Related topics

Obituaries in the News

January 15, 2000

GREENWICH, Conn. (AP) _ Ivan DeBlois Combe, the inventor of Clearasil, the acne cream that helped millions of pimply-faced baby boomers get through the awkward teen-age years, died Tuesday after a stroke. He was 88.

He named the product ``Clearasil″ to capitalize on every teen-ager’s dream of having clear skin.

Combe peddled the new product to drug stores across the country, but store owners were reluctant to buy another acne product when so many others had failed. Finally, Combe gave out free tubes of Clearasil to store owners in exchange for a promise to order more if the product sold. It did.

Sales skyrocketed after Combe began advertising Clearasil on the popular teen-age dance show ``American Bandstand″ in 1957.

In 1960, Vick Chemical bought the Clearasil business from Combe’s company, Combe Inc. Procter & Gamble bought Clearasil in 1985.

Timothy P. Forte

ORMOND BEACH, Fla. (AP) _ Timothy P. Forte, the director of aviation safety at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and a commentator on airplane crashes, was killed Wednesday in an accident on Interstate 95. He was 49.

Forte came to Embry-Riddle in 1995 as an executive consultant, director of the Office of Aviation Safety and chairman of the University Safety Council.

As the flight safety officer, Forte often commented on airline crashes and National Transportation Safety Board investigations for national news media outlets.

Forte spent 25 years with the Federal Aviation Administration and the NTSB.

George A. Lea Jr.

PINE BLUFF, Ark. (AP) _ George A. Lea Jr., the president and chief executive officer of The Mad Butcher grocery store chain through the 1990s, died Wednesday. He was 49.

The cause of death was not released.

Lea went to work for the company in 1977 and held a variety of positions before taking over the company in 1990.

Herb Graff

NEW YORK (AP) _ Herb Graff, who devoted most of his life to collecting, preserving and showing movies, died of heart failure Sunday at his home in Manhattan. 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.″

Estrongo Nachama

BERLIN (AP) _ Estrongo Nachama, who survived the Holocaust by singing for Nazi guards at Auschwitz and later employed his sonorous baritone to help revive Jewish life in Berlin, died Thursday of heart failure. He was 81.

After two years at Auschwitz, Nachama survived the forced ``death march″ to Germany as the Nazis retreated westward ahead of the Soviet army. He was rescued by Soviet troops at the end of World War II.

Nachama was the community’s chief cantor from 1947 until his death. While his main role was singing at Jewish religious events and funerals, he also regularly performed for other audiences and became one of postwar Germany’s most prominent Jews. He was honored by the German government for promoting understanding among the faiths.

His only son, Andreas Nachama, now heads the thriving Jewish community in the German capital.

Update hourly