February 21, 2010 in Nation/World

In Passing

From Wire Reports
 

Grayson
(Full-size photo)

Kathryn Grayson, MGM star

Los Angeles – Kathryn Grayson, an MGM singing star in the 1940s and early ’50s in musicals such as “Anchors Aweigh,” “Show Boat” and “Kiss Me Kate,” has died.

Grayson, 88, died Wednesday of natural causes at her home in Los Angeles.

A dark-haired beauty with a heart-shaped face and a brilliant coloratura voice, Grayson signed with MGM as a teenager and made her screen debut in “Andy Hardy’s Private Secretary” in 1941.

She went on to appear opposite Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelly in “Anchors Aweigh,” Kelly in “Thousands Cheer,” Sinatra in “The Kissing Bandit,” Mario Lanza in “The Toast of New Orleans,” Howard Keel in “Show Boat,” “Lovely to Look At” and “Kiss Me Kate,” and Gordon MacRae in “The Desert Song,” among other musicals.

At the conclusion of her film career, Grayson began performing in nightclubs and concerts and did some acting on television.

Bill Gordon, telescope designer

Ithaca, N.Y. – Engineer Bill Gordon, who designed the photogenic radio telescope in Puerto Rico that spotted the first planets beyond our solar system and lakes on one of Saturn’s moons, has died.

Gordon, 92, died Tuesday of natural causes, according to officials at Cornell University, the college where he served on the engineering faculty from 1953-66.

He designed the Arecibo Observatory’s radio telescope in the 1950s; it’s a 1,000-foot-wide dish set in a sinkhole surrounded by forested hills.

The telescope, owned by the National Science Foundation and operated by Cornell, had a prominent role in the 1997 Jodie Foster film “Contact,” based on a Carl Sagan book about the search for extraterrestrial life – a hunt that still continues at the observatory. In the 1995 James Bond movie “GoldenEye,” the telescope’s platform figured in the climactic fight scene.

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