critics.

Hugh Trevor-Roper, 89, the historian who wrote The Last Days of Hitler but sullied his own reputation by incorrectly authenticating diaries said to have been the tyrant's, died of cancer Sunday in Oxford, England.

Mr. Trevor-Roper, who received the title Lord Dacre of Glanton in 1979, was Oxford University's Regius Professor of Modern History for 13 years before becoming master of the Cambridge college, Peterhouse.

It was his 1947 examination of Adolf Hitler's demise, commissioned by the British government, that brought him the widest renown. But the Hitler expert suffered great embarrassment in 1983 when certain materials turned out to be forgeries.

On Mr. Trevor-Roper's authentication, The Sunday Times agreed to pay the German magazine Stern for serialization rights to diaries supposedly written in Hitler's hand. But the German government revealed they were forgeries.

Mr. Trevor-Roper said Stern had assured him that all tests for authenticity were positive. A Stern reporter and the confessed forger of the diaries were each sentenced to more than four years in prison.

George Younger, 71, a Conservative Party lawmaker who served as defense secretary in the government of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, died of cancer Sunday in Stirlingshire, Scotland.

He served in the House of Commons and was Scottish secretary and defense secretary before becoming chairman of the Royal Bank of Scotland.

He was made a life peer in 1992 to become Lord Younger of Prestwick, and subsequently inherited the hereditary title Lord Younger of Leckie when his father died in 1997.

"Gentleman George" as he was frequently known, remained one of Ms. Thatcher's staunchest and most loyal allies during her premiership. He stepped down from politics in 1992 to pursue a business career. His chairmanship of the Royal Bank of Scotland from 1991 to 2001 coincided with the most successful decade in its history.

Narainsamy Thumbi "N.T." Naicker, 80, a political activist who helped end apartheid in South Africa, died Jan. 19 in Sacramento, Calif.

Mr. Naicker was an original signer of the "Freedom Charter," a plea for a society in which people of all colors live freely that became the basis of the new South African Constitution. An attorney, he represented Nelson Mandela in the 1957 treason trial of the charter's signatories - until he, too, was indicted.

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