Other Notable Deaths


December 02, 2005

Dr. Thomas Royle Dawber, whose research

Dr. Thomas Royle Dawber, whose research transformed the medical world's understanding of heart disease, has died. He was 92.

Dawber died Nov. 23 in Florida after a battle with Alzheimer's disease, his daughter, Dr. Nancy Dawber, said Wednesday.

He led the Framingham Heart Study, one of the most important research projects of the 20th century, for two decades beginning in 1949. A year earlier it was founded by the U.S. Public Health Service to discover the causes of heart disease and ways to prevent it.

Framingham researchers have published 1,300 scientific papers unlocking the mysteries of heart disease and strokes.

Dawber led a campaign that raised more than $500,000 to save the study from extinction in 1968, when the federal government considered shutting the 20-year study down.

Joe Jones, who sang the 1961 R&B hit "You Talk Too Much" and went on to become an independent music publisher and advocate for black artists' rights, has died, his son said. He was 79.

The New Orleans native had battled colon and prostate cancer in recent years. He died Sunday of complications from quadruple bypass surgery in a Los Angeles hospital, said his son, Dwayne Jones.

After serving in the Navy during World War II, Jones trained at the Julliard Conservatory and then worked as a band leader at a university in New Orleans, said his wife, Marion Jones, 67.

Eventually Jones broke into the red-hot New Orleans music scene as a big band leader for the likes of B.B. King.

He's credited with discovering the Dixie Cups trio, who sang the 1964 hit "Chapel of Love."

In 1973, Jones moved to the Los Angeles area and started an independent music publishing business. He also began devoting himself to help black artists recoup the rights to their works.

Macon "Sonny" McCalman, a versatile character actor who appeared on the television shows Cheers and Three's Company and in the films Deliverance and The Client, died Tuesday. He was 72.

McCalman had been in declining health in recent years because of a series of strokes, family members said. McCalman had retired from acting and returned to Memphis in 1997 after suffering a heart attack.

His acting career spanned more than 30 years and included roles in a long list of popular TV shows from the 1970s through the 1990s: Kojak, Roots, Family Ties, Dallas, Murder, She Wrote, Designing Women, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, L.A. Law and many others.

His movie roles included the prosecutor in Fried Green Tomatoes, Aubry Draper in Doc Hollywood and Deputy Queen in Deliverance.

Actress Wendie Jo Sperber, who starred opposite Tom Hanks on TV's Bosom Buddies and who in his words became "a walking inspiration" after she was diagnosed with breast cancer, died at home Tuesday after an eight-year battle with the illness, publicist Jo-Ann Geffen said Wednesday.

Sperber was in her 40s. Sources differed on her exact age.

A Los Angeles native, Sperber appeared in dozens of television shows and movies, including all three Back to the Future films.

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