The Rev. Billy Graham was a magnetic preacher who became a singular force in postwar American religious life, a confidant of presidents and the most widely heard Christian evangelist in history. He died Feb. 21 at his home in Montreat, N.C. He had suffered from cancer, pneumonia and other ailments. He was 99. Graham, who was dubbed “America’s Pastor,” reached multitudes around the globe through public appearances and his pioneering use of prime-time telecasts, network radio, daily newspaper columns, evangelistic films and satellite TV hookups. His leadership summits and crusades in more than 185 countries and territories forged powerful global links among conservative Christians and threw a lifeline to believers in the communist bloc. He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America’s highest civilian honor, from President Ronald Reagan in 1983.
Nanette Fabray was an actress, singer and dancer who became a star in Broadway musicals, on television as Sid Caesar’s comic foil and in such hit movies as “The Band Wagon.” She died Feb. 22 at her home in Palos Verdes Estates, Calif. She was 97. Fabray was just 3 when she launched her career in vaudeville as singer-dancer Baby Nanette. She won a Tony in 1949 as best actress in a musical for her role in “Love Life.” She was a co-star in the classic 1950s TV comedy-variety show “Caesar’s Hour,” which brought her three Emmy awards. She also played Bonnie Franklin’s mother in the 1980s sitcom “One Day at a Time,” and mother to Shelley Fabares, her real-life niece, in the 1990s sitcom “Coach.”
Barbara Alston was a singer with 1960s girl group The Crystals. She died Feb. 16 in Charlotte, N.C., of complications from the flu, according to her daughter. She was 74. The Crystals, who formed in 1961, were best known for working with Wall of Sound producer Phil Spector and for their hit singles “Da Doo Ron Ron,” “Then He Kissed Me” and “There’s No Other Like My Baby.”
David Zwick was instrumental in writing and securing passage of the Clean Water Act of 1972 and founded the advocacy group Clean Water Action. He died Feb. 5 in Minneapolis. He was 75. Zwick was a second-year law student at Harvard when Ralph Nader came to the campus in 1969 recruiting “Nader’s Raiders” to work on his citizen-advocacy projects. He soon became an expert in how the nation’s water supply was being polluted and the scope of the problem. He was also instrumental in securing passage of the Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974.
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Sam Bloch was a Holocaust survivor who dedicated his life to preserving the memory of the victims of Nazi atrocities. He died Feb. 4 of congestive heart failure at his home in New York, his son-in-law said. He was 93. Bloch, who grew up in an area that was then Poland but is now part of Belarus, was 16 when his father was killed in a mass execution by Nazi forces in 1941. He joined a guerrilla brigade called the Bielski partisans, who hid in the woods and attacked German soldiers. He moved to the U.S. in 1950 and became a leader of efforts to remember the Holocaust with museums, memorials and gatherings of survivors.
Günter Blobel was a molecular biologist who was awarded the 1999 Nobel Prize in Medicine for discovering that proteins in any living cell have virtual ZIP codes that guide them to where they can help regulate body tissues, organs and chemistry. He died Feb. 18 in New York. He was 81. Blobel, a Silesian-born boy in Nazi Germany during World War II, set out to be a physician in America but found himself increasingly drawn to pure research. He spent nearly all his working life at Rockefeller University, what he regarded as the valhalla of research.
Compiled from news service reports by Chris Carter, email@example.com.