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updated: 8/23/2014 8:37 PM

Notable deaths last week

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  • Announcer Don Pardo on the set of "Saturday Night Live."

      Announcer Don Pardo on the set of "Saturday Night Live."

  • Astronaut Steven R. Nagel

      Astronaut Steven R. Nagel

  • Cardinal Edmund Szoka

      Cardinal Edmund Szoka

  • Sen. Jim Jeffords, I-Vt. on Capitol Hill in Washington.

      Sen. Jim Jeffords, I-Vt. on Capitol Hill in Washington.

  • Former Pittsburgh Mayor Sophie Masloff

      Former Pittsburgh Mayor Sophie Masloff

 
From news wire reports

• Few would recognize his face, but most knew his voice: the booming baritone that for nearly four decades heralded "Saturday Night Live."

Don Pardo, the eras-spanning radio and TV announcer whose resonant voice-over style was celebrated for its majesty and power, has died at the age of 96.

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Pardo's strong jaw and leading-man smile were seldom on display, but for more than 60 years his elegant pipes graced newscasts, game shows (during the original run of "Jeopardy!," its emcee ritually called on him to "Tell 'em what they've won, Don Pardo") and especially "SNL," where he played an integral role through last season, heralding the lineup, like always, as recently as the May finale.

"There was no greater thrill than hearing Don Pardo bellow your name for the first time in the opening credits of 'Saturday Night Live,"' said long-time cast member Tina Fey. "It meant you were officially 'on television."'

Fey described Pardo as "a sweet, sweet man," adding, "Late night will never sound as cool again." 

"My whole life changed once Don Pardo said my name," echoed Amy Poehler, a fellow "SNL" alum. "I will really miss that kind and talented man."

In 1954, he was brought in to announce "Winner Takes All," beginning a long run in game shows. He was heard forcefully on the original "The Price is Right" (1956-63) and the original "Jeopardy!" (1964-75), hosted by Art Fleming.

When NBC launched the radical, cutting-edge "Saturday Night Live" in 1975 with Pardo as its charmingly old-school patriarch, he was discovered by a new generation -- although, on opening night, he made a rare stumble, botching one of the credits. Instead of saying "The Not Ready for Prime Time Players," Pardo introduced the show's new comedy troupe as "The Not for Ready Prime Time Players."

Pardo retired from NBC in 2004.

"But ('SNL' executive producer) Lorne Michaels called me soon after and asked if I would continue for three more weeks, so I did," Pardo told the AP in 2010. "Then he called and asked if I would do five more, and so on. I never really left."

Former Vermont U.S. Sen. James Jeffords, who in 2001 tipped control of the Senate when he quit the Republican Party to become an independent, has died. He was 80.

Vermont's sole congressman, independent Bernie Sanders, was elected to Jeffords' Senate seat in 2006.

Jeffords served more than 30 years in Washington. He won election to the House in 1974 as a Republican. The post-Watergate year was a strong one for Democrats nationally, but Jeffords was running as Vermont was just beginning its shift from a century of solid Republicanism to its current status as among the most liberal states.

The Rutland native, a graduate of Yale and Harvard Law School, already had won statewide office as attorney general and was from a well-known Vermont Republican family. His father, Olin Jeffords, had been chief justice of the state Supreme Court.

He was the only Republican in the House to vote against President Ronald Reagan's tax cuts in 1981. After election to the Senate in 1988, replacing another moderate Republican, Robert Stafford, Jeffords opposed the first President Bush's appointment of Clarence Thomas to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Jeffords became a hero to Democrats, attracting huge crowds as he traveled the country helping to bring in millions in 2002 and 2004 for Democratic candidates. But he resisted calls that he drop the independent label and become a Democrat himself, saying he could not go against several generations of family history.

• Convicted Alaska serial killer Robert Hansen, who abducted women and hunted them down in the Alaska wilderness in the 1970s as Anchorage boomed with construction of the trans-Alaska oil pipeline, has died at 75.

Hansen was convicted in 1984 after confessing to killing 17 women, mostly dancers and prostitutes, during a 12-year span. Hansen was convicted of just four of the murders in a deal that spared him having to go to trial 17 times.

The Anchorage baker also confessed to raping another 30 women in that time.

Hansen was the subject of a 2013 film titled "The Frozen Ground," which starred Nicolas Cage as an Alaska State Trooper investigating the slayings. Actor John Cusack portrayed Hansen.

Hansen was serving a 461-year sentence in Alaska at the time of his death.

Hansen, who got the nickname "the Butcher Baker," owned a bakery in a downtown mini-mall in the 1970s and 1980s. He lived across town with his wife and children, who knew nothing of his other life.

• John Akers, chief executive officer at International Business Machines Corp. for eight years during the company's struggle to shift from the mainframe to the personal computer era, has died. He was 79.

• Steven R. Nagel, a former astronaut who flew on four space shuttle flights, has died after a long illness. He was 67.

Nagel was a test pilot for the Air Force before becoming an astronaut in 1979.

NASA said he was a mission specialist during a June 1985 Discovery flight and the pilot aboard the Challenger in October 1985. He was commander on his last two missions -- an Atlantis flight in April 1991 and a 10-day trip on Columbia in April 1993.

