Deaths Elsewhere

Deaths Elsewhere

July 06, 2005

Christopher Fry, 97, a playwright who helped revive verse drama in the 1940s, died June 30 in a hospital in Chichester, England. The cause of death was not announced.

A master of whimsical comic verse, Mr. Fry's best-known plays, The Lady's Not for Burning (1948) and Venus Observed (1949), convey a sense of benign Providence and hope for humanity that struck a chord in a world still coming to terms with news of the Holocaust and the use of the atomic bomb.

Born in Bristol, southwest England, Mr. Fry trained as a teacher and taught for a number of years before quitting to found the Tunbridge Wells Repertory Players in 1932, directing the English premiere of George Bernard Shaw's Village Wooing.

He also wrote music and lyrics and accepted church commissions.

Fame came with the staging of his 1948 play The Lady's Not For Burning, which made it to London's West End with John Gielgud playing Thomas Mendip, a former soldier who longs for death, and Pamela Brown playing an accused witch trying to escape being burned. Claire Bloom and Richard Burton had supporting roles.

In 1950, Mr. Fry produced Venus Observed for Lawrence Olivier's debut as actor/manager at London's St. James's Theatre. The play is about a duke who asks his son to choose a stepmother from among his father's paramours.

In the late 1950s, Mr. Fry turned to film scripts, rewriting William Wyler's screenplay for Ben Hur and scripting Barabbas for Dino De Laurentis.

He continued to write plays, and in 2000 wrote A Ringing of Bells, which was staged at the National Theatre in London.

He was awarded the Queen's Gold Medal for poetry in 1962.

Alberto Lattuada, 90, a versatile Italian film director noted for his explorations of social customs, died Sunday in Rome. He had been in poor health for some time, Roman officials said.

His career spanned the golden years of Italian cinema from the 1950s to the early 1980s.

Among Mr. Lattuada's best-known works was his 1954 movie La Spiaggia, which explored the hypocrisy of Italy's so-called respectable society.

His 1960 film Dolci Inganni (Sweet Deceits) explored a 16-year-old girl's first sexual experiences but was denounced as offensive.

Nearly two decades later, one of his last films, Cosi' come sei (Stay As You Are), also was a shocker, looking at the relationship between an older man, played by Marcello Mastroianni, with an adolescent girl.

Mr. Lattuada later wrote and directed for TV. Among his most praised achievements was a miniseries about Christopher Columbus in the 1980s.

Pierre Michelot, 77, a jazz bassist who recorded with Miles Davis and arranged music for Chet Baker, died Sunday in Paris. He had suffered from Alzheimer's disease, said pianist Rene Urtreger, a member of Mr. Michelot's longtime jazz trio, HUM.

Mr. Michelot played with Mr. Davis on one of the great soundtracks of the 1950s, for Louis Malle's classic thriller Ascenseur pour L'Echafaud (Elevator to the Gallows). He recorded with artists including Stan Getz, Dizzy Gillespie, Bud Powell, Kenny Clarke and Django Reinhardt, and he arranged music for Mr. Baker's 1955-1956 Barclay sessions in Paris.

Mr. Michelot was considered Europe's best jazz bassist in the second half of the 1950s, Mr. Urtreger said.

"He had a magnificent, natural sound, clear, deep and true," Mr. Urtreger said. "It was a dream to play with him."

Originally trained in classical piano, Mr. Michelot learned the bass as a teenager, then performed for American troops stationed in France after the end of World War II. He was highly sought after for concerts by American musicians in Paris in the postwar years.

Mr. Michelot had a role in French director Bertrand Tavernier's 1986 film Round Midnight, about a musician on the skids in 1950s Paris.

Lt. Gen. George M. Seignious, 84, former president of The Citadel and a World War II veteran, died Sunday from complications of surgery, according to The Citadel's Web site.

General Seignious, a Citadel graduate, was president of the South Carolina military college from 1974 to 1979.

After graduating from the National War College in June 1961, he spent four years in Europe in several positions, including chief of the staff of the 3rd Armored Division in Europe.

In June 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson appointed him military adviser at the Paris Peace Talks on Vietnam. In July 1971, he became a deputy assistant secretary of defense, international security affairs, and then director of the Defense Security Assistance Agency.

He was serving as director of the Joint Staff, Organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, when he resigned to become president of The Citadel.

In 1977, President Jimmy Carter named him to the U.S. delegation to the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty negotiations in Geneva. He resigned from The Citadel in 1979 to become director of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency.

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