Other notable deaths

Other notable deaths

October 12, 2007


Robert "Red" Shipley, a longtime Washington radio host who specialized in country, Southern gospel and bluegrass music, died Saturday of cancer at the University of Virginia Medical Center, said Kay Summers, director of public information at WAMU-FM.

The Tennessee native was a fixture of the Washington region's airwaves for four decades, and until last month hosted WAMU-FM's Stained-Glass Bluegrass program on Sundays for 25 years.

The International Bluegrass Music Association named him the 2006 Broadcaster of the Year, based on voting by his peers.

Bob Webster, who succeeded him on Stained-Glass Bluegrass, said Mr. Shipley advocated for nontraditional bluegrass sounds and could determine which musicians had staying power.

On the air, Mr. Shipley was known for a succinct baritone. He once told The Washington Post that his listeners did not care for windy introductions to the music.

MILAN DJUKIC, 61 Croatian Serb leader

Milan Djukic, a prominent leader of Croatia's minority Serbs and a former deputy parliament speaker, died Monday of an illness in his home village, Donji Lapac, in central Croatia, his family said. The cause of death was not disclosed.

Mr. Djukic led the Serb People's Party beginning in the early 1990s, representing Croatian Serbs who did not join their compatriots' armed rebellion against Croatia's independence from the former Yugoslavia, which triggered a six-month war.

As a representative of a minority, he was deputy parliament speaker in 1992-1996 and a lawmaker until 2004. He often was targeted by Serbs and Croatians. Many Serbs disliked him because he was part of Croatia's political establishment at times when rebels fought against it; many Croatians disliked him because of his continuous criticism of Croatia's treatment of its minority Serbs.

BUD EKINS, 77 Off-road racer, stuntman

Bud Ekins, a renowned off-road racer and stuntman who performed the famous motorcycle jump over barbed wire in The Great Escape, died Saturday of natural causes at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, family spokesman Paul Bloch said.

Mr. Ekins, a friend and mentor of fellow biker and actor Steve McQueen, had a stunt career that lasted for 30 years. He appeared in dozens of movies, including Diamonds Are Forever, Earthquake and The Blues Brothers. He also had bit parts in about a dozen films.

Born in 1930 to a working-class family in Hollywood, Mr. Ekins fell in love with motorcycles at an early age. In the 1950s, he was one of the first U.S. competitors in world-class motocross events in Europe.

His friendship with Mr. McQueen grew out of their love of motorcycles. Mr. Ekins owned a Triumph dealership in the 1960s, and the actor would hang out there and Mr. Ekins taught him about off-road racing.

Mr. Ekins got into stunt work when Mr. McQueen asked him to work on The Great Escape in 1962 in Germany. While Mr. McQueen did some of the motorcycle stunts, it was Mr. Ekins, uncredited, who doubled in the scene where Mr. McQueen's prisoner-of-war character jumps a motorcycle over a barbed-wire fence, considered one of the most famous motorcycle movie stunts ever performed.

BERNARD F. SLIGER, 83 Former FSU president

Bernard F. Sliger, the former Florida State University president who oversaw record growth at the school he took into the Atlantic Coast Conference, died Wednesday at a hospital in Marquette, Mich.

He had been in declining health in recent years and suffered an apparent stroke Monday while vacationing in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, The Tallahassee Democrat reported yesterday.

Dr. Sliger was president from 1977 to 1991 and again on an interim basis from September 1993 until January 1994. His Seminoles won their first national title in football just days before his last retirement, and he took great pride in keeping football coach Bobby Bowden from leaving for another school or pro job.

Under Dr. Sliger, the university lured the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory away from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, acquired three supercomputers and opened a Panama City campus. It also became the ninth member of the Atlantic Coast Conference.

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