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Obituaries in the News

October 29, 2001

Jerome C. Byrne

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Jerome C. Byrne, an attorney whose report on 1960s student unrest at the University of California, Berkeley found no evidence of outside Communist influence, died Wednesday of cancer. He was 76.

Byrne, an attorney specializing in labor-management relations, spent more than 40 years working for the Los Angeles firm of Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher.

After student protests erupted at UC Berkeley, in 1964, the university’s Board of Regents hired Byrne as special counsel. He spoke with students, faculty and administrators around the state, before issuing an 85-page report recommending greater autonomy for UC campuses.

The report blamed the unrest equally on the regents, UC’s president, faculty and students. It found no evidence that outsiders such as the Communist Party had fostered the unrest, as many had claimed.

Grigory Chukhrai

MOSCOW (AP) _ Russian filmmaker Grigory Chukhrai, best known for his films on War World II, which he experienced firsthand, died Sunday. He was 80 and had previously suffered several heart attacks.

During World War II, Chukhrai served as a paratrooper, took part in the battle of Stalingrad and was wounded four times.

The Ukrainian-born Chukhrai studied at the Moscow Cinema Institute under the Soviet film master Mikhail Romm, according to the Union of Cinematographers.

Chukhrai found fame after his 1959 film ``Ballad of a Soldier,″ which played all over the world and is considered one of the best Soviet war films ever made.

Chukhrai also directed such films as ``The Forty-First″ (1956), ``Clear Sky″ (1959), ``Life is Beautiful″ (1980), ``I’ll Teach You to Dream″ (1984) and he wrote a book of war memoirs.

Chukhrai was awarded the highest Soviet artistic title of Popular Artist of USSR.

Eleanor Cousins

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Eleanor Cousins, the widow of journalist-author Norman Cousins, died Oct. 22. She was 87.

Norman Cousins wrote ``The Healing Heart,″ about his use of exercise and diet instead of surgery to recover from a 1980 heart attack. Eleanor Cousins wrote ``Caring for the Healing Heart,″ a book of recipes and dietary advice.

Her book was controversial because it recommended foods with high cholesterol, such as eggs and butter.

Born Eleanor Kopf, she grew up on a chicken farm in Price, Utah. She met her future husband after moving to the New York area to work for the Newspaper Guild. They married in 1939.

She and her husband were married for 51 years, until his 1990 death, and shared causes that included world peace and holistic healing.

Cousins’s survivors include daughters Candis Cousins Kerns, Andrea Cousins, Amy Cousins and Sarah Shapiro; an adopted son, Shigeko Sasamori; a brother; nine grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.

Joan Ellenbogen

NEW YORK (AP) _ Joan Ellenbogen, a founder and first president of the Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York, died Tuesday. She was 59.

Ellenbogen was prominent in the fields of matrimonial and family law.

She was a member of the New York County Bar Association, before the state association was formed in 1980. She became the state association’s first president, serving from 1980 until 1982.

The state association now has 15 chapters and more than 3,000 members.

Eugene Jackson

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Eugene ``Pineapple″ Jackson, who starred in several ``Our Gang″ comedies in the 1920s, died of a heart attack Friday. He was 84.

Jackson’s character, ``Pineapple,″ appeared in six ``Our Gang″ films: ``The Mysterious Mystery,″ ``The Big Town,″ ``Circus Fever,″ ``Dog Days,″ ``The Love Bug″ and ``Shootin’ Injuns.″

Jackson broke into show business in 1923 doing the shimmy for a bag of groceries at a downtown Los Angeles theater.

When he was 6, Jackson was introduced to Hal Roach, the man behind the classic ``Our Gang″ shorts. Roach took one look at the boy’s Afro frizz, dubbed him ``Pineapple,″ and signed him to a two-year contract.

After his contract ended in 1926, Jackson went to work for Mack Sennett as the only black child in the Buster Brown comedies, and also was in Mary Pickford’s silent feature film ``Little Annie Rooney.″

Jackson experienced early Hollywood’s typecasting and pay differentials for minorities. For ``Our Gang,″ he earned a maximum of $55 a week compared with the white children’s $75, he told the Los Angeles Times in 1992.

``Black kids had to look the part,″ he said. ``They would put stuff on my hair to make it look kinkier.″

Entering adolescence, Jackson sang and danced on the vaudeville circuit and over the years was often cast in uncredited bit parts in films, selling watermelon, shining shoes, lugging suitcases or cleaning up after horses.

In the 1960s and 1970s, Jackson found himself on several pioneering black television shows. He was Diahann Carroll’s Uncle Lou on ``Julia,″ and played Redd Foxx’s friend on occasional episodes of ``Sanford and Son.″

Jackson taught dance at studios he established in Compton and Pasadena in his later years, and published his autobiography, ``Eugene Pineapple Jackson: His Own Story,″ in 1998.

His work was featured in a dance retrospective prepared for the 1993 Los Angeles Festival, an offshoot of the 1984 Olympic Arts Festival.

Siani Lee

PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ Siani Lee, an anchor at KYW-TV Channel 3, was killed in a car crash Sunday. She was 39.

The accident happened when Lee apparently went through a stop sign and was broadsided by a Nissan Pathfinder, according to KYW.

The driver of the Pathfinder was treated and released.

Lee joined KYW as an anchor and reporter in 1999. She came to Philadelphia to work for WCAU-TV in 1993 after two years as an anchor in Washington, D.C.

Lee began her broadcast career in 1987 in Norfolk, Va. and worked previously in Savannah, Ga., and Baltimore.

While in Washington, Lee, a native of Korea, received an award for her report on relations between the Korean and African-American communities. Lee also won a Philadelphia-area Emmy Award in 1997 for live special news coverage for anchoring the 1996 Olympic Torch run.

She was president of the Philadelphia Chapter of the Asian American Journalists Association.

Charles Pilling

SEATTLE (AP) _ Charles Pilling, a world-famous breeder of wild waterfowl for nearly half a century, died Thursday beside his beloved duck pond. He was 70.

He had been in ill health for months but was brought home from the hospital so he could spend his last days looking out the window at Pillings Pond.

Pilling was the first person to breed hooded mergansers, buffleheads and harlequin ducks in captivity.

After he was given three crippled mallards at age 12, Pilling dug a pond about 10 feet across and three feet deep off Licton Springs Creek at the family dairy farm home. Over the years, he expanded and deepened the pond, surrounded it with chain-link fencing and added new species.

In 1955 he mated a pair of hooded mergansers, diving ducks, which he had nursed back to health. Fearing the mother would spend more time chasing away other ducks than tending the nest, he drafted a banty hen to sit on the eggs and hand-fed the ducklings.

The feat won Pilling a Breeding Award from the International Wild Waterfowl Association.

Unable to enroll in college for lack of money, Pilling delivered coal and later worked in shipyards during World War II and as a Texaco truck driver for 28 years before retiring in 1973.

Herbert Weissenstein

NEW YORK (AP) _ Herbert Weissenstein, a consultant who specialized in classical music, died Friday. He was 56.

Weissenstein began his career in 1970 as public relations director for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. He moved on to the New York Philharmonic and in 1979 became director of development and strategic planning at Carnegie Hall.

In 1984, he founded H.F. Weissenstein & Co., which specialized in consulting, directing seminars, and publishing articles in the fields of management and development.

His clients included the Electronic Media Forum, the Folksbiene Yiddish Theater, the Manhattan Theater Club, the International Organization for the Transition of Professional dancers and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

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