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Obituaries in the News

October 16, 2000

CHICAGO (AP) _ Harry J. Busch, a respected attorney who became part of Chicago lore when a convicted killer escaped from jail and ordered him at gunpoint to help, died Thursday. He was 97.

Busch began his career as an assistant state’s attorney, but went on to become a highly regarded defense attorney for reputed mob hit men. He served as private attorney to Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley in the 1960s and 1970s.

But it was on Dec. 11, 1921, that Busch found himself at the center of a story that came to be retold thousands of times and was immortalized in the play ``The Front Page.″

On that day, Tommy ``The Terrible″ O’Connor escaped from the Cook County Jail, just three days before he was to be hanged. O’Connor jumped onto the running board of Busch’s passing car, pointed a prison guard’s gun at Busch’s head and told him to drive. Busch became the unwitting getaway driver for O’Connor, who was never found by police.

Derek Jagan

GEORGETOWN, Guyana (AP) _ Derek Jagan, the speaker of Guyana’s Parliament and brother of former president Cheddi Jagan, died Sunday, the governing People’s Progressive Party said. He was 70.

Jagan was found dead Sunday morning by a security guard at his home in suburban Georgetown, the party said in a written statement. Party officials said they suspected he had a heart attack.

A prominent lawyer and a lawmaker for more than 20 years, Jagan had been speaker of the Parliament for the last eight years.

His brother Cheddi Jagan was president from 1992 until his death in March 1997. Cheddi Jagan’s wife, Chicago native Janet Jagan, succeeded him as president until stepping down for health reasons last year.

Daniel Lavezzo Jr.

NEW YORK (AP) _ Daniel Lavezzo Jr., who owned a saloon where celebrities such as Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra and Buddy Holly were regulars, died Oct. 10. He was 83.

P.J. Clarke’s in Manhattan has a rich history that spans more than a half century. It was the setting for the Ray Milland movie ``The Lost Weekend.″

Lavezzo, who wore a madras sport jacket to greet patrons and left the office affairs to his brother, resisted repeated offers to sell the Clarke’s site to developers who were erecting skyscrapers around it. Instead, he negotiated a 99-year lease with developer Tishman Realty and Construction Co.

Lavezzo owned the bar for more than 50 years.

Frank Prial II

GREENWICH, Conn. (AP) _ Frank J. Prial II, publisher of The Chief, a New York City newspaper for government workers, died Sunday of heart failure. He was 80.

Prial’s grandfather, Frank J. Prial, bought the weekly in 1917, and Prial joined it in 1945 after serving in the Army. He became publisher after his grandfather died in 1948.

Prial, a lawyer, also worked with public employee unions for more than 30 years. In 1985, he retired from the law and stopped writing a column for The Chief but remained its publisher until his death.

Prial is survived by his wife, four daughters and six sons.

Peter Turgeon

STONY BROOK, N.Y. (AP) _ Peter Turgeon, a writer, director and actor who worked with Sid Caesar, died Oct. 6 at a Long Island home for veterans. He was 80.

Turgeon began his theatrical career in 1940 in a touring production of ``Life With Father,″ playing one of the Day family children.

After World War II, he worked in the road company of the Broadway revue ``Call Me Mister.″ He also appeared in ``Inside U.S.A.″ with Beatrice Little and Jack Haley and ``Little Me″ with Sid Caesar.

Turgeon appeared in many television commercials and dramas. His movies include ``Airport″ and ``Dear Heart.″

He worked as a writer, director and actor at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center in Waterford, Conn., and at the John Drew Theater in East Hampton, N.Y. He co-directed and starred with Peggy Cass in ``Hail Thurber!″ in 1984.

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