Deaths Elsewhere

Deaths Elsewhere

February 13, 2003

Anne Burr McDermott, 84, who acted under the name Anne Burr on Broadway and radio in the 1940s and helped initiate live television shows including the series City Hospital in the early 1950s, died of respiratory failure Feb. 1 in Old Lyme, Conn.

Born in Boston, she began her acting career in summer theater and made her Broadway debut in the 1941 play Native Son. The play was adapted by Paul Green and Richard Wright from Mr. Wright's novel of the same title about the accidental killing of a white woman by a black man. Even though the two main characters were not a romantic couple, the play raised eyebrows in its day for casting a white woman opposite a black man (Canada Lee).

Under contract for many years to RKO Radio, she acted in several radio dramas through the 1940s including the anthology Studio One, which she followed to television a few years later. She made her television breakthrough as Viola in Twelfth Night, the medium's first full-length production of a Shakespeare play, and was the leading lady in the live television series City Hospital from 1952 to 1953.

Although blacklisted briefly during the McCarthy era, the actress returned to television as one of the first soap opera stars, playing Claire in As the World Turns from 1955 to 1959.

Curt "Mr. Perfect" Hennig, 44, a professional wrestler and son of wrestler Larry "The Axe" Hennig, was found dead Monday afternoon in a hotel room in Brandon, Fla. Officials said foul play wasn't suspected.

Mr. Hennig had been scheduled to appear at the Florida State Fair in Tampa on Monday night. He worked for the World Wrestling Federation, and most recently wrestled for Jimmy Hart All-Star Wrestling.

"It was just devastating news," said Mr. Hart, who was promoting the Tampa event. "He was one of the guys around the wrestling business who was a great wrestler. There's great showmen and great wrestlers. He was a little bit of both."

Thurman W. Bear Jr., 59, a Native American activist, died of a heart attack Saturday while dancing in the 25th Annual Bay De Noc Powwow in Escanaba, Mich.

Mr. Bear belonged to the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians and the Eastern Shawnee Nation of Oklahoma. He fought for American Indian rights in Michigan and often held powwows throughout the Great Lakes area.

Moses G. Hogan, 45, a pianist and conductor known for his contemporary arrangements of spirituals and the choirs he led in them, died Tuesday in New Orleans. He had been hospitalized since September because of a brain tumor.

Mr. Hogan edited the Oxford Book of Spirituals, published in 2001 by Oxford University Press' United States arm, which has become the U.S. music division's top seller.

His own arrangements, more than 70 of which have been published by the Hal Leonard publishing company, were performed by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, soprano Barbara Hendricks and countertenor Derek Lee Ragin.

John Reading, 85, a businessman who served as mayor of Oakland, Calif., for 11 years, died Friday in Indian Wells, Calif.

During his time as mayor, from 1966 to 1977, he backed the building of the Oakland Coliseum and expanded the Oakland airport.

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