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Virginia state Sen. Chafin dies after catching coronavirus

RICHMOND, Va. | Virginia state Sen. Ben Chafin has died after contracting the coronavirus, Senate Republicans said Friday.

Chafin represented southwest Virginia and was from Russell County. A Republican, he was first elected to the House of Delegates in 2013 and then moved to the state Senate in 2014. He was 60.

Lawmakers from around the state mourned Chafin’s death late Friday.

“I knew Ben as a lawmaker, an attorney, a banker, and a farmer raising beef cattle in Moccasin Valley, working the land just as generations of his family had done before him,” Gov. Ralph Northam said. “He loved the outdoors, and he loved serving people even more.”

“He served to ensure that his region and community, and the people he loved, would never be forgotten,” Senate Republicans said in a statement.

Chafin is the first Virginia lawmaker to die from the virus.

Glenn Adams, retired AP correspondent in Maine, dies at 70

Glenn Adams, a reporter who chronicled Maine government, politics and breaking news for The Associated Press for over three decades, has died. He was 70.

Adams, of Augusta, died Friday of complications after heart surgery at Maine Medical Center, his family said.

“Glenn was a consummate professional who consistently delivered top news from the state and earned the respect of colleagues and competitors. He was kind, curious, adventurous, energetic and optimistic. He’ll be missed,” said William J. Kole, AP’s New England editor.

During 32 years with the AP, Adams covered everything from young peace activist Samantha Smith’s entreaties to the Soviet Union to a caribou roundup in Newfoundland to a state government shutdown.

Adams’ reporting put him inside a Navy F/A-18 Hornet over the Atlantic Ocean and atop a 400-foot wind turbine.

Obstacles to reporting didn’t deter him. During a 1998 ice storm that caused extensive power failures, Adams used a boat battery to keep his cellphone charged and had a chain saw gash stitched by candlelight in a doctor’s office.

After retiring, he continued his passion for riding his BMW motorcycle, tending to the cross-country ski trails on his property and traveling with his wife, Betty, herself a retired newspaper reporter and journalism lecturer.

His career in journalism began at age 14 in Woodbury, New Jersey, when his story about the Philadelphia Phillies was published in what is now the South Jersey Times.

He attended the University of Maine with plans for a degree in physical education, but he found a passion for journalism as editor of the Maine Campus, the student newspaper.

Paul Westphal, Hall of Famer and NBA champion, dies at 70

Paul Westphal, a Hall of Fame player who won a championship with the Boston Celtics in 1974 and later coached in the league and in college, died Saturday. He was 70.

He died in Scottsdale, Arizona, according to a statement from Southern California, where Westphal starred in college. He was diagnosed with brain cancer last August.

A five-time All-Star guard, Westphal played in the NBA from 1972-84. After winning a championship with the Celtics, he made the finals in 1976 with Phoenix, where he was a key part of one of the most riveting games in league history. He also played for Seattle and the New York Knicks.

He averaged 15.6 points, 4.4 assists and 1.9 rebounds during his career.

After his playing career ended, Westphal moved into coaching. He led the Suns to the NBA Finals in 1993, and also was head coach of Seattle and Sacramento. He had stints as an assistant with Dallas and Brooklyn.

‘Crossing Delancey’ Director Joan Micklin Silver dies at 85

LOS ANGELES | Joan Micklin Silver, who forged a path for female directors and independent filmmakers with movies including “Hester Street” and “Crossing Delancey,” has died. She was 85.

Silver died from vascular dementia Thursday at her home in New York, her daughter Claudia Silver told The Associated Press.

She used a combination of talent, fortitude and luck to create 1975’s “Hester Street,” her first feature, released when she was 40 years old.

“Joan Micklin Silver was one of the most courageous artists I ever knew,” Carol Kane, who was nominated for a best actress Academy Award for her role in “Hester Street,” said in a statement to the AP. “She knew she could prevail at a time when women were not being taken seriously as film directors.”

