Deaths Elsewhere

Deaths Elsewhere

April 29, 2005

Mason Adams, 86, known for his Emmy-nominated role on the television series Lou Grant and as the voice behind the Smucker's jelly commercials, died Tuesday at his home in New York City.

His distinctive, often fatherly voice was first heard in 1940s and 1950s radio serials, including "Batman" and "Pepper Young's Family." But he did not achieve fame until being cast as Charlie Hume in Lou Grant, a spin-off of The Mary Tyler Moore Show that ran from 1977 to 1982.

Mr. Adams earned three Emmy nominations for his work on the series.

He had small roles in several films, including F/X (1986) and Houseguest (1995), and worked steadily on stage in his later years. His last theater role was in the Broadway revival of Arthur Miller's The Man Who Had All the Luck in 2002.

He was also famous for his work in television commercials, including those for J.M. Smucker Co., saying the tag-line "With a name like Smucker's, it has to be good."

Mr. Adams was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., and received his master's degree from the University of Wisconsin.

Hasil Adkins, 67, a one-man-band rockabilly musician whose hollering vocals, crazed guitar-playing and do-it-yourself approach to rhythm landed a cult following, was found dead Tuesday at his home in Madison, W.Va., where he lived alone. The cause had not been determined but it did not appear to be suspicious.

Mr. Adkins, who claimed to have written more than 7,000 songs, began recording and releasing his own singles as a teenager in the 1950s after hearing rock 'n' roll on the radio.

An ultimate solo artist, Mr. Adkins sang, blew harmonica and played his amplified acoustic guitar while keeping time with his feet on bass drum and high-hat cymbal. He later admitted he thought that's how it was done on radio songs he heard, but he never changed his original method.

In the early 1980s, punkabilly band the Cramps covered Mr. Adkins' "She Said," which brought his primal sound to larger cult prominence. The rockabilly fan magazine Kicks also provided additional attention.

Norton Records released Mr. Adkins' earliest 1950s and '60s recordings on the 1986 albums Out to Hunch and Chicken Walk. Mr. Adkins then released newer albums including The Wild Man (1987), Peanut Butter Rock and Roll and Moon Over Madison (both 1990) and 1994's Achy Breaky Ha Ha Ha.

His concert albums include Live in Chicago and Look at That Caveman Go!!.

The Hasil Adkins story was immortalized in the 1993 documentary Wild World of Hasil Adkins, directed by Julian Nitzberg.

Augusto Roa Bastos, 88, one of South America's most celebrated novelists whose fictional writings often examined Paraguay's social and political struggles, died Tuesday.

Mr. Roa Bastos, the 1989 winner of the prestigious Cervantes Prize for Literature in Spanish, suffered complications from surgery after a fall last week in his Asuncion home, authorities said.

A former journalist, poet, and writer of short stories, Mr. Roa Bastos is best known for his book I, The Supreme, a novelized version of the career of Jose Gaspar Rodriguez de Francia, who ruled Paraguay with an iron fist from 1814 until 1840.

Hailed as Paraguay's most important contemporary writer, Mr. Roa Bastos lived in exile for 42 years, voluntarily leaving his homeland during political upheaval before returning for good in the mid-1990s. He had returned briefly in 1982, only to be expelled by the government of dictator Alfredo Stroessner, who had labeled Mr. Roa Bastos a "subversive" for his candid writings on Paraguay's political scene. Mr. Stroessner's 35-year rule ended in 1989.

An oft-mentioned candidate for the Nobel Prize for Literature, Mr. Roa Bastos published more than 20 works of books, poems, plays and screenplays, many of them translated into dozens of languages.

John Marshall, 72, who made dozens of documentary films about the lives of the bushmen of the Kalahari Desert in Africa, died of cancer April 22 in Boston.

Born in Cambridge, Mass., Mr. Marshall was the son of Laurence Marshall, a founder of Raytheon. He became interested in the bushmen's lives when he joined his father on a research expedition to Africa in 1950.

Using a 16mm camera, he began interviewing the bushmen in what would be the start of a 50-year relationship. His first film about them, The Hunters, was released in 1957.

Mr. Marshall lobbied the Namibian government to improve conditions for the bushmen.

He was also the cameraman for Titicut Follies, a 1967 expose of the poor conditions at the state psychiatric hospital in Bridgewater, Mass.

He was given a lifetime achievement award in 2003 by the Society for Visual Anthropology.

Maria Schell, 79, an icon of the German-speaking film world who achieved international fame, died in her sleep Tuesday in the town of Preitenegg, Austria.

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