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Obituaries of note

By Times Staff Writer
Published July 4, 2004

ROBERT W. "BOB" BEMER, 84, who helped invent the code used by most of the world's computers to translate text to numbers, died June 22 at his home on Possum Kingdom Lake in Texas. Without the invention of the computer code ASCII, pronounced "As-kee," there would be no e-mail, no World Wide Web, no laser printers and no video games. Computer users can thank Mr. Bemer for the back-slash character and for the escape sequence, which allows a computer to break from one language and enter another. The Washington Post said Mr. Bemer, known as "the father of ASCII," was the first scientist to warn of the Y2K problem.

DANNY DARK, 65, the unseen voice of Budweiser, StarKist Tuna and other national brands in television and radio commercials, died June 13 in Los Angeles. In the StarKist commercials, he told Charlie Tuna, "Sorry, Charlie"; in Budweiser spots he said, "This Bud's for you," and in commercials for Raid Ant & Roach Killer he said, "Raid kills bugs dead." The trade paper Radio & Records said, "Dark's distinctive voice has been heard in more award-winning commercials than any announcer in broadcast history."

MAJ. GEN. GEORGE S. PATTON, 80, the son and namesake of the World War II armored commander and a veteran of combat in the Korean and Vietnam wars, died June 27 in Hamilton, Mass. As a colonel, he commanded the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment in Vietnam. As a major general in 1975, he took command of the 2nd Armored Division at Fort Hood, Texas. His father had led the division in North Africa.

ANTHONY J. "TONY" HOPE, 63, the former head of the National Indian Gaming Commission and the son of comedian Bob Hope, died Monday in Washington, D.C., after a brief illness, according to Bob Hope Enterprises.

SIR RICHARD MAY, 65, a British judge who presided over the first two years of the war crimes trial of the former Yugoslav president, Slobodan Milosevic, died Thursday in Oxford, England. A low-key barrister who got a knighthood a week before his death, fell ill early this year. He had a brain tumor, friends of the family said.

BERNARD GRANT, 83, a soap opera star also well known for providing the English dubbed into foreign films, died Wednesday in New York City. For two decades, he was a fixture of daytime dramas on television, most notably as the mellow Dr. Paul Fletcher in The Guiding Light and as Steve Burke, a more brusque type, in One Life to Live. In foreign films translated into English, he was the voice of Marcello Mastroianni, Yves Montand, Jean Gabin and others.

AGNES CUNNINGHAM, 95, a founder of the influential folk-song journal Broadside, died June 27 in New Paltz, N.Y., according to a daughter, Jane Friesen. Broadside, begun by Mrs. Cunningham and her husband, Gordon Friesen, in 1962, published more than 1,000 topical songs during its 26-year run. It included some of the first works by Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs, Janis Ian, Buffy Sainte-Marie and Tom Paxton. "This very small magazine, it reached key people throughout the country," said Pete Seeger, a frequent contributor. "When a good song came along, it got picked up right away."

[Last modified July 4, 2004, 01:00:39]


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