Other Notable Deaths


May 13, 2006

George "Lee" Lutz, 59, whose brief and awful stay in an Amityville, N.Y., home became the inspiration for one of the most famous haunted house stories ever, died of heart disease Monday in Las Vegas.

Mr. Lutz, a former land surveyor, became famous after moving his new bride and three children into a three-story Dutch colonial on Long Island in 1975, about a year after six members of the DeFeo family had been shot and killed in the home. Ronald DeFeo Jr., the eldest son, was convicted of the murders.

The Lutzes lived in the home for 28 days before being driven out by the spirits of the DeFeos, according to Mr. Lutz's account. The family's tales of eerie feelings and waking dead became the source for Jay Anson's 1977 book, The Amityville Horror, along with a 1979 film of the same title and a 2005 movie remake.

Yossi Banai, 74, a musician, actor and comedian who was beloved by millions of Israelis, died Thursday at his home in Tel Aviv.

He began his career in the mid-1950s as an actor with Tel Aviv's Habima theater. He quickly became known as a talented writer of satire, a comedian and a musician. At the end of the 1970s his recorded his first album, Yossi Banai, which was a major success. One of the most popular songs from the album, "Me, Simon and Little Mouiz," was repeatedly played on Israeli radio stations after his death was announced.

Sister Rose Thering, 85, a Roman Catholic nun whose lifelong campaign against anti-Semitism helped change the policies of her church, died of kidney failure May 6 in Racine, Wis.

Sister Thering was a professor emerita of Jewish-Christian Studies at Seton Hall University in New Jersey.

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