April 18, 2004

Phil Sokolof,

82, a multimillionaire businessman who used his wealth to alert Americans to the dangers of cholesterol, died Thursday at a hospital in Omaha, Neb. The cause was not available, but he had been in good health before becoming ill that morning, his family said.

Over nearly two decades, he estimated he poured about $15 million into his crusade to get Americans on a healthier diet. His high cholesterol and 1965 heart attack sparked his interest in cholesterol's effects. He founded the Omaha-based National Heart Savers Association in 1985.

During the late 1980s and early 1990s, he moved into the national spotlight by buying full-page ads in newspapers around the country, chiding big companies for their foods' ingredients - particularly saturated fats. "McDonald's, Your Hamburgers Have Too Much Fat!" one headline declared, while another proclaimed: "We Can't Continue to Deep-Fry Our Children's Health."

Mr. Sokolof said he believed his greatest achievement was a series of ads in 1990 backing the successful federal legislation to require nutritional information on food product labels.

Will Fowler,

81, an author and a reporter who was the first newsman on the scene of the infamous Black Dahlia murder, died Wednesday of prostate cancer in Los Angeles.

Mr. Fowler, the son of author Gene Fowler, was working for the Los Angeles Examiner in January 1947 when he was the first reporter to arrive at the vacant lot where the body of 22-year-old Elizabeth Short was discovered. She was severed at the waist, drained of blood and carefully posed. The murder remains unsolved.

He covered crime for Los Angeles newspapers in the mid-1940s and early 1950s. He went on to write for television and work in public relations for an airline and 20th Century Fox Television. He handled publicity for TV shows including M*A*S*H and Daniel Boone. After his father's death in 1960, he published a biography of Gene Fowler titled The Young Man From Denver.

Pat Parson,

65, the retired WCBS news anchor whose rich baritone informed and entertained radio audiences in the New York metropolitan area for 20 years, died Thursday in New Brunswick, N.J., of cancer.

The Newark native, whose real name was Pasquale D. Tominaro, joined the all-news station in 1970 and was co-host of the afternoon news until he retired in 1990.

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