November 17, 2012
Cleve Duncan
doo-wop singer

Cleve Duncan, 78, whose plaintive tenor captured the heartache of teen love in the enduring 1954 doo-wop hit “Earth Angel,” died Nov. 7 in Los Angeles. A spokeswoman for the Inglewood Park Cemetery Mortuary confirmed his death but could not provide the cause.

“Earth Angel,” which reached No. 1 on rhythm-and-blues charts, was the only hit for the doo-wop act that Mr. Duncan fronted, the Penguins.

The song has sold millions of copies through the decades, has been repeatedly performed by other bands and has been used in movie soundtracks.

While the song’s dreamy romanticism would become a staple of oldies radio, the original Penguins were cast into the sea of one-hit wonders.

The Los Angeles-based Penguins disbanded in 1957. Mr. Duncan bought the Penguins’ name and continued to perform with other singers until relatively recently.

Lucille Bliss
voice actress

Lucille Bliss, 96, who provided the voice of the cartoon character Crusader Rabbit in the early days of television and gained recognition a generation later as the voice of Smurfette in the 1980s TV hit “The Smurfs,” died Nov. 8 at an assisted living center in Costa Mesa, Calif., according to the Orange County coroner. The cause of death was not disclosed.

Ms. Bliss parlayed a childhood love of radio theater into a career as an animation voice actress that stretched more than 60 years. She was working as recently as last month.

She gave voice to the stepsister Anastasia in Disney’s 1950 film “Cinderella” and was the original Elroy in the 1960s TV hit “The Jetsons.”

Her groundbreaking role was in the original “Crusader Rabbit,” the first animated series produced specifically for television. Its first incarnation ran on NBC from 1950 to 1952 and was co-created by Jay Ward, who went on to produce such notable franchises as “The Rocky & Bullwinkle Show” and Dudley Do-Right.

George ‘Woody’ Clarke
San Diego prosecutor

George “Woody” Clarke, 61, who gained national prominence as the San Diego prosecutor asked by Los Angeles prosecutors to present the crucial but highly complex DNA evidence during the O.J. Simpson murder trial, died Nov. 13 at a San Diego hospital of complications from prostate cancer. Officials of the San Diego Superior Court confirmed his death.

Mr. Clarke spent two decades as a deputy district attorney in San Diego before being named as a Superior Court judge in 2003.

During the Simpson trial in 1995, Mr. Clarke guided the expert scientific testimony about blood samples from the crime scene. He and other prosecutors believed the DNA proved that Simpson had killed his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ronald Goldman in 1994.

The jury’s acquittal of the former football great in October 1995 left Mr. Clarke and other prosecutors stunned and wondering why the evidence he viewed as so compelling had been rejected by the jurors.

In 2008, Clarke compiled his career of courtroom experiences into a book, “Justice and Science: Trials and Triumphs of DNA Evidence.” Of the Simpson verdict, he wrote, “American culture seems to be obsessed with celebrity, and that obsession can skew the way reality is perceived.”

In San Diego, Mr. Clarke’s DNA presentations were key to winning convictions and death penalty verdicts in some of the region’s more high-profile murder cases.

William Turnbull
British sculptor

William Turnbull, 90, a highly regarded British sculptor who drew inspiration from primitive forms, died Nov. 15. Erica Bolton, a public relations representative, confirmed his death but provided no further details.

Mr. Turnbull’s works were frequently extremely simple shapes, suggesting masks or totem poles. He was exhibited at prestigious galleries in London and San Francisco.

British sculptor Anthony Gormley described Turnbull as “a radical modernist who recognizes that sculpture is of its nature archaic.”

— From news services

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