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Ed Benedict, animator

Sun., Oct. 15, 2006, midnight

Ed Benedict, a legendary animator who put life, love and laughter in TV cartoon characters like Fred Flintstone, Barney Rubble and Yogi Bear, has died at the age of 94.

Benedict died in his sleep on Aug. 28 in Auburn in Northern California, his longtime friend and fellow animator David K. Sheldon confirmed Tuesday.

Benedict, who worked at MGM, Universal and other studios on short, theatrical cartoons, joined Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera soon after the pair launched their groundbreaking Hanna-Barbera TV animation studio in the late 1950s. Among his many designs for them were the characters for their first series, 1957’s “The Ruff & Reddy Show.”

For “The Flintstones,” the story of a “modern Stone Age family,” Benedict not only designed the hapless cavemen Fred and Barney, but also their long-suffering wives, Wilma and Betty, and the show’s clever array of Stone Age houses and gadgets, including the characters’ foot-powered cars.


Jerry Belson, TV comedy writer

Jerry Belson, an Emmy-winning comedy writer for “The Tracey Ullman Show” whose wit graced numerous other films and TV shows, including “The Odd Couple” and “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” died Tuesday of cancer. He was 68.

Belson died at his Los Angeles home, said friend and writing partner Garry Marshall.

Belson and Marshall worked together on some of the most celebrated sitcoms of the 1960s and ‘70s, including “Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.,” “The Dick Van Dyke Show” and “The Odd Couple.”

A signature scene that Belson wrote into “The Odd Couple” involved the character Felix Unger describing the funeral of a dog named “Spot Moskowitz,” attended by dogs wearing yarmulkes.

After teaming with comedic actor Tracey Ullman, Belson won three Emmy awards – in 1989 and 1990, for his work on her Fox comedy, and in 1997, for writing on the HBO show “Tracey Takes On…” He was nominated for 17 Emmys in his career, which primarily focused on targeting the cocky and pretentious.


Claude Luter, jazz musician

Claude Luter, a horn player who hobnobbed with Louis Armstrong and was one of France’s most celebrated jazz musicians, has died, his son said Tuesday. He was 83.

Best known for boosting the trans-Atlantic transferal of New Orleans-style jazz to Paris, Luter suffered complications after a fall and died Friday at a hospital outside Paris said his son, Eric.

A trumpeter who later took up the clarinet and saxophone, Luter met Louis Armstrong at the Nice Jazz Festival in 1948. The following year, he began accompanying Sidney Bechet, like Armstrong one of the fathers of New Orleans jazz.

As recently as 2005, Luter played twice a month at a Paris club, the Petit Journal, and had dreams of fully returning to the jazz scene shortly before he died, his son said. Luter held a full rehearsal with his band, “Claude Luter and his Orchestra” in September, his son said.


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