Kin Narita, 107, who recorded a "granny rap" record with her twin sister that topped the Japanese pop charts on their 100th birthday and who went on to appear in commercials, news and game shows, and even in "People" magazine, died of a heart attack Jan. 23 at her home in the central Japanese city of Nagoya.
Kin, the older twin, and her sister, Gin Kanie, gained national and international fame for their beaming smiles, enormous vitality and shared longevity. The twins said a belief that their lives were simple -- along with frequent walks -- had contributed to their extraordinary health.
The twins were born into a farming family near Nagoya. It took them 100 years to file their first income tax returns because of the unexpected income from their pop music venture, endorsement contracts and guest television appearances.
Don W. Samuelson
Don W. Samuelson, 86, a Republican governor of Idaho from 1967 to 1971, died Jan. 20 in Boise, after a heart attack.
Despite having a GOP legislative majority, Gov. Samuelson set a record in 1967 when he vetoed 39 bills sent to him by lawmakers. He served only one term.
Gov. Samuelson served in the state Senate from 1961 until taking office as governor in 1967. After losing his 1970 reelection bid, he worked in the U.S. Department of Transportation's Northwest regional office in Seattle until retiring in 1977 and returning to Idaho.
Gerald Murphy, 65, a Seattle oncologist and past president of the American Cancer Society who helped develop a widely used test for prostate cancer, died Jan. 21 in Israel while attending a convention of the International Union Against Cancer. He had a heart ailment.
Dr. Murphy, who published more than 1,000 papers, served as the cancer society's president in 1983 and 1984. From 1970 to 1985, he was director of Roswell Park Memorial Institute for cancer research and treatment in Buffalo.
In Buffalo, he worked in the urology-research lab at the State University of New York Medical School, where his research group determined that prostate-cancer tumors produce prostate-specific antigens (PSAs). This led to development of the PSA test, which indicates prostate cancer's early presence.
G. Ledyard Stebbins Jr.
G. Ledyard Stebbins Jr., 94, who helped create the idea of evolutionary plant biology by incorporating the study of fossils, genetics, cells and evolutionary history with the theories of Charles Darwin, died of cancer Jan. 19 at his home in Davis, Calif.
In his 1950 book, "Variation and Evolution in Plants," Dr. Stebbins argued in detail that plants were subject to the same evolutionary processes as animals. His theory is now commonly accepted.
Dr. Stebbins, a professor emeritus at the University of California at Davis, became president of the Society for the Study of Evolution in 1948. In 1952, he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences.
In 1979, he won a National Medal of Science.
Psychiatrist and Pediatrician
Michael Rothenberg, 78, a consultant for the television show "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood" and co-author of two editions of Dr. Benjamin Spock's "Baby and Child Care," died Jan. 15 in Seattle. He had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.
He published scores of articles, and helped Spock organize and update the 1985 and 1992 -- fifth and sixth -- editions of Spock's child-care classic.
Dr. Rothenberg, a retired professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at the University of Washington, was noted for integrating the two fields.
His work raised early concerns about the effects of television violence.
Maxine Elliott Hicks
Maxine Elliott Hicks, 95, an actress in more than 200 silent films who reemerged decades later in movies and television sitcoms, died Jan 10 in San Clemente, Calif. The cause of death was not reported.
Miss Hicks won a variety of choice roles during the era of silent film. These included that of the daughter of Ethel Barrymore in "The Eternal Mother" and the bratty Susie May Squoggs, nemesis of America's sweetheart, Mary Pickford, in "Poor Little Rich Girl."
She left acting in the 1930s but returned in her eighties. She co-starred as a scatterbrained nun on the ABC sitcom "The Ten of Us," set at a Catholic all-boys school.
That led to parts in the movies "Defending Your Life" and "Beethoven" and the NBC-TV show "Frasier."
Russell L. Wenkstern
Russell L. Wenkstern, 87, who as president and chief executive of Tonka Toys from 1961 to 1977 saw the company's annual sales increase from $400,000 to $80 million, died Jan. 18 in Spring Park, Minn. The cause of death was not reported.
