Other Notable Deaths


April 25, 2009


Grammy-nominated gospel singer, composer

The Rev. Timothy Wright, the Grammy-nominated gospel singer and composer known for his up-tempo praise songs and powerful mass choir sound, died Thursday at the Bronx Veterans Hospital.

Mr. Wright was seriously injured in a car crash last summer that killed his wife and grandson.

He was the pastor at Grace Tabernacle Christian Center Church of God in Christ, located in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, N.Y. He released more than a dozen gospel recordings, writing many of the songs. His latest album, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, came out in 2007.

In 1994, his record Come Thou Almighty King with the New York Fellowship Mass Choir made the Billboard Top 20 charts for gospel albums and was nominated for a Grammy for best traditional soul-gospel album.

He received another nomination in that category in 1999 for Been There Done That, recorded with the B/J Mass Choir and featuring Myrna Summers.

According to the book Uncloudy Days: The Gospel Encyclopedia, by Bil Carpenter, the Brooklyn-born Mr. Wright began playing piano for his local church at age 12 and also began composing at a young age.

By his early 20s, he was music director at Brooklyn's Washington Temple Church of God in Christ and began writing songs for fellow musicians such as Mattie Moss Clark and the Rev. Isaac Douglas.

Mr. Wright was critically injured July 4 in a three-vehicle crash on Interstate 80 near Loganton, Pa. Another car was going the wrong way when it struck Mr. Wright's car. His wife, Betty, and 14-year-old grandson, D.J., died later at a hospital. The driver of the wrong-way car also was killed.


Films included 'Swiss Family Robinson'

Ken Annakin, the British-born director whose credits included the World War II epics Battle of the Bulge and The Longest Day and the family classic Swiss Family Robinson, died Wednesday night at his Beverly Hills, Calif., home.

Mr. Annakin dabbled in many film genres, from action-comedy and family fare to crime drama and swashbuckling romance. He was best known for his war sagas, 1965's Battle of the Bulge with Henry Fonda, Charles Bronson, Robert Shaw and Telly Savalas and 1962's The Longest Day, which he co-directed with Andrew Marton and Bernhard Wicki.

Mr. Annakin's other films include Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines, whose screenplay earned him an Academy Award nomination, and the similarly titled action comedy Those Daring Young Men in Their Jaunty Jalopies.

Probably his most-beloved film was 1960's Swiss Family Robinson, one of a series of family adventures Mr. Annakin made for Walt Disney Pictures starting in the 1950s.

Mr. Annakin got his start as a feature filmmaker with 1947's Holiday Camp, about the working-class Huggett family, whom he also featured in three other films over the next few years.


Tony-winning Broadway character actress

Marilyn Cooper, a Broadway character actress best known for her Tony-winning performance in the musical Woman of the Year, died Wednesday after a long illness at the Actors Fund Home in Englewood, N.J.

Ms. Cooper was a chorus member in the original Broadway casts of such classic musicals as West Side Story (1957) and Gypsy (1959). She made her Broadway debut in the 1956 Sammy Davis Jr. musical Mr. Wonderful and also appeared in such shows as I Can Get It For You Wholesale (1962), Hallelujah, Baby! (1967), Golden Rainbow (1968), Two by Two (1970) and Ballroom (1978).

But it was a duet with Lauren Bacall in the Kander and Ebb musical Woman of the Year (1981) that won Ms. Cooper a featured actress-musical Tony Award - and stopped the show. She also appeared in several Neil Simon comedies, including the female version of The Odd Couple (1985) and Broadway Bound (1986).


Worked to preserve Indian culture

Bea Charles, who worked to preserve the Klallam language and culture of the Lower Elwha tribe, died Monday in her sleep at her home on a reservation about 70 miles northwest of Seattle. Her death was confirmed by Tribal Chairwoman Frances Charles.

In 1992, Bea Charles and three other elders began working with a linguist, Timothy Montler of the University of North Texas, to record the tribe's native language.

Dr. Montler has since developed a Klallam alphabet based on the American Phonetic Alphabet and is close to finishing a dictionary with nearly 10,000 entries, as well as a description of the language's grammatical structure.

The language, once nearly forgotten, has been taught to more than 200 Lower Elwha Klallam children from day care to high school in the past decade, the tribal chairwoman said.

Born on Washington state's Olympic Peninsula, Ms. Charles was a member of the national Indian Health Board and an activist in promoting domestic violence awareness.

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