Notable Deaths Elsewhere

November 23, 2009

WALDO HUNT, 88

Pop-up books publisher

Waldo Hunt, a Los Angeles entrepreneur who ushered in the modern renaissance in pop-up books when he revived the art form in the U.S. in the 1960s, died Nov. 6 of congestive heart failure at a hospital in Porterville, Calif.

A career in books with seemingly magical movable parts was a detour for Mr. Hunt, who returned from World War II to open an advertising agency in Los Angeles. When he sold it to Compton, a bigger company in New York, he went along as part of the deal but became disenchanted with the work.

"I needed something that would be all mine," Hunt told the Los Angeles Times in 2002.

While strolling down Fifth Avenue, he became mesmerized by a children's pop-up book from the country then known as Czechoslovakia displayed in a toy store window.

The first golden age of movable books began in the late 1800s, when European publishers crafted elaborate books for children, and ended with the onset of World War I. With Mr. Hunt's epiphany, the second golden age was about to begin.

"I knew I'd found the magic key," Mr. Hunt said in the 2002 interview. "No one was doing pop-ups in this country. No one could afford to make them here. They had to be done by hand, and labor was too expensive."

He started another company, Graphics International, and produced a series of pop-up ads featuring zoo scenes as part of a magazine campaign for Wrigley's gum. Soon, his company was creating pop-up table decorations and greeting cards for Hallmark.

In 1965, Mr. Hunt got his big break in publishing from Bennett Cerf, then president of Random House. Hunt sold the book "Bennett Cerf's Pop-Up Riddles" to General Foods as a product promotion that could be obtained for a dollar and two Maxwell House coffee labels.

Within two years, Mr. Hunt had 30 pop-up titles, mostly aimed at children, in production for Random House, he later said.

After Hallmark bought Graphics International in the late 1960s, Mr. Hunt returned to Los Angeles and founded what became known as Intervisual Books to package and produce pop-ups, or movable books.

JEANNE-CLAUDE, 74

Wife, collaborator of artist Christo

Jeanne-Claude, 74, the flame-haired wife and collaborator of the environmental artist Christo, who was her husband's valiant defender and handled the complex fund raising for their enormous fabric artworks, died Wednesday at a New York hospital after a brain aneurysm.

Like her husband, Jeanne-Claude used only her first name. Since 1994, she had received equal billing with her husband for the creations, including the wrapping of Berlin's Reichstag building in silver fabric in 1995 and the construction of 7,500 gates with orange material in New York's Central Park in 2005.

The Christos, as they were often called, accepted no corporate or governmental support for their artworks. They often persevered for years in seemingly hopeless battles against bureaucratic opposition, which made the fiery Jeanne-Claude even more determined. They first proposed their Central Park gates in 1979 and were turned down for more than 20 years.

The couple gained worldwide fame in the early 1970s by hanging a 400-yard nylon curtain across a Colorado valley. In 1976, they built a the 24-mile-long "Running Fence," a fluttering fabric construction that appeared to flow across California hillsides until it disappeared into the sea.

In 1983, Christo placed bright pink material around 11 islands in Miami's Biscayne Bay. Two years later, he wrapped the Pont Neuf bridge in Paris with gold material. One of Christo's most imaginative triumphs came in 1991, when more than 3,000 umbrellas - each 19 feet high - were installed in Japan and California and opened at the same time.

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