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Obituaries in the News

September 29, 2004

Christl Cranz-Borchers

OBERSTAUFEN, Germany (AP) _ Two-time Olympic gold medal skier Christl Cranz-Borchers has died. She was 90.

Cranz died Tuesday in her home village in the Bavarian Alps, German ski authorities said Wednesday. Her health had been poor since she fell down the stairs shortly before her birthday on July 1.

Cranz won 12 world titles and three silver medals, along with two golds at the 1936 Olympics, and is known for one of the sport’s most famous comebacks in the alpine combined.

She fell during the downhill and was in sixth place _ 19 seconds behind leader Laila Schou-Nielsen _ but charged back in two slalom races to win the gold. She remains Germany’s most-decorated women’s skier.


Gardner Botsford

NEW YORK (AP) _ Gardner Botsford, a longtime editor at The New Yorker magazine who was considered instrumental in shaping its style, died Monday of bone marrow disease in Manhattan. He was 87.

Over a 40-year career that spanned the magazine’s most influential years, Botsford edited work from writers ranging from A.J. Liebling to Roger Angell and later, his wife, author Janet Malcolm. Under the editorship of William Shawn, Botsford was considered one of the magazine’s most powerful voices.

Born in 1917 in New York, Botsford was raised in Manhattan’s high society as the son of heiress Ruth Gardner and journalist and advertising executive Alfred Miller Botsford. When his parents divorced, his mother married Raoul Fleishmann, whose family financed The New Yorker.

After leaving Yale University, Botsford got a job at The New Yorker as a reporter, but was fired by editor Harold Ross, who told him to get newspaper experience.

Botsford went on to the Jacksonville (Fla.) Journal, and in 1942, rejoined The New Yorker. He retired from the magazine in 1982.


Scott Muni

NEW YORK (AP) _ Disc jockey Scott Muni, the gravelly voiced radio host whose encyclopedic knowledge of rock ‘n’ roll made him ``The Professor″ to three generations of New York listeners, died Tuesday. He was 74.

Muni, who spent nearly 50 years on air in the nation’s No. 1 radio market, suffered a stroke earlier this year. But the cause of his death was not immediately known, said Josefa Paganuzzi, spokeswoman for Clear Channel New York.

Muni most recently had an hour-long afternoon show on New York classic rock station Q104.3, where he landed in 1998. He also hosted many nationally syndicated programs during his career, including ``Scott Muni’s World of Rock″ and the Beatles-oriented ``Ticket to Ride.″

He was included in an exhibit on radio personalities at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.

Known to his listeners as ``The Professor″ or ``Scottso,″ Muni was renowned for his interviews with artists such as Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger, Pete Townsend and Bruce Springsteen.

Muni was born in Wichita, Kan., and raised in New Orleans. His broadcasting career started in the Marines. He could be heard on Radio Guam reading ``Dear John″ letters sent to his fellow servicemen.

Besides his radio work, Muni asked, ``How do you spell relief?″ in a Rolaids commercial.


Christer Pettersson

STOCKHOLM, Sweden (AP) _ Christer Pettersson, a petty criminal who was convicted and later acquitted in the 1986 assassination of Prime Minister Olof Palme, died Wednesday, leaving unsolved the slaying that has haunted Sweden for nearly two decades. Pettersson was 57.

Pettersson, who had a history of substance abuse, died of a brain hemorrhage and organ failure, said Inger Rosell, a spokeswoman for Karolinska Hospital.

Pettersson had been in a coma since Sept. 16, when he underwent emergency surgery for head injuries, and never regained consciousness. The cause of the injuries was unclear.

He was the only person ever brought to trial for the Feb. 28, 1986, slaying of Palme, the charismatic leader who was gunned down as he walked home from a movie theater with his wife.

The murder of Palme, who protested the Vietnam war, battled apartheid in South Africa and tried to mediate an end to the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war, shocked Sweden and cast doubts on its cherished image as an oasis of tranquility and nonviolence, where even the prime minister could stroll through the capital without bodyguards.

Pettersson was picked out from a police lineup by Palme’s wife, Lisbet. Although police never found the pistol used to kill the 59-year-old politician, Pettersson was convicted and sentenced to life in prison in 1988.

The next year, he was acquitted after an appeals court cited a lack of evidence, including the murder weapon. The court also questioned Lisbet’s accuracy in picking him out.

Despite the acquittal, Pettersson confessed in an interview to shooting Palme, but later retracted the statement.

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