Deaths Elsewhere

May 30, 2004

Umberto Agnelli,

69, who stepped into the limelight at Fiat, the Italian auto empire, after a lifetime in the shadow of relatives renowned for their flamboyance, died Thursday of lymphoma in the family's villa, La Mandria, outside Turin.

In 2002, the Fiat Group's losses were $3.5 billion; after a year with Umberto Agnelli at the helm, they had dropped to $1.5 billion. In February, he and other executives pledged that the group would return to profitability in 2006. Fiat is Italy's largest private employer.

His death severed the last connection to a time that a generation of Italians remember as glory days, when business boomed, tiny Fiat 500 cars crammed nearly every Italian street and the sprawling Agnelli clan dominated the public's imagination with a jet-set style often compared to that of the Kennedys. That style was personified by Mr. Agnelli's older brother, Giovanni, called Gianni, who died 16 months ago, also of cancer, and overshadowed his less flashy younger brother for decades.

Vernon Jarrett,

84, a journalist and broadcaster who was a prominent commentator on race relations and African-American history, died of cancer Sunday in Chicago.

During his career, he interviewed such civil rights leaders as W.E.B. DuBois, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Roy Wilkins, as well as boxers Joe Louis and Sugar Ray Robinson.

In 1970, he became the first black syndicated columnist for the Chicago Tribune. While writing for the Tribune, he also began a 30-year association with ABC's WLS-TV, where he produced 1,600 shows and commentaries. In 1983, he moved to the Chicago Sun-Times, where he served as columnist and editorial board member until 1995.

He was a founder and former president of the 3,000-member National Association of Black Journalists, which had planned to present him with its legacy award at its annual convention in August.

Richard Biggs,

44, a television actor known for his featured roles in such series as Babylon 5 and Days of Our Lives, died May 22 after collapsing suddenly at his San Fernando Valley, Calif., home. The cause was a tear in his aorta.

A graduate of the University of Southern California, he portrayed Dr. Stephen Franklin on the science-fiction series Babylon 5, which was broadcast in syndication and later on the TNT Network from 1991 to 1998. He also played a doctor on the NBC soap opera Days of Our Lives for five years beginning in the 1980s.

More recently, he appeared on the Lifetime channel dramas Any Day Now and Strong Medicine and earned favorable notices on stage in Los Angeles productions of Shakespeare's King Lear and John DiFusco's Vietnam War play Tracers.

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