Other notable deaths


December 16, 2005

John Langstaff, 84, who started the musical and theatrical celebration of the winter solstice known as the Christmas Revels, died Tuesday after suffering a stroke while visiting his daughter in Basel, Switzerland, said Alan Casso, a spokesman for the Christmas Revels.

Mr. Langstaff studied music at the Juilliard School in New York before launching a career as a concert baritone. After serving in the Army during World War II, he made several recordings for EMI records with George Martin, who later became the Beatles' mentor and producer.

Mr. Langstaff first staged A Christmas Masque of Traditional Revels at New York's Town Hall in 1957, and NBC asked him to direct a similar production as a Hallmark Hall of Fame Special in 1966.

In 1971, he revived his Revels at Harvard University's Sanders Theater. It soon became an annual event, and Mr. Langstaff presided over its expansion into a national phenomenon.

Kurt Singer, 94, a World War II anti-Nazi activist and spy who became a prolific and eclectic journalist and biographer, died Friday of natural causes in Santa Barbara, Calif., said his son, Kenneth.

A Vienna, Austria, native who grew up in Berlin, Mr. Singer began publishing with his first wife an underground anti-Nazi weekly in 1933. He fled to Stockholm, Sweden, after the Nazis put a price on his head.

As a journalist for Swedish and Swiss publications, he helped found a pro-Allies newspaper and a committee to free anti-Nazi leader Carl von Ossietzky from a concentration camp.

When he published the biography Goering: Germany's Most Dangerous Man in 1940, Germany demanded that Sweden confiscate all copies and turn over Singer. Sweden denied the extradition but banned the book, and Mr. Singer left for the United States.

In Sweden and the United States, he spied for the Allies, providing information about Soviet and Nazi activities in Scandinavia.

Mr. Singer became a U.S. citizen in 1951 and four years later founded Singer Communications Inc., an Anaheim, Calif.-based syndicated international news service.

Stephen Hamblett, 71, who led The Providence Journal for nearly 12 years as publisher and chief executive, died Tuesday.

Mr. Hamblett, who was found to have lymphoma during the summer, died at Rhode Island Hospital of a blood clot in his brain, said his son, Mark.

Mr. Hamblett ran the newspaper when it won a Pulitzer Prize in 1994 for uncovering corruption and patronage in the state court system, a story that prompted the resignations of Rhode Island's chief justice and the Supreme Court's top administrator.

He stepped down as publisher and chief executive in 1999 and retired as chairman of Providence Journal Co. in 2000 after spending virtually his entire career there.

Under his leadership, the newspaper merged its morning and afternoon editions, became a publicly traded company and was acquired by A.H. Belo Corp. in 1997.

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