Other Notable Deaths


October 18, 2007

CARDINAL ROSALIO CASTILLO LARA, 85 Critic of Venezuela President Hugo Chavez

Venezuelan Cardinal Rosalio Castillo Lara, who was a prominent critic of President Hugo Chavez, died Tuesday, said Bishop Ovidio Perez Morales, who told Globovision television the cause of death was not immediately clear.

Cardinal Castillo Lara accused Mr. Chavez of becoming increasingly authoritarian. At one point, he even recommended an exorcism for the socialist president.

During one of his final Masses, Cardinal Castillo Lara said that under Mr. Chavez's rule, "fundamental democratic principles are ignored or violated [and] human rights are frequently infringed upon."

Mr. Chavez has repeatedly clashed with church leaders, calling Catholic leadership "liars" and "perverts." He once called Cardinal Castillo Lara "a hypocrite, bandit and devil with a cassock."

Born in 1922 in the central state of Aragua, Cardinal Castillo Lara was ordained as a priest in 1949 and appointed cardinal on May 25, 1986, by Pope John Paul II. As a Salesian emphasizing charity toward the young, particularly the poor, he became a law professor and served as secretary of the Vatican's Commission for the Revision of Canonic Law.

TOSHE PROESKI, 26 Macedonian pop star

Macedonian pop star Toshe Proeski, whose ballads earned him admirers across the former Yugoslavia, died Tuesday when his car hit a truck on a motorway in Croatia, police said.

Mr. Proeski represented Macedonia in the 2004 Eurovision Song Contest, and his good looks and romantic songs such as "Heart is Not a Stone" and "Tie Me to Yourself" won him fans across the former Yugoslavia.

He recorded seven albums, as well as duets with other popular singers in the Balkans.

In Macedonia, parliament canceled its session after hearing the news, and the government declared yesterday a day of mourning.

Mr. Proeski began his music career in 1996. He studied singing at Skopje Music Academy and in New York. He was also known for his charity work and became a UNICEF goodwill ambassador in 2004.

ERNEST WITHERS, 85 Photographer documented civil rights movement

Photographer Ernest Withers, who spent more than 60 years documenting history from the blues music of Beale Street to the civil rights movement, died Monday at the Memphis Veterans Medical Center of complications from a stroke he suffered last month, said his son, Joshua `Billy' Withers of Los Angeles.

As a freelance photographer for black newspapers, Mr. Withers traveled with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Medgar Evers and other figures in the civil rights movement, capturing on film the momentous events of the 1950s and 1960s.

Mr. Withers also photographed jazz and blues musicians who frequented Memphis' famed Beale Street, such as Rufus Thomas, B.B. King, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin and Elvis Presley.

"Ernest Withers is internationally recognized as one of the most important American photographers of the 20th century," said Kaywin Feldman, director of the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art.

"Not only did Withers capture iconic images of the civil rights movement, but he also produced important photographs of the Negro baseball league[s]. We are proud to have almost 200 of Withers' photographs in our permanent collection."

Mr. Withers' career began during World War II when he was asked to replace an Army photographer who was being promoted. His duties included photographing engineering projects such as bridges and airfields that black soldiers helped build. Mr. Withers then began shooting photos for his camp newspaper.

ENRICO BANDUCCI, 85 Club owner provided stage for comedians

Enrico Banducci, who provided a stage for up-and-coming comedians such as Mort Sahl, Woody Allen and Bill Cosby at his hungry i nightclub during the 1950s and 1960s, died Oct. 9 of natural causes in South San Francisco, Calif., said Brad Rosenstein, a family friend.

A beloved, beret-wearing fixture of San Francisco's Italian-themed North Beach neighborhood, Mr. Banducci also founded the city's first sidewalk cafe, the eponymous Enrico's on Broadway, where the clientele included firefighters and felons, Frank Sinatra's Rat Pack and performers from nearby strip clubs.

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