Deaths Elsewhere

Deaths Elsewhere

September 25, 2004


Skeeter Davis,

72, who hit the top of the pop charts with "The End of the World" in 1963 and sang on the Grand Ole Opry radio show for more than 40 years, died Sunday of cancer at a Nashville hospice. She received a diagnosis of breast cancer in 1988 and had a recurrence in 1996.

Ms. Davis - nicknamed Skeeter by her grandfather, who said she was so active she buzzed around like a mosquito - toured with Elvis Presley and the Rolling Stones.

She became a regular on the Opry, a live radio show, in 1959, and continued to perform as late as this year. Besides "The End of the World," her hits included "I'm Saving My Love" and "I Can't Stay Mad at You."

A native of Dry Ridge, Ky., she was born Mary Frances Penick. She took the name Skeeter Davis in the 1950s when she became half of the Davis Sisters duet.

Stephen Baker,

83, who created the "Let your fingers do the walking" ad campaign for the Yellow Pages and advised readers on how to live with a neurotic dog, died of cancer of the gastrointestinal tract in Manhattan on Sept. 13.

As an art director for the advertising agency Cunningham & Walsh and later as founder of his own firms, he tried to create sassy ads that steered clear of the hard sell. For one commercial in the "Let your fingers do the walking" campaign to promote AT&T's Yellow Pages, a woman's well-manicured hand saunters down a street, its long red fingernails resembling high heels. AT&T used the slogan for at least six years, and it is still used by other telephone directories, according to the Yellow Pages Association.

Mr. Baker wrote 22 books on a range of topics. Some, like The Systematic Approach to Advertising Creativity and Advertising Layout and Art Direction, became widely used textbooks. But the bulk offered blithe tips for dealing with the eccentricities of others. "DO be patient with your neurotic dog," he wrote in How to Live with a Neurotic Dog (Pocket Books, 1960). "Try to understand the underlying cause of his neurosis: it's you." The book sold more than 200,000 copies.

Harold Zinkin Sr.,

82, a bodybuilding icon who invented the Universal Gym machine, died Wednesday after hitting his head in a fall at his home in Fresno, Calif.

Mr. Zinkin won the first Mr. California bodybuilding title in 1941 and befriended many of the legends of the fitness field, including Jack La Lanne and Arnold Schwarzenegger. He was a regular at Muscle Beach in the 1930s, part of a core group that started the then-ridiculed physical fitness movement.

He moved to Fresno in 1953 and later started a chain of fitness centers. In 1961, he patented the Universal Gym weight training system, which was designed to make multiple exercises possible on one piece of equipment.

Edward Larrabee Barnes,

89, an architect who designed the IBM headquarters in New York and several other notable structures, died Tuesday of complications from a stroke at his Cupertino, Calif., home.

His designs ranged from the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis and the Dallas Museum of Art to the Thurgood Marshall Federal Judiciary Building in Washington.

During the late 1960s, Mr. Barnes produced one of his most famous designs: the master plan for the State University of New York at Purchase. His most notable work was the IBM headquarters, built in 1983 at Madison Avenue and 57th Street, which reflected his loyalty to the Modernist movement in architecture.

Marvin M. Mitchelson,

76, an attorney who counseled scores of celebrities through divorce and pioneered the legal revolution known as "palimony," died Sept. 18 of cancer in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Marvin v. Marvin made Mr. Mitchelson a household name in the 1970s. He won a $104,000 award for Michelle Triola Marvin, the live-in lover of actor Lee Marvin. He fought for and won her right to file the lawsuit, and he later said that the day she was allowed into court was the day marriage and family law changed forever. The award was later overturned, but the concept of palimony was upheld by the California Supreme Court. It came to signify a new social order for unmarried, cohabitating partners.

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