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Princess Juliana

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Categories: Royalty

juliana.jpgJuliana Louise Emma Marie Wilhelmina, Princess of Orange-Nassau and former Queen of The Netherlands, died on March 20 from pneumonia. She was 94.
The only child of Queen Wilhelmina and Prince Hendrik, Juliana studied literature and religion at Leiden University. During the Depression of the early 1930s, she represented the Royal House at many official events and served as president of The Netherlands Red Cross. Juliana and her family were briefly forced to flee to England when the Nazi army invaded The Netherlands in 1940. She spent several years living in Canada then returned to her impoverished homeland after the war ended.
Juliana was 39 years old when she took the throne in 1948. Over the next three decades, she helped rebuild her country, officially ended 346 years of colonial rule in the former Dutch East Indies and oversaw the recognition of an independent Indonesia.
Known as a kind and down-to-earth monarch, Juliana was also active in social issues. She frequently visited hospitals and retirement homes, and toured the southern provinces of Zeeland and South Holland during the floods of 1953, in which 1,800 people died. Her children attended public school, and she was often spotted riding her bicycle or shopping at the local supermarket.
Although she abdicated the throne to her daughter Beatrix in 1980, Juliana remained popular with her subjects. The Dutch continued to celebrate their national holiday on her birthday, despite the fact that she declined the title of queen mother and chose to be called princess instead. Her final years were spent in seclusion.

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John Pople

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Categories: Education, Scientists

jpople.jpgSir John Anthony Pople, a Nobel laureate and knight of the British Empire, died on March 15 from liver cancer. He was 78.
Born in Burnham-on-Sea, Somerset, England, Pople developed a passion for mathematics when he was 12 years old. He reveled in algebraic equations and read calculus books he found in trashcans.
Pople attended Cambridge University, where he earned a doctorate in mathematics in 1951. The following year, he envisioned a plan to develop mathematical models to study molecules. With these models, scientists could determine theoretical outcomes without performing physical experiments.
Pople taught mathematics at Cambridge, and served as the head of the physics department at the National Physical Laboratory near London, but yearned to spend more time doing research in quantum chemistry rather than administrative paperwork. So he moved to the United States in 1964, and took a teaching position at Carnegie Tech, which later become Carnegie-Mellon University. For two decades, Pople educated students on chemical physics while working on a computer program that would predict the properties of molecules. He joined the faculty of Northwestern University in 1993, and continued his research.
In 1998, Pople shared the Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Australian Walter Kohn of the University of California-Santa Barbara. Kohn won for his development of density-functional theory, which simplifies the mathematical description of the bonding between atoms. Pople was cited for creating computer programs that test the chemical structure and details of matter.
One such program, Gaussian-70, has been used by thousands of scientists and universities. Enhanced with Kohn’s density-functional theory, the program helps scientists create computer models of chemical reactions that are difficult or impossible to recreate in the laboratory. It has been used to study interstellar matter based on telescope measurements, how pollutants react with the ozone layer and how certain drugs can be used to fight HIV.
Pople won Israel’s Wolf Prize in chemistry and was named an Officer of the Legion of Honor by France. Queen Elizabeth II knighted him in 2002 for his contributions to science.

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J.J. Jackson

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Categories: Media, Musicians

jjjackson.jpgJohn “J.J.” Jackson, one of MTV’s first VJs, died on March 17 from a heart attack. He was 62.
Jackson combined his good humor and encyclopedic knowledge of music to launch a career as a radio disc jockey. He became a popular voice on WBCN in the late 1960s, then moved to Los Angeles where he commanded the afternoon radio slot at KLOS for eight years. He was working as a rock reporter for KABC-TV in 1980 when a fledgling cable station asked him to move to New York and announce videos on television.
MTV launched in 1981 and became a pop culture hit. Jackson spent five years as an on-air personality. He was best known for unmasking KISS in 1982 and covering the 1985 Live Aid benefit concert in London.
Jackson moved back to Los Angeles in 1987, where he became a DJ for KROQ and the music program director for KEDG. Most recently, he hosted “The 7th Day” at KLOS and the weekly syndicated show, “The Beatle Years,” on the Westwood One Radio Network. Before his death, Jackson was planning to join former MTV VJ Mark Goodman at Sirius satellite radio.

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Mercedes McCambridge

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Categories: Actors, Hollywood, Media, Writers/Editors

mmccambridge.jpgCarlotta Mercedes Agnes McCambridge, who Orson Welles once called “the world’s greatest living radio actress,” died on March 2 from natural causes. She was 87.
Born in Joliet, Ill., McCambridge graduated from Mundelein College and signed an acting contract with NBC Radio in Chicago. In her 20s, she moved to New York, where she appeared in several Broadway plays before landing the title role in the radio adaptation of “Abie’s Irish Rose.” She spent several years working with Welles before focusing on her film career.
McCambridge’s radio-trained voice served her well in Hollywood. She acquired a reputation as an outspoken woman with a talent for playing strong-willed characters. She made her screen debut in the 1949 film “All the King’s Men,” a role that earned her an Academy Award for best supporting actress. Broderick Crawford, who played the lead in the film, won the best actor Oscar; the drama also won for best picture. That same year, McCambridge won a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress and another for Most Promising Newcomer-Female.
Despite such critical acclaim, McCambridge had trouble finding good roles because her severe appearance didn’t fit the glamour girl image that was popular in many postwar films. However, she chose her future projects wisely, acting in “Giant, (for which she earned a second Oscar nomination for best supporting actress), “A Farewell to Arms” and “Touch of Evil.”
In 1973, McCambridge put her talents to the test by taking on the voice-over role of The Demon in the classic horror flick, “The Exorcist.” Although she didn’t receive credit in the first printing of the movie, The Screen Actors Guild intervened on her behalf and had her name inserted into future printings of the film. She also did numerous guest appearances on TV shows, such as “Bewitched,” “Charlie’s Angels” and “Magnum P.I.” She returned to New York in the 1990s to play the grandmother in Neil Simon’s Broadway hit, “Lost in Yonkers.”
Her personal life, which included bouts with alcoholism, two divorces and a son who later killed his wife and children before committing suicide, were chronicled in the autobiographies “The Two of Us” and “The Quality of Mercy.”

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Karen Watson

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Categories: Extraordinary People

kwatson.jpgKaren Watson was helping to set up a mobile water purification plant in Mosul on March 15 when she and three other U.S. relief workers were killed in a drive-by shooting. She was 38.
Described by friends as a warm and fun-loving woman, Watson joined the Valley Baptist Church in Bakersfield, Calif., seven years ago and dedicated her life to doing missionary work. She joined the Southern Baptist International Mission Board, and began restoring schools for children living in El Salvador, Mexico, Macedonia and Kosovo before traveling to Iraq in 2003.
Watson graduated from high school and worked as a detention officer at the Kern County jail in Lerdo, Calif. In her off-hours, she led a Bible study class and participated in her church’s singles group.
Before she left for Iraq, Watson gave her pastor a two-page letter in a sealed envelope, with instructions to read it if she died overseas. When Pastor Phil Neighbors opened the letter, it began: “When God calls, there are no regrets. To suffer was expected. His glory is my reward.”

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