Deaths Elsewhere

Deaths Elsewhere

September 26, 2004

Francoise Sagan, 69, author of the best-selling novel Bonjour Tristesse about seduction and infidelity among the idle rich, died Friday of heart and lung failure at a hospital in Honfleur, France, near her home in Normandy.

She wrote Bonjour Tristesse ("Hello, Sadness") in six weeks while a student at the Sorbonne in Paris in 1953. Published in 1954, the book sold more than 2 million copies worldwide and was translated into at least 15 languages.

Born Francoise Quoirez, Ms. Sagan, who selected her pen name from a character in Marcel Proust's In Search of Lost Time, went on to write 30 novels and compilations of novellas as well as nine plays. A longtime smoker with a penchant for fast cars, she was fined for using cocaine in the mid-1990s and ordered to seek treatment. In 2002, a court convicted her of tax fraud.

Nigel Nicolson, 87, a publisher and biographer who was the son of famously eccentric parents, died Thursday at his home in Sissinghurst Castle in Kent, England. His family did not give the cause of death.

The son of diplomat Harold Nicolson and writer Vita Sackville-West, he grew up in the Bloomsbury literary circle and centered much of his literary work on its rarefied atmosphere. In 1973, he published Portrait of a Marriage, a candid account of his parents' affectionate 50-year marriage, during which both had several homosexual affairs.

Between 1975 and 1980, he edited six volumes of the letters of Virginia Woolf, one of his mother's lovers. A collection of his parents' letters followed in 1992, and a one-volume selection from his father's diaries was published this year. His biography of Mary Curzon, the American heiress who married Lord Curzon, the British viceroy of India, won the Whitbread prize in 1977.

Richard Arnold, 68, a judge on the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis since 1980, died Thursday of complications from lymphoma at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

He wrote the opinion for a three-judge panel that in March upheld a lower court ruling releasing the Little Rock School District from more than 40 years of federal court supervision of its desegregation efforts.

During Bill Clinton's presidency, he was on the short list for nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court. Instead, Mr. Clinton nominated Stephen G. Breyer. In his autobiography, My Life, Mr. Clinton said he would have nominated Judge Arnold but was concerned about his health. Judge Arnold had already received treatment for cancer.

Over his career, Judge Arnold crafted more than 700 opinions. He received a lifetime achievement award from the American Society of Writers on Legal Subjects. It was the second lifetime award in the organization's 50-year history.

Norman Frank Cantor, 74, an American medievalist who authored books including Civilization of the Middle Ages and Inventing the Middle Ages, died of heart failure Sept. 18 at his home in Miami.

He had been a professor emeritus of history, sociology and comparative literature at New York University, retiring in 1999 after 21 years at the school. In 1960, he joined Columbia University and later became a full professor there. He also taught at Brandeis, the State University of New York, Binghamton and the University of Chicago. He became part of the NYU staff in 1978 as dean of the College of Arts and Science faculty.

His books were popular reading in classrooms and beyond for giving an understanding to the Middle Ages. Before he died, he completed Alexander the Great, a biography of the Greek conqueror, due for release next year.

Iceal "Gene" Hambleton, 85, a military aviator whose 1972 rescue in Vietnam inspired the movie Bat 21, died Sept. 19 of cancer in Tucson, Ariz.

Mr. Hambleton, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel, was shot down on Easter in 1972 and was the focus of the largest rescue operation in Air Force history. Actor Gene Hackman played him in the 1988 film Bat 21, which depicted how he survived amid thousands of enemy troops. The movie was based on the 1980 book of the same name. A second book, The Rescue of Bat 21, was published in 1998.

During 12 days in hostile territory, the then-52-year-old pilot kept in touch with U.S. forces through his hand-held survival radio, directing many strikes against enemy supply lines by calling in the locations of vehicles on the highway. He was awarded several medals for heroism, including a Silver Star, a Distinguished Flying Cross and a Purple Heart.

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