Deaths Elsewhere

Deaths Elsewhere

February 07, 2005

John Vernon, 72, a Canadian-born character actor who frequently played villains in films and on television and might be best known as the sinister Dean Wormer in the comedy classic Animal House, died Tuesday in his sleep at his home in California's San Fernando Valley. He recently had suffered a heart attack.

A graduate of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts who appeared on stage in Canada and New York in the 1950s and '60s, he amassed more than 200 film and television credits over the past four decades.

He played a bounty hunter stalking Clint Eastwood in The Outlaw Josey Wales; the mayor of San Francisco in Dirty Harry; a vulnerable bad guy in Point Blank, starring Lee Marvin; and a revolutionary leader in Alfred Hitchcock's Topaz.

Then there was Wormer in Animal House, in which Mr. Vernon did his best to expel the Delta House Fraternity - the beer-swilling, toga-partying gang of college misfits epitomized by the uncouth and unkempt John Belushi as John "Bluto" Blutarsky. He reprised his Wormer role in the 1979 TV spinoff Delta House.

David Graham Du Bois, 79, former editor of the Black Panther Party's weekly newspaper and stepson of civil rights activist W.E.B Du Bois, died Jan. 28 after a brief illness at a hospital in Northampton, Mass., according to the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where he was a visiting professor before he retired in 2001.

He was editor-in-chief of The Black Panther, the weekly newspaper of the Black Panther Party from 1973 to 1975. He also published a book in 1973 called And Bid Him Sing, which was based on the experiences of African-Americans in Egypt leading up to the 1967 war with Israel.

Later in his career, he was appointed a visiting professor of Afro-American studies and journalism at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where he taught for 18 years.

In 1951, his mother, Shirley Graham, married African-American theorist and historian W.E.B. Du Bois and soon after he legally changed his surname.

Vicki LaMotta, 75, whose marriage to boxer Jake LaMotta was portrayed in the film Raging Bull, died Jan. 25 at Boca Raton Community Hospital in Florida about six months after having open-heart surgery.

In the movie, Robert DeNiro plays the boxer who is obsessed with his young wife, played by Cathy Moriarty, and drives her away.

Mrs. LaMotta posed nude for Playboy in November 1981, when she was 51. At the time, she told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that she posed nude to show that life doesn't end at 30. She later lent her name to a cosmetics line, made commercials and appeared on television.

Bill Shadel, 96, who covered D-Day for CBS Radio during World War II, became an ABC television anchor and moderated the third presidential debate between Richard M. Nixon and John F. Kennedy in 1960, died Jan. 29 at an assisted-living home in Renton, Wash.

Mr. Shadel, who worked with Edward R. Murrow, Walter Cronkite, Eric Sevareid and Howard K. Smith at CBS, was the first host of Face the Nation.

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