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posted: 10/20/2012 4:30 PM

Notable deaths last week

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  • The funeral procession for former U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter travels through Northeast Philadelphia on Tuesday.

      The funeral procession for former U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter travels through Northeast Philadelphia on Tuesday.
    Associated Press

  • Democratic Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter leads a Senate field hearing, in Philadelphia.

      Democratic Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter leads a Senate field hearing, in Philadelphia.
    Associated Press/March 29, 2010

 
From wire reports

Arlen Specter, a pugnacious and prominent former moderate in the U.S. Senate who developed the single-bullet theory in President John F. Kennedy's assassination and played starring roles in Supreme Court confirmation hearings, lost a battle with non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Specter, 82, died Sunday, after spending much of his career in the U.S. Senate warning of the dangers of political intolerance. President Barack Obama ordered U.S. flags at the White House and other public buildings flown at half-staff Tuesday, the day of Specter's funeral.

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For most of his 30 years as Pennsylvania's longest-serving U.S. senator, Specter was a Republican, though often at odds with the GOP leadership. His breaks with his party were hardly a surprise: He had begun his political career as a Democrat and ended it as one, too.

Mary Campbell, whose childhood affection for the big bands and opera she heard on her radio set the stage for four decades as a music writer for The Associated Press, has died at 78.

Few witnessed as much rock history as Campbell. She was there when the Beatles played Shea Stadium in 1965, reporting that their show was "better than the World Series, the All-Star Game and 50 grand slam homers rolled into one." She interviewed Elton John before he even had a recording contract. She would recall talking to Janis Joplin around the time of Woodstock, and how the singer confided being torn between the rock `n' roll life and her desire to raise a family.

One of her favorite stories was visiting the set of "Saturday Night Live" in 1976, when George Harrison was a guest. The ex-Beatle, seated in his dressing room, was initially abrupt with Campbell, offering one-word responses to her questions. Then, a second guest joined the conversation: Paul Simon, who greeted Campbell so warmly that Harrison, too, opened up.

Fiorenzo Magni, a three-time Giro d'Italia champion, has died at 91.

The Italian cycling federation announced Magni's death Friday.

Slater Martin, the defensive-minded Hall of Fame guard who won four NBA titles with the Minneapolis Lakers and one with the St. Louis Hawks, has died at 86.

Stan Ovshinsky, the self-taught inventor who developed the nickel-metal hydride battery used in the hybrid vehicle industry, has died at his home in suburban Detroit. He was 89.

Ovshinsky, who ran Energy Conversion Devices, a car battery development company, also created a machine that produced 9-mile-long sheets of thin solar energy panels intended to bring cheaper, cleaner power to homes and businesses.

Sylvia Kristel, who starred in the 1974 erotic movie "Emmanuelle," has died at age 60.

Her agent described her as one of the Netherlands' biggest movie stars, with more than 50 international films to her name.

Japanese director Koji Wakamatsu, who ruthlessly challenged authority with the grotesque and sexual, has died after a traffic accident this month. He was 76.

Wakamatsu was honored as Asian Filmmaker of the Year at this year's Busan Film Festival.

Eddie Yost, the Washington Senators' third baseman of the 1950s whose extraordinary ability to coax walks made him a pest to opposing pitchers and an anomaly in baseball history, has died at age 86.

Yost, who first joined the Senators as a 17-year-old in 1944, became one of the most popular players on a team with a hopeless record of futility.

Yost led the American League in walks six times and had eight seasons with more than 100 walks.

Former U.S. Sen. John Durkin, a New Hampshire Democrat who won his seat in 1975 in one of the closest elections in Senate history, has died at age 76.

Folk singer Arlo Guthrie has announced the death of his wife, Jackie, at age 68. Jackie Guthrie had inoperable cancer and died at the couple's winter home in Sebastian, Fla. The couple had recently celebrated their 43rd wedding anniversary.

George Whitmore Jr., who confessed to three New York City murders he did not commit and spent more than three years in prison, has died at age 68.

He was many things to the Cambodia he helped navigate through half a century of war and genocide -- revered independence hero, ruthless monarch and prime minister, communist collaborator, eccentric playboy, avid filmmaker.

Most of all, perhaps, Cambodia's former King Norodom Sihanouk was a cunning political survivor who reinvented himself repeatedly throughout his often flamboyant life.

Sihanouk died at age 89 of a heart attack in Beijing, where he had been receiving medical treatment since January for multiple ailments.

First crowned king by the French in 1941 at the age of 18, Sihanouk saw his Southeast Asian nation transformed from colony to kingdom, from U.S.-backed regime to U.S. bombing zone, from Khmer Rouge killing field to what it remains today -- a fragile experiment in democracy.

Olympic BMX cyclist Kyle Bennett has been killed in an automobile accident in eastern Texas. He was 33.

Bennett was a three-time BMX world champion and won an automatic spot on the first U.S. BMX Olympic team in 2008.

Gary Collins, an actor, television show host and former master of ceremonies for the Miss America Pageant, has died. He was 74.

During the 1980s, Collins hosted the Miss America pageant and the television shows "Hour Magazine" -- for which he won a Daytime Emmy in 1983 -- and "The Home Show."

As an actor, he appeared in numerous movies and was a fixture on television in the 1960s and 1970s, playing a variety of guest roles in comedies and dramas including "Perry Mason," "The Love Boat" and "Ironside," among others. He also starred in regular series including "The Wackiest Ship in the Army" and "The Iron Horse" in the 1960s and the "The Sixth Sense" in the 1970s.

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