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Obituaries of note: Annie Girardot, Greg Goossen, Eddie Kirkland

Tuesday, March 1, 2011; 10:29 PM

Annie Girardot
actress

Annie Girardot, 79, the perky, gravelly-voiced actress who became one of France's most enduring modern stars, died Feb. 28 at a hospital in Paris. She had Alzheimer's disease.

Ms. Girardot was acclaimed for her comedic performance in 1954 at the Academie Francaise and made her movie debut the following year with Andre Hunebelle's "Treize a table" ("13 at the Table"). It was not until 1960 that her film career was truly launched with Luchino Visconti's "Rocco and His Brothers," in which she starred with Alain Delon and played a prostitute.

Film director Claude Lelouch made her his star in six movies. Among Lelouch's films starring Ms. Girardot was 1969's "Un homme qui me plait" ("A Man Who Pleases Me"), in which she played opposite Jean-Paul Belmondo.

During her career, Ms. Girardot performed in more than 100 films and won France's Cesar award three times - in 1977 for best actress for her role in Jean-Louis Bertuccelli's "Docteur Francoise Gailland," in 1996 for best supporting actress for "Les Miserables," and in 2002 for best supporting actress for playing a possessive mother of a musician in Michael Haneke's "Le Pianiste."

Greg Goossen
baseball player

Greg Goossen, 65, a former major league catcher who was signed by the Los Angeles Dodgers at 18 and led a colorful life after his baseball career by working as a private detective, boxing trainer and character actor, was found dead Feb. 26 at his home in Sherman Oaks, Calif., after an apparent heart attack.

Mr. Goossen was a Los Angeles native and a standout football and basketball player at Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, where he graduated in 1964. The Dodgers drafted the 18-year-old catcher, signing him for a six-figure bonus and sending him to spring training with two future Hall of Famers, Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale. A year later, Casey Stengel, then manager for the Mets, picked him up on a waiver.

Mr. Goossen also played for the Seattle Pilots, Milwaukee Brewers and Washington Senators before his baseball career ended in 1970.

He later worked as a private detective and helped his brother, Joe, as a boxing trainer, working with Michael Nunn and Gabriel and Rafael Ruelas, brothers who became featherweight and lightweight champions in the 1990s.

Through boxing, he met Gene Hackman and later served as the actor's stand-in in more than a dozen movies. He also played minor characters in many of those films.

Eddie Kirkland
blues musician

Eddie Kirkland, a blues guitarist, singer and harmonica player who toured many years with guitarist John Lee Hooker, died Feb. 27 at a hospital in Tampa after a car accident that remained under investigation. He was reportedly 88.

Mr. Kirkland was traveling southeast on a highway north of Tampa when he tried to make a U-turn in front of a Greyhound bus, the Florida Highway Patrol said. The bus, which was traveling northwest, pushed Mr. Kirkland's Ford Taurus about 200 yards before the vehicles stopped. No one on the bus was injured.

Born in Jamaica and raised in Alabama, Mr. Kirkland eventually moved to Indiana before he settled in Detroit.

He polished his blues sound and toured for 71/2 years with Hooker. Mr. Kirkland then moved to Georgia, became a bandleader for Otis Redding and performed with artists including Little Richard, Ben King and Ruth Brown.

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