Deaths Elsewhere

Deaths Elsewhere

January 27, 2004

Italia Pennino Coppola, 91, the mother of Academy Award-winning filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola and actress Talia Shire, died Wednesday at her home in Los Angeles. She appeared in nonspeaking roles in her son's movies One From the Heart and The Godfather, Part II.

Known for her Italian cooking, she published a cookbook, Mama Coppola's Pasta Book.

She married Academy Award-winning Hollywood composer and conductor Carmine Coppola, who died in 1991. She also was the grandmother of actor Nicolas Cage and actress and director Sofia Coppola.

Bernard Punsly, 80, the last surviving member of the "Dead End Kids," the on-screen hooligans featured in numerous films in the 1930s and 1940s, died of cancer Jan. 20 in Torrance, Calif. He left Hollywood after acting in 19 films, and later became a physician and practiced for almost 50 years.

Born in New York City, he began his professional acting career at age 8 in I Love an Actress, a Broadway play that folded after a week. In 1935, at age 12, he was cast as Milty in Sidney Kingsley's Dead End, a play that took a critical look at New York tenement life. It ran for two years on Broadway. When Sam Goldwyn decided to make Dead End into a film in 1937, he hired the Broadway actors to re-create their parts, starring alongside Humphrey Bogart and Joel McCrea. The film was nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

While a number of the other Dead End Kids went on to become the "Bowery Boys," Mr. Punsly joined the Army in 1943 and later graduated from the Medical College of Georgia at the University of Georgia. He retired from his medical practice in 2002.

George Woodbridge, 73, an illustrator for Mad magazine for nearly 50 years whose exquisitely detailed pen-and-ink drawings were featured in nearly every issue, died of emphysema Jan. 20 in New York City.

"He had a tremendous eye for detail that showed up in his drawings," Mad Editor John Ficarra said. "We especially played to his history knowledge. When we gave him a piece on World War I, he would draw the exact gun and belt buckle they were using then."

One of Mr. Woodbridge's most memorable illustrations was for the 1965 sports satire "43-Man Squamish," about a nonsensical game in which the equipment included shepherd's crooks and diving flippers. "It struck a chord," Mr. Ficarra said. "Colleges all over formed teams and played this crazy game, with these ridiculous-looking helmets. George captured that lunacy."

Nora Kizer Bell, 62, an outspoken advocate of single-sex education and president of Hollins University, died Saturday in Roanoke, Va., of complications of pneumonia.

She taught at the University of South Carolina for 16 years and served as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of North Texas for five years. She served six years as president of Wesleyan College in Macon, Ga., before being named president of Hollins in 2002. The university is open only to female undergraduates but is coeducational at the graduate level.

Dr. Jeffrey Towles, 74, a surgeon who helped save the life of civil rights leader Vernon Jordan when he was shot by a sniper in 1980, died Saturday in Fort Wayne, Ind.

He came to Fort Wayne in 1964 as a staff surgeon at Parkview Hospital. He led the team that operated on Mr. Jordan, then president of the Urban League, after he was shot in the back and critically wounded in a Fort Wayne hotel parking lot in May 1980.

A convicted serial killer was acquitted of the attack on Jordan, but later confessed. Joseph Paul Franklin has admitted to killing 21 people in a cross-country spree between 1977 and 1980. Wounded during the spree was pornographer Larry Flynt.

Harry Fleetwood, 86, whose deep voice and sly wit gave smooth, intelligent guidance to fans of all-night classical music radio in New York City for nearly three decades, died Jan. 18 in Manhattan.

Fleetwood, as he was known professionally, was most often called a commentator or host -- not a disc jockey -- on his shows on WNBC in the 1950s and 1960s and on WNCN in the 1970s and 1980s.

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