Frederick R. Karl

Literary Scholar

Frederick R. Karl, 77, a literary scholar known for his mammoth biographies of William Faulkner, Joseph Conrad and other figures, died April 30 in New York. He had kidney disease.

Dr. Karl, an emeritus professor of City College of New York and New York University, was perhaps best known for his extensive study of Conrad. "Joseph Conrad: The Three Lives" (1979), weighed in at 1,008 pages and employed a novelistic treatment.

His next major biography was the 1,131-page "William Faulkner: American Writer" (1989), which some reviewers faulted for engaging in excessive speculation and pop-psychology about the Nobel Prize-winning novelist, whose problems with women, money and drinking were legendary. Dr. Karl's other books included "A Reader's Guide to Great 20th-Century Novels" (1959), which covered Conrad's work as well as the writings of D.H. Lawrence, E.M. Forster and Virginia Woolf; and "American Fictions: 1940-1980: A Comprehensive History and Critical Evaluation" (1984), about the works of Ralph Ellison, Saul Bellow, J.D. Salinger and William Burroughs, among others.

Antonio Champalimaud

Portuguese Industrialist

Antonio Champalimaud, 86, a billionaire Portuguese industrialist who lost his family fortune when his companies were nationalized after the 1974 revolution but rebuilt his empire in Brazil with a chain of cement factories, died May 8 at his home in Lisbon. No cause of death was reported.

Mr. Champalimaud represented one of the families that dominated the Portuguese economy, inheriting a fortune accrued through cement, steel and banking. Forbes magazine listed Mr. Champalimaud this year as 153rd in its ranking of the world's richest people, worth an estimated $3.1 billion.

After his companies were nationalized, Mr. Champalimaud moved to Brazil and rebuilt his fortune. He returned to Portugal in 1992.

John Whitehead


John Whitehead, 55, a prominent rhythm-and-blues artist best known for the 1979 hit song "Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now," was shot dead May 11 behind his house in Philadelphia while working on a vehicle with another man, police said. The case is under investigation.

Mr. Whitehead and Gene McFadden formed a group called the Epsilons in their youth and were discovered by Otis Redding and toured with him in the 1960s. The duo wrote several hit songs performed by others in the 1970s, including "Back Stabbers," "For the Love of Money," "I'll Always Love My Mamma," "Bad Luck," "Wake Up Everybody," "Where Are All My Friends," "The More I Want" and "Cold, Cold World."

"Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now" went to No. 1 on the R&B chart and reached No. 13 on the pop chart.

Virginia Capers


Virginia Capers, 78, who won a 1974 Tony Award for her performance as Lena Younger in the original version of the musical "Raisin," died May 6 at a hospital near Los Angeles. She had pneumonia.

Ms. Capers also appeared in Broadway productions of "Jamaica" in 1957 and "Saratoga" in 1959. On film, she played Mama Holiday in "Lady Sings the Blues" (1972), about blues singer Billie Holiday, and Nurse Florence Sparrow in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" (1986), among other roles.

She was a regular on the television show "Frank's Place" in the late 1980s. She also made guest appearances on "Daniel Boone" and "Marcus Welby, M.D." in the 1960s, "Murder, She Wrote" in the 1980s and "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" in the early 1990s.

Phil Gersh

Hollywood Agent

Phil Gersh, 92, an agent who for decades represented some of Hollywood's top celebrities including Humphrey Bogart, Lloyd Bridges and Karl Malden, died May 10 at his home in Beverly Hills, Calif. No cause of death was reported.

Mr. Gersh, a New York native, moved to Los Angeles to join his sister, who had married Sam Jaffe, an entertainment executive at Paramount and later an agent. In time, he bought his brother-in-law's agency.

Mr. Gersh's list of clients included actors David Niven, Fredric March, Mary Astor, Lee J. Cobb, Dorothy McGuire, James Mason, Eddie Albert and William Holden as well as writers Ernest Lehman, Budd Schulberg, Julius J. Epstein and Abraham Polonsky.