Other Notable Deaths


August 06, 2006

Arthur Lee, 61, singer and songwriter for the 1960s psychedelic band Love, died of complications from leukemia Thursday in a Memphis, Tenn., hospital.

He formed Love in Los Angeles, and the group was signed to the newly formed Elektra label to release its self-titled debut album in 1966. The band's best-known album, Forever Changes, released in 1968, is considered a classic of 1960s rock.

Love was considered one of the defining groups of the psychedelic era in Los Angeles. Though the band never reached the levels of stardom enjoyed by the Byrds and the Doors - unlike them, Love rarely toured - it had a wide and lasting influence.

Before being diagnosed with leukemia in February, Mr. Lee was performing original Love songs in Europe and the United States, backed by the Los Angeles group Baby Lemonade. A benefit concert for him was held in New York City in June headlined by former Led Zeppelin singer Robert Plant in order to raise money for his treatment.

Harold Ronk, 85, the stentorian ringmaster who sang "Welcome to the Circus!" at the start of thousands of Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey performances for 30 years, died Wednesday in Canton, Ohio.

A robust figure with wavy blond hair, nearly always attired in red-sequined coattails, Mr. Ronk would wave his top hat and intone, "Ladies and gentlemen, children of all ages," before bursting into his welcoming song. He was with the circus from 1951 to 1981 and was its first singing ringmaster.

In 2004, he was inducted into the International Circus Hall of Fame, in Peru, Ind., with a plaque honoring him as "the legendary voice of the circus." After his success, other circuses began hiring singing ringmasters, and the tradition continues today at Ringling Brothers.

Dr. Jonathan R. Spicehandler, 57, a specialist in infectious diseases who led research and development for the drug maker Schering-Plough, died of cancer July 30 at his home in Short Hills, N.J.

During 24 years at Schering-Plough, Dr. Spicehandler was involved in the development of some of the company's most significant pharmaceutical products, including interferon, an anticancer and antiviral therapy; Claritin, a nonsedating antihistamine; and the cholesterol-lowering medicines Zetia and Vytorin.

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