Floyd Little, Syracuse and Broncos great, dies at 78

Floyd Little, the versatile running back who starred at Syracuse and for the Denver Broncos, has died after a long bout with cancer. He was 78.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame said he died Friday night at his home in Nevada.

“Floyd Little was not only a Hall of Fame running back, he was a Hall of Fame person,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said. “Faith, family and football were the pillars of his life.”

Little was a three-time All-American at Syracuse, where he wore No. 44 like Jim Brown and Ernie Davis before him. From 1964-66, he ran for 2,704 yards and 46 touchdowns.

Little was the sixth overall pick in the 1967 AFL-NFL draft. He played nine seasons in Denver, where he earned the nickname “The Franchise” because his signing was credited with keeping the team from relocating and helped persuade voters to approve funds for the old, iconic Mile High Stadium, which has since been replaced by Empower Field at Mile High.

“I know when I got there the talk was about the team moving to Chicago or Birmingham,” Little told The Associated Press in an interview in 2009. “So, I supposedly saved the franchise.”

Little was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1983 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2010.

Brian Urquhart, early leader of United Nations, dies at 101

TYRINGHAM, Mass. | British diplomat Brian Urquhart, an early leader of the United Nations who played a central role in developing the U.N. practice of peacekeeping, has died, according to his family. He was 101.

Urquhart’s son, Thomas, confirmed he died at his home in Tyringham, Massachusetts, on Saturday but didn’t provide a specific cause, the New York Times reported.

Urquhart, born in Bridport, England in 1919, served in British military and intelligence during World War II before becoming the second official hired by the U.N. after its formation in 1945. He went on to be a principal adviser to the first five U.N. secretary-generals.

Urquhart worked for the commission that set up the United Nations Secretariat in 1945, arranged the General Assembly’s first meeting in London and settled on New York City as the U.N.’s permanent home. But he was best known for creating and directing U.N. peacekeeping operations in war zones around the world.

Urquhart called peacekeeping forces an army without an enemy and decided they should wear blue helmets to distinguish them from combatants. He said they should enter a war zone only with broad political support, with the goal of ending hostilities and facilitating negotiations.

Before he retired in 1986, Urquhart had directed 13 peacekeeping operations, recruited a force of 10,000 troops from 23 countries and established peacekeeping as one of the U.N.’s most visible and politically popular functions. The U.N. peacekeeping forces won the 1988 Nobel Peace Prize.

Urquhart served 12 years as the U.N.’s No. 2 official, succeeding Ralph J. Bunche as under secretary general for political affairs in 1974.

Lebanese composer, lyricist, Elias Rahbani dies at 82

BEIRUT | Elias Rahbani, a Lebanese composer and lyricist who wrote the music for some of the Arab world’s top performers, including Lebanon’s diva Fairouz, has died after battling COVID-19, his family said. He was 82.

Rahbani was hospitalized last week suffering low oxygen after he contracted the coronavirus and succumbed to COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus, on Monday.

Elias was the younger brother of Mansour and Assi Rahbani, the Arab world’s iconic musical duo known as the Rahbani Brothers, who wrote music and plays for Fairouz and other celebrities. Assi Rahbani, who was married to Fairouz, died in 1985, while Mansour passed away in 2009.

The three brothers were pioneers of a Lebanese golden age of music and culture, before the country was plunged into a lengthy civil war in the mid- 1970s. Many Lebanese still start their day listening to their songs and see them as uniting figures, beloved across the country’s divided political spectrum.

Elias leaves behind a wife, Nina, two sons, Ghassan and Jad and a sister, Elham.

Dick Foley, former state GOP chairman, dies at 71

HARTFORD, Conn. | Former Connecticut Republican Party chairman Richard Foley Jr., a fixture for decades at the state Capitol and in state politics, has died. He was 71.

He was found dead Saturday at his home in Danbury, party officials said. No cause of death was given.

Foley served as a state representative from Oxford from 1983-93 and as state party chairman from 1989-1992.

He was convicted in 1993 of accepting a $25,000 bribe from two developers to influence state banking legislation and served four months in prison before the conviction was overturned on appeal. An appeals court ruled he was charged under the wrong statute. Foley said the money was a legitimate consulting fee.

