Death Elsewhere

Deaths Elsewhere

March 21, 2003

Margaret L. Elwell, 83, who won the Pulitzer Prize for her biography of 19th-century Southern politician John C. Calhoun, died Saturday at a nursing home in Amesbury, Mass.

Born in Connecticut and reared in North Carolina, Mrs. Elwell became intrigued by Calhoun, a U.S. congressman and vice president under two presidents who became the pre-eminent antebellum political figure of the South and later a symbol of defending slavery.

After college at the University of North Carolina, and a decade of researching Calhoun, she wrote John C. Calhoun: American Portrait. It was published in 1951 under her maiden name, Margaret Louise Coit, and won a Pulitzer that year.

Mrs. Elwell published seven more historical books, including Sweep Westward, 1829-1849, Andrew Jackson and Mr. Baruch, a biography of financier Bernard Baruch.

She taught English, history and political science at Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey and Bunker Hill Community College in Massachusetts. She also worked as a free-lance newspaper reporter.

Kathy Harper, 49, an Emmy winner who co-founded the Narrative Television Network, died Tuesday in Tula, Okla.

In 1988 Ms. Harper co-founded Narrative Television Network, which makes television programs, movies and live performances accessible to blind or visually impaired people by narrating story points that have no dialogue.

In 1991, she won an Emmy for outstanding achievement in engineering development of television for the visually impaired. She also won a Media Access Award, an International Film and Video Award and a Golden Georgi from the Writers Foundation of America.

Ms. Harper was born in Indianapolis. Legally blind since age 7, she moved to Tulsa in 1971 to attend American Christian College. After graduating in 1974, she worked as a paralegal until co-founding the network.

Robert Anthony Leonard, 70, whose technical expertise and marketing prowess helped create Ticketmaster, the worldwide machine that opens doors to well over 150,000 events a year, died March 12 in San Diego.

A resident of La Jolla, Calif., he was a frequent visitor to San Diego State University and apparently had a heart attack on the way to a seminar at the university's Entrepreneurial Management Center, his family said.

A native of Watertown, Mass., he graduated from Boston College with a degree in mathematics in 1954 and earned a master's in applied mathematics and computer science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1958. He also studied at Harvard Business School.

Mr. Leonard was present at the beginning of Ticketmaster more than 20 years ago in Phoenix. Offering professional computer skills and management expertise, he teamed with a handful of college students to put into practice their ideas for an advanced box office.

Together they founded Ticketmaster in 1980, with Mr. Leonard as president and chief executive. Under his guidance, the team developed the computerized phone service that defined the company and overtook an established competitor, Ticketron.

Ticketmaster gained an edge by automating box offices and selling tickets to events that did not have their own outlets. It registered its first coup when it contracted with the San Diego Sports Arena in 1985. It bought Ticketron in 1990 and moved into Europe with Time Warner Music as a partner.

Alan Keith, 94, Britain's oldest national radio disc jockey whose broadcasting career spanned 70 years, died Monday after a short illness, the British Broadcasting Corp. said.

He was the oldest regular voice on the British airwaves, being a month older than BBC Radio 4's Alistair Cooke, who still presents his long-running Letter from America slot every week.

First broadcast in 1959, Mr. Keith's program Your Hundred Best Tunes was based on the simple format of playing listeners' requests.

Judy V. Wilson, 63, long a successful publisher of children's books, most recently at Orchard Books, an imprint of Scholastic Inc., died of cancer March 14 in New York City.

Mrs. Wilson was president and general manager of the Macmillan Publishing Co. Children's Book Group from 1988 to 1994. Under her leadership, the book group's distinguished children's hardcover imprints - Macmillan, Bradbury Press, Margaret K. McElderry Books, Atheneum, Four Winds Press and Scribner's and two paperback lines, Aladdin and Collier - were integrated into one profitable organization with shared service departments, an innovation for the time.

Revenues tripled, and the group was cited by The Wall Street Journal as "the jewel of Macmillan's assets." It was sold in 1993 as a unit to Paramount Inc., then the parent of Simon & Schuster, and most of the imprints were eliminated.

In 1996 after Orchard's editorial and marketing staff left to start another company, Mrs. Wilson re-established the Orchard Books imprint, diversified it and led it through its acquisition by Scholastic Inc.

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