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The Daily Goodbye

Patricia Sullivan

Welcome back, holiday slackers.

While this column was off-line, we had a number of interesting obits, and I'm not just talking about those in the Washington Post.

For instance, Jan Leighton, the actor who played more roles than anyone else -- the 1985 Guinness Book of World Records says he was 2,407 different characters. He was also a hand model and did radio voice-overs. "His features were handsome but regular," a makeup artist, said about why Mr. Leighton was so well suited to his work. "He could always submerge himself in makeup and in facial contortions."

Speaking of makeup and posture, Cleveland's First Lady of Fitness, Paige Palmer, died at 93.

Mike Penner, a transsexual sportswriter at the Los Angeles Times, died of an apparent suicide. As Christine Daniels, Penner started a column for the paper's website in May 2007 called Day in L.A. and a blog about the transition, then in July began writing for the paper again. He returned to using the Mike Penner byline in October 2008.

Speaking of sports, Thomas Randall Snow also died. In 1984, he took part in a demonstration wheelchair race at the Olympic Games in Los Angeles, a milestone event for disabled athletes, and in 1996, Mr. Snow won a silver medal as a member of the U.S. wheelchair basketball team.

Geoffrey Moorhouse tried to cross 3,600 of the Sahara Desert, from the Atlantic to the Nile, even though camel rolled on the sextant, the guide lost supplies and life-saving water was only found by following the tracks of nomads. He made it through 2,000 miles of sand, and wrote a best-seller on the trek in 1974.

A Swiss historian who held his government to account for turning thousands of Jewish refugees back into the hands of the Nazis during World War II has died. Jean-Francois Bergier insisted on historical responsibility to help his country "face the future clearly and calmly."

An Atlanta stagehand, Mark White, once took a curtain call for his staging of the complex Mahler's Eighth Symphony. His mind, which could work out complicated logistical puzzles, was also put to use when he and his wife started Atlanta Parent magazine.

Fred Joseph, who ran junk-bond firm Drexel Burnham Lambert Inc. as chief executive officer from its heyday in the 1980s to its collapse in 1990, has died. He oversaw trader Michael Milken, a pioneer in junk bonds who later was convicted of securities fraud. According to Bloomberg News Service, Joseph helped take some of the "rougher edges" off Milken's high-risk debt strategy.

By Patricia Sullivan  |  November 30, 2009; 9:05 AM ET
Categories:  Patricia Sullivan , The Daily Goodbye  
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Next: State of the American Obituary


Former TSA Secretary, RADM David Stone, USN (Ret.) died two weekends ago in Arlington while visiting from India, where he was a Cisco Systems senor executive for security. Link above is a breif obit from the Journal of Commerce.

Posted by: Flavius3 | November 30, 2009 11:59 AM | Report abuse

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