Other Notable deaths


May 22, 2006

Freddie Garrity, 69, lead singer of the 1960s pop band Freddie and the Dreamers, died Friday at a hospital in Wales. He had suffered from emphysema for several years.

Originally from Manchester, in northwest England, he formed Freddie and the Dreamers in 1959, and they were signed to Columbia Records. The group hit the top of the U.S. charts with the 1965 hit "I'm Telling You Now."

Success in Britain led to work in the U.S. and eventually American television appearances, and his exuberant on-stage performance led to a minor dance craze inspired by the hit song "Do the Freddie."

Billy Walker, 77, a Grand Ole Opry legend whose hits included "Charlie's Shoes" and "Cross the Brazos at Waco," died along with his wife and two band members yesterday in a wreck along an interstate highway at Fort Deposit, Ala. State troopers said a van they were riding in ran off Interstate 65 south of Montgomery and overturned.

The others who died were Bettie Walker, 61, and Charles Lilly Jr., 44, both of Hendersonville, Tenn., and Daniel Patton Sr., 40, of Hermitage, Tenn. Mr. Walker's grandson, Joshua Brooks, 21, also of Hendersonville, was injured in the accident and was reported in critical condition at an Alabama hospital.

According to the Opry's Web site, Billy Walker was born in Ralls, Texas, and built an early career as the "Traveling Texan, the Masked Singer of Country Songs" and later shared the stage with Elvis Presley. He joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1960.

Andrew Martinez, 32, who became known as "the Naked Guy" and gained notoriety in the early 1990s for attending class in the buff, died Thursday after being found unconscious in a Santa Clara, Calif., jail. Officials were investigating the death as an apparent suicide.

He had been in custody since Jan. 10 on charges of battery and assault with a deadly weapon, authorities said.

Mr. Martinez's stripped-down strolls at the University of California, Berkeley, got him expelled and prompted the city to adopt a strict anti-nudity ordinance.

In 1992, he organized a "Nude-In" protest at the university - saying he was trying to make a point about free expression.

The message caught on, and nude spottings spiked on campus. Mr. Martinez landed on national talk shows, but was expelled the next year after the university banned nudity.

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