Other Notable Deaths

OTHER NOTABLE DEATHS

April 10, 2006

Gene Pitney, 65, whose keening tenor voice produced a string of hits including "Town Without Pity" was found dead in his hotel room in Cardiff, Wales, while on a tour of Britain. He died Wednesday, apparently of natural causes, after playing a concert Tuesday night.

During a long career, he had hits as a singer including "24 Hours from Tulsa," "(The Man Who Shot) Liberty Valance," and "Half Heaven, Half Heartache." As a writer, he penned "Hello Mary Lou" for Ricky Nelson and "Rubber Ball" for Bobby Vee.

In 1962, Mr. Pitney had the top two songs on the U.S. chart - his rendition of "Only Love Can Break a Heart" was at No. 2, just behind a song he wrote for The Crystals, "He's a Rebel." He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002.

Jackie McLean, 73, a jazz saxophonist and teacher who played with legendary musicians including Miles Davis and Sonny Rollins, died March 31 at his home in Hartford, Conn., after a long illness.

He was founder and artistic director of the Jackie McLean Institute of Jazz at the University of Hartford's Hartt School. He and his wife, actress Dollie McLean, also founded the Artists Collective in Hartford.

A native of Harlem in New York, he went on to play with Mr. Rollins under the tutelage of pianist Bud Powell and was 19 when he first recorded with Mr. Davis. Mr. McLean drew wide attention with his 1959 debut on Blue Note Records, Jackie's Bag, one of dozens of albums he recorded in the hard-bop and free jazz styles. He also played with Charles Mingus and Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers.

Mr. McLean, a heroin addict during his early career, also lectured on drug addiction research.

Thomas J. Abercrombie, 75, National Geographic magazine photographer who survived a variety of brushes with death in 38 years of world travel, died April 3 at Johns Hopkins Hospital of complications from open-heart surgery. He lived in Shady Side.

Shortly after arriving at the magazine in 1956, Mr. Abercrombie was sent from an assignment in Lebanon to Antarctica. Once there, he won a lottery to be the first journalist to the South Pole. But the plane froze, and he was stranded in Antarctica for three weeks, prompting a superior to ban further flights "until the weather warms up to minus-50 degrees."

Mr. Abercrombie dived with Jacques Cousteau, which he said was "like swimming with a fish." He slipped off his yak in Afghanistan and narrowly escaped plunging into a 1,000-foot chasm. The point of all his travels was to bring back photographs and stories of the world, and Mr. Abercrombie was one of the magazine's foreign staff who handled a camera and pen with equal dexterity.

George Brown, 79, who was the first black person to win statewide office in Colorado when he was elected as lieutenant governor in 1974, died of cancer March 31 at his home in Boca Raton, Fla.

Before getting into politics, he served in pilot training at Tuskegee Air Force Base during World War II and received a journalism degree from the University of Kansas in 1950.

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