Michael Bond was the genial British author who created Paddington Bear, the polite, good-natured but disaster-prone little hero of some 20 books, a television series and a feature film. He died June 27 at his home in London after a short illness, according to his publisher, HarperCollins. He was 91. Bond said he based the Paddington character on a teddy bear that he bought for his wife as a stocking filler, and named him after the station he used for daily commutes. The furry adventurer first appeared in “A Bear Called Paddington” in 1958. The books have sold some 35 million copies worldwide and have been translated into 40 languages. In addition to the Paddington stories, Bond wrote a series of books about a guinea pig named Olga da Polga and a string of novels for adults about a French detective called Monsieur Pamplemousse.
Michael Nyqvist was a Swedish actor who starred in the original “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” films and often played villains in Hollywood movies. He died June 27 after battling lung cancer, his family said. He was 56. Nyqvist is perhaps best known worldwide for originating the role of Mikael Blomkvist in the Swedish “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” series. In Hollywood, Nyqvist played a broad range of memorable roles, including the mob boss who terrorizes Keanu Reeves in “John Wick” and Tom Cruise’s foe in “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol.”
Geri Allen was a musically adventurous jazz pianist and bandleader who furthered the careers of other women in jazz and performed with the leading musicians of her time, from Ornette Coleman to Wayne Shorter. She died June 27 at a hospital in Philadelphia from cancer. She was 60. Allen released more than 20 albums as a bandleader, many of which featured her own compositions. She portrayed pianist Mary Lou Williams in the 1996 Robert Altman film “Kansas City,” set in the 1930s. She also found time to write symphonic works, develop theatrical projects and become a prominent jazz educator.
Anthony Young was a pitcher who set a major-league record with 27 straight losses. He died June 27 in Houston after a long illness. He had told former teammates this spring that he had a brain tumor. He was 51. Young’s streak of losses began in 1992 with the New York Mets and stretched into the next season. He also pitched for the Chicago Cubs and finished with the Houston Astros in 1996. He was 15-48 with a 3.89 ERA in his career.
Gary DeCarlo co-wrote and sang lead on the band Steam’s enduring 1969 hit “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye.” He died June 28 of cancer at a hospice facility in Branford, Conn. He was 75. “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye” rose to the top of the charts in 1969 shortly after its release. It has remained a staple at sporting events, with the home fans often taunting the opposing team by singing its chorus “na na na na, hey hey hey, goodbye!” Most recently, a group of Democrats invoked the chant in May to taunt Republicans after the House of Representatives passed a health care bill opposed by Democrats.
Simone Veil was a survivor of Nazi death camps and a European Parliament president who spearheaded abortion rights as one of France’s most prominent female politicians. She died June 30 in Paris, her family said. She was 89. Veil was health minister of France when she championed the 1975 law that legalized abortion in that country. She became the first woman to be chosen president of the European Parliament in 1979 and served until 1982.
Dave Semenko was the Edmonton Oilers tough guy who protected superstar Wayne Gretzky during the 1980s. He died June 29 of pancreatic cancer in Edmonton, Alberta. He was 59. Semenko was the on-ice bodyguard for “The Great One” for parts of 10 seasons with the Oilers in the World Hockey Association and NHL. He helped Edmonton win the Stanley Cup in 1984 and 1985. He played his final two seasons with the Hartford Whalers and Toronto Maple Leafs.
Loren Janes was a legendary stuntman and stunt coordinator who doubled for Steve McQueen for the actor’s entire career. He died June 24 at his home in Los Angeles. He had Alzheimer’s disease. He was 85. Janes made his Hollywood debut in 1954 with an 80-foot cliff dive for an Esther Williams movie. He went on to perform stunt work in more than 500 films and thousands of television shows, including “The Ten Commandments,” “Spartacus,” “The Magnificent Seven,” “Planet of the Apes,” and “The Towering Inferno.” He co-founded the Stuntmen’s Association of Motion Pictures and Television in 1961.
Mitchell Henry was a tight end for three NFL teams. He died June 30 after battling leukemia. He was 24. Henry played at Western Kentucky before he signed free-agent deals with Green Bay, Denver and Baltimore. He played two games with the Broncos in 2015.
Tom Corcoran was an Olympic skier who founded the Waterville Valley ski resort in New Hampshire that became popular with racers and celebrities. He died June 27 at his his home in Seabrook Island, S.C., following a brief illness. He was 85. Corcoran competed in the 1956 Olympics and again in 1960, when he placed fourth in the Giant Slalom. He opened Waterville Valley Resort in the winter of 1966-67, and quickly attracted skiers from around the region, including the Kennedy family.
Doug Peterson was a yacht designer for two boats that won the America’s Cup. He died June 26 in a San Diego hospital after a long illness. He was 71. Peterson helped design America3, which Bill Koch sailed to victory against Italy in 1992, and then helped design Black Magic for Team New Zealand in 1995, when the Kiwis beat Dennis Conner. He will be inducted in October into the America’s Cup Hall of Fame in Bristol, R.I.
Compiled from news service reports by Chris Carter, firstname.lastname@example.org