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Obituaries of note

By Times Staff Writer
Published September 23, 2005


GORDON GOULD, 85, a pioneer in laser technology who coined the word "laser" and won a decadeslong struggle to secure patent rights for the most commonly used type, died Friday in New York City. He invented two of the most important kinds of lasers, the gas discharge laser and the optically pumped laser, which have applications as varied as supermarket checkout counters and eye operations. While convincing federal courts to uphold his patents, he was forced to sit on the sidelines when Charles H. Townes shared the 1964 Nobel Prize in Physics with two Russian physicists for developments that led to the laser. Mr. Gould, however, received patents on the device that brought him more than $30-million in royalties.

JOEL HIRSCHHORN, 67, the songwriter who shared Academy Awards for theme songs in two catastrophe-oriented motion pictures, The Poseidon Adventure and The Towering Inferno, died Sunday in Thousand Oaks, Calif. His songs, recorded by artists including Elvis Presley, have sold more than 90-million records, and his music accents a score of motion pictures.

JOHN CALVIN JUREIT, 87, the inventor of the Gang-Nail connector plate, a simple-to-use connecting device for roof trusses that helped revolutionize the home-building industry in the 1950s, died Sept. 9 in Stuart. He said he first imagined the Gang-Nail plate during a meditative moment in church, and named it during a quiet moment in the shower. He was modest about the brainstorm. "You just scratch your head a little bit and think," he said. "It's not that hard."

CONSTANCE MOORE, 84, a versatile actor of Hollywood films in the 1930s and 1940s, died Friday in Los Angeles. She appeared in comedies, dramas, musicals, westerns and even a 1939 series called Buck Rogers. She starred with Robert Young in a short-lived (1961-62) TV series Window on Main Street.

HONEY BRUCE FRIEDMAN, 78, a onetime nightclub singer and stripper best known as the former wife of comedian Lenny Bruce, died Sept. 12 in a Honolulu hospital after a long illness, said publicist Jeff Abraham.

JOHN BROMFIELD, 83, an actor best known as a contemporary Western lawman in the 1950s television series The Sheriff of Cochise and U.S. Marshal, died Sunday in Palm Desert, Calif.

JAY M. GOULD, 90, a leading figure in the antinuclear movement, died Friday in New York City. A statistician and epidemiologist, he contended over the past two decades that radiation from nuclear power plants was causing high rates of cancer in surrounding neighborhoods. His research was widely credited with raising awareness about possible safety issues with the nation's 100-plus nuclear reactors, but it was also criticized by much of the scientific community as alarmist.

JACOB A. MARINSKY, 87, a chemist who helped discover promethium, No. 61 in the periodic table and one of several elements isolated during work on the Manhattan Project, died Sept. 1 in Buffalo, N.Y. A chemist at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee from 1944 to 1946, he and colleagues isolated promethium, a byproduct of atomic research in uranium fission.

HORST TAPPE, 67, a photographer whose portraits of literary and artistic luminaries included Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Vladimir Nabokov and Alfred Hitchcock, died of cancer Aug. 21 in Vevey, Switzerland. His most widely reproduced portraits included his photo of Picasso half in shadow and staring sideways and a 1970 shot of the Russian novelist Nabokov wearing knee pants and holding a butterfly net.