Lawrence Walsh, the former prosecutor who spent seven years investigating officials in President Ronald Reagan's administration for their roles in the Iran-Contra scandal, has died. He was 102.
Best known for the Iran-Contra probe in the 1980s, Walsh had a distinguished six-decade career in law and public service. He was a racket-busting New York prosecutor, a federal judge, a deputy U.S. attorney general under President Dwight Eisenhower, a Wall Street lawyer with Fortune 500 clients, president of the American Bar Association and a negotiator during the Vietnam War peace talks.
At almost 75, he was called out of semi-retirement to probe the Iran-Contra affair, the clandestine plot to sell arms to Iran -- in violation of an embargo -- in return for help in obtaining the release of U.S. hostages in Lebanon. The funds were then funneled to right-wing rebels in Nicaragua, which was prohibited by an act of Congress.
The affair included a cast of characters out of a spy novel: Oliver North, the Marine lieutenant colonel and national security aide who organized the scheme; his blonde secretary, Fawn Hall, who shredded key documents and smuggled out other papers hidden in her boots; John Poindexter, the national security adviser, Navy vice admiral and North's boss; and Albert Hakim, an Iranian arms dealer with Swiss bank accounts, who died in 2003.
Walsh charged 14 people with criminal offenses, mostly for lying or withholding information from Congress. Eleven pleaded guilty or were convicted, though the two most high-profile targets, North and Poindexter, had their convictions overturned on appeal because their testimony to Congress under grants of immunity may have tainted the prosecution's evidence.
John E. Love, a Bataan Death March survivor who led a campaign to change the caption on a historic photo from The Associated Press, has died at 91.
Love was one of 75,000 Filipino and American soldiers taken captive by the Japanese in World War II when U.S. forces surrendered in the province of Bataan and Corregidor Island in April 1942.
Love later worked to change the caption on one of the most famous photos in AP's library about the march. The photo, thought to be of the Bataan Death March, actually was an Allied POW burial detail.
Jack Fleck, who produced one of golf's greatest upsets by beating Ben Hogan in a playoff to win the 1955 U.S. Open, has died at 92.
He had been the oldest living U.S. Open champion.
Fred Phelps did not care what you thought of his Westboro Baptist Church, nor did he care if you heard its message that society's tolerance for gay people is the root of all earthly evil.
By the time you saw one of his outrageous and hate-filled signs -- "You're Going to Hell" was among the more benign -- you were already doomed.
Tall, thin and increasingly spectral as he aged, the Rev. Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church, a small congregation made up almost entirely of his extended family, tested the boundaries of the free speech guarantees by violating accepted societal standards for decency in their unapologetic assault on gays and lesbians. In the process, some believe he even helped the cause of gay rights by serving as such a provocative symbol of intolerance.
The Rev. Fred Phelps Sr. has died at age 84.
Patrick J. McGovern, who became a billionaire as founder and majority owner of Boston-based technology publisher International Data Group, has died. He was 76.
Robert S. Strauss, a consummate Washington power broker, Democratic Party leader and trusted counselor to presidents of both parties, has died. He was 95.
Khushwant Singh, a journalist, editor and prolific writer whose work ranged from serious histories to joke collections to one of post-Independence India's great novels, has died at his New Delhi apartment, his daughter said. He was 99.
He rose to fame in 1956, with a short novel about the horrors of 1947's partition, when British colonial India was carved into largely Hindu India and overwhelmingly Muslim Pakistan. Sectarian violence swept the new nations, as millions of people sought shelter across the newly created borders. Over 1 million people died.
"Train to Pakistan," with its quiet prose and powerful imagery, remains a classic of modern Indian literature.
Sam Lacey, a former NBA All-Star center who spent most of his 13-year career with the Kansas City Kings, has died. He was 66.
Lacey made his only All-Star appearance in 1975. He averaged 10.3 points and 9.7 rebounds in his career, which ended after the 1982-83 season with Cleveland. Lacey's No. 44 jersey has been retired by the Kings and hangs in the rafters at Sacramento's arena.
A gay rights activist, who was one half of the first same-sex couple to marry in Illinois, has died at age 65.
Family friend Jim Bennett says Vernita Gray died of cancer at the same Chicago home where she married Patricia Ewert in late November.
An expedited marriage license was granted to the couple because of Gray's failing health. That allowed them to wed ahead of the June 1 effective date of the state's same-sex marriage law.
Iola Brubeck, who helped propel her husband, pianist Dave Brubeck, to jazz stardom in the 1950s by suggesting that he perform on college campuses and who wrote lyrics for many of his compositions, died March 12 at her home in Wilton, Conn. She was 90.
In the 1950s and early 1960s, Dave Brubeck was the biggest star in jazz, with bestselling records, concerts around the world and an innovative way of bringing international rhythms into jazz.
None of that would have been possible, he was the first to admit, without the contributions of his wife, who was his first manager and his emotional anchor for the 70 years they were married.
Clarissa Dickson Wright, a vivid and outspoken British television personality who found fame as half of the food-loving duo "Two Fat Ladies," has died at the age of 66.
Scott Asheton, drummer for the influential punk rock band the Stooges, has died. He was 64.
His daughter, Leanna Asheton, confirmed Monday that her father died Saturday of a heart attack. She said her father "was as cool as they came. His wisdom guides us on."
Bandleader Iggy Pop posted on his Facebook page that he's "never heard anyone play the drums with more meaning than Scott Asheton."
L'Wren Scott, who left her small-town Utah home as a teenager to become a model in Paris, then a top Hollywood stylist and finally a high-end fashion designer best known as the longtime girlfriend of Mick Jagger, has died in what was being investigated as an apparent suicide.
Mitch Leigh, a successful advertising jingle writer with an exuberantly entrepreneurial side whose debut attempt at writing music for a Broadway show became the instant, celebrated hit "Man of La Mancha" and earned him a Tony Award, has died. He was 86.
Leigh followed up his early theatrical success by producing and directing for the Broadway stage, including a 1985 production of "The King and I" with Yul Brynner, in which he earned a best director Tony nomination.
Rachel "Bunny" Mellon, the deeply private and profoundly wealthy centenarian, has died at her estate in Virginia. She was 103.
After spending most of her life trying to avoid the spotlight, she was thrust into it when Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards was indicted in 2011 for using what prosecutors alleged was campaign money, including $750,000 from Mellon, to hide his mistress Rielle Hunter and their child during his 2008 presidential bid.
Race car driver Gary Bettenhausen has died. He was 72.
Bettenhausen was a member of a famous racing family and a veteran of open-wheel competition who drove in 21 Indianapolis 500s between 1968 and 1993. His best finish was third in 1980. He led 138 laps of the 1972 race and was the top qualifier in 1991.
Bettenhausen's father, Tony, also was an Indianapolis 500 veteran who was killed in a practice crash at the speedway in 1961.
The underground bishop of Shanghai, Joseph Fan Zhongliang, has died at age 97 following decades of imprisonment and house arrest, Catholic groups said.
Fan was named Shanghai bishop by Pope John Paul II in 2000, but was refused recognition by the Communist Party-controlled Catholic Patriotic Association that oversees the church in China. Fan was immediately placed under house arrest and another priest, Aloysius Jin Luxian, was named bishop.