William "Willie" Whitelaw
LONDON -- William "Willie" Whitelaw, 81, a patrician Conservative who played a key role as a political fixer under Margaret Thatcher, died July 1. The cause of death was not reported.
Mr. Whitelaw was the party's deputy leader from 1975 to 1991 and was hailed as one of the shrewdest politicians of his generation. He first rose to cabinet rank under Edward Heath, Thatcher's political foe and predecessor as Conservative prime minister.
Thatcher, prime minister from 1979 to 1990, used Mr. Whitelaw's legendary skills as a party manager in a series of sensitive jobs, including home secretary and leader of the House of Lords.
"I'm never an accelerator, but I'm the best brake she has," he once said. "Every prime minister needs a Willie," Thatcher replied. He proved the perfect foil to Thatcher, and she relied heavily on his judgment and diplomatic skills in quelling potential dissent among her MPs.
His retirement from Thatcher's cabinet in 1988 after a stroke was seen as the moment when her premiership began to go wrong. She was removed by a revolt of her own MPs two years later.
Singer and Guitarist
LIVERPOOL, England -- Brian O'Hara, 58, former singer and guitarist with the Fourmost, a 1960s Liverpool group that shared a manager with the Beatles and had hits with songs written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, was found hanging at his home on June 27.
The Fourmost, formed in 1962, was managed by Brian Epstein, who also managed the Beatles. The group had a half-dozen hit singles from 1963-65, including "Hello Little Girl" and "I'm in Love" by Lennon and McCartney.
LONDON -- John Woolf, 86, a British film producer who brought "The African Queen" and "Oliver!" to the silver screen, died June 28. The cause of death was not reported.
As a producer, he had a sharp eye for spotting hits. He put up half the money for "The African Queen," which starred Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn and was a huge success.
His film company produced a string of hits, including "Richard III," starring Laurence Olivier; John Huston's "Moulin Rouge" and "Beat the Devil"; an adaptation of John Braine's novel "Room at the Top"; and Academy Award-winner "Oliver!" in 1968. In all, Mr. Woolf's films won 13 Oscars.
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. -- Allan Carr, 62, the writer-producer who brought the teeny-bopping play "Grease" to the big screen and won a 1984 Tony award for producing the Broadway hit "La Cage aux Folles," died of liver cancer June 29.
"Grease" earned Mr. Carr several awards, including producer of the year from the National Association of Theatre Owners and two People's Choice awards for best movie and most popular film. In 1969, he co-produced his first film, the coming-of-age comedy "The First Time," starring Jacqueline Bisset.
After the success of "Grease," Mr. Carr co-produced the 1980 musical "Can't Stop the Music," which starred the disco band the Village People. He returned to Rydell High in 1982 with the critically panned "Grease 2," starring Michelle Pfeiffer. He continued producing stage shows while making movies, and in 1984, he won a Tony Award for producing that year's best musical, "La Cage aux Folles."
HENDERSONVILLE, N.C. -- Marshall Wayne, 87, an Olympic diver who won gold and silver medals in the 1936 Games in Berlin, died June 16. The cause of death was not reported.
His sister, Dever Antes, said Mr. Wayne spoke with Hitler after he won the silver medal in springboard diving and the gold in platform diving. She said Hitler was upset that a German had not won.
Mr. Wayne returned from the Berlin Olympics to his home in Miami, but he returned to Europe as a colonel in the Army Air Forces in World War II. He later worked as a Pan American Airways pilot. He retired as captain in 1972 and moved to Hendersonville to be near his sister.
Reggae Singer and Composer
KINGSTON, Jamaica -- Dennis Brown, 42, a reggae icon whose lyrics epitomized Jamaica's signature sound, died July 1 at a Kingston hospital. He had been ill for some time, but the cause of death was undetermined pending an autopsy.
The Kingston-born musician embarked on his career in the 1960s and was regarded as a child prodigy, sparking many comparisons to the U.S. sensation Stevie Wonder.
He went on to score many hits, including "Sitting & Watching," "Should I?," "Revolution," "No man Is an Island," "If You Want Me," "The Promised Land," "Here I Come" and "How Could I Leave?"
Upon the death of reggae's undisputed king, Bob Marley, in 1981, Mr. Brown was labeled "the Crown Prince of Reggae", indicative of expectations that he would be Marley's successor. While the music business never quite gave him that honor, he became reggae's most loved and most charismatic exponent.