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• Playwright Brian Friel, 86, whom many described as the Irish Chekhov. He received his first Tony nomination for the play Philadelphia, Here I Come! and won Best Play for Dancing at Lughnasa; Meryl Streep starred in the film adaptation. Friel was keenly interested in the Irish language and how it had been colonized by the English.

• Henning Mankell, 67, Swedish novelist best known for his Inspector Kurt Wallander series, including mysteries like Faceless Killers and The Troubled Man; Kenneth Branagh starred in a popular TV adaptation for the BBC. Mankell was considered a leader in the now ubiquitous Nordic noir genre.

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