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Melanie Clarkson

September 8, 1996

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Melanie Clarkson, assistant business editor of the Los Angeles Times, died Friday of melanoma. She was 40.

She joined the newspaper in 1982. Before she was assigned to the business staff, Clarkson helped edit the Washington edition and suburban sections.

Clarkson worked previously at San Jose Mercury News, The Arizona Republic, the Sun City Citizen and the Tempe Daily News, which is now the Tempe Daily News Tribune.

A Chicago native, Clarkson earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism at Arizona State University and a master’s degree at the University of Leicester in England.

Clarkson was publisher and editor of a literary journal, Back Deck, and edited a newsletter for a rape crisis center, where she was a volunteer counselor.

Leonard Katzman

MALIBU, Calif. (AP) _ Leonard Katzman, executive producer of the Texas oil family saga ``Dallas″ and director of other shows spanning the Golden Age of television to the present, died Thursday from an apparent heart attack. He was 69.

``Dallas″ premiered in 1978 and ran through May 1991, entertaining a worldwide audience with tales of lust and treachery amid oil rigs and sprawling cattle ranches. The ``Who Shot J.R.?″ episode on Nov. 21, 1980, was the most-watched single show in TV history until the final episode of ``MASH″ on Feb. 28, 1983.

Katzman had worked on hit shows for 20 years, with credits including ``Gunsmoke,″ ``The Wild, Wild West″ and ``Hawaii Five-O.″

Katzman produced 356 episodes of ``Dallas,″ also writing and directing a third of them. His three children wrote, acted and directed alongside him. He had recently finished a ``Dallas″ reunion movie to air this fall.

Ruth Sheldon Knowles

NEW YORK (AP) _ Ruth Sheldon Knowles, the mother of Alaska Gov. Tony Knowles and an internationally known petroleum writer and lecturer, died Monday after a lengthy illness. She was 81.

Born into an Oklahoma oil family, she worked as an oil consultant to the United States, Mexico, Venezuela and Indonesia.

She made her mark in the industry before she was 30. In 1938, she was the first international visitor to be allowed to inspect Mexico’s oil properties. The following year, she was retained by Mexico’s government to survey its oil fields and refineries.

In 1941, she became a petroleum specialist to Interior Secretary Harold Ickes and worked for the Petroleum Administration for War through 1942.

Her book ``The Greatest Gamers: The Epic of American Oil Exploration″ was a best-seller and recently was reprinted for the fifth time.

Willis Smith

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) _ Willis Smith, who played two years for the New York Giants and helped the team win a football championship in 1934, died Wednesday. He was 86.

Smith, dubbed the ``Little Giant″ and ``Little Mr. Zero,″ stood 5-foot-6, weighed 147 pounds and had the number ``0″ on his jersey.

In the Giants’ 30-13 championship victory over the Chicago Bears in 1934, Smith made several key tackles _ including takedowns of famed fullback Bronco Nagurski, who weighed 230 pounds.

Smith became an local businessman after retiring from football and moving to Albuquerque in 1953, owning a real estate company and a cleaning business.

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