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Obituaries in the News

May 31, 2006

Peter C. Borsari

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Peter C. Borsari, whose celebrity photography over three decades included candid moments of Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Elizabeth Taylor and Jack Nicholson, has died. He was 67.

Borsari died Monday of complications from elective knee surgery, longtime friend Laura Luongo said.

A native of Zurich, Switzerland, Borsari moved to Los Angeles in the mid-1960s and quickly joined an elite cadre of successful celebrity photographers.

His photos of Taylor and Richard Burton in Mexico launched his career.

Hollywood studios often hired Borsari to take photos at parties and weddings, including the nuptials of Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner and the wedding of Harry Hamlin and Nicollette Sheridan.

Borsari provided photos for magazines, newspapers and industry publications worldwide. His clients included top studios, including Columbia, Tri-Star, Warner Bros. and Universal.

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George William Dunne

CHICAGO (AP) _ George William Dunne, a political war horse who was at Mayor Richard J. Daley’s side during the chaotic 1968 Democratic convention, has died. He was 93.

He died Sunday at his farm in Hebron, said his wife of 16 years, Claudia Dunne. He had had heart trouble.

Dunne, the son of Irish immigrants and nicknamed ``Gentleman George,″ was among a handful of power brokers who reigned over the Chicago Democratic machine for much of the past century. He was involved in some of biggest political developments of his time.

He was present the night the Illinois delegation nominated Harry Truman for the presidency at the 1948 Democratic convention in Philadelphia. Two decades later, Dunne was at Daley’s side as delegates nominated Hubert Humphrey for president while police and anti-war demonstrators clashed on Chicago streets.

Dunne first took public office in 1955 when he became a member of the Illinois House of Representatives. In 1962, he joined the Cook County Board of Commissioners. He served as board president from 1969 to 1990.

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Steve Mizerak

MIAMI (AP) _ Steve Mizerak, a billiards champion who became one of the game’s most recognizable figures, has died, his wife said. He was 61.

Mizerak died Monday of complications from gall bladder surgery, Karen Mizerak told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

Known as ``The Miz,″ he won four U.S. Open Championships and dozens of other billiards tournaments in his professional career, which began when he was 13. He was inducted into the Billiard Congress of America’s hall of fame in 1980.

Mizerak used his talent and name recognition to make training books and videos, bringing to the masses basics such as breaks and bank shots, as well as more advanced techniques for trick shots.

He also made a difficult trick shot in a now-famous commercial for Miller Lite, when the beer maker was using sports celebrities to sell its product in the 1970s and 1980s.

Mizerak appeared in the 1986 film ``The Color of Money,″ playing an opponent of Paul Newman’s character.

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Hugh B. Patterson Jr.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) _ Hugh B. Patterson Jr., whose 38 years as publisher of the Arkansas Gazette included coverage of the Central High School desegregation crisis, has died. He was 91.

Patterson’s death Monday was reported by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. He was publisher of the Gazette from 1948 to 1986, when the newspaper was sold to Gannett Co. The Gazette won two Pulitzer Prizes in 1958, one for its news coverage of Central High and the other for editorials.

The U.S. Supreme Court had ruled in 1954 in Brown v. Board of Education that segregated schools were unconstitutional.

During Patterson’s time leading the Gazette, the paper added more news sections, began running stock tables and began running color comics on Sundays.

Gannett Co. bought the Gazette in 1986, then closed it in 1991 and sold the name and its assets to Little Rock Newspapers Inc., now called Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Inc.

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Robert Sterling

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Robert Sterling, the handsome star of 1940s movies who appeared with his wife Anne Jeffreys in the television series ``Topper,″ has died at his Brentwood home. He was 88.

Sterling died Tuesday of natural causes following a decade-long battle with shingles, said his son, Jeffrey.

Although he appeared in dozens of movies, Sterling was best known for the 1953-1956 TV series ``Topper,″ based on the Thorne Smith novel, and the 1937 film starring Cary Grant and Constance Bennett.

Sterling and Jeffreys played George and Marion Kirby, a fun-loving couple who were killed in an accident but returned as ghosts to haunt the new occupant of their home, a banker named Cosmo Topper.

Sterling was born William Hart, the son of Chicago Cubs catcher William S. Hart.

Sterling proved a versatile actor, especially in romantic roles, and appeared in five films in 1941, including the romantic comedy ``Two-Faced Woman″ with Greta Garbo and ``The Penalty″ with Lionel Barrymore.

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Robert Yazzie

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) _ Robert Yazzie, a Navajo ``code talker″ who confounded Japanese troops during World War II by transmitting messages in his native language, has died. He was 81.

Yazzie died in a Nashville hospital Monday _ a day before his birthday _ after a series of health problems, his son, Bruce, said Tuesday.

Yazzie grew up on a reservation in Arizona and enlisted in the Marines at age 17, becoming part of a group of about 400 Navajos who were recruited to create a code for secure communications in battles with Japan.

Navajo is an extremely complex unwritten language, according to a U.S. Navy history Web site.

The Japanese military never cracked the code, which helped the Marines win Iwo Jima and other battles in the Pacific theater from 1942 to 1945. He was discharged as a private first class in 1945.

The code talkers had to keep their work secret long after the war they helped win, but they were honored at the Pentagon in 1992. He received a Congressional Silver Medal for Distinguished Service at a ceremony in 2003.

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