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Obituaries in the News

January 16, 2000

MEXICO CITY (AP) _ Meche Barba, a circus performer’s daughter whose smoldering beauty brought her fame as a dancer in Mexican films, died Friday of pulmonary emphysema. She was 77.

Mercedes Barba Feito was born in New York, where her Spanish-born father, Antonio, had been performing with a circus.

Barba and her sister Carmen began performing as children to help support the family when their father fell ill. Appearances on Mexico’s premier theater stages led to film roles starting in 1937.

Though Barba once insisted she wasn’t pretty enough to be a film star, she won acclaim for her beauty and her acting presence. During Mexico’s ``Golden Age″ of cinema, she was cast beside stars such as singer Jorge Negrete and German Valdes, the comic actor better known as Tin Tan.

She came to be known as ``the queen of the rumba,″ for her sensuous dancing in more than 50 films.

Denise Bennet

PHOENIX (AP) _ Race driver Denise Bennet, who won the national quarter-midget championship in 1966, died Friday of cancer at age 43.

Bennet was the Arizona midget champion in 1983. In 1997, Bennet was inducted into the Arizona Auto Racing Hall of Fame. In April of that year, she was diagnosed with lung cancer.

Dave Mannes, a three-time state midget champion, recalled that as a woman in what had been a man’s sport, ``Denise took a lot of guff in the beginning.″

Alphonse Boudard

NICE, France (AP) _ French writer Alphonse Boudard, who brought the world of his rough youth to his novels, died Friday. He was 74.

Boudard was hospitalized a week ago, suffering from heart problems and respiratory difficulties.

An illegitimate child, Boudard spent much of his youth on the streets with petty criminals. He used to say he was bilingual, speaking both French and slang.

Boudard made his debut on the literary scene with the novel ``The Metamorphosis of the Woodlice,″ which he wrote in 1962 after spending four years in jail for burglary.

In 1963, Boudard’s novel, ``The Cherry,″ won the Sainte-Beuve prize and ``The Fighters for Small Happiness″ won the Renaudot prize in 1977.

The prestigious Academie Francaise awarded his ``To Die from Childhood″ a great novel prize in 1995.

Boudard was also a scriptwriter, specializing in dialogue for movies like ``Trouble in Panama″ from 1965 and ``The Sun of the Vandals″ from 1967.

He married in 1958, and had two sons.

Henry Burroughs

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Henry Burroughs, an award-winning photographer who chronicled three decades of news for The Associated Press, including the presidencies of Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, died Friday at his home in West River, Md., from complications of pneumonia. He was 81.

Known as Hank, Burroughs joined the wire service on May 16, 1944, and quickly gained a reputation as a journalist who could capture a great picture without getting in the way of the story. Colleagues called him the ``dean of the Washington photographers.″

Born Henry Dashiell Burroughs Jr. on Aug. 1, 1918 in Washington, he took to photography from his earliest years and spent six years as a fashion and advertising photographer at The Washington Post before joining the AP.

At the wire service, he covered every president from Franklin D. Roosevelt to Gerald Ford. His most memorable images include a photo of Richard Nixon standing at the window of the Oval Office just as his presidency was about to collapse and a photo of Kennedy just moments before his assassination.

The day Kennedy was shot in 1963, Burroughs was in the motorcade. He made sure the world got pictures from the chaotic scene near the book depository and of the mob outside the emergency room.

Burroughs retired from the AP in 1975, after 31 years with the news service.

Survivors include his wife, Margaret Wohlgemuth of Annapolis, Md.; a stepson, Lyford Moore, of Mount Laurel, NJ.; stepdaughter Patricia Romero of Boise, Idaho; two sisters, Jane Dollins of Alexandria, Va.; and Rosemary Schulte of Towson, Md.

Services were scheduled for Tuesday at noon at Our Lady of Sorrows Church in West River, Md.

Herb Graff

NEW YORK (AP) _ Herb Graff, who devoted most of his life to collecting, preserving and showing movies, died of heart failure Jan. 9. He was 74.

Graff began collecting movies as a teen-ager, buying one-reelers and even scraps of film discarded by film companies. His collection eventually grew to several hundred features and more than 1,000 shorts, and his calling card read simply, ``Film Resource.″

His principal interest was in early talkies, especially musicals, but his collection included silent films and works from the 1940s. Born in Boston and raised in Brooklyn, Graff was active for many years as a consultant and lecturer, showing his movies on a 16-millimeter projector, often with a scratchy soundtrack.

He offered a series of public screenings, and also showed films on PBS and at Town Hall in Manhattan.

Though he was never a critic or author, he was considered a significant contributor to the art of movies, knowing more about them than most historians or archivists.

