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Gene Klavan

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Categories: Media, Military, Writers/Editors

Gene Klavan, one-half of the 1960s morning radio show “Klavan and Finch,” died on April 8 from complications of multiple myeloma. He was 79.
The Baltimore native was studying at Johns Hopkins University when World War II started. Klavan quit school and enlisted in the Army Air Corps. He served in the Pacific campaign and later entertained the troops.
When the war ended, Klavan launched his radio career in Baltimore and Washington. He moved to New York in 1952 and joined straight man Dee Finch on the WNEW-AM morning show. For the next 14 years, the duo improvised the popular four-hour program, which featured wacky characters like Mrs. Wes Chester, Sy Kology, Trevor Traffic and Victor Verse.
Finch retired in 1968, but Klavan continued to entertain listeners on “Klavan in the Morning.” He moved to WOR-AM in 1977 and remained on the air for three more years as the voice of the afternoon drive time. Finch died in 1983.
After he retired from radio, Klavan hosted for American Movie Classics and worked as a columnist for Newsday. He also published two books: “We Die at Dawn” and “Turn That Damn Thing Off.” Klavan fathered four sons: Ross, Scott, Laurence and best-selling author Andrew Klavan.

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Fred Olivi

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Categories: Military

Frederick J. Olivi, the copilot of the plane that dropped the atomic bomb on Nagasaki during World War II, died on April 8. Cause of death was not released. He was 82.
The Chicago native enlisted in the Air Force after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. On Aug. 6, 1945, the Enola Gay dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima. Three days later, Olivi co-piloted the B-29 bomber “Bock’s Car” over Nagasaki and dropped the atomic bomb that killed 73,800 people.
“While thousands died, I feel sure the bomb had to be dropped because if the Americans had been forced to invade Japan, it would have been a bloodbath,” Olivi told the Chicago Sun-Times in 1995.
Olivi served in the Air Force Reserve out of Chicago’s O’Hare International until 1971 when he retired as a lieutenant colonel. He also worked as a manager of bridge operations and maintenance for the city of Chicago. The final years of his life were spent promoting his self-published book, “Decision at Nagasaki: The Mission That Almost Failed.”

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Joshua Eilberg

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Categories: Criminals, Law, Politicians

Joshua Eilberg, a former Democratic congressman from Philadelphia, died on March 24 of Parkinson’s disease. He was 83.
Eilberg graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and Temple Law School, and served in the Naval Reserve during World War II. He spent two years working as an assistant district attorney before entering politics as a state representative.
In 1966, Eilberg was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. As House Immigration subcommittee chairman, he aided Asian refugees and Soviet Jews emigrating to the U.S. and Israel. Eilberg also sat on the House Judiciary Committee during President Richard M. Nixon’s impeachment hearings.
Three months after he lost his congressional seat to Republican Charles Dougherty in 1979, Eilberg pleaded guilty to conflict of interest charges in connection with money he received to obtain a federal grant for Hahnemann Hospital in Philadelphia. He was sentenced to five years probation and a $10,000 fine.
When he regained the right to practice law in 1985, Eilberg opened offices in Philadelphia and Jenkintown, Pa. He later became the executive director of Brith Sholom, a Jewish fraternal organization.

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Johnny Bristol

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Categories: Military, Musicians

jbristol.jpgJohn William Bristol, a singer and former Motown producer, died on March 21 of natural causes. He was 65.

The North Carolina native was serving in the Air Force when he met singer Robert “Jackey” Beavers in the late 1950s. They formed the doo-wop duo Jackey & Johnny, and played shows in the Detroit area. In 1961, they recorded several singles, including the tune “Someday We’ll be Together.” Diana Ross & the Supremes remade the song in 1969, with Bristol singing background vocals.

Bristol spent most of the 1960s as a producer and songwriter for Motown Records. There he worked with some of the label’s biggest acts: Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, Michael Jackson, Gladys Knight & the Pips, the Four Tops and Stevie Wonder. Bristol also married and divorced Iris Gordy, the niece of Motown founder Berry Gordy. He later married Maude Bristol Perry, Battle Creek, Mich.’s first woman mayor.

Bristol left Motown in 1973 and launched his solo career. He signed record deals with MGM and Atlantic and released numerous singles. The song, “Hang On In There Baby,” reached number two on the R&B charts and number eight on the pop charts. He continued recording music through the 80s and early 90s. At the time of his death, Bristol was finalizing plans to tour Britain and complete a gospel album.

Listen to 2 Bristol Songs

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Victor Argo

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Categories: Actors

vargo.jpgVictor Argo, a veteran character actor, died on April 7 of lung cancer. He was 69.
Born in the Bronx to Puerto Rican parents as Víctor Jiménez, he changed his last name in the mid-1960s to gain access to more acting opportunities. As he auditioned for parts, Argo sold jewelry, drove a cab and worked as a printer.
Argo began his dramatic career on stage, taking roles in regional theater and off-Broadway productions. He moved to Nashville and briefly attempted to launch a career as a guitarist and country singer, but acting proved more lucrative.
Over the next four decades, Argo played a wide array of small parts in more than 70 films. He worked with director Martin Scorsese in “Mean Streets,” “Taxi Driver” and “The Last Temptation of Christ.” Woody Allen directed him in “Crimes and Misdemeanors” and “Shadows and Fog.” He also made guest appearances on the TV shows “Kojak,” “Miami Vice” and “Law & Order.”
Last year, Argo returned to the stage as the owner of a cigar factory in the Pulitzer Prize-winning play “Anna in the Tropics.” The Broadway show ended its run in February. His final film, “Luster,” will be released in Aug. 2005.

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