other deaths of note

OTHER NOTABLE DEATHS

December 08, 2006

Arthur Shimkin, 84, a Grammy Award-winning producer of children's records, including Hans Christian Andersen fairy tales and "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" - sung, appropriately enough, by the big-nosed Jimmy Durante - died of bladder cancer Monday at his home in New York's Manhattan.

As head of the Little Golden Records division of the Simon & Schuster publishing company in the 1950s and '60s and of Sesame Street Records in the '70s, Mr. Shimkin often said his clientele was the kid at home from school with the sniffles, and moms and dads weary of reading Cinderella for the fourth straight time.

He was the executive producer of more than 3,000 records that sold more than 5 million copies - including at least 500,000 of Sesame Street Fever, a takeoff on the 1977 Bee Gees hit Saturday Night Fever. He was nominated for 13 Grammys, and the winner of one - in 1961 for Peter and the Wolf, played by the New York Philharmonic under the baton of Leonard Bernstein.

An economics major in college, he was hired to work in Simon & Schuster's business department in 1948 and asked to come up with a new marketing concept.

"My father spent months reading the comment cards sent in by parents of children being read to," Carl Shimkin said. "The comment that came back most was that they were worn out because their children always wanted them to read those stories over and over again. They wished there was some kind of recording so they could leave the room."

David Bronstein, 82, a Ukrainian-born grandmaster who played bold and intuitive chess, wrote one of the classics in chess literature and came within one draw of becoming world champion, died Tuesday in Minsk, Belarus, the World Chess Federation announced.

From the end of World War II to the late 1950s, Mr. Bronstein was one of the top three players in the Soviet Union and among the five best in the world. In later years he defied Soviet authorities, at some cost, for not denouncing a defecting player.

In 1951, he became the first to challenge world champion and fellow Soviet player Mikhail Botvinnik. The 24-game match was a seesaw affair between two men who disliked each other and played with contrasting styles. It ended in a 12-12 tie, allowing Mr. Botvinnik to retain the title under rules of the match.

For years afterward, there was speculation that Mr. Bronstein - the Jewish son of a man once imprisoned as an "enemy of the state" - was forced to lose so that Mr. Botvinnik, a favorite of the Soviet authorities, might retain the title. Mr. Bronstein later said he actually chose not to win.

Mr. Bronstein wrote Zurich International Chess Tournament, 1953, published in 1979 and considered a classic because of its straightforward explanations of strategies and how players think during a game.

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