• Toby Massey, a photographer and photo editor who directed coverage of presidents and political conventions as well as natural disasters, the space program and sporting events during a 38-year career with The Associated Press, has died at 80.

• Edmund Szoka, an American cardinal who served as governor and financial administrator of the Vatican and was a confidant of St. John Paul II, has died at age 86.

Szoka received his first assignment as a priest in 1954, as associate pastor of a parish in Michigan's rural Upper Peninsula.

By the early 1990s, he was the Vatican's point man for finance. And by the end of that decade, he was running one of the world's smallest countries: Vatican City.

• A longtime Los Angeles music agent who represented such artists as Whitney Houston, the Eagles, Tom Petty and Journey has died.

The William Morris Agency says its global head of music, Peter Grosslight, has died of pancreatic cancer. He was 68.

• Albert Reynolds, the risk-taking Irish prime minister who played a key role in delivering peace to Northern Ireland but struggled to keep his own governments intact, has died after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease. He was 81.

Reynolds, a savvy businessman from rural County Roscommon who made millions running rural dance halls and a pet food company before his election to parliament in 1977, led two feud-prone coalition governments from 1992 to 1994.

During his turbulent tenure, Reynolds made peace in neighboring Northern Ireland his top priority. With British Prime Minister John Major at his side, he unveiled the Downing Street Declaration, a 1993 blueprint for peace in the predominantly British Protestant territory. To drive it forward, he successfully pressed the outlawed Irish Republican Army to call a 1994 cease-fire.

• Jamaican folk musician Joseph Bennett, who played a rollicking genre of traditional dance music with the long-running Jolly Boys, has died in his Caribbean homeland. He was 76.

Daniel Neely, an ethnomusicologist who specializes in mento and played banjo on the "Great Expectation" record, said Bennett was a descendant of Jamaica's Maroons, escaped slaves who won their freedom by repelling invasions of their forest retreats. He said in an email that Bennett "grew up a practitioner of the area's important traditional drumming styles."

Indian yoga guru B.K.S. Iyengar, who helped popularize yoga around the world and wrote 14 books on the subject, has died at age 95.

Born in a poor family in Bellur village in the southern Indian state of Karnataka, Iyengar was a sickly child who suffered multiple illnesses including typhoid and tuberculosis.

When he was 15, a relative introduced him to yoga in an attempt to build his resistance to disease. By the time he was 18, he moved to Pune to practice yoga and to teach its techniques to others.

Iyengar created his own brand of yoga, called "Iyengar yoga," and established studios in 72 countries where yoga practitioners are taught ways to improve breathing, concentration and meditation.

Iyengar yoga's physically challenging poses and breathing techniques have been adopted by mainstream medical practitioners to help patients suffering from diabetes, high blood pressure and chronic back pain.

• Famed Iranian poet Simin Behbahani, who wrote of the joys of love, demanded equal rights for women and spoke out about the challenges facing those living in her homeland, has died at the age of 87.

Behbahani, born Simin Khalili on July 20, 1927, saw her poetry often used by Iranian singers as the basis for love songs. Her poems came in a variety of styles, far from classical and routine forms normally associated with Persian prose.

However, Behbahani's work also focused on the challenges facing Iran in the wake of its Islamic Revolution in 1979 and women's rights, her strong words earning her the nickname of the "Lioness of Iran." Behbahani, who studied law at Tehran University in the 1950s, was awarded the Simone de Beauvoir Prize for Women's Freedom in 2009 and was nominated twice for the Nobel Prize in Literature.

• Dinu Patriciu, an emblematic politician from Romania's early post-communist years whose later career as an oil tycoon was marred by legal troubles, has died at 64.

Patriciu was a founder of the center-right Liberal Party, which emerged in 1990 after communism ended to embrace democracy and the free market.

• Hashim Khan, one of the greatest squash players of all time, has died of congestive heart failure at age 100.

Khan was the patriarch who got the ball rolling on Pakistan's squash supremacy, winning seven British Open titles, including his first in 1951 at an age when most players retire. Khan brought his family to the U.S. in the early 1960s after being offered a lucrative deal to teach squash in Detroit. He later took a pro position in Denver and played the game into his 90s.

At 37 -- and at the behest of the Pakistan government eager for a national hero -- Khan went to the British Open, considered the most prestigious tournament. He beat the best player in the world, Mahmoud El Karim of Egypt, 9-5, 9-0, 9-0, for his first title. His last was at 44.

• A man who represented Rhode Island in Congress for 28 years and co-sponsored a 1982 bill that deregulated savings and loans has died. Fernand St Germain was 86.

St Germain, a Democrat, rose to chair the House Banking Committee. The deregulation bill aimed to provide a long-term solution for troubled thrift institutions, but it contributed to the 1980s savings and loan crisis by allowing institutions to expand their lending activities away from home mortgages into more risky commercial ventures. The crisis left U.S. taxpayers on the hook for billions of dollars.

• Sophie Masloff, who rose from a tax clerk to become Pittsburgh's first female mayor, has died at 96.

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