Other notable deaths

Other notable deaths

February 06, 2007

GEORGE BECKER, 78 Steelworkers leader

George Becker, a second-generation steelworker who became the sixth international president of the United Steelworkers, died Saturday at his home in Gibsonia, Pa., after a long battle with prostate cancer, according to a union statement released Sunday.

A respected union organizer and strategist, Mr. Becker was also an internationally known spokesman for industrial safety, workers' rights and fair global trade. He was elected president of the union in 1993 and again in 1997.

Mr. Becker persuaded the union's executive board to consolidate the USW's administrative districts in the U.S. from 18 to nine to improve efficiency and political strength. He also persuaded hundreds of smaller local unions to join forces for the same reasons.

Mr. Becker, who grew up in Granite, Ill., orchestrated mergers with the United Rubber Workers and the Aluminum, Brick and Glass Workers Union, that brought 140,000 new members to the USW.

WILLIAM LEO CAHALAN, 75 Former judge

Former Wayne County Circuit Judge William Leo Cahalan, who forged a reputation for helping felons overcome their addictions to drugs and alcohol during three decades on the bench, has died.

Mr. Cahalan, who lived in the Detroit suburb of Grosse Ile, worked in the civil, criminal and family divisions of the 3rd Circuit Court. He died Wednesday at University Hospital in Ann Arbor as a result of lung disease after open-heart surgery.

"He was strongly committed to the idea that those who committed criminal acts because they were addicted to drugs or alcohol should be treated for those things outside the criminal system," Judge Mary Beth Kelly, chief judge of the Wayne County Circuit Court, told the Detroit Free Press.

"Our drug court today is the work of Judge Cahalan's hands and spirit and will long be his legacy. He literally created it and turned it into a very successful program," she said.

Born and raised in Detroit, Mr. Cahalan spent three years as an assistant judge advocate while serving in the Army and married Valina Griggs in 1957. He practiced private law and served in the Wayne County prosecutor's office as chief of the Civil Division before being elected judge in 1974.

After retiring from the bench in 2005, he served as director of the Drug and Problem Solving Courts for Wayne County.

MICHEL ROUX, 77 French actor

Michel Roux, an actor considered a pillar of Paris' so-called boulevard theater for the masses and the dubbed voice for many English-speaking movie stars, died Friday in Paris. Mr. Roux had been suffering from heart problems when he died, friends said.

In his career, the actor scored major success in such plays as Le Diner de Cons (The Dinner Game) and La Cage aux Folles before they were turned into hit movies.

Mr. Roux never became a top star on the silver screen, but his voice did. He provided the voice for English-speaking stars like Jack Lemmon, Peter Sellers and Alec Guinness, dubbing their translated movie lines for French audiences.

Born July 22, 1929, in Colombes, outside Paris, Mr. Roux had an early love for the theater and earned roles in boulevard theater without any formal training in acting.

Mr. Roux, who began his career at age 14, made his last stage appearance in 2006, in the play Le Charlatan at the Palais-Royal Theater.

KURT SCHUBERT, 83 Museum founder

Kurt Schubert, the founder of Austria's first Jewish museum after World War II, died Sunday. The Austrian Jewish Museum, which Mr. Schubert started in Eisenstadt in 1972, posted a statement on its Web site saying he died after a long illness but provided no details.

Mr. Schubert, who was born in the Austrian capital on March 4, 1923, also founded the Jewish Studies Institute at the University of Vienna in 1966.

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