Walter Wager


Walter Wager, 79, whose spy novels were turned into movies starring Bruce Willis and Charles Bronson, died of brain cancer July 11 in New York.

Among his novels was "58 Minutes" (1987), which was the basis for the 1990 box-office hit "Die Hard 2," starring Willis. Two other novels were adapted for the screen: "Telefon" (1975), which became a movie of the same name with Charles Bronson in 1977, and "Viper Three" (1971), which was the basis for the 1977 film "Twilight's Last Gleaming" with Burt Lancaster.

His recent books often concerned dastardly villains with dreams of world domination. "Tunnel" (2000) was about a plot to bomb New York City's Lincoln Tunnel; "The Spirit Team" (1996) involved a deadly blue fungus unleashed by a North African dictator.

Phoebe Brand Carnovsky


Phoebe Brand Carnovsky, 96, an actress who helped found a theater troupe and who was blacklisted during the McCarthy era, died July 3 at a hospital in New York. No cause of death was reported.

Known professionally as Phoebe Brand, she founded the Group Theater troupe with Lee Strasberg and others in 1931. Ms. Brand appeared in several productions there, including Clifford Odets's "Awake and Sing!" and "Golden Boy."

She was married to actor Morris Carnovsky, who died in 1992. They were blacklisted after being among eight people named as Communists by Elia Kazan, a former Group Theater member, during the McCarthy hearings in 1952.

Ms. Brand then turned to teaching and continued to offer classes in acting technique until her death. In the early 1960s she helped found Theater in the Street, which produced plays in beleaguered city neighborhoods. She appeared in one film, Louis Malle's "Vanya on 42nd Street" (1994).

Frances Hansen

Crossword Puzzle Creator

Frances Hansen, 85, a prolific crossword puzzle creator known for using original poems as clues, died July 9 at a hospital in Perth Amboy, N.J., after a stroke.

Mrs. Hansen's puzzles were published in newspapers including The Washington Post, the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times and by such book publishers as Dell and Simon & Schuster.

Eighty-two of her puzzles were published by the New York Times, and the 83rd was scheduled to be published in the Christmas issue of the newspaper's Sunday magazine. Mrs. Hansen had written every Christmas puzzle since 1995, and she was the newspaper's fourth most published crossword puzzle creator.

Arthur 'Killer' Kane

Punk Band Bassist

Arthur "Killer" Kane, 55, bassist for the New York Dolls, an influential punk band from the early 1970s, died July 13 in Los Angeles, Rolling Stone magazine reported. He had leukemia.

Formed in 1971, the New York Dolls never made commercial hits, but their recordings are considered cult favorites in punk circles. After the band's breakup in 1977, Mr. Kane continued to work as a musician with several groups.

He was scheduled to play at a festival last weekend in Manchester, England, before he became ill with what he thought was the flu. He learned he had leukemia the day he died.

McLain B. Smith

IBM Executive

McLain B. Smith, 90, a former senior vice president of IBM and manager of IBM's Washington office from 1951 to 1957, died July 13 at his home in Quogue, N.Y. He had a heart ailment.

Mr. Smith started at IBM in its management training program in 1932. His early years at IBM were spent as a sales representative, including a period in Washington dealing with U.S. government accounts. One of the biggest accounts he landed was with the Treasury Department. IBM automated the Treasury disbursements by replacing the paper checks with punch cards that could be fed into IBM's computers.

In 1957, Mr. Smith was reassigned to IBM's headquarters in New York. He became vice president and group executive when he retired in 1969.