Mr. Wenkstern, who helped develop the popular yellow Mighty Dump truck, was inducted into the Toy Hall of Fame in 1998.
In 1952, he became secretary of the board and production manager for Mound Metal Craft, which later became Tonka Toys.
Nine years later, Mr. Wenkstern moved into the top position at Minnesota-based Tonka.
Frances Drake, 91, a film actress of the 1930s and 1940s, died Jan. 17 at a hospital in Irvine, Calif. The cause of death was not reported.
Miss Drake, known for her striking brunet looks and huge hazel eyes, appeared in more than 20 movies with some of her generation's biggest stars, including Joan Crawford, Clark Gable and Cary Grant. But she probably will be best remembered as the terrified heroine in horror and mystery films.
In "Mad Love," released in 1935, she was the love interest of mad scientist Peter Lorre, who cut off her pianist-husband's hand in a disastrous operation. She also starred in a 1936 production called "The Invisible Ray," with Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi, in which Miss Drake played scientist Karloff's long-suffering wife. Her last movies included "I Take This Woman," a 1940 release with Spencer Tracy and Hedy Lamarr, and "The Affairs of Martha" in 1942.
Teodoro M. Locsin Sr.
Teodoro M. Locsin Sr., 85, a veteran Philippine journalist who was known for his challenge of former president Ferdinand Marcos's rule, died of cancer Jan. 21 at a hospital in Makati City, a suburb of Manila.
He was editor of the Philippine Free Press, a magazine that repeatedly warned of a plan by Marcos to implement military rule to stay in power. Marcos declared martial law and closed the Free Press in 1972.
The magazine resumed publication shortly after Marcos was ousted in a popular revolt in 1986.
Mr. Locsin was twice a recipient of the Philippine Legion of Honor for his exploits as a guerrilla who fought the Japanese during World War II and for his journalistic talent and leadership.
Anne Hebert, 83, a Canadian novelist, poet and playwright who was a key figure in French-Canadian literature for more than half a century, died of cancer Jan. 23 in Montreal.
Ms. Hebert wrote "Kamouraska," considered by many to be her greatest novel, and won France's prestigious Femina prize in 1982 for her fifth novel, "Les Fous de Bassan." Another novel, "Am I Disturbing You?" was a finalist for the 1999 Giller prize for Canadian fiction. Her last book, "Un Habit d'Lumiere," was published in French six months ago.
Her other books translated into English over the years included: "Day Has No Equal but the Night," "Anne Hebert: Selected Poems," "The Torrent," "The Silent Rooms," "The First Garden" and "In the Shadow of the Wind."
Victoria A. Fromkin
Victoria A. Fromkin, 76, who had served as a linguistics professor and administrator with the University of California at Los Angeles and as president of the Linguistic Society of America, died of colon cancer Jan. 19 in Los Angeles.
Dr. Fromkin was an authority on the linguistic significance of speech errors, brain and language, phonetics and psycholinguistics.
She co-wrote the best-selling textbook "An Introduction to Language," which has been translated into six languages, and had compiled a recent anthology, "Linguistics: An Introduction to Linguistic Theory."
Jim Dick Miller
Jim Dick Miller, 82, a retired, highly decorated Navy captain and the highest-ranking survivor of the battleship Arizona whose sunken wreckage today in Pearl Harbor is a national park and symbol of the Japanese navy's attack on Dec. 7, 1941, died Jan. 19 at his home in Coronado, Calif. He had Alzheimer's disease.
More than 1,100 people on the Arizona perished as the ship caught fire and sunk, but Capt. Miller, then an ensign and in command of a gun turret on the battleship, rescued several crew members. Capt. Miller received the Navy Cross, the Navy's highest award for valor except for the Medal of Honor, as well as the Silver Star, the Legion of Merit with Gold Star and the Bronze Star with Combat "V."
After the Arizona sank, he served on the submarine Spearfish during World War II. After the war, he commanded the submarine Razorback and was captain of the submarine tender Bushnell during the Cuban missile crisis.