• U.S.

Milestones Jan. 26, 1998

2 minute read
Kathleen Adams, Daniel Eisenberg, Jon Goldstein, Tam Gray, Anita Hamilton, Janice M. Horowitz, Nadya Labi, Michele Orecklin and Alain L.Sanders

EXPECTING. UMA THURMAN, 27, other-worldly actress, and ETHAN HAWKE, 27, her companion and Gattaca co-star; their first child; in July.

REPLACED. FRANK GIFFORD, 67, co-host of ABC’s Monday Night Football for the past 27 years; by BOOMER ESIASON, 36, the Cincinnati Bengals quarterback who quit the team last week to join the network.

DIED. JOHN WELLS, 61, satirical British writer-actor; of cancer; in London. An Oxford graduate and schoolmaster at Eton College, Wells found relief from his straitlaced company in dispatches to the humor magazine Private Eye, writing the columns Mrs. Wilson’s Diary and Dear Bill–purportedly Denis Thatcher’s crotchety chronicle of life with the Iron Lady.

DIED. JUNIOR WELLS, 63, blues master of the harmonica; of cancer; in Chicago. Playing the blues came naturally to a youth angling for tips in the streets of West Memphis, Ark. But he hit his groove in the Windy City as one-third of the Little Chicago Devils and later on tour with Muddy Waters. Hoodoo Man Blues, his classic jam session with guitarist Buddy Guy, was Wells at his finest–fiery, raw, defiant.

DIED. ROBERT TOWNSEND, 77, business guru whose best-selling Up the Organization detailed how he jump-started Avis’ flagging car rentals; in the West Indies. So what was his secret? One, revealed in his 97-chapter treatise, was to serve big lunches before board meetings.

DIED. JIMMIE ALBRIGHT, 82, fly-fishing adviser to the famous–among them, Ernest Hemingway and Jimmy Stewart; in Islamorada, Fla. Albright’s other contributions to the sport were more tangible: he invented the nail knot and a hitch called the Albright special.

DIED. WALTER DIEMER, 93, creator of a chewy, rubbery substance better known as bubble gum; in Lancaster, Pa. An accountant for the gummaker Fleer Corp. in the 1920s, Diemer tinkered with gum recipes during his spare time. Bubble gum–later marketed as Dubble Bubble–was an experimental mistake, but local kids bought out his first 5 lbs. of the stuff in a single afternoon.

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