R. Eugene Pincham dead at 82

Chicago civil rights attorney; former American Legion leader

  • R. Eugene Pincham, a longtime civil rights attorney, has died at the age of 82.

    R. Eugene Pincham, a longtime civil rights attorney, has died at the age of 82.

Published: 4/6/2008 1:30 AM

R. Eugene Pincham, a longtime civil rights attorney who helped win a multimillion-dollar settlement after two young boys were falsely accused of killing an 11-year-old girl, has died. He was 82.

His son, Robert Eugene Pincham Jr., said his father died Thursday after a long illness.

Pincham, who was also a former judge and made a run for mayor in 1991, was one of the most well-known attorneys in the city and a vocal critic of police and the courts.

His clients included one of two boys falsely accused in the 1998 bludgeoning death of an 11-year-old Ryan Harris. The case made headlines across the country because the boys were only 7 and 8 when police accused them of murdering the girl.

He unsuccessfully challenged Mayor Richard M. Daley when Daley -- who is still the city's mayor -- sought his first full term in 1991.

Born in Chicago, Pincham was raised in Alabama by his mother, who moved there after a divorce. He eventually graduated from Northwestern University's law school.

William Rogers, a World War II fighter pilot who served as national commander of the American Legion in 1976-77, has died after suffering an abdominal aneurysm, his family said. He was 87.

Rogers, who died Wednesday, joined the Navy when war broke out. He began pilot training at the University of North Carolina with Boston Red Sox greats Ted Williams and Johnny Pesky, who was Rogers' roommate.

He later became active in veterans' affairs, helping to found Legion Post 153 in Auburn and serving as the Legion's state commander in 1955-56.

Norberto Collado Abreu, the helmsman of the Granma yacht that carried Fidel Castro from Mexico to Cuba to launch his revolution in 1956, has died in Havana.

The Cuban News Agency confirmed the death Wednesday, but did not give his age or the cause of death.

The agency said Collado Abreu served in the navy during World War II, but his political leanings later landed him in prison where he met Castro and joined his revolutionary movement.

Both were freed under amnesty and went into exile in Mexico, only to return and launch the uprising that would topple dictator Fulgencio Batista. Collado Abreu held various posts in the Cuban navy under Castro until 1981.

Guy McElwaine, who as a Hollywood agent and studio chief was involved in blockbusters ranging from "All the President's Men" to "The Karate Kid," has died. He was 71.

McElwaine died Wednesday at his Bel-Air home after a brief battle with pancreatic cancer, according to his daughter, Alexandra McElwaine-Grane.

In the 1960s, McElwaine owned a management and public relations company whose clients included Frank Sinatra, Warren Beatty and The Mamas and The Papas.

He later joined Creative Management Associates, an agency that was the forerunner for the powerful International Creative Management. There, he was the first agent to sign Steven Spielberg, according to a biography in the statement announcing his death.

In the 1970s he was briefly at Warner Bros. as senior executive vice president in charge of worldwide motion picture production, helping supervise movies such as "All the President's Men" and "Dog Day Afternoon."

Ray Smith Poole, a former New York Giants All-Pro end and three-sport star at the University of Mississippi, has died. He was 86.

Ole Miss officials said he died Wednesday of cancer.

Poole played baseball and basketball at Ole Miss, where his football career was interrupted by three years of service with the Marines in World War II. After his pro career he returned to Oxford as a football coach, working for longtime Ole Miss coach Johnny Vaught.

He was all-Southeastern Conference and turned pro after being taken by the New York Giants in the 13th round of the 1944 NFL draft. He played for the Giants from 1947-52 and the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League in 1953-54.

Poole also was drafted by the Chicago Cubs but never made it to the major leagues.

Nikolai Baibakov, who served as Josef Stalin's oil commissar and later guided the Soviet Union's planned economy for two decades, has died, Russia's gas monopoly Gazprom said. He was 97.

Baibakov, who died of pneumonia Monday in Moscow, was believed to have been the last living commissar to serve under Stalin. He was also thought to have been one of the last surviving witnesses of Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev's historic secret speech denouncing Stalin at the 1956 Soviet Communist Party congress.

Romanian painter Sabin Balasa, known for his huge surrealistic murals but criticized for painting former communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu in a flattering light, has died. He was 76.

Balasa had been in hospital for a month with lung cancer and died of a heart attack Tuesday afternoon, doctors at the Saint Mary hospital in Bucharest said.

Balasa was one of Romania's most prominent artists, gaining notoriety after he painted Ceausescu and his wife Elena in the 1980s. Critics said he contributed to Ceausescu's massive personality cult.

Balasa's fame and success continued after communism ended. He was often commissioned to paint murals on the walls of Romania's newly wealthy.