Known for his sharp wit and political advice to GOP governors and candidates, Foley worked as a consultant and a lobbyist in Hartford.

Foley remained active in party politics as well and in 2019 unsuccessfully challenged J.R. Romano, the current party chairman, in an attempt to return to that job.

Romano, in a statement, called Foley a senior statesman with a wealth of knowledge whose loss will be deeply felt in the party.

Sandra Scully, wife of Hall of Fame announcer, dies at 76

LOS ANGELES | Sandra Scully, wife of Los Angeles Dodgers’ Hall of Fame announcer Vin Scully, has died from complications of ALS. She was 76.

The team said Monday that Sandra Scully died Sunday night at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles. She had been fighting ALS, known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, for the last several years. The progressive nervous system disease affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, causing loss of muscle control.

“She is really inspirational,” Vin Scully told The Associated Press last August. “Her faith is extremely important and I think that’s a major reason she’s held up.”

Scully said he found it “ironic” that his wife had the same condition as Gehrig, the New York Yankees great who was forced to retire in 1939 because of the disease. There is no cure.

In September, Scully auctioned off years of his personal memorabilia, which raised over $2 million. He and his wife of 47 years donated a portion of the money to UCLA for ALS research.

Born Sandra Hunt on Dec. 27, 1944, in Cascade, Virginia, she married Vin Scully in November 1973. The couple had one daughter, Catherine, together. She had two children of her own from a previous marriage and he had three children with his first wife, who died of an accidental overdose in 1972.

Sandra Scully had 21 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

The family suggests donations may be made to the Department of Neuromuscular Disease at UCLA/ALS Research.

John Muckler, coach who won 5 Cups with Oilers, dies at 86

EDMONTON, Alberta | John Muckler, who coached four NHL teams and won five Stanley Cup championships with the Edmonton Oilers, has died. He was 86.

The Oilers confirmed Muckler’s death Monday night. No cause was given.

Muckler was part of the staff that put together the Oilers dynasty of the 1980s. He joined Edmonton in 1982 as an assistant coach under Glen Sather and won five Stanley Cups with the organization from 1984-90, the last one as head coach.

When the Midland, Ontario, native left Edmonton, he served as director of operations and head coach for the Buffalo Sabres from 1991-95. Muckler also was head coach of the New York Rangers from 1997-2000, and spent 35 games in charge of the 1968-69 Minnesota North Stars.

He became general manager of the Ottawa Senators in 2001 and helped build a team that reached the 2007 Stanley Cup final, where the Senators lost to Anaheim.

Muckler’s final NHL role was a senior adviser position with the Phoenix Coyotes in September 2008, working alongside then-coach Wayne Gretzky, who had a close relationship with Muckler from their time in Edmonton.

“He was tough, strict, but most importantly fair, and he helped lay the groundwork to make our team more accountable to each other which propelled us to become champions,” Gretzky said in a statement released by the Oilers.

“A wonderful family man and great friend, he personally took my career to another level, and I will always cherish the hours we talked, from breaking down defenses to raising a family.”1984 and 1987 Canada Cup winning teams.

Tanya Roberts, Bond girl and ‘Sheena’ star, dead at 65

NEW YORK | Tanya Roberts, who captivated James Bond in “A View to a Kill” and appeared in the sitcom “That ‘70s Show,” has died, several hours after she was mistakenly declared dead by her publicist and her partner. She was 65.

Lance O’Brien, her companion of nearly two decades, told The Associated Press on Tuesday that Cedars-Sinai Medical Center reached out to him on Monday at 9:30 p.m. PST to inform him that Roberts had passed away.

“She was my soulmate, she was my best friend. We haven’t been apart for two days” in their years together, a tearful O’Brien said.

Roberts’ death was related to a urinary tract infection, publicist Mike Pingel said. He had been at the hospital Tuesday morning with O’Brien to pick up Roberts’ personal effects.

