Opera Director

Ardis Krainik, 67, who led the Lyric Opera of Chicago to new levels of artistic and financial success, died Jan. 18 in Chicago. The cause of death was not reported.

She joined the Lyric Opera as a singer and clerk when it was started in 1954. She was a singer and an administrator until 1981, when she became general director. The opera had exhausted its financial reserves in 1980, but the 1981 season came in under budget, and by 1982, the company was playing to 98 percent capacity houses.

Miss Krainik gained international notoriety in 1989, when she banned Luciano Pavarotti from the Lyric Opera. He had canceled 26 of 41 scheduled appearances at the Lyric.



Dr. Robert Jay Roberts, 58, who chaired the University of Virginia's pediatrics department and served as medical director of its Children's Medical Center, died of cancer Jan. 19 in Charlottesville.

His principal specialty was lung failure among premature infants. He also researched the effects of drugs on babies. Dr. Roberts served on the editorial boards of three technical journals and was lead investigator in several National Institutes of Health grant projects.

He joined the university in 1987 from the faculty of the University of Iowa, where he had received doctorates in medicine and pharmacology. He was a graduate of Washington State University.


French Diplomat

Marcel Fontaine, 54, a French diplomat who was kidnapped in Lebanon and held for more than three years, died Jan. 20 at a hospital in Paris. He had cancer.

Mr. Fontaine, an embassy protocol officer, was kidnapped March 22, 1985, during the Lebanese civil war. The Iranian-backed Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility.

He was among three French hostages freed May 3, 1988. The others were journalist Jean-Paul Kauffmann and Marcel Carton, a fellow diplomat. Mr. Fontaine said that while he was in captivity, he shared a cell with Terry A. Anderson, then the chief Middle East correspondent for the Associated Press. Anderson, who was freed in 1991, was held for 6 1/2 years -- the longest of any of the Western hostages in Lebanon.


Singer's Uncle

Vester Lee Presley, 82, who gave his nephew Elvis Presley guitar lessons and was a favorite of the late singer's fans, died Jan. 17 at a hospital in Memphis after a heart attack.

For years, Vester Presley guarded the main gate at Graceland, the home of the rock-and-roll singer and now a popular tourist attraction.

He also co-wrote two books, "A Presley Speaks" and "The Presley Family Cookbook." Many days, he chatted with fans and autographed the books at the gift shop complex across the street from Graceland.


Lisbon Cabby

Augusto Macedo, 94, Lisbon's oldest taxi driver, who ferried passengers around the Portuguese capital in a 1928 Oldsmobile, died Jan. 17, the day a movie featuring him and his cab premiered. He died at a Lisbon hospital after a heart attack.

The movie is based on Mr. Macedo's recollections of his 68 years as a Lisbon cabdriver and features a weird variety of passengers traveling on one of the black and green cab's running boards and listening to the driver's tales.

Mr. Macedo received an award at a film festival in Pescara, Italy, for his screen performance, but his grandson had to collect the prize for him because of his illness. More than 100 taxis accompanied his funeral procession.



Mary Bancroft, 93, who played a crucial role in U.S. intelligence gathering during World War II, died Jan. 10 at her Manhattan home. The cause of death was not disclosed.

Miss Bancroft was married to a Swiss businessman and living in Switzerland when she encountered Allen Dulles, a spy master for the U.S. Office of Strategic Services. Dulles recruited her to interview refugees and spies pouring into neutral Switzerland from across Europe and, according to her 1983 book, "Autobiography of a Spy," also recruited her as his lover.

Her most important work as a spy was with Hans Bernd Gisevius, a German military intelligence officer and part of an unsuccessful plot to kill Adolf Hitler on July 20, 1944.

After the war, Miss Bancroft wrote novels, lectured on psychologist Carl Jung and was active in Democratic politics.


Audio Pioneer

Saul B. Marantz, 85, whose pioneering audio equipment made his name synonymous with advances in high-fidelity music systems, died Jan. 16 in Somerville, N.J. The cause of death was not disclosed.

In the early 1950s, he founded Marantz Co., which produced record players, amplifiers and speakers that became industry standards.

He sold the company in 1964 to Superscope Inc. and stayed on as president until 1968.

He later co-founded the Dahlquist Co., which built loudspeakers. In 1986, he became a partner in Lineage Corp., a producer of top-line audio systems.

He was president of Lineage until his death.



James Bennett Pritchard, 87, an archaeologist who shed light on the life and history of ancient Middle Eastern towns and whose books included "Gibeon: Where the Sun Stood Still" and "Recovering Serepta, a Phoenician City," died Jan. 1. in Bryn Mawr, Pa. The cause of death was not reported.

He was a former professor of religious thought at the University of Pennsylvania and a curator of biblical archaeology at Penn's Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.