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Bob Kane, the comic book artist and writer who created the mythic hero "Batman" for DC Comics while still in his teens, died Nov. 3 of natural causes at his home in Los Angeles. He was 83.

The writer, artist and self-described "doodler" once said that he was inspired by the drawings of Leonardo da Vinci to create the iconic comic book hero. Unlike Superman, who debuted in DC Comics in 1938, Batman (who premiered in Detective Comics No. 27 in May 1939) is an ordinary human being.

The character became an immediate success and spawned an industry ranging from toys to fine art. "Batman" was a hit TV series in the 1960s and the subject of four films beginning in 1989.

Jenette Kahn, president and editor-in-chief of DC Comics, said, "Bob will be greatly missed, but he has left a legacy that will keep his memory alive."

Kane also created the television cartoon characters Courageous Cat, Minute Mouse and Cool McCool. At the time of his death, he had completed an unsold screenplay called "The Silver Fox" about a new superhero, according to his attorney, Jim Leonard.

Kane is survived by his actress wife, Elizabeth Sanders, a daughter, a grandson and a sister.


Bob Trow, who portrayed Robert Troll, Bob Dog and himself for some 30 years on "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood," died Nov. 3 of a heart attack at his home in New Alexandria, Pa. He was 72.

He taped appearances for "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" up to a week before his death. The episodes will air in February.

Trow got his start in broadcasting as one of Rege Cordic's sidekicks on morning radio in Pittsburgh.

First on WWSW and then KDKA, he played comic characters whose role was to harass the host. Among them: Carmen Monoxide, an incorrigible punster; Omicron, a bureaucrat from Venus; and Louie Adamchevitz, a Slav garbageman.

Survivors include his wife, Lois; two sons, Eric and Rob, both of whom do voiceover work; and two grandchildren.


Norma Ransom Peterson, whose 55-year acting career touched all facets of showbiz, died Sept. 24 from injuries sustained in an auto accident in Pasadena, Calif. She was 83.

Born in Chicago, she grew up in Caledonia, Minn., and graduated from the U. of Minnesota, where she majored in drama.

In 1937, she married fellow actor Arthur H. Peterson (who played Dr. Rutledge on the popular radio series "The Guiding Light").

In Chicago, the husband-and-wife team starred in the early ABC sitcom "That's O'Toole."

In Hollywood during the 1970s, they co-founded Actors Alley and continued to act well into their 70s, touring the country in "The Gin Game."

Widowed since 1996, Peterson continued her career with commercial and voiceover work. She recently appeared on Fox TV's "Holding the Baby" doing her "baby cry," which she had done previously on such TV shows as "Soap" (on which her husband played the Major), "Empty Nest," "Benson" and "The John Larroquette Show."

She is survived by a son, a daughter, three grandchildren and eight grandchildren.

--Doug Galloway


Sigmund Miller, a playwright, screenwriter and author who was blacklisted in the 1950s, died Aug. 5 at Mt. Sinai Medical Center in New York City due to complications from pneumonia. He was 87.

A veteran of the Army Signal Corps, Miller was born in Austria and spent his childhood in Brooklyn.

He pursued a writing career, and in the late 1940s worked as a chief writer for the popular mystery radio show "The Inner Sanctum." Miller counted among his friends Orson Welles and Zero Mostel.

During the McCarthy era, Miller was blacklisted soon after two of his plays, "One Bright Day" and "An Ancient Instinct," were produced on Broadway.

He consequently moved to England, where "One Bright Day" had a three-year stint in London and was selected as one of the best plays of 1956 by the London Times.

Miller wrote numerous film scripts after this period, such as "Jet Storm" and "Wicked As They Come." He additionally worked as a script doctor, using a pseudonym to avoid the blacklist.

An author of many books, Miller's work includes "The Snow Leopard," "That's the Way the Money Goes," "The Good Life" and "The Conquest of Aging."

Miller was a member of the Writers Guild of America, the Author's League, the Dramatists Guild and the Player's Club.

He is survived by his wife, two sons and two grandchildren.

--Jill Pesselnick


Christopher Gable, a British ballet star who also had a successful acting career on stage and film, died of cancer Oct. 23 in London. He was 58.

As a dancer, he rose to prominence with the Royal Ballet, but arthritis in his feet led him to concentrate on an acting career and he scored his biggest film hits in works by Ken Russell.