Roberts played geologist Stacey Sutton opposite Roger Moore in 1985’s “A View to a Kill,” where she held a gun on Bond after tricking him into thinking she was in a shower. The character later joined him to stop bad guys on an airship over San Francisco.

Roberts also appeared in such fantasy adventure films as “The Beastmaster” and “Hearts and Armour.” She replaced Shelley Hack in “Charlie’s Angels,” joining Jaclyn Smith and Cheryl Ladd as third Angel Julie. She also played comic book heroine Sheena — a female version of the Tarzan story — in a 1984 film.

A new generation of fans saw her on “That ‘70s Show” from 1998 and 2004, playing Midge, mother to Laura Prepon’s character Donna.

Roberts, a huge animal rights activist, is survived by O’Brien.

Manchester City’s title-winning great Colin Bell dies at 74

MANCHESTER, England | Colin Bell, one of the best English midfielders of his generation and considered an all-time great at Manchester City, has died. He was 74.

Bell, whose name lives on in the “Colin Bell Stand” named after him at the Etihad Stadium, died after a short illness not linked to the coronavirus, City said Tuesday.

“Colin Bell will always be remembered as one of Manchester City’s greatest players and the very sad news today of his passing will affect everybody connected to our club,” City Chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak said in a statement. “The passage of time does little to erase the memories of his genius. The fact that we have a stand at the Etihad Stadium named after Colin speaks volumes about the importance of his contribution to this club.”

Known as “The King of the Kippax” by fans and compared to a race horse by coach Malcolm Allison because of his extraordinary stamina, Bell was at the heart of City’s successful side of the late 1960s and 70s.

He made 492 appearances for the club over 13 seasons, scoring 152 goals, and also won 48 caps for England, netting nine times. Those statistics may have been greater had injury not curtailed his career.

“He was quiet, unassuming and I always believe he never knew how good he actually was,” former City teammate Mike Summerbee said. “He was just the greatest footballer we have ever had.”

He is survived by wife Marie, children Jon and Dawn and grandchildren Luke, Mark, Isla and Jack.

Jerry Berger, longtime St. Louis columnist, dies

ST. LOUIS | Jerry Berger, a society columnist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch for many years, has died.

The Post-Dispatch reported that Berger died Tuesday at a hospital in Coral Springs, Florida, he was 87. His husband, Victor Isart, told the newspaper that after surviving several bouts with cancer in the past decade, Berger’s health declined after he recently broke his leg in a fall.

Berger served as a columnist for more than a quarter of a century, the place where readers turned to for gossip. The newspaper said he famously told stories on — and got tips from — politicians, the rich and famous, even notorious gangsters.

Berger, who was born in and grew up in St. Louis, defined gossip as, “That which runs ahead of news all wrapped up in satin ribbons.”

He began as a columnist at the St. Louis Globe-Democrat in 1978 and left it just before it folded in 1984, moving to the Post-Dispatch.

Neil Sheehan, Pentagon Papers reporter, Vietnam author, dies

WASHINGTON | Neil Sheehan, a reporter and Pulitzer Prize-winning author who broke the story of the Pentagon Papers for The New York Times and who chronicled the deception at the heart of the Vietnam War in his epic book about the conflict, died Thursday. He was 84.

Sheehan died of complications from Parkinson’s disease, said his daughter, Catherine Sheehan Bruno.

His account of the Vietnam War, “A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam,” took him 15 years to write. The 1988 book won the Pulitzer Prize for nonfiction.

Sheehan served as a war correspondent for United Press International and then the Times in the early days of U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War in the 1960s. It was there that he developed a fascination with what he would call “our first war in vain” where “people were dying for nothing.”

As a national writer for the Times based in Washington, Sheehan was the first to obtain the Pentagon Papers, a massive history of U.S. involvement in Vietnam ordered up by the Defense Department. Daniel Ellsberg, a former consultant to the Defense Department who had previously leaked Vietnam-related documents to Sheehan, had allowed the reporter to see them.

The Times’ reports, which began in June 1971, exposed widespread government deception about U.S. prospects for victory. Soon, The Washington Post also began publishing stories about the Pentagon Papers.

