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Obituaries in the News

June 9, 2005

Susan Billig

MIAMI (AP) _ Susan Billig, who crisscrossed the country for decades following tips that her missing teenage daughter had been abducted and brainwashed, died Tuesday at home of complications from a heart attack. She was 80.

On March 5, 1974, 17-year-old Amy Billig disappeared on her way to her father’s art gallery near the family’s home in Miami’s Coconut Grove neighborhood. Her disappearance was never solved.

Susan Billig held a memorial service for her daughter in 1998 after a former Pagans motorcycle gang member confessed on his deathbed that the gang drugged and raped Amy, then dumped her body in the Everglades. Joshua Billig said the family came to doubt the story in recent years.

During her years of searching, Susan Billig received taunting telephone calls from a man claiming that Amy was being held as a sex slave. In 1996, U.S. Customs Agent Henry Blair was sentenced to two years in prison and ordered to pay the family $5 million for aggravated stalking in connection with the calls.


Leo Klier

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) _ Leo Klier, a member of Notre Dame’s All-Century basketball team, died Saturday at his home in Naperville, Ill., the school announced on its Web site Tuesday. He was 82.

The Washington, Ind., native worked on the railroad after graduating from high school to earn enough money to attend Notre Dame. During the 1943-44 season he averaged a team-high 15.4 points as the Fighting Irish went 10-9.

He missed the next season while serving in the Navy during World War II. He returned to Notre Dame for his senior season and led the team with 17.9 points, helping the Irish to a 13-0 start _ the best in school history.

Klier set the school’s single-season scoring record in both seasons. He was one of 25 players chosen to the All-Century team in November and was inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame.

Klier played professional basketball for the Indianapolis Katuskys of the National Basketball League from 1946-1948 and the Fort Wayne Pistons from 1948-1950.


Edward A. McCarthy

MIAMI (AP) _ Retired Archbishop Edward A. McCarthy, who hosted a summit meeting of Pope John Paul II and President Reagan, died in his sleep Tuesday night, the Archdiocese of Miami said. He was 87.

McCarthy led the archdiocese for 17 years. He earned praise from Catholics by leading the summit bringing Reagan and the late John Paul to Miami in 1987 while the pope was on a U.S. tour.

He was also credited with beefing up charities to deal with waves of immigrants during his tenure from 1977 to 1994. But most recently, McCarthy was accused of covering up clergy abuse that generated a handful of lawsuits against the archdiocese.

Early in his tenure, McCarthy reorganized the archdiocese, established a four-month waiting and counseling period for couples planning to be married, and oversaw the creation of new dioceses in Palm Beach and Venice.

In 1986, he created Catholic Health Services, which builds and manages low-cost apartments and health care facilities for the elderly. He also created a radio station in 1993 that provides Catholic programming in English, Spanish and Haitian Creole to south Floridians.

Before being named archbishop, McCarthy was bishop of Phoenix and Cincinnati. He was born in Cincinnati on April 10, 1918, and was ordained there in 1943.


David Tebet

CORONADO, Calif. (AP) _ David Tebet, a television talent executive who recruited Johnny Carson for NBC’s ``The Tonight Show″ and later rose to vice president of Carson’s production company, died Tuesday of complications from a stroke at the home of his nephew, the Los Angeles Times reported. He was 91.

A former theater publicist in New York, Tebet in 1959 became NBC’s vice president for talent, where his job was to spot and recruit stars for the network. Among entertainers he landed were Michael Landon, James Garner and Dean Martin.

When Jack Paar was about to leave ``The Tonight Show″ in 1962, Tebet spotted Carson on daytime television and lobbied to bring him to NBC. He eventually became one of Carson’s closest confidants, The Times reported.

When Carson set up his Johnny Carson Productions and bought ``The Tonight Show,″ Tebet resigned from NBC and became executive vice president of the new company.

Born Dec. 27, 1913, in Atlanta, Tebet grew up in Philadelphia, where he began his entertainment career as a theater usher. After studying journalism at Temple University, he moved to New York to publicize Broadway shows.

Tebet was married to actress Nanette Fabray from 1947 until their divorce four years later.

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