Gable played a supporting role in the director's 1969 "Women in Love," and reunited with Russell 20 years later in "The Rainbow," based on D.H. Lawrence's prequel to "Women." In 1971, he starred with Twiggy in "The Boy Friend" and choreographed some of the numbers.

He did a season with the Royal Shakespeare Company, where he played Lysander in "A Midsummer Night's Dream," among other roles. Gable also performed in the theaters of London's West End and in Manchester, northern England, for several years.

The London-born Gable rose to fame, however, as a dancer. He had a famous partnership in the Royal Ballet with Lynn Seymour and his first big success came with her in 1960 in "The Invitation," a new ballet by choreographer Kenneth MacMillan.

Gable's boyish good looks, grace and athleticism won him critical success, and he became one of the Royal Ballet's most popular dancers. His second partnership with Seymour, in Frederick Ashton's ballet, "The Two Pigeons," in 1961, won the critics' praise when he was only 20.

MacMillan choreographed his celebrated "Romeo and Juliet" for Gable and Seymour in 1965. But the two dancers lost out in the premiere when the ballet management decided to put the more famous Rudolf Nureyev and Margot Fonteyn in the roles.


Rita Roland, a film editor who began her career in Europe prior to World War II, died of a stroke Aug. 17 in Los Angeles. She was 84.

Survivors of the Holocaust, Roland and her husband moved to the United States after the war.

In the 1950s Roland began working as an editor for MGM where she quickly rose to full editor.

Roland's film works included "Patch of Blue," Resurrection and "Fort Apache, The Bronx." She also assisted in other films including "Sybil," "The Doll Maker" and "Eleanor and Franklin: The White House Years."

She is survived by her husband, Dutch producer and director Henry Martin.


Barrett Deems, a drummer for Louis Armstrong and Benny Goodman among other jazz greats, died Sept. 15 of natural causes in Chicago. He was 83.

Deems, known in jazz circles as the great Deemus, was 15 years old when he started drumming professionally.

Highlights of his nearly 70-year career included keeping time for the likes of musicians Joe Venuti, Jimmy Dorsey, Buck Clayton, Roy Eldridge, Muggsy Spanier, Jack Teagarden, Art Hodes and Benny Carter.


British comic actress Patricia Hayes, a star of many popular television shows who is best known for her portrayal of high-pitched cockney characters, died Sept. 19 in London. She was 88.

In a career spanning 70 years, Hayes won greatest acclaim in the title role of television play "Edna, the Inebriate Woman," which won her a 1972 British Academy Award from the British Academy of Film & Television Arts.

Her films included "Nicholas Nickleby," "Goodbye Mr. Chips," "The Never Ending Stow" and "Little Dorrit."


Gerold Frank, an award-winning author and pioneer of the as-told-to celebrity biography, died Sept. 17 in Philadelphia. He was 91.

Frank collaborated with Mike Connolly and singer Lillian Roth on her memoir, "I'll Cry Tomorrow," which was made into a movie with Susan Hayward.

He also worked with gossip columnist Sheilah Graham on "Beloved Infidel," the story of her relationship with F. Scott Fitzgerald, which became a movie with Gregory Peck and Deborah Kerr.

Frank ghostwrote at least 17 books, and his reputation as a ghostwriter for famous women often overshadowed his own well-reviewed writing.

He won an Edgar from the Mystery Writers of America for 1963's "The Deed," about the assassination of the British diplomat Lord Moyne. He won a second Edgar for 1966's "The Boston Strangler," which was made into a movie with Tony Curtis.


Charlie Foxx, 64, who wrote the duet "Mockingbird" that twice became a chart topper, once for himself in the 1960s and then again for James Taylor and Carly Simon in the 1970s, died Sept. 18 of leukemia in Mobile, Ala.

Foxx and sister, Inez F. Fletcher, toured the world as a duo in the 1960s. They took "Mockingbird" into the Top 10 in 1963; Taylor and Simon took the song to No. 1 in 1974.

The duo followed up "Mockingbird" with several more hits, including "Hurt By Love," "I Stand Accused," "No Stranger to Love" and "(1-2-3-4-5-6-7) Count the Days."
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Article Type:Obituary
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 9, 1998
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