Notable Deaths


November 27, 2008


Broadway fixture

People didn't actually call him Mr. Broadway. But they could have.

Gerald Schoenfeld, the Runyonesque figure who as chairman of the powerful Shubert Organization left an indelible stamp on American culture, bringing dozens of hits shows to Broadway - among them A Chorus Line, Cats and The Phantom of the Opera - and reinvigorating the commercial theater, died Tuesday at his home in Manhattan.

The cause was a heart attack, said Sam Rudy, a spokesman for the Shubert Organization.

For more than 35 years, through times of theatrical boom and theatrical bust, from the era when Broadway shared its real estate with prostitutes, derelicts and sex shops through the years of Times Square renewal and an explosion of tourists and bright lights, Mr. Schoenfeld was arguably the most influential figure in the theater business.


Midwest rapper

MC Breed, one of the first commercially successful and nationally recognized rappers from the Midwest, died Saturday in Ypsilanti, Mich.

The cause was kidney failure, said his manager, Darryl Morris. In September, Mr. Breed was hospitalized for the same condition after collapsing at a basketball game and was briefly placed on life support.

Born Eric Breed on June 12, 1971, he began his career in economically depressed Flint, Mich., where he was raised: "A city/where pity runs low," he rapped of his hometown.

At the time he released his debut album with Da Flint Crew, "MC Breed & DFC," in 1991, rappers hailing from the Midwest were still novelties, but Mr. Breed's lyrical dexterity and songwriting gifts helped him gain wide attention. A single from that album, "Ain't No Future in Yo Frontin'," with its crisp drums, drawn from New York hip-hop, and needling synthesizers, which were a Los Angeles rap staple, became his biggest hit.

Shortly after the album's release, Mr. Breed moved to Atlanta, where the label he recorded with, Ichiban, was based. Quickly, his house and studio became a hotbed for local talent, where emerging producers like Jazze Pha and established stars like Too Short would gather to play video games and record music.

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