other notable deaths

other notable deaths

August 20, 2007

CAROLYN GOODMAN, 91 Civil rights figure

Carolyn Goodman, the mother of one of three civil rights workers killed by the Ku Klux Klan in the "Mississippi Burning" case, died Friday at her home in New York City.

Dr. Goodman lived to see a Klan leader convicted in her son's death two years ago.

Dr. Goodman's son Andrew was killed June 21, 1964, in central Mississippi's Neshoba County, along with fellow civil rights workers Michael Schwerner and James Chaney.

Mr. Chaney, a black Mississippian, and Mr. Schwerner and Mr. Goodman, white New Yorkers, had been looking into the torching of a black church and helping to register black voters during what was known as Freedom Summer. They were abducted, shot to death and buried in an earthen dam.

The slayings shocked the nation, helped spur passage of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 and were dramatized in the 1988 movie Mississippi Burning.

Mr. Chaney's mother, Fannie Lee Chaney, died May 22.

Both women testified in the 2005 trial of 80-year-old Edgar Ray Killen, who was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to three consecutive 20-year prison terms.

Dr. Goodman was a clinical psychologist who founded a program to help mothers leaving mental hospitals learn how to be parents. She set up the Andrew Goodman Foundation in 1966 to carry on her son's legacy.

ATLE SELBERG, 90 Awards-winning mathematician

Atle Selberg, who won mathematics' highest prizes for his work on the properties of numbers, died Aug. 6 at his home in Princeton, N.J., according to the Institute for Advanced Study, where Dr. Selberg was an emeritus professor.

Dr. Selberg's family told The New York Times that the cause of death was heart failure.

A native of Norway, Dr. Selberg first won recognition in the 1940s for his work on prime numbers -- whole numbers such as two, three, five and seven that can only be divided by one or themselves to produce another whole number.

A theorem had been developed explaining how prime numbers are distributed among whole numbers. But Dr. Selberg and the prominent Hungarian mathematician Paul Erdos each came up with concepts that simplified the proof.

The two argued for years over credit. Dr. Selberg published his proof in the Annals of Mathematics in 1949.

The next year, the International Mathematical Union cited Dr. Selberg's proof, along with other works, when it awarded him the Fields Medal -- the equivalent of a Nobel Prize for mathematics.

In 1951, he took a professorship at the Institute for Advanced Study, where he stayed for the rest of his life.

JOHN GARDNER, 80 James Bond novelist

John Gardner, a prolific British thriller writer who wrote more novels about Bond -- James Bond -- than Ian Fleming did, died Aug. 3 of heart failure after collapsing near his home in Basingstoke, England.

By turns an Anglican priest, Royal Marine commando, drama critic and semi-professional magician, Mr. Gardner wrote four dozen books in a career of more than 40 years. He was best known for the 14 Bond novels he wrote in the 1980s and 1990s, which officially continued the work of Bond's creator, Mr. Fleming. (For his part, Mr. Fleming wrote only 12.)

In Mr. Gardner's hands, Bond is every inch a late-20th-century man. He smokes low-tar cigarettes (where is the Turkish blend of yesteryear?) and, in an authorial choice that anguished 007 purists, drives a fuel-efficient Saab instead of his Bentley Mark II Continental. Perhaps most shocking of all, he drinks only in moderation.

Though the reaction of critics was mixed, the novels were embraced by all but the most orthodox Bondians and appeared regularly on The New York Times best-seller List. Among Mr. Gardner's Bond titles are License Renewed (1981), Win, Lose, or Die (1989), Brokenclaw (1990) and, most recently, Cold Fall (1996).

An enthusiastic amateur magician, Mr. Gardner auditioned in 1943 for the entertainment department of the American Red Cross. At 17, he was traveling to hospitals throughout England, performing for wounded American soldiers.

Toward the end of World War II, he served in the Far and Middle East as a Royal Marine commando.

He received ordination as an Anglican priest in 1953. But he soon realized the vocation was not for him and left the priesthood after five years.

In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Mr. Gardner worked as a newspaper drama critic. In 1963, he published his first book, Spin the Bottle. His only work of nonfiction, it is a memoir of his battle with alcoholism.

After Mr. Fleming's death in 1964, his literary executors searched for a writer to continue the series, eventually settling on Mr. Gardner.

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