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Final Chapters: Shelly Berman, Tobe Hooper, Richard Anderson, Jud Heathcote

Shelly Berman, who died Sept. 1, helped pave the way for other standup comedians such as Bob Newhart, Woody Allen and Jerry Seinfeld.
Shelly Berman, who died Sept. 1, helped pave the way for other standup comedians such as Bob Newhart, Woody Allen and Jerry Seinfeld. The Associated Press

Shelley Berman was a comedian who earned gold records and appeared on top television shows in the 1950s and 1960s delivering wry monologues about the annoyances of everyday life. He died Sept. 1 at his home in Bell Canyon, Calif., of complications from Alzheimer’s disease, a spokesman said. He was 92. Berman helped pave the way for Bob Newhart, Woody Allen, Jerry Seinfeld and other standup comedians who fashioned their routines around the follies and frustrations of modern living. His first album, “Inside Shelley Berman,” came out in 1959. It earned a gold record and received the first-ever Grammy Award for the spoken word. Two more albums achieved gold status. Late in his career, he played Nat David, father of Larry David, on HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”

Tobe Hooper was a horror-movie pioneer whose low-budget sensation “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” took a buzz saw to audiences with its brutally frightful vision. He died Aug. 26 in Los Angeles of natural causes, the Los Angeles County coroner’s office reported. He was 74. Hooper was a little-known filmmaker of documentaries and TV commercials when he made “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” in 1974 for less than $300,000. He also directed 1982’s “Poltergeist” from a script by Steven Spielberg, and helmed the well-regarded 1979 miniseries “Salem’s Lot,” from Stephen King’s novel. His last film as director was 2013’s “Djinn,” a supernatural thriller set in the United Arab Emirates.

Richard Anderson was an actor best known for costarring simultaneously in the popular 1970s television shows “The Six Million Dollar Man” and “The Bionic Woman.” He died Aug. 31 in Beverly Hills, Calif., of natural causes, a family spokesman said. He was 91. Anderson played Oscar Goldman, boss of Lee Majors’ character Steve Austin, in the “The Six Million Dollar Man,” which began as a TV movie in 1973 and was turned into a weekly series the following year. Its popularity led to the 1976 spinoff show, “The Bionic Woman,” starring Lindsay Wagner. Anderson was also a frequent guest on TV series and appeared in such films as Stanley Kubrick’s “Paths of Glory,” “The Long Hot Summer” and “Compulsion.”

Jud Heathcote was a longtime basketball coach at Michigan State who led Magic Johnson and the Spartans to the 1979 NCAA championship. He died Aug. 28 in Spokane, Wash., Michigan State announced. He was 90. Heathcote won three Big Ten titles and appeared in nine NCAA tournaments during his 19-year career at Michigan State. Heathcote had a 339-221 record with the Spartans from 1976 until he retired in 1995. He got his start as a college head coach at Montana in 1971. He was inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in Kansas City in 2009.

Rollie Massimino was a college basketball coach who won more than 800 games and led Villanova to an improbable national title in 1985. He died Aug. 30 in hospice care in West Palm Beach, Fla. He was 82. Massimino coached Villanova to one of the greatest upsets in NCAA basketball history, a 66-64 victory over powerful Georgetown in the 1985 championship game. He also coached at Stony Brook, UNLV and Cleveland State, and spent the last 11 years of his life coaching at Keiser University, an NAIA school. He was inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in 2013.

Larry Sherman was an actor and former journalist who also served as Donald Trump’s first publicist. He died Aug. 26 in New York of natural causes, according to his son. He was 94. Sherman was an out-of-work sports journalist in 1982 when he applied for the job of public-relations head for the USFL’s New Jersey Generals, owned by Trump, who was then a real-estate magnate. He also logged numerous credits in films ranging from “North by Northwest” in 1959 and “Midnight Cowboy” in 1969 to his final film appearance in “The Comedian” in 2016. He also made repeated appearances as a judge on TV’s “Law & Order.”

Bernard Pomerance was a playwright best known for the Tony Award-winning play “The Elephant Man.” He died Aug. 26 at his home in Galisteo, N.M., of complications from cancer, his agent said. He was 76. Pomerance’s play “The Elephant Man” has been frequently revived since its 1979 New York debut. He also wrote “Quantrill in Lawrence” and “Melons,” produced at the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1984.

David Tang was a flamboyant and outspoken socialite and entrepreneur who founded the Shanghai Tang fashion brand. He died Aug. 29 in London of cancer, according to The Financial Times newspaper. He was 63. Tang founded Shanghai Tang, a global chain of flashy emporiums of Chinese-inspired clothing, accessories and home furnishings, in 1994. He later sold the brand to the Swiss luxury goods company Richemont. He enjoyed a reputation as the best-connected person in Hong Kong and London and mingled with the rich and famous, including the late Princess Diana. He was knighted in 2008 for his charitable work in both Britain and Hong Kong.

Compiled from news service reports by Chris Carter, ccarter@kcstar.com.

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