Deaths Elsewhere

Deaths Elsewhere

October 08, 2004

Joyce Jillson, 58, author of a nationally syndicated astrology column who also divined the stars on behalf of the Reagan administration, died of kidney failure Oct. 1 at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

As the official astrologer for 20th Century Fox Studios, she consulted on the best opening days for movies, including 1977's Star Wars -- the second-highest- grossing movie of all time. Her daily astrology column has appeared in nearly 200 newspapers, including The Sun.

In 1988, she was linked to the Reagan White House after former chief of staff Donald T. Regan wrote in a book that Nancy Reagan consulted astrologers. Ms. Jillson contended that she advised Reagan campaign aides to select George Bush as Mr. Reagan's running mate in 1980.

She had been co-writing her column the past few months with Holiday Mathis, her apprentice and editor since 1991, Creators Syndicate said in a statement. Their columns will run through Nov. 6. Starting Nov. 7, the horoscopes will be renamed "Horoscopes by Holiday," but their format will remain the same.

Maurice H.F. Wilkins, 87, a Nobel Prize-winning scientist who contributed to the discovery of the structure of DNA by James D. Watson and Francis H.C. Crick, died Wednesday in London, according to King's College London, where he worked. The cause of death was not stated.

Dr. Wilkins was one of a group of wartime physicists, including Dr. Crick, who decided to pursue careers in biology after World War II. Dr. Wilkins chose as his problem the physical structure of DNA, the hereditary material, which he proposed to unravel by X-ray crystallography, then a young technique.

Drs. Crick and Watson solved the problem of DNA's structure, but Dr. Wilkins had nonetheless obtained the first clear photo pointing to DNA's helical structure. For that contribution, he shared the Nobel Prize in 1962 with them.

Willy Guhl, 89, creator of innovative furniture including the loop rocking chair and table, died Monday in his hometown of Hemishofen, Switzerland.

He was part of the Swiss neofunctional design scene and one of the first advocates of flat-packed furniture, which has since been made famous by the Swedish chain Ikea. He said that more customers would be able to afford furniture if it was assembled at home, giving poorer people better access to good design.

His trademark rocking chair, which he designed in 1954, was made of a single piece of material, bent to complete a loop. It was designed according to his motto of "achieving the most with the minimum of effort."

Vernon Alley, 89, a world-renowned jazz bassist who played with his generation's greatest musicians and was considered San Francisco's most distinguished jazz artist, died Sunday in his hometown.

Mr. Alley, who broke down many racial barriers during his musical career, could have become one of the biggest names in jazz, musicians said. Instead he decided to spend his career in his native San Francisco.

He began his career playing clubs in San Francisco's Fillmore District before World War II and started his band, the Vernon Alley Trio, in 1939. In 1940, he went to New York and joined the Lionel Hampton band and two years later moved to the Count Basie Orchestra, reaching the pinnacle of the jazz world at age 27.

During his career, he played with jazz greats such as Duke Ellington, Erroll Garner, Nat King Cole, Billie Holiday, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker and Ella Fitzgerald.

Jacques Levy, 69, a Broadway theater director most noted for the musical revue Oh! Calcutta, died of cancer Sept. 30 in New York City.

Active in off-Broadway and regional theater, he directed the production's original staging in 1969 and its revival in 1976 for 7,273 performances in all. He also directed the musical comedy version of the comic strip "Doonesbury" for the 1983-1984 season, wrote songs sung by performers including Carly Simon and Crystal Gayle, and wrote lyrics for the musical Fame.

He also taught directing and playwriting at schools including New York University, Columbia and Yale. In 1992, he became a professor in the English department at Colgate University and was head of its theater program at the time of his death.

Among Mr. Levy's recent directorial roles were The Bridge in Scarsdale in 2002 and Brecht on Brecht in 2000. He also co-directed Exact Change with Jim Niesen in 1999.

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