Other Notable Deaths

Other Notable Deaths

June 21, 2007

Richard Bell, 61 Songwriter, keyboardist

Richard Bell, a songwriter and keyboardist who played with Janis Joplin, died Friday of multiple myeloma at a Toronto hospital, according to his promotions company in Nashville, Tenn. He was 61.

His resume included stints with some of rock 'n' roll's most legendary performers, including Joplin and The Band.

He began playing with Joplin's Full Tilt Boogie Band in 1970 and appeared on "Pearl," her posthumously released album. He later joined The Band as a keyboardist and played on their albums "Jericho," "High on the Hog" and "Jubilation."

As a studio musician, he played with artists such as Bob Dylan, Judy Collins, Joe Walsh, Paul Butterfield, the Cowboy Junkies, Bruce Cockburn and Bonnie Raitt. In recent years, he has been part of the Toronto jazz/blues group PorkBelly Futures.

He had been diagnosed with cancer about a year ago. He was well enough this spring to work in studio in Nashville on a comeback album with the Flying Burrito Brothers, but the cancer returned and he went back to Toronto.

Born March 5, 1946, in Toronto, Mr. Bell was the son of esteemed Canadian conductor, musician and educator Leslie Bell. A child prodigy, Mr. Bell began playing the piano at the age of four, and studied at Canada's Royal Conservatory of Music.

Jose Luis Cantero, 69 Spanish singer

Spanish singer Jose Luis Cantero, known as El Fary, died Tuesday at home in Madrid, Spain, after suffering for more than a year from lung cancer, according to the Culture Ministry. He was 69.

Born in the district of Madrid's Las Ventas bullring, El Fary was one of Spain's best known singers of the flamenco-style genre known as Spanish Song.

Mr. Cantero was a fervent admirer of traditional Spanish singers, especially Rafael Farina. He was given his stage name because of the similarity of his high-pitched wailing form of singing to that of Farina.

He reached the height of his fame in the 1980s with his hit song "El Toro Guapo" ("The Handsome Bull") and for a television series he acted in called Menudo es mi Padre ("Some Father I Have").

He came back into the spotlight in recent years when film director Santiago Segura used one of his songs in his 1998 film Torrente -- The Dumb Arm of the Law, with both the song and the movie becoming immensely popular.

Ed Friendly, 85 Television producer

Television producer Ed Friendly, who helped create the hits Little House on the Prairie and Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, died Sunday at his home in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., after a yearlong battle with cancer, Warren Cowan, a spokesman for the family, said Tuesday. He was 85.

His Ed Friendly Productions was founded in 1967 after he moved to California from New York. Laugh-In, the wacky sketch comedy show that Mr. Friendly created with George Schlatter, became a sensation after it debuted in 1968, making stars of Dick Martin, Dan Rowan, Goldie Hawn and Lily Tomlin and popularizing such phrases as "Sock it to me!"

Mr. Friendly also helped produce Little House, which ran from 1974-83 and was based on the books by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

Mr. Friendly also produced TV movies, specials and miniseries. The 1979 miniseries "Backstairs at the White House" was nominated for 11 Emmys, winning one for makeup.

Born in New York in 1922, Mr. Friendly worked in advertising and then as a radio and television director. He became a producer and later was NBC's vice president of special programs.

Mr. Friendly was a noted thoroughbred owner. Among his horses was Timeless Answer, winner of the Los Angeles Handicap in June 1990.

Efrain Guigui, 81 Orchestra conductor

Efrain Guigui, a former conductor of the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, died Monday in Los Angeles from complications of cancer, said his son, Martin Guigui. He was 81.

Mr. Guigui led the VSO from 1974 to 1989, notably taking the orchestra on a tour of all of Vermont's 251 towns to celebrate the orchestra's 50th anniversary.

During his tenure, Mr. Guigui, a clarinetist, got the Alice Ditson award from Columbia University, which honors conductors for their support of American music. In 1989, the Vermont Council on the Arts presented him with the Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts.

Mr. Guigui was born in Panama and raised in Argentina. He moved to Middlebury, Vt., in 1974 to lead the VSO.

After leaving Vermont, Mr. Guigui did guest conducting in South America and started a youth orchestra in Mexico, his son said. He was invited to conduct in many places, including the Juilliard School in New York.

Lola Wasserstein, 89 Playwright's mother

Lola Wasserstein, an inspiration for many of the characters in the works of her daughter Wendy Wasserstein, died Saturday of natural causes at her Manhattan apartment, her daughter Georgette Levis said. She was 89. Wendy Wasserstein, the noted playwright, died last year.

Lola Wasserstein, an avid dancer even in her 80s, was a model for the character of Tasha Blumberg in Isn't it Romantic, an untraditional Jewish mother who takes dance classes and wears skirts over black leotards.

Another daughter, Sandra Meyer, a marketing executive, died in 1998.

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