Deaths Elsewhere

Deaths Elsewhere

April 08, 2003

Anthony Caruso, 86, a Western film star who gained fame playing outlaws and gangsters, died Friday at his Los Angeles home.

In a career that spanned 50 years, Mr. Caruso appeared in more than 120 motion pictures and 110 television shows, as well as on the stage.

Born to Italian-American parents in Frankfort, Ind., and reared in Long Beach, Calif., Mr. Caruso frequently was cast as Italian -- or as Greek, Mexican, Spanish, Slav or American Indian. A ruggedly handsome horseman and boxer with a gravelly voice, he had no problem presenting a tough-guy image, whether wearing a Stetson or spats.

Mindful of his famous surname, Mr. Caruso set out to be a singer and studied music with some success. But he soon discovered that actors made more money than opera singers in the United States and enrolled at the Pasadena Playhouse.

There he befriended Alan Ladd, treating him to lunch when Mr. Ladd was broke. Subsequently, Mr. Caruso was asked to appear in 11 films starring the well-known Mr. Ladd, beginning with 1942's The Glass Key.

Mr. Caruso made his screen debut as a henchman in 1940's Johnny Apollo, starring Tyrone Power and Edward Arnold as a thieving son and father and Dorothy Lamour as Mr. Power's girlfriend.

From that initial casting as a villain, Mr. Caruso remained an engaging screen menace through the 1990 film version of The Legend of Grizzly Adams. He was much in demand during the heyday of the TV Western in the 1950s and 1960s, and made frequent appearances on the television shows Gunsmoke and Bonanza.

Lucian Adams, 80, who earned a Medal of Honor in World War II by storming through a French forest and single-handedly eliminating three enemy machine guns and killing nine German soldiers, died March 31 in San Antonio.

Although he joked about his non-Latino sounding surname, Mr. Adams was proud of his Mexican heritage. He was featured in October in a History Channel documentary titled "Hispanics and the Medal of Honor."

Born one of 12 children in Port Arthur, Texas, Mr. Adams knew nothing about guns before joining the Army in 1942. He earned the military's highest award for valor on Oct. 28, 1944, in a forest near St. Die in northeastern France "for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at risk of life above and beyond the call of duty."

He was an Army staff sergeant whose company was meeting heavy fire as it tried to reopen a supply line to an isolated battalion. Although at the outset three of his company were killed and six wounded, Mr. Adams borrowed a Browning automatic rifle and charged forward, firing from the hip as he dodged from tree to tree skirting enemy grenades and crashing tree branches.

After his discharge in 1945, Mr. Adams spent 40 years as a benefits counselor for Veterans Affairs in San Antonio.

Harold Scott MacDonald Coxeter, 96, a mathematician who was hailed as one of the foremost geometricians of his generation and whose ideas inspired the drawings of M.C. Escher and influenced the architecture of R. Buckminster Fuller, died March 31 in his home in Toronto.

Dr. Coxeter, whose childhood fascination with symmetry led to his career in mathematics, was driven by the idea that beautiful explanations exist for all puzzles. Several mathematical concepts have been named for him, including Coxeter groups.

He also made major contributions to the theory of polytopes, which are complex objects of more than three dimensions that, while not existing in the real world, can be described mathematically.

He published more than 200 articles and wrote 12 books, including Non-Euclidean Geometry (1942); Introduction to Geometry (1961), which became a Book of the Month Club selection; and Regular Complex Polytopes (1974).

Attributing his longevity to vegetarianism and a daily regimen of 50 push-ups, Dr. Coxeter traveled to a conference in Budapest in July to deliver an address on hyperbolic geometry.

Chuck Hansen, 55, a nuclear researcher, died of brain cancer March 26 in the hospice unit of a Palo Alto, Calif., hospital. He assembled what is believed to be the largest private collection of declassified nuclear weapons documents in the United States.

Using the Freedom of Information Act, the former computer programmer spent three decades requesting copies of the declassified documents from the military, nuclear weapons labs and other government agencies.

But Mr. Hansen didn't just collect the 10,000 to 50,000 pages of documents that arrived in his mail each year. Dubbed an "atomic sleuth" by The New York Times, he analyzed the mountain of obscure reports and memos, piecing together a technical history of the production, design and testing of the weapons in America's nuclear arsenal.

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