April 12, 2009 in Nation/World

Dave Arneson, D&D co-creator

 

Dave Arneson, one of the co-creators of the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy game and a pioneer of role-playing entertainment, died Tuesday. He was 61.

Arneson died in hospice care in St. Paul after a two-year battle with cancer, his family said.

Arneson and Gary Gygax developed Dungeons & Dragons in 1974 using medieval characters and mythical creatures. The game known for its oddly shaped dice became a hit, particularly among teenage boys. It eventually was turned into video games, books and movies.

In later years, Arneson published other role-playing games and started his own game-publishing company and computer game company. He was inducted into the Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts and Design Hall of Fame in 1984.

New York

Jack Wrangler, porn star

Jack Wrangler, a ruggedly handsome 1970s porn star whose openness about his homosexuality made him a symbol of self-confidence for many gay men, has died. He was 62.

Wrangler died Tuesday in Manhattan of complications from lung disease, said Lewis Tice, director of publicity and marketing for TLA Releasing, a distributor of gay-themed independent films.

His life of sometimes surprising turns – he found decades-long love with big-band singer Margaret Whiting – was chronicled in the documentary “Wrangler: Anatomy of an Icon,” released last fall.

Born John Stillman in Beverly Hills, Calif., Wrangler was bartending and go-go dancing in West Hollywood when a role in a San Francisco play sent his career in a new direction – under a new last name, borrowed from the label on his plaid work shirt.

His nude scene in the show led to modeling and a string of gay and straight erotic films, where his steely blue eyes, muscled physique and open-shirted swagger made him a star.

Seattle

Rocky Crandell, volcano expert

Dwight R. “Rocky” Crandell, whose persistent tracking of deep layers of mud led to a pioneering reassessment of volcano hazards in the Pacific Northwest, died Monday. He was 86.

Crandell, a U.S. Geological Survey vulcanologist and author of numerous books and research papers, died at a hospice in Wheat Ridge, Colo., from a heart attack.

In the early 1950s, Crandell and his longtime scientific partner, Donal R. Mullineaux, overturned what was then the conventional wisdom that the landscape of the Puget Sound lowlands had been shaped mainly by glaciers.

After years of observing and tracing deep layers of mud beneath the surface, they eventually found it had come from high on the slopes of 14,411-foot Mount Rainier.

The approach used by Crandell and Mullineaux formed the basis of today’s volcano hazard assessment methodology and led to discoveries of the violent past and danger posed by Mount St. Helens.

From wire reports


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