George Gaffney

Pianist

George Gaffney, 62, a pianist who made a living accompanying some of the leading names in American song, including Carmen McRae, Peggy Lee, Engelbert Humperdinck and, most notably, Sarah Vaughan, died Dec. 4 in a hospital in Los Angeles after a stroke.

In the mid-1960s, the New York native moved to the Chicago area, where was he was musical director of the Playboy Club in Lake Geneva, Wis. He went to California in the early 1970s and found work as a studio musician and accompanist.

He worked on a number of television programs, most notably "Moonlighting," and was nominated for an Emmy. From 1980 to 1990, he was Vaughan's accompanist and musical director.

Nani Palkhivala

Indian Diplomat

Nani Palkhivala, 82, a legal authority who served as India's ambassador to the United States from 1977 to 1979, died Dec. 11 in Bombay after a heart attack.

Mr. Palkhivala, an authority on the Indian constitution, was often consulted on issues of constitutional law by the Indian government.

His books, "We the Nation" and "We the People," were immensely popular despite being on such dry subjects as the government budget and landmark court decisions.

Roger Wayne Hanson

University Dean

Roger Wayne Hanson, 80, dean of the University of Alabama at Birmingham's school of natural science and mathematics from 1966 to 1980 and a Washington resident for the last four years, died Dec. 9 at Washington Hospital Center.

He had a lung dysfunction attributed to an immune system reaction to medication for a heart transplant 10 years ago.

Dr. Hanson -- who had a doctorate in zoology and physiology from the University of California at Los Angeles -- joined the University of Alabama in 1953 and was professor of pharmacology at its medical center from 1967 to 1985. He also was a past Birmingham chapter president of the Alabama Council on Human Relations.

To Huu

Vietnamese Poet

To Huu, 82, Vietnam's best-known Communist revolutionary poet and a former Politburo member, died Dec. 9 in a hospital in Hanoi. The cause of death was not reported.

Huu, who was imprisoned by the French as a teenager, joined the Communist Party in 1938 and went on to fight alongside Ho Chi Minh. In postwar Vietnam, Huu held a number of senior government posts. He joined the elite Politburo in 1976 and was appointed deputy prime minister in 1980. He was ousted from the government in 1986 for mishandling the economy.

One of his most famous poems, "Since Then," described his awakening to communism as the moment when the "sun of truth shone on my heart." His works continue to be taught in schools throughout Vietnam.

Stan Rice

Poet and Painter

Stan Rice, 60, a painter and author of seven volumes of poetry who was the husband of novelist Anne Rice, died of brain cancer Dec. 9 in New Orleans.

In 1988, Mr. Rice opened the Stan Rice Gallery in New Orleans.

He met his future wife in a high school journalism class. They married in 1961 and enrolled at San Francisco State University, where he went on to become assistant director of the Poetry Center and later headed the creative writing department.