Bill Rappleye, longtime political reporter, dies from cancer

CRANSTON, R.I. | A longtime political reporter in Rhode Island who won numerous awards over a 40-year career has died at 66.

Bill Rappleye died Thursday, reports WJAR-TV, the television station where he’d worked. He had brain cancer.

Rappleye spent 18 years at the NBC affiliate mainly covering politics, including hosting the station’s political talk show, moderating campaign debates and reporting from the national conventions. He left last year to report for “Rhode Island PBS Weekly” on RIPBS.

Rappleye also reported in Boston and New York, WJAR reported.

Scott Isaacs, the station’s news director, remembered Rappleye as a “tough questioner of people in power.”

Many of the state’s top politicians also shared their condolences Thursday.

“Bill was one of the best,” Gov. Gina Raimondo said in a statement. “A tenacious reporter, he never shied away from asking tough questions or getting to the bottom of a story. He was thoughtful and smart, but also kind and incredibly funny.”

Rappleye’s five daughters said their father will be remembered for his “quick wit, love of nature, unpretentiousness and empathy for the less fortunate.”

“His life’s work was to be the champion of the ‘little guy,’ to tell their stories, and to hold politicians accountable for their actions,” they said in statement. “While we know him as our sweet, beloved father, politicians did their best to evade him when they saw Bill at the state capital.”

Rappleye was born in Houston and raised in Cambridge, Massachusetts. His brother, Charles Rappleye, a Los Angeles-based investigative reporter and author, died in 2018 from cancer.

Roberts played geologist Stacey Sutton opposite Roger Moore in 1985’s “A View to a Kill,” where she held a gun on Bond after tricking him into thinking she was in a shower. The character later joined him to stop bad guys on an airship over San Francisco.

Roberts also appeared in such fantasy adventure films as “The Beastmaster” and “Hearts and Armour.” She replaced Shelley Hack in “Charlie’s Angels,” joining Jaclyn Smith and Cheryl Ladd as third Angel Julie. She also played comic book heroine Sheena — a female version of the Tarzan story — in a 1984 film.

A new generation of fans saw her on “That ‘70s Show” from 1998 and 2004, playing Midge, mother to Laura Prepon’s character Donna.

Roberts, a huge animal rights activist, is survived by O’Brien.

Former city councilman known as ‘Mr Los Angeles’ dies at 67

LOS ANGELES | Former Los Angeles City Councilman Tom LaBonge, a tireless promoter of the nation’s second-largest city, died unexpectedly at age 67.

Known as “Mr. Los Angeles,” LaBonge died Thursday.

His wife, Brigid, told the Los Angeles Times that LaBonge had been resting on a couch at home and she was unable to wake him.

“No one knew more Angelenos, no person gave more waking hours to our city, no one was a greater cheerleader for our town than Tom,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti, a former City Council colleague of LaBonge.

An outsized, upbeat personality who always seemed to be shaking hands, waving and smiling, LaBonge got his start in local politics in the 1970s and served on the council from 2001 to 2015.

Another former colleague, Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn, directed the Olympic torch at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum to be lit in honor of LaBonge.

Hahn said LaBonge’s idea of being a councilman was driving around in a truck and personally picking up bulky items from constituents.

“I remember him jumping aboard tour buses and taking over for the tour guides. He asked everyone he met where they went to high school and could name the mascot for every school in LA,” Hahn said.

Michael Apted, director of ‘Up’ documentary series, dies

Michael Apted, the acclaimed British director of the “Up” documentary series and films as diverse as the Loretta Lynn biopic “Coal Miner’s Daughter” and the James Bond film “The World Is Not Enough,” has died. He was 79.

A representative for the Directors Guild of America said his family informed the organization that he passed Thursday night. No cause was given.

Roberts played geologist Stacey Sutton opposite Roger Moore in 1985’s “A View to a Kill,” where she held a gun on Bond after tricking him into thinking she was in a shower. The character later joined him to stop bad guys on an airship over San Francisco.

