A roundup of notable obituaries from the week ending Feb. 10.
Barbara Gelb, 91, author and journalist who with her husband, Arthur Gelb, collaborated on three extensive books about playwright Eugene O’Neill, died Thursday in Manhattan, according to the Metropolitan Opera, where son Peter Gelb serves as general manager. The Gelbs published the best-selling “O’Neill” in 1962 and returned in 2000 with “O’Neill: Life With Monte Cristo.” “By Women Possessed: A Life of Eugene O’Neill” came out in 2016, two years after the death of Arthur Gelb, a longtime reporter and editor for The New York Times. Barbara Gelb also wrote for the Times. Her other credits included two books on New York City police and the play “My Gene.”
Peter Mansfield, 83, physicist who won the Nobel Prize for helping to invent MRI scanners, died Wednesday. He shared the 2003 Nobel Prize in medicine with U.S. chemist Paul Lauterbur for their work developing magnetic resonance imaging, which uses magnetic fields and radio waves to generate 3-D images of the body’s internal organs without potentially harmful X-rays.
Tzvetan Todorov, 77, a Bulgarian-French literary theorist and historian of ideas whose concerns in dozens of books ranged from fantasy in fiction to the moral consequences of colonialism, fanaticism and the Holocaust, died on Tuesday in Paris. The cause was multiple system atrophy, a progressive brain disorder.
Hans Rosling, 68, a Swedish doctor who transformed himself into a pop-star statistician by converting dry numbers into dynamic graphics that challenged preconceptions about global health and population growth, died Tuesday in Uppsala, Sweden, of pancreatic cancer. On Twitter, Bill Gates remembered him as a “great friend, educator and true inspiration.” A self-described “edutainer,” Mr. Rosling captivated vast audiences in TED Talks and on television documentaries like the BBC’s “The Joy of Stats” in 2010.
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Richard Hatch, 71, a veteran actor known for his portrayal of a hotshot pilot on the 1970s science-fiction television series “Battlestar Galactica” and a political leader in a reboot of the series more than two decades later, died Tuesday afternoon in Los Angeles after a battle with pancreatic cancer.
Irwin Corey, 102, the wild-haired comedian and actor known for his improvisational riffs and nonsensical style and who billed himself as “The World’s Foremost Authority,” died Monday in Manhattan. Corey’s dizzying mix of mock-intellectual circumlocutions, earnest political tirades and slapstick one-liners made him the king of comedic confusion and earned him the nickname “professor.” He became a staple on television talk shows and in comedy clubs decades ago.
Alec McCowen, 91, the acclaimed British character actor whose gallery of roles on both sides of the Atlantic ranged from St. Mark to the Fool in “King Lear,” and from Rudyard Kipling to James Bond’s ever-inventive outfitter, Q, died on Monday at his home in London.
Don McNelly, 96, an internationally known runner who completed 744 marathons, died last Sunday in New York. The native of Brookville, Ohio, began running in the late 1960s after a close friend died of a heart attack. He was 86 in 2006 when he completed his 700th marathon, eventually reaching his goal with marathon No. 744, the same number of his Navy destroyer in the Pacific during World War II.
Adele Dunlap, 114, America’s oldest person, died last Sunday in a hospital near Flemington, N.J. She became the country’s oldest person in July 2016, after Goldie Michelson, 113, of Worcester, Mass., died. A group that tracks long-living people says the oldest known person living in the U.S. now is Delphine Gibson, 113, of Huntingdon County, Pa.
Arthur Rosenfeld, 90, physicist who spearheaded breakthroughs in energy efficiency for lighting, refrigerators, televisions and other electronics while working at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, died Jan. 27 at his home in Berkeley. Rosenfeld was known to his colleagues as California’s “godfather” of energy efficiency, a field he is credited with creating.