Despite his passion for film, it was a second job for Graff, who worked as a salesman in the garment industry until 1983. He then went to work for the Castle Hill film company and remained a movie professional for the rest of his life.

In a 1989 profile in The New Yorker, Graff recalled saying to himself, ``Were I to die my tombstone would read, ``Here lies Herb Graff, Sold Shirts in White, Pink, Beige and Blue, and Every Five Years Lilac.″

Devereux Milburn Jr.

NARARGANSETT, R.I. (AP) _ Devereux Milburn Jr., a trustee of the New York Racing Association and a member of the Long Island team that won the 1950 U.S. Open polo championship, died Monday. He was 82.

Milburn was a noted polo player as a back in the 1940s and ’50s, following his father onto the polo fields. He retired after a polo-related elbow injury in 1960 and took up fox hunting.

A senior partner for Carter, Ledyard & Milburn, where he was a litigator and trust and estates expert, he was a longtime resident of Old Westbury, N.Y., and for four decades was president of the Meadow Brook Club in Jericho, N.Y.

Roy E. Morgan

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. (AP) _ Roy E. Morgan, operator of a Wilkes-Barre radio station for more than four decades and a music, drama and art critic for The Times-Leader in Wilkes-Barre, died Saturday. He was 91.

In 1998, Morgan was the first to be awarded the Pennsylvania Associated Press Broadcasters Association’s Roy E. Morgan award, which honors outstanding contributions to broadcast journalism.

In 1947, Morgan and four others received a license to operate WILK, an AM radio station in Wilkes-Barre that he operated until 1989.

During his broadcast career, Morgan served as president of the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters in 1958, as a director of the National Association of Broadcasters from 1967 to 1969, and as chairman of the ABC network affiliates committee from 1977-80.

Survivors include two sons and four grandchildren.

Alain Poire

PARIS (AP) _ Alain Poire, the producer of some of France’s best-loved films, died of cancer Friday. He was 82.

Poire studied law and worked in a news and publicity agency before becoming a theater director in 1938.

During his long career, he produced 250 films and worked with some of France’s best-known directors _ Gerard Oury, Georges Lautner, Francis Veber and Yves Robert among them.

His films included some popular successes like ``Fantomas,″ ``The Tall Blond Man With One Black Shoe″ and ``A Taxi For Tobrouk.″ He received a Cesar film award in 1985 for his life’s work and was named to France’s Legion of Honor.

Zeljko Raznatovic

BELGRADE, Yugoslavia (AP) _ Zeljko Raznatovic, a Serbian warlord and suspected war criminal better known by his alias, Arkan, was shot and killed Saturday. He was 47.

Arkan, who was indicted by the U.N. war crimes tribunal, was shot in the eye while sitting in the lobby of Belgrade’s Intercontinental Hotel by a group of masked attackers who apparently escaped.

Arkan and his paramilitary forces have been accused of involvement in atrocities during Serbia’s war with Croatia. Reputedly one of Serbia’s wealthiest individuals, Arkan was a longtime ally of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic.

He was indicted for war crimes in Bosnia in September 1997, but the indictment was kept under wraps until the NATO air campaign in the Balkans began in March. His paramilitary forces also have been accused of involvement in atrocities during the Croatian war, which broke out in 1991. Arkan’s forces sided with Serb rebels in both wars.

Full details of the charges have not been released, but former British Defense Minister George Robertson said last year that Arkan was indicted for the 1991 massacre of 250 men taken from a hospital in Vukovar, Croatia.

The tribunal made public his indictment in an apparent attempt to dissuade him from joining the Serb crackdown in Kosovo.

He denied involvement in war crimes.

Arkan’s long criminal record goes back to the 1970s and 1980s in connection with bank and jewelry store robberies in Sweden, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany. In 1981 he managed to escape police custody from a heavily guarded hospital room in Frankfurt. The international police, Interpol, issued three arrest warrants against him.

At the time, Arkan was reportedly recruited by Yugoslavia’s secret service as a hitman in charge of killing dissidents living in the West, mostly Croats and Kosovo Albanians.

On the eve of Yugoslavia’s civil war in 1991, Arkan’s job was reputedly to deliver arms to Serbs living in Croatia and help their rebellion against independence-seeking Croatia leadership.

At the start of clashes in Croatia, Arkan entered the war with his dreaded ``Tiger″ paramilitary units, which soon were accused of massive atrocities against civilian population and of robberies.

The same units also reportedly fought in Bosnia when the war spread there in 1992. Serbian authorities have denied links with Arkan, but never did anything to prevent his troops from crossing into neighboring republics.

Arkan married a popular Serbian folk singer, Ceca, in 1995 and had two children with her. In his previous two marriages, he had seven children.

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