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In passing

Sun., Oct. 16, 2005

Comic Louis Nye, 92; Steve Allen’s sidekick

Los Angeles Comedian Louis Nye, who created a national catchphrase belting out “Hi, ho, Steverino!” as one of the players on Steve Allen’s groundbreaking 1950s TV show, has died. He was 92.

Nye died last Sunday at his home in Los Angeles after a long battle with lung cancer.

Nye had worked regularly in nightclubs and on television until just a couple of years ago. He had a recurring role from 2000 to 2002 in the HBO comedy “Curb Your Enthusiasm” as the father of Jeff Garlin’s character.

When Nye joined Allen’s show in 1956 he was already well established as one the era’s hippest comics, appearing regularly on radio, in clubs and on early TV shows.

A master of voices and accents, he could go from being droll one moment to prissy the next. He could switch effortlessly from comically evil Nazis to bumbling Russians. “He has a great business card from that time that lists something like 15 accents that he could do,” his son, Peter Nye, recalled.

On “The Steve Allen Show,” which ran until 1961 under various names, he quickly endeared himself to audiences as Gordon Hathaway, the effete, country club snob who would welcome Allen’s arrival with the “Hi, ho, Steverino!” salutation.

Other regulars on the landmark show included comedians Don Knotts, Tom Poston and Bill Dana.

Jack White, 63; Pulitzer Prize winner

Cape Cod, Mass. Jack White, a reporter whose story on President Nixon’s underpayment of income taxes won a Pulitzer Prize and prompted Nixon to utter the famous line, “I am not a crook,” died Wednesday at 63.

White died at his Cape Cod home, where he worked as a reporter.

He was working for The Providence Journal and Evening Bulletin in 1973 when he used tax documents and a tip to establish that Nixon had failed to pay a large portion of his income taxes in 1970 and 1971. Nixon ultimately agreed to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in back taxes, and White won a Pulitzer for national reporting.

At an Associated Press Managing Editors convention the month after the story ran, one of White’s colleagues at the Evening Bulletin asked Nixon about his income taxes, and the president replied: “People have got to know whether or not their president is a crook. Well, I am not a crook.”

White also broke the news in 2001 that former Providence Mayor Vincent “Buddy” Cianci was indicted on federal corruption charges. White knew it before Cianci, who told reporters: “I heard it from Jack White.”

C. Delores Tucker, 78; rap music opponent

Philadelphia C. Delores Tucker, a longtime civil rights activist best known as a fiery antagonist of profanity-laced rap music lyrics that denigrated blacks and women, died Wednesday at a Philadelphia rehabilitation hospital. She was 78.

The cause was heart failure, according to a spokesman for the Silver Spring, Md.-based National Congress of Black Women, which Tucker founded in 1984.

Tucker led the Black Caucus of the Democratic National Committee for 11 years and was Pennsylvania’s commonwealth secretary in the 1970s.

In the 1990s she launched a crusade against “gangsta rap” music, a battle that gained momentum after she joined forces with William J. Bennett, the former Reagan administration education secretary whose emphasis on moral training resonated with Tucker, the daughter of a minister.

“She was extremely forceful … a very articulate speaker. I remember deferring to her all the time,” Bennett, who is known for his pugnacity, said in an interview Thursday.

Her campaign provoked intense debate among blacks, some of whom found her criticism of rap music narrow-minded. Her assault on the lyrics also alarmed defenders of First Amendment rights and made enemies of some of the biggest names in the rap music world, including Death Row Records chief Marion “Suge” Knight.

A skillful rhetorician, Tucker linked offensive rap lyrics to problems such as black-on-black violence and single-parent families, and she called on rap artists and moguls to give vulnerable black youths more positive messages in their music.


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