Roberts also appeared in such fantasy adventure films as “The Beastmaster” and “Hearts and Armour.” She replaced Shelley Hack in “Charlie’s Angels,” joining Jaclyn Smith and Cheryl Ladd as third Angel Julie. She also played comic book heroine Sheena — a female version of the Tarzan story — in a 1984 film.

A new generation of fans saw her on “That ‘70s Show” from 1998 and 2004, playing Midge, mother to Laura Prepon’s character Donna.

Roberts, a huge animal rights activist, is survived by O’Brien.

An incredibly prolific director, Apted’s legacy is perhaps most defined by the nine “Up” films, which followed the lives of 14 economically diverse British children from age 7 to 63. The project started in 1964 with “Seven Up!” the brainchild of the late Canadian filmmaker Paul Almond. Apted served as a researcher on the first film and took over as director seven years later, continuing to check in with the subjects every seven years.

“He turned it into a nice film, but I turned it into a political document,” Apted said in a DGA Quarterly interview in 2018. “That if you were born into a certain environment, you had no chance at all of achieving any ambition. It was going to be controversial, crude, no holds barred, and was going to tell it as it was. It had a huge effect on the country, not just on television, because it showed graphically how awful things were.”

Apted credited the late film critic Roger Ebert for bringing the series to the attention of American audiences. The ambitious project earned him an Institutional Peabody Award in 2012 and also had the honor of being satirized by “The Simpsons” in a 2007 episode. The last film, “63 Up,” came out in 2019.

His wife, Brigid, told the Los Angeles Times that LaBonge had been resting on a couch at home and she was unable to wake him.

“No one knew more Angelenos, no person gave more waking hours to our city, no one was a greater cheerleader for our town than Tom,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti, a former City Council colleague of LaBonge.

An outsized, upbeat personality who always seemed to be shaking hands, waving and smiling, LaBonge got his start in local politics in the 1970s and served on the council from 2001 to 2015.

Another former colleague, Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn, directed the Olympic torch at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum to be lit in honor of LaBonge.

Hahn said LaBonge’s idea of being a councilman was driving around in a truck and personally picking up bulky items from constituents.

“I remember him jumping aboard tour buses and taking over for the tour guides. He asked everyone he met where they went to high school and could name the mascot for every school in LA,” Hahn said.

Lasorda, fiery Hall of Fame Dodgers manager, dies at 93

LOS ANGELES | Growing more and more frail, Tommy Lasorda looked on from a suite at Globe Life Field in Texas, watching as the Los Angeles Dodgers clinched the World Series in Game 6 against the Tampa Bay Rays.

Surrounded by family and friends, Lasorda celebrated the team’s first championship in 32 years that October evening amid the coronavirus pandemic. While his mobility was slowed, his mind was still sharp.

Fittingly, it was the last game he ever attended.

“He always said he wanted 2 things, to live to be 100 and to see another championship brought to the city of LA,” Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner tweeted. “Although he fought like hell to hit triple digits, I couldn’t be more proud to know he got to see the Dodgers on top again, where he knew we belonged.”

The Hall of Fame manager who was true blue to the Dodgers for more than seven decades died Thursday night after having a heart attack at his home in Fullerton, California, the team said Friday. Lasorda was 93. He had just returned home Tuesday after being hospitalized since Nov. 8 with heart issues.

Lasorda had been the oldest living baseball Hall of Famer — that distinction now belongs to Willie Mays, who turns 90 in May.

Lasorda managed in four All-Star games. He was serving as third base coach in the 2001 game when he tumbled backward while trying to avoid the shattered barrel of Vladimir Guerrero’s bat in a comical scene.

In 1998, Lasorda became interim general manager after Fred Claire was fired in the middle of the season. He resigned from that job after the season and was appointed senior vice president. After the team was sold in 2004 to Frank McCourt, Lasorda became special adviser to the chairman.

He is survived by Jo, his wife of 70 years. The couple lived in the same modest home in Fullerton for 68 years. They have a daughter Laura and a granddaughter Emily. The couple’s son, Tom Jr., died in 1991 of AIDS-related complications.

—From AP reports

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