Other Notable Deaths


December 29, 2005

Michael Vale, 83, the actor best known for portraying sleepy-eyed Fred the Baker in Dunkin' Donuts commercials, died Saturday in New York City of complications from diabetes, son-in law Rick Reil said.

Ads featuring Fred, who uttered the trademark line "Time to make the doughnuts," ran for 15 years until Mr. Vale retired in 1997.

Canton, Mass.-based Dunkin' Donuts said in a statement that Mr. Vale's character "became a beloved American icon that permeated our culture and touched millions with his sense of humor and humble nature."

Mr. Vale was born in Brooklyn and studied acting at the Dramatic Workshop in New York City with classmates Tony Curtis, Ben Gazzara and Rod Steiger.

A veteran of the Broadway stage, film and television, Mr. Vale appeared in more than 1,300 TV commercials. His movie roles included a jewelry salesman in Marathon Man. He also appeared in Guerrilla Girl, a 1953 movie starring Helmut Dantine, and A Hatful of Rain (1957), starring Don Murray and Eva Marie Saint.

Perry Shinneman, 70, the subject of a Vietnam War photograph that was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, died Sunday of pulmonary fibrosis at a hospital in Sioux Falls, S.D., according to Doug Houseman, a spokesman for Chapel Hill Funeral Home.

He was the subject of a black-and-white photograph titled "Home From Vietnam" that was taken Aug. 12, 1966, by Ray Mews, a photographer for The Argus Leader newspaper.

It showed Marine Lance Cpl. Shinneman, who was returning home on medical leave after losing a leg in an explosion. As Corporal Shinneman got off the plane at the Sioux Falls Airport, his wife, Shirley, stepped forward and they embraced. His crutch fell to the tarmac.

Mr. Shinneman said in subsequent interviews that he was uncomfortable with the fame the photograph brought him.

"It was that it made me out to be a big war hero and I wasn't," he said in an interview with the newspaper in 2001. "I was just one of the guys."

John D. McClain, 67, a longtime Associated Press editor and reporter in Washington who personified multitasking before the word became fashionable, died on Sunday in his home at Lake Ozark, Mo., of cancer.

Mr. McClain had retired from the Washington bureau in 1998 and moved to the Midwest, concluding a wire service career that started in St. Louis and lasted nearly 40 years.

Mr. McClain was an avid fisherman -- an appropriate hobby for a man renowned in AP's Washington office for his patience, alertness and disciplined work style. As assignment editor, his news coverage decisions formed a sort of daily dance card for dozens of journalists.

"John McClain was an amazingly well-organized editor who schooled a generation of journalists who came to Washington with stars in their eyes," said Washington chief of bureau Sandy Johnson. "He was the original multitasker, juggling a staff of 100 and a never-ending flood of news in AP's busiest bureau."

Mr. McClain graduated from Quincy College in Illinois and in 1958 took a job with the Quincy Herald-Whig. From there he moved to the St. Louis Globe-Democrat and joined the AP there three years later.

He transferred in 1967 to the Washington bureau, where an uncle, Ovid Martin, was a longtime AP farm editor.

Mr. McClain played a key role in helping to modernize the handling of news copy in 1969, creating a "universal desk" now known as a "general desk," where editors file news stories to the wire. He also took his organizational talents to many national political conventions, establishing an on-the-road assignment desk.

"In classic McClain fashion, John delayed his departure so several colleagues could take a Christmas-week break with their school-age children," then-chief of bureau Jonathan P. Wolman said in announcing Mr. McClain's retirement in January 1998.

Constance Keene, 84, a pianist and teacher whose recordings of the Romantic keyboard repertory were highly regarded, died Saturday at Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan.

Her death was announced by Debra Kinzler, the spokeswoman for the Manhattan School of Music, where Ms. Keene had taught since 1969. She also joined the school's board of trustees in 1997.

Ms. Keene maintained a fairly low-key performing career in recent years, but her influence as a teacher and occasional writer on keyboard topics for Clavier magazine was considerable. She was a juror at several major competitions, and in addition to her work at the Manhattan School, she gave master classes in Europe, Asia and South Africa.

Early in Ms. Keene's career, her playing was praised by Artur Rubinstein, who said that her recording of the Rachmaninoff Preludes left him "completely flabbergasted by the fantastic sweep, color, tone, and last but not least, by the incredible technique." When Mr. Rubinstein decided that his children were old enough to take piano lessons, he hired Ms. Keene as their teacher.

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