Other notable deaths

Other notable deaths

February 09, 2007

PHIL LUCAS, 65 Film producer

Mr. Lucas, an award-winning film producer and director who made a career of telling the stories of American Indians, died Sunday in Bellevue, Wash., of complications after heart surgery, according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and The Seattle Times.

In his four decades as a filmmaker, Mr. Lucas wrote, produced or directed more than 100 feature films, television series and documentaries in an industry that often stereotyped Indians.

Among them were The Broken Chain, about the Iroquois Confederacy, and The Honour of All, a documentary about how the Alkali Lake Indians in British Columbia became almost entirely sober in the 1980s after being 100 percent alcoholic 20 years before.

Mr. Lucas co-produced and co-directed the PBS series, Images of Indians, about Hollywood stereotypes of American Indians, and directed the 1994 television documentary series, The Native Americans, for which he won an Emmy.

He was nominated for an Emmy for his film Dances for a New Generation, a documentary about the American Indian Dance Theater.

He also consulted on television shows such Northern Exposure and MacGyver.

Mr. Lucas earned a visual-communications degree from Western Washington University and had taught at Bellevue Community College since 1999. He ran the school's annual American Indian Film Festival.

ALAN MacDIARMID, 79 Nobel chemistry laureate

Mr. MacDiarmid, a Nobel chemistry laureate, has died, New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark said. The scientist died after suffering a fall Wednesday at his home in Philadelphia, his sister Alice Palmer said.

Mr. MacDiarmid was one of three joint winners of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2000 for the discovery that plastic can be made electrically conductive - an advance that led to improvements in film, television screens and windows.

Born and educated in New Zealand, he attended Victoria University in the capital, Wellington, before winning a Fulbright scholarship to attend the University of Wisconsin.

Mr. MacDiarmid had lived and worked in the United States since 1950 and was a faculty member at the University of Pennsylvania for more than 45 years.

In 2001, he was awarded New Zealand's highest honor when he was made a Member of the Order of New Zealand for his contribution to chemistry and the New Zealand science community. The order has only 20 living members at any time.

ERIKA ORTIZ, 31 Related to royalty

Ms. Ortiz, the youngest sister of Spain's Princess Letizia, died in Madrid, the Royal Palace said Wednesday.

The cause of her death was not immediately revealed. Princess Letizia's family issued a statement asking for "prudence and respect" in relation to the death. The princess married Crown Prince Felipe, heir to the Spanish throne, in 2004.

A graduate in fine arts, Ms. Ortiz was the youngest of three daughters of journalist Jesus Ortiz and Paloma Rocasolano, a nurse. Princess Letizia is the eldest.

Ms. Ortiz worked at the Spanish production company Globomedia. She was married to Spanish sculptor Antonio Vigo and had a 6-year-old daughter, Carla.

The leading daily El Pais quoted Globomedia as saying Ms. Ortiz had asked for two days' leave this week and was to return to work Wednesday. The paper said she had suffered from stress in the past.

Ms. Ortiz had been living in the same apartment in the Madrid working-class district of Vicalvaro that Princess Letizia resided in before getting married.

A judge inspected the scene at the apartment where the body was found shortly after midday. The body was later taken to Madrid's Forensic Institute for an autopsy.

DONFELD, 72 Costume designer

The Hollywood costume designer who was nominated for four Academy Awards and created wardrobes for such films as They Shoot Horses, Don't They? and Prizzi's Honor died Saturday at the home of his brother, Richard Feld, in Temple City, Calif., after a brief illness.

The exact cause of Donfeld's death was not known, his brother said.

In recent years, Donfeld, who was born Donald Lee Feld, had shared a home with his brother.

"Costume designers are supposed to disappear behind the costumes, and Donfeld did that," said Deborah Nadoolman Landis, president of the Local 892 of the Costume Designers Guild.

"He had more to offer than his costume designs," she said. "He was able to talk about the art of costume design in a way that educated the industry and the public."

Throughout his career, Donfeld worked with the biggest names in the business, including Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. in Robin and the 7 Hoods, (1964), Natalie Wood and Tony Curtis in The Great Race (1965), and Anjelica Huston and Jack Nicholson in Prizzi's Honor (1985). He worked on more than 30 movies.

He also designed costumes for television, including for episodes of Wonder Woman, a 1970s series starring Lynda Carter, that brought him an Emmy nomination in 1978.

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