• U.S.

Milestones Mar. 7, 2005

3 minute read
Melissa August, Harriet Barovick, Elizabeth L. Bland, Mark Coatney and Jeninne Lee-St. John

RECOVERING. POPE JOHN PAUL II, 84, from an emergency tracheotomy done to alleviate breathing difficulties after a relapse of the flu that hospitalized him for nine days in early February; in Rome. After the procedure, the Pontiff was said to be breathing normally and eating, but he would be unable to speak for several days.

ARRESTED. DENNIS RADER, 59, a city worker suspected of being the BTK serial killer, linked to at least eight murders in the Wichita area in the 1970s and ’80s; in Park City, Kans. The killer, who bragged of his crimes in letters to Wichita media in the late ’70s and suggested his nickname (the initials stand for “bind, torture, kill”), had not been heard from for 25 years when he resurfaced last March with a letter to the Wichita Eagle, taking responsibility for a 1986 killing.

DIED. ULI DERICKSON, 60, flight attendant for T.W.A. whose courage and calm determination saved lives when Lebanese gunmen hijacked Flight 847 en route from Athens to Rome on June 14, 1985, and held the plane in Beirut for 17 days, killing one; of cancer; in Tucson, Ariz. Taking charge, Derickson soothed a gunman by singing a German ballad he requested, intervened to stop the beatings of passengers and used her Shell credit card to pay $5,500 for the plane’s refueling.

DIED. SANDRA DEE, 62, perky Hollywood teen idol who caused squeals in teenage bedrooms everywhere when she married pop singer Bobby Darin; of complications from kidney disease; in Thousand Oaks, Calif. She played the innocent tomboy surfer in the 1959 film Gidget, a signature role that led to a string of similar parts. But she showed a more serious side in films such as Imitation of Life and A Summer Place. She gradually disappeared from Hollywood, battling anorexia and drinking problems, after her turbulent marriage to Darin ended in 1967.

DIED. GUILLERMO CABRERA INFANTE, 75, inventive Cuban-born novelist known for his offbeat humor and vivid evocations of pre-Castro Cuba; of a blood infection; in London. An exile since the early 1960s, he was best known for his 1967 novel Tres Tristes Tigres (later published in English as Three Trapped Tigers), a loving, pyrotechnic paean to the energetic night life of old Havana.

DIED. ROBERT KEARNS, 77, feisty inventor of intermittent windshield wipers, who took on automotive giants to defend his patents; of cancer; in Sykesville, Md. Kearns battled Ford and Chrysler all the way to the Supreme Court, winning $30 million in settlements but never peace of mind.

DIED. JOHN RAITT, 88, Broadway baritone; of complications from pneumonia; in Los Angeles. To a later generation, he was known as the father of pop-blues singer Bonnie Raitt, but he became an instant star back in 1945 as Billy Bigelow, the antihero of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel (their showstopping 7-min.-long Soliloquy was written for him). Raitt also starred in Broadway’s Carnival in Flanders and the 1954 hit The Pajama Game.

DIED. HENRY A. GRUNWALD, 82, former managing editor of TIME, editor-in-chief of all Time Inc. publications and U.S. ambassador to Austria from 1988-90; in New York City. (See page 8.)

DIED. PETER BENENSON, 83, British lawyer and pioneering human-rights crusader who founded Amnesty International; of pneumonia; in Oxford, England. As a teenager he raised money to help children orphaned by the Spanish Civil War. In 1961 he launched Amnesty International to help those he called “prisoners of conscience,” after reading about two Portuguese students jailed for toasting liberty. He early on resigned his leadership of the London-based group–now with nearly 2 million members worldwide–but remained a passionate activist.

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