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Obituaries in the News

November 19, 2002

MIDDLEBURG HEIGHTS, Ohio (AP) _ Andy Cifranic, an award-winning photographer for The Plain Dealer, died Saturday of complications from throat cancer. He was 71.

Cifranic, a past Ohio Newspaper Photographers Association Photographer of the Year, began his career at the newspaper in 1948 as an office boy in the display advertising department.

From 1951 to 1955, he practiced photography while serving in the Air Force.

After his discharge, he returned to the newspaper and worked as a clerk in the dispatch room until a photographer position opened up. He retired in 1998.

Cifranic is survived by his wife of 48 years, Anne, five sons, a daughter and eight grandchildren.

James Coburn

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ James Coburn, the lean and lanky actor who rose to fame playing villainous roles in early action films and won an Academy Award decades later as an alcoholic father in ``Affliction,″ died Monday of a heart attack. He was 74.

Coburn’s breakthrough performances came in 1960s action flicks such as ``The Magnificent Seven,″ ``Hell is For Heroes″ and ``The Great Escape.″

He then changed direction and found what was for decades his greatest fame: portraying tongue-in-cheek secret agent Derek Flint in the late 1960s James Bond spoofs ``Our Man Flint″ and ``In Like Flint.″

In 1998, he won a best supporting actor Oscar for playing an abusive, alcoholic father in ``Affliction.″

Coburn had recently completed two films, the just-released ``The Man From Elysian Fields″ and ``American Gun.″ In the latter, Coburn’s character travels the country in search of his daughter’s killer.

Born in Laurel, Neb., on Aug. 31, 1928, Coburn grew up Southern California. He made his stage debut opposite Vincent Price in a La Jolla Playhouse production of ``Billy Budd.″

Later, he moved to New York where he studied acting with Stella Adler and appeared in such classic 1950s television shows as ``Studio One″ and ``General Electric Theatre.″

Returning to Los Angeles, he appeared regularly in such TV Westerns as ``Wagon Train,″ ``The Rifleman″ and ``Wanted: Dead or Alive,″ throughout the 1950s.

He made his movie debut in ``Ride Lonesome″ in 1959, following it with another Western, ``Face of a Fugitive,″ that same year.

But it was the following year that he really grabbed the public’s attention, playing knife-throwing Britt in the epic Western ``The Magnificent Seven.″

Steve Durbano

TORONTO (AP) _ Steve Durbano, whose life spiraled downward after his NHL career ended in 1979, died Saturday from liver cancer. He was 50.

Durbano played parts of six seasons as a defender for St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Kansas City and Colorado.

In 220 career games, he was credited with 73 points and amassed 1,127 penalty minutes. He was the 13th player selected in the 1971 entry draft.

In 1983, Durbano was sentenced to seven years in prison for his part in a scheme to import cocaine. In 1995, he went back to prison after offering an undercover police officer a job with an escort service he was operating.

Thomas Gephardt

CINCINNATI (AP) _ Thomas Gephardt, who was editor of The Cincinnati Enquirer’s editorial page for 32 years, died Monday from complications of lung cancer. He was 75.

Gephardt was editorial page editor from 1960 until he retired in 1992, and had the title of associate editor the last 20 years. He was known as ``Mr. Whig,″ a character he created to convey his conservative viewpoint in a regular Sunday column.

Survivors include his wife, Deborah, a son, Andrew, and a daughter, Clare.

Julius Grossman

NEW YORK (AP) _ Julius Grossman, a conductor and teacher who established the music department at the High School of Performing Arts, died Nov. 12. He was 90.

For nearly 50 years, Grossman led free orchestra concerts that combined veteran and amateur performers.

His first concerts were performed in the summer of 1955. He assembled the Lower Eastside Symphony Orchestra because he saw a need for free performances in the city’s public spaces.

Several years later, he formed the Municipal Concerts Orchestra, which was later renamed the Julius Grossman Orchestra. The orchestra regularly played free shows and also performed an annual fund-raising concert at Alice Tully Hall until the late 1980s.

In 1949, the Brooklyn-born Grossman created a music program for the High School for the Performing Arts, where he taught until 1970.

Ramli Amat

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) _ Ramli Amat, who represented Malaysia in the 1976 Montreal Olympics and was considered one of that nation’s finest sprinters, died from a stroke Saturday. He was 47.

Ramli collapsed while jogging in a park on Labuan Island in eastern Malaysia on Saturday, according to fellow Malaysian athlete Jimmy Tan.

Ramli held a 25-year-old national record in the 200-meter dash.

In recent years, Ramli had held a senior security post at the Malaysia Airlines branch in Labuan, where he was born. He remained active in sports and established an association for veteran athletes on the island.

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