Long John Baldry
Long John Baldry, 64, the British blues legend who helped launch the careers of such rock greats as Rod Stewart and the Rolling Stones, died of a chest infection June 21 in Vancouver, B.C., according to his agent.
Mr. Baldry, nicknamed Long John because of his 6-foot-7 height, was one of the main forces in British blues, rock and pop music in the 1960s. He first hit the top of the United Kingdom singles charts in 1967 with "Let the Heartaches Begin." One of his most memorable hits, "Don't Try to Lay No Boogie-Woogie on the King of Rock and Roll," was co-produced by Stewart and Elton John.
Although Mr. Baldry released more than 40 albums, he was perhaps best known for nurturing the nascent talent of a host of musicians who became superstars. Baldry's early 1960s stage act featured the likes of Stewart, Mick Jagger, Charlie Watts, Jimmy Page and Ginger Baker.
Eugene Record, founder of the legendary Chicago-based vocal group the Chi-Lites, died of cancer July 22 in Chicago, the president of the group's booking agency said.
The Chi-Lites was formed in 1959 by Mr. Record, Marshall Thompson and Robert "Squirrel" Lester. Mr. Record emerged as the group's lead singer, songwriter and producer, composing its many hits, including the classics "Have You Seen Her?" and "Oh Girl." He retired from the group in the mid-1980s. In 2003, the Chi-Lites song "Are You My Woman?" was the basis for Beyonce's hit "Crazy in Love."
The Chi-Lites most recently appeared in the documentary "Only the Strong Survive," directed by D.A. Pennebaker.
Seattle Opera Founder
Glynn Ross, 90, Seattle Opera's founding director, known as the "bantam of the opera," died from complications of a stroke July 21 at his home in Tucson.
Mr. Ross, a former Golden Gloves boxer, grew up on a Nebraska farm and served in the Army during World War II in Naples, Italy. After the war, he remained in the city and was stage director at the Teatro San Carlo. He was the first American to direct in a major Italian opera house.
When he returned to the United States, he staged productions for the Los Angeles Opera Theater, San Francisco Opera, Fort Worth Opera, New Orleans Opera Association, Northwest Grand Opera Association in Seattle and the Opera Company of Philadelphia.
In 1963, he founded Seattle Opera and served as its first general director -- there have been only two. In 1970, he helped organize OPERA America, the professional organization for American opera companies, and in 1972 he started the Pacific Northwest Ballet, which Seattle Opera administered initially.
In 1983, Mr. Ross left Seattle Opera and became general director of Arizona Opera, where he helped revitalize the struggling company, erasing its debt and extending its seasons in Tucson and Phoenix.
Transatlantic Dinghy Captain
Dr. Alain Bombard, 80, who crossed the Atlantic Ocean in a dinghy to prove that shipwrecked sailors could survive off the sea's bounty, died July 19 in a military hospital in Toulon, France. The cause of death was not immediately known.
A biologist and medical doctor, Dr. Bombard specialized in the study of survival at sea. In 1952, he completed a 65-day solo voyage across the Atlantic on a single-sail inflatable raft, which he named the Heretic, to prove that it was possible to live off fresh-caught, uncooked fish. He also demonstrated it was possible to drink seawater when limited to occasional sips.
Dr. Bombard began researching the subject of survival at sea early in his career, and he published several books about his experiences at sea. In his fifties, he entered politics, beginning with regional positions. He briefly held the No. 2 post at the French Environment Ministry in 1981 and served as a European parliamentarian from 1981 to 1994.
James N. Aparo
DC Comics Illustrator
James N. Aparo, 72, an illustrator for DC Comics for more than 30 years who drew Batman, the Green Arrow and other action heroes, died at his home in Southington, Conn. No cause of death was reported.
Mr. Aparo brought characters to life in his home studio, corresponding with DC Comics through the mail. Mr. Aparo did illustrations for such characters as Aquaman, the Brave and the Bold, the Phantom Stranger and the Spectre. He retired about four years ago, his daughter said.
In a 2000 interview in Comic Book Artist magazine, Aparo said he went to Hartford Art School for a semester but was mostly self-taught.
"I just drew as a kid and went with it," he said. "I studied and copied comic strips and comic books. I grew up with Superman, Batman and Captain Marvel. I really liked Captain Marvel Jr. by Mac Raboy. That was beautiful stuff. I liked Alex Raymond, Milton Caniff . . . all of those guys."