E. Cardon Walker
Walt Disney Co. Chief Executive
E. Cardon "Card" Walker, 89, a mailroom employee who rose to become the first chief executive of the Walt Disney Co. who wasn't a member of the Disney family, died Nov. 28 at his home in La Canada Flintridge, Calif. He had congestive heart failure.
Mr. Walker, who led the company from 1971 to 1983, helped steer it through a difficult transition after the death of Walt Disney in 1966. As a board member from 1960 until 1983, he was instrumental in helping expand the company's theme parks, including the purchase and development of 28,000 acres in Central Florida that became Walt Disney World.
He became president of the company in 1971, the year co-founder Roy O. Disney died and Walt Disney World opened.
Mr. Walker presided over the opening of Epcot at Walt Disney World, Tokyo Disneyland and the creation of the Disney Channel, the company's first cable network.
Wendie Jo Sperber
Wendie Jo Sperber, an actress who starred opposite Tom Hanks on TV's "Bosom Buddies," died Nov. 29 at her home in Los Angeles. She was in her forties. She had breast cancer.
Ms. Sperber, a Los Angeles native, appeared in dozens of television shows and movies, including the three "Back to the Future" films.
Ms. Sperber also had roles in Steven Spielberg's "1941," Robert Zemeckis's "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" and Neal Israel's "Moving Violations" and "Bachelor Party." Her television credits include "Murphy Brown," "Private Benjamin," "Will and Grace" and "8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter."
Her breast cancer was diagnosed in 1997. Four years later, the actress founded the weSPARK Cancer Support Center in Sherman Oaks, Calif., which provides free emotional support, information and social activities for individuals and families affected by cancer.
Howard Gotlieb, 79, a Boston University archivist who collected the personal papers of contemporary authors, actors and politicians, died Dec. 1 at a Boston hospital from complications following surgery.
Mr. Gotlieb became director of BU's Department of Special Collections in 1963, specializing in the papers and artifacts from some of the 20th century's best-known figures. The collection included contributions from Martin Luther King Jr., authors Isaac Asimov and David Halberstam, actor Fred Astaire, actresses Bette Davis and Angela Lansbury, and television news anchor Dan Rather.
Mr. Gotlieb launched his archival career as a member of the U.S. Army Signal Corps in Germany, where he gathered records of Nazi government agencies after World War II. He later taught history at Yale University before founding the BU collection.
Edward L. Masry
Erin Brockovich's Attorney
Lawyer Edward L. Masry, 73, champion of the underdog for decades before Albert Finney portrayed him in the Oscar-winning movie "Erin Brockovich," died Dec. 6 of complications of diabetes in Los Angeles.
He had resigned from the Thousand Oaks City Council in California on Nov. 30 because of ill health.
Mr. Masry and Erin Brockovich, a self-trained legal assistant, won a $333 million settlement on behalf of more than 600 residents of the town of Hinkley, Calif. They alleged that Pacific Gas and Electric Co. tanks leaked carcinogenic poisons into groundwater supplies.
Their efforts were depicted in the 2000 film "Erin Brockovich." According to a biography from his law firm, Masry & Vititoe, Mr. Masry attended the University of California at Santa Barbara, the University of California at Los Angeles and the University of Southern California, and although he never received a BA, he was admitted to Loyola Law School in Los Angeles and received a degree there. He started his law practice in Los Angeles in 1961.
Philips Electronics Leader
Frits Philips, 100, who helped turn his family's light bulb factory into the mammoth multinational Philips Electronics during 40 years of leadership, died Dec. 5, the company said. No cause of death was reported.
Frederik Jacques Philips, fondly referred to by employees as "Mr. Frits," was the company's top executive from 1961 to 1971, but his influence began in the 1930s and lasted beyond his formal departure.
He began as an industrial engineer at 25, when he started working at his father's factory in the southern Dutch city Eindhoven. Mr. Philips spent more than 40 years at the company, serving as president until his retirement in 1971 and then staying on as a member of the supervisory board until 1977.
During the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands in World War II, he was imprisoned for five months after a strike by Philips workers and was forced by the Germans to open a workshop. He helped hundreds of workers survive the war, efforts that later earned him a medal from Yad Vashem, Israel's Holocaust authority.
Royal Philips Electronics NV, founded by Mr. Philips's uncle and his father, is Europe's leading electronics manufacturer, with annual sales of more than $35 billion and nearly 160,000 employees.
Bud Carson, 75, the architect of the Pittsburgh Steelers' "Steel Curtain" defense who later coached the Cleveland Browns, died Dec. 7 of emphysema at his home in Sarasota, Fla.
As the Steelers' defensive coordinator from 1972 to 1977, he shaped a defense led by Joe Greene, Jack Ham and Jack Lambert into one of the best in NFL history. During that time, the Steelers won three Super Bowl titles under coach Chuck Noll.
Mr. Carson then became defensive coordinator of the Los Angeles Rams, who lost to the Steelers in the Super Bowl after the 1979 season. He coached the Browns in 1989-90, posting a record of 11-13-1. He was fired in 1990 when the team got off to a 2-7 start.
Mr. Carson coached Georgia Tech from 1967 to 1971, posting a 27-27 record, and was defensive coordinator for the New York Jets from 1985 to 1988.
He attended the University of North Carolina before spending two years in the Marines.