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updated: 3/16/2014 10:29 PM

Notable deaths last week

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  • Comedian David Brenner

    Comedian David Brenner
    Associated Press/1977

  • Associated Press Hollywood correspondent Bob Thomas

    Associated Press Hollywood correspondent Bob Thomas
    Associated Press/2009

  • Author Joe McGinniss

    Author Joe McGinniss
    Associated Press/2010

  • Florida Gov. Reubin Askew

    Florida Gov. Reubin Askew
    Associated Press/1999

Daily Herald news services

David Brenner, the gangly, toothy-grinned "Tonight Show" favorite whose brand of observational comedy became a staple for other standup comedians, including Jerry Seinfeld and Paul Reiser, died Saturday. He was 78.

Brenner, who had been fighting cancer, died peacefully at his home in New York City with his family at his side, according to Jeff Abraham, his friend and publicist.

"David Brenner was a huge star when I met him and he took me under his wing. To me, historically, he was the godfather of hip, observational comedy," comedian Richard Lewis said in a statement. "He mentored me from day one. ... His passing leaves a hole in my life that can never be replaced."

Brenner's standup routines became a favorite of "Tonight Show" host Johnny Carson starting in the 1970s.

His 150-plus "Tonight Show" appearances turned the former documentary filmmaker into a hot comedian. .

As he walked the length of the Appalachian Trail for eight months in 1990, Bill Irwin estimated that he fell thousands of times. He cracked his ribs and suffered from hypothermia as he climbed mountains and forded rivers. The pads he wore didn't protect his scabbed knees.

Irwin, then a 50-year-old medical technologist and corporate manager from Burlington, N.C., did not use maps or a compass. He was blind, and he relied solely on his German shepherd guide dog, Orient.

Kurt Chew-Een Lee, a retired Marine Corps major who received the Navy Cross during the Korean War for his lone, head-on charge into hostile fire to force enemy troops to reveal their positions, an action that saved thousands of American lives, was found dead March 3 at his home in Washington. He was 88.

He was the institutional memory for the movies at The Associated Press and a passage for the world to a Hollywood both longed for and long gone.

Bob Thomas, who died Friday at his Encino, Calif., home at age 92, started reporting when Clark Gable was a middle-aged king, Bette Davis was in her big-eyed prime, and Kirk Douglas and Lauren Bacall were emerging stars. "Independent" movies were a rarity during the studio-controlled era and celebrity gossip was dispensed by rival columnists Hedda Hopper and Louella Parsons rather than Internet sites.

A man who became known for claiming he was the sailor kissing a woman in Times Square in a famous World War II-era photo taken by a Life magazine photographer has died. Glenn McDuffie was 86.

Edward Haughey, the Northern Irish peer who founded a veterinary pharmaceutical manufacturing business to become one of Ireland's richest men, has died. He was 70.

Tony Benn, a committed British socialist who irritated and fascinated Britons through a political career spanning more than five decades and who renounced his aristocratic title rather than leave the House of Commons, has died. He was 88.

Abby Singer, a famed production manager whose name became synonymous for the next-to-last shot of the day, has died at 96.

Former Florida Gov. Reubin Askew, who served from 1971 to 1979, has died at 85.

Askew integrated the Florida Highway Patrol, and appointed the first black in 100 years to the Florida Cabinet and the first black Supreme Court justice. He also appointed the first woman to the Cabinet and supported the Equal Rights Amendment.

Legendary voice-over artist Hal Douglas, whose sonorous delivery starred in trailers for thousands of movies and documentaries, has died at 89.

While Douglas could probably walk down any street in the U.S. unrecognized, his voice was unmistakably a star. He was among the top voice-over artists of a generation, creating a career based on a rich baritone speaking voice that ranged from biblically epic to theatrically cheesy.

Douglas once said, "The real art is the art of life -- the art of living," his family said.

Joel Brinkley, a former New York Times reporter who won the Pulitzer Prize for international reporting in 1980, has died.

Brinkley, 61, died from acute undiagnosed leukemia, which led to respiratory failure from pneumonia.

Larry Dee Scott, a trailblazing bodybuilder who rose to fame in the 1960s and became the first Mr. Olympia by winning the top international competition, has died at the age of 75.

Former D.C. United midfielder Shawn Kuykendall has died from a rare form of cancer at the age of 32.

Bob Crow, whose willingness to call strikes as leader of the U.K.'s Rail, Maritime and Transport Union made him a hated figure for commuters and a hero for its members, has died. He was 52.

Joe McGinniss wasn't one to let a story tell itself.

Whether insisting on the guilt of a murder suspect after seemingly befriending him or moving next door to Sarah Palin's house for a most unauthorized biography, McGinniss was unique in his determination to get the most inside information, in how publicly he burned bridges with his subjects and how memorably he placed himself in the narrative.

McGinniss, the adventurous and news-making author and reporter who skewered the marketing of Richard Nixon in "The Selling of the President 1968" and tracked his personal journey from sympathizer to scourge of convicted killer Jeffrey MacDonald in the blockbuster "Fatal Vision," has died at age 71.

William Clay Ford, the last surviving grandchild of Ford Motor Co. founder Henry Ford and the owner of the Detroit Lions football team, has died of pneumonia, according to the automaker. He was 88.

Melba Hernandez, one of two women who helped Fidel Castro launch his revolutionary battle with a failed 1953 attack on a military barracks, and who was later named a "heroine of the Cuban Revolution" has died at age 92.

William "Wild Bill" Guarnere, one of the World War II veterans whose exploits were dramatized in the TV miniseries "Band of Brothers," has died. He was 90.

Guarnere was portrayed by the actor Frank John Hughes.

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