William Kraushaar, a pioneer in high-energy astronomy and a former physics professor at MIT and the University of Wisconsin, has died. He was 87.

He died March 21 of complications from Parkinson's disease, his stepson David Rodgers said.

Kraushaar, who devoted much of his career to the study of interstellar matter, began in 1955 a decade of work on the detection of cosmic gamma rays that promised to open new ways to investigate high-energy processes in the universe.

In 1958 he proposed what would become known as Explorer 11, the first orbiting astronomical observatory.

Upon his move to Wisconsin, he established a research group in X-ray astronomy whose work revealed a hot and violent part of the universe, one that contained previously unsuspected black holes, neutron stars and million-degree gas.

Bob Menke, who played on Indiana's 1940 NCAA championship basketball team and later was elected to the state Legislature, has died. He was 88.

Menke, who died Sunday, and older brother Bill Menke were part of the Hoosiers' team that beat Kansas 60-42 in the title game in Kansas City, Mo., in 1940, the second year of the NCAA tournament. That Indiana team was coached by Branch McCracken.

Bob Menke is a member of the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame. He was a center on the Huntingburg High School team that in 1937 was the state runner-up.

Menke was elected to a term in the Indiana House in 1952 and served on the IU Board of Trustees.

Grace Thorpe, the daughter of Olympic great Jim Thorpe, a tribal judge and an anti-nuclear activist, has died. She was 86.

Thorpe died Tuesday of heart failure at the Claremore, Okla., Veterans Center, said her granddaughter, Tena Mallotte.

Thorpe was a direct descendent of Sac and Fox chief Black Hawk and was of Potawatomi, Kickapoo, and Menominee heritage, according to Park Brothers Funeral Service, which is handling memorial arrangements.

Thorpe was a World War II veteran, having served as a Women's Army Corps corporal in New Guinea, the Philippines, and Japan.

Her father, Jim Thorpe, died in 1953 at age 65.

American director Jules Dassin, whose Greek wife, Melina Mercouri, starred in his hit movie "Never on Sunday," died Monday, officials said. He was 96.

The cause of death was not made public.

Dassin, a leftist activist whose more than 20 films also included "Topkapi," abandoned Hollywood in 1950 during the Communist blacklisting era.

Five years later, he won wide acclaim for "Rififi," famous for its long, dialogue-free heist sequence. The movie won him the best director prize at the Cannes Film Festival, where he met Mercouri.

In 1980, Dassin made the Canadian-backed film "Circle of Two," starring Richard Burton as an aged artist with a romantic fixation on a teenage student, played by Tatum O'Neal. Dassin was disheartened by its weak box office performance and never made another film.

Robert F. Goheen, who led Princeton University during the 1960s, a time of rapid turbulent change for the college and the world, died Monday. He was 88.

Goheen died of heart failure at the University Medical Center at Princeton, the school said.

He was a 37-year-old assistant classics professor when he became Princeton's 16th president in 1957. During his tenure, which lasted until his retirement in 1972, the university first admitted women, increased its ethnic and racial diversity, and expanded its commitment to research while its annual budget quadrupled.

Sean Levert, a third of the 1980s R&B trio LeVert and son of lead O'Jays singer Eddie Levert, died Sunday after falling ill while serving a jail term. He was 39.

Authorities said Monday that an autopsy was inconclusive but that foul play was ruled out.

Levert was sentenced last week to one year and 10 months in jail for failing to pay $89,025 in child support. He died at Lutheran Hospital in Cleveland, less than an hour after he was taken there from the jail, said coroner Frank Miller.

The brothers formed LeVert in the 1980s with childhood friend Marc Gordon. Their hits included "Baby I'm Ready," "(Pop, Pop, Pop, Pop) Goes My Mind" and "Casanova."

"Casanova" was nominated for a Grammy in 1988 for best R&B performance by a duo or group with vocal. It was also nominated for best R&B song.

Wayne Frost, a hip-hop pioneer known as "Frosty Freeze" whose acrobatic performance with the legendary Rock Steady Crew in the 1983 hit movie "Flashdance" set off a worldwide breakdancing craze, has died. He was 44.

Frost died Thursday after a long illness, said Jorge "Fabel" Pabon, a senior vice president of the crew where Frost and other so-called b-boys (for beat or break boys) made their name performing complicated and daring dance routines.

Breakdancing emerged from the Bronx and Harlem in the early 1970s, part of the hip-hop culture that also included graffiti, MCing or rapping, and disc jockeys scratching and mixing vinyl records on turntables.

Frost was known for his energetic style, intricate choreography and fearless moves including back flips and head spins. One was even dubbed the "Suicide."