John Reading

Oakland Mayor

John Reading, 85, the mayor of Oakland from 1966 to 1977 who backed the building of the Oakland Coliseum and expanded the Oakland airport, died Feb. 7 in Indian Wells, Calif. No cause of death was reported.

Mr. Reading headed Ingram's Food Products Co., which was founded by his grandfather in 1924, and sold it in 1972. He was on the Oakland City Council until he became mayor.

Alaa Wally Eldeen

Egyptian Comedian

Alaa Wally Eldeen, an Egyptian comedian known for his trademark funny faces, reportedly died Feb. 11 at a hospital in Cairo. Egypt's Middle East News Agency said the comic, born in 1963, suffered from diabetes and fell into a coma after returning to Cairo on Monday from Brazil.

The portly comic, an audience favorite, had enlivened numerous movies with his childlike smile and range of trademark funny faces.

His first starring role, 1999's "Aboud Ala el-Hudoud," or "Aboud on the Borders," earned $2.5 million, more than any other Egyptian release that year. In it, he played a middle-class Egyptian who schemes to avoid the draft but ends up in the army's border patrol. He then becomes a hero after foiling a gang of Israeli drug smugglers trying to sneak into Egypt.

Daniel Toscan du Plantier French Film Producer

Daniel Toscan du Plantier, 61, a French film producer who was a major force in promoting French cinema abroad, died Feb. 11 in Berlin after a heart attack while attending a film festival there.

From the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s, Mr. Toscan du Plantier was director-general of Gaumont, one of France's main production companies.

At Gaumont, he produced films by Ingmar Bergman ("Fanny and Alexander"), Federico Fellini ("City of Women") and Francois Truffaut ("The Last Metro"), among others.

He had headed Unifrance, which promotes French cinema internationally, since 1988, and also held several other posts in France's film world.

Ma Sanli

Chinese Crosstalk Artist

Ma Sanli, a master performer of the traditional Chinese art of crosstalk -- a rhythmic, often humorous mix of dialogue and storytelling -- died Feb. 11, the official Xinhua News Agency said. Xinhua gave Mr. Ma's age as 90 but said he was born in 1914, which would make him 88 or 89. It gave no details of his death, but media reports had said he suffered from bladder cancer.

Mr. Ma often used crosstalk to express opinions on the ugliness and viciousness of society, Xinhua said. After the Communist Party seized power in 1949, he also devoted himself to praising the new life, coming up with some of his most popular pieces, including "In Praise of Residential Houses," "Map Sketches" and "Eating Sweet Rice Glue Dumplings."

He was persecuted during the anti-rightist political movement of the 1950s but later joined the Communist Party in 1984, Xinhua said.

Moses Hogan

Arranger and Conductor

Moses G. Hogan, 45, a pianist and choral conductor known for his contemporary arrangements of spirituals, died of a brain tumor Feb. 11 in New Orleans.

He was editor of the Oxford Book of Spirituals, published in September 2001 by the U.S. arm of Oxford University Press.

The book has become the U.S. music division's top seller. Mr. Hogan also toured with his own singing groups, the Moses Hogan Chorale and Moses Hogan Singers.

His arrangements, more than 70 of which have been published by the Hal Leonard publishing company, were performed by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, soprano Barbara Hendricks and countertenor Derek Lee Ragin.