Deaths Elsewhere

Deaths Elsewhere

February 16, 2004

Frances Partridge, 103, the last of the spectacularly talented and irreverent group of British writers and artists who coalesced as the Bloomsbury group in the years before World War I, died Feb. 5 in London.

Her death was announced by her literary agency, Rogers, Coleridge & White Ltd., which said she died in her apartment. She was surrounded there by remnants of the Bloomsbury group's heyday, including their books, one of them the letters of her friend Virginia Woolf, and their art, including the painter Dora Carrington's famous portrait of Lytton Strachey.

She was one of the last firsthand chroniclers of Bloomsbury, publishing two volumes of autobiography and six volumes of her diaries, beginning when she was 78. The books captivated a public increasingly fascinated by the socialist, pacifist and intellectually superior -- not to mention sexually adventurous -- bohemians of Bloomsbury, a leafy Central London neighborhood.

Julius Schwartz, 88, the influential DC Comics editor whose successful revamping of the Flash, Green Lantern and other defunct 1940s superheroes in the late 1950s and early '60s led to what became known as the "Silver Age" of comics, died of pneumonia Feb. 8 in Mineola, N.Y.

He was also was a seminal figure in the science-fiction world as a co-creator of the first science-fiction fan magazine in the early 1930s and as a literary agent for Ray Bradbury and other luminaries,

The "Golden Age" of comics, created by the wartime popularity of comic book superheroes, faded after World War II. In 1956, when the comic book industry was in a severe slump, Mr. Schwartz introduced a modern version of the Flash -- the fastest man alive -- in a DC Comics anthology titled Showcase.

The new Flash was a runaway hit, and he went on to modernize Green Lantern, the Justice League of America, Hawkman and the Atom for a new generation of readers, with the help of a stable of DC artists including Murphy Anderson, Gil Kane and Joe Kubert.

Larry Krebs, 81, the journalist who captured on film a drunken incident involving a powerful congressman and a stripper, died in Washington on Wednesday after a long illness.

He worked as a cameraman for WMAL-TV, now WJLA-TV, where his specialty was covering police and firefighters. He got his biggest scoop in 1974 when authorities stopped a car driven by then-Arkansas Rep. Wilbur Mills, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. Inside was stripper Fanne Foxe, who leapt from the car. Mr. Mills' office initially denied the incident, but Mr. Krebs had the pair on film.

Ryszard Kuklinski, 73, a former Polish Army officer who secretly served as one of the CIA's most important spies behind the Iron Curtain during the Cold War, died Tuesday at a military hospital in Tampa, Fla., after suffering a stroke Feb. 5.

He covertly provided the United States with critical information that may have staved off a Soviet invasion of Poland. He also gave the CIA warning of Poland's plans to impose martial law to crack down on Solidarity, the dissident movement, in 1981.

An army colonel on the Polish general staff who also acted as a liaison with Moscow, he spied for the CIA from Warsaw for nine years in the 1970s and early 1980s. Under the code name Gull, he became one of the CIA's most productive agents.

Fearing that he had been compromised, he eventually asked the CIA to help him escape from Poland, and he defected in 1981, just as the martial law that he had predicted was imposed. The CIA secretly resettled him and his family in the United States, where he was still living under cover in 1989, when communism collapsed in Eastern Europe.

Katz Kobayashi, 60, a rock musician in Japan who later played country-western with Marty Robbins' band, died Feb. 8 of complications of a stroke in Panama City, Fla.

He taught himself to play pedal steel guitar, a rare talent in his homeland, and joined several Japanese rock bands. He then went to Seattle where he met Mr. Robbins, who invited him to join his band in Nashville, Tenn. He played with Mr. Robbins at the Grand Ole Opry from 1974 until Mr. Robbins' death in 1982.

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