Deaths Elsewhere

Deaths Elsewhere

August 12, 2005

Dorris Bowdon, 90, a film actress of the 1930s and '40s and widow of writer-producer Nunnally Johnson, died Tuesday at the Motion Picture Country House in Los Angeles.

Her best-remembered role was likely as Rose-of-Sharon in The Grapes of Wrath. Based on the novel by John Steinbeck, the film's screenplay was written by her husband.

She had been spotted not long before by a Hollywood talent scout in a play at Louisiana State University and signed to a contract at 20th Century Fox. While visiting producers' offices to inquire about film roles, she met Mr. Johnson. Their marriage lasted 39 years, until his death in 1977.

She was directed in three films by John Ford, Young Mr. Lincoln, Drums Along the Mohawk and The Grapes of Wrath. She retired after making 1943's The Moon is Down, also written by her husband and based on a Steinbeck novel.

Neil V. Sullivan, 90, a civil rights advocate who helped integrate schools in Massachusetts, Virginia and California, died Saturday of congestive heart failure at his home in Meredith, N.H.

He was Massachusetts education commissioner during the struggle over busing to achieve integration in Boston schools in the early 1970s. An educational innovator, Mr. Sullivan also created a Youth Advisory Council to schools in Massachusetts, a move that led to a student seat on the state Board of Education.

In 1963, Mr. Sullivan ran a privately funded school for black children in Farmville, Va., after Prince Edward County closed its public schools in defiance of the U.S. Supreme Court's Brown vs. Board of Education ruling.

The Prince Edward County Free Schools operated for more than a year until the Supreme Court ordered the county to provide free public education for all children.

Mr. Sullivan then moved Berkeley, Calif., where he became the principal architect of the "Berkeley Plan" that made Berkeley the first city of more than 100,000 to fully integrate its public schools.

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