Deaths Elsewhere

Deaths Elsewhere

January 26, 2004

Ernest Hendon, 96, the last surviving participant in the infamous Tuskegee Syphilis Study, the U.S. government's 40-year study of the effects of untreated syphilis on a group of black men in rural Macon County, Ala., died Jan. 16 of causes associated with aging in Opelika, Ala.

Mr. Hendon was one of 623 black men who unwittingly participated in the U.S. Public Health Service study of "the effects of untreated syphilis in the Negro male." The study began in 1932 and ended in 1972 after former Public Health Service investigator Peter Buxton exposed the study's unethical procedures to an Associated Press reporter.

Mr. Hendon and his late brother, Louie, were among a control group of about 200 men who did not have syphilis. About 400 others had been chosen because they had the highly contagious, sexually transmitted disease, but were not told they had it. If left untreated, syphilis can cause blindness, deafness, mental illness, heart failure, paralysis and bone deformities. People in the study who had syphilis were told only that they had "bad blood."

Treatment was withheld even after penicillin therapy became widely available in the 1940s and despite an Alabama law requiring treatment of syphilis sufferers. By the time the study was exposed in 1972, 28 participants reportedly had died of syphilis, 100 were dead of related complications, at least 40 wives had been infected and 19 children had contracted it.

Billy May, 87, a Grammy-winning composer and trumpeter who arranged such standards as "Cherokee," "Take the A Train" and "Serenade in Blue" and worked with stars including Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra and Glenn Miller, died Thursday of heart failure at his home in San Juan Capistrano, Calif.

The musician, who won a Grammy in 1958 for his album Big Fat Brass, was noted for his brass-heavy, "slurping saxophone" arrangements, but his command of styles extended from swing to the mambo.

Born in Pittsburgh, he played in local bands before getting his break in 1938, when he joined Charlie Barnet's orchestra as an arranger and trumpeter. He later joined the Miller band, for which he arranged the standards "Take the `A' Train" and "Serenade in Blue," and gained attention for his trumpet work on "American Patrol."

He also led the Billy May Orchestra, arranged and conducted for Peggy Lee and Nat "King" Cole and worked in radio and television.

Helmut Newton, 83, an acclaimed fashion photographer whose work appeared in magazines such as Playboy and Vogue, was killed Friday in a car crash in Los Angeles. He was best known for his stark, black-and-white nude photos.

Mr. Newton, who was Jewish, fled Germany for Singapore in December 1938, a month after Nazi-led pogroms. He eventually settled in Australia and became a citizen, then took up residence in Monte Carlo.

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