Otfried Preussler
children’s author

Otfried Preussler, a best-selling German children’s author who created “The Robber Hotzenplotz” and “The Little Witch” books, died Feb. 18 at his home in Prien am Chiemsee, Germany. He was 89.

Thienemann publishing house, based in Stuttgart, Germany, announced the death but did not give a cause.

In a statement, Thienemann said 50 million copies of Mr. Preussler’s books were printed worldwide and translated into more than 50 languages. Mr. Preussler won the European Youth book prize in 1973 for his novel “Krabat,” published in 1971 and translated in English as “The Satanic Mill.”

In recent years, Mr. Preussler was among a number of authors whose works were criticized in Germany for containing terms deemed offensive to minorities.

Mr. Preussler was born in Reichenberg, now the Czech town of Liberec.

In this June 4, 2000 file picture, German author Otfried Preussler attends an awarding ceremony in Munich, Germany. Otfried Preussler, a bestselling German children’s author who created “The Robber Hotzenplotz” and “The Little Witch” books, has died. He was 89. (Stefan Puchner/AP)
W. Watts Biggers
‘Underdog’ co-creator

W. Watts Biggers, the co-creator of the cartoon “Underdog,” the mild-mannered canine shoeshine boy who turned into a caped superhero to rescue girlfriend Sweet Polly Purebred, died Feb. 10 at his home in Manomet, Mass. He was 85.

He died after suffering a heart attack, the New York Times reported, quoting his companion Nancy Purbeck.

William Watts Biggers was a native of Avondale Estates, outside of Atlanta, and worked for the New York City advertising firm DFS when he accepted an assignment from the agency’s largest client, General Mills, to create television cartoons to promote its breakfast cereals. The most famous was “Underdog,” which had its debut on NBC in 1964.

The canine superhero, voiced by comic actor Wally Cox, also battled villains including mad scientist Simon Bar Sinister and gangster wolf Riff Raff.

Upon hearing the cries of Sweet Polly Purebred, Underdog would rush into a telephone booth and transform into the hero.

He spoke in simple rhymes, his most famous probably “There’s no need to fear, Underdog is here.”

Mr. Biggers also helped create “King Leonardo and His Short Subjects” and “Tennessee Tuxedo and His Tales.”

After General Mills pulled out of the animation business, Mr. Biggers became vice president of promotion and creative services at NBC.

Mr. Biggers also wrote for publications including TV Guide, Family Circle and Reader’s Digest, and wrote several novels, including “The Man Inside” and “Hold Back the Tide.”

Martin E. Zweig
newsletter publisher

Martin E. Zweig, who predicted the 1987 stock market crash and whose newsletters influenced U.S. investors for a quarter of a century, died Feb. 18, his New York-based firm announced. He was 70.

Zweig-DiMenna Associates did not provide a cause of death.

Mr. Zweig wrote “Martin Zweig’s Winning on Wall Street,” first published in 1986, and stock-picking newsletters such as the Zweig Forecast for 26 years, helping start his career in hedge funds and philanthropy. He and Joe DiMenna co-founded Zweig-DiMenna Partners in 1984.

Mr. Zweig is credited with developing the technical analysis tool known as the put-call ratio, according to his firm. The indicator plots bearish vs. bullish options as a way of determining investor sentiment.

Mr. Zweig was a regular guest on the PBS television show “Wall Street Week With Louis Rukeyser.” His best-known call came during Rukeyser’s program on Oct. 16, 1987, when he predicted stocks were poised for a “vicious” decline reminiscent of the crash of 1929. The Dow Jones industrial average plunged 508 points, a record 23 percent, in the next session, known as Black Monday.

Martin Edward Zweig was born in Cleveland. He was 9 when his father died, and the family moved to Florida a year later after his mother’s remarriage. His interest in the stock market began at 13, when he received a gift of six shares of General Motors from an uncle.

Mr. Zweig graduated in 1964 from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. He later received an MBA from the University of Miami and a doctorate in finance from Michigan State University.

— From news services