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Harriet Barovick, Lon Tweeten, Kate Stinchfield, Elisabeth Salemme, Carolyn Sayre, Tiffany Sharples and Alexandra Silver


Bill Clinton’s record on gay and lesbian issues has been debated, but no one could argue with the 1996 appointment of R. Scott Hitt as chairman of the first ever Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS. In his first six weeks on the job, the Los Angeles physician–the first openly gay person to head such a group–recommended eight urgent proposals, including a White House conference, all of which Clinton quickly adopted. The outspoken Hitt, who once criticized his boss’s “hypocrisy” for not supporting needle-exchange programs, had metastatic colon cancer. He was 49.

• Her candor about everything, from bodily functions to sexual fantasies–a turnoff for squeamish honchos who could have promoted her career–made stand-up comic Marilyn Martinez a heroine among her fans. The racy, unapologetically “fat” Martinez had tiny roles on TV (My Wife and Kids) and in film (Pauly Shore Is Dead) but mostly liked to discomfit her male-dominated industry in gigs with all-Latina troupes such as the Hot and Spicy Mamitas and the Latin Divas of Comedy, with whom she anchored a cable special this year. She was 52 and had colon cancer.

• As a senior at New York University, Ira Levin placed second in a CBS screenplay competition, pretty much the last time he was edged out of the top spot. He followed his first, Edgar-winning novel, A Kiss Before Dying, with such iconic horror-thriller mega-best sellers as Rosemary’s Baby, The Boys from Brazil and The Stepford Wives and later wrote the long-running 1978 Broadway hit Deathtrap. Levin was 78.

• He was best known for directing seminal films like All Quiet on the Western Front and 1956’s Best Picture, Marty–which won him an Academy Award–but Delbert Mann preferred the autonomy and excitement of live TV during its heyday. Praised by critics for his stark, evocative style, the quiet filmmaker made more than 100 live TV dramas and 25 TV films. Among the best known: 1968’s Heidi, which famously interrupted the final tense moments of a New York Jets-Oakland Raiders game that came to be known as the Heidi game. Mann was 87.

• For most of us, the sinking of the Titanic is a tragic historical event. For Barbara West Dainton, one of the last two survivors, the 1912 disaster was intensely personal. Her father, who helped shuttle 10-month-old Barbara, along with her sister and mother, onto a lifeboat, was one of the 1,500 lost. Over the years, Dainton refused to discuss the events, and she insisted her funeral take place before her death was announced. She was 96.

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